STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Compton, a 34-year-old driver from Grit, Va., will start 43rd in Sunday's 43-car field. "We don't know what happened in qualifying. We'll try to figure it out. It's very disappointing. We...
(No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Compton, a 34-year-old driver from Grit, Va., will start 43rd in Sunday's 43-car field. "We don't know what happened in qualifying. We'll try to figure it out. It's very disappointing. We just assumed we'd come here and be good. We always have been. We got off the corner good, and I thought we could run a .30. We just weren't where we needed to be. I don't know where the speed was because the car didn't feel that bad. We'll just have to dig harder Sunday. You can't assume anything in Winston Cup period. You've got to be on your game 100 percent from the word go. We felt like we were. "I live about 45 minutes from Martinsville. I love this place. Clay Campbell and I are best friends, and we've always run good here. We'll have a lot of people up in the stands pulling for us Sunday. I hate being the first one across that stage Sunday morning, but it's better than not going across it at all. It was too close. There's a whole lot of good cars back there in the back taking provisionals. With us as far back in the points as we are, we were on the borderline. "Our back's against the wall. You've just got to go as hard as you can possibly go from the drop of the green. You can't wait around. You're going to come out of here with some fenders and sides beat up, but you've got to go."
(No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We're going to put the combination in the car that we've run for years up here. I think we'll be OK for the race. We've got to adjust for the harder tire, but we're not going way off base from what we used to run. I think we'll be good, but it's hard to pass. Once it gets strung out and gets going, we'll be all right. Our car always seems to be good on long runs. We'll see what happens. We ran fifth here in the first race and probably had a better car than that. Me and Bobby Hamilton didn't stop for tires, and the 88 and them guys came back up through there and got us. We probably had a top three car. "It's been pretty much business as usual since we won last week at Charlotte. I went to the hockey game last night in Roanoke. I've never been to a hockey game, but I admire them boys. They've got to be in good shape to play that game. I watched about half of it and it was pretty fun. Tennessee doesn't play today. They need some more practice before they play again."
LARRY McREYNOLDS (Consultant Petty Enterprises Dodge Intrepid R/T teams)
HOW CLOSELY HAVE YOU WORKED WITH DODGE THIS SEASON?
"I wish I could have worked a little closer with Dodge this season, but this deal was ever how much time I wanted to spend on it. I had to be careful I didn't paint myself in the same corner I just stepped out of. That's working seven days a week, 42 hours a day. I try to be here as much as I can at the track and go to the shop periodically. I went to a couple of wind tunnel tests. I could have turned it into a seven-day a week deal if I had wanted to. I think they would have welcomed it. I don't want to be burned out when 2002 starts, and it's almost here. "When I met with the Dodge people a couple of years ago, Bob Wildberger, Ted Flack, there was no question that they very much were dedicated to do whatever it takes to make this deal right. Everybody in the garage area can blame it on the front end pulled out, but take that away from it. You've got a brand new car with a brand new engine with half of your teams brand new teams. You sit on the pole for the Daytona 500, Talladega, to have one Dodge to have been in the top 10 in points and for the most part the top five in points all year. Even if you didn't win, what a tip of the hat to those folks. That's a pretty big accomplishment. A year ago, the guys didn't have a motor. They just barely had a car. What they've accomplished is phenomenal. "Dodge has won three of the last seven races, and that's good news-bad news. The good news is you've won three out of the last seven. The bad news is you've won three out of the last seven. They'll be lined up at the red and white trailer. I've been in that line before."
IS THERE A DISADVANTAGE FOR THE DODGE ENGINE ON THE SHORT TRACKS?
"I'll give you feedback from watching it half a season from the broadcast booth and half of a half helping work on the Dodges. Aerowise, it's a pretty good package. How much that helps you here, I don't know. Probably not a lot, but it doesn't hurt. It's not going to help as much as Charlotte. "Places where the rpm's fall real low, like Martinsville, it's a little bit of a struggle. You can't fix it by putting in a lower gear. I've talked to other Dodge teams and drivers, and it kind of backs that up. Loudon, N.H., is a place where I feel like it showed up quite a bit. Here it's going to show up, Phoenix, Ariz., places like that. I think you can fix that, but it's just going to kill the top power. It's almost like the top of the fence between good torque, acceleration, good low end power and good high end of horsepower. It's all like a point, and it's very hard to fix. "I think the good balance on the car downforce wise helps that a little bit. You can go through the corners faster, so it's not as magnified as when the downforce wasn't as good the first half of the season. All we can do is gear it accordingly without over gearing it. That doesn't seem to fix it. We'll get the cars driving as good as we can with the hopes that we'll get better and get fixed in time. "It's all in the engine combination, and I don't know anything in that department that's an easy fix. There's no question it should be fixable. With the people they've got working on them, Ted Flack, Joey Arrington and right away Mike Ege, I think when you figure in that brain trust, you should be able to figure it out. Mike Ege is going to do the Petty Motors next year."
DO YOU THINK THAT WILL BE A GOOD MOVE FOR THE PETTYS?
"Mike Ege is a smart guy. In 1987, Bobby Allison about went in the grandstands at Talladega. I was working for Kenny Bernstein in the 26 car. The next superspeedway race was Daytona in July. That's when they went to the 390 carburetor. The 390 carburetor can be a bear to make good power. Mike Ege was working for that organization and he fixed our carburetor. The 390 carburetor at that time seemed to favor the Ford engine a little better than the GM motor. He had us almost in a class of our own for GM cars. I think we were the only GM car that even qualified in the top 12. He's a smart guy. He does Travis Carter's motors, Brett Bodine's, PPI. They do a lot of motors now."
COMMENT ON SUCCESS OF CHIP GANASSI TEAM
"Right out of the box at Daytona to the next week at Rockingham, to Vegas, there's not been many weeks they weren't competitive. I guess I look back a couple of years ago, and the fingers were being pointed at Sterling saying he's just here going through the motions. It was a lot like they were saying about Ricky Rudd. I'm happy for Sterling, but if I'm happy for one person it's Tony Glover as much as anybody. He's taken a pretty large beating since he left the 4 car. I think the 4 car has taken a beating since he left there and he's taken a beating since he left the 4 car. Until the 28 car hired Ricky Rudd, I almost see a similar situation with the 28 car and Larry McReynolds. I'd been beat to pieces since I left there, and the 28 had been beat to pieces since I left there. For four years, between the 28 car and Larry, we'd only won two races. They won Michigan in '97, and I won Daytona in '98, but there's no question that you've got to tip your hat to Chip Ganassi. He came in and moved the right pegs in the right holes. He moved some things around and took a chance on a very young crew chief that nobody still today probably doesn't know who he is, but Lee McCall has made it all work with Tony Glover standing at his side. The whole package has complimented each other. "There's no question that Andy Graves is a big part of that, too. He's the Chip Ganassi in Mooresville. That's what it boils down to. Chip can't be there, and Andy is there and has been with Chip a long time. He was with Chip a good year before he ever came into that deal. He's learned a lot from Chip Ganassi, what he does, how he does it, how he wants it done, how he thinks it should be done, how it should be structured, how it should be organized. I'm sure that's played a role in that deal, too."
COMMENT ON 2001 SEASON
"It's been a terrible year. It's so sad because a lot of great things have happened, but no one will remember 2001 for the great things that have happened. You look at Michael Waltrip winning the Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick stepping in and being the most sensational rookie that's ever come along. Dodge's return, a new spark in some of our older veterans that some people had written off. Going to two beautiful new venues, Chicago and Kansas. The list goes on and on, but people are going to remember 2001 by losing the greatest race car driver that's ever strapped a helmet on his head, by losing Blaise Alexander and the fact that our country went through one of the greatest disasters that it's probably ever been through. It's the only thing I've ever seen that's put a break in the action of NASCAR racing. That's how they're remember 2001, unfortunately. I go back to Daytona. My first full-time job as a broadcaster, even though I'd done 60 or 70 broadcasts since '95, all that was a hobby I guess. We felt the Fox team was about nine and half seconds away from having the greatest broadcast of a race that there's ever been, but turn four of the last lap kind of washed it all out."
(Manager, NASCAR Engine Programs -- Dodge Engineering)
"We've done a lot of development this season with the Dodge engine, and we're more comfortable with it now. We've got some weight out of the engine, and we certainly ran better at Richmond. The 40 car was one of the cars to beat at Richmond. The Pettys ran good, and some gremlins got the Evernham cars. All-in-all, the Dodges performed well at Richmond and qualified well. If Richmond is any indication, then we should be fine at Martinsville. I'm pleased with the progress of our engine program this season. In 10 months, we've won three Cup races and 13 truck races, so to say I'm pleased is an understatement. It's more like thrilled."