Martinsville II: Dodge - Jimmy Spencer interview

Winston Breakfast Club Guest JIMMY SPENCER (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid) "I think there are a lot of things that NASCAR needs to look at doing, and that's allowing other sponsors to come in. Even though it's the Nextel Cup, I...

Winston Breakfast Club Guest

JIMMY SPENCER (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid)

"I think there are a lot of things that NASCAR needs to look at doing, and that's allowing other sponsors to come in. Even though it's the Nextel Cup, I think any telecommunication company should be allowed to come into the sport. If you have Budweiser, Miller and Coors in the sport, I think you should allow other distilled spirits, too. You've got to look at the companies that are making money right now, and those are the companies that should be allowed in our sport. How many times do you see someone with a cocktail? There's nothing wrong with that. They don't need the winner's circle any longer. They need to find another way to disperse the money to the car owners. A lot of the car owners are struggling right now, and without sponsorship money they're in trouble."

CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF GOING BACK TO THE TRUCK SERIES?

"No, I think we've hired a driver for the truck series. I want to stay in Winston Cup. Jimmy Smith has a couple of sponsors right now that are limited deals. I guess you could make it. Jimmy has a good business, but anybody that's a successful businessman you don't want to do certain things to satisfy your hobby. You have to turn a profit eventually. Even if you don't lose a lot of money your accountant isn't going to let you keep getting by with that. I want to stay in Winston Cup. I don't want to go back to Busch, and I don't want to run the trucks. I love it. Don't get me wrong. There is only one sport in the United States, and that's NASCAR racing and the premiere division is Winston Cup."

WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR CAREER AND WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO?

"I'd stay where I am. I'm probably one of the last drivers who is going to stay loyal through thick and thin. I've turned down rides in the past to stay with certain car owners. I think that's something our sport lacks. I think a driver above 21 now is having a hard time finding a job. It's up to the individual. His heart has got a lot to do with when he wants to quit driving. Bill Elliott still wants to race, but I don't think Bill Elliott wants to race in today's time with all the demands. It's not like it was five or six years ago. Along with the growth of the sport comes demand on a driver's time. Look at the PGA. That's the life. If he doesn't want to go to a tournament, he doesn't have to. He could stay home with his wife and kids. I feel like a day will come along when you're driving along in a car and say you've had enough of this. I think the peak of your career is when you retire. I think to hang around in the sport and just log laps is not the way to go. I don't think there's any driver out there right now doing that. I don't think people realize how competitive this sport is. I don't think people understand how much has to go in doing good. Our gas man at Martinsville made a mistake in the spring race. That has haunted him all year long. I wouldn't trade him for any gas man in the sport. He admitted he did wrong. He didn't intentionally do that, but those are the people who build a race team. He may not be the best gas man out there, but people with that kind of heart, I'll honor them over a guy that's much better and would leave for $25 more a week."

HOW HAS THE SPORT CHANGED?

"I think our sport has changed in a lot of ways. The money has been good for a lot of people. I don't think you guys make a lot more money, and you have more to cover. It's the same way with a lot of people. Some guys in the sport are making a lot of money. Didn't we have a lot better schedule when we had 32 races? You have a few weekends off. NASCAR has gotten the greedy factor. NASCAR went public, and there's a bunch of people in upper management and all they're looking at is stock. That's OK, but when these (*%& *& * *^&$%#@) are screwing people out of their retirement money, put them in jail and let them rot. These people who have swindled all this money and now they're pleading the fifth amendment. They need to be put in jail for life and eliminate all that. That would get the economy back strong because people would be confident you're managing their money right. These people are taking the fifth and doing all this kind of stuff and getting away with everything. Then they get out of it with a year or two probation knowing they've got millions of dollars put away. They should put them in jail forever."

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE TWO OR THREE RACES THROWN OUT?

"The thing that would be good about that, yeah, you could take off two or three weeks. We all know which ones they'd take off. They'd take off the road courses or they'd take off Martinsville. A lot of them would say, 'I ain't going to San Francisco.' Actually, that would hurt the sport. If you could throw four weekends out, and plan those weekends right now for next year, it would save a car owner a million dollars. You guys don't have any idea how much expense goes into hiring PR people, travel expenses, rental cars, it just keeps escalating every year. The motel people gouge. It would save a lot of money, but NASCAR is not going to do that. NASCAR is not going to change the winner's circle. The winner's circle is the biggest joke there is right now. Even if I was on it, it's still a joke. All the money goes to certain car owners. It should be spread to other car owners that are 20th on back. Those are the guys who are hurting. They should look at the Craftsman Truck Series, too. Four sets of tires for the whole weekend is a good rule. NASCAR needs to look at cutting costs for these car owners, and they're not doing a good job of it. I really don't think they are."

DO YOU THINK MATT KENSETH CAN BE RATTLED?

"I think it's going to be hard to beat Matt for the championship, but I think what Harvick is doing is the right thing. I think Matt's a cool character, and I think he's going to win the championship, but you've got to do everything you can to beat this cat, and I think what Harvick is doing is the right thing. If he can get under his skin and he can have another bad race or two, you could make a points race of this thing. Matt does things a whole lot different than Harvick or Jeff Gordon. Matt is very calm and very shy. He doesn't like to talk to the media, but he's a heck of a racecar driver. He's a great racecar driver. He's a good guy. I'd like to see Matt and Robby win it. They're Saturday night racers from the Midwest. They used to call him Matt the Brat, but he was a good racer. Overall, I think Matt is focused on what he has to do. You don't see fingers being pointed. They go on about their business."

CAN YOU WIN HERE SUNDAY?

"It's hard to win at Martinsville. You've got to have a good handling car all day for 500 laps. There are two distinctive grooves. Track position is critical here. In order to pass people here, you've got to be a whole lot faster. It's always an exciting race. You remember Ricky Craven's and Jarrett's finish here. I think Kurt Busch won this race last fall. It'll be a good race here Sunday. Starting up front is critical. Don't make any mistakes, try to stay in the top 10 all day long and put yourself in position to win at the end."

WHAT'S THE LATEST WITH TOMMY BALDWIN?

"He built a heck of a race team, and he doesn't want to leave. We need a sponsor. A lot of people are tugging at Tommy to come to work for them. He's a good crew chief. Tommy will be a championship crew chief without a question. I think he's gone, but I don't think the team can announce what they're going to do yet. You see all this driver switching now. Ward's gone. I guess Nemechek is gone. I just think some of this is not right. I think you need to stick the year out. You made a commitment to finish out the year. There have been a lot of changes going on. As of now, yeah (Baldwin will stay to the end of the season), but it could change Monday. Jimmy Smith is a great car owner and he would not... If I wanted to leave, he'd say go ahead. That's what I like about Jimmy Smith. If you don't want to be here, we don't need a contract. Get the hell out of here. That's the way this sport was built. Jimmy is a lot like Junior Johnson. We don't need no contract. If you don't want to be here, get the hell out of here. We've lost a lot of that."

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT IT'LL BE LIKE WITHOUT WINSTON AS THE SERIES SPONSOR?

"I sit down and think about it sometimes. Nextel has come on board, and it'll probably be a real good sponsor. Winston made this sport. Between Bill France and T. Wayne Robertson, we wouldn't be where we're at if it wasn't for them. We wouldn't have what we have. Anything you ever wanted from them, you could get. There's no company out there that could ever replace them to be 100 percent the same. I've known them since 1979, and I'm going to miss them. I hope the Nextel people learn a lot from the whole RJR group."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Jimmy Spencer , Kurt Busch , Ricky Craven , Junior Johnson