Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 66 Haas Carter Motorsports Taurus, will start from the pole in Sunday's race while brother Brett, driver of the No. 11 Dura-Lube Taurus, qualified 14th. Both are involved with teams looking for sponsorship for the...
Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 66 Haas Carter Motorsports Taurus, will start from the pole in Sunday's race while brother Brett, driver of the No. 11 Dura-Lube Taurus, qualified 14th. Both are involved with teams looking for sponsorship for the rest of 2002 and they spoke about those prospects.
TODD BODINE --66-- Haas Carter Motorsports
WHAT'S THE LATEST ON SPONSORSHIP? "We're talking to people, but this is the wrong time of the year to be trying to get any money because budgets are already set. All of the corporations know where there money is going and it's almost impossible to do it right now. We've had some interest from companies that can pull from other areas of their budget, but, at the same time, it takes a lot of people within those companies to make a decision. So, nothing is gonna happen within the next four or five days and the prospects don't look good."
HAS IT BEEN HARD FOR THE TEAM TO FOCUS ON RACING DURING THIS SPONSOR SEARCH? "No, not at all. We've got a job to do and that's what we've come here for -- to do our job. When I'm sitting in that race car there's only one thing I'm thinking about. The guys on pit road, all they're worried about is doing their pit stop. The crew chief is worried about doing his job. When it comes down to crunch time, we get down and do our business."
IS THIS PARTICULARLY TOUGH BECAUSE OF THE SUCCESS YOU GUYS HAVE HAD? "This is really tough. You work your whole career to try and get an opportunity like this. I've said it once I've said it 100 times, Travis Carter is probably one of the nicest guys you're ever gonna meet and, as a car owner, he does everything he has to do to make the team run good. He's given us everything we need. We don't lack for anything. We don't do some of the extra things that high-budget teams do, but we do whatever we can within our means. Travis has been just great at that. He's a good car owner and Carl (Haas) is right there with him backing him up on everything, so this is definitely the best situation I've been in. It really hurts to be in this position because we're really close to having it all together."
YOU MUST HAVE MIXED EMOTIONS -- YOU'RE RUNNING WELL BUT YOU DON'T HAVE A SPONSOR. "That's exactly what it is. We know we've got a good race team and that's a great position to be in. We've got great car owners and great motors with Robert Yates motors. We've got everything it takes to run up front and, like I said, we're close to getting to that point and to have the rug pulled right out from under you rips your heart out -- not only for me -- I'll land on my feet, I'll end up somewhere doing something, but we've got a lot of employees at the shop. Those people have families and right now they don't know what's gonna happen on Monday. They don't know what's gonna happen on Tuesday and that's a hard position for them to be in. Those are the people I feel bad for right now."
WOULD A WIN GO A LONG WAY IN MAKING THINGS BETTER? "A victory would definitely go a long way, but I don't really think it's gonna change the situation. The only thing it's gonna do is make for a better opportunity to attract sponsorship, but, at this point, if we won on Sunday, we're not gonna have a sponsor on Monday morning and Tuesday morning we probably wouldn't have a sponsor. I don't think it would happen next week and, if it doesn't happen next week, we probably won't be at Atlanta."
HOW IS TRAVIS HANDLING THIS? "It's hard on him. I mean, he cares. All of the car owners want to say they care about their people and care about their families, but Travis really does. A lot of the people that have been in that shop and have worked for him for years, he's got a great relationship with all of them and they know that he cares. This is really tearing Travis up to be in this situation. It's hard for him. He can survive. He'll go on and he'll carry on, but he cares about what's gonna happen with his people."
IS PART OF THE REASON FOR HAVING THE CARS BLANK TO LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU NEED A SPONSOR? "People have known us to be the Blue Light Special for a year now and we don't want them to think it's still on there. We want them to realize that the car is blank and it needs something on it. There's no better way than to be on the pole in front of national TV and say, 'Look, you're logo here.'"
BUT YOU PUT ALL OF THAT ASIDE IN QUALIFYING? "I haven't thought about it since I've been out here."
SO WHEN THE MEDIA TALKS ABOUT IT THAT'S THE ONLY TIME YOU THINK ABOUT IT? "That's the main thing and that's what your job is -- to bring the story to the people. If you (the media) didn't talk about it, I wouldn't even think about it. That's just the way I am. I try not to let things worry me, although I have been worried about having a job, but when I roll through the gate at the race track it's not even in my thoughts."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO BRETT ABOUT THIS TYPE OF SITUATION? "No, not really. He's actually still going through it and needs some more sponsorship to continue. It's kind of a depressing subject, so it's not something you sit around and talk about especially today. He had a great run and I had a great run, so that's what we're concentrating on right now, but he's doing everything he can to get some more sponsorship."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Dura-Lube Taurus
TODD WAS SAYING THAT EVEN IF HE WINS ON SUNDAY, THEY WON'T HAVE A SPONSOR ON MONDAY. DOES THE SAME GO FOR YOU? "That's the part on our end that is difficult to understand because there's a team that won a race last year that didn't get a sponsor during the off-season. Todd's right, we could win the race and we're not gonna be sponsored on Monday. It's just hard to understand. There's something wrong and there's something wrong in the mechanics of the way this sport operates. When we have a definite number that race every week and we're coming to the point where we might not meet that number with full-time race teams, to me that shows the mechanics of the whole operation is incorrect."
DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS? "I've said before that we have too many entities within the sport competing for the same funding -- from the race tracks to NASCAR with official status, television and the race teams. The race tracks will operate without billboards. NASCAR will operate without official status people, but the race teams will not operate without sponsors."
WHAT IS YOUR STATUS WITH SPONSORSHIP NOW? "We don't have anything for Atlanta as far as a major sponsor. We have hopes of getting somebody, whether it's a one-off or a three or four-race deal. We're trying to maintain our visibility and be at all the races in the hopes that some company is gonna want to jump in, but we're planning on going to Atlanta. We might be blank, but we're gonna go."
THIS IS REALLY MORE THAN JUST GETTING SPONSORSHIP FOR THE RACE CAR, ISN'T IT? "It's more than just the race car and the sponsor, it's about the people. I don't know if they realize it, but you're fighting to keep them employed and you're fighting to make payroll. It's so hard to walk into the shop sometimes because I should be the cheerleader and the positive influence, but when things aren't going right on the business side it's hard to be that person. It's really hard to be upbeat and positive all the time when it's eating you up on the business side."
BUT WHEN YOU GET IN THE CAR SUNDAY THAT WILL BE THE FURTHEST THING FROM YOUR MIND? "Absolutely. When I get in the race car we're working on trying to win the race or produce the best finish we can. I know it's hard on guys like Todd and Joe because they're like the employees in Travis' eyes. Well, I'm them too and it's my job too that's in jeopardy, along with my business and my team and their jobs. We just have to continue to trudge forward and just keep working. That's all you can do. I don't know how else to look at it. I'm just thankful for my family because they're probably worker harder than I am on that side of it because I've got to concentrate on the driving and communication with the guys and try to keep this race team competitive. So far, we've done a good job. The people who have stayed with us through this tough time need to be commended because they're producing great pieces of equipment and very competitive race cars. For them to hang in there through this tough time and continue to do their jobs is just awesome. I've got to thank Doug (Richert) for coming on board and just helping at the track. He doesn't help at the shop, but he's a leader at the race track and that's important."