Continued from part 1 Q: Obviously the question everybody wants to know, what does the future hold for you? Do you have any ideas? JUSTIN ALLGAIER: You know, right now I basically put everything in Roger and Tim Cindric and Mike Nelson's...
Continued from part 1
Q: Obviously the question everybody wants to know, what does the future hold for you? Do you have any ideas?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: You know, right now I basically put everything in Roger and Tim Cindric and Mike Nelson's hands and said, you know, I love being at Penske Racing. Hopefully I can be there for a lot of years. I just don't want to move up too quickly. I've seen some of the things that happen when drivers move up too quick. I don't want to ruin my career by trying to do that.
This is kind of my one shot, if you will, of trying to make everything work. Obviously I want to make it to the Cup level. I would love to be a Cup champion and win Cup races. But that's a tall order. It's a tough feat.
I think right now I just put everything in their hands and say, When you think I'm ready to go, I would love to move on, and I'm open to whatever you guys want to do. But Roger seems to be pretty good at knowing when a driver's ready to move on. I've heard it said before, that a driver is never ready to move to the Cup level, but you just have to do it.
I talked to Tony Stewart a long time the other night about the Nationwide cars, the horsepower differences. I told him I like the horsepower, I like to be able to drive a car that's got horsepower. That's one of the biggest concerns I have right now with the Nationwide car, is not being able to drive the car with the throttle. He said that he fought the same problems. The Cup car really fit his driving style better. So hopefully, if that's the case, we can go on to the Cup level and be competitive, as well.
Q: Brendan, drawing on your veteran experience, as well as your rookie experience, cameras can ride with you, fans can't. Can you describe what cameras can't convey, what fans might miss about racing at this level.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN: The main thing is, one, you can never really convey speed. It's tough to be able to give that you rush of speed through a camera. When the car next to you is doing 180 miles an hour, it looks like we're both going zero. So it's very difficult for us to be able to convey that speed through the cameras.
The biggest thing though, which is what NASCAR drivers get asked a lot, are we athletes. We can't convey the physical factors that for on in our sport. In Daytona, it was ambient temperature on my seat, we put a sticker on the side of the seat that basically tells you how hot things get, my seat was 160 degrees ambient temperature. That's how hot the conditions are in these racecars.
The stress factors that go along with the heat and the speed that you're doing, beating and banging, it's really difficult to convey to these people all the stressors that go along in our sport. So if there is any way we could do it, things like the Richard Petty Experience, get in, do a couple laps, it doesn't give you the full effect. It gives you a great effect. You can finally see the speed, but you don't get to see the full effect of all the racecars out there, the heat that gets generated. That's what the folks at home don't get to see. We may be sitting in a chair all day, but there's a lot of stress factors that go in it.
Q: Justin, you mentioned you didn't want to move up too quickly. Wasn't that long ago that I was interviewing you at Lakeland and you moved up. What about your expectations about moving up? What has been the toughest challenge for you to get to this level?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Well, I think that what has met my expectations is the competition. I knew it was gonna be tough. I knew with the Cup guys coming over, with the Nationwide Series regulars that have been around, just everybody that attempts to run a Nationwide race, I knew it was gonna be tough. Just trying to understand the cars has been probably my toughest challenge. You know, the horsepower being low like it is, that's a big deterrent for me. Driving in other series, I had horsepower to be able to drive the car. I've lost the ability to do that. That's made it tough on me. I think everything comes with time. I think the more laps we're getting each and every week, I think that's definitely helping.
You know, I'm excited to be able to say that I'm a Nationwide Series driver, that I've made it to this level. If I never get to go any farther, I would be content with running here. Obviously, like I said, my goal is to move up to the Cup level. I would love to do that. But I think that moving up is definitely a challenge. It's just like going from middle school to high school. You don't ever really know the challenges that lie ahead of you. And once you get there, it's probably easier than you thought it was gonna be. But you're always worried about what's in store and what's ahead.
I think that's more what I'm worried about. I want to be competitive. If I'm not competitive, I don't want to be out there and just ride around trying to make a paycheck. I'm a racer at heart. I told people in the past, if things get to where they're not fun or if I'm not competitive, I'm gonna reevaluate where I'm at. If it takes moving down a couple of series, then that's what it takes. I'm gonna stand behind that because, like I said, I'm a racer at heart and when I go out to race, I want to be competitive.
TRACEY JUDD: Along the lines of the last question, talking about from a fan's perspective, I have a couple of questions that fans have sent in to us. This one is for both of you. The fan would like to know if you have to have any type of a special license to drive a stock car or NASCAR. They know some of our drivers, you as well, began driving at a very young age, maybe even around five, six, seven years old. Their question is, what type of license or training do you have to have to be able to get to this level and how did start out to get to this level?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Well, I started when I was five, like you said. There really isn't a license, per se, that you need to drive. I think the biggest thing that we go off of is experience. The more experience you have, obviously the easier it is to move up. That's not to say that a guy couldn't have been racing for 20 years and not have the talent to do it.
Hopefully people would say I have enough talent to be in the situation that I'm in, but there have been drivers in the past that have come in and they've raced for a lot of years and never had the aspirations or the talent to move to that next level. So there really isn't a set license.
But I will tell you that you do have to your driver's license. I've seen a couple situations where drivers have done things, lost their driver's license on the road, and unfortunately their racing career is no more on that.
I think NASCAR does a great job of screening the drivers. We have to start out on a short track, move to an intermediate before they allow you to go to a speedway, then speedway to superspeedway. They have a good way of moving drivers up. Obviously they take past history into account. But there really isn't a special license, per se, you have to have to drive a racecar.
TRACEY JUDD: Brendan?
BRENDAN GAUGHAN: The only license they require is you have to have a NASCAR license. It's about the money. You have to pay NASCAR to have the right to play in their sandbox. But driver's licenses, you must have a valid driver's license. I found that out a couple years ago when somebody thought that I didn't have a license and they actually went to NASCAR and tried to get me kicked out saying I didn't have a license. You do have to have a valid driver's license, at least it's hidden in the fine print. I wasn't one of those guys that started racing when I was five years old. I started racing in the desert when I was 15. I was fortunate enough to go to college, play sports, do fun things. The best thing if a guy is looking to get into this, if you want to race go-kart, Bandoleros, NASCAR has a steppingstone with the weekly racing series, street stocks, there's a million ways to skin the cat to try to make your way to a racecar driver, find a level you enjoy, that you have fun at, that you can afford, do it there and just have a great time.
TRACEY JUDD: Brendan, one last fan question for you specific to your time in the Truck Series, now being in the Nationwide Series, wanting to know if you are enjoying your time now having moved up to the Nationwide Series and maybe the difference from being in the Truck Series.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN: I've always enjoyed being with quality race teams and great race organizations and people. My old south Point team, I loved it to death. We didn't have a lot of success in the end of it, but we had a lot of success early. Circle Ball Racing, had a great time being with Rick Crawford, the Mitchell family. They're great, great, great people. I wish more people could meet Mr. Mitchell, he is an absolute crack-up.
I'm having a fantastic time I'm with a great organization. I enjoy the heck out of Rusty, his whole family. Patty works at the shop, Katie works at the shop. Greg Wallace is our market guy. Steve. It's a family organization. I'm having an absolute fantastic time. The biggest deal is we have great equipment and we have great sponsors, which makes life so much easier.
Q: Brendan, as far as working with Rusty Wallace, really have quite a bit of experience in the last few years of working with different personalities, could you comment on what you get from Rusty, what you respect most about him.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN: I respect how hard this man works to get sponsors and keep sponsors. A lot of owners, you have a great organization like Hendrick, sponsors seem to go to him. You just wish you could have that. But Rusty goes out there to energy meetings, meeting with Kroger, meeting with Valero, tries to ask what the race team can do for their vendors to make it better. This man works so hard day in and day out to keep money flowing into this race team. It impresses me every day. Really, I mean, after owning my own team for years, running it into the ground, having no sponsors a few years of it, it is amazing to watch, and something I didn't expect from him. Being his teammate, he's great with sponsors, but I didn't expect him to be that committed to trying to keep this thing going that way. Man, I'll tell you what, he is absolutely amazing when it comes to making his sponsors happy, keeping them happy, trying to find more sponsors, helping sell it. He's just absolutely amazing at that.
Q: Are you fearing being overshadowed with all the baseball, the All-Star Game, there might be some letdown in St. Louis, or do you think they'll be ready for racing?
BRENDAN GAUGHAN: Definitely be a little bit light. Home run derby, St. Louis is a big baseball town. You got to respect it. It's another sport that you battle against. There's still plenty of race fans in the Midwest. Justin is from that area. There's plenty of tracks around there to draw people that are more interested in racing than baseball, but there's also guys that like both.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: The biggest thing about this weekend, it is a stand alone event for us. Cup has an off weekend. I think you'll see some of the Cup fans come over and participate or watch. I think, like Brendan said, the Midwest has a lot of race fans. Even though a majority of them are baseball fans, I think it's going to be a great weekend. Gateway always promises to deliver great action. I think if you watch the races there in the past, I don't know there's been a boring one.
I think the fans recognize that. They enjoy coming out to the racetrack. I think even though there was baseball this week, I think there's only so many seats at a baseball game, and there's probably a lot of fans that want to do both. I would say you're gonna see a lot of people at the racetrack this weekend. Brendan is right, it may be a little bit light, but the fans that are gonna come out, I think they're really gonna see an excellent race and we'll be glad to have 'em there.
TRACEY JUDD: With that we'll turn you loose. Justin, thanks so much. Good luck with your event tonight and have fun at home. Brendan, we appreciate you taking the time to join us, as well. Best of luck to both of you guys this weekend. We'll see you at Gateway.