Daytona - GM drivers meet the press, part 2

BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: (WHAT DID YOU TAKE WITH YOU FROM LAST YEAR?) "We learned a lot last year. It was a good experience for me. It wasn't the year we wanted or anticipated. This year I'm very excited. I've...

BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

(WHAT DID YOU TAKE WITH YOU FROM LAST YEAR?)

"We learned a lot last year. It was a good experience for me. It wasn't the year we wanted or anticipated. This year I'm very excited. I've got Lance back now and Lance and I have been able to communicate well since the Busch Series. So, I'm excited. We've made some changes on the team and kept a lot the same. Now we're going to have the #25 and #5 in the same shop in the same way that the #48 and #24 are together."

(HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHANGES TO DAYTONA?)

"This place has changed so much. And it's good. I suppose ISC was waiting for the right time to make all the changes at once and to make it nice and they did that. Daytona was a little overdue for a revamp for the fans and the teams and infield. They did a great job and I haven't even seen all of it. But from what I've seen it's been very nice."

(WHAT ABOUT THE NEW GARAGES WITH FAN WINDOWS?)

"You kind of get the feeling you're n the fishbowl. But, we're in an entertainment sport and one thing that has always been said about NASCAR is the access for the fans is great. And that's what it is about. We'll see what happens when it gets going. It seems little bit weird but the fans should know that we're glad they are there and are close. I understand that because I've been a fan. But they also need to know that we are there to practice and to be in the car. As long as they respect that, it will be great. I'm looking forward to it."

(ARE YOU EXCITED FOR YOUR FIRST BUD SHOOTOUT?)

"The Bud Shootout is going to be a unique experience. Any race that you can run at this level without points is fun. You can go out there wide open and have fun. It says a lot to be in it period."

"HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE FORMAT?"

I have no idea. I just know it's Daytona and it will be wide open.

"DID YOU HAVE A HARD FIRST YEAR?"

Last year was a lesson on a lot of levels. The difference between Busch and Cup and different things you have to schedule for, fans, media attention, etc. I learned a lot and I think I can take it into this year.

JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

(TELL US ABOUT THE COSTS OF GOING TO MEXICO FOR A TEAM OWNER)

"The cost of going down there is astronomical for the teams. Doing it early in the year is really tough. There are issues but there are issues with everything. Whether or not the Busch Series can withstand it, time will only tell."

(IS IT WORTH THE EXTRA COST?)

"You're asking the wrong person."

(DO YOU HAVE SECURITY CONCERNS?)

"No. Heck, we're taking the Marines or someone with us so we'll be alright. No, I have no concerns. I feel NASCAR has done their homework on the issue and it will be handled. The only concern for me was that in the Cup Series you only get three off weekends and Mexico is one of them. That's the only downside for me.

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO

(WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THE 500 THIS YEAR?)

"As close as we've been the last 2.5 years, a win would mean a lot. We put a lot of effort into our restrictor plate programs. We've finished second a lot. One of these times we're going to break down the wall and get the win."

(HOW ARE THE NEW TEAMMATES?)

"Everything is going great with the new teammates. Jeff and Dave are great. We sort of went back and forth on our setups from testing and everyone seems to like what each other likes, or at least pieces of it. It makes it easier because if you're struggling you can take a setup from someone else's car. It's great."

(WERE YOU DISAPPOINTED BY LAST SEASON?)

"I think we were in good shape last season until we had a few races to go and we blew a few engines and the bottom kind of fell out of it. We did what we had to do all year long to stay in the chase and where we need to be. We obviously want to do better than we did last year. That's what we've prepared ourselves to do. We've dotted the i's and crossed the t's. Hopefully we can get off to a quick start."

(JEFF BURTON SAID RICHARD IS MORE EXCITED THIS YEAR. HOW HAS IT BEEN WITH JEFF IN THE SHOP?)

"Jeff's been good for our shop and for everything around it. He's very into the chassis. I went on vacation while they were making sure everything was right. Richard's been working hard to try to get all the engine stuff going in the right direction and if it's not where it needs to be now, it will be when we get down the road. He's had a lot of late nights trying to do the right thing."

(HOW DO YOU LIKE THE NEW GARAGES?)

"I'll be honest with you I haven't even been in the garage. We saw the nice new Busch garage during that test. I haven't been in the Cup garage.

(WHY IS THIS RACE SO SPECIAL?)

"The history of the Daytona 500 is what makes our sport. Everything that has happened here is the reason everyone wants to win. Knowing that, you work all winter to prepare for the season and nine times out of 10, you prepare most for the 500."

"We took the 1/10th approach this year and we had our super speedway cars painted and in the shop in the middle of December. We didn't bring our cars down to test. We decided to work on our downforce stuff. Nine times out of 10 you put a lot of preparation into this but we took a different approach."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

(DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE IS A VOID AFTER NOT HAVING A RECENT CHAMPIONSHIP?) "There's nothing like winning. As much as it demands your time, if you're winning, there's a lot more demands on your time. You don't want to be not doing it. If you want to be juiced about it, you want to be winning races and championships."

(ON WHAT YOU'VE LEARNED SINCE WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP) "I think a lot of it happened just in life. As you get older you learn more. The biggest thing is you want to be first every year. If you're not, it's more humbling. You say there's next year and if you don't (win) next year, you get real mad. Once you taste that victory and Champaign in New York, you want to do it more and more. It's your ultimate goal. When you don't do it, it's frustrating and humbling."

(ON THE 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA) "It was good. It's a hard race. We take it for granted those guys that race and win those races and compete all the time. A long race like that is different from the shorter races they run. We had a good time and learned a lot. The guys that race that series take it seriously. It became a very competitive and challenging race. We look forward to hopefully doing it again."

BOBBY HAMILTON JR., NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

(ON HOW HE FEELS GOING INTO THE DAYTONA 500) "We've just been testing so much. It's drug out so much leading into the 500 that by the time it comes, you're excited and ready to go. With it being the first 500 you look forward to it. It's something to add to your career. Through the winter we tested so you're mentally prepared before the season starts."

(ON HIS TEAM THIS YEAR) "We have all new people and all new race cars. RCR is providing the motors. I don't think it's going to be a 13-win year. It's going to be something to get the 32 car turned around. I think it will be a top 15, top 20 car on a bad day hopefully. We need to do that and get the foundation in place and have the team be consistent every week and no problems with the seat or the car malfunctioning. That's how you start putting yourself in the position to win. You do that, then you start getting closer to those wins."

-gm racing-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup