Dodge This Teleconference Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2003 Jamie McMurray and Donnie Wingo DONNIE WINGO (Crew Chief No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid) HOW TOUGH WAS IT BUILDING A NEW TEAM? "We get support from the other teams each week. We all work...
Dodge This Teleconference
Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2003
Jamie McMurray and Donnie Wingo
DONNIE WINGO (Crew Chief No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid)
HOW TOUGH WAS IT BUILDING A NEW TEAM?
"We get support from the other teams each week. We all work close together. We started out the year with cars that we really didn't need. We got a good run at Rockingham and then we started sliding downhill a little bit. We started building some cars and put some bodies on and we had a good combination that he really liked as far as the bodies go.
"We built another car that way, and we got it at Indy. We actually built another one more similar to what the 40 is running. We ran that one at Bristol and on the short tracks. We hit a pretty good combination. We've got two cars that we're planning to run at the bigger tracks the rest of the year and the other car at the short tracks, so it's really helped us here the second part of the year. We built three new cars for each team. All we're running is probably one or two of those cars (from other Ganassi teams).
"We had three new cars and killed one of them at Loudon, so the other two cars are what we're running at Kansas and Dover and we're running our Kansas car this week. We're pretty much settled in. He really likes those cars. I tell him a lot of times it could be just the way the seats are mounted in them."
IS IT DIFFICULT TO GET A ROOKIE COMFORTABLE IN A RACECAR?
"I tell him the dash or something isn't mounted right and that's the reason he doesn't like it, or the seat's not tilted enough. When you get comfortable in a car each week, it's just like going to sit in your desk chair. When you get in a car and get ready to race, everything around you is comfortable. They're good cars. I just tease him about it a lot. I think it means a lot to a driver when he's comfortable in a car. Jamie has so much confidence in himself, which I think is a great thing. I think he's really gained throughout the year. When we started out, things weren't going like we wanted them to. Pit stops weren't good. I kept telling him to give us time, we'd get everything worked out and by the end of the year he'd be really pleased with what we accomplished. Right now everything is going well, communication is great and I think that helped out."
WHAT PART OF YOUR JOB IS MOST IMPORTANT?
"I think the biggest part is trying to keep harmony among everybody. Everybody is on the road so much, and everybody more or less has to live together. I try to keep the harmony where everybody gets along good and that keeps the atmosphere good around the racetrack. I think that means a lot to your success. If everybody is not on the same page or pulling apart, I think that really hurts the race team. I like the people. I don't like the travel as much as I used to, but I like the people. That's all I've been doing all my life. I've been doing it for 21 years. I don't know any other way of doing it."
CAN JAMIE MAKE CALLS TO HELP IMPROVE THE CAR?
"Most definitely. It's gotten so much different than it was at the beginning of the year. We can make changes in practice and come back Sunday morning and decide to make a change and we're real comfortable with that change because he knows what it's going to do. I think as far as a carburetor change or whatever, he can really tell if it's better or worse. Sometimes if it's off just a little bit and we're going to get a little better fuel mileage the way these races have gone, we'll lean toward the fuel mileage. He's here at the shop just about every day we're home. He's into what's going on. He knows what we're doing and what direction we're going or what we're going to try this week or what we're going to change, not only from the chassis standpoint but from the motor standpoint. He's really into that. He's looking for a feel. If we change something, he knows it most of the time."
IS IT UNUSUAL TO HAVE A DRIVER AT THE SHOP?
"A lot of times maybe it wouldn't be a good thing, but I think the way he approaches it and the way he does it, he's learning what's going on. He wants to know what's going on. From a morale standpoint for the team members, he talks to everybody. He just doesn't go in one area. He'll go to fab shop, body shop, talking to everybody, keeping everybody pumped up. I think that means a lot to the whole organization, not just to the 42 team, but all three teams. I think it really helps out."
COMMENT ON RYAN NEWMAN'S FUEL MILEAGE
"They've worked real hard on that for sure. Everybody has been working on it. We've been working on it real hard. It's a gamble. We may have made it (at Kansas) if we had done the same thing. Maybe we didn't gamble enough. I thought we were taking a little bit of a gamble there when we pitted. The 19 and 12 and us pitted on 190 and put on tires. I thought to myself that was the only way we were going to get to the front, come in and put tires on and hope we got a caution somewhere around 200. It worked out that way and we came out third. They took a bigger gamble than that. They were banking on so many caution laps and they got 'em, so it worked out for 'em. It's a deal where they haven't had trouble getting what they needed at the end of these races, so it's worked out for 'em. I think they've worked real hard on their stuff, and it's shown."
ARE YOU TIRED OF FUEL MILEAGE RACES?
"I would like to go back to where the best car wins the race every week or whatever or at least the car's been running up front most of the day. Where a car has been running in the back most of the day and all of a sudden he's up front by pit strategy or fuel mileage or whatever. I think it's a deal you're going to see happen if we get a tire change next year when it comes back that new tires make you that much faster."
DO YOU SMELL A WIN FOR THE 42 TEAM?
"I think each week we're getting closer and closer. If we could ever get one win, I think we could get several wins. It's just sometimes it takes some time to get that step. Once you make that step and get that win they kinda come a lot easier after that."
WILL FUEL MILEAGE ALWAYS BE A PART OF RACING?
"Fuel mileage is always going to be a part of racing no matter if they do change the tires. Fuel mileage is still going to play a part. That's not something you can just throw out. Races will still be won by fuel mileage, but I don't think as many races will be won by fuel mileage. You'll still have to do as much as you can to run as many laps as you can. I think the way it's worked out and what's got people so aggravated, you've got cars that run in the back of the pack most of the day and then take a gamble. They're banking on caution laps at the end of the race, and it's paid off for 'em. You can't take that away from them. They've done a super job with what they've done."
COMMENT ON RYAN NEWMAN'S SUCCESS
"You can't take anything away from those guys. I don't know how many times he finished second last year, but I think they've taken that next step. They're there every week to win. They've taken the right chances or had the right strategy to have the car up front at the end of the race. That's the reason they've won races. If you ever win one race, then you start taking that step to keep winning and winning. I think that's the step they've taken. I wouldn't take anything away from those guys. They've worked real hard. I don't think it's anything they're doing wrong that they shouldn't be doing. I think they're doing a good job."