Testing today (Tuesday, March 21) were Rusty Wallace, Miller Lite Ford; Jeremy Mayfield, Mobil 1 Ford; Jerry Nadeau, Michael Holigan, MichaelHoligan.com Chevrolet. Testing tomorrow will be Rusty Wallace, Jeremy Mayfield, Jerry Nadeau...
Testing today (Tuesday, March 21) were Rusty Wallace, Miller Lite Ford; Jeremy Mayfield, Mobil 1 Ford; Jerry Nadeau, Michael Holigan, MichaelHoligan.com Chevrolet.
Testing tomorrow will be Rusty Wallace, Jeremy Mayfield, Jerry Nadeau and Elliott Sadler, CITGO Ford
Rusty Wallace- @You have been regarded as one of the best on the short tracks over the years including winning five of the 20 Winston Cup races here during the 1990s. But you haven't won here since 1996. What has been the difference?
"The sport has changed so much in the past 10 years it's unreal. I was looking at one of the new NASCAR calendars. They had 13 cars on the front of that and any one of those 13 cars could win any Sunday. Before you could have never said that. But it's a struggle. That's why we are here at Martinsville testing right now. Short tracks have always been really, really good for me, but I have slipped the last couple of years. I need to get my edge back. I went to practice at Bristol a couple of weeks ago and I feel like I am in real good shape. Now, I'm here at Martinsville testing and in two more weeks I'll be at Richmond testing. So I am trying to get my edge back at all the tracks I've done so good at and get some more victories."
A lot of people think you test where you are not good, but do you sometimes test where you think you can win to get an even better edge?
"Some of the bigger tracks things change so dramatic. At a place like Michigan or California when the track is real green it will do one thing and when you get back and there are 45 cars in three different divisions and they goof the track all up. Then the setup you had in your test session goes out the window. Versus a place like Martinsville where there's a concrete surface and things don't change a lot I think a test can be really good."
Talk about the streak you had in the mid 1990s when you won five of seven consecutive races? You kind of owned this place at one time.
"I want to get back to owning it too. I like it a lot. And like I said, we have done three or four things here this morning that were better than what I've had in the past. Goodyear has a brand new tire for here that we have never run before that is a little bit different. You have to make the chassis different. We have a new 2000 Ford Taurus, different aerodynamics, new tires and we have to adjust to all that. The days of bringing your old setup back and saying it's going to work hasn't been working. We have to adjust to the new stuff."
How do you feel about your chances of winning here?
"I feel really good about my chances here, I really do. I'm only as good as the equipment and the people that surround me. I want to go though several air pressure adjustments to find out where the sweet spot is on that and several different shock absorber combinations to find that out. We will probably have 25 runs in before we are done here today. Then we will hit it again tomorrow. My goal today here at Martinsville is to get a bunch of qualifying runs in. Get the car running fast and get it comfortable for qualifying then when I come back tomorrow just do race runs all day long and make sure that thing is going to hang in there. We might even do 75 lap runs.
Why do you feel like you have been so good on short tracks? "I grew up on them. I know what you've got to have here at Martinsville to win. You just have to work like heck to get the car to do like you want it to do."
Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell gave you a tour of the new parking, suites and press box this morning. What do you think of the improvements?
"I think the view is incredible. I had no idea that that new section was being built and when I got here this morning and looked I said, 'Man that is beautiful.' And he walked me up and showed me all the new suites and stands and it is incredible how pretty it is. That's one thing Martinsville has had over a lot of race tracks is beauty and excitement, noise and all the cool things that happen at a short track like this. It did look wonderful. And all the ground they bought out back for more parking for the fans, more elbow room and everything is more spread out now and it's really cool. I was really excited about what I saw this morning with the improvements here.
Do you prefer big or short tracks?
"You can't compare them. I like them all. Everywhere you go Bristol, Martinsville to Talladega to Charlotte you have to like all of them to win a championship. Martinsville has it's own characteristics. We haven't been out but one time and we are going to do a lot of things with shocks and stuff like that."
Do you think your two-car team is geling?
"Rusty and I are more focused than we have ever been and really concerned about our cars and shocks and everything and really involved with out teams and we will try to get it all where it needs to be. "
How's your car today?
"It's been pretty good. It feels pretty good. This is my first time here with these guys and it seems like we have two cars that are fairly close. We are working right now on race modes. We came out here with a lot of stuff to find out what will work and won't work and then put it all back together and come back out here. I've never really raced good here before. Being with these guys they seem like they have a pretty good track record here and seem to run good here in race mode. Just by driving the cars I can really feel a difference in how these cars turn a lot better."