JON WOOD-47-Clorox Ford Fusion - COMMENT ON THE TEST SESSION SO FAR, AND THE ALLIANCE THAT WAS FORMED BETWEEN ST MOTORSPORTS AND WOOD BROTHERS RACING. "Statistically speaking, the Busch Series is taking on a trend that the majority of Cup-backed...
JON WOOD-47-Clorox Ford Fusion - COMMENT ON THE TEST SESSION SO FAR, AND THE ALLIANCE THAT WAS FORMED BETWEEN ST MOTORSPORTS AND WOOD BROTHERS RACING. "Statistically speaking, the Busch Series is taking on a trend that the majority of Cup-backed Busch teams are dominant now. You have to have some sort of affiliation with a Cup team, it looks like, or you're almost left behind. The decision was made at the end of last year to start working with the Wood Brothers a lot more closely, and now both of our shops are under one roof. Fatback (Michael McSwain, Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Race Director) may be working on a Cup car one day and then he's looking at my Busch car the next. His influence, along with everybody working in one direction, seems to work so far. We haven't really done a lot, but I came here last weekend for the truck test and ran very well, and my car drafts well this week."
WERE YOU IN THE SHOP DURING THE OFF-SEASON TO WITNESS FIRSTHAND SOME OF THE CHANGES? "I tried to make it to the shop as much as I could, but the off-season was fun. Yeah, I was there. All of our cars are totally redone, down to bare metal and all brand new parts. That's refreshing to know. I think it's going to be a really good year for us. I think all of our cars are going to be competitive."
YOU BROKE INTO THE SPORT WITH ROUSH RACING DRIVING IN THE TRUCK SERIES. NOW THAT THE WOOD BROTHERS ARE INVOLVED IN THE TRUCK SERIES, DO YOU WISH YOU HAD THIS OPPORTUNITY? "The opportunity wasn't there, and there wasn't really a need for trucks at Wood Brothers at the time. I got hired to drive for Roush before it was even an idea to do that. It's more of Ford's influence than anything as to the reason why we have trucks for this season. They're really big into Bobby East (No. 21 Ford F-150) and Marcos Ambrose (No. 20 Ford F-150), and what better of a way to get them going than to start up a truck team. The trucks are a great place to learn. They're probably just as many veterans and guys that have won races in the Cup Series that are in the truck series as there are in the Busch Series. We have two trucks, two Busch cars and a Cup car."
WITH YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE TRUCK SERIES, HAVE YOU TAKEN ON A MENTORING ROLE WITH AMBROSE AND EAST? "Yeah, all of the questions that they ask, I was asking those same questions just a few years ago. When you come into this elite NASCAR division or the top three NASCAR series, there is a lot that people don't know about them and there are a lot of hardships that you can really underestimate. Those guys have asked some great questions and they've done really well so far. One thing that I think is going to hurt those guys more than anything is the testing policy. How could you expect Bobby East to race against Bobby Hamilton when Bobby (Hamilton) has been to Darlington 4,500 times and Bobby (East) has maybe played it on the computer or something? The experience there is the thing that they're fighting."
WITH AS MANY AS EIGHT DRIVERS RUNNING FULL SEASONS IN CUP AND BUSCH, CAN YOU SPEAK ON THE CHALLENGE IT PRESENTS, THE SATISFACTION YOU GET FROM BEATING THOSE GUYS AND WHAT IT WILL MEAN TO YOUR 2006 SEASON? "The more the better is the way that I look at it. I'm not planning on making a career out of the Busch Series, and if you race against the best of the best, you'll end up being the best. There's no more satisfaction than to beat Greg Biffle, and say, 'I beat one of the guys that's in contention every week in the top level of NASCAR and the top level of competition.' The more that you can learn from these guys, the ultimately better you'll be one day down the road."
DID YOU EXPECT TO EVER DRIVE AT THIS LEVEL, AND WAS THERE A SPECIFIC POINT IN YOUR CAREER THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING AND MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU? "Everybody always has aspirations of making it to this point. I've always had hope, and I've always had it in the back of my mind that one day I'll hopefully get the opportunity to do that. I can remember watching races when I was very young, and just as an example, I watched Dale Earnhardt leading some particular race and then the next frame I see him talking in an interview, and I thought, 'Why would he get out of his car while he's leading to do an interview?' It didn't dawn on me that it was taped the day before. You have that immaturity level and you don't really understand how competitive this deal is, and how people are trying to make it here, and to be one of the 43 full-time teams is pretty overwhelming."