NASCAR Winston Cup Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Taurus, heads back to Daytona International Speedway for this weekend's Pepsi 400 hoping to duplicate his effort four months ago in the Daytona 500 when he finished...
NASCAR Winston Cup
Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Taurus, heads back to Daytona International Speedway for this weekend's Pepsi 400 hoping to duplicate his effort four months ago in the Daytona 500 when he finished a career-best third.
28 KENNY IRWIN -- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- YOU MUST FEEL PRETTY GOOD ABOUT GOING BACK TO DAYTONA AFTER FINISHING THIRD IN FEBRUARY, RIGHT? "We do, but we're not going be taking the same car. They built a new one and feel it's better, but we didn't get it tested. They took it to the wind tunnel a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty good, but it's a different type of new chassis than what we've run before. I get a little nervous anytime we take a brand new car that hasn't been tested anywhere because you have so many little things that can happen, but I feel like if we can get through qualifying it will be a good race car."
DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A HORSEPOWER ADVANTAGE ON A TRACK LIKE THIS OR NOT? "It's good, but I believe we have more of an advantage on the non-restrictor plate tracks than we do at Daytona and Talladega. But it is nice to know you can always count on that wherever you are."
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS LAST YEAR WHEN YOU WERE LEADING THE RACE -- THE FIRST RACE RUN UNDER THE LIGHTS AT DAYTONA? "I forgot how it happened, but we got off of pit sequence with about half of the field and that put us in the lead. It was awesome running there under the lights, especially since none of us had done it at Daytona before. Then we ended up cutting a tire down and getting in the back of the pack (finishing 32nd), but it was a good night for us. Even though we didn't finish good, leading at that track showed we were capable of running up front and that helped the whole morale of the team."
IT SEEMS THIS IS A TRACK YOU HAVE A GOOD FEEL FOR. IS IT? "For me, we have yet to put a good qualifying run together there, so I'm a little apprehensive about saying we're gonna qualify good. I think our qualifying package can get better, but I feel we're pretty much on line of where we need to be with our race setup."
HOW WAS THE RACE TRACK ITSELF AS FAR AS LIGHTING GOES? "The thing about it was that there was a different atmosphere there under the lights. I think people were a little more attentive to what was going on because they weren't sure of the shadows and stuff like that. They weren't sure if what they were seeing was a car or a shadow. I noticed on the back straightaway coming out of two that the lights weren't as good as they could have been because something would happen when there was a car outside of you. I wouldn't say it made for big problems, but you had to be very careful because the spotter couldn't tell if there was a car there or if it was just a shadow."
YOU'VE POSTED FOUR TOP-15 FINISHES OVER THE LAST FIVE RACES. DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE GETTING CLOSER TO WINNING? "We're closer than we have been. I feel like sometimes we're a victim of making too many changes from one week to the next, but I feel like we're going in the right direction. I feel as far as my driving I keep learning every week and I get better at helping them get the car set up. As far as that goes, I feel a lot more comfortable."
Last weekend, there was a published report on the status of a licensing agreement between Ford Motor Company and Roush Racing. A letter was sent from Roush Racing President Geoff Smith to vendors stating that they should stop selling all Roush Racing merchandise that included the Ford logo until an agreement with Ford was reached. On Monday, the two companies finalized the licensing deal and resolved the issue.
GEOFF SMITH, President, Roush Racing -- "We have a great relationship with Ford Motor Company and we're delighted that we have reconciled our differences and are able to continue extending the Ford brand through licensing once again on terms that are satisfactory to both of us. We have enjoyed a great relationship with Ford Motor Company for 30 years and we hope to continue enjoying that great relationship for many years to come. We have advised our licensees that we can now resume using the Ford logo on our license and merchandise and, as far as we're concerned, the issue has been resolved."
"We never got a letter saying not to use (the logo), but we never got authority to use it, and you can't use somebody's trademark without authority. Technically, we felt that we had no legal alternative but to remove the logos until we had express permission to utilize them. We had an incomplete negotiation (with Ford) on that point and since we didn't have an express right to use it until the negotiation was concluded, we thought we were at some legal risk that has subsequently been eliminated. When I returned to my office (Monday, June 28), the contract showed up on my desk and it granted us permission to use the license for a token fee, so there's no problem."
DAN DAVIS, director, Ford Racing Technology -- "I hope people don't think that there was some big issue between Roush Racing and Ford because that wasn't the case. This was simply a situation where some licensing negotiations had to be completed, and both sides were working hard toward resolving a couple of issues, which has been done. The truth is, this is a small business deal in the context of a much larger, long-term business relationship with Roush Racing. We hope to continue to successfully work with Roush Racing and its drivers for many years to come."