JIMMY SPENCER (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T) "Thursday night, you knew you didn't make the Daytona 500, so I focused on my Busch program. I had bad luck there, too. We got home and tested at Atlanta for two days and had a real good test down...
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Thursday night, you knew you didn't make the Daytona 500, so I focused on my Busch program. I had bad luck there, too. We got home and tested at Atlanta for two days and had a real good test down there. We took Thursday off and now we're at Rockingham. Daytona is old news now, so you just look at the next week coming up, and that's Rockingham. We'll come here and run good and come out of here with a solid run.
"Everybody says you can't win the championship or finish in the top 10 in points now that we've missed Daytona. When you go in with that attitude, you're defeated already. If anything, I think it made our race team a lot stronger. Chip Ganassi Racing has a good superspeedway program. We knew we were going to run good, but you've got to look at luck, too, and we were unlucky. We would have been in the first race, but the second race we were in, we just got in with some cars that didn't know how to draft. I got hit from the back by the 59 car, and I guess Shawna didn't know where her brake pedal was. Maybe they weren't looking ahead of them and were just trying to hang on. It's just a tough situation.
"I don't think our season is over by any means. It's just starting as a matter of fact. I think we're going to win some races and contend for the championship. We tested down here and ran pretty good. We tested at Atlanta and Vegas and ran pretty good at all three tracks. We didn't run as good at Daytona as we wanted to. All indications showed that we didn't run good at Daytona when we tested, and we didn't run good when we came back. I think we'll run good at these next three tracks, and we'll run good at Talladega without a question. Those guys are building us some new Dodges right now, and we'll go to the wind tunnel and we'll be in good shape.
"You've got to run consistent here. This track is just like Darlington. The minute you start to race your competitors, you get in trouble. You've got to have a car that handles real good, and that's what we did down here. We concentrated on race runs. I think we wore out eight sets of tires on long runs. We probably ran about 400 laps of race runs just on tires and shocks and trying stuff and learning what the Dodge likes. We feel like we came up with a pretty good combination, and we think we've got a car that's capable of running up front.
"You can run a fuel stop here on a set of tires, but do you do that? I think with this race you can never predict what's going to happen. It's a situation where some guys start to lose three or four tenths to the leaders and they can pit early. That forces the leaders to pit because they come out a second and a half quicker than the leaders and you can't afford for that to happen. I think all in all, you never know what's going to happen in this race. This is one of the funnest races for the fans to watch because there's a lot of racing going on and pit stop strategy and stuff like that.
"Goodyear has a great tire here, but you take a grinding stone to anything and it's going to wear it out. Rockingham and Darlington, it's just s omething about the asphalt. It really likes to eat up the tires. They abuse 'em, and the driver can really abuse 'em here. The driver needs to be careful. It's a situation where I think if you don't have your car really balanced, I think you really get in trouble. You've got to work on getting your car balanced in Happy Hour and don't worry about how fast you can run but worry about how you can save your tires.
"I sat and watched the Daytona 500 last Sunday, and I enjoyed watching it. I wasn't going to do it. My wife and I sat there, and it was a very intriguing race. I wanted to see Sterling win.
"Now, instead of templates and instead of these crazy things on the roof, now we've got blocking mirrors. I think that is absolutely so wrong. Blocking mirrors? Let's race. Just sitting at home watching it, that was the first race I've watched live since 19 whatever it was. I'm not proud of it, and I'm not planning on watching any more live.
"My buddies had their tee times, and they had their foursome already. I didn't want to go out there by myself. I enjoyed the 500. I sat there with my two dogs. The fun thing about the day was they had no clue what the hell was going on. That's the only relief out of this whole picture. They just sat there beside me and we watched the race. We were pulling for Dodge and mostly for Sterling.
"It was unfortunate what happened on that restart there at the end. Jeff Gordon did what he had to do. Sterling did what he had to do. I really wished the TV would have told what happened to Michael Waltrip and why did he get to the back. What happened to Ken Schrader? Why did he get back there? They didn't explain it. I think the TV people, instead of focusing on the leader or the top one or two cars, they need to explain what's happened to everyone else. If I ever got the opportunity, I think that's something I would tell the producers. If the guy's been in the top 10 and now he's 18th or 20th, why is that? They should focus on that, and they really don't."