Ford Drivers Comment on Daytona Qualifying

February 5, 1999 Daytona International Speedway After the first day of practice and with qualifying set for Saturday, Ford drivers spoke about how they feel and what their chances are this weekend. JERRY NADEAU - 9 - Cartoon Network...

February 5, 1999 Daytona International Speedway

After the first day of practice and with qualifying set for Saturday, Ford drivers spoke about how they feel and what their chances are this weekend.

JERRY NADEAU - 9 - Cartoon Network Taurus -- When we came down here and tested we were among the five fastest cars. The guys know they built a good car this winter. Considering last year we had a little bit of trouble on the speedways, we worked extra hard. We put in a lot of extra hours. Not only our team, but I'm sure every other team here has done the same things. It's just that we've hit on something really good. Jeff Weiss has a lot of experience. Pro Motors from Peter Guild with Mike Gagy and everybody there. They're working really hard. Now that we're teamed up with Travis Carter maybe my friends Darrell (Waltrip) and Jimmy Spencer can help us out a little bit next weekend. We're just really excited for Cartoon Network and everybody on board with this car. We're just raring to go."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE DOING THIS WELL SO EARLY IN PRACTICE? "To me it just makes it easier for me as a driver. You don't have to go out there and carry anything. At Daytona, a lot of it is just car. Probably 90% of it is car, the engine program and the whole package. It just makes it easier for me to go out and just turn the wheel and get the guys to go fast. When you go to tracks like Rockingham it takes a little more driver expertise. We're pretty excited."

YOU HAVE SAID YOU WISH WINSTON CUP WENT TO 15 ROAD COURSES. THEN HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TRACKS LIKE DAYTONA? "I say that because I've got so much experience on road courses. I qualified real well at Sears Point, and finished real well at Watkins Glen. I say that because I don't have a lot of time on oval tracks. Give me another two years, and I'd probably say this is cool. This is really cool. Right now it's just that I'm trying to learn so much in such a short time trying to go fast. I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself. I need to realize that hey, I'm a rookie and a new guy in the series. This is only my second full season. I've just got to go out here and learn and gain respect, and I'm sure things will get a lot better for myself."

HAVE YOU TALKED TO SPENCER AND WALTRIP ABOUT HELPING YOU OUT? (Laughing) "Heck yeah. That's what it's all about. I'm sure it's in my contract that they have to help me out. So they better do that. If not, they could be in trouble."

SO TEAMING UP WITH TRAVIS CARTER'S TEAMS WASN'T JUST FOR THE TECHNOLOGY? "Well, I think a lot of it is the technology. And when we're up there with say 20 laps to go, and I'm running first, Jimmy's running second and Darrell's running third, it's all for themselves. There's no team rules there. But when it comes to sharing information, it helps out a lot. At this race and at Talladega you do need teammates. It's like the Roush teams. I'm sure those guys work together. And the Hendricks work together. And if me, Jimmy and Darrell work together, it's only going to benefit us."

DO YOU SHARE INFORMATION BETWEEN YOU, DARRELL AND JIMMY? "That's the big deal. It's nice to do that. When you get three or four teams together, you can kind of get yourself steered in the right direction in a short amount of time instead of trying all different stuff. So it benefits all of us when we can share what they learn and what we know and see what works. I think what really proves it is here at the speedway we're all in the top 25.

SO YOU ARE PLEASE TO BE TEAMED WITH THESE TWO GUYS IN PARTICULAR? Oh, it 's awesome. When I was just a little kid in diapers, I was watching Darrell Waltrip, and again when I was in my teenage years, I was watching Jimmy Spencer run modified races. So have those two guys to look up to and talk to is a great honor, and I'm sure it's going to help me out a lot."

JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT QUALIFYING? "Qualifying doesn't really mean a whole lot because if you aren't first or second you aren't nothing, really. This is the only place that does it that way, but then on Thursday that's the key race. You have to run real well and I'm glad of that because I don't think we have a shot at the pole by any means with our Team Winston car. Tomorrow, after qualifying, we need to worry about the Budweiser race on Sunday. That's the one we came in third or fourth last year and we're gonna try and do that well again."

YOU MAY NOT SIT ON THE POLE, BUT IT'S STILL IMPORTANT AS FAR AS POSITIONING, RIGHT? "Yeah it does. My guys worked really, really hard but we didn't get our stuff the way we needed it. I think we're gonna have a good time and I think we're gonna qualify fairly decent, but it's one of those deals that isn't the most important thing. Of all the places we go to, Daytona and Talladega, if you start on the pole it's not as important because you've gotta have a car that's gonna run good in the draft, especially at Daytona. The big one is the No Bull 5, we're in that and we've got two million dollars on the line a week from Sunday and that's what we're gonna concentrate on all week. We don't really care about the pole and we're not worried about Thursday as much as getting our car driving real good and our pit crew up where they need to be. If we can do all that stuff, hopefully we're in the hunt on Sunday for the 500."

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING IN TRAFFIC IN THE BUD SHOOTOUT? "I really am. We'll see what we've got. Both cars are pretty much the same. You get a good idea because there are about 20 cars or so in that race and you'll know who is gonna be good the rest of the week. Qualifying is one thing, that's just taping up and getting the car as low as you can. But Sunday in the Budweiser race you start to know who your competition is leading into Thursday."

LAST YEAR IN THE BUD SHOOTOUT QUALIFYING RACE YOU STARTED TOWARD THE BACK AND CHARGED TO THE FRONT AND WON. THIS RACE SUITS YOUR DRIVING STYLE DOESN'T IT? "It does. There's a lot of money on the line and no points. There's only one thing to think about and that's winning. If you don't win that race, you go home so you have to win that race to make it in the Bud Shootout. If I would have had some help, I would have won the whole ball of wax last year. My guys worked really hard all winter long and we prepared hard for that race."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Jimmy Spencer