David Starr Media Teleconference Transcript Chex 400 Preview Texas Motor Speedway June 6, 2005 Q: You set a track record at Dover with your qualifying run there. How is that going to carry over to Texas and the Chex 400? DAVID STARR: ...
David Starr Media Teleconference Transcript
Chex 400 Preview
Texas Motor Speedway
June 6, 2005
Q: You set a track record at Dover with your qualifying run there. How is that going to carry over to Texas and the Chex 400?
DAVID STARR: "I'll tell you, it's a totally different race track. Dover was fast and Texas Motor Speedway is really fast. It's a shame that we didn't bring home our Chevy Silverado to victory lane at Dover. We got caught up in a little altercation. I guess second or third place was trying to pass me. We got together, and I ended up hitting the inside wall, but we came out of there with an eighth-place finish. I'm looking forward to getting home to the Texas Motor Speedway.
"It's always fun to come to the Texas Motor Speedway. The facility is incredible. The racing surface, every year, gets better and better. I think if you asked every driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series which racetrack they really look forward to, every one of them would tell you the Texas Motor Speedway . It's just a fun race. It's kind of cool to have Chex cereal come on board and to sponsor the race this Friday night. Chex is one of my favorite cereals. I'm looking forward to getting into my Chevy Silverado and see if we can't get a victory here at the Texas Motor Speedway."
Q: What about, specifically, the Chex 400 running at night? Things just seem to be faster at night.
STARR: "You grow up racing at these racetracks on Saturday night's under the lights. You then come to these big superspeedways, and these speedways that are putting up lights, especially the Texas Motor Speedway. That thing is really lit up. I think you can see better at night when you race there. There is just something about racing underneath the lights. It's magical for the competitors, it's magical for me, and the race fans love it.
"We've got the front-ends of these pick-up trucks so soft with springs and everything. At night, it's kind of cool to see them racing hard and see all the sparks fly. That is kind of cool. I think racing at night is just magical, and something about racing at night, I really enjoy it."
Q: One of the Chevy Racing teammates, the number 15 truck, Shane Hmiel was in it for a while, and they don't run a full schedule. Kyle Busch has won the last two races he has entered in that truck. What is making that team so strong right now, especially running a partial schedule?
"The number '15' truck, the Billy Ballew truck, over the last two years has been really strong everywhere we go. Shane Hmiel did a really great job with that truck, and now they have plugged in Kyle Busch. He is doing an excellent job. I think what is making them so strong is they have DEI horsepower underneath the hood. They have a lot of power. You get a good handling truck, and you plug in a good racecar driver, and you get what you get. They have two victorious so far and they are going to be tough at the Texas Motor Speedway."
Q: What's the difference when you're racing with the IRL opposed to when you are at a track with all the other NASCAR Series? Is that a different feel?
STARR: "Anytime you come to the Texas Motor Speedway, and race in front of the NASCAR fans at Texas, it is big. I think the record number of attendance has come from the Texas Motor Speedway. People love truck racing, people drive trucks in Texas, and something about racing these pick-up trucks at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I think three-quarter of the fans sitting up in the stands have a truck. The fans are great. I love them. They have always been supportive of me and they love racing. We get to bring the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series back home to the Texas Motor Speedway, and then they get to see an IRL race on Saturday night. There is just so much hype right now coming into the race this weekend, not only the truck race, but the IRL race as well. It's just exciting to be a part of the racing this weekend at Texas."
Q: Exactly what would the emotions be if you could win at Texas?
STARR: "There have been a lot of great things, and a lot of good people help me get to where I am at today. It just seems like the Texas Motor Speedway has been good to my family. My uncle owns a racing school there. We've been there ever since they opened the doors. As they were building it we had our shop across the street. Eddie Gossage and Kenton Nelson, all the people, have been really good to me. Eddie Gossage and Kent Nelson have helped me over years in my career. If I could just ever bring home a victory there that would be big for me to win at home for lot of my family, a lot of my friends, a lot of race fans up in the stands that cheer for me. Texas Motor Speedway is a tough place to win a race. We've been trying for so long, and have been close so many times, but for some reason we just can't get it over the 'edge' per say. We can't get to that checkered flag first, but it would definitely be probably one of the biggest things that happens in my career if I could just finally win a race here at the Texas Motor Speedway.
"I enjoy racing there, and everybody in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, I know all the drivers, enjoy coming to Texas. They like racing at the Texas Motor Speedway. The racing surface, the facilities, everything about it makes everybody excited in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. That would be (winning) probably the biggest thing to happen to me in my career. I'd put on a cowboy hat, some cowboy boots, and probably start doing the Texas 'Two-Step' if I could get a win here, but I'm just really looking forward to coming back Friday night in the Chex 400. I've got a great race team. My Chevy Silverado has been pretty awesome. I got another opportunity to win a race here at the Texas Motor Speedway. Hopefully we can finally get it done."
Q: Does racing at place that historically has so much meaning to you bring extra pressure? Do you sometimes try too hard at Texas?
"I thought you brought up a good point. Over the years I've really put a lot of emphasis on this race. We have 25 races in our season and last week we tried to win the race at Dover. Coming into the Texas Motor Speedway I put in the same amount of effort, and the same amount of effort comes from our racing team, the effort is the same week-in and week-out. Over the years I've put more pressure on trying to win here at Texas, and I haven't been able to get it done. Last year when we came here, and raced here, I tried to approach it like it's just another race, but maybe that would change my luck. It didn't really seem to change my luck.
"It's still a tough place to win. I've got to be on top of my game, Ron Hutter (engine builder) has to give me a lot of horsepower under my hood, Dave McCarty, my crew chief, has to give me a good handling truck, and we've got to have a good aerodynamic truck. Hopefully we'll have everything working together this Friday night and we can finally get us a win here. Yes, I have put added pressure on myself over the years, but it hasn't seemed to work. I'm going to try something different this weekend."
Q: There is a lot of excitement this weekend at Texas with the IRL and Danica Patrick. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has a female driver, Deborah Renshaw. Looking like a jammed-pack weekend for the ladies this weekend?
STARR: "No doubt about it. I've always said it doesn't matter if you're female, male, African-American, Mexican, white or whatever. If you have the ability to make it to the NASCAR ranks then you should be out there racing. Deborah Renshaw is a great racecar driver. I think she has had some bad luck since the season has started, but give her a good race truck and give her a good handling truck and she can do some good things. I've seen her drive the wheels off these pick-up trucks. You saw that again this past Saturday night at Dover. She finished 12th in the race and that's pretty awesome.
"Look at Danica Patrick. That is incredible. She almost won the Indianapolis 500, and probably would have won it if she had enough fuel. There is a lot of excitement coming into the Texas Motor Speedway and the females are really doing well. I think the females are bringing more attention to the race this weekend and more power to them. I'm excited for them, and hey, once they drop the green flag you don't know if it's a lady or another man out there. You just know you are trying to pass everyone who is in front of you. It just so happens that in the IRL Series the hot shoe out there is Danica Patrick, and in the NASCAR Craftman Truck Series Deborah Renshaw is doing a great job."
Q: Brendan Gaughan is back and he has been on a Texas Motor Speedway hot streak.
STARR: "He really has. Brendan is a good friend of mine and a great guy. He's a great racecar driver. Anybody that come here to the Texas Motor Speedway and wins four races in a row, I mean, I don't if we'll ever see that again. My hat's off to him. His team, his ability, and what he has done at the Texas Motor Speedway he's my hero. Hopefully I can just do a little bit of what he has done in the past and finally get our first win. He's going to be tough this Friday night."
Q: Is it wheat, rice or corn that is your favorite Chex cereal and do you add bananas or strawberries?
STARR: "I add a little bananas (laughing)"
Q: Could you talk about the growth of this series?
STARR: "It's unbelievable. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, it's happening in that series. You would think it was the Nextel Cup Series. There is so much talent and it's so deep in the series. There are 25 good trucks that can win any given weekend. Jimmy Spencer, Bobby Hamilton, Ted Musgrave, Rick Crawford, Dennis Setzer, Jack Sprague, Ron Hornaday, there are an endless amount of names I could give you. The talent is unbelievable. The race teams are getting better.
"Toyota stepped into the series a couple of years ago, and that really raised the bar for the manufacturers. Myself, talking from a Chevrolet Silverado standpoint, I know that Chevrolet really stepped up. You can see it from Dodge and you can see it from Ford. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the competition level, I didn't think it could get any tougher from 2004. It is tough today. It's tough to win today. This series is growing and growing. It has grown so much till today, and I don't think it has leveled out. I think it will continue to grow over the next several years.
"I think, from talking to all the different race fans from all the places that we go to, they love the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. We do a lot of beating-and-banging, paint swapping, and it's so exciting because we don't run 500-mile races. We run 200-mile races, and if you're not driving the wheels of these pick-up trucks by the time they drop the green flag you'll find yourself in the back of the pack. If your chassis is off a little bit you'll find yourself in the back. It's a very competitive series. I don't think it has peaked out, and I don't think we'll see that for years. I see this series continuing to grow and to grow. I think the fans will love this series like they do now, but I see this series continuing to grow and I'm just glad to be a part of it."
Q: Word has it that you have had offers to move up to Nextel Cup, but you remain in trucks.
STARR: "You have to realize that I'm a factory-backed Chevrolet Silverado Team. For me to leave Wayne and Connie Spears (owners), my crew chief Dave McCarty, and Ron Hutter Racing Engines, I mean, I have a great team. I have the opportunity to go out there week-in and week-out to win races. It's kind of a tough deal. If you make that jump to Nextel Cup, and don't get with one of them good teams, it could end your career. I want to be in NASCAR racing for the next 15 years, and if I make the wrong jump to the Nextel Cup Series, and don't get me wrong I want to be there, but it has to be the right situation. You hate to give up the best opportunity you've ever gotten in your whole entire racing career, to go to something that is not as good, just to be in the Nextel Cup Series and run in the back of the pack. I don't want to do that.
"My buddy Brandon Gaughan, a great racecar driver, awesome racecar driver, got an opportunity to race in the Nextel Cup Series. It didn't work out, and now he's back racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. You look at Travis (Kvapil) and he's doing a great job in Nextel Cup. It has got to be the right situation, and the right situation hasn't come along for David Starr yet. I'm having a ball in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series."
Q: How does the competition level in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series affect your focus?
STARR: "You've got to be on top of your game. I work out. I lift weights, and I just got back from a seven-mile run. I eat to race well. Everything I do, I live to race well. I've always done that. My racing team, Dave McCarty (crew chief) and the way they prepare our race trucks at the race shop, Ron Hutter (engine builder) is always looking for more horsepower and doing research and development with our engines. In the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series today you have to give it everything you've got. Away from the racetrack, and how you live your life, when I leave the racetrack I'm still racing. I want to make sure that I'm in the best shape ever. You're just looking for that small edge, and if me being in shape and eating well gives me a small edge than I need it in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. There are 25 good teams that can win any given weekend. You have to be 110 percent focused everyday thinking how you can get an edge. The guys at the race shop when they build the trucks are thinking how they can get an edge. Ron Hutter is thinking how can we get an edge, and everything is about trying to get an edge. It's tough to get a win in this series nowadays and you better be focused on your job. That's what I try to do."