JUSTIN ALLGAIER WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THE 2010 SEASON? "I think coming off a successful 2009, we really have to focus on a great 2010. Our goals last year were to win a race and win Rookie of the Year. We got one of those goals ...
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THE 2010 SEASON? "I think coming off a successful 2009, we really have to focus on a great 2010. Our goals last year were to win a race and win Rookie of the Year. We got one of those goals (ROY); we just didn't get the other. Adding a second car has been a big undertaking. At the same time, I think it's going to be helpful to both of our race teams this year. I think we're both going to have fun with it."
TALK ABOUT BRINGING BRAD KESELOWSKI ON AS A TEAMMATE? "I think anytime that you have more than one car, it definitely helps trying to learn the car at the race track. We do our best to get the car to go as fast as it will go, but at the end of the day, you're not always going to hit the right setup. If we have two cars, we have two cracks at it. Brad is extremely talented at making his race car do the things that he wants it to do. Now, it's just finding a balance at what he likes in a race car and what do I like in a race car. So far, we've been able to complement each other really well. The little bit that we've done together has been great. We're looking at a great 2010 together, because the two of us have enough knowledge and talent to really run up front and well."
AS YOUNG DRIVERS, HOW MUCH CATCHING UP DO YOU AND BRAD FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO DO? "I think that the big thing is that Brad and I both grew up in kind of the same situation -- parents that maybe never had an exuberant amount of money to just come in and buy the best equipment and go race. We both came from hard work and focusing on building our race cars the best that we could with the equipment that we had. I've been racing for almost 20 years. I've seen a lot of things and driven a lot of race cars. Obviously, I don't have a lot of experience at this level that I need, but the more we do it the more we're learning. One really cool thing about it is that we get to go to a few of these race tracks a couple times a year and I think that definitely helps the learning curve. Having a great team behind you is a big part of it. Whether it's looking at other data from other drivers on our team or video, I've got great teammates that I can bounce ideas off of. So I'm always learning. There are always things that I can do better. At the end of the day, we've worked really hard, making sure that we knew enough that we could at least go out and be dangerous. We both feel like we've done things the hard way which helped us learn things a lot easier I think."
WHAT'S YOUR BEST SHOT AT A WIN EARLY IN THE YEAR? "I think the best shot at winning early in the year is Daytona. Why not? It's the first one out; you might as well go big. I think the one thing about it is that we both have a great team behind us. We're both going to go out and get 100 percent each week. Last year, we had a really good run at Las Vegas. That's a track that suits my driving style really well, so hopefully that's one that I think we can go to and run really well at. The key for us is can we take the good things that we learned last year and build from them going into this season."
HOW MUCH BETTER DO YOU THINK THAT YOU WILL BE GOING BACK TO SOME OF THESE TRACKS FOR THE SECOND AND THIRD TIME? "I think we can be even better than we thought that we could be. Between the two of us, we can really focus on what we need to do. Finishing fifth at Bristol last year was awesome and then we went back and ran even better. For me, the one thing that I really have to do is stay focused this year. Last year, I was just taking in everything there was just to take it in. It was the first season...whether it was dealing with the media or the on-track activities or sponsors or the team, there were so many things that I hadn't done before that I had to learn how to balance all of that stuff. I'm not going to say that I'm perfect at it, but I'll definitely say that I learned a lot over the course of the year. I think this year should be a lot easier, a little bit more relaxed. Being a little bit more relaxed usually helps to finish these races and be patient."
SO THE NEWNESS HAS WORN OFF A BIT? "I think that it's definitely going to be easier this year, knowing some of the ropes and which direction to go."
TALK ABOUT THE NEW NATIONWIDE COT? "I love the new car. Dodge has done an unbelievable job bringing out the Challenger. I think that this car is going to change how people look at what we do. You look at the Challenger and it looks different than anything that we driver today. We have four separate identities on these cars. Each car has their own style, their own look and I think that's a good thing. As long as it can be policed correctly and NASCAR has done a great job so far, as long as they can do that, it's going to be great. As far as the car itself, it drives well. The safety of the car is great and that's why we're doing it. We've gotten to do the test at Talladega and we've done a little bit of our own independent testing. The car is really fun to drive and handles well. It kind of reminds me of the old days. It slides around a little bit. It doesn't seem to drive like any of the cars that we have know.
"I'm glad to see the Dodge Challenger come back. I think that was one thing the public really needed. I think the fans can really relate to this car. It looks so much like a real Challenger it's scary. When you see the car at the Chrysler R & D Center, it looks darn near like the real car. I think that's really important."
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT FOR A NON-CUP DRIVER TO WIN A NATIONWIDE TITLE? "I think that it's very tough. I think the reason that it's tough for a non-Cup driver to win the championship is because most of the Cup drivers are in good equipment and the Nationwide regulars aren't. The Cup drivers are going to get an extra 500, 600, 700 miles per weekend at the same race track. They're going to get an extra seven to 10 pit stops a weekend. They're going to get a chance to be with their crew chiefs and engineers that much more. I think the other side of it is they can come over to the Nationwide Series and put it all on the line. Their main job is Sunday. They can push themselves to see what they can do. You push a guy like Carl Edwards or Kyle Busch or Kevin Harvick that already has enough talent as it is and you push them that much harder, they're a threat. You've got a lot of great Nationwide-only guys that have a lot of talent and do really well; it's a good balance between the two. The guys that do full-time (Nationwide and Cup), I give them a lot of respect because that's tough to do both at the same time. I actually enjoy the guys coming over from the Cup side."
ARE THERE CERTAIN CHALLENGES IN HAVING A RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACE THE FIRST RACE OF THE SEASON? "I'm not sure if you're ever prepared for restrictor-plate racing. No matter what you do or how much you prepare with time, effort or money, you may not make a lap and somebody bump drafts you wrong and you end up wrecking. I think this race....first and last race of the year...if they were restrictor plate races wouldn't hurt my feelings any."
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2010? "I think coming off a successful 2009 season that we're ready to compete for wins and a championship. I'm not going to say that I'm a favorite to win the championship, but I do feel like that if we can do the things that we learned last year, make those better and try and cut our lows out, I think that we can be successful. We some luck, I think that we can run up front, we can contend for wins and if you do that, you'll contend for a championship."
-source: dodge motorsports