BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger) NOTE: General Mills announced Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that it has extended sponsorship with Petty Enterprises on the No. 43 Dodge Charger. DO YOU FEEL PRESSURE TO...
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger)
NOTE: General Mills announced Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that it has extended sponsorship with Petty Enterprises on the No. 43 Dodge Charger.
DO YOU FEEL PRESSURE TO CARRY THE LOAD ON YOUR SHOULDERS AT PETTY ENTERPRISES? "I think it's evenly (spread) across the board. The driver gets a lot of the credit a lot of times that the crew doesn't get. I think everybody at Petty Enterprises is carrying a lot on their shoulders as far as wanting to do better. Todd Parrott and Robbie Loomis along with everybody that was already there (also shoulders the load). I don't really feel that it's all on my shoulders, but I take pride in making sure that we improve. A driver might get the limelight, but I'm going to give credit where credit is due and that's with the crew. I also want to make sure that I'm not lagging back, holding something back. I feel like I take some of it, but I'm going to give the credit to Todd Parrott and Robbie Loomis and Richard and Kyle for making the decisions."
YOU RAN WELL AT POCONO. IS POCONO SIMILAR TO INDY? "It's similar, so we do feel after running well there it gives us confidence and momentum to come here. We're going to be inspired today."
ROBBIE LOOMIS (Executive Vice President of Petty Enterprises)
ARE YOU READY TO ROLL AT INDY? "I don't the success Todd Parrott's had here. He loves the place. I think we're as well if not better prepared for this race. It's nice when you have the off weekend in there. There's more time to prepare. The new car we've built for here, Todd's been like a horse with blinders on for that car. This is a special place for Todd. He's won here with Dale Jarrett."
COMMENT ON QUALIFYING TOMORROW. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO DRAW AN EARLY NUMBER? "It's really important. I always felt that coming here that track position is very important because it's so hard to pass. I think the draw is important. For the life of me, when something's not working you work real hard to try to make it better. That qualifying time seems so unjust with the time it is in the morning. I keep thinking every year they're going to change it and make it more equal, but right now with it going at 10 in the morning, we'd sure like to go then."
COMMENT ON THE SEASON SO FAR "Competitively with Bobby we feel like we're gaining momentum on it. We feel really happy with the progress they've made. With Kyle, we feel like we're a little behind and a little off the mark where we need to be. Two weeks ago at Pocono we felt like it was one of the better whole weekends we'd put together for Kyle. If we can put more of those together, we've got to get those guys where they're challenging each other more. To have a little inner competition is good. That's what we're working real hard on."
ARE YOU READY TO WIN? "I feel like we are. I look at the way we've finished at some of the places we've been. At Daytona we were running third with 10 to go. It's just going to be a matter of... We're putting ourselves in the right position, getting track position at the right time and we'll find ourselves in victory lane. Sometimes when you look at it you're way off. We're between eighth and 15th-place right now. That's where we're running most of the day. That's running well enough if you put yourself out front at the right time you can win the race on any given day."
HAS YOUR ROLE CHANGED THIS SEASON? "Coming into the deal I knew the job was going to be different, and I'm trying to learn my way through, what to worry about and what not to worry about and trying not to worry about everything so I can sleep at night. I've tried to give up a little of the shocks and springs. I knew how confusing it was for me when I was a crew chief and people tried to help coming in from the outside. I try to let Todd and Paul Andrews focus on the car and the things they need to to make the program better. I just try to watch and see if I can get the things they're asking for quick enough or if I need to get it quicker in the system. My job has changed a lot, being here with the sponsor. Right now my main focus is making sure that Bobby and Kyle feeling confident they have the things they need when they climb in the race car."
HOW LONG IS THE DEAL WITH GENERAL MILLS? "We don't like to discuss things and go into the terms of it. Whenever you set a date everyone comes after your sponsors and drivers at that time. Richard sees 'em as lifetime. We feel good about it and great about the future."
HOW MUCH ARE YOU FOCUSING ON '07 ALREADY? "Our goal now at Petty Enterprises is working on winning and getting winning race cars. Once we do that it'll transfer over into points and transfer into '07. Right now we're still focused on the moment, focused on Indianapolis, but we are starting to beef up our car of tomorrow."