FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DAYTONA 500 February 12 1999 Daytona International Speedway Three Ford drivers -- Dale Jarrett, Jimmy Spencer and Jeremy Mayfield -- will all have an opportunity at...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DAYTONA 500 February 12 1999 Daytona International Speedway
Three Ford drivers -- Dale Jarrett, Jimmy Spencer and Jeremy Mayfield -- will all have an opportunity at an extra one million dollars as participants in the Winston No Bull 5. Those three are eligible as a result of finishing in the top five of last year's Winston 500 at Talladega. Following is a transcript of the No Bull 5 press conference.
JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- IS THERE ADDED PRESSURE HERE AT DAYTONA BEING IN THE NO BULL 5? "Not really. We're out here to race and try to win the Daytona 500. It's an added bonus for sure, but I'm just real excited about it. This is the third or fourth time I've been involved in this deal, I've got a good car and I feel good about it."
SO DO YOU FEEL IT'S YOUR TIME TO WIN IT? "It's definitely my time. I missed out on the race (winning the 500) last year I felt a little bit, and the million a couple times so maybe it is our turn."
DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT FOR SUNDAY? "I feel real confident. The Mobil 1 Ford has run extremely good the whole time we've been down here. We ran good in the 125 and I don't see any changes going on."
WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE 125? "I'm real happy with it. I'm real happy the car stayed under us the whole time and it was a real good test session for us and I just feel like right now we can go into the 500 race and be competitive without changing anything on it."
IS JEFF GORDON THE GUY TO CHASE? "He's set the standard last year and the year before, so I'm sure everybody's gonna be chasing him, but he might have his work cut out for him."
HAVE YOU BEEN DRAFTING WITH ANYONE IN PARTICULAR THIS WEEK? "The 18 car has run good, the 24, the 31, there are several good cars that we like drafting with."
WORKING THE DRAFT IN PRACTICE IS KEY ISN'T IT? "Oh yeah and working on your car. Every practice session we haven't been concerned with how fast we are or what we're doing, we're concerned about getting the engine running as good as it can and the car driving as good as it can and not worry about anyone else. Every practice session we've ended 25th, 26th, 27th, but yet yesterday we came back and ran that strong because we're working on our program and not worrying about everybody else's."
WOULD WINNING THIS RACE MAKE YOUR CAREER? "I think it would definitely make it. We feel like we're solid in this sport now, but there are a lot of drivers who are solid but have never won this race either, but to win it puts the icing on the cake."
HOW WAS THE OFF SEASON? "It was the best off season I've had. It was probably the least amount of pressure it seemed like I ever hard. I'm in the best situation I could ever be in and I had to off season to relax and not worry about building cars or am I gonna make the Daytona 500 and all that stuff. All of that was over with."
YESTERDAY YOU AND RUSTY WORKED TOGETHER. IS THAT YOUR STRATEGY? "Oh yeah, it's gonna happen like it did last year. That's what we try to do, to keep both of our cars together. So far it's working for us. It worked yesterday and, hopefully, it will work Sunday." WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS THIS YEAR? "We want to win multiple races. We want to win three to five races or more and finish in the top three of the points. I feel like that would be another step toward where we want to be in the future."
THINGS CHANGES AFTER THE MIDWAY POINT OF LAST YEAR. WILL YOU STICK TO THE SAME PLAN IN '99? "I don't know that anything went away. The only thing that went away for me was my luck. I ran good everywhere and lost a little luck after Pocono. I was running up front, running second and third and leading races and things were happening to us that were just strictly luck."
JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- "I think we should put a second seat in the car and let them (their fan) ride with us, so they see what it's really like."
DOES KNOWING THE FAN YOU'RE DRIVING FOR MAKE A DIFFERENCE? "Yeah it does. I think it's a pretty neat deal simply because watching it last year nobody knew who was gonna win the million. This way here the anticipation of two or three months they've had now building up to it and being here at the race rooting for their car. I think it's a pretty neat deal. They've got their whole hometowns behind us now. Knowing they have a shot at a million dollars I think it's pretty special. You get to know the guy and his family and I think it would be great. He (Kevin Settle) has great plans for the money, which is pretty neat to be able to give that opportunity, to pay off their house, put some money away for their college funds, I think it's awesome that one of those people would win that thing. Hopefully, if it's not my guy, it's somebody else who can use it for that cause."
YOU'D ALSO HAVE A JIMMY SPENCER FAN FOR LIFE. "I don't think that matters. You don't look at that as a driver and saying boy if I don't win this thing he's gonna hate me forever because I don't think those fans should even be involved in the program. I think it's for fans that love Winston Cup racing, that's what it's for. It's a million dollar bonus and you support Winston Cup racing and you can get an opportunity at it. There are a lot of people who have entered the program who have never even seen a Winston Cup race and now they've become fans. They gave it away three times last year, hopefully they give it away five times this year and five great fans win it."
YOU'VE WON AT DAYTONA BEFORE, BUT THIS IS THE BIG ONE. "I think you think about it a lot before the race starts, but when the race starts you've got your game face on and you're saying to yourself, 'I've gotta do the best I can.' I think towards the end of the race, if you're in the hunt for the last 100 miles of that race, I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna throw everything I can at it, I just hope I don't wake up in the hospital in the morning."
IF YOU COULD WIN THE DAYTONA 500 OR THE CHAMPIONSHIP, WHICH WOULD YOU GO FOR? "Well, if you win the Daytona 500 that's the first thing you've gotta do. The championship comes second, so why not try to do them both in one year. I don't know, you'd have to ask Jeff Gordon, he's done them both. I don't think it's all the drivers anymore, I know it's not. You have to have a helluva race team behind you. Jeff Gordon's got that. Dale Earnhardt's had it in the past. Darrell Waltrip's had it. You've got to have the best race team out there to win the championship. You've gotta have a lot of luck to win the Daytona 500. That's one race, so I think it's a situation that you really can't say I want this one. I think it's two different scenarios, you've gotta run good in every race for the championship and then you've gotta run the best in one (race). Like Dale Earnhardt last year, he won the 500 and didn't have a stellar year the rest of the year, so I think it's a tough question to answer. Me personally, I want the 500."
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- DOES IT ADD SOMETHING TO KNOW THE PERSON YOU'RE DRIVING FOR. "It adds something to it to know the person that you're actually driving with and for here. I think it makes it a lot more exciting for everyone involved because they know who they're pulling for in the race and what they want to happen and all the fans here are gonna know also what's going on. From a driver's perspective it's a lot more exciting."
WHAT CHANGED FOR YOU AS FAR AS THE MEDIA AND FANS WERE CONCERNED WHEN YOU WON THE DAYTONA 500? "Certainly we've seen a lot of changes in a lot of different areas, a lot more opportunities come along for the driver and the team financially. Then the fan club grows quite a bit after that and then you see the sales of souvenirs go up quite a bit. It's a lot of fun. I think that once you win the Daytona 500 you're always known as the Daytona 500 champion and that's something you'll always have no matter what else you might accomplish."
WHAT WERE YOU TIME CONSTRAINTS AFTER THE RACE? "It's very busy as soon as the race is over. A lot of things happen in a short period of time, it makes that week leading up to Rockingham get rather short, but a lot of fun."
DID ANYTHING CHANGE BETWEEN '93 AND '96 AS FAR AS THAT GOES? "Definitely. We ended up going to California to be on Jay Leno's show, so that took up a good portion of our week, but that was exciting. There was a lot more media coverage in '96, even though the sport in '93 was huge, I think by three years later it had grown that much more and that's what made it that much more exciting for us."
DO YOU FEEL THERE'S MORE PRESSURE BEING IN THIS NO BULL 5 WITH A FAN ROOTING FOR YOU? "I don't know if it's any more pressure. I don't know that I'd put it like that. It would be hard to imagine there would be any more pressure, but I think these fans know each one of us are gonna do everything that we can to win them a million dollars."
DOES THIS ADD EXTRA INCENTIVE TO THE DAYTONA 500? "I think it's icing on the cake. We raced here for the Daytona 500 to get that trophy when it didn't pay anywhere close to this kind of money. This is great, it's great incentive and great for our sport. It's nice for the race team and for the fans to have this opportunity."