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News and Results | Point Standings | 2005 Schedule | 2005 Teams | 2004 Schedule and Results

 

Dodge Teleconference: Elliott and Petty

Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - Bill Elliott retired from full-time NASCAR racing in 2003 and has ran a limited schedule the past two seasons. Elliott, who will drive at least three Busch Series races this season, in addition to his limited Cup deal, was a guest this week on the Dodge Motorsports Teleconference, along with Kyle Petty. driver of the No. 45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge Charger.

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 91 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger)

Bill Elliott
Bill Elliott
IS MOMENTUM DIFFICULT TO BUILD WHEN YOUíRE NOT RACING EVERY WEEK? ďI think it would be harder if you didnít have a team that was running every week. The hardest thing is trying to keep the crew guys put together. I think that was a bit of a struggle last year, but I think this year Ray has got things better under control. He brought Chris Andrews in. Chris is doing an excellent job. I think weíve knocked some of the rough edges off as far as Chris and I working together. I donít care if you run every week or run part-time, getting used to working with a new guy, plus the changes NASCAR has thrown in, not only over the winter but the changes within the brand itself, and youíve got all the other things going on. Goodyear changed the tires a little bit, so thereís a multitude of changes youíre trying to work through. A number of teams have struggled trying to work things out. Itís a never-ending evolution.Ē

COMMENT ON TEST AT TEXAS ďWe tested for two days. I think we learned a lot, but weíre still trying to get a handle on where weíre at with this car and trying to get things squared away from that side. Ray and all the guys have worked really hard trying to get the Dodge where itís at, and I feel like Kasey had a pretty good run at Atlanta and we ran pretty decent toward the middle and end of the race, but still, itís going to be ongoing work as far as getting things going in the right direction. Itís a constant battle with the changes NASCAR made. Itís a struggle not only for us but all the teams.Ē

DOES THE DODGE CHARGER NOSE NEED HELP? ďThatís probably a technical question you need to ask Ray. I donít know. I donít know that theyíve taken any cars to the wind tunnel to really see how you stack up to the other brands. It just seems like, with taking Bristol out of the loop, that the Hendrick and Roush cars seem to have it together the best. For whatever reason, they never lost any momentum from last fall where the rest of us kinda did. There have been teams that have been hot and cold but certainly not as consistent as the Hendrick and Roush bunch for whatever reason. They have fewer changes to their car, and I think thatís the thing weíre struggling through a little bit, finding the right balance to what weíre running.Ē

WOULD YOU CHANGE ANY DECISIONS YOUíVE MADE IN YOUR CAREER? ďLord no, Iíve had a good career. Unfortunately we didnít run as many races last year as we wanted to, but the way sponsorship was and things of that sort it made it difficult to put things together. You need to be a year or two ahead of where youíre at. Right now Iím comfortable with where Iím at. Iím enjoying running part-time. I enjoy coming back and seeing the people. There again, I donít miss running every week, the struggles and hassles of the ups and downs of what you go through with the grind of every week. Iíve lived it. Iíve done it. I like running more on my schedule than having to be there full-time. Whether I decide to quit tomorrow or next month or next year or whenever, now Iím in a position that I havenít cut it totally off like Rusty. I think heís second-guessing his decision as far as what he wants to do, and Mark, I think theyíre getting to the point they donít know what they want to do. Iím in a position where I can race or do whatever I want to on the side as far as the stuff away from Cup and try to help Ray and his organization and focus on Cup to a good extent and be sharp enough to run the schedule Iím running. On the other hand, I donít have to have the grind of every week.Ē

COMMENT ON REED SORENSON ďIíve watched him run ARCA and stuff, and heís done a real good job. Heís young, and heís in with a real good team as far as Ganassi and that bunch is concerned, someone thatís capable of being there for the long haul. Getting to the Cup level is a whole different deal. You bring the guys in and you never know. Just like Kasey last year. He was running awfully well and this year the way this whole deal has kinda flipped on you, youíre riding that roller-coaster. Thereís up and downs. Thatís part of this sport. The kids are still running good. Thereís the changing of the guard every year as far as Iím concerned. The next generation has not only opened the door, but theyíre in the door. When I came in a number of years ago there was Pearson, Yarborough and Petty and all those guys. Eventually that door opened and shut. Theyíre gone and another generation comes in and thatís going to be the way of life. I think the next steps will be critical for him (Sorenson). Where he ends up the next few years as far as getting good experience and finding the right group of people around him as he makes the next step as he continues through his career (will be important).Ē

WHY HAVENíT THE EVERNHAM TEAMS BEEN STRONG THIS SEASON? ďIt has been strong, but we donít have the finishes to show it. The guys ran strong at Daytona, both Kasey and Jeremy, but they were caught up in a lot of stuff there and never had the opportunity to materialize. At California he got to going pretty good and got involved in deal and he had a little problem at Vegas. At Atlanta, they ran pretty well. Right now weíre just trying to find the right balance and get things worked out. A lot of things were changed this winter, and I think thatís the things weíve got to sort through and make sure weíre going in the right direction. Iíll give them credit. Ray and the guys are working hard. Theyíll get it figured out.Ē

DO YOU THINK VETERANS GET RESPECT THEY DESERVE ON THE TRACK? ďI think the seasoned guys are more calculative. I think thatís the difference. In a short Busch race, Iím just using a hypothetical, youíve got a short race and youíve got to get after it pretty well. I like to try to run a guy and if he respects me I respect him. If he doesnít respect me, then itís hard to respect the other guy if he doesnít have any respect for you. Thatís just using a broad range of anybody. Everybody always talks about Cale. I know when I came in, Cale and I had the best relationship of anybody I felt like. He raced me clean, and I raced him clean and thatís the way it went. You have your day with guys. Sometimes people make mistakes unintentionally and sometimes that happens and thereís not a lot you can do with it whether itís a veteran or rookie or whatever.Ē

WOULD YOU HAVE FLIPPED OFF SOMEBODY LIKE CALE IF YOU HAD GOTTEN INTO THE BACK OF HIM ON A SHORT TRACK AND HE CAME OVER TO HAVE WORDS WITH YOU? ďI might have one day and I might not the next day. There again, it depends on the circumstances.Ē

ARE WE HAVING TOO MANY CAUTIONS? ďYeah, but what are you going to do about it? Cautions breed cautions. When they get down to the end of the races, itís just like the analogy I use at Daytona and Talladega, you start off and you might give the guy a foot leeway early in the race. The race goes on and it might go on to six inches and at the end of the race you want to occupy his space. There again, it comes back to cautions breed caution. The problem is, since theyíve concreted Bristol and some of the racetracks, itís made them pretty one-grooved in my opinion. Thatís the thing. I honestly didnít watch the races from Bristol this weekend, so I canít comment, but in the past what Iíve seen is the racetrack gets one-grooved. If the racetrack is one-grooved, everybody is trying to dive for the same spot. Whereas the racetrack in the past years you could run high. Harry Gant used to run up against the rail. It would give you more options as far as being able to be raceable with the guy and not cause problems, but any time you go to a short track youíre going to have bumping and grinding and everything else. As competitive as everything is and as close as these cars are, I donít know how youíre going to change that.Ē IN THE PAST DRIVERS HAD MORE RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER AND THERE WERE FEWER CAUTIONS? ďI agree and disagree in some respects. The thing about years ago, a guy might have finished fifth and he might have been six or seven laps down. Now you can go 100 laps into the race and there might be 30 cars still on the lead lap at Bristol. Youíre talking a whole different way of thinking as the guys go on. In the past, there was a lot of difference in the cars where a guy didnít have to push as hard as they do today to get in position. There again, they do need more respect on the track in some instances.Ē

SHOULD A DRIVER BE PENALIZED FOR FLIPPING THE FINGER? ďIím glad I donít have to make that decision. I can just sit back and read about it in the paper. Thatís in the heat of the battle.Ē

WHEN YOUíRE NOT RACING DO YOU USUALLY TRY TO WATCH THE CUP RACES ON TV? ďNo, I donít. Iíve been there and seen everything. Somebody asks you every day if something surprises you, well it doesnít surprise me any more. The less I know about it, the better off I am. Whatever happened Sunday or Monday or whatever, I talked to Ray Evernham on Sunday morning before the race and I talked to him Sunday night. I donít know what happened to those guys in the race Monday, but other than keeping up with Kasey and Jeremy and a couple of other guys, I like to just stay away from it.Ē

HOW IS YOUR TIME DIVIDED? ďRight now Iím just kinda doing my own thing. I spend a good bit of time around home. I spent as much time as I could with Kasey last year. I still try to help him from time to time. As Ray gets more into his driver development, I feel like my role will change quite a bit. Iím still doing a fair amount of testing for them and will continue on that. Ray is concentrating on trying to get this thing worked out as far as where theyíre at within this season. Chris (crew chief Andrews) and I have been concentrating more on the races for Stanley and Visteon and the folks as it stands here today. The roles have changed a little bit this year versus last year. As Erin Crocker comes on and more people like that, then my role will change as far as trying to help them, especially at events we can tie in when Iím there.Ē

HOW EXCITED ARE YOU ABOUT RUNNING BUSCH RACES FOR RUSTY WALLACE? ďIím looking forward to that. I had a good time running Tommyís car last year at Memphis. Theyíre short races. Theyíre on Saturday and theyíre more like what we grew up doing. Thereís a whole lot less pressure than in Cup. I was walking into Daytona and I said, Ďman, Iíve got it made.í I drove for Ganassi down there in the Bud Shootout, and Iíve been able to drive Rayís stuff on the midsize stuff and to be able to drive Rustyís stuff on the Busch side. Iíll probably drive some for Ray (in Busch) before the season ends, so Iíve got it made. As far as the guys trying to do their own deal, itís difficult today because the multi-car teams have got all the advantages. Every now and then you can make a single entity work, but thatís bleeding over to the Busch and truck side now.Ē

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge Charger)

Kyle Petty
Kyle Petty
YOU GOT YOUR TOP 10 AT BRISTOL. WHEN CAN YOU WIN? ďThis is Nextel Cup racing, and nothing surprises you any more in Cup races. If we won a race itíd probably surprise some people, but I wouldnít be surprised because you never know whatís going to happen. To be there on a consistent basis is what weíre looking for. Looking at Petty Enterprises, Bobby Hamilton won a race and John (Andretti) won a race there in the last five or six years or eight or 10 years or whatever, but consistency wasnít there and thatís what weíre shooting for. Even though we had a top-10 finish, realistically weíre smart enough to look at it and say we probably had a top-15 car. We were just very blessed that when things started falling apart for other people we were able to run good enough to pick up the slack. Weíre not reading any more into a top 10 than what you can, but I think qualifying-wise to see Jeff come there and qualify sixth in the Cheerios Dodge Charger, I think thatís a good sign because when you watch guys start to win again they start to qualify well again, and I think thatís a big thing.Ē

DO YOU FEEL LIKE ALL THE PIECES ARE IN PLACE? ďI feel like weíve got a lot of the right pieces and a lot of the pieces we have weíve got to continue to make stronger. Weíve said that all along. For five years Iíve said the same thing. Weíve got to get better, better, better no matter what weíre doing, whether itís our aero program or our engine program. I think the work we did with Dodge this winter, working with Rayís group on the Dodge Charger and be able to have Evernham Motorsports engines, thatís basically a good baseline for us. We can look at the 9 and 19 and if they run well and we donít run well, then obviously that means our cars have to get better and our teams have to get better. We feel like our aero program and our guys in the fab shop have done a tremendous job. I said at Daytona when we qualified well we felt like the guys in the fab shop and our aero stuff was pretty good. We just hadnít had any been able to prove it to any people. We went down there and qualified pretty good so it showed that was there. We have to work on other areas. We feel like weíve got most of the bases covered. I wonít say weíve got every base covered, but weíve got somebody standing on every base and weíve just got to make sure we get more people on those bases and get stronger in those areas.Ē

FROM A CAR OWNERíS STANDPOINT, IS THERE ANY WAY TO COME OUT OF BRISTOL WITHOUT TEARING UP CARS? ďI donít mind going to Bristol. I donít like tearing up my stuff at Daytona and Talladega. If you look at cars coming out of Daytona and Talladega, they look a lot worse than they do coming out of Bristol from a car ownerís perspective. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on making sure our drag numbers are right, that weíve got great cars and great chassis. We go to Daytona with a car thatís been in the wind tunnel maybe six times that costs you 10 or 15 thousand dollars a shift in the wind tunnel and the first thing you do somebody goes out there and bump drafts you and tears the rear end off of it or tears the side off. I donít mind tearing up cars at Bristol. Nobody likes tearing up cars from that perspective, but thatís part of what racing is. Thatís part of what Cup racing is and it always has been. The problem is it hasnít always been that way at Daytona and Talladega. I have a bigger issue from an expense standpoint tearing up stuff at Daytona and Talladega than I do at Bristol.Ē

HOW MUCH CREDIT DOES PAUL ANDREWS GET FOR THE TEAMíS SUCCESS? ďPaul has not done anything from a day-to-day standpoint. I would not put that load on anybody, believe me, especially bringing in somebody like Paul. What Paul has done, heís brought stability to the 45 team and thatís bled over and helped Greg Steadman who was running the 45 team. I think thatís helped him focus on the 43 Cheerios Dodge Charger instead of having to worry about the Brawny Dodge, too. Just like I said when we hired Paul, we went through two or three different guys. I think Steve Lane is a great example of somebody who can be a great crew chief some day. Heís over at Ganassiís right now. Where weíre at as a team and where weíre at as an organization, we just didnít have time for somebody to come up through the ranks. We had to hire somebody this time, weíd tried it two or three times, we had to hire somebody this time who had the experience and who had the know how and had the ability to come in and run the operation from pit road. From calling pit stops and pit strategy, Paul fit the bill perfectly. I think he takes a lot of pressure off Greg, and that helps everybody at Petty Enterprises.Ē

COMMENT ON THE DODGE CHARGER NOSE ďThere are issues with the Dodge nose. There are issues not from a heating-cooling standpoint just to out running. Thatís not the issue. The problem is when you put 100,000-150,000 people in the grandstand and a bunch of people in the infield, the racetrack is going to get dirty and thereís going to be a lot of trash on the racetrack. I know at California we absolutely struggled with overheating. We were hot the whole time. We pulled all our tape off, but you pull all your tape off and the next thing you do is catch a hot dog wrapper or a potato chip bag, and thatís the problem with the nose from our standpoint. It has nothing to do with the aerodynamics really. I think if you talk to the people, nobody has a problem with it aerodynamically. Itís just when we really sit down and the Dodge people really sat down and tried to design the Charger, they wanted the Dodge to be a car the fans could look at and say, Ďhey, there goes a Dodge Charger.í Thatís what that grille does for us. It says, Ďthere goes a Dodge Charger.í I guess part of the price weíre having to pay now is from a heating standpoint. Weíre having to be really careful and watch the grille and keep the grille clean. We donít want cookie cutter cars. We donít want the Dodge Charger to look like a Ford or Chevy. We want it to look like the Dodge Charger. Thatís the price weíre paying right now. Weíre going to have to figure out a way to make it work. If NASCAR does step in and give us some help, it would be greatly appreciated. If they donít, then weíre just going to have to figure it out ourselves.Ē

PERSONALLY, HOW DID IT FEEL GETTING A TOP 10 FINISH AT BRISTOL? ďFor me it was really.good. We probably had a top 15 car, and I was ecstatic about having a top 15 car at Bristol just staying out of trouble all day. To come home and finish in the top 10, itís been five or six years or whatever since Iíve been able to run in the top 10 it seems like. We struggled. Itís well documented. You guys write about it a lot. I donít know why. For us itís a huge morale booster. Our guys were sky-high when we went out of there, and the Cheerios Dodge had qualified in the top 10. I canít tell you how big a morale booster that was for both teams and the guys at Petty Enteprises. To leave the racetrack on Sunday, it was huge for me personally, but for the guys at the shop, it was big for all of us.Ē

COMMENT ON ALL THE CAUTION FLAG LAPS SO FAR THIS SEASON ďYouíre saying itís up this year from last year? OK, was it up last year from the year before? I guess thatís the way Iíd have to look at it. Iíd venture to say itís a little cyclical. I think some of the things that happened at Bristol were just impatience. People were trying to give each other room, but itís a small racetrack and you think youíve got to make things happen in the first 15 laps of a race or youíre going to get lapped. There was a lot of impatience the first two or three cautions at Bristol. I just marked that down to that, but Iíd say itís more cyclical. I would not step back at this point in time and say itís all about the spoilers, itís all about the tires, itís all about this or that. I think right now everybody is running hard and everybody knows theyíve got to run hard and thereís just stuff happening right now. If you go back two or three years, it probably all averages out.Ē

DO YOU KEEP A SCORECARD FOR THE SHORT TRACKS? ďNo. Youíd have to be crazy to get into something with somebody at Bristol and then go to Martinsville the next week and do something to them. Thatís wrong. Youíd need to have an IQ check or something. Iím sure NASCAR is looking and theyíre going to be keeping tabs, but if you look at the big picture, and I watched some of the Busch stuff yesterday with Dale Jarrett and Shane. Dale is a good enough guy with a cool enough head, Iíll bet if you ask Dale about it today heís probably about half forgotten about it. Itís just a heat of the moment type stuff. I donít think youíre going to get into any of that. I donít think youíre going to get into any retaliation. I do think itís strange we run Bristol and Martinsville back-to-back, two of the racetracks where tempers seem to flare the most. I donít think youíre going to have to worry about it. As a driver racing against other guys Iím not going to worry about it.Ē

ARE MORE DRIVERS MAKING MORE AGGRESSIVE MOVES THAN THEY DID 15 YEARS AGO? ďYes, but 15 years ago they made more aggressive moves than they did 15 years before that. I think the whole sport itself has changed. We can go all the way back to the question that was asked about tearing up cars at Bristol. Talked to Pearson or my father or Cale or Allison and those guys. I think guys respected their equipment a lot more and they respected other peopleís equipment a lot more. You just get people that ran over each or were incredibly aggressive. Now, having said that, youíve got to remember at that point in time everybody just had one car. It wasnít like everybody had a fleet of 15 or 20 cars sitting back at the shop that they could just trash one and go get another car. That wasnít the way racing was. I think as racing has changed, there is aggression, but thatís what racing is all about. Thereís got to be some aggression out there. When you drive on the highway you drive defensively. When you drive on the racetrack, you drive offensively. I think there needs to be some controlled aggression and sometimes it seems to be a little out of control, but I just think it goes back in a lot of cases to respecting the other guyís equipment and what he can do, not ability-wise. Itís never a case of ability, but itís a case of respecting the other guyís face and sometimes you donít get that. We could sit and talk this question until weíre blue in the face because so many factors that go into it Ė the speeds we run now, the type of racetracks compared to Rockingham and Darlington and places like that with multi-groove racetracks where you could run high and low. The tires are getting better and the aero is getting better. As far as that goes, there were 10 teams and now thereís a lot of teams that show up and can run within four tenths of each other. We can throw age into the mix.We can throw old drivers and young drivers on the racetrack at the same time. I think we can keep adding on things that are factors that factor in to it, but I donít think you can look at one thing. I think itís where the sport is at this point in time.Ē

WHATíS THE MOOD AT THE SHOP? ďI think everybody at the shop has been walking a little bit taller, but I think we have been since the beginning of the year. I go back to Daytona. Being able to work closer with Dodge over the winter and all the Dodge engineers out of Detroit, Ted Flack and all those guys, to be able to re-engage ourselves with the Dodge factory from an aero standpoint. Then to have Ray and his group be able to come down and point us in the right direction and have Paul come on board. The Evernham engines, there were a lot of things we thought were going to be a plus. We went into Daytona with a little higher spirits. Then we kinda fell on our face in Atlanta and that was a big race for us, but the big thing for us was to be so bad at Atlanta and then come to Bristol and have one car qualify in the top 10 and have another car finish in the top 10, I think that showed we can recover from some of this bad stuff. We just need to keep getting stronger and stronger. I think it shows itís a strong team and morale wise, itís as high as itís been in a long time.Ē

ARE YOU ASKING NASCAR FOR HELP FOR THE CHARGER? ďFrom my understanding, I donít know of anybody thatís gone to NASCAR and said, Ďgive us some relief on this nose.í I do not know that. I have not been a part of that and would not expect to be a part of that until it came out of Detroit or somewhere else. The Dodge Charger was designed so the guy sitting in the third row in the grandstands could say, Ďhey, there goes Ryan Newman in a Dodge Chargerí or Ďthere goes Rusty Wallace in a Dodge Charger.í Not to have to squint real hard and ask if itís a Ford or Chevy. What is that thing down there? Thatís kinda the way a lot of the cars look right now. When you look at them I think the brands have kinda lost their identity, and I think Dodge has done a tremendous job of getting their identity back. I donít think anybody has gone and said, Ďhey we want a different nose.í You just have to throw it out there and say it has been a problem for us and itís been winter. Itís not summer yet, but these things are getting ready to overheat and if that happens you might want to look our way.Ē

COMMENT ON SIGNING BY THE DRIVERS ON THE TRACK ďThereís a lot of signing going on in these cars. It just so happens that a lot of them donít have in-car cameras. When the soldiers went to Iraq, every unit had a reporter with them. Maybe weíd be better to have a team reporter that rode in the car with us and could write down everything and report it the way they see it. Let me tell you something. When youíre sitting in that car and somebody runs over you or you get mad at somebody, you see it totally different than sitting in the grandstands or sitting in the press box. If Shane flipped somebody off or if Dale Jarrett came to the window and had something to say to him, they had a reason to do that. It wasnít just out of the blue. It wasnít just all of a sudden somebody decided they wanted to go and do something. They had a reason to do that. From a penalty standpoint, Iím sure if they penalize for verbalizing it, theyíve got to penalize us for sign language too at some point in time. If you look at it like that, Iím sure theyíll probably do something, but I donít think he should get too much heat for it. Thatís a little juvenile if you ask me when you start complaining about stuff like that.Ē

WHATíS YOUR TAKE ON MARTINSVILLEíS FUTURE? ďI donít see right now why it would change a lot. If you look at it we have two Bristols and two Martinsvilles and those are our four half-mile tracks. We have two Daytonas and two Talladegas and those are our two two-and-a-half mile tracks. When you look at things like that, the schedule seems to be pretty well balanced. It seems to draw real good as they continue to build new grandstands. It draws a lot of people from West Virginia, and thereís not a hotter racing area in the country than Virginia from a fan base. Everybody in the state of Virginia pulls for somebody on the Cup circuit. I think when you look at it like that, then itís a good place to be. It depends on what they do with other racetracks. I think as they begin to look at the Northwest or New York City or other venues, then theyíll have to go back and address a lot of other racetracks, but I donít think Martinsville is in any more danger of losing a second event than a lot of other racetracks. I think since NASCAR has really come in and taken over and started to run the place, I would say their position is probably safer now than it has been.Ē

OVER THE YEARS WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE CHANGE FOR NASCAR? ďProbably the biggest change both positively and negatively has been the popularity. Obviously you look at the popularity of the sport and you say, Ďman, thatís a huge positive.í You look at the TV ratings and the amount of fans, corporate sponsors that come into the sport and are able to be a part of the sport like Coca-Cola, Dodge, Georgia-Pacific, General Mills, I can name all my sponsors. You look at Home Depot and so many different sponsors of so many different products from all over the country and itís grown by leaps and bounds. Thatís been the biggest change, going from 50,000 people at a racetrack to 150,000 or 200,000 people and the corporate involvement in the sport. Thatís probably been the biggest change for the last 20 or 25 years.

ďAt the same time, itís a negative because itís changed a lot of the sport. I think we bill ourselves as a sport thatís extremely fan friendly and fan accessible and as we get more fans coming to the racetrack, it seems like we withdraw into our cocoon which is the garage area and the bus lot where drivers can get away from the fans and get away from people because there are so many people at the racetrack. It seems like youíre in a mass of humanity all the time. I think from that respect, from our side, itís kind of taken the sport and made it more of a closed area and itís become more of a business than a sport because of the money and because of the things involved. The popularity is a double-edged sword. It can go both ways.Ē

ARE YOU NOTICING A LACK OF RESPECT FROM THE YOUNG GUNS TOWARD THE VETERANS AT THE TRACK? ďNot really, I donít think so. Let me say this about Shane (Hmiel). If anybody has a history of the sport itís Shane Hmiel, growing up with (father) Steve. Steve working with Richie Evans, the great modified driver for so many years and then coming to Petty Enterprises and working with my father and Dale Inman. Shane was born there. I was in Steveís wedding and around when Shane was born, so if you say Shane has no respect for the veterans, thatís dead, 180 degrees wrong. He respects the sport as much or more and probably understands the history of the sport as much or more than other people. When you talk about an isolated incident, if thereís 500 laps at Bristol, it (flipping the finger) goes on for 500 laps. It may not be the same driver all the time, but it happens all the time. I think thatís a two-way street. I think we as veteran drivers have to respect the talent and ability of these kids that come in and jump in really good cars and run good right off the bat. You watch Reed Sorenson, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears, you look at these guys and theyíre great racecar drivers already at 20 years and 19. Theyíre phenomenal talents right off the bat, and youíve got to respect that talent. I think from our standpoint itís two-way street. Itís a give and take. If we expect them to respect us, then weíve got to respect them. If theyíre running good weíve got to give them a little ground. If weíre running good you expect for them to give you a little bit of ground. From this standpoint I think weíre jumping on a dead bandwagon here. I donít think we need to jump on Shane too hard for this because that could just have easily been any other driver thatís out there right now. We could be having this same conversation about Kyle Petty or Bill Elliott or Ricky Rudd if I had gotten into it with a veteran driver or a young driver or whoever else, so I think itís almost a non-issue.Ē

 

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