Jimmy Spencer Media Teleconference Transcript Chex 400 Preview Texas Motor Speedway Monday, June 6, 2005 Q: YOU'VE WON EVERYTHING YOU'VE BEEN IN . . . MODIFIEDS, CUP, BUSCH. HOW DOES THE TRUCK SERIES COMPARE TO ALL OF THE OTHERS? JIMMY ...
Jimmy Spencer Media Teleconference Transcript
Chex 400 Preview
Texas Motor Speedway
Monday, June 6, 2005
Q: YOU'VE WON EVERYTHING YOU'VE BEEN IN . . . MODIFIEDS, CUP, BUSCH. HOW DOES THE TRUCK SERIES COMPARE TO ALL OF THE OTHERS?
JIMMY SPENCER: I think, first of all, the Truck Series is a tremendous amount of fun. You know, starting out with the NASCAR group that runs it, you know Wayne Auten and all of his officials--and they officiate very stringent, yet they are just so much more relaxed than in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and the Busch Series--and then all the competitors, uh, you know they really get along very well. I think a lot of that is the rules. The way the trucks can get close to one another, bump one another and really not seem to blow a tire out or whatever. And it is very competitive, there's no question about it. I think it's really a more relaxed series. The schedule being only 25 events, I think that's very important. I think the way that NASCAR just implements it, the rules, uh, tire rules just a lot of things. The trucks are very competitive but yet it's still a laid back series compared to Nextel Cup or the Busch.
Q: YOU'VE BEEN WITH THE TRUCKS NOW THIS YEAR ON THE SHORT TRACKS, THE BIGGER TRACKS . . . NOW YOU'RE COMING TO THE CHEX 400, WHICH WILL BE A PRETTY FAST RACE. DO YOU PREFER THE SHORT TRACKS WITH THE TRUCKS OR DO YOU LIKE THE FAST RACES LIKE THE CHEX 400?
SPENCER: I like the fast races. I'm actually going to Talladega to do a test with NASCAR here in a couple months--about two months from now. Hopefully they'll open that track up to the Truck Series, I think they put on a great race at Daytona. California was a great event − Texas, I love Texas Speedway, I'm glad the trucks are going there, in fact, I think they're going there twice, but with the Chex 400, this will be the first time I get to see the IRL cars run in a while. And I've got a lot of friends in the IRL. And--you know I think that the neat thing about going fast in the trucks, and David had said earlier, that you have to have the whole package and the neat thing about Texas you can pass in the trucks. You can use there's a little bit of draft but most of all you can use the high groove like Brendan Gaughan has used in the past or you can run the bottom − Teddy Musgrave likes the bottom really well. And it seems like--it's always a good race at Texas from the standpoint that you can run through there wide open. And there's nothing neater than running a race track wide open in a truck.
Q: NOW THAT YOU'RE RUNNING FULL TIME AND RUNNING FOR POINTS, IS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT IN THE TRUCK SERIES THAN WHAT YOU EXPECTED?
SPENCER: Well, yeah, I think the Truck Series, I won two years ago, I think I did run one race last year, but two years ago the competition wasn't as competitive I should say. I don't think there was as many trucks that could win. And last year I noticed that there was some more trucks that could win. And now, I thought it was pretty neat I was getting in the Truck Series and now here comes Ron Hornaday, and here comes Ricky Craven, and Mark Martin's coming next year so it's gonna be a lot harder. I think that's what's happening right now the Truck Series is a lot harder. I think there's some teams that's taken stuff for granted and I won't tell ya that we haven't taken anything for granted because I think we have taken some things for granted. We had a talk this morning about how poorly we ran at Dover. I think that we have to step up our program as far as attention to detail and I think that the reason why that is is because of the competition level. Used to be six, eight trucks, 10 trucks could win; there's probably about 15-18 trucks that have a legitimate shot at winning races now so it is a lot tougher than it's ever been and it's gonna get tougher as the years progress. I do think the fans enjoy the trucks. I think the fans over the last four or five years you know I'm doing autograph sessions and now I'm working for SPEED and they comment that the racing is better in the trucks. I think that's because of the rule package. I think that the trucks go slower. I think the rules package allows them to have more downforce and drag so they can get side by side with one another and I think those are some of the things that the fans really enjoy and I think that NASCAR is looking hard at the new version of the NEXTEL Cup car to slow 'em down. Fans don't care about how fast you go, fans care about a great race. And I think that's the thing the fans enjoy about the trucks is they always seem to put a good race on. It won't be no different for the Chex 400 Friday night.
Q: AS AN ANALYST FOR SPEED (television), HAS THAT CHANGED THE WAY YOU LOOK AT RACING AND HAS IT CHANGE THE WAY YOU DRIVE?
SPENCER: I think what's happened to me and I think it happens to every driver--When you come into the series you come in with a piss and vinegar attitude and you could kick everybody's butt and as time goes on you realize that so can everyone else. Dave Marcis used to say 'just think if you started out racing Winston Cup cars what you could do at any given day at a regular track.' That goes to tell you the competition level and what they teach you. And I think as you go on in your years you mature and you keep building laps up at all the different tracks you learn what to do to the cars you learn how to race one another. What I take to SPEED is that--Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon's a good example. Jeff Gordon shoulda moved out of the way. He was planning on moving out of the way, well, he shoulda done it quicker and then on the other side of it, Tony Stewart got impatient and he moved him out of the way and it caused a little bit of a feud. I enjoy it because I think that that feud could turn into something that could be good for racing. But yet those two drivers are veterans, both Nextel Cup champions, and it goes to show you that we all still make mistakes. So you know on the show, last night, I brought it to the attention that they both made mistakes. You know it wasn't one guys fault, as much as it was both guys' faults. --Then there's times when there's an accident you know whatever, I think Joe Nemechek said last week that he blew a tire. And from what I could tell, I can't say positively what happened, but I could give my opinion − that his car started to do a little wobble and then as it's sliding down the track, right at the last second, you see the tire still up and then it blows out, right at the end, so I looked at it and I said 'Man it looks to me like he just lost his car and the tire blew out at the final second.' And some times you'll see guys just all at once cut a tire or blow a tire whatever and that's what you give your opinion on. It's no different. And I actually enjoy doing SPEED. It's a lot of fun. There's pluses and minuses to it. Some fans like it, some fans don't. You know they make chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan − you can get any kind of ice cream you want at the ice cream stand.
Q: DO YOU SEE THE TRUCK SERIES GETTING OLDER (drivers) AND THE CUP SERIES GETTING YOUNGER? AND WHERE DOES THE BUSCH SERIES FIT INTO ALL OF THAT?
SPENCER: I don't know what's gonna transpire in the future. I know that what you're seeing is a lot of Cup owners owning Busch Cars, NASCAR Busch Cars. I also see some Nextel Cup owners owning trucks. I think the thing that attracts drivers to the Truck Series is that they know they can get in a competitive truck and be competitive again and win, have a very limited schedule [and] in turn have a lot less time away from home. At the same time, the Truck Series has some younger talent. I mean Greg Biffle, come out of there, Kurt Busch, I don't know all of them but I know a lot of them came out of that series and then into Nextel Cup. I think you still see some younger guys. I like this Keselowski kid, I like the driver of the 50 truck, I like kid in that 38, Brandon Whitt I believe his name is. These are young kids but they're not afraid to come over and ask questions 'what am I doing wrong.' I told Brad Keselowski when he come over and said 'Man I'm sorry what happened in Ohio' that's the first thing he did was come over − [I told him] 'that's the first step in making a better driver of yourself and this is what I think you did right and this is what I think you did wrong.' And I think that is something that the Truck Series has and I think the officials, especially Wayne Auten, will tell the young drivers go and talk to Jimmy or go and talk to Ricky Craven or Mike Skinner and see what they have to say. They will help you. I think that's something that the Truck Series will always have is that mix of older drivers and younger drivers. But yet the Busch Series, I don't know [what to say on things]--in that Series--.You're seeing more Cup drivers step into that series but yet the rules package isn't the same as the Nextel Cup, the motor package isn't the same − it's the same as the Trucks, so I don't know where it lays. I love the Busch Series. I've won a lot of races in the Busch Series and I'll drive some in Busch races this year but yet I still think that the Truck Series is a series that I looked at saying 'you know what, I can win' and I have a shot at winning this championship and only do 25 races this year. I think that's the big plus. If it gets back to 32, 34, 36 races like the Nextel Cup Series I don't think you'll see the older drivers doing it anymore.
Q: LOOKING AT THE COMRADERIE BETWEEN DRIVERS, IT'S ALMOST LIKE YOU ARE PAINTING A PICTURE LIKE THIS IS YOUR SATURDAY NIGHT LOCAL RACE TRACK WITH THE WAY YOU GUYS INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER.
SPENCER: It is. It's the closest thing to Saturday night racing that you have. The officials, all the crew members help one another, all the drivers just really enjoy racing the series − asking how your families are doing. I don't think there's as much media coverage, naturally there's not as much sponsorship, so it could change down the road, but I hope it doesn't, but I do hope there's some more sponsors step up. Because it is a deal, some of these trucks are being sponsored for 2-3 million a year − you can't even be an associate on some Nextel Cup cars for that. So I think if you do your marketing right, you get hospitality village at Texas, entertain 100-150 clients for a lot less money and you can entertain and get results from a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series that you can from Nextel Cup for probably 25% of the dollar and I think that you can still have a good time. So you know I think that's something that the truck series offers that's pretty good.
Q: WHAT'S THE BIGGEST TRANSITION YOU HAVE HAD TO MAKE MOVING OVER TO THE TRUCKS?
SPENCER: Well I'm still learning. That's hard to believe. David Starr had mentioned something about the race being 200 laps, 2 sets of tires. I'm prone to these 500 miles races and I'm prone that you can make a lot of adjustments and some of the adjustments that we've made over this year has not been aggressive enough to fix the truck. And we have not resulted in the finishes we wanted because of it. So, I think those are things that we're learning as a team that we say 'listen, man,' me especially, 'hey, man, this truck's too free or this truck's too tight, so let's do this.' So there is a different mentality because of the shorter distance, but I do like it.
Q: THIS COULD VERY WELL BE THE 'LADIES WEEKEND' AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY WITH DEBORAH RENSAW IN THE CHEX 400 AND DANICA PATRICK IN THE IRL RACE. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON IT?
SPENCER: Deborah Renshaw's not ready to win yet. She did a good job at Dover and she's really progressing well. Danica Patrick, I'm looking forward to meeting her. I think that she's a breath of fresh air for the IRL. We saw the TV ratings. IRL needs some help and this seems to be a plus. I think it's really good for the IRL and we're also seeing some other drivers, Erin Crocker for Evernham, and the girl that drivers for Richard Childress--Sarah Fisher and we're seeing more of that. We're also seeing the Mexican driver out of − I can't remember his name, set on the pole in the Busch race, I think this is what our sport needs I don't care if it's Nextel Cup, Busch or Truck Series I think that we need more diversity. We're seeing--what's very upsetting to see the 22 truck get crashed at Dover, Bill Lester, what a great competitor and what a hard charger he was gonna have a good finish at Dover and then he gets caught up in Tony Stewart and Todd Bodine's accident. But yet, this is what NASCAR I think needs to get to the next level is the diversity. It's working out good. Deborah Renshaw − it's been great to see her have a good day and I'm looking forward to the women doing a good job because I think that it will only make our sport better.