FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES TWIN 125 ADVANCE February 10, 1999 Daytona International Speedway Junie Donlavey, owner of the No. 90 Ford Taurus, has made a driver change by replacing rookie Mike...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES TWIN 125 ADVANCE February 10, 1999 Daytona International Speedway
Junie Donlavey, owner of the No. 90 Ford Taurus, has made a driver change by replacing rookie Mike Harmon with veteran Mike Wallace. Donlavey, Wallace and Harmon all spoke about the situation and what the future holds.
JUNIE DONLAVEY, Car Owner -90- Donlavey Racing Taurus -- "When we had Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce, we had money to be able to take time to bring a boy along, like (Mike) Harmon. It looks like Big Daddy's BBQ has gone down the drain. So we felt like this is a pretty big race and we better do something else, so we gave him the weekend off. We worked with Mike Wallace before, and he was available so that's who we're going with."
IS MIKE HARMON JUST OFF FOR THE WEEK? "We're not exactly positive what's going on with the barbecue sauce, and I think what we would need to do with Mike Harmon is maybe run him a few races in ARCA or something like that where he can get a better feel of a car because the competition here is at its highest level. So it wasn't something detrimental to Mike's driving. It was just that we didn't have time to prepare everything to where he could be competitive."
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR CHANCES ARE IN THE 125 STARTING AT THE BACK? "Well, I've seen them come from the back before, and I've seen cars that really shouldn't have made the race make it. It's a toss-up any way you go, and we feel like we can run good enough to get in."
ARE YOU PLANNING TO FIELD A CAR FOR ARCA AND ONE FOR CUP? "No. We're going to just stay where we are and stay with one car. We'll look over the availability of who we can get who has a little more experience than what we started with this time. A couple of deals out there that maybe will look good. Plus we've got to get this barbecue sauce sponsorship under control, out, get something else, or come to some agreement here."
ARE THERE ANY OTHER SPONSORS THAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT? "Yes. We've got a lot of people out there looking for us and making deals. We're going to be okay."
MIKE WALLACE -90- Donlavey Racing Taurus -- "At 4:30 yesterday it was just a situation that Junie needed to make the Daytona 500, and it didn't look like he was going to be able to. I guess I didn't burn any bridges when I used to drive for him so he came and found me and wanted to know if I'd drive for him. Fortunately I spoke to Jimmy (Smith - Wallace's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner) on Sunday to make sure it was okay with him if anything came up. He said sure, if you can find something good go on ahead and drive it. Of course I want to make it very clear I have a truck commitment, and that's what we're going to do this year. This is just something that happened because we're here. March 17 we're going to Homestead to try to win a truck race."
WHAT DO YOU REALISTICALLY THINK YOUR CHANCES ARE TO MAKE THE 500? "I think I can make the Daytona 500 through the 125. I look at it this way. The car has motors from Penske Racing or Larry Wallace, which is Penske Engines now. I went over and borrowed four shocks from Rusty's team this morning just to get us a baseline. I did it last year in Phil Barkdoll's car, kind of in the same situation. I was here not doing anything, and started in the back and finished 12th in the 125. You've got to at least think you have the ability to get it done, so we'll see."
WERE YOU LOOKING FOR A RIDE WHEN YOU CAME DOWN HERE? "No, I guess I wasn't because I didn't have everything with me. I had to go find a set of ear molds a little while ago and gloves. I really come down because I knew Jimmy was going to be here and I could hang out with him a little bit. We had a deal to do Friday night in Orlando for Wagner Brakes, and it was like this is Daytona and you kind of need to be here. I really just wanted to walk through the garage area and have everybody tell me how good I'm going to run in my truck this year. They've done that. I got my ego all built up there to go out and win races. Now we can just have some fun."
MIKE HARMON -90- Donlavey Racing Taurus -- WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND THE 90 TEAM? "It's not a done deal. We're not through running Winston Cup this year, even with the 90. The sponsorship package was on top of the fence, it could fall either way, and that had a big bearing on taking me out of the car and putting a veteran in because of all the pressure and everything. I don't know of any other rookie who has ever come here and got in a car and run for the Daytona 500 that didn't have sponsorship help. Basically, that was the bottom line and I can understand their side. It hurts. I'm interested to see how well somebody else does in the car."
DID JUNIE TALK TO YOU ABOUT THIS LAST NIGHT? "Yesterday after practice they called me in the truck and told me that they had decided to take me out of the car for this race and put a veteran driver in. Of course, it was devastating, but being a racer you've gotta be tough and I can get through this. It's extremely disappointing, but maybe it's for the best."
IS THIS A PERMANENT SITUATION? "Oh, no, no, no. It's definitely not a permanent thing. The door is still open, we just have to see how it transpires because I'm a rookie driver, we were here with a rookie crew chief and all young guys on the team with limited experience. They're a great group of guys, but, naturally, the driver takes the heat."
SO IS IT POSSIBLE YOU COULD BE IN THE 90 CAR AT ROCKINGHAM? "That's definitely a possibility is what I was told. That's definitely a possibility and there's a possibility I might be in another car. Anything's possible. There are no bridges burnt, the door's open and I'm grateful for Junie and his group to give me the opportunity in the car. I offered last week with our qualifying setup if he wanted to put somebody in the car to see if they could tell us something I was missing. He said, 'Mike, we know it's not you. The times are consistent. If we need to do that, I'll let you know.' So they let me know they've decided to go with somebody else in the race. All the guys are good competitors and I respect them, but when you're out there with that tape on your bumper, they're gonna dodge you in the draft if they can. It took three or four times before I worked my way in the middle of the draft where I needed to be, and when I did we ran really well. I thought we cleared a big hurdle now because the draft was a question, then 30 minutes later they decide to go a different route. I don't know, you don't know what people think."
DOES THIS MEAN BIG DADDY'S IS OUT AS FAR AS POSSIBLY BEING A SPONSOR WITH THE 90 TEAM IF YOU'RE NOT THE DRIVER BECAUSE YOU BROUGHT THIS SPONSORSHIP WITH YOU. "There have been a lot of questions about the sponsor deal and about the time that I was getting taken out of the car for this race the sponsor deal came through where it needed to be. It's sort of ironic, but Big Daddy's will be in Winston Cup racing and they'll be with Mike Harmon, I'm almost positive to say."
SO ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE THE SPONSOR WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO? "The sponsor is telling me they're gonna stand behind me. They support me, they know both sides of the story and they want to give me an opportunity. I feel like we've got a lot of potential, but we've gotta have the time. Maybe Daytona wasn't the place to start. It's just a business deal."