The midpoint of the Winston Cup season is quickly approaching and as the drivers prepare to make their second visit to Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night's Pepsi 400, we asked the five Roush Racing Winston Cup drivers to assess...
The midpoint of the Winston Cup season is quickly approaching and as the drivers prepare to make their second visit to Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night's Pepsi 400, we asked the five Roush Racing Winston Cup drivers to assess their 2000 season. The Craftsman Truck Series, on the other hand, reached the midpoint of their season prior to last weekend's road-course event at Watkins Glen, and likewise, we asked them to rate their season to date.
Chad Little, No. 97 John Deere Ford Taurus:
"We've had our ups and downs this year, but unfortunately the ups haven't outweighed the downs. We're hoping to use what we learned from the first half of the season to help us finish out the season strong. The combination of the new Taurus body and style and some different tires, made some our notes from last year obsolete. We felt like we were starting from scratch at a few tracks, and that made it difficult to get the car dialed into the track. We're going to start the second half of season off right this weekend at Daytona, and try to carry that momentum to the season finale in Atlanta."
Mark Martin, No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Ford Taurus:
"Our season started off great, but we hit a slump at the end of April with some poor finishes that were beyond our control. Luckily, I think we have recovered with the last two races at Pocono and Sears Point. I would certainly give the team an "A." They put in the same amount of effort no matter how we finish. The things that happened to us had nothing to do with them. They give me great cars every week and I do my best to get all I can out of them. Hopefully we have all of our bad luck out of the way now, so we can concentrate on getting back up in the points and winning races in the second half of the season."
Kevin Lepage, No. 16 FamilyClick.com Ford Taurus:
"It hasn't been as good as we have demanded of ourselves so far this year. We had some good runs early at Darlington, Vegas and Texas, but we haven't had much to cheer about. We need to improve our qualifying on short tracks and our finishes. We need to work on our race strategy. We've been very competitive on the 1.5-mile tracks and bigger, but basically we need to improve our entertain game."
Jeff Burton, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford Taurus:
"I would rate myself a "B-" thus far this season. This past month hasn't been too successful for us, but we were running good up until then and having some strong finishes. We've just struggled this month for some reason. The minute you try to make major changes on the car, then that's when the problems will start, so we just continue to work steadily on little issues instead of making any drastic changes. We haven't been as fast as we should be, and we need to start running faster and building better cars."
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford Taurus:
"Our season has been okay for a first year team. We've run better than we expected at some places, worse than expected at a few and about as we expected at a few. I knew this DEWALT team was capable of a win but I didn't think it would have come this soon especially after we should've won at California. I didn't think another opportunity would have come so quickly. We need to continue to work on our performance on flat tracks, short tracks and road courses."
Greg Biffle, No. 50 Grainger Ford F-150:
"The Grainger team has had a pretty good season so far. We started off a little slow based on last year's performance, but our finishes have been better at a lot of the tracks that we did not run well on in 1999. We've turned it up a notch the last eight races and have gotten back to the level we were at in 1999. The Grainger team is doing an awesome job every week and they just keep getting better. The trucks come from the shop and are fast right from the start. I'm very pleased with how things are going with the season so far, and I hope we can keep the momentum going. We like to win, but our focus for the second half of the season is finish in the top-five and win the championship."
Kurt Busch, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150:
"The Exide team has certainly had its ups and downs during the first half of the season, but I would have to say the ups out weigh the downs. For a rookie driver and relatively young team, I think we've done pretty well so far. The Exide team has four runner-up finishes and we are sitting fifth in the points. I've made a few rookie mistakes that are all part of the learning curve, but I can assure you some of the things I've done won't happen again if I can help it. The Exide crew is learning and growing every week. The guys continue to get better and I have a feeling we might see Winner's Circle before the year is over. Our objective for the second half of the season is to make fewer mistakes and complete the laps. We would like a win, but the most important thing is for the driver to gain experience and the only way to do that is finish races."