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TALK ABOUT WINNING HERE LAST YEAR; THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN A RACE TRACK THAT YOU HAVE LOOKED FORWARD TO COMING TO:
“I think everybody does. It’s probably one of the most fun places you can go to all year and have so many things to do. We are all getting a chance to do that a little earlier today because of Mother Nature. I think we are all excited about being here. Excited about coming back after a year that we won and a year before where we were a dominate car and ended up second. This place has been pretty good to us.”
HOW LONG IS IT GOING TO BE REALISTICALLY TO GET THE CAR DEVELOPED TO THE POTENTIAL WHERE THE RACING IS AS GOOD AS EVERYBODY HOPES IT IS GOING TO BE?
“I said it last week and I said it the week before. The one thing you guys have got to understand when we all built these new cars not one of them came with an instruction manual. That is the easiest way to describe it. You literally have to figure it out as you go. It’s impossible to give you an answer, an accurate answer. It is literally a work in progress. I thought last week for a new car I thought last week was a really good debut for it. I personally think it’s off to a great start and it’s got a lot of potential. We had good racing, we had a good finish and everybody is going to keep learning. Everybody has their piece of the equation that they will figure out. You have to start somewhere and for it to debut the way that it has I think has been a very positive start.”
IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE DRIVERS WHO HAS CHASE HOPES AND YOU ARE 30TH OR LOWER IN POINTS RIGHT NOW WHEN DO YOU START TO GET A LITTLE CONCERNED?
“I honestly don’t know. It’s so early right now; there are so many things that can happen that I think it’s way too early to be thinking about that. I think if you are a team that is worrying about it right now you were probably worried about just making it in to begin with. I think the teams that have confidence that they are going to be in or should be in the Chase probably aren’t that concerned about it at this point.”
WHAT MEMORIES DO YOU HAVE AND WHAT WAS THE IMPORTANCE OF WHEN YOU USED TO RUN USAC OUT AT THE BULLRING HERE? WHAT DID THAT MEAN TO YOUR CAREER? YOU RAN THE (WORLD OF) OUTLAW RACES THE PAST COUPLE OF NIGHTS WHAT KIND OF FUN DO YOU GET OUT OF THAT?
“I don’t have a wife and kids to go home to so I get to go race without getting yelled at. I have only ran the Bullring actually one weekend out there. It was a doubleheader with the midgets and sprint cars. We got lucky enough to win both races that night. We’ve got a pretty good memory of that place. It was fun. It’s a fun track. This facility has got four or five…actually flying in they’ve got an awesome go kart track. This facility has got so much acreage in it and the ability to do so many things. To have a drag strip, a dirt track, a great 1.5-mile oval, the go kart track, an off-road track, the Bullring, they’ve got a road course out there. This place has it all. That is something that is pretty cool. There were four or five different divisions that ran the last two nights before we even ran anything over here. To see how many different types of cars they can accommodate here is a pretty neat deal.”
HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TIRES LAST WEEK ON THE CARS OF RYAN NEWMAN AND DANICA PATRICK? AND IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN?
“They lost air (laughter). Why they lost air, I have no idea. It’s a work in progress and I’m sure that the crew chiefs and the engineers are working hard this week to figure it out all out. It’s kind of hard sometimes when it happens because with the wreck that happens after that can sometimes take away the evidence of what actually caused it. But I think the second one on Ryan’s car was definitely heat-related for sure because it had knocked the cooling ducts out. So, we’re speculating that it’s heat-related.
YOU ALSO WON AT FONTANA. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RETURNING TO THAT TRACK IN THE NEW CAR?
“Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s on the schedule (laughter). I don’t know that there is any big super-thing about it. We’re all going back everywhere this year with a new car. We’re going with a new car. So it’s kind of like starting from scratch. It’s nice knowing that we had a good run there last year and we have a pretty good feel for the track and where we think we need to be on it.”
YOU SAID AT THE START OF THE YEAR YOUR GOAL WAS TO RUN 100 RACES THIS YEAR. HOW MANY OUTSIDE OF NASCAR HAVE YOU RUN? HOW HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?
“We’ve run six outside of NASCAR so far. I think our highest finish was third at Ocala. I think our worst finish was actually over here two nights ago when we finished 22nd. We’re definitely going to hit 100 this year. We’re actually going to be at between 65 and 70 Sprint Car races right now with the schedule the way it is. That’s not counting three rainouts that we already had. So we have a pretty ambitious schedule this year and it will put us almost at 110 races total for the year if we get to run them all.”