The Daytona 500 hasn't been particularly lucky for Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd or Jimmy Spencer through the years because all three are still looking for their first win in "The Great American Race." Wallace and Spencer will be starting ...
The Daytona 500 hasn't been particularly lucky for Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd or Jimmy Spencer through the years because all three are still looking for their first win in "The Great American Race." Wallace and Spencer will be starting alongside each other in row six while Rudd will take the green flag in row 15.
-2- Miller Lite Taurus
"I feel good about the race. We had a good run yesterday (Friday morning) and I thought we had a pretty strong Ford out there. NASCAR isn't going to make any changes for the 500, so we know what we've got right now and that's what we're up against. We've changed engine combinations and I think our new engine combination is stronger than what we had in the 125s. We had good, fast times yesterday, so I'm happy going into the 500."
WERE YOU SURPRISED THERE WAS NO RULES
"No, not really. I talked to them before I came down here and we talked about a 'what if' scenario. 'What if this happens or what if that happens.' They gave me a pretty good idea of what they were thinking coming in, so I'm not surprised. It's OK."
WHAT ABOUT DRAFTING PARTNERS?
"Well, I've obviously got my brothers. The 6 and the 99 draft really good with me, but other than that it's each guy for himself. I've run the bottom lane, the top lane, all over the track, and my car is driving really good right now. We've switched engine combinations and I think we've got a little stronger engine combination, and I think we're about as prepared as we can get for the 500. There are going to be no rules changes for the 500 and that's fine. We know what we're up against, so we'll put all the work into the car, instead of maybe trying to rely on a break with the spoiler. Right now it's all systems go. We're ready to go."
-28- Texaco Havoline Taurus
"I think we've had enough races to figure out what we needed to do and not do. We came here in the Bud Shootout and didn't run so well, and we've been struggling a little bit since we've been here trying to find straightaway speed. We've got all that drag we're trying to overcome and we're trying to overcome it with the chassis, and I don't think we can do it. We basically have gotten the car fixed now to where we can drive it in the race. I could not do that in the Shootout and I couldn't do it in the 125s, so we're just gonna have to race really well and handle really well if we're gonna do anything in this 500."
NASCAR IS NOT MAKING ANY RULES CHANGE FOR THE FORD. DOES THAT BOTHER YOU?
"Well, you would like to think they would look at the results from the wind tunnel and make a judgement call for that, but, for whatever reason, I guess they decided not to tamper with things. Again, I can't really complain a lot because we're not the best Ford. If I was the best Ford I'd probably be raising cane, but we've got a lot of work to do to be one of the better Fords here, so we've got some improvement we need to do ourselves. I hate to say a Ford won't win the 500, but, in looking at it, the class of the field looks like Jeff Burton and Rusty Wallace in the Ford camp anyway."
DID THE DRAFT HELP THE FORD AT ALL IN THE 125?
"If you're driving a Ford, you can pass cars but you've got to use your judgement really carefully. When you see an opening, you've got to be able to take advantage of the extra momentum with the slingshot of the draft. The thing is it doesn't happen every lap, it just depends on when you feel that run and get that extra head of steam. When you get it, you've got to be able to look up ahead and make sure that before you pull out, you've got a place to land back in that line. You can't really pass two cars because when you pull out in the draft your car loses steam. That happens to everybody, but it seems like we lose more steam than the next guy. If we try to pull out by ourselves without having a place to get back in line, we're in serious trouble."
-26- Kmart Taurus
DO YOU LIKE THIS AERO SITUATION THE WAY IT IS?
"It's not the perfect fix, but it's a lot better than what we had. The last couple of years the cars had gotten so equal with the aero packages and stuff that it was just follow the leader, don't get out of line. Now you can get out of line and sort of draft up with some other cars and pass people."
IF YOU'RE SLOWER CAN YOU STILL GET AROUND CARS?
"I don't believe that. I believe the fastest cars are the Dodges. They're sitting out there on cruise control. The Pontiacs are really good too. The Ford is at a disadvantage right now. We can mix it up with them, but we can't maintain that lead."
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU'RE IN THE MIDDLE LANE?
"For a while you really gain a ton, but then when you get in certain areas it comes to a standstill and those cars get back by you."
IS IT DIFFERENT?
"I know three-wide ain't the answer here, but we'll get three and four-wide on the back straightaway sometimes and through the tri-oval. That's just part of it. I think the new rules package is pretty good, I just think it's not balanced by any stretch of the imagination. I don't understand why one car can have a smaller spoiler than this car and this car can have a bigger spoiler than the other car. It doesn't make any sense to me."
NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY CHANGES AS FAR AS RULES, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?
"I think they want Dodge to win the race and the Dodge is about 40 horsepower more than a Ford or a Chevrolet."
DOES ANYBODY ELSE HAVE A
"Well, maybe the good Lord above will make them all blow up on Sunday. I'd love it."