Ford Daytona Notes 98-01-20


FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DAYTONA 500 January 20,1999 Daytona International Speedway


BUTCH MOCK, Car Owner -75- Remington Arms Taurus -- "To say that I'm enthused about 1999 would be an understatement. I know I sat up here a couple years ago, but this is an awesome, awesome program that I feel I've put together this year. I feel extremely fortunate to get the people that I've been able to surround myself with for the 1999 season. It starts with Ted Musgrave. I feel honored to have him here. I was enthused when I was able to get him here, but now that I've worked with him for a couple months here at the shop I can't tell you how awesome he really is. "We're also very honored and fortunate to get Jon Wolfe here as crew chief. He's got an extensive background in Winston Cup racing. He came from Joe Gibbs and the 18 car. He was there for eight years working under Jimmy Makar and Jon felt this was a good opportunity for him to come out as crew chief and win some races. I've got a lot of confidence in what we're doing here. I've looked at our team real hard and I'm honored to have him also. "We also brought Troy Selberg (Team Organizer) back. We go back several years when Todd Bodine was here. We had a lot of success and he's basically running the shop when Jon is away, coordinating all of what's going on here getting these cars built. I want Jon and Ted to really concentrate hard on chassis setup, hanging the bodies on the cars, working with Robert Yates Racing, and really thinking about pit stops and strategy and that sort of thing. We've brought a lot of experienced people in and rebuilt this team basically over this winter. We're putting a massive effort in to run extremely well in the Daytona 500. "I had an engine shop that I put in here last year. The guys did a great job. I had the opportunity to get involved with Robert Yates Racing for 1999. We've created an alliance together, not just basically an engine thing but it's more of an alliance. I'm a single car team sitting out here. We've seen the multi-car teams running really well and kind of the trend was if you didn't have two cars you maybe weren't going to be so successful, so I'm trying to take the best of two worlds. I'm sole owner here, but I'm trying to benefit from Robert Yates Racing. I think it's gonna work out really well. "Just the other day Doug Yates had one of our cars down there in his shop and they actually worked on our car for us. It's gonna work out good. Ted has committed himself to helping out Kenny Irwin with some chassis setup stuff and that's our give back to them. We're really trying to work closely together. We need some help, they need some help and this will allow Dale and Todd to concentrate on winning the championship. "I'm pumped up and really enthused. We're building a lot of new cars, rebuilding every car that we have basically in the shop. Ted has been an integral part. He comes here everyday and spends time with these guys out in the shop and it's made a tremendous difference with the guys in the shop. You get a driver that really cares about what he's doing. I'm not gonna say he's got a point to prove because he really doesn't. Everybody here knows that Ted Musgrave is capable of winning some races, but he's proven to me what kind of man he is and how he really is a racer at heart and it has really funneled down through this race team."

DO YOU FEEL A SINGLE-CAR TEAM CAN STILL BE SUCCESSFUL? "I still feel that a single-car team can win races and Jon just came out of it. They did it at the 18 car, but I've also seen the other side of the coin. In the perfect world, two-car teams would probably be a better deal, but we've seen two multi-car teams, to some degree, self-destruct. You've got competitiveness between the teams. We've seen a little of that with some of the other multi-car teams that are here now. It's not always what it seems to be on the outside. "I almost view, even though Rick Hendrick's got three teams, I view the 24 car as a single-car team. I'm not so sure how much the 5 and the 50 can help the 24. I think if the other two teams went away they would still do what they're doing. I really feel strongly about that. "It's a combination of the driver and the crew chief and the guys they got around him as to why they are successful as they are. I'm not gonna say that with test dates and maybe extra revenue with the sponsor money that more money isn't better because it probably is, but when you've got a driver-crew chief situation that really gets its act together, than a second-car team can help those two guys. "I've been racing long enough to know. I've had plenty of drivers in my career and they all drive different. They want different things, they look for different feels, so what one guy wants doesn't necessarily mean the other guy can apply to it. Wind tunnel time, engine testing, yeah, all of those can be shared by two teams and you can split the cost of that. To me, that's the single biggest thing, but I know if Ted is looking for a certain feel and he and Jon get on the same page, me having a second team is not gonna help them in the chassis department. It could help them with wind tunnel time, it could help them with engine R&D and all that sort of thing to have a second team."

CAN YOU TALK MORE ABOUT HAVING YATES ENGINES? "Who in a Ford would not want to share Robert Yates engines for the '99 season. That's bringing a big plus to this race team. We got a little dose of that down at Daytona of what they've really got and it's awesome. That's all I can say, it's awesome. I know it was a big consideration when Ted first came to me because I had just put an engine shop in. He said, 'Would you consider running Robert's motors?' I said, 'Heck yeah, if we could ever do that. It would be awesome.' I know it was a consideration with Jon. You've gotta have a good engine program. "I view Robert Yates Racing as an engine shop that happens to have a race team. All these other teams are race teams that happen to have an engine shop. Those guys are really horsepower-oriented and the more I've gotten involved with Robert and Doug on a close level, the more I see it. They're real racers. Those guys want to win races. They have no tolerance for not running well and we're being the recipient of that with the engine program. They want us to go down there and run really well. Doug feels like it's gonna help their team stay in check. If Ted outruns the 28 or outruns the 88, they'll say, 'Hey, you guys need to get going here.' They take a lot of pride in their engines and I feel honored to have a relationship with them that's going a little bit deeper than just in the engine department." "There's a lot of talent here. Ted is not a rookie. Jon is not a rookie. I'm not a rookie car owner. We've surrounded these guys with some pretty talented people. There's a lot here and it's not gonna take very much to all of a sudden say, 'Where did those guys come from?' I think that had these two guys not seen that here, they wouldn't be here. Ted certainly had a lot of options. There were a lot of people pulling at Ted at the end of last year to drive their race car and he showed how good he was climbing into cars he never sat in before and running good. He was outrunning me and I said, 'What's going on there?' "Jon saw the same thing. Jon left a very good job to come here. He was not on the street looking for a job. He had a secure situation, but he believed in what we were doing. He looked at the ingredients here and looked at Ted's ability and track record. He saw the guy runs good, he runs up front and doesn't wreck a lot of cars. The Yates engine thing obviously speaks for itself. We had good basic cars here, so it's just a matter of fine-tuning what we have. It's an awesome program, it really is and I can't really think where we're really weak. The weakest thing is we just all haven't worked together yet, but it's not like you've gotta train each other. I think it's gonna be an awesome deal. There's no reason we shouldn't be in the top 10 in the points. It's just all here. The 88 runs in the top 10 in the points and we know the engines are capable of doing that. "Ted's been there, just a couple years ago he was seventh in the points. Jon's been there every year with Joe Gibbs Racing, so you can see why I'm enthused as a car owner. I feel like the pieces are here and it's gonna be pretty awesome."

HOW IS IT DETERMINED WHICH YATES ENGINE GOES TO WHICH TEAM? "Obviously, that would be a concern if you were doing business with those guys. I don't want third-string engines, but they had a great answer. There answer was, 'We don't build third-string engines.' That was a great answer. They said, 'We don't have bad stuff.' "When we were at Daytona, Doug (Yates) and Jeff Clark literally came down and worked on our car for a long time and not just on engine stuff. They were making sure everything was right on the cars. It wasn't just a customer thing. That was our very first deal together. Since we've been home they've literally taken our car to their shop and ran it on their dyno. They've worked on it and it's really got my confidence way up."

TED MUSGRAVE -75- Remington Arms Taurus -- CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS ON HAVING A NEW START IN 1999 AFTER DRIVING FOR ALL THOSE TEAMS A YEAR AGO? "Actually, last year the second half really wasn't that difficult. It was probably relief and more fun than anything. The six different cars I drove was an experience. First off with Bud Moore, nobody would turn down Bud Moore to try and help him out and that's what I did. But, then again, driving the 23 car, the 77 car, the 13 car and the 96, it was difficult in a way because we talked about the deal just before Sonoma and changes for next year. "The pressure was on from the sponsorship and some of the people up in the higher ranks of Roush that if we didn't win a race halfway through the season that they were gonna make some big changes. Winning a race nowadays is not like, 'OK, I'm gonna win one and be done with it,' it's tough. We ran second at Martinsville again and had done a few things, but it wasn't good enough. "So, the second half of the season was good for me just to go out and look and see what a lot of these race teams were like in the background. There was a lot of knowledge that I kind of gained by going to different places and doing different things. Again, I tested the 1 car at Talladega for Dale (Earnhardt) and there were a few things I learned there. Then again, I did some racing for Travis Carter and for the 77. I lost a little information because I had to give up some things to run good, but I just went out and more or less had a little fun. I wanted to stay high in the point standings for next year, but I've got something to prove for sure. "Like Butch said, it doesn't take a multi-car operation to win a race. Jon knows that. The 18 car won a couple races last year and sat on poles. It can be done. Yeah, I've got something to prove for sure. Butch has been gracious enough to let me run some Busch Grand National races with Diamond Ridge next year so I can keep up on some things and learn a little bit that I might be able to apply for here. "I believe that it's a good situation that I've got here. I've got a great crew chief that's been under Jimmy Makar for seven or eight years. He knows what goes on. We put him through the test here the other day at Daytona. It was the first time we worked together and he doesn't get excited, he's a thinker like me. He won't get excited or throw books around. I even spun out the first lap and when I came in he had a grin on his face. He wasn't mad. Just things like that. You can tell that things are gonna work out real well. "I definitely have something to prove but I'm not telling that to everybody, I know it inside. I've got the equipment. I think it's just gonna take a little bit of knocking the rough edges off with getting the cars done and getting communication going. We're working with a whole new bunch of guys. It started out a little rough at Daytona, but we got really good. I think we came out of there fairly respectable. I think we were like 11th overall with a car we only worked half a day with basically. Now we're gonna go to the wind tunnel, we've got a lot of things coming up that we're gonna catch up on and we're gonna be real good. I'm real happy about this deal."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE YATES ADDITION? "Our cars will accept any motor off of their trailer. Our cars are plugged the same, the motor mount is the same. Everything is the same. They even told us, 'If you don't think one of yours is running right, come and get one off of the 28 or 88 trailer.' It just bolts right in, so they can't build us a motor to fit different plates because it's all interchangeable right down to the nut, bolt and holes."

YOU'RE KNOWN AS A GREAT TECHNICIAN, BUT DO YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO BECOME MORE AGGRESSIVE ON THE RACE TRACK? "We've looked at a lot of that kind of stuff and being more aggressive to start with. That's one of the things we want to watch and be sure that we stay up front right off the bat and get away from the mid-pack and see what the contenders are doing. We've gotta get into that strategy plan and that's where Jon is gonna come in and help me on that part. I don't really have to think about anything on the race track other than what the car's doing and then relay that to him. We're gonna be a little more aggressive because I think we can do that now with the horsepower we've got. We can get the straightaways better and take care of the car in the corner more. Before, you really had to hustle the car through the corner to keep up, so that will work out better in the long run, too."

WHAT ARE YOU GONNA HAVE TO GIVE ROBERT YATES IN EXCHANGE FOR THE HORSEPOWER? "Whatever he asks, I guess. I don't care. Whatever it takes. Robert is really good. He's been good to me and I've been good to him. I'll do anything they want me to do. If I can help them out in anyway with Kenny or on-track deals, it's gonna be viewed as like a second team. I'll help them out as much as I can because they're fully committed to make this thing run as good as their cars. They've proved that to me because when we left Daytona they weren't really too sure about the tailpipes we built on our cars. They said, 'Why don't you bring that car to our shop, run it on our chassis dyno, and see if it puts out the same power to the ground as our cars?' And it was off a little bit. They think it was in the tailpipes, so they're building a set of tailpipes for our car to match theirs. It's almost like having second team working on my car, so if I can return any favor to them, I'm committed to do that."

WILL YOU BE COACHING KENNY? "No, the only thing I'll do there is if there's a problem I'll help. I'll be like an open book. If he tells me his car is loose in or this or that, I'll try to help him out any way I possibly can. I guess kind of like a troubleshooter. If I need to jump in his car, I did it once last year in Charlotte. They were having trouble there for two days with the car. I went down to test the 13 car and Robert asked me if I would mind taking his car out for a lap or two. Within a lap or two I told where I thought the problem was, they fixed it and Kenny felt a lot better. Kenny's driven everything, but he's still in a transition period with Winston Cup. If I can help him, he's a great driver, but if I can help him and make him feel more comfortable in the car, he can be a little more aggressive and do a better job too. If I can help them out that way, that's fine."

HOW DID THIS YATES DEAL COME ABOUT? "After that test in Charlotte Robert asked me if there was ever anything he could do for me. I told him, 'Maybe in the future.' So we left it at that. Then just through rumblings in the media I heard that Robert was maybe ready to start a third team. When I heard that I was already high-tailing it 80 miles an hour down the road to his office. I said, 'Robert, I heard this. Is this true? And, if it is true I'd like to just put my name in the hat for the ride, if I could.' He said, 'I can't have a third team. There's no way I can have a third team.' But he told me that if I could find the right situation for next year, he would help me out on the motor program. He said he would help me further than that if he could, but he couldn't have a third team. I guess this is his way of having a third team."

JON WOLFE, Crew Chief -75- Remington Arms Taurus -- CAN YOU TALK ABOUT MAKING THE MOVE FROM THE 18 CAR TO THIS TEAM? "I guess it's kind of a different transition for me because I wasn't a crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing, I was assistant crew chief under Jimmy Makar. So really the whole thing is kind of a new ballgame for me. Butch, Ted and Troy have really made the transition easy for me. They're helping me make decisions, helping me with the day-to-day things that go on. Yes, it is a big transition and I'm sure I've got more hills to climb."

AT THE 18 SHOP THE GUYS GOT A DAY OFF DURING THE WEEK. ARE YOU GOING TO TRY AND DO THAT AS WELL OVER HERE? "We've already discussed that and I addressed that with Butch when I interviewed. The guys need some time off. These guys have families, they have lives. There is life beyond racing, believe it or not. Some people don't believe that, but I do. I want to instill that same quality here. The guys need some time. We are planning on a six-day work week for everybody in the shop."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Todd Bodine , Ted Musgrave , Robert Yates
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , Yates Racing