DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2000) - Virtually nobody knew Kurt Warner prior to the 1999 NFL season. Now, he's heralded across the country as the NFL's Most Valuable Player and quarterback of the Super Bowl XXXIV Champion St. Louis Rams. Jerry...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2000) - Virtually nobody knew Kurt Warner prior to the 1999 NFL season. Now, he's heralded across the country as the NFL's Most Valuable Player and quarterback of the Super Bowl XXXIV Champion St. Louis Rams.
Jerry Nadeau, driver of the No. 25 Michael Holigan Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, hopes to achieve similar recognition by proving himself at the Feb. 20 Superbowl of racing, the Daytona 500. The 29-year-old from Danbury, Conn., heads into the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup season with a different team and a new sponsor, driving the new 2000 Monte Carlo.
Here's what Nadeau and several others involved with the team had to say about the many changes as the season-opening events at Daytona International Speedway approach:
Jerry Nadeau on Hendrick Motorsports:
"Last year, the biggest deal of my career came together, and now I'm driving for the best team in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, Hendrick Motorsports.
"I've been in racing all of my life, and I've raced in the Winston Cup Series for two years, but this is my first chance to really be competitive. It's a confidence builder to be able to go out on the track knowing that I have good equipment, a good engine, and a good chassis. Now it finally will be up to me as to how I do on the track."
Jerry Nadeau on Michael Holigan:
"The people at Michael Holigan are a lot like me. Michael is the type of person I like to deal with. We both started with very little and had to work hard to get where we are. We both give 110 percent every day to make sure we are doing the right things to be successful.
"In a way, Michael Holigan and I will have a lot of similar experiences in 2000. Like me, they are going to learn a lot throughout the season. We're both putting the building blocks together -- for me it's with the team, but for them it's becoming the number one provider of builder materials and services in the United States."
Rick Hendrick on Jerry Nadeau:
"I've watched Jerry for a long time. He's got a tremendous amount of talent. If you look at his credentials and the series he's raced in, he's won in everything he's driven. Jerry's got the whole package with the way he handles himself.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Jerry run our car this year. We've just got to give him what he needs to get the job done. I think he's going to win a lot of races for us down the road."
Michael Holigan on Hendrick Motorsports:
"Hendrick Motorsports has won four Winston Cup championships and is recognized around the world as one of the premier organizations, not only in Winston Cup, but in all motor sports. Being associated with Rick and his people is a tremendous opportunity for our companies."
Jerry Nadeau on Team 25:
"I've spent a lot of time in the race shop, just getting to know the guys. There aren't many drivers that do that, but it's important for me to be involved with the team and let them know how much I appreciate what they do.
"The crew is doing an awesome job. They're doing pit stop practices every week in addition to getting a whole fleet of new Monte Carlos ready for the track. But the best thing of all is that everybody on the team has a great attitude. That can make or break you." Jerry Nadeau on Crew Chief Tony Furr:
"Tony's been around racing a long time, building his own race cars as well as working in the Winston Cup Series. Tony's aggressive - he's hard, but I'd rather have somebody hard than somebody easygoing. I think he's going to help me a lot just because of his experience around Winston Cup racing."
Tony Furr on the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Season:
"We're looking for a lot of excitement out of the No. 25 team this year. Our whole crew is pumped up over our new driver, a new sponsor and a new car. Our teammates better watch out when they are talking about who is going to have the most poles this year because Jerry is definitely a 'gasser.'"
Rick Hendrick on a New Attitude at Hendrick Motorsports:
"It's a new millennium and there's a new attitude here. I think we're more focused as a unit today because we're trying to execute a game plan. We have a structure in place, a way to communicate to be more efficient. We're going to win together this year or we're going to lose together, but we will be together. I think that's the key."
Jerry Nadeau on Having Teammates:
"I can see why Jeff (Gordon) and Terry (Labonte) have done so well the last few years. The people at Hendrick Motorsports have their stuff together. At a test session in Talladega last October, Jeff and I were able to drive each others' cars to see what set-ups we liked best. We both made a lot of changes to our cars because of that, which significantly improved our times.
"I've never had teammates before, but it is a lot easier to pick up additional speed when you have someone to bounce ideas off of. Plus, it adds a little bit of friendly rivalry."
Rick Hendrick on Jerry Nadeau and Tony Furr:
"Jerry and Tony are an awesome package because Tony likes to run fast and run hard. I think a guy that can hang a car out and run it and put it up front will find the edge. Through all of the testing, they've looked great and been extremely fast."
Jerry Nadeau on the 2000 Monte Carlo:
"The new Monte Carlo is a fast car. The Fords are definitely better for superspeedways right now, but we've come a long way with the new Monte Carlo since I first tested it last fall. I feel like all the people at GM have done their homework. I'd rather be driving a Chevrolet than anything else out there, I can tell you that."
Jerry Nadeau on the NASCAR-Mandated Superspeedway Shocks:
"We tested with the new superspeedway shocks last year at Talladega (Ala.). It's definitely an easier ride on the driver, no doubt. The speeds seem to have come down quite a bit, but I think NASCAR is just trying to make it a lot safer for the drivers.
"The new shocks really stabilize the cars and make them a smooth drive. But it makes it tough on the crew because they have to work even harder to get the right combination of chassis, aerodynamics and horsepower to be fast. They can't just go to their notes from last year and put the car back the same way."