Talladega II: Jarrett, Rudd qualifying press conference (part 2)

Continued from part 1 HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU SPEND ON THE TRACK AND WAS IT A WASTE OF TIME? DALE JARRETT: "I won't go as far as to say it was a waste of time, but it was a long day. I think this is a perfect example where we need to look that...

Continued from part 1

HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU SPEND ON THE TRACK AND WAS IT A WASTE OF TIME?

DALE JARRETT: "I won't go as far as to say it was a waste of time, but it was a long day. I think this is a perfect example where we need to look that - OK, the teams could come in on Friday, go through inspection. We could go and practice for a couple of hours on Saturday and qualify just like you're gonna race it and impound them and be ready to go on Sunday. We could definitely cut at least one day out of this. I was in the car for two hours this morning. I sat in the car the whole time and never got out, but I think I ran eight, maybe 10 laps or something like that, and then two laps for qualifying. I think we could cut this down."

"I think I made three runs, which means I got three timed laps in. I got about a two-hour nap somewhere along the way. I like the idea of what Dale said. The Busch Series did it at Daytona when you qualified and the cars were impounded and that's how you raced. It would be real productive if you did it that way. I guess we wouldn't have this qualifying day quite the same, but it's something that maybe needs to be looked at. You could make it a two-day event pretty easily."

WILL THE RACING BE ANY DIFFERENT SUNDAY BECAUSE OF THE CHASE?

"There's always been a championship battle going on when we came here, so that part of it is no different. You may have a few more guys involved in it now, but you always had people that were racing for the championship when we ran this race. You race and I don't see how it could possibly be anymore wild than what it's been from a driver's standpoint out there. I know it's a great show on TV and from the stands, but there's a lot happening out there from a driver's perspective and that's what this racing is all about. But as far as racing for 11th or anything like that, it's racing as usual. Everybody has somewhat different agendas, although everybody is here to win the race. Regardless of what you're racing for, points-wise or anything else, you're here to try to win or put yourself in that position."

DO YOU FEEL GUYS OUTSIDE THE TOP 10 ARE NOT GETTING ENOUGH PUBLICITY FROM TV AND PRINT MEDIA?

RICKY RUDD: "Let me just say that was part of what I said. I also said that we had an equal opportunity as every team here had to be able to make it to the top 10 cutoff point. We didn't make it. We have no one to blame for that but ourselves. We just didn't get the job done. But that being said, I think everybody in the garage area realized that when you got to that point where you got your top 10 locked in that, pretty much, I wouldn't say write the year off but we're using it as a training session. We want to come out here and win every race, obviously, but we've got an agenda that we need to get running better on the race track. We haven't been very good. The last four or five weeks we've run very well. We're getting a lot better and making a lot of improvements, but even if we come out and run - we had a seventh-place finish shaping up at New Hampshire and we ended up breaking a motor there. Last week at Dover, we ran inside the top 10 quite a bit and, granted, that's not leading races but compared to where our team has been, TV wouldn't have even known we were there, but that's almost to be expected. No bitter feelings about it, but this is part of the new NASCAR that we're gonna have to deal with. There's a lot of pressure to make the top 10 cut and we didn't make it, but, again, our goal is to get our team where we can come out of the box next year strong without floundering around the first half of the year or three-quarters of the year. You're gonna have to come out of the box running so you don't get yourself in a bind and, hopefully, have a shot at making that top 10. There are no hard feelings, but that's just the way it is."

ANYTHING TO ADD?

DALE JARRETT: "I probably shouldn't because anything that I say is gonna sound like sour grapes and I don't want it to be. The guys that made the top 10 and are in the chase are the ones that deserve to be paid attention to and everybody wants to know what's going on with them. I know in one major publication after last week's race that I finished fourth in the race and my name was not even in the article and it wasn't like it was one paragraph, it was a regular article. It's not for my sake, but give my guys that read the paper, that work their tails off, it's for them. It doesn't make any difference to me, but give those people that work hard some credit for the job well done that they did and my sponsor that spends millions of dollars in this sport. They're the ones that deserve that."

HAVE YOU HEARD THAT YOUR SPONSOR ISN'T HAPPY WITH THE AMOUNT OF EXPOSURE?

RICKY RUDD: "I personally haven't, but I can sit in the sponsor's chair a little bit and kind of put that hat on and see where they're spending millions of dollars in this sport and they signed a three-year agreement way back before this new championship format was even mentioned. The only thing I can say is that if you're outside of the top 10 and you're having a great day - Dale had a great run last week. We tend to look at our own selves and say, 'Well, gosh, we had a great run. We were inside the top 10 quite a bit,' but you wouldn't have known we were there. Like I said, it doesn't matter for me personally. Our guys that work so hard on these cars, they need a pat on the back. We're trying to egg these on and pump them up and keep them excited. At the same time, the sponsors have to be able to see something. They're spending money and they at least want to see their car on TV. If you finish fourth in the race and you run good like Dale did last week, by golly you ought to be covered. It's black and white. Don't let the TV turn around and build a script out of this thing and cut the guys out of it that need attention and deserve attention. It's not so much the top 10 format, it's what NASCAR has allowed the television network to do and that's all I'm gonna say."

ANY ISSUES ABOUT THE FACT YOU CAN'T MAKE THE TOP 10 NOW?

DALE JARRETT: "I'm not really concerned about that side of it. I think that what they've done with the chase has brought a lot of excitement to our sport and a lot of attention to our sport. You hear it and see it probably in areas that weren't before, so it's working and I'm all for that. I'm all for whatever is best for our sport, but what is also good for our sport is that we have plenty of sponsors and plenty of teams out here. If people that are having good runs other than those 10 aren't talked about and these sponsors aren't given some of their due, then they might find another place to spend their dollars. That's what concerns me. That was said before that it wasn't gonna happen and, hopefully, it won't be the case that it will. Again, this isn't a personal issue. This is about what's best for my race team and for my sponsors and what's best for this sport in general. If the other 33 of us didn't show up and you had a 10-car race, I'm not sure you all would get very excited about that. Maybe you would, I don't know. I don't think a lot of people would get very excited about that, so let's just make sure that everybody is taken care of - not necessarily just my sponsor. There are a lot of people out here that spend a lot of money to be involved in this sport and it takes everybody to make all of this work, so let's just make sure all of that happens. As far as being able to work my way into 10th or something, I knew the rules before the season started and we didn't perform well enough to get within those guidelines so we have to work harder to make that happen. Again, there are just a lot of other people out here that spend a lot of money and they deserve the credit that's due to them."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup