Spencer revved up over Yates engines By Brett Borden DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2000) How you gauge Jimmy Spencer's success as a driver in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series depends on your judgment criteria. Do you look at the fact that he...
Spencer revved up over Yates engines By Brett Borden
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2000) How you gauge Jimmy Spencer's success as a driver in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series depends on your judgment criteria. Do you look at the fact that he racked up his only two career victories in the series way back in 1994? Or do you put more emphasis on the fact that he made more than three times as much money last year as he did in that high-water season? If you ask Spencer, he would take the '94 campaign over the more lucrative '99 version. In a heartbeat.
"I remember going to Daytona and telling my mom that I'll be racing at the Daytona 500 one day," said the driver of the No. 26 Kmart/Route 66 Ford. "That was when I was a very young boy. I wanted to race NASCAR. I quit racing dirt cars to race NASCAR, the Winston Racing Series to be exact. The difference is that if you are here for the money, then you're not going to win the championship.
"Tony Stewart is a factor to win the championship. If you told Tony that he couldn't have that $3 million next year, but you'll give him the championship, you know what he'd tell you? 'I want the damn championship; I don't want the money.' It will come to you and he knows it. I think everybody wants to win races. If you're in a Winston Cup car, you want to win races. If you don't want to win, you probably are going to go elsewhere."
In that regard, Spencer has gone elsewhere for his motor program. He has hooked his wagon to Robert Yates horsepower. Whether or not it will take the Pennsylvania native back to Victory Lane is unclear, but this much is certain: It can't hurt his qualifying efforts.
Spencer's average start last season was 26th. Sixteen times he failed to qualify in the first round in 1999, including nine times in one 13-race span. Nine times he had to use a provisional to make the field, including three of the season's first six races. The switch to a proven power outlet can only spell relief to a driver who has proven that once the race starts, he is not one to mess with.
"The minute that Robert Yates or Hendrick hangs a sign on the building there, every single guy in the garage area (that's an engine builder) is going to say they're going to see if they can get a job there. That's the first thing you have to realize. I think that what Robert has done is he's building for six Winston Cup teams now and I'm sure Hendrick is building for four or five. Naturally, they're making money at it, but they're also not going do something without pride.
"We're not going to get junk engines. We're not going to get engines that aren't up to where they need to be. The big thing with Robert Yates is, from my past experience talking to him, you're not just going to start an engine program for Robert Yates Racing if you can't get the right people."
Spencer hopes those people will get him somewhere he hasn't been in six years on the circuit -- Victory Lane.