FORT WORTH, Texas (April 3, 2002) -- Now that Jimmy Spencer has reiterated "I don't forget" after a weekend of bumping, banging and hard racing at Bristol Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Busch Series heads to a track that is truly capable of...
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 3, 2002) -- Now that Jimmy Spencer has reiterated "I don't forget" after a weekend of bumping, banging and hard racing at Bristol Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Busch Series heads to a track that is truly capable of re-sparking an emotional bonfire. Texas Motor Speedway is furiously fast and competitive, a hearty recipe for an exciting race. And if there's one thing Spencer has maintained throughout his racing career, it is excitement.
While the #1 Yellow Racing team will bring its usual grit to the Busch Series' sixth stop, a sense of self-control might be exuded more than ever this weekend, for a mistake in the O'Reilly 300 (FOX, 2 p.m. EST) could make for serious problems. A new asphalt surface at TMS has increased the overall speeds, so much so that it could give Atlanta a run for its money as the series' fastest track. Cars testing at the 1.5-mile tri-oval the past two weeks have broken the 195 mph mark.
But Spencer has a sincere appreciation for going fast. He steered the #1 Chevy to a fourth-place finish at Bristol two weeks ago, and he has fought with the front-runners in essentially every race. Spencer has charted one top-five in three starts at Texas. But as shown at Bristol, anything less than a win won't cut it for this determined team.
With the Busch season now beginning to heat up, Spencer talks about this weekend's race, the emotions at Bristol, Team Yellow's recent success, and a hot topic throughout the NASCAR garage the past few weeks, lapped traffic.
Driver Jimmy Spencer's thoughts --
The repaving at Texas Motor Speedway has made that track a lot faster. What are your thoughts on returning there?
"Anytime you repave the track, it's going to be a lot faster. That's just part of it. The speeds there are going to be much faster, and maybe the new surface will help work in a new passing groove. Really, there's only been one groove there, so the new racing surface may open up another one. As far as setups go, I'm not looking at a whole lot different setup than in the past."
How well have you raced at Texas?
"We ran really well there last year, but the motor broke with 20 or so laps to go. That was a race I felt we could've won. But we were strong there, so that's why I feel like we have as good a chance as any this time."
Do you expect any of the emotions from Bristol to carry over to Texas, or will the weekend off simmer all that down?
"I'm not really sure. I would imagine some people will still be worked up. But for me, it won't carry over. Bristol is over, and now we've got to concentrate on Texas. A lot of tempers flared up at Bristol, but it's a new week and a new track, and we have to just go about our business. A lot of guys in racing carry grudges. Those are the guys who don't win races."
You were obviously disappointed after the Busch race at Bristol, but you still notched a top-five finish. Was the Bristol race a good stepping stone heading into Texas?
"Yeah, we learned a lot. We've had really good cars the past few races, and that's reassuring. At Darlington we had a really good run before the rear end broke, but that good run carried over to Bristol. We gained a lot of confidence at Bristol because we ran for the win, and that's what's important. When you're racing for the win, it makes it a lot more fun than when something breaks."
A lot has been discussed the last few weeks about lapped traffic, so much that it's almost like a safety concern. Can anything be done about the problems of lapped traffic, or was it just the nature of the beast at Darlington and Bristol?
"It's not the nature of the beast. When you're a lapped car, you respect the leaders. That's all there is to it. A lot of lapped cars didn't, and I feel like that cost me a win at Bristol. Jeff Green beat us fair and square, but lapped cars played a part in the outcome of that race, and they shouldn't have. NASCAR ought to look at it, and maybe issue some warnings and stiffer penalties. Some of those guys are so slow compared to the leaders. They're so slow they're dangerous. Their situation is going to get them and somebody else hurt. Some of those cars are two and three seconds slower than the rest of the field, and when that's the case, NASCAR needs to park them. NASCAR usually issues a minimum speed, and at Bristol, some of those cars were slower than the minimum speed. If it were me, if I was running poorly and was a safety concern out on the track, you wouldn't have to tell me to park my car. I'd park it just because I'd be embarrassed."
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