Talladega II: Ford - Parrott press conference

This Week in Ford Racing September 23, 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M's Taurus, along with crew chief Todd Parrott, were guests this week on the NASCAR Winston Cup teleconference. TODD PARROTT , Crew Chief -...

This Week in Ford Racing
September 23, 2003

NASCAR Winston Cup

Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M's Taurus, along with crew chief Todd Parrott, were guests this week on the NASCAR Winston Cup teleconference.

TODD PARROTT , Crew Chief - No. 38 M&M's Taurus

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT TALLADEGA?

"You have to have a good car and a good strong engine. That's one of the good things that Robert and Doug Yates have always worked really hard on is the restrictor-plate program. It's always been really good. We've had a lot of success here at Robert Yates Racing at Daytona and Talladega and we're looking forward to going to Talladega this week. Elliott qualified third there the first race this year and finished third, so we're taking the same car back that he ran there. We worked on it a little bit and we're just really looking forward to going down there. It seems like we've got some momentum going. We ran really strong the last three or four weeks and we're just excited about going to the next race."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE RULE CHANGES?

"I think it's gonna be a lot more interesting at Talladega. As soon as the caution comes out everybody slows down and doesn't race back, but in restrictor-plate racing everybody is two or three inches away from each other and sometimes two, three and four wide. That ought to make it very interesting. It worked really well at Dover. I think everybody did a great job in getting their cars slowed down. I'm still not so sure about giving the lap back rule yet, but I'm sure the day will come that we'll be in that position and we'll want that lap back. I don't know. I still have mixed emotions about that part."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CHANGE IN THE RESTRICTOR PLATE AND SPOILER?

"I think the racing is still gonna be just as close and competitive as it's always been. The cars are gonna have a little more throttle response and it could be like the cars were a few years ago when we had the roof spoiler on and the rear gurneys on the spoilers. I think it's gonna knock a bigger hole in the air because you're gonna have a bigger rear spoiler, and I think being able to draft up and possible sling shot may be easier to do now than what it was in the past. Nobody knows, really. Some cars have been to Talladega testing. I don't know if they did any drafting or not, but the speeds seem to be up a little bit. We knew they were gonna be a little quicker, but I think the racing is gonna be as good and as exciting as it has always been at Talladega."

WILL YOU USE THE ROOF HATCH THIS WEEK?

"No, we haven't gotten the roof hatches installed. It is something we are working on -- getting the parts and pieces. I think most of the guys that have the things installed are the guys that were working with NASCAR on getting it implemented and making sure everything worked properly - the DEI cars. That's one thing with Elliott and Dale and the size of those guys that we're working on for 2004."

DO YOU HAVE SOME INSIGHT ON WHY RYAN NEWMAN HAS BEEN SO DOMINANT LATELY?

"They've had a lot of luck, too. If you look back at some of the races they've won, they won on strategy and hoping that they had enough fuel to make it to the end. They've had luck, but you make a lot of your own luck in this sport. You have to have things going your way. You have to have your calculations down to the half-a-lap or quarter-of-a-lap. Matt and Ryan have done that this year. They were strong last year in the second part of the season. It took them a little while to get going, but I'm sure the first part of the year they were working all the bugs out with the body change in switching over to the Dodge, and I just think they've gotten their cars worked out with their aero package and what they need as far as the balance for Ryan. He's a heck of a race-car driver and he showed that Sunday at Dover. He didn't roll over and play dead. Jeremy had him cleared one time and he drove right back by him, so he's a heck of a race-car driver. He's got a lot of talent and they've got momentum. That's one thing you get in this sport, when you get momentum going on your side it's hard to beat."

ARE THERE SIMILARITIES FROM THE WAY DALE EARNHARDT USED TO RACE AT TALLADEGA AND DALE, JR.?

"I'm sure his dad was probably the best or was the best guy at Daytona and Talladega as far as working the draft. I've know Dale, Jr. as long as he's been racing and I know he's sat and watched in-car camera tapes and did a lot of studying on what his dad did and how he worked the draft. I'm sure his dad talked to him a lot about the draft. He's got a lot of his dad's same traits, plus he's got a really strong race car. DEI has had really strong restrictor-plate cars since 2001 and they're hard to beat. They work really hard on their restrictor-plate program and he's got a knack for driving Talladega and he has a good time."

MOMENTUM CAN WORK BOTH WAYS CAN'T IT? YOU HAVE TEAMS LIKE DALE JARRETT'S THAT ARE STRUGGLING.

"Yeah, it's a tough sport. It goes in cycles. You have years when you just can't do any wrong, like Matt Kenseth and his guys this year. Sunday was the perfect example of what it takes to win a championship. They were not even a top-15 race car and at the end of the race there he was finishing in the top 10. That's the sort of thing you have to do to win a championship. With Dale, they have had just a lot of bad racing luck and some crazy things have happened. Once you get to the top it's tougher to stay there than it is to do anything else. You just have to work hard and keep trying and never give up."

IT LOOKS LIKE SOME PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO EAT SOME WORDS ABOUT MATT KENSETH FROM EARLIER IN THE YEAR.

"There's no doubt about it. The championship race is all but over with. Those guys have proved it unless a major catastrophe comes and somebody kidnaps Matt Kenseth and he can't make it to the race track. They're doing what they have to do every week. They're very, very consistent and that's what wins you championships. Those guys have done a great job. Robbie is a smart racer. He sticks to his basics and sticks to his guns and what his beliefs are and that's got him in the position that they're in this year. People said that they didn't think Matt Kenseth and his team could stay there, but they ran really strong and real competitive last year. It takes two or three years to get your program in place when you've got strong race team like they have and this is their year."

WHEN YOU HAVE A GAME PLAN FOR A RACE LIKE TALLADEGA AND IT'S NOT WORKING, DO YOU HAVE TO GET CREATIVE?

"Sometimes you have to get creative when things aren't going the way you plan for them to go and you're not running like you thought you were gonna run. If you want to win, you have to get creative and try some things you normally wouldn't do on your normal game plan. You might make bigger changes to the car or try different strategies. That's when the gambling hand comes out."

Ford - Sadler press conference

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler
Teams Yates Racing