FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Goody's Body Pain 500 April 17, 1999 Martinsville Speedway Darrell Waltrip, driver of the No. 66 Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus, will start 20th in tomorrow's race.
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Goody's Body Pain 500 April 17, 1999 Martinsville Speedway
Darrell Waltrip, driver of the No. 66 Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus, will start 20th in tomorrow's race. Waltrip, who owns the track record with eight poles, leads all active drivers with 11 career victories at Martinsville.
DARRELL WALTRIP -66- Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus -- DO YOU THINK THE NEW PIT ROAD WILL EFFECT THE RACE? "I'm not sure. The thing that really worries me is not so much the straight part of pit road which has always been here, but when we get down to turn one and the pit road bends around turn one. It's very tight right there. If you think about the cars coming in to pit in the curve, a guy's gonna come in and he's gonna have to turn in and then re-turn to get into his pit. I can see us having a real road block right down there. I think NASCAR is really gonna have to work with us. If they see congestion on the pit road, if they see a problem. People didn't come to see us lose laps in the pits, they came to see a race on the race track, so I think NASCAR is really gonna have to stay on top of what's happening down there on the exit. There's no problem coming in, there's a lot of room on this end (between three and four) but it's tight getting out. You think about all these guys trying to get out at one time, we don't need to get everybody bottle-necked up down there and then get lapped in the pits. Hopefully, if that does happen or if it seems like it might happen, NASCAR can slow the pace car down even more and give everybody a chance to get out of here. We've never had this before, so it's gonna be a little trial and error for everybody."
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER CHANGES MADE HERE? "When I came over here the other night I rode around in my street car and I said, 'Man, that wall is scary,' but you don't even notice it. The only problem will be is that if somebody spins and backs up in there, there is no grass to back into there's a wall right there. It's just gonna tighten everything up and it was already tight enough here. We're gonna have to be a little more careful. It's gonna take some getting used to but I think it will work out fine. I'm very appreciative. We have asked these people for years to give us one pit road and here's a half-mile race track that gave us one pit road. We got what we asked for, now we've gotta work with them and they've gotta work with us and NASCAR to make it all happen. But there's no excuse in the 90s and into 2000 to have two pit roads and this place proves it."
YOU HAD ANOTHER GOOD QUALIFYING RUN. HOW WILL YOU BE IN THE RACE? "We'll be better than we were at Bristol. We really shot ourselves in the foot there. We qualified so well and got kind of excited about that and forgot we had to race, so we'll be much better here. We've got a great car and the qualifying thing, hopefully I won't have to worry about that for awhile. It's going very well now. We've got good engines, Pro (Motors) is doing a great job and I think we're heading in the right direction. I knew it would come around, but some people aren't as patient as I am I reckon."
Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus, is celebrating an anniversary of sorts. It was 15 years ago that Jarrett made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut and it took place right here at Martinsville Speedway.
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- WHAT DOES YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT MEAN AS FAR AS PIT ROAD GOES? "It's really hard to say what it's gonna mean. The biggest thing I can see, obviously, is even though everybody's on one side it's a very narrow pit road. Qualifying bad like I did puts me down towards that end, so even if we have a good pit stop or come in if we make our way towards the front, all these guys have to do is pull out of their pit and whoever is back there is gonna have to stop. It's either that or run into somebody, so that's the problem I see. They've made a good effort here and it may work out just fine. What we'll have to do is just make the right calls."
WILL THIS WORK BETTER? "It's hard to say. I think we need to give it a race to really see how it works. It should be better for everyone because everybody's coming in at the same time. I guess the downside of it is if you had to pit under green. I mean, you're gonna lose at least three and maybe four laps here because of the 35 mile per hour pit road speed. The only way that could really hurt you is if you get caught that way, if the caution would come out. That could really be bad for somebody, so you're gonna have to play things kind of close and make sure that you're staying out there as long as you can."
WILL THERE BE MORE BUMPING ON PIT ROAD THAN THE TRACK NOW? "There's a possiblity of that, but I think everybody has to use their head and realize that no matter if you're coming down pit road at 35 and somebody pulls out in front, there's nowhere to go. They have nowhere to go, they have to get out of their pit, so you're gonna have to use some good judgement and just give and take. Even as hard as it is to pass on the race track here, you're just gonna have to be smart about it. Hopefully, we can have a good enough car on the race track so that won't come into effect."
Brett Bodine, driver of the No. 11 Paychex Taurus, qualified 14th for tomorrow's race and is still in search of his first top 15 finish of 1999. In fact, Bodine is hoping to register his first top 10 since the 1997 season.
BRETT BODINE -11- Paychex Taurus -- HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT STARTING 14TH TOMORROW? "This has just been a track I come to with a lot of confidence and the guys have a lot of confidence and we just get after it. It just seems like our performance here is better than most race tracks for us. I feel like we're in pretty good shape. We're not as good as a couple of cars out there, but we'll continue to work on it. I started my professional driving career here back in 1979 and I've had a lot of success here. It's just a place I come to with a lot of confidence. I guess if there's one thing I should learn from all this is you need to have confidence when you go to a race track because it seems to influence your performance."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PIT ROAD. IS THE TURN ONE AREA KIND OF TIGHT? "Yeah, I see that being a problem. We were torn on where to pick our spot as the 14th qualifier. We weren't sure. We even considered picking the first spot in the pits, it was still left open. I'm worried about the old bottle-neck, chain-reaction that you could end up actually running slower on pit road than what pit road speed is because you're so far behind. We feel like from 10th on back it's gonna be that way, so we decided to pit up toward the front as far as we could and we'll just see how it works out. It's gonna be awfully hard to get down this pit road."
HOW MUCH DOES THIS TEAM NEED A TOP 15 OR TOP 10 FINISH? "We know we've got some weak points on Sundays. We know that our pit crew has not performed. We've had race cars that should have finished top 15 already this year, but we've had some pit road incidents that have devastated us in the final standings. We've been working hard to try to solve those problems. Our performance could always be better. Unless you're the winner you're performance could always be better, but our competitiveness is better on the race track. That's what I ask out of this race team as far as getting the cars prepared so we can go out and qualify good when we get here, that we're working on them to go fast and not working on them to make laps. Then to work on our race setup so we can be more productive with our practice sessions."
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Valvoline Taurus, will start on the outside pole for tomorrow's race. Martin is currently fourth in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings and has posted five top-10 finishes in 1999.
MARK MARTIN-6- Valvoline Taurus -- "You use a lot of brake here because the corners are so sharp and so flat, slippery. The Valvoline team has always had cars with great brakes. I think I've only run out of brakes once or twice, a couple times maybe here since we've been together. I certainly can't complain about it. We usually have the stuff we need to go the distance."
YOU'VE GOT A GOOD PIT STALL. "The Valvoline team did it's homework on the setup during practice. They tried everything imaginable and we found some stuff that I liked than we usually do here, so I feel good for the race."
HOW DO YOU LIKE THE CAR AFTER PRACTICE? "I'm real proud of the car. I'm real proud of this race team. Right now we're running better than we ever have at Martinsville."