Richard Childress won the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series owners' championship following this weekend's Target House 200. With one race remaining in the '03 season, six drivers are within 89 points of current point leader, Brian Vickers. Childress, owner...
Richard Childress won the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series owners' championship following this weekend's Target House 200. With one race remaining in the '03 season, six drivers are within 89 points of current point leader, Brian Vickers. Childress, owner of the no. 21 Payday Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter, visited with the media.
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM YOUR FIRST BUSCH OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2001 WITH KEVIN HARVICK?
"The biggest difference is that we set goals this year and one of those goals was to try to win the Busch championship with two drivers. As far as I know, it had been done in history. We accomplished that goal yesterday. The difference was that we had Johnny Sauter and Kevin Harvick. They split the duties and they were able to win the championship."
HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO WORK WITH TWO DRIVERS AND TWO DIFFERENT STYLES?)
"It was a lot of work for the whole team. The seats are different and there are different things that each driver likes. Switching from one driver to another made communication a little difficult. But Butch Hylton (crew chief and his crew did a great job. With two really good race drivers like Kevin and Johnny, that made it easy too because both of them gave great feedback. They both like similar cars when they're racing."
WITH THIS CHAMPIONSHIP, WILL MORE EMPHASIS BE PLACED ON THE DRIVER OR ON THE OWNER?
"I'm sure a lot of the emphasis will be put on the driver championship. Winning a championship on any level says a lot for the team and the sponsors. So we're just happy to be here and to have won it."
FROM AN OWNER'S PERSPECTIVE, WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM?
"It's just the caliber of people around you. I'm very fortunate to have drivers like Kevin and Johnny and sponsors like Hershey. Yesterday, neither one of the cars ran good. So it was great to win the championship, but it upsets you when your cars don't run at the caliber they are."
WHAT'S THE STRATEGY FOR RON HORNADAY, WHO IS CURRENTLY 39 POINTS BEHIND THE LEADER, FOR THE LAST RACE AT HOMESTEAD NEXT WEEK?
"You've just got to go out there and try to win the race. If you blow up or wreck, you've just got to bring the steering wheel back for the championship. That's what you've got to do."
HOW EXCITING IS IT TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING LIKE THIS THAT NOBODY ELSE AS HDONE?
"It's pretty exciting. We set that goal and the reason was that no one had done it. I read somewhere that someone had done it back in the sixties when it was the old Grand National division, but not in the Modern Era. That's pretty special. We like to do thing that are different. It complicates NASCAR - like they need some complications (grin)."
HOW HAS THE NO. 21 TEAM EMBRACED THIS CHAMPIONSHIP AS A GOAL?
"It started in Daytona. Each year you sit down with each of your teams and set realistic goals. We felt this was a realistic goal to be running for the Busch Owner's championship and also to win the championship with (Ron Hornaday. That team should be way ahead of where it is today with the caliber of driver and team we've got."
WHAT AFFECT WILL THE OWNERS AND DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIPS HAVE ON THE BUSCH BANQUET IN ORLANDO?
"Everyone that was in Atlanta heard Jim Hunter's response about this when he said there would be two head tables. So I don't know what they're going to do. I know I'm going to be very, very uncomfortable if they ask me to sit up there with a different driver. I'll say that publicly now.
"Probably the neatest thing is watching NASCAR kind of squirm around. I watched them when we started talking about this several months ago. One of them said we were really going to complicate things. I'm not going to say who it was because it was somebody at a high level. Now we'll let them work it out."
WHO IS GOING TO DRIVE WITH KEVIN HARVICK NEXT YEAR?
"We're probably going to announce that next week. I'm really excited. I've got two drivers. Probably if I get one of them I'm going to sign the other one anyway because he's what I like. He's full of fire and I can't say it here - what's that word that goes with vinegar? He's full of that. I really like that because he's a live wire and I think he would fit in good. I'm going to sign him anyway for something. We'll run him somewhere."
IT LOOKS LIKE MR. ROUSH IS GOING TO WIN A CUP CHAMPIONSHIP. WILL YOU BE HAPPY FOR HIM?
"Anytime anyone can win a Winston Cup championship, you've got to be happy for them. It's a great accomplishment. It says a lot for their organization. I'm really happy for Matt Kenseth and Robby Riser. If we couldn't win it, my next choice would have been Dale Jr. But I'm really happy for Kenseth and Riser."
DO YOU THINK HAVING THE DRIVER AND OWNER CHAMPIONSHIPS BE SEPARATE TEAMS IN THE BUSCH SERIES CAN HAPPEN IN THE CUP SERIES?
"I do. Actually at some point, you'll see a driver who has had a long-running career want to run maybe 10 or 12 races and then put a younger driver in. I think it could happen at the Winston Cup level as well."
WOULD BILL ELLIOTT BE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THAT?
"Yeah, that's a perfect example. If Bill Elliott would run 10 or 12 races and put a younger driver in the car, they could be championship material."
WOULD YOU DO THAT WITH THE NO. 30 CAR NEXT YEAR?
"Right now, we don't have that on our agenda and hopefully we can make some sort of announcement in Homestead. I want that as bad as you want to quit asking me to."
WHICH IS MORE PRESTIGIOUS ON THE CUP END, THE DRIVER OR THE OWNER TITLE?
"I think from a fan standpoint, the driver is the hero out there. Whoever wins this Busch championship; the fans are going to say this is our champion. From an owner's standpoint, we're really happy just to accomplish that. But I think from a fan's standpoint when they do their awards ceremony in Orlando or New York, the fans are going to be pulling for the driver."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE RESPONSE IN THE GARAGE AREA TO MR. ROUSCH WINNING A CUP CHAMPIONSHIP?
"It's hard for me to comment on that. I'm sure the years that we won it there were people who weren't happy to see us win it. And if you get beat and you're happy, something is wrong with you. My grandson lost a major football game yesterday and he was unhappy too."