Indianapolis: Elliott, Evernham, Mayfield quotes

Friday Dodge Charger Quotes from Brickyard BILL ELLIOTT (No. 91 Stanley Dodge Charger) Stanley announced its entry into the automotive aftermarket on Friday at The Brickyard, including a new companion line of storage products featuring a Bill...

Friday Dodge Charger Quotes from Brickyard

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 91 Stanley Dodge Charger)

Stanley announced its entry into the automotive aftermarket on Friday at The Brickyard, including a new companion line of storage products featuring a Bill Elliott tool chest.

"The last time I worked around the house I slipped on a garden hose and broke my kneecap. I need Stanley to build something that will roll up a garden hose and get it out of my way. Anyway, we're here to have a good weekend with the Stanley Dodge Charger. Hopefully the rain will stop so we can get some practice and get a good starting spot for Sunday.

"To run a race team today and be a car owner going up against Hendrick and Roush and Penske is a David and Goliath scenario. I think Ray (Evernham) was one who initiated all the strenuous work he put in as far as the crew is concerned. If you can gain two positions in the pits these days, that's big because it's so hard to pass on the track. The way I look at it, he looked at it and saw the opportunity to do all he could to make the best stops, and that's what people are doing today. They're doing their best to pit these cars and do whatever they can do to make it all work. If you're lacking one thing, you're probably not going to win the race on Sunday afternoon.

"It's going to be different (without Rusty and Mark). When I came in I had Richard, Cale and all those guys. It seems like that was just yesterday and now they're gone doing something else. It's ironic that I did a little race up in New Jersey last year. Cale and Harry Gant and Dave Marcis and a bunch of those guys were there, and the stories those guys have is just amazing. I guess I'm fortunate enough to be one of the drivers to see everything from the early 70s until today and all the changes NASCAR has gone through.

"I'm just taking it a day at a time. If it looks like it's a pretty good deal, I might do it. If it's not, I'm not. I told Casey Atwood the first year he was with Ray, I told him to enjoy it because the first time he turns around you'll be 41 and you'll look back and wonder where it all went. You better work hard and enjoy it while you can. That's the point I'm trying to make. A lot of those guys who raced around me are not around today. They've retired or gone somewhere else. I guess I'm fortunate to be able to accomplish the things I've accomplished and today enjoy a different look and a different part of the sport.

"I didn't envision running a handful of laps today anyway. All you get is three sets of tires before you qualify, so it's a moot point. It's good to go out and see where the track is, but for all practical purposes everybody is in the same boat. We've just got to get out there and lay it down. Whether it's three hours or 30 minutes, these guys are going to get it done. With 50 cars or whatever is here, it'll work in pretty quick. It won't take it long

to get into shape. I think once the rain passes and it gets dried out, we'll get out and see how it goes.

"When we go out and qualify in the morning, this afternoon will be more like what qualifying conditions will be and tomorrow afternoon's practice will be more like what it's going to be on Sunday. Hopefully it'll work out pretty well.

"I never was around Charlotte much, and I felt like I couldn't do it. I don't have the personality to race on Sunday and to go back where everybody is on Monday. It was hard enough running my own deal out of Dawsonville, but at least I could get away and clear my head for a couple of days. It helps give things a better perspective when you do go back to the racetrack. To me it's two totally different worlds. You start in February and go to November and all the testing and everything else, so it's a year-round deal.

"Today, you've got to have the skill and everything has to fall your way. A lot of guys have won with a lot of different strategies. You've still got to be able to put it all together or you're not going to win the race."

RAY EVERNHAM (President, CEO Evernham Motorsports)

"When we won Indy in 2002 it took our program up to another level. People looked at us differently, the same as making The Chase last year. People looked at us differently. There are certain things you can put in your resume to make your team more of a contender week in and week out, especially when you're trying to build a portfolio and bring sponsors on. It helps your stock go up. Having a race team is like being in the stock market. We've got to keep that stock up.

"I wish we were struggling like that (24 team). He's 15th in the points with three wins. If we could struggle like that it would be great. They'll be fine. I've always got a soft spot for Jeff because he's a close friend and you hate to see him have problems, but in reality, I believe Jeff Gordon is going to make The Chase and probably end up winning two or three more races. I would only hope at some point he could have a soft spot for me when we're only winning three or four a year.

"I think it's really all about athletic ability now (pit stops). We're still using the same tools, same number of guns, jacks, the same tools we've used for the past 10 years. We've picked up two or three seconds and that's all the human element. It's no different than the Olympics or any challenging sport. They keep running faster, jumping higher, jumping further. It's all the human element. I think that's what's brought the speed of the

pit stops down. We've actually got two trainers. One physical trainer and one choreography coach and they're out there at the colleges and some of the high schools looking for these guys. You've got people out there recruiting. When I first looked at pit stops back in 1992 and '93, I could never understand how you expect a guy to work on the car 12-14 hours a day and be great at doing a pit stop. I saw some good cars lose races because of bad pit stops. We started working on it right away and it paid big dividends for the 24 team at that time. Now you've got to do it to stay status quo. If you're not doing it, you're going to get beat terribly on pit road. The more competitive the cars are and the more equal everybody is, the more advantage there is on pit road.

"We went into it with Bill with no pressure. We said we'll run as much as we can the first year and we'll keep looking for partners. I think Bill is where he'd like to be between this and the Busch cars. It's allowed partners like Stanley to come in and get their feet wet in NASCAR without having to write the big check with big pressure. For Stanley, I think it's a great deal. They've got a legend in the sport on a part-time basis, and they can introduce a lot of their tools. Hopefully more and more people will follow suit and the companies will see they don't have to write a $20 million check to be involved.

"You can use all the cliches, but hopefully the guy believes in you enough to know it's just the way the sport is. It's cyclical. Right now, we're probably off a little bit with our cars and we've got to work on that a little bit. He (Kasey Kahne) has had some good runs, but he's either got crashed or blown an engine and that's going to happen. The key thing is you've got to keep everybody together and keep digging and keep believing in yourself and fix the problems one at a time. If you continue to work at it it's not going to be bad for you. No one who works hard goes unrewarded. Sometimes you feel it's a little easier for the next guy, you've got to keep fixing and working on the things you think are a problem.

"I think with this Ford thing behind him you're going to see a different guy, probably a little more relaxed. Kasey is a very competitive person. He wants to run up front. He wants to lead every lap. He wants to sit on every pole and he wants to win every race, and that's what I love about the guy. He's got to make sure he doesn't let the days he doesn't do that that frustration eat him up."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

"The key is not making mistakes and if you do like we did at Pocono, we didn't hit on much and we kept fighting back. That's been our goal all year. It's not about the good days. The good days are going to come and they're going to be good for you. Most of us are going to have more bad days than good days, so we've taken the stand that when we should have finished 35th, we've finished 15th, 17th or 20th. That's helped us a lot. There's more points to be gained by that than trying to make every day a good day.

"I don't know if it's the Dodge as much as all the changes the Dodge teams have had to go through. Any glitch in anybody's program anymore creates a huge difference in your race team. The Fords and Chevys had a spoiler change and that's it. We had a body change and our team had a crew chief change. A lot of stuff went on. I don't know if it's the Dodge or everything else got everybody behind. The Charger has proven it can run up front. Rusty has been running good. We've had our times. Kasey has run good. I feel like we're getting closer and closer. All three teams had a good test here. I can't really say it's the Dodge as much as everybody getting caught up.

"I think all year up until the final 10, you've got to points race. After you get in the final 10 it's going to be a different deal. Last year nobody knew how it was going to play out. Now that we were in it last year, after the 26th race we can go race like there's no tomorrow. If you're in the top 10 you're locked in and you race every race to win then. You still need to points race, but points racing isn't going to do you as much good in 10 races as it would for 26 races.

"Every race this year will make or break you. If we hadn't got 17th at Pocono we wouldn't be in the top 10 right now. Every race is a make or break race and that's how we're looking at it. It's going to come down to the wire at Richmond like it did last year. Afterwards, Richmond was the most fun thing I've ever done in my life. Going into Richmond wasn't so much fun. We had made a lot of mistakes in the two races before that and took ourself out of it. We had no choice but to do what we did. How we did it, I don't know other than everybody was determined to work together and get it done. We've been doing that every week this year. I'd like to be locked in and then go win Richmond. We've been good at Richmond. We were good the last race there. We had a little incident on pit road that knocked in our fender. Our teammate won, and that's the next best thing to us winning.

"New Hampshire (first race in The Chase in 2004) knocked the air out of us. We came into New Hampshire ready to go and got an uppercut in the gut that knocked the breath out of us. We came back and ran good the week after that. The week after that we

wrecked. We kept going up and down and the last four races we didn't hit on nothing. It shows how important momentum and team effort works.

"Slugger (crew chief Labbe) has been cool. We argue a little bit every once in awhile. He gets on me and I get back on him, but we need that. After the race we're always laughing about it and we shake hands. I need that from a driver's point of view, someone to get on me and keep me straight during the race. When I feel like I'm right I get on him. We've got a great relationship. We get along as good as anybody, pretty much like brothers. We both have an even veto. Right there is the veto man (Evernham).

"The good thing about the Chase is you've got all those wild races in there and anything can happen. Who knows what's going to happen at Bristol and Talladega? Whoever survives those two races and end up in the top 10 you'll be in good shape for the championship.

"This year we're testing like crazy. We tested on Tuesday and Wednesday at Kansas after Pocono. We came back and went Monday morning at 5 o'clock and went to Watkins Glen and tested for two days. After here, we're going to Michigan. We've been wide open. We saved a few tests last year. This year we're going all out and get all we can and let the last 10 go. I'd rather make sure we get in the top 10 than saving some (tests) just in case you do.

"I've thought about what the sport is going to be like without Rusty and Mark. It'll be some hard shoes to fill. I like Bill Elliott and Rusty. That's what's cool about my career. I was able to drive for Cale Yarborough and race against Dale Earnhardt, drive for Rusty and Roger Penske. I've had a great career as far as being able to be a part of people I looked up to. When they're gone I don't know what it's going to be like.

"It could go either way here Sunday. The track is so smooth and so fast. It gets hot here. If it stays cool it might be all right, but I don't know what to expect. I know Goodyear has done a great job so far on everything, but we need that practice today.

"This is still a huge race. Everybody wants to win here because it's Indy. I want to win Indy more than anything, but it still pays the same points that Watkins Glen is going to pay. You've got to look at it that way, but it's definitely a big race prestige wise."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Casey Atwood , Dave Marcis , Kasey Kahne , Roger Penske , Harry Gant , Cale Yarborough