Charlotte: Ford team/driver Saturday interviews

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Wood Brothers' groundbreaking victory at the Indianapolis 500 with driver Jimmy Clark. After transforming the way pit stops were done in NASCAR, the Wood's were summoned to Indy and used their...

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Wood Brothers' groundbreaking victory at the Indianapolis 500 with driver Jimmy Clark. After transforming the way pit stops were done in NASCAR, the Wood's were summoned to Indy and used their new method to help Clark win by two full laps over second-place Parnelli Jones. Current co-owner Eddie Wood talked about where that moment ranks in team history.

EDDIE WOOD, Co-Owner - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus

WHERE DOES THAT WEEKEND RANK IN WOOD BROTHERS HISTORY? "That was a really big deal when it happened and I guess it still is because a lot of firsts happened that day. I think it was the first time a green car had ever won; the first Ford rear engine car; and the first day an actual NASCAR pit crew did the pit work. I was actually in the sixth grade listening to it on the radio. I had a transistor radio in my pocked with a wire running up through my shirt sleeve and stuck in my ear. I know my dad and Leonard and all the guys that were there still talk about it. They were really honored to be picked to go do that. When they got up there they changed some things on the fueling, and I think their total time in the pits that day was equal to one stop of the other guys. At least that's what they said (laughing). Someone sent us a book that had all the newspaper clippings throughout the United States about it and it was a big deal."

SO YOU LISTENED TO THE WHOLE RACE ON THE RADIO THAT DAY? "Yeah. It started at like 11:00 o'clock and it was on a Monday, so we were in school. I just had this thing fixed to where I wouldn't get caught with it, and I didn't get caught with it. I listened to the whole race. The only bad thing was when we won, I couldn't say anything because then I would have gotten caught (laughing)."

Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, will start seventh when the green flag falls for tomorrow night's Coca-Cola 600. Jarrett, who will be competing in his first points race with new crew chief Bill Wilburn, spoke about the race after Saturday's first practice session.

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus

YOU'RE STARTING SEVENTH AND YOU APPEAR TO BE FAST. "Yeah, we're fast, but 600 miles is about using your speed when you need to and you're hard on equipment here for that long, especially with the speeds that we're running right now. The falloff of what we have in a fuel run now is basically where we used to start running with time, so we're obviously turning some more rpm's and for a longer period of time. You're really gonna have to take care of the equipment and it's gonna be a long, hard race. With as much grip as there is in the corners, the driver is gonna be working his tail off. It should be an interesting race and we do have a good spot to start. Hopefully, we can get our car to where we're reasonably fast at the beginning of a run and not fall off a lot during the course of a long run. That's what we're after."

YOU MENTIONED GRIP IN THE CORNERS. DID YOU NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE WITH THE PATCH IN TURN ONE? "I tried to dodge it when I first went out because I didn't know they had done anything. It caught me by surprise a little bit, so I tried to really straddle it if I could. It was kind of a non-issue in practice, but you're not always gonna be in position for that to happen. We'll just have to see what it does. I can't imagine it has as much grip as what was there, but it probably won't cause a lot of problem."

AS FAR AS WORKING WITH BILL TOMORROW NIGHT. WILL YOU TRY TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT AS FAR AS COMMUNICATING WHAT ADJUSTMENTS YOU'LL WANT IN THE CAR? "I think it's business as usual from my standpoint. I've always just tried to give them an idea of what I feel the car is doing and then we take the tire temperatures and the build-ups and see if that's anywhere close to what I was saying about the car. Hopefully they are somewhat alike and then we can work on the car from that standpoint. I think the biggest thing is getting an understanding of where I'm talking about the car maybe being a little bit tight - exactly what point of the corner is that? Is that before I get to the center as I pick up the gas? Is it more of a late exit? It's about getting that understanding, and then to what degree. Basically, we try to simplify as much as possible. We use numbers. If 10 is the tightest, then where are we on that scale. Is it a seven or an eight, or are we only talking about a three or four to where we only have to make a minor adjustment. Things are going well. We've got a lot of guys giving a lot of input and everybody has pitched in. It seems that Billy and Jason (Burdette) are working well together and seem to be thinking along the same lines, so that makes things a lot easier, and I think we'll be able to get to where we want to a lot quicker."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Parnelli Jones