GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON LEADING THE POINTS "It doesn't feel a whole lot different. To come out of Talladega second, that was exciting. Coming out of there with the points lead was exciting, ...
GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON LEADING THE POINTS
"It doesn't feel a whole lot different. To come out of Talladega second, that was exciting. Coming out of there with the points lead was exciting, obviously. But, we've still got a long way to go. We just need to stay focused on what we're doing and that is trying to win every race. If not, we try to finish in the top five. If we're not capable of that, we try to do the best we can and not make the mistakes we have in the past. That's what we need to do.
"It's pretty cool to be there. I don't know that any of us want it to sink in because it could be gone in such a hurry."
ARE YOU READY TO WIN AT CHARLOTTE?
"There are a couple places where we're coming up to that we really run well at and could have won at in the last couple years and Charlotte is one of them. That would be a huge thing for this team. Any time you can win a Winston Cup race, it's exciting, as competitive as it is. But, there are some places that are special and Charlotte is just one of those places."
WHAT DOES TONY DO BEHIND THE STEERING WHEEL THAT MAKES HIM BETTER THAN SOME OTHER DRIVERS?
"I think it is a little bit of everything. He's got great car control. He has very good instincts. I think he reacts to things very quickly. Being able to drive a loose car, being able to drive a tight car - I think he'll move around on the racetrack a little bit and try and find some thing to help whatever the situation is. That's important. He tries to stay open-minded enough to do that. That surely helps him."
DO YOU MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS DURING A RACE OR DOES TONY ASSIST WITH THAT?) "It depends on the situation. We make most of the decisions on Sunday and certainly through the week to get to there. On Sunday, sometimes you count on [Tony] to help you with some pit decisions. He know how bad his car is falling off, how hard he is running it, how hard it is to pass in certain places. As competitive as it is and as important as track position is today, we try to make some of those decisions together."
ARE YOU PLANNING ANYTHING DIFFERENT OVER THE LAST SIX RACES TO WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP?
"No. I think we're going to try to keep the same approach that we're going to six good racetracks for us. I honestly truly feel that we could win at every racetrack we're going to - have run good enough, have won at a couple of them - so, that is exciting to me. I feel we can go and race for this. I think when it comes right down to the end of the day and making a decision - pit, not to pit - you know, we'll probably do the same thing and be a little bit more conservative. But, I think up until we get up to the last part of a race we're going to try to continue to do exactly what we were doing that got us in this position and that is racing hard. We can't sit and try to protect a 72-point lead. We have to go out and try and build on it, I believe."
ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO BE CREW CHIEF AND PSYCHOLOGIST THE REST OF THE SEASON TO KEEP THE TEAM'S EMOTIONS IN CHECK?
"Absolutely. But, I think that is something that you deal with week to week. We start racing for points and the championship at Daytona in February. Now when you get yourself in this position - yeah, things become sometimes a little tougher to deal with or you have to pay a little closer attention to details. But, we've got a strong group of people. We have surely rode that emotional roller-coaster as a team this year and in the last three years, so I think if any team can deal with it this team can."
IS THERE SOMETHING TO PROVE?
"Absolutely. I think a team of this caliber that has run as good as we have for four years, we need to win this championship. We need to state that we are for real and we're not just here to win races, but we can. I think that is what some people have said in the past is that because of that emotional roller coaster - we've been up and down - that we can't. We won't be able to overcome some of those things and win a championship, but we'll win our share of races. I want the statement to be that we can win races, we can lead laps and we can win a championship."