LARRY CARTER (Crew chief No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) COMMENT ON TALLADEGA "It wasn't very good. We really struggled Friday in qualifying trim. I really felt like we would be better than we were. We got behind a little bit on that car. We're...
LARRY CARTER (Crew chief No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
COMMENT ON TALLADEGA
"It wasn't very good. We really struggled Friday in qualifying trim. I really felt like we would be better than we were. We got behind a little bit on that car. We're trying to get a speedway program up and going, and in doing that, moving people around and moving surface plates and getting all that centralized, at some point you've got to bite off a chunk and go for it. We did and our car didn't get in the wind tunnel until Monday. We came back on Tuesday and did a little cutting on it. We really didn't have adequate time to set up. I felt like we'd be a little better, but at the same time I wasn't surprised we were struggling with the lack of time we'd spent on it. It was a little disappointing. Once we got in race trim I thought our car was pretty good. It seemed to draft well, but it's hard to get excited about those places. It's like going to a Las Vegas casino and throwing the dice out there. You really have no control over what you come up with. At least at these other places you can go race. You go there and you hope when the day is over you can load the racecar in the truck and run all the laps. We weren't able to do that, and it was kind of disappointing."
COMMENT ON CALIFORNIA
"I'm definitely excited about going out there. That place is a good racetrack. It's wide. The guys can race and they don't have to beat and bang on each other. We should have a good car, and Rusty gets around that place well. I'm looking to go out there and run pretty good."
DO YOU SEE BASE OF NASCAR TEAMS MOVING OUT OF N.C.?
"I really don't see that happening right now. Maybe it's something that would happen over time, but I don't see it happening in the near future. We still run two races at Charlotte, actually we run three. That's really a lot of days the guys get to go home and sleep in their own bed. We've still got Richmond, Bristol and Martinsville that we can drive to. Basically all the other races we fly to anyway. I really don't see us moving, plus there's such a large base of race mechanics already based here. I think you're looking at 10,000 people having to sell their homes and moving. I really don't see it moving right now."
COMMENT ON NOT RACING BACK TO YELLOW FLAG AND FINISHING RACES UNDER GREEN
"I definitely think they need to cease racing when the caution comes out. When a guy wrecks and is sitting sideways in the middle of the racetrack and you've got a guy running 20th trying to get his lap back. They're darting in and out of cars. It just makes for a dangerous situation. NASCAR has gotten where it is because of the superstars or the heroes we have. We don't need to lose any of these guys to a freak accident or something we can prevent, and that's definitely something that can be prevented. Racing is obviously a dangerous sport and some things we can't prevent, but the things NASCAR can do like slowing down the cars on pit road and not racing back to the caution are things I think we've got to do and expand on that and get better. I guess I don't have a firm handle on what happened at Talladega. I know in the drivers' meeting basically in the last five laps of the race they tell us every Sunday if a caution comes out they won't red flag the race to finish it under green. I think that rule is OK if you've got cars down in the grass and sitting everywhere wrecked. I understand that. I guess what I don't understand is they had some scoring issues and they couldn't decide who was going to be in front of who. Now you've got a guy sitting in the grandstand that paid $150 for a ticket and he's not going to be able to see the last three laps of the race because NASCAR doesn't know who's eighth and who's 12th. I think that might be a time when they should look at red flagging a race so they could get the scoring squared away, but at the same time, I still don't know what's wrong with a green-white-checkered finish. They do it in the truck series. I think now when you're talking about promoting the sport and you have these finishes that are controversial where you've got fans there that have been there all weekend, they want to see a race, they've seen a great race all day and they want to see that last lap. It gets taken away from 'em. I see their frustration. I guess there's two or three ways to look at that."
COMMENT ON NEXT TWO RACES PREPARING YOU FOR THE FINAL TWO BEFORE THE FINAL 10 IN THE FALL
"We've saved a few tests to use the later part of the year, hoping we'll be in the top 10 and be able to make a run for it. Both of these tracks are actually good tracks for us. We hope we'll be able to continue to gather information as we do every week when we go and just build on it. When we go back maybe we'll be a little ahead of where we are now. I feel like we'll be able to run good at both of those tracks. Maybe it'll just boil down to you might have to look at a Homestead our Loudon to go test to be in good shape for those races. I think we'll be able to use it as a stepping stone to get ready in the fall, but at the same time every time you go back to a track it's different than the last time you were there, so we may start similar in our setup then we're looking to get better. We're always changing. I guess the degree of change could be different from the first Richmond to the second Richmond. It probably won't be as much different from the first California to the second California."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT FINAL 10 LAPS OR LAST 5 BEING GREEN FLAG LAPS?
"I wouldn't have a problem with it. NASCAR would really be better to say their reasons. I know they have reasons for everything they do. They just don't do it for no reason. I feel like now fans are spending a lot of money to come to these races, and if it wasn't for the fans we wouldn't be able to race anyway, so we need to give the fans what they want, which is a race. Whether it's the last five laps under green or a green-white-checkered for whatever it might be, I just feel like we owe it to them to give them a race. With the tires the way they are now, it could change, but the way things are now, we're not seeing a lot of full fuel runs like we saw last year. We're seeing them, but we're just not seeing as many. We're not seeing fuel mileage play into the end of the race like we did last year. The way the game is being played right now it (fuel mileage) wouldn't be as much of an issue."
DO YOU LOOK AT THE POINTS CLOSER NOW EARLY IN THE SEASON WITH NEW CHAMPIONSHIP SYSTEM?
"I guess I'd have to say yes you would look at them closer. Really, if you look at it, we've run a third of what we're going to run before we decided if we're going to be in the final deal (10 races for championship) or not. You've actually run more of the season than you think you have because when you get to that last 10 you're either in or out. Really the first two-thirds of the year is real important, but I guess my philosophy is any time we go to the racetrack we go to win. We're not going to do any less or any more any Sunday we go. We're doing the best we can. We want to win every race. I feel like if you do those things you'll be where you need to be. I think we've run in the top 10 everywhere other than Darlington. That's probably the only race we've struggled at. I think we just need to keep doing that."