Chevrolet Racing Indianapolis Previews

Tuesday, July 27, 1999. Advance material for Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevy notes and quotes. GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Bodine turned in the fastest speed of...

Tuesday, July 27, 1999. Advance material for Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevy notes and quotes.

GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Bodine turned in the fastest speed of any Chevrolet team at the recent Brickyard test session. He was clocked at 177.771 mph around the historic 2.5-mile track. Coming off a 13th-place run last week at Pocono, his best since finishing eighth at Rockingham in the second race of the season, Bodine talks about his team and the upcoming Brickyard 400. "We've gone through some changes this year. We started out really good. We bought a few good cars and had a few good people. Then we decided we needed more cars and more people. It got a little out of control and we've been trying to catch up all year with the cars and the team. We feel like Indy is going to be the track where we show we caught up. We haven't always had the car we wanted at the race track. We went to Indianapolis with a brand new car, actually we took two cars that were different. We had one good car and one bad one. We learned what we need and what we think we need. To go there and run fast and feel comfortable and everything kind of went the way it's supposed to go when you go to a test. We're real excited about that. "It was hot. It wasn't like perfect conditions, but it wasn't a fluke that we ran good. We have a good car. We feel like Indy is going to be the point where this team starts running good again consistently. I had a great opportunity to win the first Brickyard 400 and we had a problem. After that, it's been kind of downhill. It hasn't been that good for us since '94 at Indy. I'm looking for that to change this year. I've got a new team. I'm back with Chevrolet. We had a great test. We're hoping to get back to the form we were in in '94. "People ask how I rank Indy with other races. I rank it as another race. Nothing will ever be bigger than Daytona to me. It shouldn't be to anybody in this sport. Indy is a great race. It pays a lot of money. Any race that pays a lot of money, you always like to go there. The momentum part of this business, well, I never like to use the word momentum, but it is about the only way you can describe what happens after you have success or a good run or a win. Your people feel so good the next week. People feeling good do better work. That's proven. A driver after he wins, feels good all week and when he gets to the next track, he's in a good mood and he's apt to do better. If you're having bad runs, bad finishes, crashes, it's hard for the team to get up the next week and feel good about working. It might not be bad, but it might not be as good as the team with the positive momentum. The driver is the same way. He gets down on himself and he can show up at a race track and not be as his top form. We had a good finish at Pocono, and we're going to Indy with a good attitude. "I've been around a long time, and I don't think anything affects me the way it might a rookie or a younger driver. The longer you go through life, the more things you deal with in life, the tougher you get or the tougher you should get. I've grown a lot in that area the last four years. A broken axle is small potatoes to me, but you've got to understand those things can happen. It's still very frustrating when it does happen. "A number (age) is just a number. It's what you do with yourself that matters. You can let that number get you down. You can let that number turn you into a couch potato, but it hasn't with me. I feel great. I feel young. I look young. I really don't know how much longer I'll race. Again, that's just a number. How I feel and how I perform will determine how long I'll be here." Tuesday, July 27, 1999. Advance material for Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevy notes and quotes. Page 2.

GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "If I can keep feeling the way I am and perform to the standards I need to out there and be competitive, I'll race forever. I know that's not realistic, so four or five more years -- 54 or 55 years old. So many things enter into what you do in life. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Something might come up and change my life dramatically. Right now, the way I feel about racing, I love it. It's all I want to do. I feel great. I don't want to be anywhere else. Time is no limit to me. When you drive into victory lane, that turns you into a young guy again. I hope I get that feeling soon. My last win at Watkins Glen in '96 was too long ago, but I still remember how it feels and how to do it. It sure would be great to break the winless streak at Indy."

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Waltrip finished 12th last week at Pocono. He opened the season in style with a fifth-place finish in the Daytona 500 and has two other top-10 finishes in '99 in his first season behind the wheel of the Mattei Motorsports Monte Carlo.

"Some races are better than others. We have 34 of them this season, but you look forward to some no matter what you say more than you do others. Indy is definitely a track that we all look forward to. It's a great facility. It's a fun track to drive. It's just got a lot of things going for it. The money is secondary to me. The most important thing is what you can accomplish and beating other people. Indy is the type of track if they throw the green with 10 laps to go, it's just like Martinsville. People are bouncing off each other and going all over the place. You put us on a track that conducive to that and that's what you're going to get. That's what you see at Loudon and Indy. At most tracks you've got a couple of chances to pass. At Indy, you've got about eight. You can pass in one corner or off the one corner and that repeats itself four times. You just see a lot of good action up there. My main goal is always to go up there and win the race. That doesn't have anything to do with money, either. It's just the prestige of winning. "Visually, it seems like turn one is tighter than turn three. They're identical. It's weird to me how your mind can play tricks on you like that. You think it's harder to get around turn one because it's tighter. It isn't. It's the same. When you start that race and you're riding around on the parade lap, if that doesn't make you excited about what we do then nothing will. All the fans are going crazy. "I got in a wreck up there in '97 and we fixed our car and came back out and the people just went crazy. The wave was going on when I would go by. I guess nobody had ever fixed a car and came out like that before. We did it and I was waving to the crowd. I got goofing around, just trying to make laps to finish and I got letters and cards about how much they liked that. I'm not exaggerating. When I'd go by, they'd do the wave. They get into it up there. I think it's still new to a lot of people, seeing our cars on that track. They really enjoy it. "We tested two cars at Indy and they were both about the same. We tested a low-snout car and it's the first one of those we've had. It worked pretty well, so we're going to take that one back. We're excited about that. There's a lot of aerodynamic things built into it which we feel is better than anything we've ever had before. We haven't had the luxury of being in the wind tunnel yet. We're doing a little bit of guesswork. It's all of the technology we can gain built into a car and it's the latest one we've built, so it should be the best one we've built. We didn't make any full-blown qualifying runs, yet we ran decent. We've qualified in the top 25 about seven races in a row. When you develop that type of consistency in qualifying, it's not out of the realm of possibility that one of these days we'll jump up and snag us a pole. Indy would be a good place to do that. "It's been pretty hot up there, but that can change. A front can come down from Canada and get to Indy a lot quicker than it can to North Carolina. It was hot when we tested and the long-range forecast calls for it to be hot. I don't think we've had a tremendously hot race there. Last year's race wasn't that quick because everybody kept running into each other and we had a lot of cautions. It's subject to being very quick. We've also seen guys get hooked up there and run off and leave the field. We've had some great races there, too. "The Gordon-Irvan battle and Earnhardt winning and Jarrett and Irvan racing for the win a couple of years ago. It was really good racing. I think Johnny Benson ran off and left the field for the first half of the race in '96. Guys have got hooked up and got away, but it always seems to come down to the end. I think that's really added to having excitement about the event. You've got to handle so well there, and if you hit it, you can make everybody else look bad. "Maybe we used to get real excited about the Brickyard. I think when it all shook out, everybody said the Daytona 500 is the one and maybe the Brickyard 400 is the next one. I think there for a couple of years people might have been a little confused. It's definitely a big race. It's up there among the five most important races, but the Daytona 500 is probably still our Crown Jewel."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson