Phoenix: Dodge drivers Friday morning quotes

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON STARTING TIME OF SATURDAY'S RACE "I think probably the most treacherous spot as far as the sun going down, I noticed yesterday in practice was coming off turn four. The sun was coming ...

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON STARTING TIME OF SATURDAY'S RACE "I think probably the most treacherous spot as far as the sun going down, I noticed yesterday in practice was coming off turn four. The sun was coming under the grandstands right in your eyes. You're right up against the wall, and that was really touch and go. When you've got sunlight right in your face going into turn one, that's one thing. You know kinda what to expect, but when you're wide open in the throttle coming off four and the sun is glaring in your eye and you have to make that turn there, I think that's the tough turn. It must have been around 6 or 6:30."

DESCRIBE YOUR BUSINESS OPERATIONS "People ask me that all the time. What are you going to do? All I can tell you is that we've built a hell of a Busch team. My son Stephen is coming up racing. We've put together a big show car program for TopFlite golf and Miller Brewing. We've got all brand new trucks, brand new cars, everything looks beautiful. I love working with the sponsors. I think that's one of the things I try to do best. I understand the business, and I like trying to achieve their goal and I like feeling welcome at a racetrack. It's no secret. I'd love to do television. I love doing television a lot. I'll be doing a lot of that stuff this year. I don't know where my future will lead, but there are a lot of options out there. There was one thing I wasn't ready for. When you announce you're going to quit driving fulltime, things you never thought about start popping up, different opportunities. Opportunities keep changing daily, and you've just got to take advantage of it. That's where I'm at right now. It's no secret I've got an offer if I want to to sell my entire stock of Team Penske. I might do that. I haven't made a decision on whether I'll do that or not. Roger and I are greatest friends. No matter what happens, I'll still be involved. Whether I'm a coach like Rick Mears or I work with the drivers. I know one thing, when you're a driver and you're struggling in the car and trying to get your car handling right, you're looking for God to come out of the sky and give you a magical answer. Is it a track bar? Is it a wedge or whatever? I love working with Jeremy. I love working with Jamie. I keep throwing ideas out and asking them if it feels right. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I want to do that. One thing I do not want to let go of is the relationship with all my sponsors, whether it's Miller or Lennox or Bar S. I want to stay actively involved with Team Penske, and Roger is crystal clear on that."

COMMENT ON THE LAST CALL "When I quit racing at the end of the year, you'll never see me in a racecar. I said I'm going to run the 24 Hours of Daytona, but I don't know what team I'm going to drive for. I've had several offers. I got offers for me and Jamie to drive Chip Ganassi's car. I've got offers Max Crawford to drive his car. I'm going to do that, but when I tell the fans this is my Last Call and I'm done, I don't think it's right to say 'I was just joking. I'm going to run some more.' I've heard a lot of people say just one more round, but I did say that I'm not going to say never. I don't plan on doing that, but if something unique comes up I might do it."

ANY DISADVANTAGE OF HAVING TWO DRIVERS? "I'm a racer. I'm all ears. I understand what they're feeling and their frustrations. If they get out and throw their helmet, I can get it. If they scream and holler and say my car isn't fast and they want a faster car, well, people in hell would like a glass of ice water, too. I get all that stuff. I'm for 'em."

COMMENT ON YOUR SUCCESS SO FAR THIS SEASON WITH THE AERO PACKAGE "Young guys want the big spoilers and the veterans want the shorter spoilers. I've been used to tear wear my whole life. I've been used to tires falling off, pitting and putting four tires on and the car flies. You get a lot of grip and you go. I've been accustomed to that my entire life. It just fits my style better than the tires not wearing at all, tons of downforce where everyone is running so fast around the racetrack. I haven't seen a lot of difference right now as far as the way passing is. I haven't seen what I thought we'd see, but I still think we've got 'em running a little bit more."

COMMENT ON YOUR PART IN HELPING NASCAR GROW "Hopefully, I think I'd be part of it, just like Jeremy is part of it and Jamie is part of it. We're all part of helping it grow. I love getting involved in it. I never thought that the money would be where it is right now or the television contracts would be where they are right now and I never thought we'd see this many fans. It's just amazing. I never thought we'd see 160,000 people around the track in Bristol, Tenn. I remember we used to sit on the grass on the back straightaway and watch the Busch race. There were no stands there at all. I feel like I'm part of that. I'm not a quiet person. I say what I think. I try to have a personality. I think if you're a driver and you don't say anything and you're boring, they're not going to buy your merchandise. They're not going to pull for you. I took a lot of boos from it and I got hit in the head with a lot of beer cans. I took my lumps, but I like to be a personality. I like helping our sponsors. I like growing this sport, and that's where I'm at right now."

ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU'RE THIRD IN THE POINTS AFTER SEVEN RACES? "I'm not surprised at all. Last year when we won at Martinsville, we came out of there eighth in the points. Right after that we lost three or four engines, four transmissions and second gear. In nothing flat I lost 1,000 points on mechanical failures. That's been better this year. We've had basically all top 10 runs except one or two, and those top 10 runs should have been top five runs. Last weekend I thought I had an easy fourth or fifth-place car, but we lost it on a restart. I had my pressures really low and on

the start I got really loose and three cars got around me. I found myself racing my brains out holding off Jeremy because he was right up my tailpipes for 25 laps. I was like, 'man, he's relentless, but he drives for me. I want him that way.' I'm real happy. The points are real close. I think these next four or five races are pretty critical to get a little breathing room to get away from these guys. If you have a bad race you might not be out of it. I was real concerned last week when we had the switch fail on the steering wheel. We were fifth in points, and we didn't drop at all."

COMMENT ON THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE 12 TEAM "It's really two separate teams totally. The 77 and 2 share, every tire pressure, every shock, every piece we share. The 12 car is totally off limits. It's totally a separate team. They're at one end of the shop, and it's unfortunate. I'm resigned to the fact. I'm tired of wearing myself out trying to fix it. I'm just going to do my deal and drive my guts out and give it everything I've got. I share it with the 77. I think Travis Kvapil is an awesome driver. He's a good guy, just a quality person. I've beat this 12 thing to death forever, and they've got a whole different train of thought and that's fine. They're putting the numbers on the board. That's fine. I know it's not right. There's nothing I can do about it. That particular question needs to be posed to Roger Penske."

WILL THE SITUATION WITH THE 12 TEAM AFFECT YOUR DECISION ABOUT SELLING YOUR SHARE OF PENSKE RACING? "That decision comes with my retirement. If I'm going to retire I don't want to have an office job and be at the shop every day. I want to be on the road working with my sponsors. I want to spend more time with my wife and family and watching Steve come up. I want to spend more time golfing and doing that type of stuff. The role I'd like to have in the company, I don't think it would fit doing that. Again, I want to stress I haven't made that decision. I've got an offer to do that. I lay awake at nights wondering if that's what I should do. It's my decision, and it won't happen...whatever happens Don Miller is going with me. It won't be me or him. If the deal goes down, it'll have to be both."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON STARTING TIME OF SATURDAY'S RACE "I feel like it's going to be a little bit of a problem, but it shouldn't be too bad. We tested out here and it was bright, but we've all got these tear offs now that start out dark and as night comes you start pulling them off. That should help a lot. You'll see a lot of guys with their windshields taped up and stuff. I'd just as soon start at night to be honest with you if it's going to be a night race. Let's make it all a night race. We've got to put on a better show than that, so we've got to start in the daytime to make it interesting. It could be a problem, but I don't think it will be."

COMMENT ON THE SPOILER PACKAGE "I'm kind of cool with it. We feel like we've got a handle on it now. Rusty got a handle on it a little quicker than we did. I don't want it changed right now. I wish they'd just leave it alone and let us race for awhile and let us get our balance where it needs to be and just race with it. Earlier in the year I would have said I'm not sure about it, because we got off the direction we were going in, but we've got that back and we had a good race last week. Things are going our way. I'm comfortable with it."

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Home 123 Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON STARTING TIME OF SATURDAY'S RACE "I'd rather start the races at night, but I guess because of the TV time and everything we've got to start earlier. This racetrack is not as bad as Darlington or Fontana last year. Those racetracks were horrible. Last night there was just one spot between three and four that seems to be an issue. It's not going to be as bad as it's been in years past. Like Jeremy said, when we first started doing this everybody started with clear facials. Now they've come out with these tears off, and they're like tinted facials. You leave that on until it gets too dark and then you can pull it off and you've got a clear shield. That's bad a real big difference."

COMMENT ON THE SPOILER AND TIRE PACKAGE "I like the tire deal. It was very frustrating last year when you'd see guys come in and put on two tires. If you ran out front all day and they came in and put two tires on and beat you just because of track position. Now that doesn't seem to be the case. Four tires definitely are better than two. With the spoiler deal, it seems like you're tighter behind cars because you can't turn the wheel. It seems like it gets better each week. I don't know if that's because the car is better. The first couple of races, I thought the spoiler was bad. Now, after Texas, you go and run well, you think the rules aren't so bad. I wish whatever we get they'd leave it alone and let the teams work around that."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rick Mears , Chip Ganassi , Travis Kvapil
Teams Team Penske