Dodge Charger Quotes from Daytona. Bill Elliott and Kasey Kahne. BILL ELLIOTT (No. 39 Coors Dodge Charger) HOW DID YOU GET THE RIDE WITH GANASSI FOR BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT? "It was just a casual conversation. I asked Ray if he cared if I ...
Dodge Charger Quotes from Daytona. Bill Elliott and Kasey Kahne.
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 39 Coors Dodge Charger)
HOW DID YOU GET THE RIDE WITH GANASSI FOR BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT? "It was just a casual conversation. I asked Ray if he cared if I drove anything else. My brother Ernie and I talked about it and he got me with Ganassi. It turned out to be the 20th anniversary of the 1985 stuff (11 wins, 11 poles), and it turned out to be a good deal. It helped Coors out from their marketing standpoint. We've got good equipment, and I think we've got a good chance in the race."
IS IT WEIRD TO DRIVE FOR SOMEONE OTHER THAN RAY EVERNHAM? "Not really because all the cars are kinda the same any more. If you go look at tech, it's like "Holly Molly, I don't know if I could go through all this anymore.'
COMMENT ON NEW QUALIFYING PROCEDURES "I really don't know how to comment on that. I understand California is just going to be a lineup race. We're going to qualify and they're going to let you do a few things to the car and then line it up. That's my understanding at this point. I guess the next question is what are they going to let you do?"
COMMENT ON BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT "We'll see how things have progressed in these cars. It'll give Ganassi a chance to learn more about the car before the Daytona 500. From the Coors standpoint, they were very instrumental in what I started doing in the early 80s. My relationship with all the Coors family was special through the whole deal. We all grew together. It was such a unique time. They came in the first year and I think the sponsorship was like $400,000 and it was wild. Now it's grown in to what it is today."
COMMENT ON KASEY KAHNE'S PROGRESS LAST YEAR "He was an easy study. He did well. I think he was an exception to the rule. He came in, picked the ball up and carried it way beyond my expectations. He got in good equipment, but on the flip side of that, he carried it. I'm very proud of him. He's a good kid, and he's got a great future in this sport. I compare him to Jeff Gordon or any of those guys."
IF YOU COULD CHANGE THE LENGTH OF ANY RACE WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHANGE? "Pocono. It does not need to be 500 miles. If it was a 400-mile race it would be plenty. It's a two and a half mile racetrack, but they run a minute around the track and they run 200 laps. It's an all-afternoon deal. At my age, no race is too short."
COMMENT ON THE CALIFORNIA TEST "I didn't think we were too bad. It's still going to come down to how they're going to do their rules."
DO YOU STILL ENJOY COMING TO DAYTONA IN FEBRUARY? "I enjoy coming down here. It's a fun event. I'm not running the 500 and that's part of it, but I enjoy seeing all the people and I've still got a lot of good friends in this sport, and I still enjoy seeing a lot of the crew guys around the garage. We've all kind of grown up together. When I was in there looking at Ganassi's car in the garage, I ran into Tony Glover and we were talking about old times. I was laughing about all the inspectors in there. I'd never seen so many inspectors."
WILL THE NEW QUALIYING PROCEDURE DECREASE THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING FOR THE POLE? "I think there's always going to be an importance for going for the pole, but I think they're going to have different views when they get there. Until we get everything laid out and go through it two or three times, I don't know how to answer the question. They'll have to qualify in race trim, especially the guys that are guaranteed a start."
DID YOU CONCENTRATE ON POLES IN 1985? "No, we went after every event as hard as we could go. That's what you've got to do. If you unload and you're 45th out of 50 cars, what are your chances of winning the pole? You're going to work for the goal, don't get me wrong, but sometimes the odds for that particular day are totally against you. Whenever you unload winning the pole is your first goal and then your next goal is winning the race. I'm going to work to the race setup and then make it be as fast as I can to run a fast lap for qualifying."
THROUGH ALL YOUR SUCCESS YOU'VE ALWAYS REMAINED A HUMBLE PERSON. HOW'D YOU MANAGE TO DO THAT? "I'd rather be seen and not heard. That's just the way I grew up. In the era we did what we did, we worked 24/7. You tell me how cocky you can get working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There were 13 of us in that shop, and I was no different. I was the guy that came in, worked on the car, swept the floor, changed the springs, put the motor in, did body work, did paint work and everything else. How cocky can you get doing that?"
CAN A DRIVER/OWNER BE SUCCESSFUL TODAY? "I don't say it can't be done, but I'm saying the odds are way out there. We didn't have nothing. We just went in and did it, and there again, you can't be cocky if you're the only one there and you do everything you've got to do. That's what I was telling Kasey. At his age, I was in there welding pieces on and doing this and doing that, trying to get to the next level. In the early 80s it was unheard of that a rookie came in and got in a good race car. Probably Earnhardt was the only one that ever did that, and it took him a few years to do it, but he didn't come from another series and step in to a winning race car."
DID YOU TAKE TIME TO CELEBRATE AFTER THE 1985 SEASON? "No, we worked. We worked Christmas, New Year's, all the time. That's the way we were. We did what we had to do, and there was always something that had to be done."
WILL THERE BE PRESSURE TO WIN THE SHOOTOUT? "I think the pressure is off now. Since you've won the event, I think the pressure is on the guy who hasn't won it. With the way the racing is today in a restrictor-plate environment, it's a lot different than when I won the event. That's the things I look at. I ran good here in 2001 and I ran good here in 1997. The stuff is just so different. Unless you've got someone who can help you, you're just kinda riding around out there."
WHAT'S THE STRATEGY FOR THE SHOOTOUT? "Get in the right place at the right time. If you've got a decent car and get in the right place at the right time, that's what it's going to be all about."
COMMENTS ON FRIDAY BEFORE FIRST SHOOTOUT PRACTICE
DO YOU LIKE THE PART-TIME SCHEDULE? "I think I like where I'm at real well right now. Everything is going real well. Somebody asked if I'd double my races. I said really my ideal situation was to run 10 or 12 last year. The way everything turned out, it really didn't work out. For me to be able to come in and pick and choose... When I was walking over here I said to myself that I'm really fortunate to be where I'm at. To come in and get in a Ganassi car for the Bud Shootout. Then when I leave here, I'll be able to go to California for that race with Stanley Tools and Evernham Motorsports. We've got a lot of good things going on even though I am backing up and doing it on a part-time basis."
IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'VE STARTED A TREND "All good things have got to come to an end. After running this long as I have in this sport and given as much as I have, it's time to go around and enjoy life. Like I said several other times, I feel like I could probably race several more years, but you look at it and say why put yourself through it each and every week. I think that's the biggest thing when I walked away from this stuff, being able to drop the pressure of competing each and every week on a have to basis because that's the hardest part of this sport."
DID MARKETING OBLIGATIONS OUTSIDE THE CAR SPREAD YOU TOO THIN? "That plays a role of where you end up. To take care of the sponsorship, plus running 38 weekends a year, plus doing all the other stuff involved, just between the racing and testing is the hardest part of the whole deal. Then you add on the sponsorship, car owner and everybody else's commitment and you try to put in a home life somewhere in the middle of all that mess, it does make it difficult. For the younger guys that are not really tied to anything, it makes it easy. Plus, at no point in time in their careers these kids didn't have to work on their cars like I did early on in my career."
DO YOU THINK NASCAR LEADERSHIP IS DOING THE RIGHT THING? "I don't know how to answer that. There are things I see as positive and things I see as negative. It's hard for me to judge not being able to see it every day from the other side. I just see it from this side of the fence. I can't sit here and be a judge and say this is right and this is wrong."
WHAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT THE EARLY PART OF YOUR CAREER? "That's what launched everything. That was the most important part of my career. That's what put everything together. You look at that era and how it changed racing and NASCAR and everything else, me and everybody involved. That was a definite change of era for NASCAR."
WHAT TOOK YOU FROM AN UNDERDOG TO A SUPERSTAR? "A lot of hard work and probably Harry Melling."
WHAT WILL YOU WORK ON IN PRACTICE TODAY? "Drafting. That's what it's going to be all about. It's supposed to be cold for the race tomorrow night, and that will just make the cars handle a little longer and stay under you a little better. It's a 70-lap race, and I need to sit down and figure out the format because I haven't checked it out yet. I'll figure it out tomorrow night. They'll tell me. I'm on a need to know basis."
DOES THE NEW CHARGER SEEM DIFFERENT THAN THE INTREPID? "You've got so many other changes involved with NASCAR and the templates and cutting off the rear spoiler at other tracks. I'll know more after I race it in California and get a good feel. California will be the first open race and that will be good for me."
DO YOU MISS THE DAYS WHEN CARS WERE MORE DIFFERENT? "Yes, because I like to hear all the car manufacturers grumble about who had the edge. You've kinda lost that a little bit. I like the nostalgia of having the different cars and the appeal from that side of it, especially when they had the T-Bird and Pontiacs and all that stuff. It's gone to a different generation and they're looking at different things."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE DAYTONA INFIELD WITH JUGGLERS AND GUYS ON STILTS? "I've said if the team guys can keep their composure this week and a half, my hat's off to 'em because they go through a lot. They're really going to be under a magnifying glass. The biggest thing is as the pressure cooker builds toward the 500 next weekend, it'll be very interesting."
DID YOU MISS RACING AT ANY POINT LAST SEASON? "At some points yes, but I realize it's a different evolution and you've got to lay it down sometimes. It's sooner or later and later might not be the way you want to do it. I feel like now I've done it kinda the way I want to do it, and it's worked out well for me. To be able to do the races I want to do and still compete and still get in good equipment, that's very important for me this point in time."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Go ManGo! Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Engine problems in the first practice session forced the team to replace the motor in the Budweiser Shootout Charger.
"I was in a real heavy pack. Two cars were in front of me, and the rest were behind. I just stayed up high and hoped everybody would go low. Everybody did. It was pretty easy to miss. I didn't move around much. I just stayed up by the wall and stayed out of the way. The car looks good. We've just got to get out there and get some drafting practice. We won't be able to get out for any more of the first practice, but we'll have it ready to go for the final session."