ROBBIE LOOMIS (Vice President of Competition Petty Enterprises) NOTE: Comment on Bobby Hamilton "I worked with Bobby for three years at Petty Enterprises, '95, '96 and '97. I won my first race with Bobby at Phoenix. We were talking about it...
ROBBIE LOOMIS (Vice President of Competition Petty Enterprises)
NOTE: Comment on Bobby Hamilton
"I worked with Bobby for three years at Petty Enterprises, '95, '96 and '97. I won my first race with Bobby at Phoenix. We were talking about it last night on the airplane, and the neatest thing about Hamilton was he kept the fun in racing. We had just as much fun probably through the bad times as when we won. We enjoyed it more when we won. I remember the night he won. He went back to the hotel and ordered pizza and was happy as could be.
"Hamilton was never about the TV or interviews. He got in there and did his deal. I think that was the neatest part about it. A lot of drivers come in nowadays and try to emulate someone's style or they try to wear long hair or short hair or sideburns. Hamilton just came in and stayed true to himself and never wavered from that.
"We also won a race at Rockingham in '97, and that was our last year together. Hamilton was a unique guy. He was special. He did his deal, and I think if you look at the way his cancer went it was just like the way he lived his life. He did it quietly and nobody knew a lot about what was going on. He just did his deal. Now he's up there in heaven probably thinking he's glad it's over with.
"We stayed in touch. Richard and Kyle flew us up to see him last summer on the way to California. We saw his race shop and had lunch with him. It was a neat deal, but you could look at him and see it had really taken a toll on him. Being away from him knowing he's going through it is one thing, but when you see him and see what he's going through it's a whole different thing. It changed his whole perspective I think. We all hold racing up as the biggest thing in all our lives and it showed us all how big life really is compared to racing. It caught me by surprise. I knew he was in bad shape, but the timing of it caught me by surprise."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
"It's nice to be back in the car. We've had a month and a half off and have done some testing. I'm looking forward to getting started. I'm looking forward to Daytona. We had a pretty good run here the last Daytona 500 and we're looking forward to running better than we did. It's a tough track for us. We have a new nose. We're trying to do all we can to go fast."
COMMENT ON POSSIBLE CHANGES TO THE POINT SYSTEM "Personally I think going into The Chase this year I was the guy on the edge going into Richmond and California. There was as much pressure those final five races to go into The Chase as I've ever had, just wanting to make it. That was a big part of the season to that point, those five races with everything on the line for TV and being at the track I think it was pretty exciting. I think 10 guys is pretty good. From sixth to probably 13th was pretty close. I think if you put more in it there won't be quite as much on the line at Richmond."
IS THERE A MAJOR QUESTION MARK FOR YOU THIS SEASON? "It's nice for me to be back with the exact same team for the second straight year. That's definitely a good thing with Kenny Francis and our whole team is the same. The car of tomorrow is going to be something different. The car we're starting the season with has a new nose. That will be a little bit different, too. We've been doing a little bit of testing with both of those. I think Evernham Motorsports has done a good job of staying on top of it and being prepared to race either car. We'll just have to see what happens when we get to some of these tracks and get with some of these other teams."
COMMENT ON THE NEW MANUFACTURER IN THE SPORT FOR 2007 "This morning was the first time I saw one. To see a Camry sitting there was something different. Other than that we'll see how things go. I feel like we're going to do pretty good."
ARE YOU THE ONLY DODGE TEAM NOT HAPPY TO SEE A NEW NOSE SINCE YOU SEEMED TO HAVE THE CHARGER FIGURED OUT LAST YEAR? "I think we're happy to see it. We figured out the Charger nose last year and ran really well, but it still had its certain places where it felt like certain t hings weren't right with it. Even on certain tracks where we were good if we got back in traffic it was really hard to get back to the front. It was probably the same for a lot of teams, but we're hoping the new nose helps that a little bit and helps some of the other things we fought."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE RACING IN AUSTRALIA? "Running a sprint car was great over there. I grew up wanting to race over there. Winter time is their summer, so it was exciting. I finally had the opportunity to go do it and enjoyed myself. We ran two nights and had pretty decent finishes. I was expecting more people than were there. There was a good amount of people both nights, but they were calling for rain both days. It rained during the day and it actually rained at night once and we had to repack the track halfway through the night. It was a decent crowd, but that was about it. The fans were cool, but I think they liked their Australian guys. Our fans over here are a lot more into it and get more excited. I finished third the first night and fourth the second night."
WERE YOU HOMESICK BEING AWAY FROM HOME AT CHRISTMAS? "That was the first time I'd been out of the country and the first time I'd missed Christmas. I thought it would be a good idea just to go and do something different over the holidays, but once I got there I realized I was wrong. It's not the right thing to do. From now on if I go to Australia or anywhere else, maybe I'll go on the 26th instead of the 20th and stay home for Christmas."
COMMENT ON BOBBY HAMILTON'S DEATH "I was really surprised and sad. That's someone I've looked up to just because of his work ethic and the way he got into NASCAR and the way he's run his teams. He's always had to battle and fight to do what he's done. I was surprised. I thought he was doing better than that. I just heard last night, but he had a great career in NASCAR for sure."
-credit: dodge motorsports