McKENZIE, TN (May 19) -- Don't blame legendary sprint car mechanic Jack French for being overly excited about this weekend's 55th Annual Pay Less/Delco Remy Little 500 at Anderson Speedway. He's got every right to be confident as he and driver...
McKENZIE, TN (May 19) -- Don't blame legendary sprint car mechanic Jack French for being overly excited about this weekend's 55th Annual Pay Less/Delco Remy Little 500 at Anderson Speedway.
He's got every right to be confident as he and driver Eric Gordon, who have won the last two Little 500's, will debut a newly designed J&J Auto Racing pavement sprint car, that French worked closing on with Jack Elam.
"We're 100% ready to go," said French on Sunday night from his raceshop. "The car is 60 pounds lighter than the car we won with the last two years. It has more forward drive, and this J&J was designed with a lot of the same characteristics of that car and we think weave made some improvements. Everyone at J&J did a tremendous job manufacturing it. I've got high hopes for this car."
French will have his #2 Pay Less / Print Express/ Gould Body Shop J&J on the Anderson Speedway Wednesday when practice begins. The team will have two practice sessions before making their qualifying run on Thursday afternoon.
"Eric was here last night and he's really excited about racing this car and going for another win," said French. "I know he's excited about what this thing can do."
The success that French and Gordon have achieved the last five years has been incredible. They have made 2499 of the 2500 laps during the last five races and the two won the event in 1998, 2001 and 2002 and came home second in 1999 and broke a sway bar during the 2000 Little 500 yet still finished third.
"I think we'll have a big target on us," continued French. "Everybody is going to be shooting for us. I don't mind being in that position. We expect to be there. They are all good competitive people, but last year we won by four laps and the third place guy was 11 laps down.
"Eric is smart and he's got enough laps in the Little 500 to know what to do. He's won it four times and three of those were with me. Ever since we got together in 1998, we've been pretty strong. I'm not bragging on ourselves, but if you look at the records for the past five years, you can certainly see that we're one of the strongest teams."
French states that without the support of Pay Less, who has been with him the last three years, there is no way they could have won the Little 500 the last two years. The team also gets a great deal of support from Print Express and Gould Body Shop.
"Pay Less has been involved with the Little 500 festival and race for the past 15 years," said Kevin Kotansky, Advertising Assistant for Kroger, which owns the eight Pay Less Supermarkets located in Anderson and LaFayette, IN. "Two years ago we had a chance to get involved with Jack French and Eric Gordon and it's been a great relationship. Pay Less has had the opportunity to do many store activities promoting the event including having their car at the Pay Less stores in Anderson the past few days. We couldn't be more happier."
Everyone at J&J Auto Racing is anticipating this week's activities in Anderson. "I know we're all excited," said Jack Elam. "This is something that Jack (French) and I have been working on for a while. When you team up with people like Jack and Eric (Gordon), you know your working with the best. I'm looking forward to being there and seeing the car on the track. It's going to be fun."