Q - What worries you most when you land at the airport on a race weekend? A - Well, what worries me most is how we roll off the trailer Friday morning, or Thursday afternoon in the case here at Daytona. Based on what we learned at the wind ...
Q - What worries you most when you land at the airport on a race weekend?
A - Well, what worries me most is how we roll off the trailer Friday morning, or Thursday afternoon in the case here at Daytona. Based on what we learned at the wind tunnel though, our car should be decent here. The last couple of races we've rolled off well because we've tested and gone to the tunnel beforehand, which was part of our plan and why we're not going to some events. Whoever made up the phrase, "Thank god it's Friday" sure didn't have startup Winston Cup teams in mind. Its more like, "Oh my god - it's Friday!" The good side to that is when you do come prepared and you do run well Friday, making the show first day, like we've done lately, it's a big sense of accomplishment and a big relief. That's why we're here. When you perform well in Cup you know you've done it in the toughest series out there, it makes you feel good.
Q - At Daytona, as a track with so much history, what do you think about first when you enter the infield?
A - I'm always impressed by how big it is and how amazing it is to see it Sunday with all the fans. It's got to be fun to come to this race as a fan and spend the weekend in the motorhome areas with all the crazies. I grew up going to desert races in a motorhome and having fun, so I can relate to it. You're caught up on the inside of this sport as a driver, but you still notice the other side of the fence. It's funny, most times they're wanting to climb over to our side and I think a lot of times we're thinking it'd be nice to spend a weekend on their side! That's why it's good to spend time with the fans, we need each other to be happy. It's a great feeling to show up and race for 200,000 fans, it definitely pumps you up.
Q - Rumors keep circulating that you might drive in some IRL races in place of Greg Ray this season. True or false?
A - I've heard this too and I'll say right here that I will not be driving in the IRL this season. I can't really speak to what John is doing with Team Menard and Greg Ray, but I can tell you that my focus is on the Winston Cup team here. Yes, we did the Indy 500. I'd like that to be a part of my program every year in the future because I think it adds value for the sponsors we have and also because I've wanted to win that race since I was three. It's hard to run out of gas on the last lap while leading there and then turn your back on it forever. So just to recap - I will not be driving in the IRL this season. Print it.
Q - Last weekend at Sears Point you had a great result, finishing 9th. How does this elevate you and the team?
A - A top-10 finish is a top-10 finish, how can that not get you excited, especially in our case. We started from scratch in January with this team and right now we're sitting here with a top-10 finish and two races where we've legitimately led laps. I guess you go back to my answer earlier where I said it's a big accomplishment in this series to have good results. The crew jumped their game to a new level with their pit stops, and Jerry (Baxter) did a great job of setting the car up at Sears. I think everyone left that race feeling good.
Q - What do you think Felix Sabates is doing right now as we speak?
A - Ah Felix. Right now I think he's probably sitting in a big chair with a big smile, but what the smile's for nobody knows.