Brickyard 400: Ford Motorsports Notes and Quotes
29 July 1998FORD MOTORSPORT NOTES & QUOTES
BRICKYARD 400 ADVANCE,
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
THE FIFTH ANNUAL BRICKYARD 400 IS SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACE SATURDAY, AUGUST 1 AT THE FAMED INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY. WITH THE INCREASED POPULARITY OF NASCAR WINSTON CUP RACING, FORD DRIVERS WERE ASKED THE FOLLOWING QUESTION. "WHERE DO YOU FEEL THE BRICKYARD 400 IS IN RELATION TO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 IN PRESTIGE?"
RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "From a prestige standpoint the Indy 500 still has got it on us, but, if you merely look in the grandstands and see the attendance, it's not much different probably. I think the attendance, there's not a seat left during the Brickyard 400. The Brickyard 400 still doesn't have the ring that the Indy 500 has got.
It's like the Brickyard 400 doesn't have the ring that the Daytona 500 has, but it's quickly becoming that way. It's real important for me this time because I'm going for the extra million (No Bull 5), and plus we had such a great test session and I feel pretty good about going back there. It's probably third or fourth in line. In auto racing I put the Indy 500, that gets the most attention. Then the Daytona 500, then you gotta look at the Coca-Cola 600 and then the Brickyard 400 in importance."
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "I think that the Indy 500 is still one of the most exciting and prestigious races in the world. I don't think that there was ever any illusion that any one of us as NASCAR drivers had a thought of trying to replace that and still don't think that we're going to. I think that the Brickyard has grown in stature in a short period of time as far as NASCAR races go. It's certainly one of the two or three that every driver in here wants to win. It's a huge, huge race for us in a lot of ways."
RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Taurus -- "I'm not really sure. The Indy 500 has been going on since the early 1900's. The Brickyard is a relatively new race. I think for stock car purposes, again, I'd rate it right up there with the Daytona 500. I'm not sure where it gets rated compared with the Indy 500. I think with the Indy 500 today, with the split between IRL and the (CART) Series, I'd have to say in the modern day era it's probably as big."
JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "The Indy 500 has a history that the Brickyard 400 doesn't have. I venture to say that right now there's more interest in the Brickyard 400 than there is in the Indy 500, but the Indy 500 is the Indy 500 just like the Daytona 500 is the Daytona 500. The Indy 500 is a race that has a lot of history and to say an event that's in it's fifth year compares to that wouldn't be fair. But right now I think there's more interest in the 400 race than the 500, but, still, it's not the 500 and it'll take many years before it is considered to be like the 500."
MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline Taurus -- "I don't comprehend. I can't approach that one. I'm a stock car racer. That's all I've ever been and don't have a clue what the Indy 500 means other than it's been around 100 years or whatever. I don't know and I don't think it matters. It shouldn't matter to the fan because the fans that are interested in seeing the Brickyard will come no matter where it stacks and the ones that aren't interested in stock car racing aren't gonna come no matter what we say. (THE BRICKYARD 400) is a different race and it doesn't have the heritage, but it does pack quite a punch."
KENNY IRWIN -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "It's definitely growing. I think the people outside of Indianapolis would probably say it's bigger now. The people that have gone to the Indy 500 for 20 years that maybe haven't been to a NASCAR Winston Cup race would probably say the Indy 500 is still the greatest race in the world. I would say that NASCAR, and what it's done over the last five or six years, especially at Indy, you see that Brickyard tickets are a lot harder to get than the Indy car tickets. So that's one thing that tells you that the Brickyard is gaining a lot of momentum, if not having already passed the Indy 500."
JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "I think it's higher. I think it's bigger and prestige-wise it's a lot more. You talk to the fans at the race or the one watching TV, I think all of them will tell you the Brickyard is definitely the highest. The Indy 500 definitely used to be, at one point, higher than what you would say the Brickyard might have been, but nowadays I think I think the Brickyard has passed it and it's beyond that."
JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- "It's hard. It's two different divisions. The Indy 500 is the Indy 500. You'll never take anything away from that race. For me, I think that us coming to Indy with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series has stepped us up and given us a whole new set of fans. It's broadened our fan base and has broadened what we can do and to show how good of a show we can put on. I just thank Tony George for letting Bill France bring us there. The Brickyard to us is very, very special. I don't know, I haven't won the Daytona 500 and I haven't won the Brickyard, but I think there are a couple of races that a driver really wants to win and the Brickyard is number one right now. The Daytona 500 has always been a favorite of mine. Tony George pays a lot of money, but you just mention the Brickyard and everybody knows the Brickyard. I don't think there's a simple answer to it, but the Brickyard is very, very special, no question about it."
DICK TRICKLE -90- Heilig Meyers Taurus -- "Historically, the Indianapolis 500 is (THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS), but we're making history. If you ask that same question eight to 15 years from now it will probably turn around because, I think, the people relate to Winston Cup racing and the stock cars. It's all about people and our fans. We don't put it on TV because it's colorful, we put it on TV for the people. The people like it, we like it and it all comes down to numbers. In Winston Cup racing, I don't believe the fans are just numbers. I think we appreciate them. We've got the best fans of any sport and Dick Trickle sits with the best of the best. I've got the best fans of our sport, so I'm a very, very fortunate person."
TED MUSGRAVE -16- PRIMESTAR Taurus -- "I tell you what, that was just something being at the inaugural Brickyard 400. That's something that will always stand out in my mind, the amount of people and the amount of hype. Walking into the garage area and being on that race track was just awesome. I'm so glad to have been a part of the very first one and continuing. I'm gonna be there next week. We had a very, very fast race car there last year. Hopefully, we can get the same setup and do the same thing again. The hype on it and how it relates to the Indianapolis 500 is kind of different because now I think the Indianapolis 500 lost a little pizzazz because of the sanctioning body change. NASCAR Winston Cup, with its growth and being there, I hate to say it but I think the Brickyard 400 has superseded the Indy 500. Sure, the Indianapolis 500 is always gonna stand out as one of the big, big races, but if you look at NASCAR Winston Cup, going to Indianapolis and running the Brickyard 400 was one of the big milestones for the sport."
DALE JARRETT WON THE BRICKYARD 400 IN 1996, THE YEAR IN WHICH HE ALSO WON THE DAYTONA 500 AND THE COCA-COLA 600. RECENTLY, HE SPOKE ABOUT RETURNING TO THE BRICKYARD AND HAVING AN OPPORTUNITY AT WINNING A MILLION DOLLARS IN THE WINSTON NO BULL 5 AND BECOMING THE FIRST DRIVER TO WIN TWO BRICKYARD 400s.
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT INDY? "It's risen in stature in quite a short period of time. It's just an exceptional place to go race. It's a fun race track for us. We've done awful well there. The last three years have been really good and we look forward to it. There's incentive enough just to try and go back and be the first two-time winner of the race and it's incentive enough just to go there and race and wanna do well with the history of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Now we've got an extra million dollars to race for, so if you can't get up for those things and get ready, you need to find something else to do. We're excited about it."
IF YOU WIN THE NO BULL 5 MONEY, WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH IT? "The money is a fun thing. It's fun because you can say you won it. Not many people have a chance to win a million dollars doing anything, so it's not a matter of winning it so I can put it in the bank or anything, it's a matter of winning it to say I won it. It's bragging rights more than anything else, but I don't have any idea what I'd do with it. I'm sure my wife and kids would help spend it."
WILL YOUR EXPERIENCE RUNNING FOR THE WINSTON MILLION IN 1996 HELP YOU PREPARE FOR THE NO BULL 5? "I'm sure it will some. We viewed it (THE WINSTON MILLION) as more fun just like we're looking at Indy. It's a fun situation. There are five of us that have an opportunity to win a whole lot of money next week. There's pressure in every single race and whether they were putting up a million dollars or five dollars, we're gonna go there and race just as hard because it's the year-end championship that matters. But we would certainly like to be the first one to win this No Bull money."
SINCE YOU RUN AT INDY, DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT TRYING TO RUN AN OPEN WHEEL CAR AT 228 MPH? "Not anymore. Not at 41 years old. I've gotten over the thrill of having to go that fast. I think it's the competition that drives me more now. You know, when I was in my late 20's, early 30's, yeah, that was something that really intrigued me, going that fast. But not anymore. I've got four kids, a good wife, and a good ride here that I'll just be satisfied with going the speeds that we do."
WAS LAST YEAR A YEAR WHERE A GOOD CAR AND A GOOD DRIVER WON, BUT A GOOD DRIVER AND A GREAT CAR DIDN'T? "Well, yeah, sometimes the very best car doesn't win. And that's not taking anything away from Ricky Rudd. He had an exceptional day and won the race. We won a race this year on fuel mileage, so we can't say anything about that. But we did have an awful good car, and it was a little frustrating at the time, because I knew that we could have been the first team to win back-to-back Brickyards, and the first one to win two of them. That part of it was a little difficult at the time, but then you realize that it's just racing, and we've got another opportunity."
HOW ABOUT THE BRICKYARD IROC RACE? DO THE DRIVERS IN THAT RACE HAVE AN ADVANTAGE OVER THE OTHER WINSTON CUP DRIVERS? "No. There's no advantage to that, because the cars are so different. The carburetors are different, don't have nearly the horsepower. There won't be any advantage for us in running that extra race. We've got enough track time there now that we all know what it takes, what the track is gonna do. And I think that's why the race has become more and more competitive each year. It's because everybody's learning about it. The IROC race should be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I get to start up front. That's because I'm so far back in the points. But that's gonna be an advantage there. Hopefully, I can take that advantage and make something of it."
WHAT IS THE STYLE OF RACING AT INDY? "It's a difficult race track for the stock cars to pass on, but handling is the key. The guy who can get through the corners. Even though you've got two long straightaways, the only way you can make those straightaways work is to get through the corners and that's what we've worked extremely hard at is making our car better through and off of the corners"
HOW DID YOUR TESTING GO AT INDY? "I was somewhat pleased, but I was hoping we might get a little more accomplished than what we did. But, I think, after evaluating what we went through and after Todd (PARROTT) and I sat down, it was a hectic three days. We got a lot done, but when we went back and looked at everything, I felt a little better about it then than when I left there, so I think we've got a good shot at it."