Robert Pressley, driver of the No. 47 Ford, returned to the cockpit of his car today after having Mark Green substitute for him in qualifying on Thursday. Robert's father, Bob, a well-known short-track racer, fell ill this week, and Pressley...
Robert Pressley, driver of the No. 47 Ford, returned to the cockpit of his car today after having Mark Green substitute for him in qualifying on Thursday. Robert's father, Bob, a well-known short-track racer, fell ill this week, and Pressley stayed home yesterday to tend to family business. Pressley spoke about his situation and his thoughts on tomorrow's race.
ROBERT PRESSLEY -47-Clorox/Wisk Ford Taurus
YOU WERE ABLE TO PRACTICE THE CAR TODAY. HOW IS THE CAR IN RACE TRIM?
"It's good. They worked really hard - all of the guys at ST Motorsports and Ford - since Daytona because we struggled a little there. They really went in there and worked very, very hard and hadn't quit on the restrictor-plate stuff. I got here, and Mark (Green) gave me a couple of days to stay at home and check on some family deals. Qualifying isn't a whole lot here. I wish we were starting seventh tomorrow, but you can go to the back and come up through the pack pretty quick if you have a good race car like what we've got right now. All in all, everything is great."
DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS TO CAR TO MAKE IT TO YOUR LIKING?
"They changed everything on the car from qualifying to race runs. Really, Mark didn't run any race stuff. They've got rules on shocks and springs, and everybody is basically is about the same. He put a couple of pads in it and shortened up the seatbelt by about a half-inch, but other than that, everything stayed about the same."
NOW THAT YOU ARE HERE, IS THERE ANY CHANCE YOU WON'T RACE TOMORROW?
"I probably will (race) with everything that's going on. After going into the coma they said it could be a week or it could be a day. Really, we're just playing everything by ear. We've taken care of everything back at home, so there's really nothing we could do right now. My daddy raced for 40 years and he retired when he found out he had cancer at 67 years old. That's five years ago, and I know when we found out it was a big blow and he said, 'Listen here, I've lived a good life and I've raced and that's what I want everybody else to do - keep on going.' It's very hard when they call you in and they tell you that it could be the next three hours that it could be over and you know you don't need to be at Talladega; it's not a necessity. Whenever Tad (Geschickter), Steve (Plattenberger), and all of the guys at Ford and Clorox said we want you to take a couple of days off to stay home, that makes me feel good right there. We've had five years to talk about it and we know what he did in racing, he knew what we liked and I know what he would want, but it's just hard to do that right there - to go out and race - when you know he's there like that. He was a racer, and I'll tell you what, if he was able he would be right down here today."
YOU WILL BE FORCED TO DROP TO THE REAR OF THE FIELD AT THE START OF THE RACE FOR A DRIVER CHANGE. ARE YOU PLANNING TO STAY AT THE BACK OF THE PACK AT THE START OF THE RACE TO AVOID ANY EARLY INCIDENTS?
"I hope not, but you know there's going to be a crash here. Stacy (Compton) is right there in the middle, and I started third or fourth one time in a Cup race and on the third lap I was run in the back. I've also started in the back and have been leading in 10 laps. If there's anywhere you want to start in the back and know that it isn't any penalty, it's right here."
WAS THERE ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT HAVING YOUR TEAMMATE, STACY COMPTON, DROP TO THE BACK AT THE START OF THE RACE TO FORM A DRAFT?
"No because I think we'll pretty much be around each other within a couple of laps. That's one thing we're sitting there talking about right now, we need to get one more, maybe Hamilton, Jr. or Keller, and hope they want to go towards the front. I just believe that if you get up front and people see you up there all day, they know you're in contention to win and they're going to be with you at the end, too."
YOU FINISHED 17TH AT DAYTONA BY FALLING TO THE BACK OF THE PACK EARLY IN THE RACE. WHY WON'T THAT STRATEGY WORK TOMORROW?
"The rules haven't changed, but what got us at Daytona that cost us was we sat back there and we had a real bad pit stop coming in. The leaders were going out when we were coming in and got the left front knocked off. We stayed out of the wreck, but we got wrecked on pit road. I look at it that I really want to go to the front and be up there all day long instead of sitting back there and riding. If you sit back there and ride, you think about too much stuff. At Daytona, there's a little bit of handling that you have to take of. Here, there's nothing but raw horsepower. We need to go a little bit faster here, and I don't know how we can do it to make everybody happy. We need just a little bit more speed."
DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE MULTIPLE RACING PACKS IN TOMORROW'S RACE?
"I think we're going to see the one big pack. I don't think it's going to be like Daytona where there were a couple of packs. This place is so wide that we can get four wide and whenever we punch a hole, I think the pace car could keep up with us."