QUOTE SHEETS Bahari'-Eel River Racing July 28, 1999 JACK BIRMINGHAM, owner (No. 30 Bahari'-Eel River Racing Pontiac Grand Prix): "I've been a fan of racing for several years. I've been looking to retain a business interest in the sport for...
QUOTE SHEETS Bahari'-Eel River Racing July 28, 1999
JACK BIRMINGHAM, owner (No. 30 Bahari'-Eel River Racing Pontiac Grand Prix): "I've been a fan of racing for several years. I've been looking to retain a business interest in the sport for some time now. This seemed like it would be a challenge, but a lot of fun, too. I think purchasing Bahari' Racing gives us an opportunity to turn the fortunes of the team around and eventually go on to be a winning Winston Cup team. "Derrike Cope is going to continue as our driver for the rest of the year. We greatly respect his driving ability. He's proven he can win and we know he's a good driver. We're sticking with him this year and we're putting everything we have behind him. "Our immediate goal is to consistently make races so Jimmy Dean, Bryan, State Fair and Rudy's Farm can see a solid return on their investment. We'll begin with a goal of making all the races. Then we'll concentrate on running well in the races and trying to put the car up front. We've been talking to all our sponsors and I think they expect good things from us."
CHUCK RIDER, officer (No. 30 Bahari'-Eel River Racing Pontiac Grand Prix): "I guess the biggest thing for me is that it's a day of mixed emotions. I'm very happy that I was able to go forward with representing the Sara Lee Meat Group with the help of Jack Birmingham and his new group. The experience I've had with our group of employees and especially the NASCAR people has been oustanding over the years. I hope to maintain a relationship with those people for many years in the future. I expect to be in a consulting role with the team in the future. It will definitely be nice to be able to spend a couple of down months in Hilton Head, (S.C.) and enjoy my wife Carolyn's company and all the fun things that are out there in the world today."
DERRIKE COPE (No. 30 Bahari'-Eel River Racing Pontiac Grand Prix): "You have to kind of look at it as a fresh start. Obviously, there is going to be an influx of change in various departments. I'm going to wait and see who comes and what changes are made. I'm going to go into it with a positive attitude and look to change things around the remaining portion of the year. It's exciting. I'm just hoping the new management can identify what needs to be changed and what it's going to take to be more progressive and stay up to the competition. "I definitely welcome the change. When you have this poor of a showing from the start, change is imminent. I think you can look at every aspect of the program and look for change. That's why I'm looking forward to it. It gives me an opportunity to stand back and see where the team is going. Also, this gives Derrike Cope the opportunity to look and see where he wants to go because of some changes there in regard to my contract. I think it's a positive all the way around and gives everybody the chance to showcase their potential, hopefully, to get the team on track and show signs of progression. Then we'll see if it will all come together some time in September. "It's been a difficult task for me this year. It's difficult to keep your confidence up. Each week by Wednesday your confidence is up again. You're ready to go and you think you can go to a race track that you've had a lot of success at and run well and then you go there and it's the same thing as the week before, so you have difficulties with your confidence. Obviously, mine isn't the greatest right now. I still know I can get the job done. I've seen at certain test sessions and at certain times when we make changes to the car and it does what I need it to do, the speed is there. I don't think it's a case where I can't find the speed. I just don't think we have the right combination right now. I don't mean that in a negative way in regard to the guys at the shop. It's just the fact, you see it in so many teams, when you don't have the gelling effect and you're off on the mark from the beginning of the year, you're not prepared, you get left behind. It's difficult to get caught up. Then when you have the kind of problems we've had and encountered, it's even more difficult because you're not racing each week. That's really been quite detrimental to every aspect of the Bahari' Racing team. I think it's a matter of trying to clean the slate. We're still going to fight being behind. You can't just come in with new people and say, 'Well, we're right up there with the top echelon now.' Winston Cup racing is just too competitive for so quick a turnaround. But I still feel like we can have a new, fresh look at things and a new perspective on things. Some times you get caught up in doing the same thing week after week. You're too close to the situation and not objective. I think that's what has happened. I'm looking for the new management to come in and have a new perspective on things, a direction on where we need to go. We'll start taking each variable of the equation and try to rectify those problems and see if we can turn it around in a short period of time and see where we're at some time in September. "A realistic goal each week is making the show. First of all, for the rest of the year, this team can't rely on a provisional. We're going to have to make the show on our own merit and you're going to have to be in the top 36 to do that. In this day and age that is quite difficult. You're talking about laps in qualifying with no mistakes. You're talking about showing up at the race track with a fairly proficient setup and being able to try and enhance it from there. It's going to be a difficult task, but that's what has to happen each week. We're going to have to show up each week and be able to get in each race. If we can get those qualifying efforts going, much as we did last year when we struggled for a while and then made some changes and were able to start qualifying each week, if we can do that, then I believe we'll come along a lot faster. We've got to be able to be in the next four or five races in a row to start to see that trend. It's going to take some great qualifying laps on my part and a good, cohesive group that works together in order to turn it around. Even if we do have one mess up or whatever, I think we're going to have to take it in stride and know that we're not going to be able to fix this thing overnight. It's not going to just instantly turn around. It's going to take time. We're down quite a ways right now and it's going to take a while to get back."