Martinsville Ford Saturday Notes

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES NAPA Autocare 500 Advance October 2, 1999 Martinsville Speedway Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 75 Remington Arms Taurus, is the highest-qualifying Ford for Sunday's NAPA ...

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES NAPA Autocare 500 Advance October 2, 1999 Martinsville Speedway

Ted Musgrave, driver of the No. 75 Remington Arms Taurus, is the highest-qualifying Ford for Sunday's NAPA Autocare 500 as he will start from the outside pole. Musgrave hopes to extend a short track streak which has seen 11 different winners in the last 11 races.

TED MUSGRAVE --75-- Remington Arms Taurus -- THE FIRST FOUR STARTERS TOMORROW COULD KEEP THAT SHORT TRACK STREAK GOING. "Of those four I'm the only Ford, but Martinsville has been a good race track for me. I've darn near won a couple races here, but, then again, fate could just turn you around. Brakes could go out or you could get involved in a wreck, but right now the car is working good. We've got good strategy here, good pit stall -- everything is working in our favor so far just like Richmond where everything kind of fell into place also. That's kind of what you need here too. You have to get the track position you need and maintain it here at Martinsville. Everything is going good. Starting up in the front row is where you want to be and getting a good pit stall like we have is where you want to be. That's two of them right now, so let's see how it goes the rest of the way." YOU JOKINGLY REFERRED TO UNEMPLOYMENT AS BEING A MOTIVATING FACTOR FOR YOU YESTERDAY. DO SOME TEAMS BECOME MORE AGGRESSIVE AT THIS TIME OF YEAR BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE? "We're not. We're just doing like we have been all year and finally things are starting to work for us. Hopefully, the bad luck will go away. I know here we're not doing anything differently. We took out the notes that we had here in the spring and looked at what the car did. It was pretty quick in practice back then too, so we started from that point and made very minor adjustments. There wasn't anything off the wall. It wasn't like a Hail Mary deal where we're trying something completely weird. We're keeping our head on our shoulders, keeping straight and doing the normal things." IS THERE A LITTLE MORE EXCITEMENT OR ANTICIPATION FOR TOMORROW? "Definitely. It was no fluke that we qualified well because we were up on the list for quite a while during practice. I think we wound up fifth at the end of the day, so it's no fluke the car has been fast all the while. Naturally, your hopes are up now because it's been falling into place. You can see it in the team's morale too, like they feel we have a chance for a good run here. Even if you don't win, if you get a top five or anything like that, it's just like a shot in the arm when you go to Charlotte." DO YOU TRY TO CONSERVE BRAKES THE FIRST HALF OF THE RACE TOMORROW? BE CONSERVATIVE? "Somewhat in that perspective because you are on the front row and you'd like to get out and lead some laps, but at the same time you can run so hard that you can wear the car out. After 350-400 laps you've got no brakes or something else could happen. Basically, that's all you can wear out here. The brakes are what you have to keep in mind. Sure, you can be aggressive to start with and maybe lead some laps and stay near the front, and then you put yourself into a pace where the car can stay underneath you for the rest of the race, where you have something to race with at the end. That's the most important thing is to stay near the front and then when the last 100 laps come along you know you've got a complete car underneath you where you can charge hard." HOW MUCH DOES HAVING A GOOD PIT STALL ON THIS NARROW PIT ROAD HELP? "It's a one lane pit road now other than the frontstretch and backstretch deal, which sometimes the backstretch was almost quicker than the frontstretch -- I've done that before. But now, as long as the pit road is distance-wise, it's very important. I know Joe is on the pole, so he picked the first pit stall. We did not do that. We picked further back in line where there's an opening in front of us and a straight shot in and out of the pits, where I think that will be an advantage of not getting blocked in a little bit. I sure wouldn't want to be the very first pit stall in because that's gonna hurt whoever that is or anybody in that area." YOU'VE HAD A WEEK TO DIGEST THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT WALLY DALLENBACH IS GOING TO DRIVE THE 75 CAR NEXT YEAR. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT AS FAR AS NEXT YEAR? "Right now at this time of the year where we've only got a few more races left in the season, everybody's got everything done pretty much. The sponsors are pretty much in place, the drivers are in place, the crews are in place. Everything is all done. It's like musical chairs. The music stopped five minutes ago and everybody already sat down when I got word, so maybe I'll just do some things that I need to do for next year. I've got some things on the line to do and maybe even run six or seven races here and do a lot of test work for some teams that have called me. Then maybe the following year something would open up. There's kind of a unique situation that I might have going as far as a testing deal. It's all brand new equipment, all brand new stuff. There are a lot of engineers and a lot of things going on there where I could do a lot of testing and learn a lot of things like getting cars built in-house and redesigning a few things. I might come up with something really good and then we'd go racing for six or seven races and see how good it is and employ it into the team. Maybe that will smarten me up a little bit too to where I'd be more valuable next year."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN HOW YOU APPROACH MARTINSVILLE NOW VERSUS WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED RACING HERE? "We're still not as good at this race track as what we would like to be. There's just something there that we're not quite catching. I'm sure one of the things is, as good of a chassis man as Todd is, when you get the kind of horsepower that we have that benefits us everywhere else, it probably works against us some here. Trying to get that hooked up off of these corners, it seems to be what we fight a little bit. We've worked and worked and, even though we've made it better, we still haven't really gotten to the point that we feel like we can challenge these guys right up front, especially in the longer runs. Usually, that's one of our stronger suits is to run good in long runs and it just hasn't quite happened here yet." THIS AND TALLADEGA MUST BE THE TWO PLACES WHERE YOU HAVE TO BE WARY, RIGHT? "I don't think you can go in thinking about it. If you sit down and take time to look at places that could possibly create more problems that are out of your control than anywhere else, you'd say the possibilities are everywhere. But, when you've got 43 race cars on this half-mile race track, then you tend to think that things could happen here, but we can't go into the race thinking about that. We just have to go in and race. There's no way that you can put yourself anywhere in a try to get yourself in kind of a comfort zone. If you've got a good race car, you can do that to where maybe you don't have to be right on the guy in front of you (his bumper) and you can put a little distance with the guy behind you. But, for the most part, just getting our car good and racing the guys, but here and Talladega would be the two places that you would think things usually happen and they're out of everybody's control." BASICALLY YOU JUST HAVE TO RACE, RIGHT? "You've just gotta race. There's nothing you can do and you just have to go race. I guess the best thing we can do is make our car really good and that will allow me to know that I don't have to be hanging it out every single lap and worry about getting lapped or anything like that. If we've got the car good, then I can use my head and use my judgement on the race track, but, regardless of all that, you still have to go out and race all these guys." YOUR FIRST RACE WAS HERE. DOES THAT SEEM LIKE A LONG TIME AGO? "Even longer than what it's actually been, it honestly does. That was in 1984 I guess it was and, man, that was a long time ago. I remember. I was actually racing a Busch car in Nashville on Saturday night. I came here and practiced and qualified on Friday and went there on Saturday...flew over with Darrell Waltrip. We actually couldn't get back into Martinsville, we had to fly into Winston-Salem and literally borrowed somebody's car and didn't get back in...I don't know if Darrell wants, I guess it's alright now because he doesn't drive for Junior anymore, but we literally didn't get back to the hotel until six o'clock in the morning. So my first 500 lap race at Martinsville, I ended up having about two-and-a-half hours of sleep. But it was a good day. I think I finished 14th or something like that and actually had a flat tire along the way that cost me a lap. At one point in time toward the end of the race I raced Dale Earnhardt pretty hard and he messed with me like he still does, so that was kind of my experience in getting started with Winston Cup racing, but there have been a lot of things happen in those 15 or 16 years." HOW MUCH DOES FINISHING EIGHTH IN THE SPRING HERE HELP? "It helps us some. We ran pretty good. We got better throughout the day there and it looked like we were gonna have a chance for a top five at the end and I kind of wore the tires out trying to chase those guys down, so I think it gives us a little hope that we can race them and be there at the end. Have we gotten it to the point that I really feel confident yet? No, we haven't gotten that. Maybe we'll hit it in Happy Hour here, but I still think we feel good about the chance of definitely finishing in the top 10 and that we can make ourselves get in the top five." IS THIS A TRACK YOU DON'T GET TOO EXCITED ABOUT COMING TO? "There are certainly others that I've had more success at, like I look forward to going to Charlotte next week. This is a difficult track, but I think it's that challenge of Martinsville that makes me want to come here and try to improve because we know there are only a few race tracks that we really haven't run well at and contended to win and this is one of them. We want to try to change that." HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THE STOPPING AND STARTING YOU DO ON THIS TRACK? "I'm sure everybody has been in a parking lot somewhere where they drove down to the end, stopped, and turned around and came back. That's kind of what it is here. You drive down a straightaway, you get off and you go down and turn around and basically come back the other way. It's wide open and then you almost stop and then it's wide open again." IT MUST BE INTERESTING TO WATCH WHAT'S GOING ON NEXT TO YOU IN THE GARAGE (THE 24 TEAM). "You talk about the growth of the sport and how we're all amazed at that. To think that less than a year ago this team had just won 13 races and set all kinds of records as far as finishes and amount of points gained in an entire year. Who would have ever thought that anything like that was gonna happen, but you just don't know. We obviously don't know what's in people's minds, what triggers them, what makes them get up and be excited everyday. Those things change. You have goals and you reach those, and even your priorities change. I'm sure it's something Ray has thought about and he's struggled with and I'm sure it was a very difficult decision, but everybody else is in amazement around here. I know that they'll continue to do well because of the resources they have, they have really good people, and, obviously, the guys that Ray had underneath him are well-trained people or they wouldn't have been able to accomplish what they had. They'll miss Ray's judgement calls and the chances that he sometimes took and knew when to take those and make the most of them, but they'll do OK on their own. They're still gonna win races and contend and probably win championships, but it's pretty amazing. I always found it amazing to pick up the paper and read about everybody on the Chicago Bulls talking about going here or going there. Why in the world would you ever want to leave Michael Jordan? If he was gonna go out and play in the ocean, that's where I'd be going too, so I don't understand those things sometimes. It's like Todd. He would make a huge difference in leaving here and we're trying to do everything in our power to make sure the same thing doesn't happen, but you can see how it can. I know how hard Todd works. I know the hours that he puts in. I know there are times that he'd love to spend with his family, but, on the same note...Jeff and I were just talking last week...that's great for Jeff and I to have that kind of dedication in our key people, but you have to know that at some point in time it's almost gonna be too much. Yeah, I'd like to think that some victories and championships would help that scenario, but, obviously, for some that wasn't enough. They're looking for a new challenge." IT'S A SOBERING THOUGHT, THOUGH, ISN'T IT? "It is. It most definitely is. I think it's made me appreciate what we have here a little bit more, realizing that at some point in time, and I couldn't blame Todd, that he'd just have to say enough is enough and I can't continue this pace anymore. So I think that, as I told our guys, we need to enjoy this even more while we have that opportunity."

HUT STRICKLIN --58-- Federated Auto Parts Taurus -- NOTE: Stricklin was second-round fastest qualifier. "We really didn't have anything to lose. We knew it was gonna be close just like it always is at Martinsville, but we just had to look at what we could do and go from there. Luckily, we were able to get back to where we were yesterday and that was good enough." WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW? "The good thing about Martinsville that I've always noticed from year's past is it's not that much of a drastic change from qualifying to the race like Indianapolis, Daytona or Talladega. It's pretty much a case of if it runs good for one lap or two laps, it'll run good all day. We'll just have to go back over there and look things over. I think I heard Ricky Rudd say yesterday that he had a different setup in his car that he never dreamed would work and that's really the way we are. What happened to us yesterday and kind of how we hit on things was by accident. Sometimes those things work out for the good and sometimes they work out for the bad. Yesterday it worked out good for us."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Darrell Waltrip , Ted Musgrave
Teams CIP