NASCAR Winston Cup Preview
Topics: Winston Cup
January 18, 2003
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
Q. Robby, what is happening at RCR and the No. 31 shop?
ROBBY GORDON: Pretty much everybody had to change bodies around, even Ford teams. It caught all of us by surprise with the new template rules. We are just struggling to get cars done with three teams at RCR. The guys have been working hard over the winter. We had a real good test at Kentucky. You can go and test by yourself and you might catch a good day with weather and think you are good. When you get 42 other cars showing up at the race track, your testing might not have been as good as you thought it was. We are working hard and focusing real hard on consistency with the racecars. That's what hurt us at times last year. We had a few cars that were very good. And we had some other cars that we struggled with. So, we're trying to get them all a little more consistent and that should help us run better for the championship.
Q. Robby, once upon time you drove for Chip, any words of advise for Casey (Mears)?
ROBBY GORDON: Why do you have to be like that? I have known Casey a long time; he will do a good job for Chip. Chip gives the drivers the tools to win races and if he can learn from Sterling, who was real strong last year, he will be tough.
Q. What is your opinion about what the common template is going to do once everybody figures it out and gets the cars done, what's this going to do as far as the competition?
ROBBY GORDON: To be honest, I think it's going to make the field even tighter than it was before. I think it is going to make it more competitive. I think we've seen that at Daytona testing. Obviously, at down force tracks, we know the Fords had a big advantage on us last year. I'm just kidding. It's just going to make it more competitive. It will put on a better show for the fans.
Q. What if anything prepares you for the long and exciting season?
JEFF BURTON: Alcohol. (Laughter) Right, Robby.
ROBBY GORDON: I don't know what you are talking about. Red Bull. I think all of us get so involved in the races that we forget how long the season really is and once you have some off time you really don't know what to do. It's like what do we do this weekend? Normally we go to the racetrack. The off time is probably a little more difficult than the race time because at least you know what you're doing on a consistent basis week in and week out. It's a tough schedule, very competitive like Jeff said. You can just be off a little bit and you are 20th. It shows how competitive Winston Cup racing is. I'm excited to get into another season and looking forward to so results this year.
Q. NASCAR is expected to announce some new policy in the garage, limiting access for the fans this season. There will be the perception among fans that now the sport may not be as fan-friendly with that. What are the challenges on the sport or the drivers to maybe alter those perceptions whether they're true or not?
ROBBY GORDON: Are you talking about the Tony Rule? Tony helped us get this new policy going. If it doesn't work we can blame him. NASCAR has done a great job over the years in building the company and getting it to the level it's at. I think we are second right now to the NFL. If it doesn't work, I'm sure they will make changes. Look at the templates, they make changes to those every week.
JEFF BURTON: If you drove a Ford they do.
Q. With all of these new templates and the body changes, do you think we will see more passing this year on the track?
ROBBY GORDON: I think it is going to be very competitive. And the answer is probably going to be no and that's because the cars are going to be more equal and guys aren't going to have an advantage and being able to qualify 25th and move to the front. I am sure teams are still going to do that. It's so easy if you happen to stay out under a caution and you are the first car, it is like, man, the car is a different racecar up front. The guys that do the pit strategy, right, and stuff like that will be able to take advantage of situations like that. I think it's been like this a long time.
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