Interview Transcript from NASCAR and USAC Media Day at O'Reilly Raceway Park INDIANAPOLIS (June 11, 2010) On Thursday June 10th, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Justin Allgaier and Three Time USAC Sprint Car Champion Levi Jones, joined members...
Interview Transcript from NASCAR and USAC Media Day at O'Reilly Raceway Park
INDIANAPOLIS (June 11, 2010) On Thursday June 10th, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Justin Allgaier and Three Time USAC Sprint Car Champion Levi Jones, joined members of the media to discuss their seasons to date and to preview the upcoming Kroger SpeedFest weekend.
Kroger SpeedFest features three action packed nights of racing under the lights on the famous O'Reilly Raceway Park oval. The weekend kicks off with exciting USAC open-wheel action on Thursday July 22nd. Both the USAC Midget and Silver Crown Series will race in two separate features during the course of the night. Past USAC winners at O'Reilly Raceway Park include racing heroes such as Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Kasey Kahne.
The activities continue on Friday night when the NASCAR Camping World Truck series takes the track in the running of the AAA Insurance 200 presented by J. D. Byrider. Defending race winner Ron Hornaday Jr. used his win to propel him to his historic fourth Camping World Truck Series title.
The weekend concludes with the running of the 29th annual Kroger 200, benefitting Riley Hospital for Children NASCAR Nationwide series race. This race is always thrilling and is one of the best races during the course of the NASCAR season. The 2003 race was named the top Nationwide race of the decade and the 2009 race was named one of the best races of the past season.
Transcript of the event is below:
Vince Welch: Justin raced last night at Eldora, was that your first time at Eldora? (Justin had raced in the Prelude to the Dream at Eldora and finished 26th night before.)
Justin Allgaier: Not the first time at Eldora, but the first time at Prelude to the Dream for Tony Stewarts big charity event and we had a good time. Unfortunately we had the engine expire shortly before the race did and we didn't get the finish we wanted. It was a great night and there were four different children's hospitals represented as charities and unfortunately all the guys on my team, we were on the Riley Hospital for Children team, I think all of us had problems except for Clint Boyer who finished second. It was a late night early morning for us but it was fun.
Vince Welch: Now you will run at Sparta Kentucky in the NASCAR Nationwide series race this weekend and can you give us a little perspective for us on that race and how your season has gone so far.
Justin Allgaier: Speaking of the season, we started the year with adding a second team with Brad Keselowski, the #22 car and its actually gone really well got some good finishes right off the bat and lucky enough to get the win at Bristol at the start of the year which was really cool for us. From there we hit some rough patches and didn't do quite as well and trying to get back on the horse and to where we need to be at. Ran fourth the past two weeks and got the pole last week in Nashville Super Speedway and that was a lot of fun. Going into Kentucky this weekend we ran really well there last year, qualified third and finished fifth and our equipment this year is better than last year so hopefully we can bump it up a couple of spots, hopefully get another pole award and run well. We are just having a lot of fun and that is the key to the whole deal is being able to go out and have fun and enjoy what you are doing. I'm looking forward to coming back here to O'Reilly Raceway Park. Coming here is going to be a lot of fun and I'm trying to run the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday and then run the Nationwide race on Saturday. I can't get enough of this place and trying to do as much as we can.
Vince Welch: You haven't done much truck racing have you?
Justin Allgaier: I've done a couple over the years and I decided I wanted to be a partial car owner if you will. My dad and I went together and bought a truck and if we can get everything put together we are going to do a handful of races in maybe June, especially at a place like this. Like we talked about earlier I've struggled here last year and I love this place and I've come here 24 years and have loved coming here ever since I started. Unfortunately I thought it would be easier the first time I came here because I've seen a lot of guys do well here and it wasn't quite as easy as I thought it was going to be. We struggled but hopefully we can put everything together and run in the truck race and learn things to put towards the Nationwide Series race.
Vince Welch: From your prospective since you've been here as a kid what are the tricky parts of this track?
Justin Allgaier: With the stock cars the biggest thing is they are pretty heavy and have skinny tires with a bunch of horsepower. The surface here makes for good racing because there isn't a super amount of grip. The biggest thing we have always fought is trying to figure out how to make the car turn and have grip off the corner to make the car run hard down the straightaway. My biggest issue was last year I had grip going forward and I didn't have any in the corner. I spun out on the back straightaway and didn't hit anything and if you can spin out here and not hit anything you are doing a pretty good job. We had a good time and the thing about it we were two and three wide. I took a line that many people don't do. I decided to come all the way down into the grass and do it there and it was a little different. Ivan Stewart, who used to race off road and raced NASCAR trucks for a while and I think they said he was the only one that ever went down there and tried it. I did and it worked out well and passed a couple of guys but for the most part they were passing me.
Vince Welch: Talk about what you are running tonight and the event taking place later tonight.
Levi Jones: We are very excited about tonight's event for Tony Stewart Racing Sprint Car has been on fire so to speak. The last 6 to 8 races we were able to win three in a row and build momentum. Coming back to race a couple of miles from Tony's shop down in Brownsburg so I'm going to have a bunch of fans here tonight. Justin mentioned that this track can definitely be tricky but it is very fun to come here and there isn't one specific line you have to run to be here and be fast. You have to come here and keep up with your car and where you put your car as a driver and communicate that to your team. Tonight shouldn't be any different than that when the Sprint cars come here for the first time in three years. The Sprint Car Series is one of the cars that built this place back in the past and hopefully we can have success here tonight. (Levi finished 12th in the 30-lap feature on Thursday night.)
Vince Welch: On July 22nd you will be running a Silver Crown car here. Will that be with Tony's team as well?
Levi Jones: In the Silver Crown division we run the #10. The Silver Crown Series is ramping up a bit at a time each weekend back into the premier division of USAC and we are excited about that. You touched upon it with that weekend being so important and so exciting for families in this area. People are able to come out for multiple nights of racing and have a bunch of fun.
Vince Welch: What is it like to be racing in USAC Series knowing that Kroger SpeedFest weekend that there are a lot of NASCAR team owners, drivers who come out and watch the race on Thursday and race on Friday and Saturday?
Levi Jones: Those are the events that we definitely want to run well I would like to win that race. That has been the trend from years past to run well in USAC. You learn so much on how to race in open wheel racing between the dirt and the pavement and the different cars, five different tracks in six days. You learn to race and that is what you saw last night at Eldora on TV those are the best race car drivers in the country because they can adapt to stuff and put the car where it needs to be and win the race.
Vince Welch: You have been O'Reilly Raceway Park for many years now, what would it mean to win here on July 22nd?
Levi Jones: It would mean everything because like we talked about I haven't had a great deal of success here but we have circled these races on our calendar that we need to run well at and work on things we need to do and it would be a great accomplishment for me as well.
Vince Welch: Justin, you heard Levi that this is a tough track. Aren't those the ones that give you the biggest sense of satisfaction?
Justin Allgaier: I think for winning earlier this year at Bristol is along the same lines as being a tough race track. Any time you feel like you worked for something you feel like you earned your win. I know a lot of times on the mile and a half tracks the car is going to dictate a lot of what we do. But when you come to a place like this the car obviously has to be right but you can over compensate or try to make up for what it is lacking and you can win. It makes you feel better about it. I think for me growing up and racing short tracks and running on Friday and Saturday night, when you can go to a race track that you grew up idolizing and you can race there and go back and win I think that makes it that much more special. To get a win here would be awesome. We didn't run well here last year, we had some moments of greatness during the race but for the majority of it we just struggled but I think we built enough of a data base from where we stood last year to come back and be successful this time.