Michel Jourdain, Jr., driver of the No. 15 Ford Fusion, will attempt to qualify for his second Busch Series race of the season tomorrow in a ppc Racing-prepared Ford at Kentucky Speedway. Jourdain, who last competed in the Busch Series in Mexico...
Michel Jourdain, Jr., driver of the No. 15 Ford Fusion, will attempt to qualify for his second Busch Series race of the season tomorrow in a ppc Racing-prepared Ford at Kentucky Speedway. Jourdain, who last competed in the Busch Series in Mexico City, is also running a limited Craftsman Truck Series schedule with Roush Racing. Jourdain made his truck series debut last weekend in the No. 50 Ford F-150 at Texas Motor Speedway and finished on the lead lap in 13th place. Jourdain, who enters this weekend's event with 21 Busch Series starts to his credit that includes a career-best 10th-place finish at Atlanta, finished 23rd in last year's Meijer 300.
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR-15-Double Stuff Oreo's Ford Fusion
YOU RAN THE TRUCK RACE AT TEXAS LAST WEEKEND AND NOW YOU'RE IN A BUSCH CAR AT KENTUCKY. WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF SWITCHING BETWEEN VEHICLES AND SERIES? "Actually, the truck race last weekend is going to help me a lot for this. I try to see it as a positive. Originally I was only going to race six races this year, so the preparation last week is going to get me in a little bit better shape here, and this is going to get me in shape for when I get back in the truck next week at Milwaukee. Right now, it is all about seat time. It might not be the best in some ways, but I just think the laps are going to help me a lot. It's also good to keep racing on a weekly basis, and I don't think it matters so much about the type of vehicle that you're racing, but just the fact that you are competing each week."
THERE HAVE BEEN A FEW OPEN-WHEEL RACERS THAT HAVE TRIED TO MAKE THE TRANSITION TO NASCAR, AND THERE ARE ALWAYS A FEW RUMORED TO MAKE THE SWITCH. "It's not easy. I think the one with the most success is Robby Gordon. It is difficult. I think it's doable if somebody is going to give you the time to learn and get you the experience, but a lot of the guys want to go straight to Cup, and I think it's almost impossible. It's not impossible, and I think people might be willing to give you a couple of years in Busch and truck, and the other stuff you to have learn, but you have to get results right away. I think it's also harder to learn because it's more competitive in Cup, and the rules the way they are, if you're not in the 35 (in points) after race six, you're not guaranteed to make the race. On the Cup side, you need to produce right away and the transition is not that easy when you're competing against people that have driven stock cars all their lives. That's why I'm comfortable spending some time in Busch and truck before making the jump to Cup."
IS IT A CASE WHERE SOME OPEN-WHEEL DRIVERS DON'T WANT TO SPEND THE TIME IN BUSCH AND TRUCK? "Yes. Some don't. I remember Paul Tracy had that where he wanted to go straight to Nextel Cup or nothing and then he came to Busch and struggled. He wasn't with a top team and that made it even tougher for him to make the switch successfully. He didn't want to put in a couple of years at the Busch level before making the jump to Cup, and he doesn't need to. He's won a couple of championship, he won races and he got a five-year deal over there, so he doesn't need to go through the learning experience that you have to over here in the Busch or truck series. I think he decided that with his age and what time he has left driving he wants to stay where he's at in open-wheel racing."
HOW HARD WAS IT FOR YOU TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU NEEDED TO HONE YOUR SKILLS IN BUSCH AND TRUCK FIRST? "I knew if I was going to go straight to Nextel Cup I was going to struggle too much. Cup racing is still something that I look forward to, but for the next few years I'm going to go the tracks and learn the cars and then try to make the jump."
IN REGARDS TO OVAL-TRACK RACING, WHERE ARE YOU MOST COMFORTABLE IN THIS POINT IN YOUR NASCAR CAREER? "I think the fastest tracks are more comfortable. Texas, Charlotte and Atlanta, but, in general, the faster tracks are where I'm better. The short tracks are where I need the most experience. I think the handling of the car or truck is more important at the shorter tracks, and I'm still learning to do that. If I get into the car and it's fast right away then I don't have a problem, but I'm still trying to learn what to change to make the cars better when I don't have a very good car right away. That's probably where I'm still learning the most. The changes you make in an open-wheel car to make it better aren't the same changes you make to a stock car, and it takes time to learn what the changes do and how to make your car better when you get in that situation."
WITH THIS BEING A TWO-RACE DEAL WITH PPC RACING, YOU ARE IN A POSITION WHERE YOU NEED TO QUALIFY FOR THE RACE ON TIME. HOW IS THAT SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU HAD TO DO LAST WEEKEND AT TEXAS? "It's a little bit of the same. We had to qualify on time last week in Texas and we need to qualify on time for this race at Kentucky. We have to make the race, and it's probably going to be a little more difficult here to make the race, so I want to make the race and I want to finish it, too. I want to run good, and I don't want to finish just to say I finished it. From that aspect it's similar, but it's also a little different. There, I think I had a truck that could have won the race with more experience. When I was by myself I was the fast as anybody else there. Here, we need to spend some time today getting the car working. That truck is running every race whether I'm in it or not, and we just put this team together for this race. I just meet 50 percent of the guys this morning and the other guys I knew from other teams, so that's going to take time, and that's our focus for today's practice sessions."