CHAD BLOUNT (No. 06 Mobil 1/Stocks for Tots Dodge) NOTE: Blount will start 31st Sunday in only his second Cup race. He qualified earlier this season at Chicago. The No. 06 Mobil 1 Dodge is out of the Penske Racing stables, and Roy McCauley will...
CHAD BLOUNT (No. 06 Mobil 1/Stocks for Tots Dodge)
NOTE: Blount will start 31st Sunday in only his second Cup race. He qualified earlier this season at Chicago. The No. 06 Mobil 1 Dodge is out of the Penske Racing stables, and Roy McCauley will work in the pits as Blount's crew chief, while the backup Penske pit crew will pit the car.
"We didn't have high hopes, but we just came in and wanted to make the show. We had a good qualifying run. We picked up a little over three tenths from practice. Roy McCauley really did his homework for qualifying. I never doubted him. He's really good at what he does. Whenever we test, we work together. Roy knows what I like, and I know what Roy wants to give me is going to be good."
WHAT'S THE GOAL FOR SUNDAY?
"The ultimate goal is to finish all 500 miles and get a good race under our belt. A top 20 or top 15 finish would be great. We just want to stay out of trouble and make it to the end. I know Ryan, Rusty and Brendan will work with us, but no one else out there really knows Chad Blount, so they're probably going to try to stay clear of me. This is going to be my biggest weekend ever. I couldn't sleep last night, and I guarantee you I won't sleep tonight, either."
YOU'VE BEEN DOING SOME TESTING FOR PENSKE RACING. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN TESTING?
"We've done Nashville, Kentucky, Greenville-Pickens. Then we do some stuff for Evernham. I work with Elton Sawyer over there for the Dodge program. We've been going everywhere. We've got a million miles at a lot of these places. We haven't been here in over a year. This is just my second Cup race. We went to Chicago and had a good run at Chicago. It was a brand new race car and the wiring burned up in it right off the bat. If we had just run one or two more laps in Happy Hour, and we had a good Happy Hour, we were ninth. It was just a shame. That Dodge belonged to R&J Racing, John Carter and Roger Craven."
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
"I'm still looking for a fulltime deal. I'd be happy with trucks or Busch. This is a big jump, but I just want to keep racing. I ran the full ARCA Series in 2002 with Braun Racing. We had a good year. We won four races, but we lost 18. We won rookie of the year and the superspeedway challenge. Overall, it was a good season. I think we had six poles. We made the step up the next year to the Busch Series. It was a new team, but we had some new team blues. Our sponsor got behind and we couldn't afford to do it and we parted ways. We did the 100th anniversary race with the Miller car at Milwaukee last year. That was about a month after I split up with Braun. We ran five more races after Milwaukee. Everything we've been running has been in a Dodge. It's hard to beat that Dodge."
HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE HAVE YOU HAD AT TALLADEGA?
"I ran a Busch car here last year and an ARCA car here in 2002. I've got a little bit of seat time here. I tested here a lot last year. We finished second here in the ARCA race in 2002. We'd like to better that tomorrow, but staying out of trouble will be our main goal. When you're by yourself, all the cars drive good and I think they're all about the same. Tomorrow you're going to have to have a good setup. You're going to have to be able to hang in the draft and maneuver and turn down and do whatever you want to do. Cars in front of you are going to be punching such a big hole you're going to lose your nose. You've got to have a good drafting car."
DO YOU LIKE THE DRAFTING GAME?
"I like it when it gets dicey, but you can be overconfident and get in trouble. Tomorrow I'm just going to try to stay in the back and make laps. When it comes time and they start handing out paychecks we'll be there if everything goes according to plan. I've done a lot of testing for Penske, and this is kind of a payback for all the testing I've been doing for them. I've been working with Buddy Baker and all the guys there. It's a great organization. The nice thing about this weekend is I'm getting to work with Roy McCauley. He's the guy I've worked with the past year and a half, and he's really a sharp guy. It's just an honor for me to work with him. Our team here is like the engineering team. The guys have been practicing pit stops, and they've been doing 14-second pit stops. We're going to bring our A game tomorrow."
ROY McCAULEY (Crew chief No. 06 Mobil 1/Stocks for Tots Dodge)
"He's a pretty good little shoe. We're just trying to get the car going fast. I'll be trying to keep Chad calm tomorrow, and so far it's been working out great. I was happy with qualifying Friday, and I thought we were just about where we deserved to be. It was a good day yesterday. We brought some guys out of the shop who have never worked together as a group. Everybody did fantastic from a team standpoint. Everybody worked well together. Our changes were smooth. Our session was smooth. We didn't have any problems. We hit our marks, and Chad hit his marks on the track. Everybody is having a good time. We've got our backup pit crew here. Basically, if somebody goes down on one of the other three teams these guys will fill in. It's our C team, but it's our A team tomorrow. We had no points coming here, and we've got nothing to lose."
NOTE: STOCKS FOR TOTS -- Founded in 1990 by Penske Racing South co-owners Don Miller and Rusty Wallace, Stocks for Tots as raised thousands of dollars and collected hundreds of toys for abused and neglected children in North Carolina. The 15th annual Stocks for Tots is scheduled for Dec. 14 from 6-10 p.m. at Lakeside Business Park in Mooresville, N.C.