This Week in Ford Racing April 11, 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has this weekend off before getting back into action at Phoenix International Raceway on April 22. Ford drivers Dale Jarrett and...
This Week in Ford Racing
April 11, 2006
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has this weekend off before getting back into action at Phoenix International Raceway on April 22. Ford drivers Dale Jarrett and Mark Martin recently spoke about some of the issues they've been dealing with over the last couple of weeks.
DALE JARRETT -- No. 88 UPS Ford Fusion
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE OFF WEEKEND? "We always go somewhere with the kids. This is kind of the last one of our Easter vacations before Natalie heads off to college, so that kind of breaks it up next year so we're going to enjoy this. We're going to LA for a number of days. The kids have never been out there and experienced some things - show them what that side of the United States is like, then we'll go on to Phoenix from there. So we'll have seven or eight days together and we're really looking forward to it."
PHOENIX IS UP NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT TRACK? "It's just so different than anything that we run. Trying to get off the corners there is the biggest thing that you have to do and carrying the speed through the straight-away, but that starts back in the center of the corner and trying to get your car to carry speed through the center and then be able to get in the gas hard off of it. It's a fun race track to race on."
YOU DID THE TIRE TEST AT CHARLOTTE LAST WEEK. HOW DID THAT GO? "It looked like once we got through and found what Goodyear wanted it slowed Kevin (Harvick) and I down close to a second in our lap times and that was quite a bit. Then went from basically with tires that they had there that they thought were going to be the right ones where they could only get about 25 laps out of them before they were worn out to one where I put about 80 laps on a set of tires. It wasn't all at one time, but through different runs, I ended up having 80 laps on them, but the speeds were considerably slower and the car slid around a lot more. I'm not sure that that's not a good thing. I was surprised that as they talked, they thought we could slow the cars down that much with just changing of the tires. But they put a harder compound on the left side and on the right side, and as we put that combination together, it definitely made it more of a challenge. So I'm not sure what the challenge will be if we go back there and test. Obviously, the speed will pick back up if we get some more time on it and everybody else gets that time on it and as the track gets a little bit more time on it, but I think Goodyear has done a terrific job. I really don't anticipate seeing any tire problems when we get there in May.
MARK MARTIN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion
WHAT'S YOUR IMPRESSION OF ERIK DARNELL? "It's really, really neat because these guys are so young and so talented. They have so much incredible respect for Jack Roush and for Roush Racing, as well as for me, and it's just a joy to work with people like that. Danny O'Quinn as well and Todd Kluever. That's something you never really picture yourself being in that position, but it is a really nice position and it's really refreshing to work with talented, young drivers that really have that kind of respect."
HE'S RUNNING REALLY WELL. "Erik is fantastic. We're real excited and real pleased to have Erik on the team and in the mix here, and we look forward to seeing him come right along."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHEN YOU RETIRE AND TODD KLUEVER GETS IN THE 6 CAR? "Please don't use the word retire. I'm in the process of signing a two-year -- '07 and '08 full Craftsman Truck Series contract, so I don't like using the word retire."
HOW DO YOU TRY TO MENTOR TODD? "I'm trying really hard because Todd is in a new environment with his cars and in the series and he also has a new team as well. It's not like he has a veteran crew chief leading him, so I'm trying to give him a small piece of that. I can't be there for him all the time like a veteran crew chief could, but I'm trying to help move him along. He's slated to roll in that 6 car next year and we've got a steep learning curve."
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE COMPETITION LEVEL IN THE TRUCK SERIES. "It's what I thought it would be. You have Nextel Cup quality drivers in the top-15 and you have fierce competition, not only from teams but especially from manufacturers. It's the kind of competition that you really don't see in Busch at all, and I don't even see that kind of competition from the manufacturers in Cup racing at this time. So it's a very fierce manufacturers competition environment over there and it's old school racing. It's grassroots and sort of a throwback to old school racing and that's what I love about it."
ARE YOU LOOKING AT DOING ADDITIONAL RACING DURING THAT '07 AND '08 PERIOD? BUSCH RACES OR CUP RACES? "That's a good question, an excellent question and not one I really want to talk about right now. I hate crying wolf and never say never. I don't know. I wouldn't be interested in doing anything outside of conjunction races with the truck. My primary racing is going to be the Truck Series for the championship, not that I'm worried about that but my supporters are. Ford is very worried about that and our sponsor and Roush Racing is, so when I say that I mean that my primary focus will be the full schedule and then if there were conjunction races that were appealing to me, which haven't presented themselves at this time, then I might. But I'm not gonna sign up and do another full Cup deal. I'm not gonna do it."