Spencer proves it's hard not to look ahead. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 3, 2002) -- While standing proudly in Victory Lane two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway, Jimmy Spencer loudly confirmed what many were already thinking: Richmond still ...
Spencer proves it's hard not to look ahead.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 3, 2002) -- While standing proudly in Victory Lane two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway, Jimmy Spencer loudly confirmed what many were already thinking: Richmond still awaits!
Needless to say, Spencer and his Team Yellow brethren are eager to return to the flat, .750-mile oval, and rightly so. It was there where Spencer dominated both NASCAR Busch Series events last year to claim the Richmond sweep. This season's May race featured much of the same as he passed 26 cars in the first 100 laps, only to have a broken rear end gear thwart his chances for the three-peat.
Three out of four still isn't bad, and a win in Friday night's Funai 250 (8 p.m. EDT on TNT) could be a fitting precursor to Saturday night's Winston Cup event, in which Spencer will be one of five drivers gunning for the Winston "No Bull" $1 million bonus.
With the much-anticipated return to Richmond upon us, Spencer sits down to discuss his thoughts entering the weekend, and how confidence is playing a part in the #1 Yellow Racing team's success.
Driver Jimmy Spencer's thoughts --
How difficult has it been not to look ahead to Richmond?
"I think it's safe to say that both Richmond races are ones the Yellow team circles on its calendar. That doesn't mean we overlook other races. But this team is so good at Richmond that it wouldn't be human nature if we didn't look forward to it. Richmond is a place we've tested this year, and I know the team went there a few weeks ago to test their Cup car (with driver Geoffrey Bodine.) Team Yellow puts together really good cars for this track."
You talk about testing. I know that you also tested here with your Winston Cup team. How did that go?
"We had a really good test here. I think we were all pretty pleased with the results. This is one of my favorite tracks, no doubt about it. We had a strong run going in May in the Cup race, led some laps, but then got moved by another car and that cost us. But we were still very strong, and we feel it pays to test at places you're really good at. If there's such a thing as staying on top of the game in racing, we're trying to at Richmond."
You seem very confident heading back to Richmond, and rightly so. But how much of that confidence has to do with the win two weeks ago at Bristol?
"I think even if we hadn't won at Bristol, we would still be very confident coming to Richmond. But winning sure makes everything better. It's not some kind of rocket science. Ya know, it's really simple. When you work so hard every day, you want results. That's true for anybody in any profession. It's like the drivers for Yellow who were in the National Truck Driving Championships a few weeks ago. Those guys work so hard to get that good. It's an every-day thing. There are no days off. It ended up paying off for them because they all won state championships, and they all earned spots in the national championships.
What is it like to run the night race at Richmond?
"Very cool. I don't know about other drivers, but I can see better under the lights. You can't necessarily see the track better, but you can see the other cars better. The cars look so neat under the lights that it gives a whole new perspective on racing. Everybody talks about how it throws us back to Friday night short track racing when we were trying to make a living in this sport. That's true, but you've got to remember that with this TV package, we've gotten a lot of new fans. A lot of them are young people who are cutting their teeth by watching us. So most of the time, they are seeing us race in the afternoons. When we race under the lights, the fans get to see how unique it is. It's got to be exciting."