Talladega: Dodge teams, Sirius quotes

Sirius Satellite Radio to sponsor two NASCAR Winston Cup races. PHILIP PILLA (Vice President, Marketing, Sirius Satellite Radio) "We are the future of in-car entertainment. We are a 100-channel service that broadcasts coast-to-coast with...

Sirius Satellite Radio to sponsor two NASCAR Winston Cup races.

PHILIP PILLA (Vice President, Marketing, Sirius Satellite Radio)

"We are the future of in-car entertainment. We are a 100-channel service that broadcasts coast-to-coast with 100 percent commercial free music on all of our 60 music channels plus some fabulous news, sports and talk programming ranging from ESPN, we're the exclusive provider of the Speed Channel. If you like Reggae, we've got Reggae. If you want to start in Maine, listen to Reggae all the way to Southern California, you can hear that wonderful Reggae channel we have on our service. We will be offering service to 39 states over the next 60 days. We will be nationwide by July 1.

"Starting today and expanding into 2003 and beyond, we will be the satellite radio partner and entertainment partner for ISC facilities around the country. In addition to that, making a further commitment to Winston Cup Racing, we will be sponsoring two NASCAR Winston Cup races. The Sirius Satellite Radio 400 in Michigan in June and the Serius Satellite at the Glen in August. Next year Serius will be the satellite radio provider to all ISC venues and events.

"We're already learning our way around the track with Casey (Atwood) driving the No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid. Ray and Jim are showing us our way. You'll see our Rhythm of the Road Tour, which you can experience outside the track today. Fans every single weekend at ISC venues will be able to experience Sirius Satellite Radio. Our No. 1 business goal is to get fans of Winston Cup Racing intimately involved in the Sirius Satellite Radio experience. We're even going to have Ray Evernham doing a show."

RAY EVERNHAM (Car owner Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid R/Ts)

"When I first came to the sport, sponsorship was about money to race your car. Things have changed a bunch. It's still about money to race your car, but to get a sponsor that promotes you, promotes your sport and helps grow the whole game is unique. We're very fortunate to have Sirius Satellite Radio doing that. We're going to reach a lot of new markets and a lot of new people and we're going to have a lot of fun. My channel, I've got a special thing being made. You will be locked on my channel whether you have Sirius Satellite Radio or not and you will have to listen to what we have to say. It's going to be the Ray Evernham-Casey Atwood our opinion on everything show. It's just great to be a part of the program, and I'm very proud to be part of something that can bring a new sponsor in the sport, reach new people and now partner with the people with ISC. Jim and I probably aren't off to as fast a start as we'd like, but we're building that program. We're starting a new business like Sirius Satellite has. It takes a little bit of time, but we're doing the right things. We're working on our performance and we're going to continue to improve on it every week. I'm always kidding Philip about his stock. I bought a lot of stock in Sirius, too, and we're buying for the future. Sirius Satellite Radio thinks enough Ray Evernham and Jim Smith and Casey Atwood that they're investing in the future. When you have a driver that's 21 years old and he's gaining a bunch of experience and we're building a team with new guys. We've got the support of Dodge behind us. It is an investment in the future, but Jim and I are committed to getting the performance of that up. Again, I'm just proud to be a part of the program, having partners like Sirius and Dodge and now we're going to have to run good at Michigan and Watkins Glen and we're going to do what it takes to do that.

"The performance of the cars, especially the 9 car, has been better. They just haven't had the luck they had last year. They are a little bit behind where they were in points, but the on-track performance has been good. I'm happy. Success is never going to come often enough or fast enough. I'm pleased with the progress of the 19. We're starting to understand Jeremy. It's harder than I thought for people to communicate. I expected things to happen faster, but we're getting there.

"We've got our new building done and hired Gene DeHart and his whole group to come in there and hang bodies. We're starting on our chassis program. We've got a tremendous of new support from Dodge engineering. The Dodge engineering office is open and running at Evernham Motorsports. We're on track. You know me, I'm probably as impatient as anybody, but I'm really pleased. I look at Bill Elliott and think, 'wow, this guy is really producing for us.' I think we hit on some things last week at Martinsville that are going to help Jeremy, too. We'll see. I don't know how our plate stuff is going to be here, but I'm looking forward to going to California.

"Right now, we're missing our balance. Our cars have tended to be pretty tight in race traffic. We did some things at the end of last year that we're probably going to have to go back and rethink. That's what some of our engineers are working on now, trying to understand why we're missing some of that balance. I think we found some things that will help us at California. We'll have to wait and see when we get there, but at least we know we've got 'em fast. Now we've just got to get 'em consistent.

"At Vegas, we did that two-tire pit stop and we hit a setup that was comfortable for Jeremy. He's been running decent at places that he hasn't been real good at in the past. We haven't hit our combination again. There's lots of different ways to get around the race track and certain drivers make up certain times. You've got one guy who drives corner entry and one guy who drives corner exit. I think Jeremy and Bill have been spending enough time together now that those two guys are really getting a lot alike, and it's making easier for us to set up the cars.

"I'm getting better at it. I don't have as much pressure. I've got two real good guys in Mike Ford and Sammy Johns. Eric Warren coming on board is taking a major load off me. I was trying to be the owner and technical director. Lou Patane stepped up and he's handling the engine shop, so I've got real good support now. It's probably a lot less stress and I work with the engineering people with new ideas and I'm enjoying that. I didn't have to come in here and stress about inspection. The time that it's taken to get the right people in place has probably taken some stress off me.

"Most of my focus has been on the Dodge Dealers cars. That's been the plan. Jim has a very successful truck program. I feel like I've got the foundation for a Cup team, but I'm still building my deal. What we're trying to do together is build a future for Dodge and Casey Atwood and Jim Smith and Ray Evernham. You can't do that overnight. Casey has been patient enough. He's getting experience. It's taken me a year longer than I thought to get my place remotely in the order I wanted it."

JIM SMITH (Co-owner Ultra/Evernham Motorsports No. 7 Sirius Satellite Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"Sirius Satellite Radio has been a great sponsor. Without them, Ultra Motorsports wouldn't be in Winston Cup Racing this year. We all know how tough sponsorship is. I think everybody is finding it out in today's economy. We're very proud and very fortunate to have them. I think as you can see today they are very serious about what they're going to do in this sport. Between the new relationship with ISC and the sponsorship with the No. 7 Sirius Satellite Dodge, Sirius Satellite will be at the forefront for every NASCAR Winston Cup fan. I think that's exciting. That's what we're supposed to be doing here at the race track. We're real excited about the future of Sirius and Casey and as Ray said, we're working real hard to get this car up front."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"It's been a real exciting year for me. Sirius has been a great sponsor. I've been a big fan of music for a long time. I've been real big into car audio. I have the big system that will bang your ears out. It fits in with my personality and it's been a fun season. It's great to see Sirius as committed as they are to go in and sponsor two race tracks. I guess we're going to have to go try to win the Michigan 400, now the Sirius Satellite 400. We'll do our best. It's been a little bit of a struggle this year, but as committed as everybody is, it's just going to be a matter of time before we get the Sirius Satellite Dodge in victory lane and that will be a pretty good day for everybody I think. Everybody is real committed with the expansion of Sirius Satellite Radio and all they're doing. I know we're going to get it up front soon. Stay tuned for that."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Casey Atwood , Ray Evernham , Jim Smith