FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES UAW-GM Quality 500 Advance October 7, 1999 Lowe's Motor Speedway DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus -- "The only consolation is we helped our car. That's the best we...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES UAW-GM Quality 500 Advance October 7, 1999 Lowe's Motor Speedway
DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus -- "The only consolation is we helped our car. That's the best we had run. If we could have been that good yesterday, then I think we would have been all right, but we've just been struggling to get that good. When you get behind you're just behind. This is one of those sports where when they get you down they just keep throwing dirt on top of you."
NOTE: Waltrip did not qualify for Sunday's race. That marked the fifth time he has not made the starting field in 1999 and the third time in the last four events.
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- YOU HAVE TO COME TO A POINT WHERE YOU RUN CONSERVATIVELY. IS THAT GOING TO RUB YOU THE WRONG WAY BECAUSE YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO RUN THAT WAY? "No, I'd love to get to that point. I'd like to be able to just do that, but I don't even know when we get to that point. You race and try to build a lead and if you get the lead big enough to where you're gonna be OK just by starting races, then you know you've just gotta go race because it doesn't matter what you do. So I can't imagine we'll ever get to the point of being conservative. I think we'll just be racing the way that we've always raced and, if we can keep a big enough lead to where the last race or the last two races that all we have to do is start or something, then it's wide open then. You can go as fast as you want." WHEN DO YOUR PALMS START SWEATING OR WORRYING ABOUT THINGS AS FAR AS THE CHAMPIONSHIP GOES? "We just have to do our job and we can't be concerned with what everybody else does. It's just like Bobby's job. What we do is not a concern of his, he just has to go do his job and right now we can't be concerned with any of that. Sure, if Bobby and Mark and Tony all have trouble early in the race, yeah, I might say I'm gonna drive this a little bit differently but that's not likely to happen. Those guys are all probably gonna be right up front racing and I've gotta keep an eye on them, so we're not gonna get to the point, I don't think, that we can race what you would call conservatively. Smart, yeah, I'm gonna try to be smart on the race track, but I don't think that brings in being conservative." YOU'VE BEEN ONE OF THE MOST CONSISTENT DRIVERS ALL YEAR, IS IT GOOD KNOWING YOU'VE DONE WELL HERE AS WELL? "Yeah, definitely. It makes you breathe a little bit easier whenever you're at a place that you've done well at in the past. We know that without any unfortunate luck that we should be in the top five here at the very worst and we should be contending to win. We know that Bobby and Tony and Mark and Jeff Burton are gonna be the guys that we have to beat, but we should be able to run in the top five. So it's comforting to know that you're at a place where I know the feel I'm looking for in the car and once we get to that point, then I know that's gonna give us a chance to win." WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SCHEDULE HERE THIS WEEK? "I normally try to be politically correct, but it's kind of a joke to be here on Wednesday. You race at Martinsville, the guys have no time to get prepared and get ready and get over here, and there's no reason for us to be here. I mean, we come in here and then we have to leave for basically a day or a day and a half, and now we don't even have the Saturday morning practice, so there's no reason we can't come in here Friday just like everywhere else. They can get done everything they need to do. They can do all their other racing before then. The ARCA cars can have Wednesday and the Busch cars can have Thursday to get their stuff done and get ready for Saturday, and we can come in on Friday and get ours down. Somebody needs to sit down with whoever is in charge, and I don't know who that may be, but to get this worked out to where it makes a lot more sense." DOES THE FACT THE RACE IS CLOSE TO HOME MAKE IT ANY EASIER? "Not really. I haven't even been home since Tuesday. Charlotte you think, because it's an hour and 10 minutes from my house, that I could be there a lot but you've got so many things going on with sponsors around here. You have to be here in the morning and then late last night, it's not worth driving back and forth. At least after the "practice this afternoon I can get a little bit of time to get home and spend some time there with the kids, but, there again, I could have done that if we wouldn't have had to be here. I could have done that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday." LIVING HERE I'M SURE YOU'VE HEARD WHAT'S GOING ON WITH SOME OF THE BOMBINGS AT THE LOWE'S STORES. ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE SPORT BEING A TARGET EVEN THOUGH THERE'S INCREASED SECURITY? "I think you have to be concerned with it. I don't know what's going on there, but certainly there's someone out there who has a problem and we don't want it to create a problem for us. I hope they understand that the Winston Cup community tried to do what we could, if it is indeed the things that happened here earlier in the year that they're upset about, we tried to do what we could. It's unfortunate that they would put other people in danger because of that. I'm concerned. To be honest, we were planning on staying down here three or four nights, but I'm going back home and we'll come back here and stay Saturday night. They've done a good job here of getting more security, but you just don't know and it's unfortunate that it has to be that way." ONE OF THE NICE THINGS ABOUT THIS SPORT IS THAT FANS CAN GET CLOSE TO THE DRIVERS FOR AUTOGRAPHS AND SUCH. DO YOU SEE THAT CHANGING NOW? "If that's the way the people are gonna react, then it certainly could create a problem. But I think we as drivers are gonna continue to do that until we have a bigger reason not to. I think they're gonna do everything possible here to make sure that doesn't happen, that there isn't any more danger than normal and that we can carry on just like we have because that's what this sport is about. It's not just something that we talk about, that's what it is -- being able for the fans to get close to the action." ARE YOU A LITTLE MORE CAREFUL, THOUGH, WHEN YOU GO OUT IN PUBLIC? "We've done a lot of things with it and we've taken more precautions with having more people around me and watching for certain things and to make sure that everything is going smoothly. It's unfortunate that you have to have and use that kind of protection, but we do that. Hopefully, it doesn't take away from what goes on for the 99.9 percent of the people that are just there for the simple reason of getting an autograph and being a part of it. Hopefully, it's not taking away from them, but, yeah, we do have to take more precautions."
NOTE: Jarrett is scheduled to start ninth in Sunday's UAW-GM Quality 500 and will take a 251-point lead in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings into that event over second-place Bobby Labonte.
JIMMY SPENCER --23-- Team Winston Taurus -- THIS WILL BE YOUR BEST CAREER START AT CHARLOTTE, SO THAT MUST MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD. "I feel good about Charlotte. I like Charlotte and this is a good race car. This is the car we had at Michigan and California. It's ironic, but it blew up twice this year while it was running in the top 10, and it's running good here. It qualified good and right now we're running pretty decent in practice, so we feel like we've got a good opportunity for a top 10 finish and that's what you've gotta try to get." IT'S BEEN SOME TIME SINCE YOU GOT TO VICTORY LANE. DO YOU FEEL THIS TEAM IS GETTING CLOSER? "I tell you, Nemechek was kind of a fluke in a way because he hadn't been running good and then all at once he stumbles on something and wins. So that gives you light at the end of the tunnel that anybody can do that on a given weekend. Winning is the most important thing, but on the other side of it, consistency makes winning. I think you just need to say, 'Man, I've gotta have consistent top 10 finishes.' If you can consistently run in the top 10, you will win a race -- more than one. It's proven by the guys who run in the top 10 and that's what you've gotta do. We've had a top 10 car a lot, but we haven't finished there. We had an air gun break at Indy, we had a tire problem at Dover. We had really good cars. You look back at places like Pocono and Michigan and even the road courses, we've had good top 10 race cars and I think that's what you want to do. Now we feel like we can do that, we need to just start doing it. If we can do that the rest of this year, to me, that's a big step in the right direction for the year 2000."
BUT YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GO TO THE STARTING LINE ON SUNDAY AND JUST HOPE FOR A TOP 10 FINISH, RIGHT? "No, I think a lot of guys do that. We don't. We try to say, 'OK, what are we gonna have to do to try to win this race.' Then I think reality sets in after 100 miles or 250 miles. Then you've gotta evaluate your status as a crew chief and a driver. You don't talk about it on the radio, but I think you say, 'OK, I believe we've got a solid top 10 car here. That means we have a shot at winning this race.' If you feel you're gonna struggle to stay in the top 10 or have a tough time getting into the top 10, then I think you say to yourself, 'Let's get to that point and let's not shoot ourselves in the foot.' So I think there's a feeling that when you do start the race, you say that you did everything you could to try to win the race. But when you get to a certain point and realize you might not be good enough to win, then you step back and try to do the best you can to get the best finish you can. But if you're in the top 10, you try to figure out what you can do to make the car better to win. And we've been in that position this year at Sonoma and Bristol and Pocono. I think that's the key." DO YOU FEEL THE TEAM HAS PICKED IT UP SINCE THE ANNOUNCEMENT YOU'LL BE BACK NEXT YEAR? "I think the last two or three months when that rumor mill is going...but when Travis made that announcement they know that they're stuck with me for a long time. I think that's a step in the right direction and I think we started running a whole lot better when we announced we were coming back here. I'm a little worried about that Monte Carlo next year and there's no question the Pontiacs have the best car right now. NASCAR is trying to keep parity in this sport and yet, the Monte Carlos probably aren't as good as they need to be right now. But if you start worrying about those things, I think that could get to you a little bit but you can't help but look at it. I mean, there are four Pontiacs in the top six and there are only five Pontiac teams. It's hard to take, so you know you're gonna be chasing the Pontiacs all week. As a driver, it bothers you a little bit but you can still beat them given the right set of circumstances." YOUR WINS ARE AT DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA. HOW WOULD IT BE TO ADD CHARLOTTE TO THAT LIST? "I've won here in the Busch race. They give you the same trophy if you win a Winston Cup race or a Busch race, but I've only got one of them. Everybody asks what it would mean to win Pocono or Talladega or whatever. I mean, if you win anywhere anymore it's important. It is so hard to win anywhere. Here it would be pretty neat. I live a few miles up the road here. I'm here every Tuesday night for the Bandeleros and Charlotte's a little bit special simply because everybody calls this their home track. Our race teams are based not far from here and there are another 40 race teams that are based not far from Charlotte. We don't call Martinsville our home. We don't call Talladega our home. This is sort of our home. I was born and raised in Pennsylvania, but right now my home is Charlotte. I think of all the superspeedways we go to this is the best one."
NOTE: Spencer qualified seventh for Sunday's race, the best effort of his NASCAR Winston Cup career at Charlotte. He is currently a season-high 17th in the standings after being as low as 29th after the Pocono 500 in June.