Rain kept the NASCAR Winston Cup teams from testing until 3 p.m. Eastern time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but there was some news earlier in the day as Haas/Carter Motorsports announced that Discover Card has signed on as primary sponsor for...
Rain kept the NASCAR Winston Cup teams from testing until 3 p.m. Eastern time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but there was some news earlier in the day as Haas/Carter Motorsports announced that Discover Card has signed on as primary sponsor for the rest of the 2002 season. Driver Todd Bodine and crew chief Donnie Wingo talked about the deal and what it will mean for the No. 26 Discover Card Ford Taurus.
TODD BODINE --26-- Discover Card Taurus
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE A CUP DEAL FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? "It's more important for the guys in the shop and Travis. I'm fortunate enough to have a ride already, so that's not the issue for me, but it's nice for Travis and the guys because now they know they've got a job for a while. It takes the pressure off. It's been a struggle for Carl and Travis since January -- not knowing where they were going, so it's more of a relief for them than anything."
WAS THERE ANY ADDED PRESSURE TO MAKE THAT SIX-RACE DEAL SUCCESSFUL? "I've been asked that a lot, but nobody can put anymore pressure on me than I put on myself to perform. My philosophy is that if you give 110 percent every lap, you've got nothing to hold your head down about. I mean, you've done the best that you can and whatever happens happens. That's the way we approached it. Just because it was a six-race deal, it didn't change anything about the way we do things." FROM A DRIVER'S STANDPOINT, HOW HAS DISCOVER CARD BEEN TO WORK WITH? "They have come in here with a six-race program better than most sponsors come in here for a full schedule program. They have a lot of in-house things going on and a lot of promotions behind it, and they really understood that in order to get a true reading on what they were gonna get out of a program like this, they needed to do it right from the start and they did. As a result, they've decided to stay and continue and, hopefully, we can continue with them even longer."
YOU'LL HAVE DOUBLE DUTY NOW WITH BUSCH AND CUP. ARE THERE ANY POTENTIAL CONFLICTS THE REST OF THE YEAR? "Yeah, the Pocono and Pikes Peak weekend. I've already committed everything for the 92 (Herzog-Jackson Motorsports), so Geoff is gonna run the whole weekend at Pocono. Then there's Memphis and Martinsville. Whatever we need to do like flying back and forth is probably what we'll do there, and then the Loudon-St. Louis weekend is another conflict. Those are the three right now that look tough to do. I'm pretty sure that Travis is gonna have Geoff do whatever he needs to do. It's a nice problem to have. I went from not having any ride to having two with two good race teams, so I'm very fortunate."
DONNIE WINGO, Crew Chief --26-- Discover Card Taurus
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE TEAM? "It allows us to do more than what we've been able to do all year. We tested at Dover once we got this deal, but that was the first time we had tested since January. We hadn't done any wind tunnel testing since January either until we got this six-race deal, so that allowed us to go to the wind tunnel one time. Now we can kind of go full bore again and do a little bit more testing so we don't get behind. Right now, I feel like we're a little bit behind because we haven't been able to do much of anything. We were just trying to get by, but if it wasn't for a lot of people, we would have never gotten to this point. If it wasn't for somebody like Frank Kimmel and all of those folks, we'd never be where we're at right now."
DID YOUR FLEET OF CARS GET DEPLETED AT ALL DUE TO WRECKS OR OTHER PROBLEMS? "It did a little bit, but we had most of our stuff done when the season started. Most of our cars had new bodies on them, but I think through this whole ordeal we've lost two cars and we haven't really replaced them. The good thing is that now we can go and build some new cars to replace those and replenish our stock a little bit more."
WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR TEAM MORALE? "It just lets everybody know that they've got a job next week. That's basically what it means because we really haven't lost that many people. We lost a few, but the nucleus of the team has stayed together. That's one thing Travis tried to do. He stuck his neck out through thick and thin just to try and keep people together and so far it's worked. We've still brought good cars to the race track. It isn't like our cars have been junk, but some of the things we tore up we hadn't been able to replace and that's the biggest thing we can do now is replace and get back to testing again."