FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DAYTONA 500, February 8, 1999 Daytona International Speedway RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO COME AWAY WITH A WIN HERE AT DAYTONA? "It would mean everything in the world...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DAYTONA 500, February 8, 1999 Daytona International Speedway
RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO COME AWAY WITH A WIN HERE AT DAYTONA? "It would mean everything in the world to me. I've won a lot of races, but the Daytona 500 is the one that's eluded me for a long time and I'd sure like to win it."
EARNHARDT WON LAST YEAR AND MARTIN WON THE SHOOTOUT. IT SEEMS LIKE ANY OF YOU GUYS HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN IT. "Yeah, I really think Dale Earnhardt is gonna be super-strong again this year. I think that Gordon is gonna be super-strong, Martin, man, I could talk forever. Everybody is so close this year. I've never seen qualifying times so close in my whole life down here at Daytona, so it just goes to show that the competition is getting so tough. Everybody is working so hard that these times are getting compacted and we're all running pretty close to the same speeds now."
ARE YOU MORE OPTIMISTIC THIS YEAR? "I'm optimistic and I'm always optimistic, I'm just not making any predictions. That's what's going on. I'm glad I didn't make any predictions yesterday, I would have looked like a fool. Yesterday, I really honestly felt like I had a great car. I came from 15th to fourth and at the end I just couldn't see because of all the oil on the windshield, but we won't make that mistake again. That's for doggone sure. Right now, my main focus is on this Daytona 500 car. One race at a time. The 125 is the most important race at the moment, then when that's over I've got IROC on Friday, I'm in that, and then after IROC is the Daytona 500, so there's a lot of racing left here at Daytona for me and a lot of time to make up for that stupid mistake yesterday."
DO YOU FEEL AS GOOD AS YOU EVER FELT COMING DOWN HERE? "Yeah, I do. I feel, honestly, every bit as good for this year's Daytona 500 than I've ever felt in my life. I've got a great car, a great crew. Unfortunately, I couldn't show what we had yesterday because of the blunder I made with missing the driver's introduction. That's something that will stick with me for a long time to come. I've made some dumb mistakes, but that's probably the stupidest one right there. But that's all done now. Now the points thing and stuff starts for the Daytona 500, but first we've gotta get the 125 finished and get a good solid starting position. But, above all, make sure this car handles real, real good. My car started losing the front end a little bit yesterday and I really wasn't liking that part, so we're gonna think about that and work on that this morning."
THERE ARE A LOT OF FACTORS THAT GO INTO WINNING THIS RACE, RIGHT? "You talk about some bad luck. I remember last year when some of the cars crashed on pit road. It took some great contenders out of the event, so that was some bad luck, no doubt about it. Dale Jarrett was in it and some other cars also, but if everything doesn't go right at Daytona it can be miserable. I've been down here when everything went bad and I've been down here when everything went good like last year. I just hope I have at least as good a year this year as I did last year. I'm gunning for that first Daytona 500 victory, that's my main goal right now."
IS THIS THE BEST CAR YOU'VE EVER HAD HERE? "Well, it is the best car I've had. I tell you, this car is a great car and I haven't ever had a race setup in it yet. It's got the Bud Shootout springs, the shocks, everything out of that car we put in this car this morning, so we're gonna go out and hopefully it'll handle as good as that car did because that was a great handling car. If I had to bring that Bud Shootout car out of the trailer and they said I had to race it in the 500 I'd go, 'No problem, that's just fine.' But this car should be better."
WHY SO MANY MENTAL MISTAKES THIS FIRST WEEKEND? "There have been some crazy mental mistakes, but we're so used to going to driver's meeting, we go to chapel service. After that's over we get suited up, we walk out for driver's introduction and go. I did all that yesterday. The chapel service, I went to the driver's meeting on time. I did everything right. I assumed, and this is where I screwed up, I assumed that the driver's introduction was gonna be before the race. I didn't know it was gonna be before the last chance race. That's where I dropped the ball. I promise you, I've got a guy hired right now to look after me to get me to those doggone driver's meetings on time because, let's face it, I could be standing here talking to you right now while a meeting's going on and get distracted."