JIM SMITH (Owner Ultra Motorsports Dodge Rams with drivers Ted Musgrave in the No. 1 Mopar Performance Ram and Andy Houston in the No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Ram, and No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid with driver Jimmy Spencer) "We've...
JIM SMITH (Owner Ultra Motorsports Dodge Rams with drivers Ted Musgrave in the No. 1 Mopar Performance Ram and Andy Houston in the No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Ram, and No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid with driver Jimmy Spencer)
"We've been close so many times. I think we won half the races the first season in the truck series and didn't win the title. We won most of the battles but lose the war. Yesterday was encouraging. We probably had more than our share of bad luck. I love Brendan Gaughan to death. His family has been friends forever. I told his father last night that if we can't win it, I hope they do. At least we're heading into Homestead with a shot. It's certainly doable. We've got to do exactly what we did yesterday. We were only two laps short or leading the most laps, and that hurt us. Five points are critical right now. If we had won that would have been another five, and 16 is certainly better than 26th. Four guys still have a shot at winning the championship, so we're going to go to Homestead with our guns loaded just like we did at Phoenix. However it turns out, it turns out."
"We could win the race and lead the most laps and if Brendan finishes at least fourth we still lose. Travis and Brendan ran like crap yesterday, but they worked on pit strategy and managed to lead a lap and that's what they had to do. They've got good teams with good people, but it's anybody's race."
"Andy Houston will drive the 2 truck for us next season, and Ted is certainly staying in the 1. We're working with Dodge on the 7 truck, and Tracy Hines might run 10 races. He's showing tremendous promise. He just needs more seat time. He's a good kid."
"A lot of people don't know, Ted (Musgrave) was fighting cancer at the beginning of the year. We were winning races while he was going to the doctor on Monday getting chemotherapy. I think if anybody's deserving of it, it's Ted Musgrave. They said I'm deserving of it. I think he's equally if not more deserving. You've got to win that championship. I look at some of the things we've done. We should have run better at Martinsville. We're always dominant there, but we went with something different. We came back here with what we ran last year and we ran good and the results turned out the same. We've lost three motors this year, and that certainly doesn't help. Brendan's lost two. We were dominating the races when Ted blew up. Look at Las Vegas when they pulled us in for a lugnut. That's 20 points we lost. At the end of the year if we lose this thing by 15 or 20 points, I'm going to be real upset, but that's just the way our luck is."
"Our luck turned better yesterday. If we go to Homestead and win the race and lead the most laps and still lose the championship, at least we did everything we could do. We test at Homestead on Monday, so that's a big day for everybody. It's a new track. We're going to have all the boys there. It's a full force effort. If one of my trucks is in front of Brendan Gaughan or that 16 or 46 and they don't race 'em as hard as they ever raced in their life, they'll be looking for a job the next day. I don't mean anything dirty, but they better not just pull over and let 'em go by."
"Two years ago we helped Dodge win its first manufacturers championship in 27 years. Now we've got the second manufacturers championship under the belt. As Jim Julow said a few years ago, we've got trophy jealousy. I certainly hope Brendan or Ted wins that championship. I'm going to be disappointed if we don't win it, but I'm going to be there cheering Brendan on just as much as I would Ted."
"We're going ahead with our Cup team just as if we had sponsorship for next year. Tommy Baldwin has done a good job managing the team this year. We've got some money in our checking account, and rather than putting it in my checking account and going home, we're going racing. We're talking to a few people a little bit, but nothing of major consequences. I keep looking back two years ago. Ray Evernham and I partnered up and were going ahead without a sponsor. Two days before Christmas I was up at the cabin snowmobiling for Christmas vacation and we got a call. I'm confident that something somewhere will pop up. We don't have to have $18 million to operate. They've had everything they wanted this year, and I think you can waste money in Winston Cup, too. I know what an adequate number is to run a Winston Cup team, and I won't go racing without that adequate money."
"If you've got the best of everything, this is still the toughest sport there is. Tommy has done a tremendous job putting this group together. Even though he's going on, everybody else wants to stay here. You've got to get the right people in place, and Tommy has done that. Tommy and I are great friends, and we'll always be great friends. I wish him nothing but the best."
"I think you can run one of these programs on $8 million and do it right. If you stretch the penny, you might be able to get by with $7. A lot of that depends on what you're paying your driver. I'm paying Jimmy half a million dollars, and that's probably a bargain. There ain't a driver underpaid in this garage. The guys that need more help are the owners. I've got the Dodge test team, two truck teams and the R&D team. We're actually making some moves that Tommy came up with where we're going to have a common fab shop."
"One guy will build all the chassis, whether it's a truck or Cup chassis. We'll have a body department, a common parts room, a common gear room. When they talk about multiple teams, we have multiple teams and that helps. If you had two Cup teams for $16 million you'd be more efficient than one team with $8 million. I'd love to have two Cup teams."
"Jimmy doesn't want to go anywhere. I'm proud of all these guys. Tommy didn't want to leave. They have families and stuff, and they have to make decisions. I'm going to meet with all the top people at Ultra Motorsports and assure them they have a job. These guys don't care if they work on a truck or a Cup car. That's our game plan right now. If we don't end up Cup racing all year, the truck teams are certainly going to be a lot better than they are right now."
"We're going to Daytona with or without a sponsor. We've got money to get us through. I've got people I could do half a season with right now, but I'm not going to take something today that I wish I hadn't taken tomorrow."
"I am so looking forward to Nov. 16, I can't explain it. It's been a long year with the trucks and the car. My family would like to see who I am. I've got a cabin in Utah, and I can't wait until Thanksgiving to go up there four days with my kids and go snowmobiling and forget about this. I've been traveling to China once a month doing business for the wheel company, so I'm worn out. I'm going to take some time off. I'm going down to the Baja 1000 with Robby Gordon the week before Thanksgiving. I'll watch 'em run down there. I haven't been down there since we won the 2000, but that's my roots. I'm going down there and see my buddies and watch somebody race that I don't have to worry about."