RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid) NOTE: Wallace was fifth fastest overall and posted the fastest time in a Dodge on Tuesday at 181.452 mph. "I was real surprised. The car we thought that was going to be a little better was the...
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid)
NOTE: Wallace was fifth fastest overall and posted the fastest time in a Dodge on Tuesday at 181.452 mph.
"I was real surprised. The car we thought that was going to be a little better was the 2-A and the 2-B seems to be a little bit better at the moment. We're going to try to make the 2-A Dodge like the B car tomorrow. For the first step of building restrictor-plate motors, I thought the guys did a good job out of the box. It helped a lot going to Talladega when Buddy Baker drove the car. They found a lot of stuff we needed to work on. We brought it back and rebuilt the cars, got 'em in shape and brought 'em here. We took the fastest car and we'll run the next best in the Bud Shootout. Then we'll get qualified as well as we can.
"We did a little qualifying run at the end today, and I really didn't get any faster. The motor just got too hot. We've got to work on getting the motor to stay a little cooler. We've got about six or eight things we've got to cycle through on the qualifying stuff. When we're done with that, we're going to do all the race setups we possibly can. We'll get in drafting real good, get it happy and by the end of the third day hopefully we'll be real happy.
"There hasn't been a big adjustment for me switching to Dodge. When I look under the hood, it all looks different. There's a lot of motor under that hood with those big red valve covers. I'm pretty happy with it. I thought we did good today. NASCAR has got the cars running pretty close together with these new rules.
"I keep telling me that I should have won a lot of races last year and I didn't. I had many races won - the Brickyard, the Pepsi 400, Bristol, Arizona. One race that really killed me was the one where I was running second with 15 laps to go, catching Matt Kenseth three tenths a lap for a million dollar bonus from RJR and I blew a right-front tire. I really thought I could have won that race. I think I've got the bad luck out of the way.
"I compare this to to my '92 season when I ran good all year long but had a bunch of failures. Last year I didn't have failures. I'll never forget in '92 when Earnhardt and I were sitting in the back room. He was 12th, and I was 13th (in standings). They started the banquet and he left. The very next year, we were so upset that I came out and won 10 races and he won six or seven. He won the championship, and I finished second, so we both had a good year. You're digging down deep to find all you can, but then you find a little bit more."
"I don't feel old. The only thing that makes you feel old is when everybody tells you you're old. I ask them what they're comparing it to. I signed up with the Miller Brewing Company when I was 36 years old. These guys out here are 25. I still don't consider this sport anything like baseball or football or anything like that. I think NASCAR Winston Cup racing is all about how long you've been here and the things you saw and all of the mistakes you've made and not to do them again. It's a very technical sport. I'm ready to rock and roll and I feel like I'm ready to win races in this Dodge. I get tired of hearing all the young stuff. Instead of talking about the race car drivers, they want to separate us into age limits and group us for some reason.
"I think the key to our whole season is going to be under that hood. The engine is going to make a big difference, and the driver is going to make a big difference. I've got to work out a little bit more. I had a little bit too much vacation. At least I didn't crash skiing. I did that a couple of years ago and broke my arm. I was out in Utah skiing and skied for four days, snowmobiled our butts off and didn't get hurt. I feel real good. I feel real strong and determined to go out and kick some butt and win many races instead of no races.
"I know we're going to have a strong car in the 500. I've never won the 500, but I should have won it many, many times. We've had a lot of second-place finishes and top fives. I'm pumped up about it. Roger and I talked about changing to Dodge, and we made a big decision and went for it. He's on me to test more. If it was up to him, I'd test every single day of the week. I'm not much on testing, but I like it when I learn something. I learned a lot today. I learned a lot at Louisville, Ky. This is my second Dodge test. This is the first day I drove a Dodge with a restrictor-plate engine. We'll tune it all up and see where we end up.
"We're getting ready to go to the Dodge dinner tonight. I hope a lot of people show up because I'm going to have a big surprise for 'em."