QUOTES FOR BUSCH CLASH DRAWING GEOFF BODINE (POLE POSITION -- ...
QUOTES FOR BUSCH CLASH DRAWING
GEOFF BODINE (POLE POSITION -- #7 Exide Batteries Ford) -- (On drawing the pole position) Sorry, guys. My car has been running pretty good here at Daytona. We tested here pretty good. Number one is a good place to finish, but I don't know if it's a good place to start. There's so many good cars, and if you win the first segment can you come through to win the second segment after starting last? I don't know. We'll see what happens. We're going to have fun.
DALE EARNHARDT (#3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, 2ND) -- (Earnhardt is a five-time Busch Clash winner in eight starts) Hey, that's good. We can lead them a while can't we, Geoff? I think this race suits Rusty (Wallce) and me and a lot of us because we like to race pretty hard and it's a 'go-get-it' race. I don't think you can pass all these guys in 10 laps, though. Maybe, I need to slide to the back a little bit in the first leg. What's it pay to win the first one -- $25,000? What's it pay to win the final leg -- $45,000? Hmmmm. I'll see what (team owner) Richard (Childress) wants to do.
TED MUSGRAVE (#16 The Family Channel Ford, 3RD) -- That's pretty good, starting behind Geoff (Bodine). Me and Geoff draft pretty good together, and we've got a couple of Fords in a row here. Being it's my first time in the Busch Clash, maybe I can learn something from him a little bit. Right, Geoff? C'mon, I'm trying to butter you up -- I'm going wit'cha, buddy! This is the first half -- the big money's in the second half. This is the car I ran in the 500 last year. It's a real good, comfortable car in the draft and that's what I'm looking for Sunday. Being in the Busch Clash sure puts another notch in your resume, of things that you've accomplished in NASCAR. Being in the Clash for the first time, of course, the ultimate goal is to win it, but you don't want to make any bad moves for anybody. The spotlight's on you this time. You've got an elite bunch of cars, and drivers, and the whole world's gonna watch this deal. I'm going to try my best, and I've got the best equipment I've ever had. I'm going to do my best, but whatever happens, happens. Yeah, being in the Busch Clash is a big notch in my career.
JIMMY SPENCER (#23 Smokin' Joe's Ford, 4TH) -- I'm pretty excited about drawing fourth and starting right behind Dale Earnhardt. He's won the Clash five times so I'd be happy with second.
JEFF GORDON (#24 DuPont Chevrolet, 5TH) -- I wouldn't mind starting fourth -- maybe Dale (Earnhardt) and I could get hooked up and maybe stay together for the second half. Five will work -- I'm happy -- that's farther up than where we were last year. Winning the Busch Clash last year was unbelievable, in my first Busch Clash start. It's a big deal just to sit on the pole. It really means a lot, and I know I was trying real hard last year just to win a pole so I could be in the Busch Clash again. I never expected anything to happen like what happened last year. I was just running my race, seeing what those two guys (Earnhardt and Irvan) were going to do. They were battling real hard. I tried to stick my nose in there to see if something could come out of there and I didn't know Brett (Bodine) was going to go with me and make it all happen. It was very exciting. The first race of the year you want to do something exciting, and we were able to do that.
TODD BODINE (#75 Factory Stores of America Ford, 6TH) -- I'm honored to be in it. It's something we didn't expect. We had one shot -- we got the second-round fastest at Martinsville, and were lucky enough to draw the wild card. Last year we had a lot of bad luck, and then at Atlanta, finally, our luck started changing. We blew the motor on the last lap but still coasted across to finish third. Then, we drew the Wild Card. But, we're not going to take any chances. I've got the world's biggest four-leaf clover, a pocket full of lucky rocks, a rabbit's foot in the car...we're not taking any chances on the luck.
LOY ALLEN (#27 Hooters Ford, 7TH) -- We're real excited about getting in the Busch Clash. Geoff (Bodine) got our number (#1) and we got his (#7). Hopefully we can have a good run. We really concentrated on our Busch Clash car in testing and actually, our Daytona 500 car. We didn't concentrate much on qualifying. GREG SACKS (#40 Kendall Pontiac 8TH) -- We're kind of like the lone sheep out there -- we're a little outnumbered, the only Pontiac in the Busch Clash field. Maybe the guys will take it a little easy on me, but I doubt it! If things look good, we'll take the Kendall Motor Oil Pontiac to the front. If it doesn't really want to run that stong, we might just kind of hang in there and see what happens in the second half.
STERLING MARLIN (#4 Kodak Film Chevrolet, 9TH) -- That's pretty close to where I've started every time. We won the first segment back in '92 and came in sixth in the second part. It's a lot of fun. The Kodak team is really looking forward to get going with the new Monte Carlo.
BILL ELLIOTT (#94 McDonald's Ford, 10TH) -- I'm kind of in the middle. I go either way. (Laughter from the assembled press and invitees.) What else can I say? I guess I've said it all. The Clash is pretty good for us to get the feel for the race car. We've tested pretty well here. We've got some new guys on the team in a couple of key places and this will give them a good chance to learn how things go on before next week. We're ready to go. (On his record 13th Busch Clash start) -- I hope it's a charm. I think this will be a good race for us to get everything tuned up and going in the right direction. I'm looking forward to getting the season started. I think a lot of people are. When we tested here our focus was to get two real good cars. I think either of our cars could be a good Clash car or a good Daytona 500 car. I think they're really the two best cars I've had in a long time.
WARD BURTON (#31 Hardee's Chevrolet, 11TH) -- I'm just glad to be in the race. Our team has come a long way in the last year. We've still got a long way to go on our restrictor-plate program. Dale's car owner, Richard Childress, has given us a lot of help with the new Monte Carlo. We're going to give it 100 percent Sunday in the Clash. Hopefully, we'll be in the Daytona 500 the following Sunday. We're working hard and I think, once I get the right car under me, that I can run with most of them.
RICK MAST (#1 Skoal Classic Ford, 12TH) -- This is my third Busch Clash. It's a pleasure being in it, and I would like to thank Busch for doing this. We've done pretty good in this race in the past. I've never won it, but you never can tell.
RICKY RUDD (#10 Tide Chevrolet, 13TH) -- Thirteenth is better than 14th, I guess. This is a nice race, it's a prestigious race. It's good just to be in it. We're going to try our darndest to win it. We haven't had too good luck in the Busch Clash. It hasn't really suited my driving style. Fifth was my best finish, and I hope to change that this time.
MARK MARTIN (#6 Valvoline Ford, 14TH) -- The most important thing is, we're in the race. It's not where you start, it's where you finish that counts. Sometimes I like starting in the back of these things a lot better than in the front, because it really irritates you as you're traveling toward the rear... When you start in the back, man, you're passing cars and goin' somewhere. I'm lookin' forward to this thing. The Valvoline team's got good cars. Jack Roush is the best car owner in Winston Cup racing and Steve Hmiel's the best crew chief. We're more ready for a season than we've been since 1990. We're excited about getting started. I've been missing the racing season and I'm glad to be getting started.
RUSTY WALLACE (#2 Miller Genuine Draft Ford, 15TH) -- I'm gonna watch all that stuff goin' on up there the first half, and hope this old Miller Ford's souped-up for the last half. (Asked when he would quit charging and settle for a position in the first segment.) I don't know -- I'll keep that to myself. I've never had the luck to win the Busch Clash, but I've had good cars down here. I've think I've got the best cars I've ever had for Speedweeks and for this particular race. I know I said that last year, but... Both cars are good cars and they've tested good. The team's really pumped up and ready to go and I hope luck's on our side this time.
DAVID GREEN (#95 Busch Beer Chevrolet, 16TH) -- I would like to thank Busch Beer for this opportunity. I'm kind of the odd man in this group. I'm kind of worried, because I asked Kenny Schrader, my car owner, if he had any advice, was going to spot for me or something, and he said, 'You're on your own. I'm going to get the best seat in the house.' I don't know if that means he's going to watch me or the race!
CHUCK BOWN (team consultant #32 Active Trucking Chevrolet) -- (Qualified for Busch Clash of '95 but will not compete while recovering from injuries suffered in the '94 NASCAR Winston Cup season.) I've felt good right along, through this whole ordeal. I've just had a little bit of difficulty with one nerve ending that controls my right eye which really has been causing problems in the race car. It had been about four months since I tested, so I took the opportunity just a week ago to test up at Richmond, and I was really pleasantly surprised how good I was seeing. My double vision is gone -- my vision is not totally 100 percent yet, but it's way way better than it was when I tried it four months ago. The images I'm seeing are just dancing around ever so slightly as if the car I was driving had a bad vibration, when in fact it didn't, it was smooth. So, I had all the perspective of what was going on, I could see one image real good and and I don't think it'll be long before I'm out there racing. The only thing is, I just did some short distances, three times for three or four laps each practice. Now I think I'm ready to go out there and run a couple hours straight and see if it'll hold up in the long run. At Richmond we didn't specifically go up there to test my eyesight. I signed on with Active Motorsports as a consultant. They hired a rookie driver, Mike Chase, who hasn't been to many of the race tracks, I just thought I could give them a hand with my expertise, letting him know what to expect at some of these different tracks. While I was up there I took the opportunity to jump in the car, make a few laps and see how my eyesight was doing, and it's doing pretty good. Here at Daytona I'll be doing a final edition of "On Pit Road" with Pat Patterson, a little bit of analysis of how the races went; I'll be doing a lot with MRN Radio all week; and I think I'll be back up in the booth at Richmond with Ken Squier on WTBS.
ERNIE IRVAN (#28 Texaco Havoline Ford) -- (Qualified for Busch Clash of '95 but will not compete while recovering from injuries suffered in the '94 NASCAR Winston Cup season.) I'm back at Daytona, but I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm going to probably do some testing in March, but that's just something to do with one eye and keep up on my skills. I really don't know when I'm going to be able to come back Winston Cup racing...maybe June or July.
DAYTONA 500 ADVANCE NOTES
RICHARD CHILDRESS (Team owner #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) -- I don't think we've ever been as prepared for a season as we are this year. (On the Daytona 500.) It's an important race for Dale Earnhardt and Richard Childress Racing to win. We approach each race the same, it just seems like this one seems to slip away from us. I think this could be the year. We've won the Daytona 499 a number of times. We've got a bunch of new cars built. (On Dale Earnhardt.) The difference between a great driver and a good driver comes in the last 20 laps of a race. That's when everything's against you, your body's telling you you can't do it. Everything's working against you and you're still able to pull it out and win -- that's what makes a great race driver. We all get smarter as we get older, and Dale's the same. (On Chevrolet Monte Carlo.) We've been working with this car (Monte Carlo) for two years. We had about reached the limits of what we could do with the Lumina, aerodynamically and with the downforce. It's the same chassis, but we feel like we still have a lot we can do with this new body shape. (On 1995 season.) It'll go down in history as being a great one. We're approaching it as another season and another championship. We didn't approach last season as an opportunity to tie Richard Petty. We start out each season with a goal, and that's to be the Winston Cup champion. Keeping everybody motivated is my job. They're self-motivated people on that team. They're winners, and that's one of the things you have to be on the RCR team. (On becoming a team owner.) Timing is everything. If I'd started as a car owner earlier, maybe everything would've worked out right, and maybe I wouldn't have been ready. I did it when I did and Dale was ready to make a switch and it's worked out great. He's a great person to work with. He's a great human being. Whenever he's around he's getting pulled at from all sides and he can't give the time he wants to give.