Team SIRIUS has turned up the volume. MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 28, 2003) - Now that Team SIRIUS has led laps, contended for wins and proved to the world its existence, the question asked to driver Jimmy Spencer was simple: What's ...
Team SIRIUS has turned up the volume.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 28, 2003) - Now that Team SIRIUS has led laps, contended for wins and proved to the world its existence, the question asked to driver Jimmy Spencer was simple: What's next?
Surprisingly, the talker from Berwick, Pa., chooses not to say anything at all - just a smile. He acts like he knows the answer, but a string of success will make anyone superstitious, and Spencer doesn't want to jinx what his team has cooking. You can't blame him. The curve has gone nowhere but up since the season-opening Daytona 500, capped with the best performance of the year last weekend. At Bristol Motor Speedway, Team SIRIUS led 139 laps in the Food City 500, only to get caught by a caution and the simple misfortune of pit sequencing.
As the "Dog Pound" heads to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500, Spencer sits down to discuss his views on the team's rapid rise to notoriety, and whether he's doing the best driving of his whole 15-year career.
Jimmy Spencer's thoughts:
I know this sounds repetitive, but you guys keep getting better each week. So the question still stands, are you surprised of the success you've had so far this season?
"I knew this team had the potential to prove all the pessimists wrong. But even I didn't know it could happen this quick. I thought it would take a little bit longer for Tommy and I to get on the same page. But we went to Daytona, then Rockingham, then Vegas, and it almost seemed like we'd been working together for years. At the same time, these boys keep giving me great cars to drive, and that has a lot to do with it. Now if you were to ask me if was I surprised when we led 139 laps at Bristol last week, my answer is certainly no. We've now proved we can run with anyone on the race track. I still think we had the best race car out there last weekend."
How frustrated were you to run so well and not come out with a win?
"It's the most frustrated I've been in a long time, because I knew we had a shot to win, and it's been a long time since I've been able to go to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. I want to get back so bad. Keep the money. I just want that trophy. I just want to celebrate in Victory Lane with the boys. I want it more now than I've ever wanted it."
Some people have suggested you're driving better now than you have your whole career. Is that true?
"I don't know if that's true or not, but I can tell you this: I'm driving for the best team I think I've ever driven for. That's no knock on all the other teams I've driven for, but there's just something about this one. And the thing about it is, nobody in the media, or in the garage area would've ever given us a chance. Now, though, you see people in a restaurant, or you see them out, and they're saying, 'Hey, you guys had the car to beat.' It's almost like we're the Cinderella story of racing this year - at least to this point."
What do you have for them at Texas?
"We're taking the same car we ran at Las Vegas and Atlanta, and the performances there speak for themselves. This is a really good car. We qualified seventh and fifth with this car, and we got our only top-10 finish in this car. So we're looking for this weekend to be another step in the right direction."
A top-five finish would be a nice birthday present for Jim Smith, wouldn't it?
"Yeah, Friday (March 28) is his birthday, but it's not like he needs a reason to celebrate. The man acts like he's turning 21 every night. But yes, another strong run would definitely add to the celebration."
What did you get him?
"You know I can't tell you that."
Normally, that means you didn't get him anything.
"I got him something, but I don't have it here with me. I gave it to Mongo. Mongo is supposed to be getting it gift wrapped for me."