FORD MOTORSPORT NOTES & QUOTES Monday, September 28, 1998 UAW-GM QUALITY 500 ADVANCE, Charlotte Motor Speedway A MAJORITY OF NASCAR WINSTON CUP TEAMS WILL BE ABLE TO SPEND A FEW EXTRA NIGHTS AT HOME THIS WEEK AS THE CIRCUIT STOPS AT CHARLOTTE...
FORD MOTORSPORT NOTES & QUOTES Monday, September 28, 1998
UAW-GM QUALITY 500 ADVANCE, Charlotte Motor Speedway
A MAJORITY OF NASCAR WINSTON CUP TEAMS WILL BE ABLE TO SPEND A FEW EXTRA NIGHTS AT HOME THIS WEEK AS THE CIRCUIT STOPS AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY FOR THE UAW-GM QUALITY 500 THIS SUNDAY. WITH 33 RACES ON THE SCHEDULE, THIS MARKS ONE OF ONLY TWO TIMES DRIVERS, CREW CHIEFS AND CREW MEMBERS CAN SPEND THE WEEKEND AT HOME INSTEAD OF A HOTEL. HERE ARE THE THOUGHTS FROM VARIOUS FORD TEAMS ABOUT CHARLOTTE RACE WEEK.
RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "Sometimes when you think it's better at home, it's not because when you're at home, it seems like you have to entertain the whole area. Sometimes when you get away from home things get a little bit calmer, but I'm looking forward to getting back to Charlotte. I was second there last time in the 600. I've got a really strong motor and a really good car for Charlotte, so I'm looking forward to that race a lot."
ARE YOU GETTING ANTSY ABOUT GETTING THAT FIRST WIN THIS SEASON?
"Yeah, I am getting antsy. I'm getting real antsy about it. I want to get a couple of them knocked out, I'd love to. I've got a brand new car for Phoenix that turned out really, really good the other day. It looks wonderful and we took my car that I had at Dover that ran so good for me up there. We took it back and cut the whole rear end off the thing and found a lot of stuff that should make the car better and we're revamping that car for Charlotte. I think we'll have a great car for Charlotte, we'll have a good car for Phoenix and I know we'll have a good car for Rockingham. Believe it or not, it's hard coming from my mouth, but I just can't wait to get to Talladega because we've got some good stuff going on for that place."
GEOFF BODINE -7- Philips Taurus -- "Let's do it every week. Let's race at Charlotte every week. There are no negatives to racing close to home, they're all positives especially when you've got a great track like Charlotte. There's nothing like sleeping in your own bed, there's nothing like eating your own food and nothing like knowing where you're going when you're driving down the highway. Being close to home is really great. When you're in a business like ours that travels around the country, obviously you can't be at home every week, so I enjoy being at home and racing at Charlotte. I just bought a home at Lake Norman, so that gives me a few more days I can spend in it rather than spending it in that motorcoach around the country."
DO YOU DO ANYTHING SPECIAL DURING THE WEEK AT CHARLOTTE?
"We always have a little get-together at our race shop for sponsors and friends. We're doing that again. Not having practice on that Friday at Charlotte allows us to do that plus being close to home allows us to do that. We can organize it and make it work really well. Saturday night, I like to just relax at home. We do that on the road. Our home on the road is our motorcoach, but the real home is still better than the motorcoach home. Motorcoaches are great. They've made this a lot more bearable for the guys with wives and families, but I'm sure even they like being home."
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "It can be more of a distraction. Certainly, you have a lot of requests for tickets with family members, friends and fans that want to come and it can certainly be a distraction, but I enjoy going there. A lot of good things have happened to me at Charlotte and it's a race track that we seem to do well at and right now we're in need of something like that happening. I think we're looking forward to it, and the opportunity the Action Performance people have given us with the Batman theme with our race car there, I think it's gonna be a fun week. We have a lot going on once again, but I'd rather stay busy and we can definitely do that."
IS IT SOMETIMES BETTER ON THE ROAD TO STAY AWAY FROM THOSE DISTRACTIONS?
"My wife tells me whenever it gets around Charlotte time that I'm gone from home more than I am whenever we're actually traveling. Even though I probably only live and hour and 20 minutes from the race track, it serves no purpose for me to go back and forth home. By the time I get home my kids are in bed and I get up and have to leave before they get up in the morning, so I end up staying at the race track. There are also so many promotional things that we do anyway around the races at Charlotte, that it's worse than whenever we have a regular week. I may not leave until late Thursday, but here I'm gone first thing Wednesday morning and they have to come to Charlotte just to see me."
WHY DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL AT CHARLOTTE?
"I've probably raced there more than any of the other bigger tracks and it's just something I've adapted to. I found something that worked in the days of my Busch racing and that's kind of carried over. I haven't changed a whole lot about what I do and how we go about it. Todd and I seem to work really well together and, of course, Robert Yates' teams have been successful there over the years too, and it doesn't hurt to have all that horsepower and that's a place that we can put it to good use."
BILL INGLE, Crew Chief -10- Tide Taurus -- "It's great to be at home. There are some surroundings at my home that I can go home to and get peace of mind and get away from the pressures of this sport. I have a step-daughter at home that when she's there I don't even think about a race car, and my wife has a way of keeping me busy with all the things that have to be done. It's a pleasure to be home because you can have the best of both worlds. The thing that you enjoy doing for a living, that's racing, and then you can have your home life like so many other people get to enjoy so it's nice to be home."
HOW DO YOU LIKE THE RACE TRACK?
"As a crew chief or a racer period, I love Charlotte Motor Speedway. It works you more than most of the tracks on the circuit due to the fact that the way the sun passes over the raceway, it changes so much. You can work all day long and chase the race track, and you'll end up in Happy Hour the way you started that morning. That's the way it's always been. I love racing there because I've had, personally as a crew chief, success there with several different drivers. Michael Waltrip, Alan Kulwicki and Ricky Rudd. I've been on the pole with all three of those drivers in cars that I helped prepare with the crew. I enjoy racing there and I am from the Charlotte area, I grew up there, so it means a lot to me to go there and run well."
ROBIN PEMBERTON, Crew Chief -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "That's gonna be great. We look forward to Charlotte anyway because it's a chance for the teams and their families to go. It's a harder race to get into because that's such a popular race and there are so many fans over there, but we look forward to Charlotte in a big way."
CAN YOU SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY THAT WEEK?
"To be honest with you, what happens is it's a close race so everybody's schedule has dinner's to go to and all kinds of things so you stay pretty busy anyway. We're probably more busy Charlotte week doing things after the race track closes than you do at most any other race track. But, generally, we can get home at a decent hour and spend some time with the kids and stuff like that."
RICHARD "SLUGGER" LABBE, Crew Chief -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "Charlotte is pressure because it's home and we missed the first race. We have to go back and redeem ourselves, especially with the Batman-Joker theme going on. The last thing we want to do is go there and miss the race. Then, that would blow the whole pre-race show and that whole build-up for the Charlotte race. We went there and tested, this was the third time we tested with Kenny there and we used seven different cars during the test. We hope we got the best one going back. It's a brand new car. We tested well and we're looking forward to going back. It's especially nice to be home, particularly for me because my wife was due to have our baby last Saturday. If she has it this week, it's not like I'll have to make arrangements to get home because I'm there. For the other guys when the garage closes, they get to leave and go home so that makes it easier instead of going back to a motel and out to eat. It just makes life easier."
PAUL ANDREWS, Crew Chief, Mobil 1 Taurus -- "I count Charlotte as a home track and not having to go to the motel every night is a refreshing change. I think everybody looks forward to it. There are a few extra days at Charlotte which can be tough, but sometimes it's nice to have a few more days at your home track. I want to try and leave the track and go home. That's what we plan to do. Usually, like at any other race, there is something you have to do team related on the weekend, and then a lot of people have family and friends coming to town so you entertain them too. But it's still pretty nice to just go home after leaving the race track."