This Week in Ford Racing NASCAR Busch Series Â Michel Jourdain, Jr., driver of the No. 15 ppc Racing Taurus, is scheduled to resume competition in the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at California Speedway.Â Jourdain, who competed in the...
This Week in Ford Racing
NASCAR Busch Series
Michel Jourdain, Jr., driver of the No. 15 ppc Racing Taurus, is scheduled to resume competition in the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at California Speedway. Jourdain, who competed in the first 18 races of season before a six-race layoff following the race at Chicagoland, has secured a four-race sponsorship package with Centrix Financial that will include upcoming races at California Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. The Mexico City native, who will celebrate his 29th birthday on Friday, September 2, posted a career-best sixth-place finish at Atlanta and a 25th-place finish at California Speedway in February. Jourdain spoke about his return to NASCAR competition and his expectations for the remainder of the season and 2006.
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.-15-Centrix Financial Ford Taurus
AFTER A SIX-WEEK HIATUS FROM RACING, IS THERE A RENEWED SENSE OF EXCITEMENT COMPARABLE TO DAYTONA WHEN YOU MADE YOUR FIRST NASCAR BUSCH SERIES START? "It's a different overall feeling, but similar in some aspects. In a way I'm not as nervous because I've already done some races, but I'm more excited because I wanted to get back into the car so bad. I'm just very, very happy that I'm back in the car at a track I like a lot. I'm really looking forward to this weekend and trying to improve on our performance there in the beginning of the year. I think it's going to be important to show improvement in these four races."
THIS IS A SIMILAR SITUATION TO DAYTONA WHERE YOU HAVE TO QUALIFY TO GET INTO THE RACE, BUT IS THERE A COMFORT LEVEL NOW THAT YOU'VE MADE 18 RACES INA STOCK CAR? "It's hard. I think lately the level of racing is higher now than what it was at the beginning the season. There are a lot more Cup drivers doing more races than at the beginning of the year. I think the level of competition is higher right now, and the teams, at the beginning of the season there were some not so good teams and right now everybody is just very good and very competitive. It's going to be very hard, but I'm very confident that we will be OK. We have to approach each race the same - qualify to make the race and then focus on making it all of the laps."
HOW MUCH DID THE SIX-WEEK LAYOFF SLOW YOUR LEARNING PROCESS IN A STOCK CAR? "I think it hurt in some ways and not so much in others. Out of the four races I'm scheduled to compete in the rest of the year, I've been to three of them already, so going into a second half of the season is going to be good, but the bad thing is a lot of races like Bristol last week and Richmond next week, it's hard tracks that I really wanted to go back for the second time. That may hurt me some next year, not racing at those tracks twice, but we're going to make the most out of what we've got left this year. It's going to be working some new people as well this week, so it's starting all over, but the main thing is to be in Busch Series competition and that's what's so good about me getting in the car."
HAVE YOU DONE ANY RACING OR TESTING THE LAST TWO MONTHS? "No, nothing since the race in Chicago. We haven't tested or raced, so we've got to overcome that and get focused quickly when we get to the track in California."
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FOUR-RACE SPONSORSHIP WITH CENTRIX, AND WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2006? "For these four races, the main thing is to be solid in the races and to qualify good. To try and get a couple of top-10s would be good, too. To me, that would be my main objective, but as a team it's to be solid into the race. Next year, I want to get one solid, full season of racing. I think starting late this year is what slowed us with sponsors. Hopefully, we can get a solid sponsor for all year long where we can work towards getting better all of the time."
DO YOU EXPECT TO BE BACK WITH PPC RACING IN 2006? "Yes. I have a contract with them and I'm going to stay there."
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT TO AVOID THE SITUATION YOU HAD THIS SEASON? "That's hard. To me, the thing is that we got started late and a couple of deals happened at ppc with its Cup car and Stacker 2 that really put a strain on the organization and its resources. I've been into the shop a number of times since Chicago, so I have kept in touch with the crew and everybody a ppc and I know we have a good car this weekend, and I'm just happy to be back in the Busch Series this weekend in California."