JIMMY SPENCER (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid) NOTE: Spencer will start 40th in Sunday's Sirius 400. The Sirius Dodge also started in the back of last year's Sirius 400 after engine problems in qualifying. Spencer, a 46-year-old...
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid)
NOTE: Spencer will start 40th in Sunday's Sirius 400. The Sirius Dodge also started in the back of last year's Sirius 400 after engine problems in qualifying. Spencer, a 46-year-old driver from Berwick, Pa., ranks 29th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings after 14 races in his first year behind the wheel of the Ultra Motorsports Dodge owned by Jim Smith.
"We weren't that fast in practice yesterday, but we changed a bunch of stuff on the car and I think we were going to be about just a tenth or two slower than the fastest car. To blow up in qualifying at Michigan of all places, a track where your sponsor is sponsoring the race is very embarrassing. All the Sirius people are going to be here Sunday, and we're starting in the back of the field for the second straight year in their car. I'm sure the motor man didn't plan on the engine blowing up in qualifying. We probably burned a piston or something. This track is hard on equipment, but there's nothing you can do about what happened yesterday. We've just got to suck it up and get ready to work our way to the front."
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO DO THAT?
"Me and Mongo and the guys are going to get together and make a game plan, but basically, you've got to have a little luck and we haven't been able to buy a break lately. Your back is against the wall when you don't qualify well. You don't get a good pit, if anything happens at the beginning of the race you've got a good chance to be involved in it and you're already six or seven seconds behind the leader when they drop the green flag. You can overcome starting in the back just like Jimmie Johnson did at Charlotte. These are not 100-mile races. You're going to make at least three or four pit stops, so the crew can help you gain a lot of spots in the pits. The car has to be handling good. That's the key. We tested here and the car was handling real good. We've got to make sure the pit crew doesn't make any mistakes and the driver doesn't make any mistakes. You need a caution ever so often, and you can probably make some two-tire pit stops to gain track position. Basically, you do whatever you have to do to get up front."
COMMENT ON THOSE MEDIA RIDES IN CHELSEA ON THURSDAY
"I was really impressed with all the cars at the Chrysler Proving Grounds. I gave a lot of journalists (about 125 attended) rides in the Dodge Viper, and I really enjoyed that, but I think I was most impressed with the Dodge Neon SRT-4. What a great little car. It's a four-cylinder turbo five-speed, and it's really fast. The Viper is known as a fast car. It's in the same class with the Corvette and Ferrari, but that little four-cylinder is really cool. I honestly think I had more fun driving it than I did the Viper. He handled good, has a lot of horsepower, it's fun and it costs only $20,000. It's a no-brainer. I think I'm going home and buy one so I can have something fun to drive around on the country roads."
COMMENT ON YOUR ROTTEN LUCK THIS SEASON
"We just can't seem to buy a break. We run good and stuff always seems to happen. We were really running good at Pocono last week and the rear end broke. We were running good at Texas and the oil line came loose. Weird stuff keeps happening. We had the car to beat at Bristol and we pitted under green and got caught by a caution flag when some guy 50 laps down wrecks. A lot of stuff has happened that shouldn't have happened. We crashed at Richmond and had a really good car there. We've run good at so many tracks, and we feel good about what we've done even though we're 29th in the points. Everybody wrote us off at the beginning of the season. They said I was a has been. They said our car owner didn't know how to win in Winston Cup. They said Tommy Baldwin was a hot head and we couldn't get along. Tommy has assembled a bunch of good people, and I get a lot of pleasure out of driving the car. I know we can win this season, and I really wish it could be Sunday at Michigan. I'd love to see that Sirius Dodge in victory lane at the Sirius 400."
JIM SMITH (Car owner Ultra Motorsports Dodge Intrepid and Dodge Rams in Craftsman Truck Series)
"We've blown up four motors in the last two weeks (in Cup and Trucks). Our guys are working hard, and you've got to push the engines to the edge to win. I don't think it's going to be that big of a disadvantage starting in the back here Sunday. If it's your time to win, you'll win. If it's not, it's not. If it's your time to have problems, same thing. I'd say with all the bad luck we've had lately the stars should be lined up for us this weekend.
"We've got a great race team. We're 29th in the points, but I think we're a top-10 team every week when they drop the green flag. A lot of our bad luck has been self-created, but a lot of it has been that the chips are just not falling our way. Sooner or later the chips have to start falling our way. They will. Luck always turns around.
"I'd say you'd have to count us as a longshot to win here Sunday. We're probably about 20-1 to win, but I'd say we're even odds for a top-10 finish. When we start running in the top 10 consistently, that win will come. I'd like to think it would be sooner than later, but this is a tough sport. Tommy and his guys are working hard and doing a good job, and Jimmy Spencer is a class act. If this team stays together and gets a year of experience under their belts, they'll be contenders soon."