FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES TWIN 125 February 10, 1999 Daytona International Speedway Ford Drivers Jeff Burton, Johnny Benson and Jimmy Spencer spoke about what their expectations are in Thursday's...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES TWIN 125 February 10, 1999 Daytona International Speedway
Ford Drivers Jeff Burton, Johnny Benson and Jimmy Spencer spoke about what their expectations are in Thursday's Gatorade Twin-125s.
JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- WHAT'S YOUR PHILOSOPHY GOING INTO THE TWINS THURSDAY? "Qualifying is done and now we start the Daytona 500 by how the 125 happens, so my philosophy in the 125 is that the better you finish the better you start for the Daytona 500. You can't do something silly that's your own fault like wrecking your car or do something like that and have to get your backup car out. We go into this race, it's the best chance we have to learn something for the Daytona 500 as far as setup and you'll learn more from the 125 than you will from practice. So we go into the 125 understanding that it's a learning experience, that we can go in there and learn an awful lot that we won't learn any other time during the week. And we're also looking at it as a way to start as high as possible for the Daytona 500."
MARK HAS BEEN FAST ALL WEEK. HAS HE SHARED ANY INFORMATION WITH YOU? "We share every week. Every week we work together on everything from Rockingham to Daytona to Martinsville. We've done a lot of work, they've done a lot of work. We've shared information back and forth before we got here and since we've gotten here. It's a two-way street over here, whatever is available for me is available for him and vice versa. That's the way we've done it, just like we do every week. The Exide car is fast, the Valvoline car is fast. We both feel good."
IS IT EASIER NOW THAT YOU HAVE A YEAR UNDER YOUR BELT WITH THE TAURUS -- "It oughta be easier, but we've got new rules now. We've got higher spoilers and lower air dams than we did last year, so the book starts over."
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN YOUR PREVIOUS DAYTONA RACES THAT YOU CAN USE IN THE RACE? "You've gotta handle well. Working on your car to handle well is very important. You've gotta be fast and you've gotta handle well. If you're not fast, it's hard to run here. Fortunately, we've got a car that will run with about anybody right now, so we're working on making sure it drives good for 50 laps and, if it goes green the whole way, make sure we don't have to stop for tires. Or, if we get a caution with 10 to go, we don't need to pit and get tires. Those kinds of things. That's what we're working on right now."
JOHNNY BENSON -26- Cheerios Taurus -- ARE YOU HAPPY WITH HOW THINGS HAVE GONE SO FAR? "We should be better than that in qualifying, but we've gotten it in race setup and have run the one practice now and we need to do some work. We've made a bunch of changes, so I'm pretty optimistic. I think it's gonna run pretty good and we'll just have to wait and see what it does in Happy Hour again."
AFTER GETTING IN THAT ACCIDENT IN THE TWIN LAST YEAR AND MISSING THE 500, IS IT SAFE TO SAY ANYTHING WILL BE BETTER ON THURSDAY THAN THAT? "Well we sure hope so, that's for sure. We just need to run good and finish in the top 14 and not get in a wreck. Last year we knew if anything happened we were done and we were pretty much in the race until the last lap. They had the wreck off two and I got involved and we were done. This year we've got a little bit to fall back on, but we can't rely on that, we have to make it during the race. We're working pretty hard to get the car better and better."
IN THE TWIN WILL YOU DRIVE MORE CONSERVATIVELY OR LET IT ALL HANG OUT? "I've got to let it hang out because I have to make this race to go to Sunday. That's where my problem is. If I hang out and don't make the race, then I don't need that car for Sunday either so I have to do whatever it takes to get in the race. Whether it be driving aggressive, you try to all the time, but you've gotta be patient too. For us to get in the top 14 we've gotta make all the right moves."
JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- YOU QUALIFIED 28TH OR 29TH, ARE YOU HAPPY WITH WHERE YOUR TEAM IS AT RIGHT NOW? "Qualifying, unless you can be first or second here it doesn't really mean a whole lot except lining up in the twin-125 races. Thursday's races are the most ones and that's what we're all getting ready to run right now. The guys have worked really hard trying to get the car faster. We ran a second quicker than we tested here, but we were still about a half-second off of where we needed to be, so we've got a lot more work ahead of us. Right now we're worried about the 500, we're going for the No Bull 5. That's an extra million dollars if we win that, so we're concentrating on that right now. We're trying to do the best we can and get our car real good so, hopefully, the Team Winston car will run good on Thursday and we can make it even better on Sunday."
YOU'VE DONE WELL HERE IN THE PAST, CAN YOU USE THAT AS A SPRINGBOARD THIS YEAR? "This is a new year. I love the drafting situations and stuff. You have to have a strong car. Right now the Chevrolets are really strong. They're better than the Fords on the superspeedways without question, especially when the drag numbers come out. So, when all the smoke clears, whether you're running a Ford, Chevy or Pontiac, it's how good you are and where you put yourself the last 100 miles of the race. Hopefully the Team Winston car is up there in the top 10 and we can negotiate ourselves to the win. That's what we're hoping for."
IS THURSDAY'S RACE A CATCH-22 FOR YOU CONSIDERING YOU HAVE A CHANCE AT THE NO BULL 5 IN THE DAYTONA 500, BUT YOU DON'T WANT ANYTHING TO HAPPEN TO YOUR PRIMARY CAR BEFORE THEN? "I think it's important to try and win the race, but on the other side of it you're right. You'll know what you have Thursday afternoon getting ready for Sunday. That's when you can't pull any punches, you'll know how good you are. You won't take chances on Thursday to put yourself in a situation of taking yourself out of the 500. You're right. I think what we'll do is put ourselves in position to be in the top 15 or top 14 cars, which I think we're capable of doing right now. Naturally, we want to be in the top five and race to win, but we won't put ourselves in a position to be taken out of it, no way."