BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH TERRY LABONTE, NO. 96 DLP HDTV MONTE CARLO SS: Are you as good here as you ever were? No, I haven't been good here since they took that big part of the track out. I didn't realize how good I was in that part. I like...
BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH TERRY LABONTE, NO. 96 DLP HDTV MONTE CARLO SS:
Are you as good here as you ever were?
No, I haven't been good here since they took that big part of the track out. I didn't realize how good I was in that part. I like the old track better, but we're not bad here. We're running decent, but it's always hard coming out the first time with these guys who have been here.
Are you starting to think ahead now to the last roundup?
Not really. I haven't given it a lot of thought. I've got seven or eight races to go, whatever it is. I'm good with it and have no thoughts of changing my mind. That's for sure. I'm looking forward to some of the tracks that we're going to.
With the crazy money that's being given to drivers, does that ever make you think you should stay in this another year?
I'm not sure that some of the numbers that I hear are real accurate. I find that hard to believe. It's hard enough to get a $15 million a year sponsor to run a whole team, much less pay someone that much. But I'd have to consider it for that much money!
How bad is the heat going to be on Sunday?
For whatever reason, this is one of the hottest races we run all year. There's just a lot of heat in the cars from the brakes and everything. It's a tough race and it's going to be really hot this weekend.
Is there anything you can do to your cooling system to make yourself more comfortable?
Make sure it's works all day and stays hooked up. Last year a hose came off about the fifth lap of the race and I wanted to stop and have them put it back on. I could tell they really didn't want to do that, so I ran the rest of the race with no air blowing into my helmet. It gets awfully hot when you do that.
How was the car handling as the temperature built up?
We weren't as good as we needed to be so we're looking at that and we'll make a determination on what to do for tomorrow. We had a lot of practice time, and got in a good practice. We'll try to get a decent lap in qualifying and work on our race setup in the morning.
Any advice for the new team?
It's so hard for a new team to start out because everything works against you. In the beginning of the year, a new team has no points. You go to inspection and you're one of the last cars through. Then you miss the first part of practice because you're still in inspection when practice has begun. It's pretty difficult being a new team. These guys have done a good job. I realize how tough it is, if you look around out here, points are real close. The biggest thing they have to work on is their consistency, and that's hard to do. Once you get consistent you can run better. They can run good one weekend and then have trouble the next weekend. I think it will come over time, and the second half they'll be a lot better than the first half. They've learned a lot. We don't have a notebook full of notes on what we ran here the last time. They've done a good job for starting out at the first of the year only having four or five cars in the shop. So they've done a lot in a short period of time.
Do you feel like a rookie having to start at the back of the line, or do you just take it as it comes?
Just take it as it comes.
What are your plans after this season? Will you be an owner?
God, no! That's the last thing I'd ever do.
Can you talk about this road course and making right-hand turns?
I've always enjoyed the road courses. We had a good run out here a year ago and I always look forward to coming out here and running. I've always like the road courses because they're different. It's definitely different than an oval track.
Are the fans here really knowledgeable about NASCAR?
I'm sure they are. You can tell by the crowd and all the motor homes parked around that it's a big event. They've supported this event very well since we first came out here.
Have you popped open a bottle of wine?
Yeah, probably a bottle of Ravenswood.
-gm racing vv