Continued from part 2 Q: If you're winning in Canada (and they won), could you see yourself maybe sticking around? Ricky Carmichael: No. I've made my commitment and I've made my decision. And when you make a decision you've got to stick...
Continued from part 2
Q: If you're winning in Canada (and they won), could you see yourself maybe sticking around?
Ricky Carmichael: No. I've made my commitment and I've made my decision. And when you make a decision you've got to stick with it. What I've said is what's going to happen.
I want to race for the fun of it and do the races that I enjoy to do. And I want to try to also fulfill a dream, and that's to be a competitive stock car driver.
Q: OK. Just a second. So, what then will kind of be your motivation to come in there and challenge or even ((inaudible)) for the winner?
Ricky Carmichael: Well, I think, you know, obviously I'm riding now and feel better than I ever have with the way the bike is working. So, my motivation is to go in there and win.
I'd still be riding just as much as I ever have, so there's no reason that I shouldn't be a contender to win the events that I do race.
Q: You went down an interesting path here a little while ago, talking about the people you've met in NASCAR, the reception, everything else.
Do you think Supercross and the competitors could borrow a page, or should take a page from NASCAR and get along a little better as a group and work towards a common cause?
R.J. used to talk about the jealousies in the sport, too. And he always used to think that it was a detriment to what they were trying to accomplish overall. Do you share that?
Ricky Carmichael: Oh, no, there is no doubt about it. If there's one thing that I don't like about going to the races is the jealousy, the envy, and just everyone. You know, there's too many people that just -- you know, they -- that just -- you feel so unwelcome. And that can be bad, you know.
It's not fun for a lot of people. And you can't just go talk and have a good time. I think the better image you have, it's better for sponsors. You know, I think that the slicker we dress, the cleaner we look, the better we're going to appeal to the mainstream.
But that's just my personal opinion. But that's the one thing I know that, you know, all the guys -- not all the guys, but a lot of guys -- in NASCAR get along and they work together, because they all want their sport to keep growing.
Where everybody in Supercross wants the sport to grow, but they don't want to do what it takes to make it grow.
Q: Now that you have a contract with Suzuki till '09, you said, will you have your Suzuki motorcycle in your NASCAR pitch or anything on display?
Ricky Carmichael: There are some fun things we're working on. And, you know, obviously, I'm sure, again, (crew) wouldn't mind having it there.
But, you know, the pits in a NASCAR, if you've even been to one, it's a lot different than -- a lot different than motorcycle race pits, actually. There's really not -- there's not any room. If anywhere, it'd probably be outside of the stadium by a tee-shirt hauler, or something that like, if we ever got to that level and we needed to do it.
Q: Were you at all maybe surprised at how many people in NASCAR might have known about what you did and the motorcycle side? Did you kind of think that maybe your sport kind of goes unnoticed by four-wheel guys?
Ricky Carmichael: You know, I was surprised. There's a lot of guys that really keep up with moto and watch us. And they know what's going on, my man.
I mean, they, you know -- we're on speed, and those guys sitting around at the qualifying when there ain't much going on, they're in their coaches watching speed. So, it's hard to avoid us.
So, they're up to snuff with all the racing and stuff. It's awesome, (Damien). It's so cool to go and you have something in common with and you have something to talk about.
Q: On the flip side of that question, it would seem that when you go to NASCAR, you would have the potential to bring a whole, big moto audience, and mostly under the age of, say, 25 or 30, that might give NASCAR a look for the first time.
Have you considered that?
Ricky Carmichael: Yes, I think -- well, I think it's -- I think I have a great opportunity to bring some moto fans to NASCAR, and I have a good opportunity to maybe bring some NASCAR fans to moto. That would be a great -- that would be a great accomplishment to do that, because we need some more fans on the moto side, so that would be sweet.
I think it's a great story, you know, too. So, hopefully that'll be something fun for the fans, and I look forward to maybe someday fulfilling that dream of mine.
Q: Racing Daytona for the first time, are you ever going to have the idea of cutting down on that (infield) for some reason?
Ricky Carmichael: I probably would, my man, trust me. Last year when I went to Daytona Supercross, I kind of knew what was going on, and that I was going to hopefully be signing a deal. And I couldn't keep my eyes off the race, the NASCAR track. It was kind of -- (in the office).
As much as I love Daytona Supercross, I was just kind of intrigued by being down there by the tri-oval more than anything. Trust me. And I would love to do (an old burnout) down in the middle of the Daytona there.
If I make -- if I make it to there, my man, I've done something. So, that's fun, though.
Q: Do you feel that Rick Johnson and Jeff Ward doing their car stuff had helped you get your in out of the motorcycle racer?
Ricky Carmichael: I mean, obviously, I don't know if it helped me really, but whether it was good or bad, it definitely -- you know, it's more like, oh, they tried it, or they did this, or they did that, you know. Maybe a help in a little way, but I think with as much exposure as Supercross has gotten and Motocross has gotten in the last couple of years, and what I've accomplished, I think that's helped more than anything, really.
So, yes. I don't know really how much that had an effect. And, you know, I think if I do good, I really believe I can open a lot of doors for Motocross to come in, for other Motocross riders to have a chance at NASCAR.
Or, if I don't do good, I think I could really hurt it. So, you know, if I was some of the moto racers today, I would, as I am, I would be wanting me to do good, because it's just opening paths for them guys to have something to do when they're retired from racing.
Q: How does it feel for the first time in, gosh, since you were probably six years old, or whatever, being at this time of year not stressing about what's going to happen and what championships you're going to win on a motorcycle next year?
Ricky Carmichael: Ah, man! You have no idea, (Damien), how nice it is just -- I'm not kidding you. I think the training has been easier than it ever has. And it's been -- it's just nice to do my training and know that I don't have to go through the whole season.
And when I get to the race I can take a step back and do -- you know, I can say, hey, I can do this jump today, or I can try this bike setup, because I don't need to be here at week eight, you know.
So, it's nice to not have it hanging over my head.
Q: Do you feel that you have a good advantage, because how your physical training is for car racing? Or do those guys train really hard?
Ricky Carmichael: Oh, you know, I definitely -- I know they stepped it up in their training of it. They obviously, I think a little bit of it gives me an advantage. It definitely can't hurt me, that's for sure.
Q: Just to get back on the car racing side of things. Last I've heard, Ginn racing has yet to purchase the rights (at a) number four.
Ricky Carmichael: Yes.
Q: Just wondering how big of a role or how important it is for you to run that big number four on the race car?
Ricky Carmichael: Well, I think it would be important just from the marketing standpoint, as far as it -- you know, obviously, when I'm out there racing, it don't matter what number I got on the side of my car, but that's what we're hoping for.
But the team that already owns number four, they have a lot of value behind it. They've won the Daytona 500 with that number. So, the chances of it happening are slim. But we'll see. We'll have to get Mr. Ginn to keep on pushing it.
Q: So you're going to tell me, after all those championships and all the races with the number four, you mean, it doesn't have any sentimental value to you to run that number?
Ricky Carmichael: Oh, absolutely it does. But, you know, it's something that I have no control of, my man.
I mean, I would love to. And there's so much stuff, you know, like I said, marketing that I have behind it already. But I can only do so much. The teams own the numbers, and if they don't want to give it up, then, you know, that's something I have to deal with.
Tony Gardea: All right, gentlemen, any last questions?
Ricky Carmichael: Thanks, guys. I appreciate all you guys have done for me. And (Damien), Bill and all you guys, I hope to see you at the press conference at Anaheim. It should be a good one.
Q: Well, we hope to see you in Daytona in about a year or two years.
Ricky Carmichael: Well, ((inaudible)). Hey, trust me. I want to see myself there, too. But we're going to have fun trying. Let's just leave it at that.
Q: Can I -- do you know -- one last question -- do you know where your late model (seats), you know, will begin?
Ricky Carmichael: Yes. It's either going to be up at Hickory, North Carolina.
Ricky Carmichael: Or it's going to be down in (Newsome, or in the area). I would have to guess it's going to be one of those two.
Q: So, either up near the heart of NASCAR at a track where a lot of guys have started, or close to where Mark Martin has his operation.
Ricky Carmichael: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Ricky Carmichael: Aw, it's all good. Anything for you guys.
Q: Hey, listen, Ricky. I hope you make it, because, doggone, I think you can do it. And you've got the skill, and I think it'd be great for both sports.
Ricky Carmichael: It would be, man. And hey, I really appreciate that encouragement. It means a lot to me.
Q: They're going to soon learn on four wheels what we know on two wheels, is you never bet against R.C.
Ricky Carmichael: Well, thanks, guys.
Tony Gardea: That's great, guys. Thanks, Ricky.
Ricky Carmichael: Say, I appreciate it. All right.