RON FELLOWS DRIVER OF THE NO. 01 BASS PRO SHOPS/RED HEAD IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed racing in the rain last week, his win at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, returning to Watkins Glen with the...
RON FELLOWS DRIVER OF THE NO. 01 BASS PRO SHOPS/RED HEAD IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed racing in the rain last week, his win at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, returning to Watkins Glen with the COT and more.
IS IT ABOUT TIME SOMEBODY LIKE YOURSELF WINS THIS THING HERE? "That's why we're here. Somebody's got to win it and it might as well be us. This is much like last weekend. Last weekend was a great opportunity for me to drive for Dale (Earnhardt), Jr. and Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and GoDaddy.com. This week to be back with DEI again, Dan Stillman the crew chief. We had a good test at Road Atlanta and we feel pretty confident. We've got a decent car. You're always rolling the dice and we saw that the stars got aligned for us last weekend. See if we can do it two weeks in a row."
HOW MUCH MOMENTUM DO YOU HAVE FROM LAST WEEK? "Personally it's just satisfying. This is a new race and even tougher competition, more difficult circumstances. It's going to be tough for sure. You're only as good as your last race anyway."
HOW DO FEEL ABOUT THIS ROAD COURSE COMPARED TO OTHERS? "Watkins Glen kind of is similar to Mosport, that's the track I kind of grew up learning how to race on. Long fast corners, slowing. We've had some success here so I really enjoy coming to this place. As a fan, there's a ton of history here. You got to like that."
DO YOU HAVE FANS THAT COME DOWN HERE FROM CANADA SINCE IT'S SO CLOSE? "I think we get several thousand Canadians with Patrick (Carpentier) here. I think I saw Jacques (Villeneuve) on the list too. We'll be a strong Canadian contingent or we better be."
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THIS COURSE, WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO PASS? "That's one of the great things about this track is I've been able to come from the back here as have others. Turn one is the classic, out braking into turn one. Get a good exit off of eleven and the end of the bus stop, the inner loop, you get a good run up through the esses you can carry a bit of momentum into the brake zone and do it there. Those are the two most obvious."
ON CHANGING TEAMS AND CREWS FROM ONE WEEK TO THE NEXT. "What you try to do is in a short amount of time tell the guys what you need the car to do for you and that's what we'll focus on in what little practice time we have. Get some good information."
ARE YOU TUTORING THE UP-AND-COMERS AT DEI ON ROAD COURSE RACING? "I went around this morning with Aric Almirola and last week went around with Brad Keselowski and talked to Landon Cassill a fair amount. I'm more than happy to help especially if it's in your own team."
THE IDEA OF USING RAIN TIRES ON A ROAD COURSE VERSES AN OVAL; CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY THEY WON'T WORK ON AN OVAL? "It's just too risky on an oval. It's already difficult enough trying to keep cars off the walls in the dry, and in the wet it would just be that much more difficult and treacherous to be honest. Plus it's not part of the heritage of stock car racing where they run in the rain. Road racing is and hopefully eventually Sprint Cup will do road races in the rain."
AFTER LAST WEEKEND, DO YOU HAVE ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NASCAR AS TO WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY FOR RUNNING IN THE RAIN? "I think they did a great job running that race. I told them a little bit afterwards that part of the difficulty at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is it's a very flat track surface which is a bit unusual for a road course, more like a temporary street course where any amount of rain just creates a lot of flooding. At one point they had the jet dryers trying to blow off all the standing water. Standing water is really, really treacherous and it just didn't drain very well which was part of the problem."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RAIN TIRES IN THE RACE? "You always want to have choices. I think as long as they're the same for everybody. The next phase is allowing the drivers and the teams to work on their own personal strategy when you come in to get rain tires, when you go back to slicks or vice versa."
WHAT IS THE COMPARISON OF DRIVING THE CORVETTE IN THE RAIN VERSES THE HEAVIER STOCK CARS? "It's really not a fair comparison. Obviously good practice and the last couple of years with the Corvette up in Le Mans we had some wet weather. The Corvette just has way more down force and a much bigger tire and there we also have about three choices of Michelin's to use for the wet. For this series you only really need one. Also for Goodyear that particular rain tire design is the one that is very similar designed to the one that we had in 2001 where was almost an entire rain race at Le Mans that we got our first Corvette class win, so it's a very good designed rain tire. Obviously you want to have it as soft as possible for the wet and we'll see what the future holds."
YOU COULDN'T TALK JUNIOR INTO A RIDE TODAY? "It was already a done deal. Obviously I would have liked to have run but I'm perfectly happy to focus on the 01 car here in cup."
WHY NO NATIONWIDE RIDE THIS WEEK? "There was a pre-organized deal for Dale, Jr. to run and I made a shameless attempt to ask him on TV. to let me drive but I'm sure he wants to get a little more practice although he doesn't really need it. He won here in '99 in the old Busch Series and the reason I know that is I'm the guy that finished second. He'll be just fine and we'll go hang out over there to see if we can help a little bit. I'm happy to focus on the Sprint Cup deal."
A LOT OF HISTORY LAST WEEK. "Yeah, it was very cool. When NASCAR first said they were going to go and run a race in Canada and then talked a little bit about where it was going to be. For it to be there all I thought to myself was man I hope I'm around long enough for when they go race there. To get a win is very, very special for a Canadian boy where Gilles Villeneuve is one of his heroes. It's very, very special indeed."
WOULD YOU SAY YOU FEEL BETTER AND MORE CONFIDENT THIS YEAR IN THIS CAR? "If you based it on how things were at Infineon, we were running sixth before we got tangled up with that mess with Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray and Tony Stewart. Yeah, you're always anxious and curious to see if what you learned testing has worked. The good news is for me I worked with Dan Stillman before, Dan and I worked together on the thirty-three in the Nationwide Series last year with Kevin Harvick so there is some familiarity. I think we're hoping for both of us that makes the communication that much better."
HAVE YOU GOT ANYTHING ELSE IN SPRINT CUP? "No, this is it."
YOU HAVEN'T EVEN GOT ANYTHING IN THE ALMS AT MOSPORT? "No sprint race. I am just doing the long races? Because this one and Infineon conflicted with LMS sprint races the last two years. LMS guys are at Road America. It seemed like the right time to kind of spend a little more time over here. I really enjoy the long races, particularly Le Mans they didn't want to give that up."
SO YOU'RE BACK AT ROAD ATLANTA? "Yes."
YOU'VE GOT A YEAR UNDER YOUR BELT WITH THE CAR OF TOMORROW HERE ON THIS TRACK, WHAT DID YOU LEARN LAST YEAR THAT YOU CAN PUT TOGETHER SOMETHING BETTER THIS YEAR? "What I learned last year is don't speed on pit lane. We blew it last year. Finished fourth but Hall of Fame here last year we had a really, really good Chevy and I still can't figure out how we managed to do that pit lane speed deal but it is what it is. I think one of the things that you've got to focus on is getting that car to turn well and stay relatively, what you end up doing is you chase one end and then the other. It's controlling that looseness that it had at high speed exit and hopefully we can get a hold of that and have a car that we can driver hard and comfortably all day."
TALK ABOUT THE CONFIDENCE AFTER THE WIN AND COMING HERE. "I think the other 42 guys in here don't care. Personally obviously it's very satisfying, very gratifying to win particularly there on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and also to be driving for Dale, Jr. and Rick Hendrick. That was a very, very special day and I was just happy to be there and to get an opportunity to be in contention to win the race was very special."
-credit: gm racing