ROBBIE LOOMIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MEDIA Q&A TRANSCRIPT September 9, 2005 ROBBIE LOOMIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET - Answers media questions regarding his continued performance as crew chief: "The only big...
ROBBIE LOOMIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET
MEDIA Q&A TRANSCRIPT
September 9, 2005
ROBBIE LOOMIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET - Answers media questions regarding his continued performance as crew chief:
"The only big announcement I have, and we've talked about this all week, is getting this thing in the Chase. That is it. I don't have a thing. There are a lot of questions. I know when Jeff (Gordon) was on the (weekly NASCAR) teleconference he talked about some stuff with my mom. I've had everybody in the world calling me. My mom is doing great. She's doing awesome. Through what I went through with my mom last year, it helped me refocus my life. Personally I grew more last year through my mom and through the (airplane) accident in October. I told my buddy over the winter that I've never been so uncertain in all my life about my future. But I never felt so good about where I stand with everything. In life, always for years, I've had racing, God, and family. I'm trying to get it God, family, then racing. To do that, I've got a lot of things I've got to work through. We're working through them right now. But I've been trying not to talk with anyone or do anything that's going to take my mind off getting this car in the Chase."
SO WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR? "That's the thing. I talked with Rick Hendrick a couple of weeks ago. I'm trying to put all my focus into putting this car in the Chase. If I get the car in the Chase, the next 10 weeks I'm going to put all my focus into getting that car, the DuPont Chevrolet, to win the championship. I'm excited about where we are today. I just want to make sure we get the job done."
DID YOU TELL A REPORTER EARLIER TODAY THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE BACK AS CREW CHIEF? "I probably used the word 'probably'. I think that what I'm looking as is that at the beginning of the year, I knew my contract was going to be up at the end of this year. Many of you might know when you're under a contract, then they hold a lot of your destiny. I think that being that it's up, it's a good time for me to reprioritize my personal life and get things figured out there."
WHAT IS THE POSSIBILITY OF YOU RETURNING TO LEVEL CROSS AND VICTORY JUNCTION GANG CAMP? "Whether I'm back in Level Cross or at Hendrick Motorsports, I'll do things with Victory Junction Gang Camp. I think that's a great deal and a great avenue for kids and all. But I'm serious. My total focus is on getting this car in the Chase and for the race tomorrow night. Right now, I feel like the DuPont Chevrolet is great."
BUT THOUGHTS OF LEAVING ARE ON YOUR MIND? "They're hard. I've talked with Rick (Hendrick) and Jeff (Gordon) a lot over the past three or four months. I've told Jeff and Rick it's hard for me to even imagine working anyplace else because Hendrick Motorsports has 500 great employees. It speaks for itself the quality many Rick Hendrick. And to have a driver like Jeff Gordon -- I think he's the greatest driver in this garage area. It's hard to imagine being anywhere different, but at the same time I think it's a time in my life that I've got to make sure that if I'm going to commit for the next three or four or five years somewhere, I've got to make sure I'm making the right decision."
IF YOU DIDN'T MAKE THE CHASE, WOULD YOUR DECISION BE A LITTLE EASIER? "I don't know. I don't even want to think that thought. I want to be in that Chase for sure. But I think there are a lot of things.. I've spent more time talking with my mom and my dad and my sister about ways that maybe my mom could move to North Carolina and spend the summers. That's the thing I want to get energized and work on. I feel like the good Lord gave me some extra time and I want to make sure I utilize it the right way with her. I've missed Mother's Day, birthdays, and stuff -- usually a week or two late anyway -- but I want to make sure I get my priorities right with that and fix that."
ARE YOU STILL GETTING SATISFACTION OUT OF BEING A CREW CHIEF? "It's funny. I remember when we won the Daytona 500, and missing the pole killed me. I just really felt we had a great shot at sitting on the pole and we missed it. And then we ended up winning it. Nowadays, at my age, it's more of a thankfulness whenever you accomplish anything or get it. It's not the high or that we outsmarted them all. I tell people a lot of times, when you go to the track now, I know a lot of times we might make the car two or three-tenths better. And with a driver as great as Jeff Gordon, he'll run it a half-second better."
AS YOU REFOCUS YOUR GOALS, IS THERE ROOM TO BE A CREW CHIEF? "That's a good question. I've asked myself a lot. Can you spend the time and do the things you need to do with a personal life and family? I've talked to some of the other crew chiefs out there because there are some of them that have kids and seem to do a pretty good job of balancing it. I don't know. At this level, it's extremely tough, I'll tell you. You've got to have blinders on the whole time that you're doing it. It's been great. I look forward to many more wins and I just want to make sure we get this car in the Chase and get that championship."
WHAT ABOUT A POSSIBLE MOVE INTO A MANAGEMENT POSITION? "That's some conversation we had back over the winter last year. You just have to understand that any of those things outside of being a crew chief -- I've been a crew chief since 1991 -- any thing outside that talk is hard for me because I don't know what that role really is like or (what it) means. So it's definitely a different challenge when you talk of anything outside of being a crew chief."
DO YOU STILL LOVE RACING AS MUCH AS YOU ONCE DID? "I think I love racing every bit as much. I wish it were a 25 race schedule instead of 36. And I'm sure you all do. You guys (media) do the grind on the road. But I definitely love it, that's for sure."
CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF ONE DAY FILLING THAT ROLE BRIAN WHITESELL FILLED WITH THE NO. 24 AND NO. 48 TEAMS? "That was one thing that we kicked around over the winter as things move along. Do we work it where we have the team manager's style in there? It's something that definitely interests me. I saw Brian's demeanor and how great an asset he was in this team. So it's something that definitely interests me. But like I said, to think of anything outside of being a crew chief is going to take a different mindset. For me, right now when you're doing it day in and day out, it's hard to slow down and think about okay, what is next if I'm not a crew chief, what am I going to do next?"
HOW MUCH HAS BRIAN WHITESELL'S ABSENSE HURT THE NO.24 AND THE NO. 48 TEAMS? "I think it's definitely hurt both of us. I think he had a very calming affect on the days when the waters were wavy. He's a very smart technical guy. At the same time, we have everybody in place. That's the thing I've been most proud of. I tell everybody. If everyone could see these guys attitudes on this DuPont race team and how hard they work -- the pit crew and the pit stops.. I got them together last week and I said, 'I'd like to be standing here telling you guys it's the end of the world. But the reality is, it isn't the end of the world. Now I might tell you that next Saturday night after the race. But it's not going to be the end of the world then. The sun is still going to come up Sunday. There are a lot of races to win and we've still got a good shot of getting this thing into winning the championship. And the championship can still come from Hendrick Motorsports.' If we can do that, we all feel a great part of it."
SO, NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE? "No. The only decision that has been made was made last September or October really, is that I'm going to spend a lot more time with my family."