FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DuraLube 500K November 6, 1999 Phoenix International Raceway Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 10 Tide Taurus, qualified seventh for tomorrow's Checker Auto Parts/DuraLube 500K. ...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DuraLube 500K November 6, 1999 Phoenix International Raceway
Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 10 Tide Taurus, qualified seventh for tomorrow's Checker Auto Parts/DuraLube 500K. And while he's looking to extend his streak of consecutive seasons with at least one win to 17, he's also having to cope with organizing an auction to sell all of his race equipment. He spoke about the juggling he's going through in his final days as owner/driver before moving over to drive for Robert Yates in 2000.
RICKY RUDD --10-- Tide Taurus -- HOW ARE THINGS GOING WITH ONLY THREE RACES LEFT? "I tell you, right now I'm busy trying to get ready for an auction. I'm gonna auction off all of my race equipment in a few weeks and it's a big undertaking to go through all of your inventory and keep track of everything. This car we're racing here tomorrow will probably be up for auction. I'm gonna say we have about $70,000 worth of bolt on parts, brand new stuff that you don't count the body, you don't count the labor, and at the auction it might bring $25,000-$30,000. But we can't sit here in cruise gear because we want to win a race, so we're having to build better equipment. What will be hard for me is watching this stuff go so cheap." WHEN WILL THE AUCTION BE? "It'll be the week that we're in New York, probably that Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 1-2). It's either be Tuesday and Wednesday of that week or Wednesday and Thursday at our race shop. We've got some employees that have stepped up. I mean, right now pictures are coming off the wall. The office stuff is being packaged up. All personal stuff -- files. We're having to close out files early. Instead of doing it at the end of December now, we're closing all our files that we're keeping now. As of right now I've got about 35 full-time and about 50 part-time total and when we get to Atlanta race weekend I'll be down to maybe two employees." IS IT LIKE PACKING UP A HOUSE? "It's similar. I use part of the shop to throw a lot of my personal stuff in like boats and tractors and stuff like that. I've gotta move all that out, so I'm running around trying to find storage buildings to stuff everything in. It hasn't really hit me yet. It's hit the girls upstairs because we're not only shutting the race team down we're actually shutting down three businesses -- the race team, our sportswear company that's very successful, and our trackside business -- souvenir business. So we're actually shutting down three different businesses at one time. There are a lot of good people who are gonna be on the curb. Some of them made the transition over to Yates, maybe about five or six of them are gonna work for Yates. It's tough and the trouble is you're in such a whirlwind racing that we really haven't had time to slow down and get everything done. We've really had a couple people just take this thing and run with it at the shop. You kind of find out who your star employees are really." IT HAS TO BE HARD TO DRIVE OVER THERE EVERYDAY, RIGHT? "It will be, but right now that part hasn't registered because when I get there I see all the stuff we've got to do. We need another year to get ready for it, but the sale has gotta happen. The only other option would be to wait -- package everything and move it somewhere else but you're talking about moving a lot of stuff. You don't realize, it's like moving out of a house, you don't realize how much stuff you've accumulated." HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HAVING TO SELL AND AUCTION THIS STUFF OFF? "To sell doesn't bother me. To see it sell and go for so cheap. I mean, where was it when I wanted it? You're talking about, if someone came in and bought it lump sum, it would cost them quadruple what it's gonna cost them if they came and bought everything now as a group. If anybody wanted to go racing, they're foolish not to come in and make an offer. You get guys that make an offer, they want to buy it, but they have no money -- it's all contingent on sponsorship dollars. I would rather see everything go as a unit and go to somebody who could take it and do good with it, instead of seeing it piecemeal out." DARRELL WALTRIP TALKED ABOUT FRANCHISING EARLIER THIS WEEK. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT ISSUE? "Darrell did good because he sold his as one big lump sum. Financially, he did very well. We are not going to do good financially, we're gonna take a big, big hit. We'll probably get a fourth of what Darrell was able to get for his operation. Now, the guy that wanted to buy it was gonna go out and buy all of his stuff new, so it was a good buy for the buyer and a good buy for the seller. Am I upset that there's no franchising? You know, people say to just hang in there and you're gonna get to the franchise deal and you'll net millions and millions of dollars. I never got into this sport as an owner to make millions of dollars. I got into it to try to put winning equipment on the race track and try to win races and championships, so I don't feel like NASCAR owes me anything. I mean, a lot of people do, but I guess I've never...I've done well over the years. Financially, I never would have been able to do as good had it not been for racing. The way I look at it, NASCAR has provided me an avenue to sort of showcase my talent and be able to make a good living, so I don't feel like they owe me anything. If there's anything they could do to franchise that would be nice, but the timing's not working out so I'm not gonna sit here and try to hang in and take inferior sponsorship dollars that it takes just to keep the doors open and not being competitive. I look at it and say I've got some good solid years left, but those days are getting numbered. If I was hanging into it for the dollars, I would have hung on here and waited because the franchise will probably come, but, instead, the competitive nature in me wants to win so the best opportunity for me to get a win is at Yates. So I don't have any hard feelings. I wish financially that I would come out better than what I am, but it's not so I'll just take my hit and my lumps and go on." YOU MENTIONED YATES. YOU HAVE A YATES ENGINE FOR THE RACE. HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE DOES THAT MAKE AND HAS THIS PLACE CHANGED MUCH SINCE YOU WON HERE IN '95? "I don't think the race track has changed, it's the same. The technology on chassis setup and aerodynamics has changed quite a bit. Here we are on a track that hasn't been resurfaced in a long time and you're breaking track records and that's unusual. You usually see those records broken after re-paving, so that shows how much the technology has advanced since we started coming out here. This is a real good track for me to win at. Horsepower and motorwise, I can just rule that to rest that if we are not competitive on race day it's not lack of horsepower. It's gonna be lack of handling, lack of aerodynamic grip, or lack of chassis grip. What has changed is shock technology and spring technology and the big question I've got is we're behind the learning curve on chassis -- not bad -- don't get me wrong we're a good team when things are going right. We finished third at Bristol and ran third at Talladega. If we hit the combination right with a Yates motor we can win the race. The percentages of us hitting that chassis combination are a smaller percent than say the 24 team, the 88 or teams of that nature. It's gonna be a smaller percentage for us to hit the right chassis and shock combination than it will be for them, but it's not impossible. We could hit the right combination and go on and be pretty darn stout and could be a factor in the race." WITH THE EXTRA HORSEPOWER, WHERE DO YOU FEEL IT THE MOST? "The biggest thing you notice here is that when you step in the throttle the car just pulls. You can feel it. It's not like it's a top fuel dragster and there's smoke blowing off the tires, but it just hits you and you feel the pressure in your back. You feel it moving forward and you feel it moving forward all the way down the straightaway, where a lot of times you come to a track like this and maybe it's sort of lazy when you first put your foot in the throttle. Then you get in the middle of the straightaway and it starts to go. Or, the other way, it hits really hard off the corner and all of a sudden you get to the middle of the straightaway and you feel it sort of, you here the driver say it nosed over, it's like you need to grab another gear or something. That's the difference with this motor, it just steady goes." SO DO YOU GO HARD FROM THE START TOMORROW? "Yeah, I think you race hard here and run as hard as you can all day. If you're getting beat then you've got so many opportunities to try to adjust the car and make it better. It's not like we're gonna do anything different. Even in seasons where we hadn't won races and we came down to the point all of a sudden, boom, here we are and we're challenging and we won those races. It wasn't like we did anything different that day. I really look at it as a percentage deal. We're gonna get into a position to win races somewhere around three times a year. We'll have an effort that's gonna be good enough three times a year, not doing anything wild but just doing the same things we're doing. Somebody like the 88 or the 24, they're probably in that position every race. So when we get into position and have a car that can run, I've sort of prided myself over the years that when we get in that position we generally can win -- when we have a car that's good enough. Hopefully, this is one of those three chances. We could go out there and could get lapped, there's no guarantee. But if it's one of those percentage calls where all of a sudden we're there, then I think we can win the race. Again, we're not in that position every week like a lot of guys." DOES THIS YATES MOTOR GIVE THE GUYS ON YOUR TEAM ADDED OPTIMISM THAT YOU CAN WIN ONE OF THESE LAST THREE RACES AND KEEP THE STREAK INTACT? "That's what I'm counting on. That's exactly what I'm counting on. If we've been doing our homework on our race cars, which it looks like we have. The cars have been making steady progress. And not to beat up on the engine builders we've had, but Yates is just a step above everybody else. So, all of a sudden, we're very fortunate to have a Yates motor, but if you do have a car that's at its peak and it's capable of winning and you've got a motor that's a fifth-place motor, you're probably gonna run fifth. At least when you've got a motor like this, you can just forget about that being part of the equation. We put a lot of money into building new cars and coming to these race tracks and we just want to eliminate all the variables we can. We're hoping it's gonna increase our odds that instead of three times a year it might be at least 10 times a year that we have a chance to win."