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Race 2 Win's Q&A with Ward Burton

Ward Burton
Ward Burton
January 16, 2003 - 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, driver of the No. 0 NetZero HiSpeed Chevrolet, was first on the lineup to participate in the Race 2 Win Question and Answer sessions this off-season. Ward recently sat down and tackled questions submitted by the readers of Race 2 Win.

Burton will drive his first full season in the No. 0 car in 2004, after driving the car in the final four races of 2003. When Burton arrives at Daytona in February, he will be making his 323rd Nextel Cup start and looking to build on his five career wins.

Burton and the NetZero Racing team will also be making a manufacturer switch this season, the team will field Chevrolets, after running Pontiacs in 2003.


Ward, what do you think about the new proposed points system that NASCAR is thinking about, especially the 26-10 plan?
Steven Rippy

“I had the opportunity to speak to a couple of the higher-ups in NASCAR about the points system while we were down in Daytona for testing. I don’t think they have worked all of the bugs out of the new system yet, but I feel pretty sure it will change. Do I like what I have heard about the proposed system? It made a little more sense after it was explained to me, and even though a lot of people have been complaining about it, the fact of the matter is that if NASCAR changes it, then that’s the way it is going to be and we’ll all just have to go out there every week and do what we need to do to be successful, just like we have been doing in the past. NASCAR says they’ll change it if is doesn’t work, and while I’d hate to see something like that happen, at least they are open to change. I think it will be a work in progress for a while, but I think a lot more thought has gone into it than people realize.”


How much testing will you and the new team be doing?

“The NetZero HiSpeed Racing team will test as much as we can, just like everybody else. NASCAR just changed the testing rules a bit and that gives us the opportunity to reevaluate our testing needs. We worked pretty hard to get the Superspeedway cars done for our Daytona test and we plan to test in Las Vegas at the end of the month. There are some tracks that you test at every year and some that you go to if you feel you are lacking something in your program at that type of track. First and foremost, we’ll try to test at several different types of tracks to shake down our new Chevrolets Monte Carlos and then Tony Furr, the team and I will take a look at things and decide what else we need to do to improve our various programs.”


Do you have any autographs sessions scheduled for 2004 and for what race?
Carol Walker

“I’ll be doing as many autograph sessions for you fans as I can squeeze into my schedule this year. I think we’ll be out at the souvenir trailer pretty often on race weekends and I’ve got some things I do not only for NetZero, but for my sponsors as well. I think there is a Chevrolet event during the Texas race weekend that we are planning to do as well as a couple of other things that are still in the works. We are still in the planning stages on most of this kind of stuff, but the best thing to do is to check my website (www.wardburton.com) for dates and times. We update the website as often as possible with this kind of information.”


Hi Ward! Just have to tell you that I am very excited about the upcoming season. Haven't been able to find anything new out regarding collectibles. Any idea when the new die cast, clothing and cards will be out with your new NetZero likeness on them?

“We’ve been working on it since the end of last year, and hope to have a fair amount of merchandise available by Daytona. We’ve got a contract with Racing Champions to make our die cast cars, though I’m not sure when we will see the first NetZero Chevrolet in stores and that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities with other companies as well. There are a couple of different places that you should be able to find merchandise once it comes out including my website, www.netzeroracing.com, www.haascncracing.com and of course on the souvenir trailer at the track.”


Hello Ward, I’m a big supporter of your wildlife foundation I think what you’re doing is great! Did the move to the #0 car hurt it any? Are there any special paint jobs in the future for the wildlife foundation?
Allen Brown

“Funny you should ask that. We were just talking about something like that while we were in Daytona during the test. I think NetZero is very open to letting us run a Wildlife Foundation paint scheme at some point during the year, so you may see something like that. Literally, the thought of it just came up, so we will have to see what happens. We need to worry about making sure the car is fast before we spend too much time worrying about what it looks like out there passing people.”


With all the changes you have had in the last months, what expectations do you and the NetZero team have for 2004, i.e.= top 10 in pts., win a race(s) or just be consistent? (or maybe all of the above!!!) Thanks!
Debbie Hammett
Lexington Park

“We are certainly expecting a lot out of ourselves this year. We think this team is capable of winning races if we can get everything on our side for four hours or so. This Haas CNC Racing team has what it takes to win. We have some of the best people in NASCAR working for us; you’d be surprised at the number of crew men from other teams that were lined up at the door hoping to get in after the season ended last year. We’ve been able to pick from some of the best in the off season and most everyone that was with us at the end of last season stayed as well. We’ll definitely be disappointed if we don’t win and we think it’s a realistic goal to be in the top 15 in points. Gene Haas is a smart businessman who isn’t going to head an operation that isn’t first-class and Tony Furr and Bill Ingle have so much experience between the two of them it’s almost impossible to think we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals.”


Who is the one driver that you hate to see in your rearview mirror?

“I don’t care who’s in my rear view mirror as long as there are 42 of them, it’s the last lap, and the NetZero HiSpeed Chevrolet gets to the checkered flag first.”


Special thanks to Ward Burton and Michelle Marckwardt for taking time out of their busy schedules to make this Q&A happen.


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