By Brett Borden NASCAR Online Carl Long knew it was an uphill battle making the field for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 presented by America Online at Pocono Raceway, but he says that he and owner Thee Dixon are going to regroup and try again ...
By Brett Borden
Carl Long knew it was an uphill battle making the field for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 presented by America Online at Pocono Raceway, but he says that he and owner Thee Dixon are going to regroup and try again some time soon. "It took me most of yesterday to learn where I wanted to turn the car and where to get on the brakes," Long said. "I came here last year and we didn't get but about six laps on the racetrack and we got us a problem in the ARCA car. So basically, it was my first time here.
"We got the car where it was comfortable. I was loose getting in and tight coming off but I got it where I wasn't loose and I started working with the car. I could drive in the corners harder and learned to pick up the gas at a different point. Just trying to learn what I needed. Really didn't know how good my shot would be here just because of my lack of experience."
If the driver was not experienced enough, the car was perhaps a little too experienced.
"Bringing a '99 car here ... it was the only car we had ready at the time," Long said. "The car that I ran in Charlotte was still being put back together after Dover (crash). You come here with a '99 body style you already know you're behind. I left probably another second on the race track today qualifying because the car would push so bad in my qualifying lap. If there was a third round of qualifying, and I had another couple of hours of practice, I think I could get to it. I don't know what I would have to do to get where Rusty (Wallace) and those guys are. I'm lost on that one. My hat's off to those guys."
With Pocono now behind them, Long says the focus is on the next couple of races on the schedule, though driver and owner aren't for sure on exactly where yet.
"Mr. Dixon wants to go to Indy, but I don't," Long said. "Going to Indy is just like coming to Pocono. It's a unique track. It's not your standard, basic brakin' around track that I'm used to. I really don't want to go not having tested there. Not that I don't want to drive, cause I know it's going to take (seat) time, but I think if he goes there with me, we're going to go home.
"If he finds an experienced driver and he wants to go to Indy because it pays so much to get in, that's what he looks at is the bottom line -- what it pays to make a race. I really feel in my heart if I go to Indy that I won't get in the race for him. If that's what he wants to do. If not, I hope to have that other car back ready to go to Michigan. That track's big and wide enough ... you can run the wrong groove and still be fast. I learned that watching on TV."
If he makes it on TV, Long says he owes a lot of thanks to T.C.
"Travis Carter's team has been putting the body back on (the Dover car) for me," he said. "Those guys really helped me a lot."