Sears Point Ford preview notes

>From NASCAR Public Relations and Ford Motorsports FORD MOTORSPORT NOTES AND QUOTES Monday, April 29, 1996 SEARS POINT ADVANCES Weekly Fax Release IRVAN'S HOMECOMING MARKS SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF LAST VICTORY Ernie Irvan of Salinas, ...

>From NASCAR Public Relations and Ford Motorsports




Ernie Irvan of Salinas, Calif., returns this weekend to the site of his merit recent Winston Cup victory, which was two years ago at Sears Point, his home track. Following are his comments:

ERNIE IRVAN -28- Texaco Havoline Thunderbird -- "I can't believe how long it's been since I won that race at Sears Point. We're excites about going back. I've got the same exact car going back that I dominated the race with in 1994. We have all expectations of going back out there and running well again. It's not a place where you just go out and test. So, nobody's been out to test. So it should be equal for everybody."

FORD HAS QUITE A LINE-UP OF ROAD RACERS: YOU, RICKY, MARK, WALLY ... "Rusty. Yeah, we have a lot of good road racers in Thunderbird. And now we've added Wally. He's already shown he can really get around all the road courses. And I'm not known as a great road racer, but I always seem to run good on the road courses. Drivers mean so much on the road courses. The down force issue is not as critical. As long as the down force numbers are in the same neighborhood, the driver can make up for a small deficiency. At a track like Talladega, anybody in the field can get in a car and go as fast as that car goes. At Martinsville that changes. The driver has to be able to do a good job. At Sears Point, you multiply that even more. The driver is more effective on a road course than anywhere else."

"I'm from out on the west coast and I always get a lot of attention. The last time I was out there, I had to stay focused on the task at hand. I focused on the media part when it was time to do that and I focused on the race car when it was time to do that. Jeff Gordon is from out there, too. He hasn't lived there in a long time. I lived on the west coast until '81. I'm the closest thing they have to someone from that area racing in Winston Cup. *******


Most of Wally Dallenbach's accomplishments in motorsports came on road courses. The 1985 and '86 Trans-Am champion's two best Winston Cup career finishes came at Watkins Glen. but he actually prefers Sears Point:

WALLY DALLENBACH Jr.-15- Hayes Modems Thunderbird -- "Sears Point is one of my favorites. Experience really makes a difference. My style of driving lends itself to that type of a race track. I like it. I always liked it when I ran Trans-Am cars out there. It's different from what We're used to and it's a nice break. I think the way the road racers are brought up and their driving style works, it's just more aggressive than the guys who were brought up on short track ovals You just attack the race track and it works, and that's our downfall on a lot of the ovals. There's definitely a different way of doing things and when you're learning how to drive race cars. What you learn you always want to apply it. When some of these guys go on a road course, they don't know exactly what to use or what kind of driving you have to use. It's a different type of driving. You have to attack the race track , but you have to save your tires and brakes, It's a real fine balance that comes with a lot of experience. You have to stay on the pavement, because if you drop a tire off in the dirt, you're probably going to puncture tires. There would be an advantage to running off in the dirt, because there are some things you can do that can help you and not the guy behind you, but with Winston Cup cars it's really easy to cut these tires."

HOW CRITICAL IS QUALIFYING? "It's probably more critical at Sears Point than any other road course because it's so hard to pass. There are only a couple of good places to pass, and you have half the track to set up for those places. That makes it hard to pick off a bunch of race cars. And, there's a real good chance of a pile-up on the start. It amazes me how everybody gets through turn one as good as they do. I so think everybody in this series is getting better aria better about getting through the opening laps of a11 the races, It is pretty stupid to do something in our races, as long as they are, that's going to take out a bunch of cars."

ASSESS THE COMPETITION AT SEARS POINT: "You've got a bunch of Ford guys to beat, but Earnhardt won there last year, Terry's always been a good road course driver and Jeff's becoming a goes road course driver. The Hendrick cars are going to be fast. But there are a lot of good road race drivers in Fords right now. A lot has to do with those some of guys running at Sebring or Daytona, co-driving for us in the IMSA races."



Junie Donlavey's taking the train to Sears Point. Mike Wallace's car owner, as well as his crew chief Bob Johnson and assistant spotter Billy Norton, are running on rails after Talladega en route to California for this weekend's Save Mart Supermarkets 300 at Sears Point. After Sunday's Winston Select 500 at Talladega, Donlavey spent Sunday night in New Orleans and caught the Amtrak train to the west coast:

JULIE DONLAVEY -90- Hellig-Meyers Thunderbird -- "We're going to catch Amtrak from New Orleans to Martinez, Calif. right outside of Vallejo, which is right up there where the race track is. Then when we leave Sonoma, we'll catch the train at Martinez and travel through Denver, Chicago and all down through there. It's something that I've really wanted to do. In 1945, I was transferred from Key West, Fla., to San Diego to go to Guam. And I took the train ride. I've always remembered it. That was back in the steam engine days. When we went through the mountains we'd get off the train and walk beside it while they were trying to get the train up the mountains. Bob and Gussie (JOHNSON) will not fly anywhere. They were going to ride the train. Billy Norton and his wife and I and my wife decided we'd go with them, Only time I've been on a train since then is when we'd get on it at Richmond aria go to New York for the banquet. I enjoyed that. We leave Monday at noon and arrive at Martinez Wednesday evening. We'll leave Monday at 10:00 and get back to Richmond at 4:30 the next evening. Sleeper car and the whole bit." *******

Jack Durbin Motorsport News International (Moderators for "") Homepage

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Mike Wallace