GREG STEADMAN (Crew chief No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We've had quite a few wrecks we got involved in when we were running really good. That's really put us in the situation we're in. We've probably been in only three races we didn't...
GREG STEADMAN (Crew chief No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We've had quite a few wrecks we got involved in when we were running really good. That's really put us in the situation we're in. We've probably been in only three races we didn't run like we wanted to and (Dover) was one of them, Vegas and Texas. Those were bad finishes for us, but the wrecks hurt us. Those put you out back in the back of the field because everybody runs the whole race. As far as performance-wise, I think we're on track. It's just a matter of finishing races out and maintaining what we've got and not putting ourselves in certain situations.
"These guys that work on this 43 team, that's what they live for - to race. They don't get down about where we're at. They know we're a lot better than that. One good finish would turn everything around and get everybody pumped up real good. Hopefully that's what we're looking at at Pocono.
"These days people run real soft springs compared to a couple of years ago. You run a lot softer springs and are more aggressive on the shocks. It does beat down and wear down on the springs. They take a set on the way they start from Sunday morning after you run 500 miles. We had it at Bristol last year. If you're borderline when you go through and have any type of movement on the car at all, and it drops an eighth of an inch or something, that's considered low. It looks like we're going to have to protect ourselves and go through tech with the car a little bit higher than what we'd want to just to compensate for that. We build them to the exact tolerance of everything they give you. You don't want to go through with your roof at 51 and a quarter because then everyone else is an eighth of an inch lower. If you build your car with your body higher, then you mess up your aerodynamics. If they're going to be that strict, then everybody should raise their car an eighth of an inch or so.
"I don't know about checking the whole field. They take the top three and pick a random car. By the end of the weekend, if you didn't finish in the top five, nobody wants to go through that tech room again and get everything checked. Fifth place doesn't count for a whole lot. If they're going to take points away or position, and if they're going to stand stern on that, then everybody will get their stuff up and it'll be legal.
"Right now, John has proven himself a winner and Kyle has. They want to put some people in there that have got some experience and can make the changes and build the team. Then once you've got a solid team, you can put a younger driver in there and he can succeed. To take a rookie team and a rookie driver, it's really hard sometimes. Sometimes they hit it off the bat. Jimmie Johnson, in certain situations it works well and in some situations it isn't an advantage. Right now we're looking for somebody with a little experience probably.
"I guess racers have a different attitude in life. You get really mad and then you walk away from it and you have to go on with it and get over it. You can't hold it for the rest of the week or month. You've got to go on to next week because that's what's counting next. All of us are like that. We race real hard. We want to win every week, so you get very disappointed or upset when something goes wrong that keeps you from doing that, but after it happens you've just got to pick it up and go again. It's like a quarterback. He can throw an interception, but he can come back and throw a touchdown pass the next pass. You've just got to get up and go again. You can't dwell on the negatives. The General Mills people are excellent with us. They treat the guys really well. All the sponsors do. Sprint and Georgia Pacific are just real team oriented people. The guys really like that. It's a pretty big family type atmosphere."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"As long as we race and as long as they're dropping fuel in cars and as long as there's going to be cautions somebody is going to win races by fuel mileage. I don't think anybody goes into a race saying we're going to win on fuel mileage. I think that becomes an issue sometimes during the race. I enjoy Pocono. John tested and thought it went pretty good. We've had limited success there. I've won there. I've run in the top five and top 10 there. All of our cars have.
"John hasn't had the success there he would liked to have had because he'd like to go up there and dominate every race. My father went there with USAC races when they used to run up there a long time ago. We've been going up there forever. We just wanted to see what the wear and tear would be on the engine up there. That's a hard place on engines. You're shifting and you've got these vast differences in the rpm bands. You could be as low as 4500 or 5000 or as high as 9200 or 9300. When you look at that, it's not like Martinsville. It's not quick. It's for a longer period of time. I think for us, we just wanted to go see what the valve train looked like and what the bottom end looked like.
"I think every week is a test for the one-engine rule, and I think it's pretty much a dead issue as far as I'm concerned. I don't think the one-engine rule has affected the way this sport has run in one way, shape or form. When we look back at Atlanta and places that are notoriously hard on engines, there weren't any more engine failures this year than there were in the past. I think the one-engine rule is a dead issue.
It may get to a point where we have to start reducing some of these races, whether it be Dover or Pocono, from a TV package standpoint. I like Winston Cup Wednesday on Speed Vision, but sitting in front of the TV for four and a half hours that ain't my game. I don't see how people do it on Sunday to be honest with you. To condense it into more of a two and a half-hour or three-hour TV show, they'll have to shorten races at some point in time.
"That's the most bizarre thing I think anybody could have happen. I can't imagine anything more bizarre than to come out of a corner and have a fan standing in front of you in the straightaway. That's probably the strangest thing to me personally that I've ever been involved in in any race."