Martinsville: Jimmy Spencer preview

Advice on Martinsville? Ask Dr. Phil MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 10, 2003) - If nationally syndicated talk-show psychologist Dr. Phil can help those stressed-out, obsessive-compulsive, debt-ridden, control freaks with their relationship problems,...

Advice on Martinsville? Ask Dr. Phil

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 10, 2003) - If nationally syndicated talk-show psychologist Dr. Phil can help those stressed-out, obsessive-compulsive, debt-ridden, control freaks with their relationship problems, surely he can help a NASCAR driver with his temper.

We're not looking for his 10 laws of life here - just advice on anger management. It may be of some use this weekend when the NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway - the birthplace of road rage. Tempers tend to flare at this half-mile track, so when they do, Dr. Phil suggests the following:

"REFRAIN. Ask yourself what really matters. If you are in touch with your authentic self - who you really are and what matters most - then you won't get consumed by little things that happen around you." SIRIUS Racing driver Jimmy Spencer says he's in touch with his authentic self, and his authentic self tells him to be consumed with the little things around him. As for everything else, that's what spotters are for.

"RELAX. take a deep breath. Calm down. Do you have any idea what upset you last week? Was it worth putting your health in jeopardy?" Let's see, last Sunday Spencer had his No. 7 SIRIUS Dodge demolished in a 27-car pileup on the fifth lap at Talladega, which cost him six positions in the Winston Cup point standings and roughly $40,000 in prize money. He did, however, take a deep breath; it's usually standard procedure in the infield care center.

"REACT RATIONALLY. Stop thinking the world revolves around you." The only one from the SIRIUS Dog Pound who overreacts from time to time is Mongo, and, well, the world does revolve around him.

With the Virginia 500 (1 p.m. ET on Fox) now upon us, the real test on Sunday may not be of driving ability or car set-up, but which driver can best refrain, relax and react rationally for 500 laps around this hairpin of a race track. Anybody want to take those odds?

Jimmy Spencer's thoughts:

Five hundred laps at a little, half-mile race track like Martinsville sounds more like a game of survival than a race. Is that the case?

"It seems that way. A lot of things happen on a short track that can really mess you up, and you've got to be on top of your game the whole day to give yourself the best chance to avoid them. If you can keep the car clean through the first 450 laps, you've probably put yourself in position to go for the win. When Darrell Waltrip was my teammate, one thing he used to say is, 'I know it's a short track, but history says the guys without tires marks on their cars are the ones who usually win.' Darrell Waltrip is a big example of that. He helped me a lot when he was my teammate, and I really thought that was something to remember."

But how do you drive 500 laps around a cramped race track and not get your car roughed up?

"You could ask the same thing about Bristol, and we barely had a scratch after the Bristol race (March 23). The biggest thing is controlling your temper. Of all the tracks we go to, Martinsville is probably the easiest to lose your temper at. If a guy does bump you, he probably doesn't mean it. You're running so close, and it's so competitive. You've just got to remind yourself that. There's got to be some give and take out there. This is a track where you've got to qualify well. Most of all, you've got to have a good-handling car and keep your patience all day long."

So what you're saying is (crew chief) Tommy Baldwin could have his hands full keeping you calm on Sunday?

"I think we could all have our hands full keeping each other calm. The whole team needs to stay focused. Track position is so critical, so pit stops have to be fast. The spotter has to be on top of his game, not only when the car is on the track but also when it's in the pits. And I definitely need to stay focused and calm."

You know, Dr. Phil says all you've got to do is refrain, relax and react rationally.

"Yeah, he's got all the answers, doesn't he?"

He also says angry people lash out because they don't have the words, concepts or abilities to express their frustration in an appropriate way. He says to consider alternative ways of venting your anger. Do you have alternative ways to vent your anger?

"I can think of a few."

About SIRIUS -
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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Jimmy Spencer , Tommy Baldwin