NOTE: Team Monte Carlo drivers discuss the new track and NASCAR's ne 2001 TV package. GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "It sounds like a great TV package. Brian France has worked really hard on putting all this ...
NOTE: Team Monte Carlo drivers discuss the new track and NASCAR's ne 2001 TV package.
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It sounds like a great TV package. Brian France has worked really hard on putting all this together. It looks like it's going to help everyone, from the race fans to team owners to drivers, everyone here in the garage area. This whole business is going to be benefiting financially from this package, plus it'll put our sport at another level. We keep raising that level up, and we're at a level now that we never thought we'd be at. I never dreamed it would be like it is today. This new TV package will raise it up one more notch.
"It'll help promote the sport, the drivers, the sponsors and that will generate more money for everyone involved. I certainly can't tell you what all will happen. I don't know anyone who knew we were going to be where we are today. I think the sky's the limit for this TV package. I think this sport is getting ready to accelerate faster than any race car has ever thought of doing.
"I'll be here, that's for sure. I'm toward the end of my career as a driver, but I'm going to be here a few more years. I have two brothers, Brett and Todd, who will be here awhile, and my son Barry is going to be the second generation Bodine to be in NASCAR. I hope to be an owner again for a team for my son Barry. That's my plan for the future. I just hope I can make it all work.
"I ran here when the track was new. I won the first race here in a truck, that exhibition NASCAR race. I've never raced on this configuration. I came here and tested a week ago and drove about 15 laps. I had a little feel for the track when I went out this morning. It's pretty straight forward. It doesn't take a lot of laps to get used to it and find a groove. It's very smooth, a lot of grip, it should be a good race. The track is wide enough. The way Mark Martin told us in the driver's meeting, he feels the groove will widen out and we'll see two good grooves out there."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"I don't know a lot of the details of the new TV package, but it puts us in line with the other major league sports. It should have happened sooner maybe. I knew there were more players (networks) than people thought. I hope they get some fresh people, fresh and younger people. I think the sport needs it. You need your analysts, Buddy Baker and Benny Parsons. Commentators and anchors, you need your energetic people.
"I like this track. I watched Dale Jr. race here. He won the championship here last year. It's a great race track. I think it's better than Indy as far as turning in the corners. It's a better racer's track.
"You can't hold it wide open, but you've just got to lift one time instead of twice. You've got to lift going into the corners and get back in in the center of the corner. At Indy, you lift, get back in the gas, lift, get back in the gas four times a lap. You've got four corners there, and you've just got two corners here.
"We're not running that great. We ran mostly race stuff all day and just a little bit of qualifying stuff. We'll put our qualifying engine in and maybe we can get down close to a 35 flat." Thursday, Nov. 11, 1999. Homestead Miami Speedway. Chevrolet notes and quotes after first day of practice.
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"Some guys tested. We tested here last October. I'm glad we got to come in a day early and get a day of practice. That really just helps for qualifying. Once we get qualified, we're really not going to have much time for the race. That's what makes these new races so interesting because you never know who's going to win 'em.
"Some teams that are very strong are able to adapt quickly. Some guys have run Busch here. When you have experience going to a race over and over, you can use the same setups when you go back. You just fine tune on it. Here, we're not sure what's going to work. It throws something in it that equals the field.
"Our seasons are very long, and I've certainly had an interesting year with this team. I'm excited about the off season and getting things going with the new Monte Carlo. We've got two more races and we want to finish in the top five in the points. We've got to work hard to make sure we want to do that.
"It's a neat race track. It's a smooth place and it's fast and flat. You've got to have it on the edge and it's never boring. I think the racing ought to be pretty good.
"I'm excited that NASCAR was successful with the TV package. I think it puts us out there with other major sports. It's going to do a lot for sponsors and car owners and the race track facilities. I was a little surprised with NBC. They haven't even done a Winston Cup race. This will be their first one this weekend, but they're at the top of their class if you look at what they do in sports. They do an excellent job. Fox has really been coming on strong. I couldn't imagine two better networks to have it."
LARRY McREYNOLDS (Crew chief No. 31 Lowe's Monte Carlo)
"I didn't know anything about the TV deal until last night. Maybe if the TV money is spread throughout the sport, it'll give the owners something back for what they've given to it. I know the TV money is getting better, but when you look at what these owners are spending and the intake that's been coming in from TV, it's been a pretty bad imbalance.
"The thing I'm most worried about, I really enjoy doing TV. I've been doing it for five years. I just billed World Sports (TNN and TBS) for my 64th show. I hope that doesn't impact my future. I do enjoy doing it. I'm not ready to go full time, but three or four years from now, maybe I will be. I hope it doesn't impact that.
"I'm sure they're going to delegate some shows out. They're all going into it rawer than a rookie, so I'm sure they're going to get some people who can help them put on a good show. Hopefully down the road in some Busch race or truck races, Larry McReynolds will be a part of that.
"Where would the tracks be without the owners? Not very far. Where would the owners be without the tracks? At other tracks. If this track doesn't want us, there's eight more that do.
"I was very surprised when I heard about it. If ESPN and ABC had gotten it, or CBS and TNN, I wouldn't have been. I guess because of the experience. There's a book and here's their record. Here's what they've done. This group they're getting is going to do a good job because I think they'll pollinate themselves with people that do a good job, but there's a lot of unknowns."