ROUSH RACING QUOTES Week of September 4, 2000 This is the time of year that championships are won or lost in NASCAR, and for two of the premier series there is a stark contrast between schedules. The Winston Cup teams are in the middle of a ...
ROUSH RACING QUOTES
Week of September 4, 2000
This is the time of year that championships are won or lost in NASCAR, and for two of the premier series there is a stark contrast between schedules. The Winston Cup teams are in the middle of a 12-week run, their longest stretch of consecutive races over the course of the 2000 season, while the Craftsman Truck competitors are nearing the completion of their season with their final four races spread out over the course of two months. We asked the seven Roush Racing drivers how they stay focused and maintain their composure week in and week out knowing that this period can determine a championship or their final standing in the points' race.
Chad Little, No. 97 John Deere Ford Taurus:
"This is the time of the season that not only dictates this year's outcome, but it can determine what happens next year. You always want to finish the year on a high note, but there is a practical purpose behind finishing strong. Typically, your points' standing determines your provisional status for the first four races next year, but even in my case where I'm changing teams, you always want to be able to sell yourself to a sponsor. This 12-week run can increase your stock as a driver as the "silly season" gets underway because you're able to be graded every week on performance, and changes in this sport happen quickly, so even if you have one bad race you can always make it up the following week."
Mark Martin, No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Ford Taurus:
"With 12 weeks in a row, you almost get into a routine every week which makes it easier in a way. You have to concentrate on one race at a time. You have to be able to give 100 percent each weekend, but whether you win or lose, you can't dwell on it for too long. By Monday, you have to begin to prepare for the next race and focus your attention on that no matter what happened the day before."
Kevin Lepage, No. 16 FamilyClick.com Ford Taurus:
"I just keep up what I've been doing all year, like exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep. Those are the habits I've tried to get into to keep my body in good shape. It keeps me sharper for the end of the season."
Jeff Burton, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford Taurus:
"You have to be mentally and physically prepared for a long stretch like were going through now. You can't ride the highs and lows, but you've got to stay focused the entire time. I guess when you're in a long stretch like we're in now, you just get into the groove every week and keep the momentum going."
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford Taurus:
"We just try to take one race at a time, and focus on doing our best at every single race track. We've found that the only way you can get any better is to sit down, critique your performance at these tracks the last time and try to run faster. I also try to get a lot of sleep and work out to keep my body fresh and my energy level up especially since I'm running the rest of the Busch races that run with Cup."
Greg Biffle, No. 50 Grainger Ford F-150:
"I like the extended runs that keep you racing week in and week out. The truck series had an eight-week stretch earlier this season and I think that was the best the Grainger team has been all season. We got two poles and four wins during those eight weeks, and every other finish was in the top-five. The Grainger team is still top-notch each week but it is tougher to stay focused when you have a week off in-between races. I know it's hard on the guys, but I really think there is something to be said for the momentum you build on the consecutive race stretches and if you can keep it all together, the good teams separate themselves from the others. This Grainger squad is the best in the business, and they have done an excellent job all season, consecutive races or not. They deserve a championship for their performance this year, and I hope to get through the next four races with no problems to give them one."
Kurt Busch, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150:
"Eight consecutive weeks is the longest stretch I have been on in my career, especially with the travel required. The Exide team really came together during the eight-race run the truck series had at the first part of the summer. At the beginning of the season we were getting better and better each race, but you would have an off week in there that would slow down the growth process. Once we got on the stretch, the team came together and we scored one top 10, five top fives, one pole and two wins. That's pretty impressive for a rookie team. I wish we could've just kept the run going through the end of the season, but the schedule wasn't set up that way. We've only got four races in the next two months which allows a lot of time for losing focus, but this Exide team is a group of racers, and I look for us to finish out he season strong."