RON HORNADAY, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON THE RACE TOMORROW "It's exciting. Coming into a race like this with nobody being on the racetrack, nobody really has an advantage. Only a couple guys tested here, but not very many, so we...
RON HORNADAY, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON THE RACE TOMORROW
"It's exciting. Coming into a race like this with nobody being on the racetrack, nobody really has an advantage. Only a couple guys tested here, but not very many, so we don't really know what to expect. I think the Busch race will be the big thing today, as far as seeing what the track does and seeing if there is a high line. There are five or 10 drivers that are actually doing 'double-duty,' which is going to help them out.
"This team is turning around. We've been struggling, but you can't pinpoint anything. If you could pinpoint it, I think we'd find out a little bit with air pressures, we'd find a little bit with shocks. I think once we get all the packages down right, I think this team is going to start going forward. We've been running decent, we just haven't had the finishes. Talking to other drivers, they don't have to get up on the wheel as hard as I have. Maybe I've been trying too hard, too, to get this thing to run faster. But, we're putting everything together and I think this team will start going better."
WITH THIS BEING A NEW TRACK, DO YOU THINK IT LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD FOR A ROOKIE?
"I never feel like I'm behind any of these other guys coming to a track, other than they know what the characteristics of the racetrack are. But every year you go there, there is something different because the track is wearing down and changing.
"But here, we are on more of a level playing field. What we've got to do is have enough adjustments in the car for the race and have good pit stops. Everything has to be your way to win a race or even to finish in the top five. I think all the guys are pumped up enough on this Conseco Pontiac where we can do real well here. I don't feel anybody has an advantage right now. But we'll find out when the green flag drops. I still think the guys that run the Busch race are going to know better what is going to happen tomorrow."
HOW MUCH IS IT HELPING YOU TO RUN THE BUSCH CAR ALSO?
"Here, especially, it has helped because all the things we found with the Busch car we put right into the Cup car. Then we found a couple things with the Cup car and went back and put it in the Busch car to get it better. It's a win-win deal for both teams, but it's a big plus for Ron Hornaday. It gives me more laps and I love racing. I'd rather be racing than doing anything else."
A.J. FOYT, CAR OWNER, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON YOUR TEAM REBOUNDING HERE AFTER MISSING LAST WEEK'S RACE
"We've got a crew that's doing a real good job. You've just got to have everything going for you. There are so many cars that are so close here. Like yesterday, he (Ron Hornaday) was running good from the time we got here and then we made a few changes as we went. Now we'll just have to wait and see."
HOW TOUGH HAVE THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS BEEN FOR YOUR TEAM?
"It's been hard on everybody. You can't afford to take a lot of chances when you have no provisionals. I've always liked the idea of having the fastest 43 cars make the race. All this provisional crap is a bunch of crap.
"If you're fastest enough to make it, fine. I've never been the type of racer that if I can't make it, I don't want a provisional. Sure, we've used a couple provisionals, but I would just as soon have it open to the world - even if you've got 100 cars and are going to start 43. It should be the same as it is at Indianapolis (for the Indy 500). That's what I've always like about that race. It's always the fastest 33 cars, regardless of whether you've won the race or whatever. I was fortunate enough there for 35 years to make it every year. Take [Roger] Penske - he missed it the last time he was there with both cars and then he turned around this year, won it and ran first and second.
"I've always been that type of racer. If you're fast enough to make the race you should be in it. If you're not, you should be getting a spot. That's my philosophy of racing."
YOU ARE A FULL-TIME OWNER IN THE IRL AND WINSTON CUP. CAN YOU COMPARE THIS EXPERIENCE TO THAT ONE?
"I enjoy it over here. I've always wanted to run a full season over here. The few races I ran when I was driving, I felt like I held my own. I won my fair share of races and sat on the pole and I was kind of an outsider. I always wanted to run a full season [as a driver] and was hoping to do it before I retired, but I was still with the Indy cars too much. The way I look at it is that stock car racing is what corporate America and the people are wanting to see right now."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE POLITICS THAT GO ALONG WITH BEING AN OWNER?
"I'm no politician and I never will kiss anybody's ass. I'll run by the rules the way they want it and then I'll voice my opinion. Like right now, Pontiac is hurting on the superspeedways and they (NASCAR) are going to have to do something. They took a couple inches off of the Ford for Talladega when they cried and I just hope they do something for us. You know there wasn't a Pontiac really competitive last weekend. They had good pit stops and strategy and fell in the front up front at the end, but that's the only they inherited that. All night long, they were running in the back. You've got Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, who are probably as good as any race drivers over here. When they're running back there that tells you that on the superspeedways that Pontiac is not that competitive."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR TEAM THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON?
"I hope we get it turned around. I've got some new boys that came aboard - we've had to make some changes. But a lot of people don't realize that guys like Penske [Racing] and [Richard] Childress [Racing] and some of these guys, are over 20 years old in this league. Me coming down here would be like them coming up there to the IRL. We're just a year and a half old and we've got some top-notch boys, but we've had to pick here and pick there and pick up some good people, which we've been fortunate enough to do.
"You've got to crawl before you walk. Sure, I'm not happy with what is going on. But in the same place, with where we've come from and where we started, I think everyone has done a hell of a job."