Event: Daytona 500
Trevor Bayne, Donnie Wingo and the Wood Brothers, Eddie and Len, participated in a champion's breakfast Monday morning to celebrate their victory in Sunday's Daytona 500. Following is a transcript of the press conference portion of that event.
EDDIE WOOD, Co-Owner - No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion
HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE LAST NIGHT? "Responded to text messages. We got back to our room about 11 o'clock. We left the race track and went to Steak & Shake. We eat breakfast at Steak & Shake everytime we come down. That's where we live. I'll tell you a short story, back in the day in the seventies, we would eat breakfast, go get lunch and when we'd leave the race track we'd go back to Steak & Shake. How many hamburgers did we eat in a row?
LEN WOOD, Co-Owner - No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion "Something like 38 hamburgers in a row.
EDDIE WOOD -- "That's a true story, but I didn't go to bed. I was responding to text messages until 4:30. I'm not very good at typing. I'm not very good at running my phone, so you can imagine, I'd send a text back and mess it up and have to send it again, so that was my night."
LEN WOOD - "I stayed up until about 2:00 responding to text messages the same way. It's just unbelievable how yesterday turned out for us. I think that's seven decades of winning races in NASCAR now."
DONNIE WINGO, Crew Chief - No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion - "We went to dinner over at BJ's. I kind of did the same thing, went back and responded to text messages, but the biggest thing is just sitting there and thinking about all the years of being down here trying to be part of win here and to finally be a part of it with all these guys just means a lot to me."
TREVOR BAYNE, Driver - No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion - WHAT DID YOU DO? "I went to dinner with these guys, first, and that was really neat. And then I did go to the basketball court for a game of horse and I lost. We were just shooting around and then we rode our skateboards for a minute and tried not to break any legs for today, and then I went to bed shortly after because I knew today would be a long one. Normally, I would have stayed up all night and hung out, but about 1 o'clock I figured it was bed time."
EDDIE WOOD -- DID ANY OF THOSE TEXTS INCLUDE MESSAGES FROM SPONSORS? "My text messages were just from friends, people I hadn't heard from in years. I didn't know I knew that many people. We had a couple of e-mails asking about prices and things, but you kind of get that a lot anyway and then nothing ever really turns up, so we've got to figure out how to find some more money to maybe finish off the season."
YOU WOULD LIKE TO RUN THE FULL SEASON? "Oh yeah. This limited schedule, it's good and it enables us to continue racing, but you need to be at all of them and that's our goal, to get back full-time. Let ricochet rabbit here get a shot at the rookie deal."
LEN WOOD - "Actually, we're gonna add Martinsville. That's the sixth race because we were gonna run the first five - 17 total - so that carries us on through Texas now and if something turns up, we're ready to go."
EDDIE WOOD - ANY CONSIDERATION OF MAKING THE CHANGE FROM NATIONWIDE TO CUP FROM TREVOR'S STANDPOINT? "I don't know the rules. It's kind of been all winter long about the rookie program and how it was gonna be laid out, and I don't really know if you can switch. We'll ask that question, but I don't really know how that works. It's a good problem to have."
TREVOR BAYNE - WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO THAT IF YOU COULD? "I don't know. I'd love to run for a championship in either series, so whatever they say I'm good with it. I think we'll have a really good shot in the Nationwide and obviously we've got a good shot here, so whatever they say I'm fine with it either way. If we can't run for it this year, then hopefully next year we can go for it. We made a commitment at the beginning of the year. We knew this was a possibility. I don't think we knew it was as strong of a possibility, but we knew it was and we made that decision. And we still have to get sponsorship, too. That's a big part. If we get full-time sponsorship, then I'll really be kicking myself in the butt, but, for now, I think we're probably just sticking with what we planned."
LEN WOOD - DOES THE PRICE GO UP FOR SPONSORSHIP NOW AND ARE YOU STAFFED FOR A FULL SEASON? "No, the price didn't go up. We're still the same guys that missed this race in 2008. We've tried to turn it around and hopefully we gained a little credibility yesterday. As far as being staffed, we've got a good group of guys. We buy cars from Jack Roush and use their Roush engineering and that's been a big plus for us. With Doug Yates, I talked to him last night and I said, 'Hey, I need an engine for Martinsville,' and he said, 'No problem.' We can add races and we can run right on with no problem."
TREVOR BAYNE - WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN YOU WOKE UP THIS MORNING? "I'm not a big enough sponge to soak all this up because there is so much that this means to everybody. It's kind of cool because it keeps hitting me over and over again. It's like you get to win a bunch of times. I looked up when we got out of the motorhome this morning and saw the pole still had our number at the top of it and it's insane. And I look around at these guys and I think about being back at the shop every now and then when I can be there and see them working on these cars and the hours that they were putting into it, and working on Saturdays, and then the hours that we didn't plan on working on it after we crashed in the duel and they got it back together. I look at all their faces and I'm like, 'Wow. We won this Daytona 500.' It's really incredible. To have Jack Roush come over to the car and rub my head and say 'good job' while I was driving to Victory Lane. And to see Richard Petty come in with these guys and Leonard and Glen and their whole families to be in Victory Lane, and Donnie. I think his wife wasn't able to be here, she went back yesterday, but it really was incredible. I don't know how I'm the one that got to be this lucky to be in this situation to be here with all these guys, but I'm really fortunate."
DONNIE WINGO - HOW DO YOU GO FORWARD NOW AND PUT FORTH A GOOD EFFORT WITH NO LETDOWN? "I think the expectations are high, but I think we kind of try to set our standards high. We expect to go run good. I feel like we've got just as good a cars as anybody running. We're getting the cars from Roush now and, as you see last year toward the end of the year how strong those cars were. Carl won several races and starting out the year this year, those are the same cars we'll have in our stall. Sure, our expectations are high and coming off a win like this, the momentum can carry you so far, but you still have to perform. The pit crew has to perform. The guys putting the cars together have to perform and we've still got to do our jobs. And the little driver here has got to perform."
EDDIE WOOD - WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME GLEN AND LEONARD WERE IN VICTORY LANE? AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET THEM THERE ONE MORE TIME? "That's one of the most special parts of it. To do what our dad and Leonard accomplished in the sixties, seventies and eighties, we kind of felt like we dropped the ball. To get back going and have them back in victory lane, and Richard Petty bringing dad in. My mom wouldn't come in. She was in the hauler and she wouldn't come. She was a little stubborn on that, but that's OK, she's here this morning. But it feels good to get the family name back going, and the number."
LEN WOOD - WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THEY WERE IN VICTORY LANE? "It was Bristol. He would have been there at Bristol and so would Leonard."
TREVOR BAYNE - HOW HARD WAS IT MOVING TO CHARLOTTE AT 15 YEARS OF AGE? "We knew we had to move dad's race team to Charlotte if we wanted to be competitive. We were in Knoxville, Tennessee in kind of a warehouse shop and we had a lot of guys that just loved to be around racing. A lot of them were volunteers and some of them were there this weekend to celebrate with us, but we just knew we needed to get to Charlotte. I knew that since the time I was 12 years old, so when I turned 15 and I was racing Hooters Pro Cup, I signed with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., so I knew I'd have a little bit of an income or something there to be able to move and kind of live on my own, so I moved down there. I didn't have my driver's license yet. I still had my permit when I first moved, so my crew chief would actually come pick me up and take me to the shop and then drop me off at night, so that was pretty neat. And then dad would come down a lot, so for my family to be supportive of that. It took a lot for my brother and sister and mom to let dad be able to come down a couple days a week and spend time with me and help me get through that transition. That move was very crucial. I think it was the best thing that I did for my career, at that point, to get down and be in the shop and get to know the guys and show them that I wanted to be here - I wasn't gonna be a driver that just showed up on the weekends. I love being around it, so that's kind of the way I grew up working on my stuff and now it's a little different. I don't get to be at the shop as much as I want to, but they got to see me welding on a coach that I broke after jumping off the top of the stairs on to it, so they know I can work on stuff a little bit. It's been an incredible journey and it's happened so fast. It really is crazy how fast that all happened. I love to go back to Knoxville as much as I can. I go back every couple of weeks."
DONNIE WINGO -- IS THIS A SPECIAL CAR FOR YOU GUYS? "No. There was a lot of hard work and a lot of effort put into it, not only from the Roush side but from our side also. We did a lot of the small tweaks on it to try to make it better, but I just think the car was fast from the time we unloaded it. Actually, it was pretty good at the test. We went back and made a few little changes to it before we came back and it was really fast, qualified third, but I think the biggest thing is we wanted to try to race that car after we wrecked in the 150 no matter what, so the decision was made. I think everybody was all-in of doing whatever it took to fix it and put it back in the condition it was before and everybody did a tremendous job."
EDDIE WOOD - WHEN YOU WON THE '76 DAYTONA 500 WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THAT CAR? THIS ONE IS GOING IN THE MUSEUM. "That car was put back together and went to Talladega and won that race. It may have won Atlanta first, I'm not sure. But that car in '76 won the 500 here, it won the 600 and it won the Southern 500 - that one car - and I think it had the same engine block in it. I remember dad buying, and it was awful money at the time. Wasn't it $5000?
LEN INTERJECTS. "It was $2000 or $2500."
EDDIE CONTINUED - "It just tore him up to spend that kind of money on an engine block, but it won three races or more than that probably, but times kind of change."
TREVOR BAYNE - HOW DID YOU HOOK UP WITH YOUR PARENTS AFTER THE RACE? "They went up to watch the race. It's kind of hard to see from the infield and dad is a very competitive person. He used to hang out on the pit box and stuff, but now he decided he better go up in the stands and just watch and then only the fans get to see his emotions. I'm sure he had half the grandstands cheering for us by the end of the race, so that was really cool. I don't know how they got down there so fast. They must have hurdled the fence in their excitement. They were digging, that's for sure, because as soon as I got out of the car in victory lane they were there. It was so cool to have them here. I wish my brother and sister could have been here. They were in Knoxville, but I think some of the local news actually went and caught up with them at our house, so that was kind of funny - my seven year old little brother. I think one of his friends got so excited that he ran out in the yard and started spraying Coke everywhere. You know little kids, they're crazy - a lot like me. But it's so cool to have everybody here, some of my friends, and then all of these new guys I've been surrounded by in less than half a year."
WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE THIS WEEK? "I think we go to Bristol, Connecticut and then we go to San Francisco and Los Angeles and back to Phoenix. That's kind of the schedule."
LEN WOOD - CAN THIS BECOME A LONG-TERM ARRANGEMENT WITH TREVOR? WHAT IS HIS DEAL? "We've got Trevor signed up for this year and beyond that it would be up to Jack. He's his driver, but for this year, he's ours."
TREVOR BAYNE - "I'd be happy right here forever. These guys are awesome. It's just so incredible to be surrounded by them, so, either way it goes I'll be happy, but I love these guys. I can't wait to keep racing with them. One thing I haven't really talked about, though, is keeping our expectations realistic here. We won this race and that sets the bar high, but if we would have finished 15th, we would have been happy. We've got remember that for the rest of the season. If we don't go to Phoenix and win, and finish top 15, we still have to remember to be excited about that because we're still learning. There are gonna be a lot of times when we do struggle because I'm new at this. A lot of new pieces have come together, so I think we've got to keep that realistic and just race right now. Whatever happens in a year, then we'll come to that, but these guys - like I said - if I stay with them forever, I'll be happy."
WHAT ARE YOU BUDDIES SAYING ABOUT THIS? "We were standing around the motorhome last night and one of the motorhome drivers come up and we were all standing there staring at each other like, 'What is this?' The guy was like, 'You all look numb. What's wrong? Why aren't you all going crazy?' We didn't know what to say and that's the first time I've ever seen my friends without something to say, but they're a great group of kids and I just love being around them from home. It keeps me kind of grounded having them there and they couldn't be more excited. Some of the texts I was getting, and Jeff Gordon coming to victory lane, and just even being around these guys - they're still blown away to be around the Wood Brothers and Donnie and the whole group, and to be in the pits at a NASCAR race. If they just got to come in the pits, they'd be excited, much less to get to go to victory lane and take pictures and be a part of it, so it's really, really cool."
WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS AS YOU STARTED THE RACE AND WHEN DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT AT WINNING? "I never said it. I knew that our car was fast enough to do it, but a lot of times I get so excited, just like the Nationwide race on Saturday. I knew our could win and I was so pumped about it. I was like, 'We're gonna win. We're gonna win.' And then we didn't. So this time I went about it differently. I said, 'We're gonna finish. We're gonna finish.' And I just made sure I was always the pusher. Joey Logano and I talked on his radio for a second and I was like, 'I'll be good to push you.' He goes, 'Well, I'll push you.' And I was like, 'I'll push you,' because we both knew that the pusher had the advantage of staying out of trouble. You can be responsible. You didn't have to worry about somebody turning you. Even if it was an accident, there were a lot of those times when the pack would check up, so I'd had a lot of experience through that this weekend of just watching in front of the guys, knowing when they were braking so I could back off of them. I think that was really the first race I went into ever in my career just thinking survival mode. A lot of times I say I'm thinking that, but, really, as a 19 or 20 year old I'm thinking, 'I've got to win this thing,' so maybe this is a good, new approach. We'll just worry about getting to the finish and then when we've got a good enough car, we can get to victory lane."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF TO FANS? "A 20-year-old kid. Everybody is like, 'How much is this gonna change everything?' And I hope none because I don't want to be changed by any of this. I think these guys will keep me down to Earth if I start rising up. I'm sure they'll pop my bubble and I expect them to, I'd do the same for them. I'm a normal kid that's been really, really blessed and fortunate. I like anything that's a challenge. That's one thing that I've always been pushed to do. If I find something new that I'm not good at, I'll stay out in the yard and figure it. While everybody else is inside watching TV or whatever, I'm gonna be out there the extra two hours figuring it out. I started teaching myself guitar this year. My faith is obviously a big part of this and that's really the reason I'm here, and I think that's the reason why all of this worked out. I'm just a normal kid."
ANY THOUGHTS OF WANTING TO RUN THE 24 HOURS? "Michael McDowell is one of my best friends and we've been talking about this a lot, actually. I would love to hop in one of those cars. Anything with wheels on it I'll drive it. I've actually been talking about maybe running an off-road truck or something when I got out to California - that Lucas Oil Series or something. I haven't got it approved yet from these guys or Jack. That's the first they know of it, but I think it would be pretty cool to jump something with four wheels and I think it's cook to turn right every now and then. The road courses have always been pretty good to us. Last year in Nationwide we got a couple top 10s and I'd love to drive them. I think those prototypes look really cool and I've got a few buddies that do it. Marcos Ambrose, one of our other teammates, is awesome at road racing and has helped me out. Allmendinger, there are a lot of those guys that do that crossover and I'd like to be one of them sometime."
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKER? "I'm sure Donnie was coaching me, he just didn't have the mike keyed up. He was probably yelling at me, but I was in a panic, I really was. That was the first time the whole race I really felt panicked a little bit. I was like, 'Guys, do I let Tony Stewart get in front of me and just push him? Do I back up? What's gonna happen?' It seemed everytime I'd build a scenario that was gonna happen on the restart in my head it didn't work out that way at all, so I'm coming to the green and I'm still on the mike saying, 'What should I do?' I'm about to go into third gear already and I'm still asking. I was like, 'Well, I guess we better go with whatever happens here,' so the 47 got an awesome restart. He was right up on me, so I just drug the brake a little bit. I lost him for a second, so I kept dragging him and we hooked up. Then everybody else got disconnected somehow - Tony Stewart and his partner. Carl Edwards unhooked somebody else and then they were coming to us and I was like, 'We're next. We're the next ones to be unhooked.' Carl actually called me last night. He's like, 'What could I have done to win this thing?' He's asking me and talking to me and he's like, 'I don't think there was anything different I could have done.' In my opinion, I didn't know we were gonna win. I've told everybody, I thought it was cool just to say we led on the last lap of the 500 because I felt that was gonna be our joy story there because I didn't think there was any way that front pack would be able to maintain. All the races this weekend the second group has always caught up and passed them, but Bobby Labonte - it was the perfect pick. Carl chose the inside and as soon as he got beside Bobby I made the switch so he couldn't go high and it was perfect. I can't say that I was driving that thing because I don't know if it would have worked out that way, but I definitely had some guidance there. It's really crazy."
HAS THIS SUNK IN? "The first realization of it I got was when I was talking to these guys and they were talking about how this is a very memorable 500. They said it was as cool as Pearson's win or something like that and that's when it kind of sinks in because I don't put myself on that kind of stage with those guys. I don't think of myself as doing the same thing that David Pearson did or A.J. Foyt or Tiny Lund or all the other guys that won for them. When they made that comment that this was one of their coolest 500 wins, that's when I was like, 'Wow, this is real.' This is something that a lot of people have strived for their whole career. This is one of the biggest races in motorsports and we were the ones in victory lane. Like I said earlier, it keeps hitting me over and over and over again. I'm sure for these guys, too. You look down for a second and look at your phone or to grab a bite to eat and you look up and see all these guys sitting here again. You're like, 'Whoa, we're in here because we won this 500.' I can't describe it."
DID YOU LIVE ALONE AT 15? HOW DID THAT WORK? "Mom would always tell me to make my room and I just knew that if I waited until I went out of town to go racing, she would finish it up for me. She always took care of me at the house, so all of a sudden I just had a lot of responsibility and I did live by myself. I've never had a roommate. I'm gone all the time, so I didn't think that would work out. I had to start doing laundry. That went well for about the first three weeks. I was excited doing my own stuff, and then after that it just piled up and I'd invite people over to do it for me. It's probably not good for my diet, but I've had to eat out every day since I turned 15 and moved out. I'm not a cook yet. I about caught my place on fire one time, so I decided that was a bad idea, too. That was a big responsibility to take on, but I think that was kind of why I never had my crazy party stage or whatever you want to call it that most teenagers go through was because I had to kind of grow up fast. My whole life, starting out racing at five years old, I've been surrounded by older people - dad and all the guys that worked on our race team. Those were guys I looked up to and I've been just surrounded by great people. I've been growing up fast since I was five years old and not just when I moved out when I was 15. I missed a lot of birthday parties, but now we get to have a Daytona 500 party, so I think it was all worth it."
WERE YOU EVER LONELY? "No, I have friends there. That was the good thing. There were families there that I raced with and their parents would come and pick me up. I have plenty of friend there, so that was always good. I actually probably had more then than I do now because I'm gone all the time now. It's so weird because everybody in Charlotte that is my age ends up moving away to college, so I kind of gave up on that. I'm like, 'OK, I met this person, but they're gonna move away to college next year.' But there are a lot of good groups there. Michael McDowell, he's been incredible for me. I stay at his house probably half the days that I'm in town there with his little boy, Trace, and wife Jamie. I have made a lot of new, good friends there and just some really good people that have helped me out."
CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW YOUR POPULARITY INCREASES AFTER THIS? "Well, my Twitter that I've been working on for over a year now was at 6,000 fans before this week started and now it's at 21,000 over night. I told everybody, 'Man, all I had to do was win the 500? I could have done that a long time ago if I would have known that's how I had to get followers. (laughing) It's crazy to see their support coming on. I didn't get to see the reaction when we crossed the line, but everybody in the media center said people went crazy and the fans went crazy and it was what the sport needed, but, like I said, I'm just so lucky to be the guy that got to be behind this fast race car because it really did make me look good. The thing was so fast. I could push anybody up through there. I could go wherever I wanted and it would just stay up front, so it made me look good and, hopefully, we got some fans off of it."
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH PLAY INTO ALL OF THIS? "That's what this platform is all about. I had a meeting earlier this week and we were talking about what is the goal of Trevor Bayne as a brand, as a person, as everything and what I told them, and I said this once earlier today, it started out to be the best race car driver, but that's changed over time. It's not to be the best race car driver, to be the most marketable or to be the best at anything, it's just to take the platform that we've been given and grow that, which might require us to be the best race car driver, it might require us to be the most marketable or the best speaker, whatever that is required, but it's just whatever it's gonna take to build that platform. It seems to be going pretty good so far, so we'll try to stay on that path."
-source: ford racing