Because of the weather, a lot of people had last Saturday off at Bristol, but the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crewmen would have had the day off anyway. At some tracks with the new impound rules, Cup crews work only on Friday and Sunday. So what do they do...
Because of the weather, a lot of people had last Saturday off at Bristol, but the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crewmen would have had the day off anyway. At some tracks with the new impound rules, Cup crews work only on Friday and Sunday. So what do they do on Saturday? Had they rather be working? Here's the way some Dodge Charger crew chiefs feel about the situation.
SLUGGER LABBE (Crew chief No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
"I went back home and went to my son's baseball practice last Saturday morning. It's a change of pace, and we've just got to get used to it. It's like a NASCAR rule change. You've just got to go with the flow and make the best of it. We're racers and we want to come to the racetrack and race. It seems like when you have a day off you lose track of what you need to be thinking about and it's hard to get back into the routine after a day off. A day off every now and then isn't a bad thing, either.
"When the race started last week we didn't really know what we had. We impounded and the track changed because of the weather. We couldn't do much anyway because of the impound. We just had to wait and see and wait for the first 10 laps and cross our fingers. Every time you impound you really won't know what you have until 10 laps into the race. They're going to have a truck race after our Happy Hour today, so whenever you start a race you still don't know what you have, but with a non-impound race you have a better feeling and a better understanding of what you're going to have. I think they'll make 'em all impound races in a couple of years."
STEVE BOYER (Crew chief No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Charger)
"I was picking up furniture with my wife last Saturday morning. It's awful nice to have that day off. Last weekend felt a little disjointed, but I think if we'd do it a little bit it would feel more normal. We're so used to a three-day weekend or coming in on Saturday and having race practice that it felt strange. Even when I was driving back home on Friday night, it felt weird.
"I don't know what we'll do when we go out west and have an off Saturday. Maybe we'll go to a ball game or something. I know we'll have a few and guys will be taking their golf clubs and fishing poles, something to relax a little bit.
"We thought we had a pretty good idea of how the car was going to be last week before the race started. We have the truck race today after we practice, so the track is still going to change. You've got to go back to your notes. You have to plan for a little something different every week. Each track is a little different. Martinsville would be an ideal candidate for an impound race because qualifying and race trim is so similar. Atlanta probably isn't, so I think it probably depends on the racetrack. I think eventually every race will be an impound race, and I think they're going to try to cut down on the schedule a little bit so they can add some races."
MATT BORLAND (Crew chief No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Charger)
"Last Saturday morning I was riding around in circles looking for something to do. I did that for a couple of hours, picked up Ryan and we had breakfast. I hate Saturdays off. If they want to have a two-day show, have a two-day show. Don't have a three-day show with two days worth of work. I thought about going home, but then you'd have to get up early Sunday morning and drive three hours."
SHANE WILSON (Crew chief No. 77 Kodak/Jasper Dodge Charger)
"I just hung out in the hotel and watched a little TV and relaxed last Saturday. It's OK to relax, but I'd rather spend it at home than at some racetrack somewhere. I think eventually they'll consolidate our two days to a Friday-Saturday or a Saturday-Sunday. That'll be good. The fans will get to see all the races and we get an extra day. It's really hard to do a three-day race weekend and test for two days during the week. You need to give the guys a break every once in awhile. You've got to work hard to stay competitive, but you can't work everybody to death."
PAUL ANDREWS (Crew chief No. 45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge Charger)
"I was in my motorhome watching it rain last Saturday at Bristol. I played cards with my wife and her friends. I like the impound rule, but I don't like the schedules that are all one day. I like it where we practice on Friday and qualify on Saturday. That gives you a little more activity on the track on Saturday. It rained all day last Saturday at Bristol, so we didn't know which way the track was going to go. We'll definitely feel a lot better about the race tomorrow after having a normal schedule today with practice."
DONNIE WINGO (Crew chief No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
"I was probably still in bed last Saturday morning. If they're going to do this, I don't know why they just don't qualify on Saturday. We pretty much knew what we had when the race started last week, but when the weather changes like it did you have to factor that into it. I think they'll probably end up going to the impound deal everywhere. That might save us a few sets of tires, but other than that we'll still go to the track the same time we did, so that doesn't save you any travel time. Whatever they decide, we'll do it."