BUSCH: Las Vegas Ford Drivers Saturday notes

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES LAS VEGAS 400 March 6, 1999 Las Vegas Motor Speedway There are six Fords starting in the top 10 for Sunday's Las Vegas 400, including three who will be making their best...

March 6, 1999        Las Vegas Motor Speedway                        

There are six Fords starting in the top 10 for Sunday's Las Vegas 400, including three who will be making their best starts of the season. Tom Hubert (4th), Ricky Craven (6th) and Jerry Nadeau (8th) all spoke about their qualifying runs and race expectations.

TOM HUBERT -19- Bradford White Taurus -- CAN YOU GIVE A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR RACING HISTORY? "Usually during the week I work for the 22 car. I'm working on some Busch cars for Ward (Burton) and on the weekends I change tires for Steve Park. That's just kind of a part-time deal here until they get some things straightened out, but this weekend we're not doing any of that. It's a pretty exciting deal."

WHICH CAME FIRST BEING A DRIVER OR A CREW MEMBER? "I always was a driver, but Terry Elledge is a big part of why I'm here. He's with the 22 now and he came from California and helped me. I went to work for Bahari in the summer of '94 and just tried to get to know as many people as I could, so when I do run people know who I am. We ran a couple times out west and probably the biggest break came in '97, I think, when I filled in at Sears Point. We got in there and things have kind of taken off little by little since then. We're hoping this will help get it rolling in a full deal. I haven't run but a handful of races since '87, that's all I ever ran, so it would be interesting to get in a weekly situation and see what we could do. Hopefully, this will help get something going."

WHAT'S YOUR PLAN AS FAR AS RUNNING WINSTON CUP RACES THIS YEAR? "We're running three races with Bradford White. We're running Las Vegas, Sears Point and Michigan, and then we've got a truck deal we're supposed to run with somebody else the whole year so we'll see how that plays out. If we can get more sponsor money for this, then we'll run the Cup car as many times as we can."

WHAT KIND OF REACTION DO YOU GET FROM OTHER CREW GUYS SINCE YOU'RE ONE OF THEM TOO? "It's pretty overwhelming. I get a lot of them coming over and a lot of them that don't know me say it's a pretty cool deal, they like seeing it, and the ones who do know me are pretty excited. It's a pretty good deal."

YOU HAVE A REPUTATION AS A ROAD RACER AND HERE YOU ARE STARTING FOURTH ON SUNDAY. "The road racing thing has gotten me rides, but we need to get that off our backs and show we can do it everywhere. This definitely helps. Hopefully, this will show we can do some other things and it will get some things going."

YOU'VE HAD SOME EXPERIENCE IN CUP RACES, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THAT WILL HELP YOU ON SUNDAY? "If you're not faster than them, you better get out of their way because they're coming. The biggest thing for me is just to run all day and not cause any of these guys any problems or points. They're in the big deal and we're here to learn. If we're capable to run with them we will, but, hopefully, we'll be smart enough to get out of the way when we need to. At Sears Point they beat me up when they needed to, but they pretty much gave me respect too, so I've got more respect than anything for all of them. The biggest thing is to just finish this deal for the team."

YOU SAID YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SEMI-PIT CREW. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? "There are only three or four guys we have in the shop, it's a part-time deal, and then we hired a couple of guys. Everything just kind of came together at the last minute and we didn't get much practice. I think we got one or two practices, so we might try to pick up a guy or two to help out in spots that we need it, especially starting fourth. If we're capable of staying there throughout the day we want our pit stop to be halfway decent to keep us there, but they're learning like I am so that's just the way it goes."

WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING NEXT WEEK? "I'll go back to work for the 22. Park's deal, if they need me I'll still keep changing tires, but they've got someone over there now that's gonna do it this weekend. Hopefully, he'll be up to speed because that would make it easier all the way around, but if they need me I will and if somebody else needs me and I've got an off weekend I'll do it. Anything to keep my face at the track."


WHAT DOES THAT WIN FRIDAY NIGHT DO FOR YOU? IT MUST GIVE YOU A LOT OF CONFIDENCE? "Yeah, it does. We basically came down here just to do this test, to basically take it as a test for the Winston Cup race. We came out of the box quick and figured that since we got on the pole we figured we'd just work on a good race setup and if we didn't win the race, it would have been fine because we were looking at it as a good test. We just had a good race car. We were just fast and, yeah, this does a lot confidence-wise. It's been a long time since I've won a race since getting into stock cars. It's my first win and it would be nice to do it again Sunday."

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM FRIDAY'S RACE? "We ran at night time on Friday, so the track was a little more grippier last night than it probably will be Sunday, but the overall chassis setup with the shock and spring combinations, I think we learned a lot just because the car was really fast on old tires. I think we can use some of that and apply that to Sunday's race on our Winston Cup car. The win and the test worked out really good for us."

YOU HAVEN'T LED MANY RACES ON THE CUP LEVEL, SO DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT DRIVING THESE CARS WHILE LEADING? "Last night we had such a good car that I didn't really have to worry about anyone catching me. I think anybody that got in that thing could have done just as good as I did, but it was good for the morale of the team. These guys haven't won a race in awhile and to have a win with Melling Engine Parts on the car, these guys are all sparked up today."

DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN WIN THE RACE SUNDAY? "I think our cars are good enough to win, no doubt. If our strategy is good, our pit stops have gotta be good, then, yeah, we could win the race for sure."

RICKY CRAVEN -58- Hollywood Video Taurus -- YOU GUYS LOOK LIKE ANYTHING BUT A NEW TEAM. "Well, we still feel like a new team. Everybody feels the pressure. Yesterday they stepped up to the plate and swung for the fence. It's really quite a compliment to the effort that they put in during the week in building a new car and a brand new engine, a brand new qualifying engine, so the program is coming together."

YOU SAID YESTERDAY THAT YOU GET A LITTLE SELFISH WHEN YOU KNOW YOU'VE GOT A GOOD CAR THAT CAN SIT ON THE POLE. DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT THE RACE TOO SINCE YOU'RE STARTING UP FRONT? "I think so, but you've gotta be smart because the broad picture is more important than taking chances at this point. We're in a position now where we're starting to get caught up and having to rebuild this race car wouldn't help us in that equation, so we need a good strong run tomorrow like the good strong run we had yesterday." IS YOUR TEAM REALLY ENERGIZED RIGHT NOW BY ALL THIS EARLY SUCCESS? "Every bit of it helps. It's a matter of momentum and we continue to gain that. Momentum is a powerful tool."


HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SUNDAY'S RACE? "I feel real good about it. I know we've got a good car and that's all we're really concerned about is trying to get the best position we can in tomorrow's race. The car is running good, it qualified good. We're real excited about our qualifying efforts because we've been qualifying really good the last few weeks. Hopefully we can keep that momentum rolling and get us in the same position we were at this time last year."

DO YOU EXPECT SUNDAY'S RACE TO BE MORE EXCITING THAN LAST YEAR? "Yeah, probably. It's hard to tell, but there are a lot of good cars out there. I saw a lot of passing today in practice and I think it's gonna be good. I think it's gonna be a lot better than it was last year. Every week it seems all these cars get better and better and more competitive, so I'm gonna say you're gonna see a good race tomorrow."

IT'S BEEN ALMOST A YEAR SINCE YOU WON AT POCONO LAST YEAR, DO YOU FEEL ANOTHER WIN IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER? "I feel like it's right around the corner again. Last year we really didn't get off track, we just weren't getting the finishes we needed and we lost some momentum. I feel like right now we're back even better than what we were last year and feel like we're gonna have an even better season than last year."

IS THERE ANY FRUSTRATION ABOUT NOT HAVING ANOTHER WIN BY NOW? "No, not at all. I wasn't like that last year and I'm not like that this year. We know we do the best job we can week-in and week-out and if we can continue to do that, we're gonna win races. It showed last year and right now I feel we're in a better position than we were last year."


ARE YOU PRETTY FIRED UP ABOUT TOMORROW? "Yeah, I think the whole team is. I mean, it's pretty exciting with all the hoopla and everything about the No Bull 5. It's nice to be put in that category where there are only five people who can do it. I also think from the team's standpoint it puts them where more people are watching them and more people are looking at them and that's nice for them to get that kind of exposure."

ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE BEING IN THE SPOTLIGHT LIKE THIS AND ENJOYING IT? "People say, 'Don't you feel more pressure?' And I say that you can't put any more pressure on any driver here, whether it's for qualifying on the pole or thinking you've gotta win the race and win an extra million. It doesn't matter, you've got a job and it didn't matter if you're racing for $10,000 or $100,000 or whatever, you're just going out there and racing as hard as you can. I just like the whole deal of us running good at Daytona and having that put us in this race for the extra million. I think it's neat for everybody."

MOST OF THE DRIVERS LOVE THE RACEABILITY OF THIS TRACK. WILL THIS BE A FUN RACE FOR YOU TOMORROW? "I enjoy being out here. I enjoy Vegas and the whole thing. I don't see it as any different race than last week at Rockingham. I have the same amount of nerves, I have the same amount of anxiety. I have that every week and it doesn't really change for me. The race track isn't really that much wider than Rockingham. It's wider physically, but from a raceable standpoint it's not. I mean, you're still only gonna run two-wide and you might see somebody three, but you're gonna see some two-wide racing. After the first practice session those guys could see where they needed to run and where you want to run."

Despite being the second-round fastest qualifier, Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 75 Remington Arms Taurus, did not make the field for Sunday's Las Vegas 400. Musgrave spoke about the disappointment of missing the race.

TED MUSGRAVE -75- Remington Arms Taurus -- HAVING TO LIVE OFF OF LAST YEAR'S POINTS REALLY CAME BACK TO HURT TODAY DIDN'T IT? "This is a real supportive team and that's what we were dealt with no catch-fence, but that's the way it is. There's nothing we can do about that. We went out and were like eighth-quickest overall for qualifying and we had a shot at a real good front row. We tried real hard here in qualifying on Friday and got up in the oil dry. I ran a higher line than a lot of people did in practice and it picked my speed up, so I went in there to run that in qualifying and they didn't sweep it up there after that car blew up and I got in the oil dry and that was the end of the weekend. Like I say, we saved the car and came back in second round and, sure, we're fastest in second round but as slow as the race track got today nobody made it in. Like I say, without any provisionals we've gotta go home. This is a first for me. It's very disgusting, don't get me wrong. It's a real good race car, it's a real good team. Everything is there, I just can't believe the bad luck we've got, but it builds character and we'll get through it. People are thinking about this now like, 'Oh my goodness, they didn't make the race,' but we're gonna win a race yet this year. We're just getting thrown with everything possible right now and it's just making us stronger and work harder. Sure, we're devasted by it and I know the sponsors, Remington, Polaris and everybody else, but as we speak I know that these guys were behind me 100 percent. Even while we were in the line to qualify, the times were real slow and they knew we didn't have a chance, but they all pumped me up. They're supportive and that's what really makes this team. I want to be with this team. That was the deal. I knew these guys were gonna be like this and they're real supportive of me and everybody else. Just getting through this rough stuff is tough." "Last year I sat out one race in relief for Jimmy Spencer up there in New Hampshire and I tell you what, when they dropped the green flag and the race started up and I wasn't in it, it was really weird. I've been doing this my whole life and to sit out and watch a race was strange. That was different, though, we didn't qualify the car, I just went up as a relief driver. As it turns out here, I just got messed up on that qualifying and with no catch-fence to fall back on points wise, the way the scenario worked out the guys that tooked the provisionals, who would ever think that Rusty and Dale and all them guys up there would have to take provisionals and kind of scarf them away from the guys down here, but that's the way it is."


MARK MARTIN -60- Winn Dixie Taurus -- "This Winn Dixie team has done a great job on this Taurus. It was really the car to beat all weekend here. It was a great race. This is one fine race track, I love to race here. I've got a great race team, it's a new bunch of guys, but the thing was just really hooked up today and the Goodyear tires just worked perfect for this race track."

DID YOU MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS? "Yes we did. We started off a little too loose and we tightened it up a little bit too much, and then the last stop we wound up going half in between." THE CAR WAS SO GOOD WERE YOU ABLE TO BE CONSERVATIVE DOWN THE STRETCH? "No, actually Nemechek kept catching us a tenth or two-tenths a lap and they kept telling me for about 15 laps and finally I said, "OK guys, don't talk to me anymore. I know he's coming. Let me get serious here and buckle down.' So we got real serious, got through that traffic real quick, Nemechek was strong today and he had a good car. He was right there and at the end it seemed like he was gaining on us every lap."

JEFF BURTON -9- Track Gear Taurus -- "The Track Gear Ford was good, it was real good early, but we kept getting tighter and tighter as the race went on and never, never could get it right. I think the wind had a lot to do with it. The wind was really blowing, it seemed like it was blowing across the race track and it would push the nose off turn four. I might be wrong, but I thought the wind magnified the problem a little bit, but the 60 car didn't seem to have a lot of problem with it. I'm proud of those guys."

HOW VALUABLE IS 300 MILES HERE TODAY AS FAR AS TOMORROW GOES? "Well, these cars are so different. I keep saying that but nobody believes me. These cars are so different than the Winston Cup cars are, we don't learn a whole lot but we do learn a little bit. Anytime that you sit in something to drive and get to run 300 miles and you don't learn something, you're not paying attention."

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Drivers Steve Park , Jimmy Spencer , Jerry Nadeau , Ted Musgrave , Tom Hubert , Ricky Craven