HOMESTEAD, Fla. (April 2, 1998) The following are quotes previewing Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's Florida Dodge Dealers 400 at the Miami- Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex. JACK SPRAGUE (No. 24 1-800-MARROW-2...
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (April 2, 1998)
The following are quotes previewing Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's Florida Dodge Dealers 400 at the Miami- Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex.
JACK SPRAGUE (No. 24 1-800-MARROW-2 Chevrolet) "Today was nothing like when we tested here. Today's a lot hotter and tighter. The team got it a ton better than what we started with. If we can get it just a little better tomorrow, I'll be happy. I hope we've got a shot at the pole. I always think that, but obviously it always doesn't work out that way." BOB KESELOWSKI (No. 29 Mopar Performance Dodge) "Things are really rolling along, and we're ready to go after them. I feel really good about how we're doing -- we've got six race-ready trucks, and the dyno sheets on the engines are the best we've ever had. With Howard Comstock's (former Roush Racing NASCAR Winston Cup employee who joined the Dodge Motorsports program at the season-opening Chevy Trucks Challenge at Walt Disney World Speedway) help, we've got some things we've been refining -- but I'm sure the competition has been, too.
"Homestead's kind of a weird track. The new corners have a big, flat turn, and it seems like you're there forever. Usually at a track that big the turns are banked. We had a good day. Everything went really well (third quickest) and we got to try a lot of things with the setup. For qualifying tomorrow we're looking at getting a good lap and getting the handling right. If we can get the truck in the top-five or -10 it makes life a lot easier in the race." JIMMY HENSLEY (No. 43 Cummins Dodge) "We've been working right along, building and rebuilding. The team guys are all excited, and I'm ready to go. The new track is fast and smooth, and it should be an exciting race. We tested there and got the handling really good. Hopefully we got it to where we can run fast all day." DOMINIC DOBSON (No. 78 MCI Dodge) "After our successful test at Homestead a few weeks ago, I'm excited to be back, and I'm looking forward to qualifying in my first NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. We had a good couple of days in the MCI/Mopar Dodge, and with the addition of Todd Myers as crew chief, I feel like we have some real NASCAR expertise on the team now. Ron Mathis, my race engineer from last year, and Todd seem to be getting along well, and they've come up with a pretty good basic setup from which to start. I know I still have a lot of learning to do with the trucks, but with all the support we've been getting from the folks on the other Dodge teams and Dodge Motorsports, we think we have all of the elements we need for a great season! "We went for a quick lap in practice this afternoon and the motor went flat. When we checked it, we found water in the fuel ... We've got a two-hour practice in the morning. We're pretty close, so we feel like we can make the changes we need." BUTCH MILLER (No. 18 Dana Dodge) "Homestead is a great race track, and it reminds me a lot of my favorite track, which is Milwaukee. It feels like an overgrown Milwaukee. I feel like we tested exceptionally well here, and since then the engine department has found some extra ponies for me. I think we're going to be good -- really good. The Dana team has been great, but it's been different for me. I'm used to being really hands-on, but now for the first time, I'm not. But, I've got a really capable team, so I don't have to worry about it so much." LANCE NORICK (NO. 90 NHL Dodge) "Everything's going really well. We've had a lot of changes in the last three or four months -- we've added an engine program and we've gone from seven or eight guys last year to about 24 now. We've got more horsepower from the engines than we've ever seen before, and the guys are excited about some new things we're working on for later in the season. We announced the NHL sponsorship at this track last year, and Wednesday night we went to an NHL hockey game (With drivers Ron Hornaday and Wayne Anderson, where the trio participated in a go-kart race on ice and Norick drove the NHL Dodge on ice between the second and third periods). Homestead is a lot different now, but I think it will be better and easier to race on. It's a unique track. You go slow through the flat corners and then you go like stink down the straights. We had a good test and we're looking forward to a good run." DAVE REZENDES (No. 55 Icehouse Ford) ON THE CALMING INFLUENCE ON THE RADIO OF CREW CHIEF ERNIE COPE, WHO HAS SOME DRIVING EXPERIENCE. "After Sears Point, I gave him hell. I said, 'Hey, it's your job to keep me calm. What's the matter with you?' (Rezendes crashed while leading the race.) He (Ernie Cope) said, 'I don't want to talk to you.' I said, 'Talk to me, talk to me.'
"I've seen situations where you put two fighting dogs together, you are going to have a fight. But if you get somebody like Ernie, Ernie just wants to get along and get the job done. That's good. How do you argue with somebody like that? You can't. It's very hard to try to pick a fight with Ernie. You just can't do it. So I don't even try. You know he will do anything to make things better for me out there (on the track). So it makes me think in a different way. Just the way he acts helps me." IS GETTING UPSET WHEN YOU ARE BEHIND THE WHEEL WHAT MAKES YOU A COMPETITIVE DRIVER? "Yeah. I need to get a chip on my shoulder to get going. It's just me. I've got to get fired up. I'm a little too relaxed sometimes and a little bit too cautious when I need to be a little more aggressive. I used to be too aggressive. But being something other than a bulldog is better. You get better finishes out of it. But now I think I have to go back the other way a little bit. You know, (Ron) Hornaday and (Jack) Sprague are just wild childs out there. Not that I want to be that wild, but I know we are more than capable of running with them. But I don't want to bite off too much at one time and go wacky again. I need to do it just a little bit at a time. Ernie also tells me when to get going too.
"It's just a matter when you get down to it, sometimes you're a little wacky and you need someone to help you keep it together. He does that. He reminds me to look at the bigger picture, like we've got to make it to the end of this race. It's good to have somebody like that. It's bred in him. That's the way he is, and that is good because it comes naturally to him. It's not like he has to put on a face to keep me under control. It just clicks real well. "All the other guys (on the team) are pretty much the same way. They just come in and do their job. And that's what you need. You don't need a bunch of whiners and prima donas. We don't have anybody like that. We've just got good people that work well together. Boy does that take the stress out of everything. "I'm really looking forward to the year. I really am. We didn't get a good start to the season. We broke something down at Orlando, so we've got to play catch-up at Homestead. We're hoping we can pull off our first win. And we think we can do it at Homestead. Things are going that well, and we're that capable. We've got four trucks right now and we're working on the fifth one. We're a lot further ahead right now than I thought we would be. We're in good shape. We've been in Mooresville since the first week in December. So to be where we are right now is real good." Source: NASCAR Online