Fontana: Pontiac Racing - Newt Moore interview

Schrader looking to rebound from first-quarter losses. DETROIT, Mich., April 24, 2002 - If Pontiac driver Tony Stewart were a publicly-traded entity, he would be reporting a profitable first quarter and would still be rated as a "strong buy" as...

Schrader looking to rebound from first-quarter losses.

DETROIT, Mich., April 24, 2002 - If Pontiac driver Tony Stewart were a publicly-traded entity, he would be reporting a profitable first quarter and would still be rated as a "strong buy" as the series begins its second quarter at California Speedway.

Meanwhile, Grand Prix driver Ken Schrader is looking for better fortune in the final three-quarters of the season. Schrader, who has run competitively in almost every event, has suffered a season's worth of misfortune over the first nine races. The veteran Pontiac driver is hoping this week's trip to California helps remove the monkey from his back - a monkey identified as "King Kong" by crew chief Newt Moore.

Newt Moore, Crew Chief, No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix:

HOW DID YOUR TEST GO AT CALIFORNIA?

"It went real well. It was us and the '12' car (Ryan Newman) out there, so that was a good baseline to work off of. We were substantially faster than them, which was hard to believe. But, it was a brand new car and everything was really good.

"Out there last year, we were terrible and we knew we had to go test there and get better. The car was really good, so we're looking forward to going out there, for sure."

WITH THE MISFORTUNE YOUR TEAM HAS EXPERIENCED THUS FAR IN 2002, HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS WEEKEND?

"Well, I hate to say 'do or die,' but it's getting to that point. We got everybody together at the shop on Monday (after Talladega) and had a meeting to talk about where we're at and just make sure we're not missing anything. We've led some laps and we've been competitive, but we've also had five flat tires under green this year. We've been wrecked and, of course, we had that deal happen on Sunday (a piece of roll bar padding came loose, fell down, hit the ignition switch and shut off the engine). It's been so up-and-down, it's unbelievable. It's hard to keep everybody excited. But, on the other hand, we've got a good group of people. They know that if we can get this monkey off our back - actually, it's starting to feel like 'King Kong' - we'll be OK.

"This weekend is very important. We basically started our year over on Monday. We're going to look at the points from this race to the end of the year.

"We're just starting over. It's tough. This is the toughest deal I've ever had to deal with as a crew chief - trying to keep everybody motivated. We know we can do this. We've thought about bringing a witch doctor in. We've thought about a lot of things, just to try to turn this around.

"I talked to Jimmy Makar about this. He is kind of a hero of mine and he's a champion crew chief. I talked to him and Larry McReynolds about these things, and they've tried to help me understand that this is just part of the deal. You can't do anything different. You can't change what got you here."

-pontiac-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ken Schrader , Ryan Newman