FIREBIRD IROC NOTES FOR FEB. 14, 1996 TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC XX STARTING DRAW NOTES STEVE KINSER (Light Orange, Starts 1st) -- This is a great series and I'm glad to be part of it. I'll be running close to 76 nights this year on the World...
FIREBIRD IROC NOTES FOR FEB. 14, 1996
TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC XX STARTING DRAW NOTES
STEVE KINSER (Light Orange, Starts 1st) -- This is a great series and I'm glad to be part of it. I'll be running close to 76 nights this year on the World of Outlaws schedule -- and that's just final nights. I don't know what my strategy will be starting on the pole. It hasn't always been the best place to start here the last few years. It seems like the guys from the middle of the pack to the back will run you right back there pretty quick. These cars are drafting just a little bit different, so the pole might not be quite as bad as it was in the past. I was hoping to get a draw near the front, and I guess you can't get closer to the front than this. I started 11th last year and 12th the year before. Tommy Kendall and I got together running through the tri-oval a little bit today. Sometimes you want to get over close to a guy to see what that will do to the draft, and see if it slows you down or speeds you up. It just got a little too close there!
TOMMY KENDALL (Bright Blue, starts 2nd) -- I just want to win one of these races so I can stop explaining to people why I'm the only guy in IROC they've never heard of. I ride on these guys coattails a lot. I'll do whatever it takes. I'd like to go out there and win. The IROC crew makes it easy on us. I'm still a rookie. This may be my fourth time in the series, but that counts for about half a NASCAR season so I feel I'm still a rookie.
TERRY LABONTE (Yellow, starts 4th) -- I'm excited to be back in IROC. It's a great sereis. You always work real hard, no matter what series you're in, to get an invitation to the series. The 100 mile length is a good distance. I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to get passed by a lot of drivers and I'll also have to opportunity to pass a lot of them back.
STERLING MARLIN (Lime, starts 5th) -- Running in IROC is going to be neat. It's a great honor to be in the series. The cars are driving great. We'll be doing our best to win in the lime car. Our Winston Cup car is driving great. The guys in the shop have worked hard all winter getting ready to try to do it again this year.
DALE EARNHARDT (Purple, starts 6th) -- It's great to be back in IROC. It was great to win the championship last year, sitting in the garage watching it. It was fun winning it -- it wasn't fun watching it. Jay Signore has the new Pontiacs driving great in practice. . They're going to be great race cars. It would be great (to win an unprecedented third IROC championship). Winning here is fun in anything. Winning Daytona in IROC would be great. It ranks right up there with the Daytona 500 -- I've never won that race!
RUSTY WALLACE (White, starts 8th) -- It's great that Pontiac is in IROC. It's a heck of a car. I've won a lot of races in Pontiacs so Pontiac has a special place in my heart. Initially, the car wasn't handling great, but they made some changes and now it's handling perfect. It's a tribute to how hard the IROC guys work to have 12 cars with identical set ups. I hope I can win this thing. I did a couple of years (1989) ago.
ROBBIE GORDON (Red, starts 10th) -- I've always wanted a red car. I've never owned one. Now, I hope the red car I'm in is fast. It's definitely an honor to be involved in IROC. I'm glad that Jay Signore and the rest of the selection board invited me to do it. Last year was the first year I won races on the IndyCar circuit so this is another opportunity for me. Racing with the likes of Jeff (Gordon) Sterling (Marlin) and Dale (Earnhardt) is great.
JOHNNY BENSON (Black, starts 11th) -- (On starting 11th with Jeff Gordon in 12th) -- Hey, Jeff we don't really have to start at the back. I'm the only Pontiac driver here and I've talked with them and we're going to invert the start. (Laughter). It's great to be involved with Pontiac and IROC. I'm looking forward to a great run. I guess there's a little bit of pressure in representing the Busch Grand National Series because if I don't do good you may not invite any Busch guys back again.
JEFF GORDON (Pink, starts 12th) -- Earnhardt told me I had a 50-50 chance of getting the pink car, and I got it. I started in the pink car last year, and it was a good car. I went up and led the race. I'm honored to be back in IROC, it's a great series. The cars are great. I think we've had some time to get used to them, and it looks like it will be a very exciting and very competitive race.
TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC XX PRACTICE NOTE
TOM KENDALL (Road Racing) -- (Kendall is the 1995 SCCA Trans-Am champion) The new Pontiacs are excellent. This series is so much fun, I don't know how anybody can not say it's dynamite. Even though they're new cars, the cars are all comfortable to drive. It makes it easy for us rookies to look respectible. (On drafting Steve Kinser in practice.) Drafting! How about that wheel mark! We were banging doors. It means nothing to Steve, but it's something I'll cherish. I'm glad we had doors instead of nerf bars, because I wouldn't have stood a chance then. That's one of the neat things about IROC. These are guys that I've idolized for a long time, and just to be able to come down here and race against them is a huge honor. If you can beat one or two of them -- or all of them -- it's so much better.