The fans have spoken....the 2004 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year is Tony Eury Sr., Crew Chief of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Wypall awarded Eury Sr. with a $10,000 Donation to the Charity of his choice. AWARD COMMENTS BY TONY...
The fans have spoken....the 2004 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year is Tony Eury Sr., Crew Chief of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Wypall awarded Eury Sr. with a $10,000 Donation to the Charity of his choice.
AWARD COMMENTS BY TONY EURY SR:
"I'm proud to be honored by all the crew chiefs in the garage. I'd like to recognize my team. I'm just a small part of this team. These guys right here do all the work. And we've got about three times that many more back at the shop that are just as involved in this deal as we are. We are just the lucky ones that get to go to the race track every week. I'd like to thank WYPALL Wipers for recognizing NEXTEL Cup racing and giving us something for all of us to shoot for.
"I'd like to announce that the $10,000 award is going to be split in half. We will give $5,000 to the Dale Earnhardt foundation and $5,000 to the Hendrick Bone Marrow Foundation. Again, I'd like to thank WYPALL and everybody involved in this.
POST AWARD COMMENTS BY TONY EURY SR:
ON THE CHASE AND JEFF GORDON
"He's bound and determined to bring that championship to that team, so he's going to be harder than ever to beat."
ON WEARING A BLUE WRIST BAND IN HONOR OF HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
"Everybody on our team is wearing them today. The NASCAR truck drivers all had these when we came here this morning. I think NASCAR gave them out to all the teams, I'm not really sure. They asked everybody to wear them. The whole Hendrick camp wore three hats at Rockingham after Dale Earnhardt got killed. Teresa (Earnhardt) asked us all to wear Hendrick hats this weekend so all the DEI employees are wearing Hendrick hats. She asked us to wear them to support Hendrick just like Hendrick supported us."
ON JEFF GORDON'S BID FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE FACE OF THE HENDRICK TRAGEDY
"I don't know. He has that drive, you know. When he gets that in his head, he's just hard to beat. I don't know what it is. Tragedy can make people stronger. We felt like Jeff was the car we were going to have to beat if we were going to win the championship. We felt he was the guy we had to beat - plus eight more. But we just felt like he was definitely going to be the strong one. He's showing it. He's had a couple of bad races, but he's still hanging right in there. This tragedy here might just put him right over that edge that he needs."
IS THIS STILL A THREE-CAR RACE AND WHERE DOES KURT BUSCH FALLS INTO ALL THIS NOW?
"All those guys who had problems are coming back. They are gradually creeping back up there. I've said all along that anybody who had a Mulligan wouldn't win the championship. Definitely, we had ours last week (in Martinsville). Jeff (Gordon) really hasn't had a Mulligan; he's just had a couple of bad races. He got decent finishes out of them. Kurt hasn't had anything happen to him. You know, there's always one guy who keeps that ball rolling and it looks like Kurt is that guy right now. If he doesn't have a Mulligan, he's going to be hard to beat for sure. With four more races to go and the lead that he's got, he's going to be hard to beat. We've definitely got our work cut out for us at 125 points behind. Our goal is to go win every race we can win because that's the only way we've got a chance."
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT KURT BUSCH'S CONSISTENCY RIGHT NOW?
"No, not really. He's always been kind of like that David Pearson. You don't see him for a while and then at the end of the race, there he is. That's kind of the way Matt (Kenseth) was last year. They've just got a way of getting in that top 10 every week. That's what it takes. That's what this point system has always been based on - consistency. But now you've got to do it 10 races instead of 38. Right now, he's the guy who's doing it."
SO YOUR STRATEGY IS TO WIN THE NEXT FOUR RACES?
"Well, that's all we can do. We're 125 points behind. If those guys finish in the top 10 every week, we don't have a chance. We've got to get the most points we can get. We've got to lead every lap and win races if we're going to make up 125 points."
ARE YOU UNDER A LOT OF HEAT BY WINNING THE CREW CHIEF'S AWARD?
"We put ourselves under a lot of heat. We're determined to win a NEXTEL Cup. We thought last year would be our year and we kind of got disappointed. This year, kind of slumped in the center and then we kind of got back going again. So when we got back into these last 10, we started performing good every week and got on race tracks that Dale Jr. liked and had a lot of hopes of us pulling it off. Where we thought we'd run good and finish good, we've had problems last week. So we've got our work cut out for us."
ON THE FANS VOTING HIM THE CREW CHIEF OF THE YEAR
"It's pretty cool whenever people get online and vote for you. A lot of people voted every week and it was kind of surprising to me that that many people followed that award. But a lot of people followed it."
DO YOU THINK JEFF GORDON AND THE HENDRICK CAMP ARE GOING TO BE EXTRA STRONG NOW IN THE FACE OF TRAGEDY?
"I feel sure they'll have momentum behind them. They're all very determined to cheer Rick (Hendrick) up and that's the way they can do it. They've got a lot of people back there in Harrisburg that need to be cheered up."
WITH MARTIN TRUEX JR. RACING IN THE BUSCH SERIES HERE THIS WEEKEND, WILL THAT HELP YOU IN CUP?
"Dale Jr. and Michael (Waltrip) don't run a lot of stuff alike. But Martin and Dale Jr. do. Truex came here and tested two weeks ago and he ran a lot of the stuff that we ran when we won a race here in March. And he was happy with it. The car drove real good and he was real happy with it. He ran fast. Hopefully what we did last time will work this time. It's always better to have someone you can go talk to and compare notes. That's why we have multi-car teams. Right now, the No. 15 car (Waltrip) just doesn't help us that much and we don't help them. It's just two different styles of drivers there in those cars and we're not helping each other. But Martin will be Cup racing here with us in a year or so, so I think you'll definitely see us get stronger when that happens."
WHAT'S THE MOST DIFFICULT CHALLENG IN KEEPING YOUR TEAM MOTIVATED?
"When we get to the race track, that's the easy part. The hard part of the job is just people. And I think that's in any profession. My job at the shop is to keep the people we have happy and pumped up. The hardest part of the job is the people. Right now we've got a good group of people and hopefully we can keep them all together. The longer they're together, the better they're going to be. So, that's my job to keep these guys pumped up and keep them together. Right now, I think they're all pumped up. We had a blow last week, but we've been pumping them all week that we can still do this and that nobody should get down. Hopefully we can pull it off."