Will racing on Monday at Atlanta pose any problems for travel plans to Phoenix? Dodge teams say it'll be business as usual. SAMMY JOHNS (Competition Director Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepids) "We've got enough people back at the shop and...
Will racing on Monday at Atlanta pose any problems for travel plans to Phoenix? Dodge teams say it'll be business as usual.
SAMMY JOHNS (Competition Director Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepids)
"We've got enough people back at the shop and things are far enough ahead right now, so it won't be bad. The biggest thing right now will be turning the trucks around. We sent some guys home from the shop this morning so they could come in tonight and turn the trucks around. All-in-all it's not going to be too bad. We've got a Rockingham test tomorrow and Wednesday. That will make it more interesting. We've got a lot of cars going a lot of places, and a lot of trucks going a lot of places. We've got a good organized organization at Evernham Motorsports. We've got a lot of good people and it makes it a lot easier.
"The cars going to Phoenix will leave Tuesday night. We've got two truck drivers going in each truck, so they've got plenty of time to do it. It'll take 36-40 hours. We'll get 'em out Tuesday afternoon. The hardest thing to get back on the trucks will be the uniforms. We've got a good cleaning company, Jenkins Cleaners, and they'll work all night and get 'em turned around for us. We've probably got close to 60 firesuits that need to be turned around and put back on the truck. We work far enough ahead on the cars, so that's not a problem. They're sitting there ready to go.
"It's tough on the guys, but we take care of them when we can. You've got to be a racer to do this, and they all are. They're dedicated. We've got a lot of good runs lately, and we want to finish the year strong. When you've got good, dedicated guys, this kind of thing isn't a problem. They dig in and get it done. If we had to stay tomorrow, we'd have to start scrambling, but right now it looks like we're going to get it in today and everything will be good.
"The 19 car went out there and had a good test at Phoenix. It should help both cars. We've run strong out there before. We've not been strong out there before. We feel like after the test that we can go out there and have a strong weekend. I guess you could say Phoenix is a little like Richmond or Loudon. It's a mix, but it's really one of a kind. I really like it out there. The drivers like it. It's a neat place to go. Do we do any fun things out there? Yeah, we race."
RODNEY PICKLER (Driver No. 2 Miller Lite Transport Truck)
"We're scheduled to leave for Phoenix at 3 p.m. Tuesday, but we could leave later if we have to. You plan for trouble when you're making a cross-country trip. It should take somewhere between 36-40 hours. My wife Kay always goes with me. We've been a husband-wife team since 1967. I'll drive for five hours and then Kay will drive five. I started driving Winston Cup rigs in 1978 with Benny Parsons. Benny picked me up on the way to Dover.
"We'll get home tonight and get going again Tuesday afternoon. Most of the time we're off on Monday and Tuesday. The truck will be reloaded, and we'll be ready to go by mid-afternoon on Tuesday. When you go to places like Phoenix, you have to buy groceries for the weekend when you get there, and you need a little time to unwind. You think jet lag is a problem. It's nothing compared to truck lag.
"We'll make stops along the way for fuel. The truck holds 300 gallons, but we don't ever let it get empty. You can control the weight of the truck with the fuel. The truck probably weighs 80,000 pounds, and a full load of fuel probably weighs about 2,000 pounds. Fuel weighs seven pounds a gallon.
"I'm not sure exactly how far it is to Phoenix, but we'll probably put 60,000 miles a year on the hauler. That sounds like a lot, but you run for a couple of days and then park it for three or four days. One year when we delivered specialty cars, we put 228,000 miles on our rig.
I've been doing this a long time, and I'm almost 62 years old. I'm about ready to retire. I've got a farm in North Carolina I really enjoy, and I miss my family a lot. I've got a lot of farm toys to play with, and I love to hunt and fish. There's just not enough hours in the day to do it all, but we'll have plenty of time to make the Phoenix trip. By the time we get to Phoenix, unwind and shop, it'll be no time before we have to pack up for the trip back."