Spencer never forgets -- He loves Bristol CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 21, 2002) -- The question begs to be asked to Team Yellow driver Jimmy Spencer: If you had it to do over again, would you dip down onto the apron on the final lap in an effort to...
Spencer never forgets -- He loves Bristol
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 21, 2002) -- The question begs to be asked to Team Yellow driver Jimmy Spencer: If you had it to do over again, would you dip down onto the apron on the final lap in an effort to win the race?
As you might remember, the gutsy move was under much scrutiny in the weeks following the Channellock 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway last March, as Spencer's attempt to pass Jeff Green not only cost the #1 Yellow Chevrolet two positions, but it also clipped Jack Sprague's lapped car and sent him hard into the wall. Afterward, Sprague and Spencer had words, as did Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle for their own racing incident. When the dust finally settled, it was just another typical day at Bristol.
Friday night's Food City 250 NASCAR Busch Series race (8 p.m. EDT on TNT) should prove a fitting sequel to the drama that took place five months ago, for this time the lights will be on. As we prepare for a return trip to the thrilling half-mile oval, Spencer talks about the Bristol race in March and what he expects this time around. And, of course, he leaves no doubt as to whether he would use the same tactics as last time to win the race. A hint can be found in his nickname.
Driver Jimmy Spencer's thoughts --
Best part about Bristol: watching it in the stands or driving on the track?
"Oh man, I don't know. It's definitely an exciting place to race. But if I was given the chance to watch a race from the stands, I guarantee I would pick Bristol. Watching from the seats at Bristol is an awesome experience. Everything about it is awesome. I get excited about going there. It's a place where I've walked out disappointed, and I've walked out jubilant."
Which brings me to my next question. You finished fourth in the Busch race and second in the Winston Cup race in March, yet you were very disappointed and upset. Why?
"I felt like I had the opportunity to win both races. In the Cup race, the car was really good, but another car got into me, got me loose, and we finished second. In the Busch race, we were leading but then got caught up in an accident. We were fortunate we didn't lose a lap. Then we fought back and tried to win but we got together with a lapped car and that was that. It was one of those racing deals and one of those Bristol deals."
Your move to the apron on the final lap was one of several incidents that sparked some post-race emotions afterward. If you had it to do over again, would you have driven down on the apron to pass the lapped cars?
"The way I saw it I had second place sewn up, but I wasn't satisfied. The Yellow team likes to win, and I felt like I had a chance to win. The problem was I had no chance at all with the lapped cars in the way. The leader was too fast, and I had to get a run on him somehow. So I went to the only opening I saw but still got together with a lapped car coming off of (turn) four. So to answer your question, no I wouldn't have done it differently. I was going for the win. The day I think I can't win is the day I stop racing."
"Bristol is a tough track -- definitely one of the more challenging tracks on the circuit. There, I think the driver is the most important. An average driver won't win that race. Then I'd say the car, because you've got to handle good there or you won't be able to stay in the groove. Then I'd say luck, because lapped traffic is such an issue, and so many things can happen out of your control that can still ruin your day. A lot of good cars get taken out at Bristol on account of other people's foul-ups. Then I'd say the crew. Good pit stops are important wherever you go, and Bristol is no different. You've got to have a good crew with good pit stops and good set-ups to have a chance."