ANDY GRAVES (Team Manager Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) "Kenny did OK yesterday for his first day in a Winston Cup car. Everything went pretty smooth. It's just getting acclimated to the cars and the way we do things and getting to...
ANDY GRAVES (Team Manager Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
"Kenny did OK yesterday for his first day in a Winston Cup car. Everything went pretty smooth. It's just getting acclimated to the cars and the way we do things and getting to know the guys. We didn't have any major problems, and hopefully we'll improve the speed today. At Daytona and Talladega, you've just got to get consistent and run the same line. You're looking for hundredths of a second and not tenths. The car is just totally different from what he's used to, so that's the biggest adjustment for him.
"When you have someone with Kenny's caliber and he wants to do it and he enjoys doing it. He's a true professional and that makes it a whole lot easier. It's not as big of a pain. We've got a full fledged test team and we've got the personnel and all the equipment to do it. We've got one complete backup pit crew. We've got three pit crews that practice every single day. It works out pretty good.
"We haven't talked in depth about it, but there's a good chance we might run a few more races after Daytona with Kenny. We're looking for a sponsor, so it's not 100 percent. We want to see how testing goes and see what Kenny thinks, but they are pursuing a sponsor to run a limited schedule this year.
"I've been to a couple of (CART) tests that he's been on. He's pretty neat. He's a true professional and good with feedback, so that helps quite a bit. I guess with my understanding of how open wheel guys work and the dialogue they use, me being here probably helps him be more at ease. I'd say Kenny would be a longshot to win the Daytona 500, but I think it would increase our chances. It seems nowadays that about the only people that will work with you are your teammates. We already feel like we've got one of the strongest superspeedway pairings with Spencer and Sterling. If we can add Kenny to the mix I think it would be pretty exciting.
"He's got drafting experience in IROC for two series. I'd like to see him go to Indy for the Brickyard, and we'll take it from there. He's not available for the Watkins Glen race, but he is available for Sears Point. That'd probably be an option, and we'll take it from there."
KENNY BRACK (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Brack, 35, is a native of Arvika, Sweden. He won four CART races and six poles last season for car owner Chip Ganassi. The 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner, finished second in the 2001 CART standings.
"It's very interesting. I've got some IROC experience at some of these tracks, but obviously a Winston Cup car is a little different, but it's roughly the same feel. I'm used to the feel a little bit. It's great to finally be in a Winston Cup car. We haven't drafted here yet, so I don't know how this car will feel in the draft.
"A stock car is like comparing tennis to squash or something. It's the same game, it's racing, but it's so different when you compare an open wheel car to a stock car. Right now, I've been given a chance to test a few days and get my feet wet and then we'll see if they can find some extra funding for the race (Daytona 500). If not, we'll leave it at that. I've always wanted to test a stock car, so I'm just grateful for that right now. I'm taking it one step at a time. Next week, we'll test the CART car. I try to focus on the near future and what will come will come.
"I know a fair amount of these drivers since my IROC days. I've been there for two years. I know Jerry Nadeau from earlier open wheel days. We used to race against each other eight or nine years ago. I've had only nice experiences with all the guys down here, mainly through the IROC series. They're a fun bunch of guys. I'm sure that may change if you race in the Winston Cup Series, who knows. So far, so good. It's been a very pleasant experience. I like the feel of NASCAR.
"I haven't talked to Sterling Marlin yet. I'm excited to do so. I've heard him talk. He seems like a pretty interesting guy. I've been here since 1997. I did my first championship here in '93 in the Barber-Saab Series. I started in the IRL in '97 and did that for two and a half years, and then I've done CART for two years. I'm in my third year in CART.
"I look at every race as a challenge to do my best and try to work together with the team to get the most out of the car. When I go away from the race, I want to feel that I've given it everything I could for good results. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don't. If I should get an opportunity to do Winston Cup, I would look at that the same way. There's no other way of looking at it if you want to be successful.
"The racing is definitely competitive. I'd say the CART series has some very competitive racing. Last year we had 11 winners in 20 races. The rules are in such a way that everybody can buy the same equipment. It's difficult to win. It's down to the guy who wakes up the right way on Sunday morning and the team and everything. It's extremely competitive. That's something I'm used to. I think Winston Cup is the same way, and that's the way racing should be. I've run two IROC races here. I know the track, but drafting in a Cup car is probably totally different than in an IROC car.
"I've got a lot to learn. You just don't jump into something new and bam, it's there. I have no hopes that will be the case here. I know it'll be tough if we get that far, but it's a challenge. That's what life is all about.
"My wife likes NASCAR. She's been to a lot of IROC races. I'm from the countryside in Sweden, and I like the feel in NASCAR. I like the feel in CART, too. I never have trouble getting along with people. I like the feel of most American racing to be honest with you. It's a nice feeling. NASCAR is a very well-looked after series. It's a challenge to try to do well.
"Andy was with Ganassi when they won the Indy 500 in 2000, and I won the Indy 500 in '99. They took after me there, I guess. Andy has experience in open wheel racing, and he's a huge Formula One fan. Chip Ganassi is a racer. He's got successful operations in CART and NASCAR. He thinks about racing all the time, and that's how it should be."