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NASCAR Media Conference: Most Memorable Moments

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR, The Winston

NASCAR Media Conference: Most Memorable Moments

Richard Childress
Rick Crawford
Jonathan Gibson
Jeff Hammond
Larry McReynolds
Rusty Wallace
Humpy Wheeler
Robert Yates
May 11, 2004


MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS

JERRY GAPPENS: My name is Jerry Gappens, the vice president of public relations here at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Glad to have you out in great weather. Humpy is testing the weather to make sure we can find a perfect day for those ten days of racing we have coming up here in a week or so, so everything looks good. We appreciate you coming out, appreciate the fine folks at Levy Restaurants doing a great job for lunch with the picnic environment that we had out here. This is our Fleetwood camping facility. This will be filled obviously with race fans in a week or so. And this pavilion is actually used for various functions, first time we have done a press conference over here, but it's worked out real well. The Speedway Club was booked full with all of its rooms, which is good news for all of us, and the infield is still being constructed. So we came over here, and this has worked out great. We appreciate that. As you know, we have testing going on, day two of NASCAR Busch Series testing during the day, and of course the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP teams will resume testing again today at 4:00. Paul Menard has the distinction of being the first driver to test the new safer barriers which were completed last week. He hit in between turns three and four right before lunch today. The good news is, he was able to walk away from the accidents, no injuries, and the wall looks fine, but he hit it pretty good, so that's why we put them up. Unfortunately he's the first guy to test them. So Paul Menard did that earlier today. Also, though they are not part of the formal program, I wanted to take a moment to mention the Quaker State Lube folks are with us today. They are going to be respond organize our Arco Remax Race (ph) coming up during Coke 600 next week. Lance Lear and Ed Randal from those folks are here. And right next to them, he's the Tony the Tiger Kellogg's people where they black out the face, you can't really see them, is J.C., the Internet guru who has done so much for race fans with his Internet site. He's going to be the grand marshal for that event. On May 18th he'll have the doors open and it's going to be quite a facility, and I think race fans and all of us are going to enjoy it. They are going to have a reception on May 24 from 6:00 to 9:00, that's on Monday after the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge from 6:00 to 9:00. So J.C. will buy you some beers and we'll eat some wings together. Speaking of Miller, we're getting ready to start race weeks here. Obviously Miller Brewing Company is an important part of the Lowe's Motor Speedway family, and to expand on that relationship, with us this afternoon, we have Jonathan Gibson, the senior marketing manager from Miller Brewing Company with a couple key announcements, not only his relationship of the Speedway but their involvement with the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Jonathan?

JONATHAN GIBSON: First of all, let me say thank you to the folks from Lowe's Motor Speedway for including us in that announcement today. We are very delighted to become the official beer of Lowe's Motor Speedway, marking a 25-year partnership where both Lowe's Motor Speedway and Miller Brewing Company have brought race fans the best excitement across the circuit on this Speedway. Miller and Lowe's share a common bonds growing up together over the NASCAR's history while it's grown into one of the most popular sports in the country. Miller and Lowe's will continue to work together to provide fun to the race fans in a responsible manner moving forward. This year, we are really excited about the plan we put together with Lowe's Motor Speedway. We are putting together a full arsenal stuff to take to retail and take to the consumer in this region. One of those things the Miller Lite Party Deck, which is going to be on the back stretch where 100 legal drinking-age drinking consumers can win a spot to watch the race from the back stretch on our Party Deck and enjoy food and beverage. In addition to the Party Deck, we have the second annual Miller Lite Rock and Racing Concert, which will take place at 3:00 P.M. prior to the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge with the band live, and consumer winners will be able to get a VIPP experience of that, as well. And lastly, and what I would like to say most importantly, we've got Rusty Wallace driving the Vote Miller for President of Beers car in both the All-Star Challenge and the Coca-Cola 600, part of our national campaign and due to our strong association with Lowe's Motor Speedway and the importance of this track, the entire circuit, we call it the two races where we wanted to bring that campaign to life on Rusty's car. With all that said, I want to thank Lowe's for our participation over the last 25 years, and looking forward to a great race experience over the next two weeks. (Applause).

JERRY GAPPENS: It's appropriate that Rusty is going to be driving the Vote for Miller campaign car, with his politics and lobbying he got the format of the All-Star Race changed, so he's a good politician. And Rusty is going to join us here in a minute on the telecom line, so we'll be able to hear from Rusty with what they are doing, and we appreciate Miller doing that. That will be a ggreat experience for the fans. Next up as part of the -- as you know, part of the All-Star Weekend last year, we brought in for the first time the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to round out the All-Star Pole Night activities and make that the feature event on Friday night. It's really turned out great, and they are back again this year. And we're happy to announce we have got a partner to help present that race and do some great things here in our community about helping us promote the race and bring some folks in and to update us on that announcement. It's my pleasure to bring up Kristof Tojka (ph) who is with Infineon. He handled their director of media relations and their corporate communications, just met him today, talked to him on the phone. You are going to notice with the accent, he's not from around here, he's originally from Germany, but works out the California office. They are part of the SMI family with their relationship with Infineon Raceway. We are glad to have their whole staff being here on All-Star Weekend. Kristof, tell us what you are doing.

KRISTOF: Thanks, Jerry, I really have to admire you, you almost pronounce it right. Thank you for the opportunity to announce our sponsorship of the Infineon 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. We are really thrilled for this opportunity to have the title sponsorship of this exciting event. Some of you may know in Infineon's involvement in motor sport racing in Europe, as well as the U.S. We have a long history and it has been an essential part of our brand building we have a strong technology corporation with the Formula 1 Ferrari team in Europe. Why is that the case? Why are we doing this? As you may know, we are No. 2 worldwide in automotive electronics. We are No. 1 in Europe. What does it mean for you? It means that every each new car that rolls off the production line has approximately 20 chips inside, just to break that down and make it more concrete, so each and every air bag and abs system in the new car is probably powered by two Infineon censors inside. We already have a very successful partnership with the SMI at the Infineon Raceway in California, and the relationship has been going on for two years and growing awareness in the Bay Area. We are approximately employed by 3,000 people in the U.S. right now. 2,000 of them are actually East Coast based, not West Coast based. So far, they have never had an opportunity really sort of participate in our excitement for race sponsoring. We just opened up an expansion office in Raleigh, the research triangle area where we will create 400 new high-tech jobs in North Carolina. And we have a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Richmond, Virginia with 1,800 jobs, and we have just announced that we are going to invest another $1 billion into that facility to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing and create another 800 high-tech jobs. The sponsorship of the Infineon 200 Truck Race is a new opportunity to offer an exciting event to our dedicated employees over here. We will have approximately 500 Infineon employees traveling here both from Richmond, as well as from Raleigh, to joining us for the race here. And we are also very happy to help the YMCA's in the greater Charlotte and the triangle community with a donation of 1,000 tickets to their valuable community development programs. And that's also part of our history that we try to become fairly good corporate citizens in the regions where we are creating jobs and that is part of our activities over here. Finally, we use this extraordinary venue, the Lowe's Motor Speedway to further strengthen our relationships with key customers on the East Coast. All in all, it's a lot of value and excitement and we will get -- we will get for our Infineon 200 sponsorship, and we will look forward to welcome you all back to the race. Thank you very much. (Applause).

JERRY GAPPENS: Did you hear that accent? He did say y'all. He's blending in already. Part of the weekend, obviously with that and running in that Infineon 200 will be NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Rick Crawford, and he is here with us to say a few words. Rick?

RICK CRAWFORD: We are looking forward to running that race, too, especially coming back here to Lowe's Motor Speedway. You know, Bobby Wheeler has always said driving a race car is not rocket science. I had to ask what a semiconductor was, and they are sponsoring the race. So maybe it's a change. Next thing I'd like to add is, I've got a handkerchief the other day and somebody done cut it up with a pair of scissors. I guess that was a yellow flag. I couldn't use that. You go in these races like these NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. We are going to race till the checkered flag falls. Proud to be here. Thanks to Infineon sponsoring the NASCAR crafts. It's great to be back at Lowe's Motor Speedway, especially NEXTEL CUP All-Star Race Weekend, and I'm sure the fans and the media and everybody will see an exciting race. I'm glad to be part of it.

JERRY GAPPENS: Thank you, Rick, and that should be a great weekend. We're ready to move on to the reason we came. As you know we are getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. It's provided so many great memories, so we decided to work with NASCAR and NEXTEL and put together panels to vote on the top three moment memorable moments and we are going to unveil those here right now. The panel consisted of two promoters and I won't keep them anonymous, Humpy wheeler. The other promoter is Mike Helton, he promoted the only All-Star event that ran away from the Speedway down in Atlanta, and Mike was the general manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway and promoted that event so Mike had a vote. We had a couple NEXTEL CUP drivers who had been in all but one of the races who cast a vote and with the media we went to Tom Higgins, Pappy Higgins cast his vote because he's retired, either covered or watched every event so he voted on it as well. We are about to see the results of that voting. Talking about the panel we have up here, we'll get into that, you guys can almost guess what these votes turned out to be by the personnel we have up front here. But we are going to go ahead and start with the unveiling and show you the clip from the third most memorable moment in All-Star history. We'll role the tape right now. (Video played). That's known as the tied slide. It happened at turn four in 1989. Of course Rusty Wallace involved , do we have Rusty on the phone?

RUSTY WALLACE: Sure do.

JERRY GAPPENS: Now, you're lucky, because Darryl is on his way to Maryland so he's not with us, but we got Jeff Hammond so you have to be careful what you say, but I know you guys can't rumble here because there's some mileage separating. Since you're the elder statesman of the two, we're going to let you talk about that, that moment that was created right there in a split spec.

RUSTY WALLACE: It was a heck of a race, no doubt about that. Darryl had a great car and I had a great car. I believe I won the first segment. And back then, what I remember, we used to run biased flat tires in those days. We hit pit road and when we started the second segment my guys put the right front tire on the right rear and the right rear on the right front and my car was just loose as heck. Darryl blew me off that second segment, won the race, and the third segment we got the tires back on that thing right. And I caught him going into turn three and it was just one of those real nervy moves I made. I drove it down in there, the front end is pushing, I said, stay in the throttle, maybe it will stick, it didn't stick. I got up in the quarterpanel, caused one big wreck and one big fight. It was a memorable moment, no doubt about that. Gosh, it what was an exciting race. I think that people around always remember how much excitement -- heck, there was so much excitement. They were fighting in the pit area. Next morning John Boy and Billy already created a song overnight about it. It was something.

JERRY GAPPENS: We were talking, one of the most famous quotes in rising came from Darryl when he said, "I hope" he, meaning you, "choke on that $200,000 that you won for winning that race." Did it make you mad?

RUSTY WALLACE: I think at that point I was pretty young and cocky back then. My reply was, don't worry about it, I won't. I remember taking the money home, and I remember there was so much stuff going on that night with my family being nervous and everybody wanting to kill me, and all the excitement going on, Humpy sent two security guards home that night with me. I'll never forget waking up next morning, my little daughter Katie, ran into me and says, "Dad, what's there two policeman down in the bedroom downstairs in the house for"? I said, "Long story, I'll tell you about it later." But it was something.

JERRY GAPPENS: And Jeff, you want to pipe in right here?

JEFF HAMMOND: Where do you start, because, you know it's the first time I think I've ever heard Rusty actually admit he tested because early on he said he never tested. I remember when he brought the car back to the 600 the next week, we did a little pluck and buck on the front nose of the car. We left a dent in there that actually got put in the quarterpanel when Rusty did get to us. I remember calling Bill on the radio and he wasn't real happy about my comment when I keyed a button, says, did he do what I thought he just did? I said, you've got to ask? He was hot. But the situation after that, I guess you have to say, was pretty monumental. I think Humpy probably really like the because he was able to pick a couple sparring partners after that big fray in the infield afterwards because between Rusty's team, my team and his security guards, it got real hot and heavy down there real quick. All and all, I think this is what the Winston has always been about is the passion or the determination of guys like Rusty and Darryl and some of the other members that have won over there, or drivers that have won at Charlotte have all been about either driving their guts out for pride more than anything else. The money is great, but I think it's something about winning the All-Star Race that means so much to you, and the reason I sit up here and I can and say that, I think a lot of people forget I was a crew chief in 1985 when we ran the inaugural Winston and won it against Terry Gantz (ph). So, I know the significance of winning this race. I know the pride and effort we put into this trying to win the first one. I know Junior Johnson, we tested down there probably, back then it was unrestricted, so we probably tested eight or nine times especially for that first race.

Q. You going to tell us what you did to that motor at the start finish line? You got all the money, go ahead and tell us the truth.

JEFF HAMMOND: Just because Rusty tells the truth don't mean I've got to tell the truth. (Laughter).

Q. Was that you fighting in the infield there? (Laughter)?

JEFF HAMMOND: I don't know. I have a little touch of what does Darryl call it, Alzheimers or something like that. I know we had a pretty good parade going on and I had a couple things after that little deal.

JERRY GAPPENS: Could you have handled Barry Dobson or did you handle them?

JEFF HAMMOND: We couldn't get at each other. A couple guys were between us and him, and I remember we were trying to get at one another at that time. It was a great race. Again, I got a lot of respect for Rusty, I don't want him to think I don't have that for him because he's really helped me out a lot with Darryl. I mean, I've been working with Darryl since 1981. We've been trying to get the fans to like him and it took Rusty about 30 seconds here at Charlotte, and I appreciate it. He really made things a lot easier for me after that.

JERRY GAPPENS: That's a good point he makes, Rusty. You said in some post race comments even ten years after that event, that that day cost you a lot of fans, and it certainly gained Darryl and it took you a while to win them back. You might just touch on that again.

RUSTY WALLACE: Yeah, it really did. Darryl was the guy they were always hollering at or booing back then. I really don't know where I fit in that scenario at that particular time because I was only -- oh, what was it, about five years into my Cup career back then. But I'll never forget they went to booing me like crazy. Humpy took me upstairs in the Speedway Club, usually everybody when you walk by cheers for you, but I walked in and everybody booed me. I took a glass of champagne and got sick and went home, but I did have the 200, I do remember that. Then, yeah, took me a long time to get those fans back. I don't think I got them back till like '93 or something is when I started seeing everything turning. It was, you know, it took a long time. It made me really appreciate those fans, I'll tell you that, because boy I screwed it up, down on his luck and getting beat up pretty hard and here this young cocky kids comes in, spins him out and takes his money and runs, so it wasn't too cool.

JERRY GAPPENS: Darryl should probably thank you for this great television based on that popularity, too.

RUSTY WALLACE: Darryl owes me everything. He knows that.

JERRY GAPPENS: Touch on what you did after the race, you can had to sneak Rusty up to the press box; you couldn't take him through the general public or the fans?

HUMPY WHEELER: I think we had a bad phone call right after the race and we weren't too happy about that phone call, so we needed to do something. I felt a little sorry for him, because you're out there, you're battling, trying to make it, trying to win and everything else. You know in the heat of the battle all kind of things happen, but it sure got the fans riled up, the Darryl fans. So we got through that, and like Rusty said, we had a couple policeman down there at his house that night and everything sort of cooled down the next day, except in 17 garage, and rest is history, I guess you could say. It was very tense here for a while. I thought we would see the fights they were having down in the pits go up into the stands, but they didn't. Nothing happened --

RUSTY WALLACE: That's the first time I ever remember going to winner's celebration in the back of an ambulance. (Laughter). Put me in the back of that ambulance and drove me in the back of the Speedway.

JERRY GAPPENS: So you hid him in an ambulance?

HUMPY WHEELER: Yeah, we did. Everybody pretty well knows how we take them up, and that got that. But it was probably the most -- for a young driver, Rusty, that had to be the toughest interview, post-race interview that we've seen anywhere, because he had to go through that, walked in the press box and so forth. But that thing, that was probably one of our more interesting post-race media conferences.

JERRY GAPPENS: Getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of NASCAR's All-Star event, really talking about it going really from a race to a major event, what else stands out in your mind about the event and any other special memories that we might not be talking about right now that come from that race?

RUSTY WALLACE: There's many, many memories about this race. It's always high intensity, high impact, there's no points and it's a lot of money and it's at night. The way they do it is very, very dramatic, all the lights and the smoke. I tell you what, when I walk across that introduction getting ready to get in that carry feel like a warrior sometimes because there's so much hype behind it. You get in the race and you run and you run and you spend two days setting the car up. And I tell you what, it's one heck of a great warm-up session to get the car tuned up for the 600 the next week. And I really use that race as a great tune-up for the 600 to try to short cut the chassis setup learning and things like that. That's really helped me. I've won it, I've crashed in it, I've finished second in it, I've finished third , I've been eliminated from it, I've been all over the spectrum. I'm glad they reconsidered the rules this year and reverted to every car is in the event now, unlike last year where there was a process of elimination going on. I think that's good for the sport. I sure wouldn't want to see six or eight cars riding around this mile-and-a-half race track and being boring. I think it was the right decision reconsidering and getting the rules right. It will be a monumental race with NEXTEL, all new colors, there will be some excitement, I guarantee you.

JERRY GAPPENS: I understand that you do have a moment to stay with us, if you hang on and we'll open it up for some questions. We'll go to segment No. 2. (Video played). The second most memorable moment, the famed pass from the grass from 1987 featuring, of course, the late Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliot racing hard and not too many people in this world could do what Earnhardt did with day racing across the grass. And here to help represent that moment, reflect back, we have obviously long-time car owner and great friend of Dale Earnhardt, Richard Childress. And Richard you are talked about the emotions from that day, first of all, what did you think when you saw your car going through the grass in the front straightaway there?

RICHARD CHILDRESS: Well, the whole thing, like Bill said, he hit a couple of times earlier and he did a hell of a job holding on to it right there. It's a moment we'll never forget. That's probably one of the biggest saves, especially, that I've seen in Charlotte, through the grass, come back out and still win the race. All the stuff I think it led up to it and afterwards, we all came to the pits and we had a few words. It was pretty exciting. When the race was over, I can't remember how I got a flag or I got something, I got on the side of the car and I think there was a lot of words passed then, too. But the Winston and now this year the NEXTEL, this is a heck of an emotional race. Used to tell Dale, we're down to that feature just like we were at Concord, go get it. That's kind of what it is.

JERRY GAPPENS: Talking about the emotion of it, one of the quotes in researching through the years, this comes directly from the paper with your quotes you talk about the emotions running high, apparently Ernie Elliot came down into your pit box griping about your driver there, and you were quoted as saying, I'll paraphrase a little bit, you told Ernie in few less words, if you don't want your face rearranged, you'd better get out of my pit box right now. Can you talk about what it meant, back then people were competitors; this was for real.

RICHARD CHILDRESS: I don't remember that, but (Laughter) I mean, I think most of the races, especially back in the 80s and early 90s, short track racing, where you did, if you got beat, you got out and fought about it, and most of the time and that's what racing was about. That's the way we were raised. I know Dale, he was so much fun to work with, and those Winstons, he would enter those things with a look on his face: This is my money, my trophy, you've got to come and get it.

JERRY GAPPENS: If there was one driver in the history of the sport that was really tailor-made for an All-Star event like that, it had to be Dale, I mean, did you see, he became the Saturday night short track racer going for the feature money to buy groceries for a week; is that a fair statement?

RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, I think he carried that into the Winston over here at that point. Probably one of the more prouder nights we didn't win the race, but when junior won his race, that's one of the more memorable, how he was and how he reacted to that. That was a pretty neat night, too.

JERRY GAPPENS: That was obviously in 2000, Junior became the first rookie to win the All-Star event and Humpy picked him that year. Humpy, he had won at Richmond, I guess the week before or two weeks before, and of course had won at Texas. Talk about the phone call you got from Dale, Senior when you made that pick.

HUMPY WHEELER: He didn't like it at all. He said, "You're putting too much pressure on that boy," and that's exactly what he said. I said, "Well I think he's going to win it." He said, well, yeah, but he just wasn't on and on and on. I knew he was betting himself, that's fine, but after the race, I didn't see him for a few days. I called him and he said, well, please don't do that again. I said, well, who won the race, maybe that helped push him along. He told me then that Junior could react to pressure, because that's a lot of pressure to have on a young race driver. He showed me a lot of maturity that night, so that's just something you have to put him in battle and Richard and Mr. Yates over here knows, you've got to put these young drivers in the heat to find out really what they are all about. I think we found if out that night. One thing about Wilkes County, about Darryl, running for Junior he was the most popular driver in Wilkes County and those people up there loved him. I was really concerned in the grandstand that fans would go and they didn't but that was good. All the fighting was down in the pits.

JERRY GAPPENS: So you didn't mean it that people in Wilkes county like to fight?

HUMPY WHEELER: Oh, no. Very great fans.

JERRY GAPPENS: I don't know if that had something to do with moon shine. They would eat breakfast at Junior's house before the race.

HUMPY WHEELER: Oh, yeah.

JERRY GAPPENS: Let's go ahead and go to the scene that was voted No. 1, the most memorable moment. (VIDEO PLAYED). Voted the most memorable moment in All-Star history was one hot night with Bob, and that was 1992 the first night race in Super Speedway history and the great finish with Lee Davy Allison and Kyle Petty. And Kyle's charity ride came through here to the Speedway on Saturday and I told him it's been voted that. He smiled and he says, wow, that's unbelievable, doesn't seem that long ago, but he talked about it. Representing that night here, we've got Robert Yates, who, of course, the owner of the 28 car and Larry McReynolds who does his work on the FOX television network, his crew chief there. Robert, we'll start with you. Reflect back on that night, that obviously had a whole new field, a whole new element to it than previous All-Star events to that date.

ROBERT YATES: Certainly, I'd like to say, this event is really for -- it's an awesome event. It's like one that if you're going to break the rules, this is the one to break it at. You know, it gets the adrenaline -- it's one of those sort of not a normal race. We get excited about going to it.

HUMPY WHEELER: What happened in the winner's circle where we didn't have a driver.

ROBERT YATES: I'd like to remember '91 where we won, the '92 was the hot and cold; it was one hot night but one cold sweet. I grew up on the pit and I never knew that wall had a turn there and I didn't know you could hit the wall with the force, we ended up getting into the wall at. When we got to the car, Davy was knocked unconscious. So wasn't thinking about winning because it was still a tight deal. By that time we were just concerned about our driver. So we go down and commence taking care of him, get him out, and he was in an ambulance escort, for a reason he needed to be in an ambulance, instead of hauling up a press conference. So we were concerned about that No. 1. And not thinking about winning. It was just all that, you know, pushed all that aside because our concerns were, how is Davy. Went down to the infield care center and Donny Allison, I got to see Dave and then Donny took me aside and said he'll be okay, he's just knocked out and he's coming around. First thing, he wants to know who won or something. Anyway, he knew where he was and where he had been. So that was good. Ended up he did spend the night in a hospital to get some tests done, and he was released the next morning. The good, hot cold part of it was it was the best car we probably ever had. Didn't realize how good it was. We went for the million dollar win the next week in the 600, which I think we could have accomplished that with that car. And were just happy we won the first two segments. Just happy to have a good car in third place, and everything started happening in front of us. And we were sort of happy to win, but it's probably one -- the toughest victory lane I've ever -- to start with, all of the security guards, that worked for Bruden (ph) they were pretty good friends of mine, too. Bruden tells them to bring the car up to the winner's circle and as the wreck is backing in, I go back in the infield, he's backing in with the car, and of course, I've got people screaming at me: No, no, no, we've seen enough so. I had to make a decision that we shouldn't allow the car to go, they had seen enough of it and get it out. Well, I had to jump on the door and start pounding on the door and driver said, look, Bruce told me to back it in here. I said no, take it out of here. I said I'm going to hit you as hard as I'm hitting your door -- wiping out the door of his wreck, I was going it hit him next if he didn't take the thing out and I was going to jump in and take the wreck and pull it out. I was sort of losing my cool about that, but we got it out of there. And then the rest of the people came along and say, we've got to have a victory lane picture. And we put up and had done all this and they made me feel bad that we probably went up to victory lane. I knew I shouldn't do this, it's not right, the car is not here, the driver is not here, I shouldn't be here. One of the worst ones I hate for fans to give me the sign of a victory lane picture of that where there's no driver. I always second guess that deal. But we like to be involved. In '89 when I left pit road I said, I don't even deserve to get in a fight tonight. (Laughter). It's just one of those deals that it's Saturday night racing. Like I grew up at Concord fighting with Ralph Burnhard. I pounded on his car a few times and it's just, that's what we did. That got our adrenaline going and that kind of thing. So it's a fun deal. It's not a long 600-miler. If I'm representing anybody in the world to come see their first race, I say come to the NEXTEL Race next weekend and get a preview of what you'll see every week. But, you know, it's very exciting and I'd also like to take the time to say that this is where all of our large teams and their families can come to this event. It's wonderful to have it here at this practice. No, that was a tough night. Turned out our car that we bit the next car was No. 10, 007 was the one we wrecked.

HUMPY WHEELER: You never ran that car again, did you?

RICHARD CHILDRESS: NASCAR would not have let us run it again. They told us, don't bring it back the next week because we had the fenders all pulled up. We didn't realize how good of a car it was.

HUMPY WHEELER: We can tell.

RICHARD CHILDRESS: We thought we had build a built a better car. (Laughter) It's like, all of these things we had to get rid of that night went up on the wall, and thank goodness the driver was okay.

HUMPY WHEELER: I've got to ask you a question, Richard. Your driver got knocked out up there in the fourth turn, and he never really said anything bad about anything, did he, after the race? He was in a pretty good mood.

RICHARD CHILDRESS: Went over to the hospital and seen him, he's pretty good.

HUMPY WHEELER: That first night when he was leading going do you know the back stretch and he got parked in the three and four by Kyle, he stayed pretty cool about that.

RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, but Felix was using all of that strange language.

JERRY GAPPENS: We invited Felix to come to represent the event as well. He's in Miami but he shared with us to share with you that that night, he had promised Kyle $1 million if Kyle could win the race so to protect his bet, he took an insurance policy out with Lloyd's of London and he remembered the premium cost him 22,000 and he thought, boy, that was a great investment and said he got beat by Davy by three feet there and for some reason he blamed Earnhardt for losing it. I couldn't quite figure out on the phone yesterday why he thought that you guys hit him. But Larry McReynolds is here. Larry, you talked about that while flag lap on one hot night, you thought you were out of it when you took that. Describe that last lap.

LARRY McREYNOLDS: I'm the only one up there on the stage doing a fight during that race.

JERRY GAPPENS: You wanted to fight in 1993 -- (Laughter).

LARRY McREYNOLDS: We never did anything easy at Robert Yates Racing. I won't say we took the hardest way, but the way to go out and try to win every race that we can, so when you think about the All-Star Race, I know the philosophy that we took at Robert Yates Racing and even the four years I was up with Richard Childress Racing, you go and you put all of the emphasis on the Daytona 500 and it's almost like when you came home from Daytona you prepared for Rockingham, Atlanta, Texas, Bristol. But it's like a lot of your focus starting turning towards the All-Star Race, what car you had run there. And as the driver alluded to, we had a phenomenal first third of the season we had won the Daytona 500, we came in there and I think we won Wilkes, we won at Tall (ph), which made us eligible for the Winston Million. We had to win either the Coca-Cola 600 or the 500. My philosophy Robert, Davey Allison is in are is the next race is the most important race, and you take your best bullet to that race regardless if it's an All-Star event or a points event. We was looking at it whether it was being a test session for the 600. And we had sat on the pole and I think, they start running together but I think that's the first event in qualifying involved with the crew as far as a tire change during it. We thought that was pretty phenomenal, because once again, an All-Star Team is about the entire race team; and therefore, qualifying involved the entire race team. So we sat on the pole by virtue a lot of the pit stops that we had and we got off with the race car the latter part of the race, the car was starting to push real bad. And when we crossed the start finish line with a white flag we were actually a much further behind than what you saw in the video clip when they came off turn two, we were probably ten car lengths behind at that point, and I'm thinking to myself, well, we've had a good test session. I think we've learned a lot about what we need to do next week when we come back for the 600, we are going to finish third, of if it's not a bad night and we'll be ready to go next week. We were all -- we didn't have the big war wagons back then, and I think we had one crew member standing on top of our tool box, in fact, it was Roman Pemerton (ph), which was Ryan Pemerton's -- as we went down the back stretch, I look that way and Roman Pemerton turned around and all of sudden I see the crowd going crazy, and I'm thinking what in the world have they done over there. When they come off turn four, I see Kyle and Davey side by side, you saw the rest on the video clip. I have to tell you the story about the competitive side of me coming out. We got by with things in '91 as far as after a wreck or whatever, that you could not by it about getting by today. When we wrecked and the car almost ended up hitting a pace car down there in turn one. We all ran down there and I climbed up on the hood of the car and Davey was at that point somewhat kind of slumped over, but you could see him moving around. You could still see he had his best run, but he was starting to come to. So he came completely to and he looked at me and I gave him a thumbs up and he kind of looked at me and acknowledged it. At the same time I'm concerned about him, but I know he's okay. And I keep looking at the scoreboard, it keeps on going 42 at the top. I look back at Davey he's coming through even more, I look back up and he still has not changed the score board. I don't think we knew, we didn't have computer scoring then so we really didn't know that we had one race at that point. Finally it seemed like for 15 minutes, but finally the scoreboard flipped, but the 28 on top of and I went, yes. So I said what's wrong, what's wrong, well, nothing right now but anyway got in the ambulance with Davey, and he was pretty much, he had come through, but I don't think he was very sure -- the phone was running but nobody was home. He kept looking at me and he kept saying, what happened. I said, "Well, you wrecked, but you won the race." And he went, "You're kidding me." And he asked me this about half a dozen times between turn one, and Bobby Allison was riding with us and I said to Bobby, obviously I'm not making him understand what's happening here, do you think you could explain to him he's wrecked but we did win the race? It was definitely a bittersweet win. But just to allude to what Jeff, Richard and Robert have talked about, to know that we've been doing this All-Star race for 20 years, it's hard to believe. When you think about -- those three highlights, that don't even scratch the surface in all honesty about what I've witnessed in the 20 years, 19 years coming up on 20, was always proud to be a big part of it and very thankful that I was part of Davy Allison's back-to-back wins in '91 and '92. And I know when you think about the All-Star race, you definitely think about Dale Earnhardt as being the all start driver, but I tell you what, that little old kid from Alabama, when it came time to run that All-Star race, he pretty, he much had fire in his eyes, too, and he was ready.

Q. It's been nice hearing about the old races, but I was looking more towards the future, what's everyone's thoughts about possibly moving the NEXTEL CUP around to some other tracks that people would enjoy having it at?

HUMPY WHEELER: Let me answer that one. No one else would enjoy having that one. It's too hard to put on and too difficult to do.

JERRY GAPPENS: And we have Richard, what's your thoughts?

RICHARD CHILDRESS: Well, I think it's kind of a reward for the families. I know my family and most of my teams' family come to this race, and it gives them a chance to come and it's just a special event. Like someone he had earlier, most teams are right here, we would sure hate to see it move from Charlotte. It's sort of a family's night out.

ROBERT YATES: I'm all about doing it in Charlotte. This was always our test ground, this was a place we set our cars up everywhere, and I grew up here. I was born here. At one time there wasn't that many people here, it was actually moving away from here. I thought I was going to have to go to Daytona Beach to get a job and now it's all -- back to, to hear because Charlotte has done such a great job putting on the show and it's a place we want to race and creating a big crowd because we did put on a good show. I think it's earned it, deserves it, and the one event we went to, I didn't remember what happened in the race, actually. I remember what I bought that day, I think a big Rolex or something for somebody.

SPEAKER: I remember down in Atlanta one time, when you think about the All-Star Race and NEXTEL has the reason why they should stay here in Charlotte, it's a fans race. So when the fans come to Charlotte, you have the race shops, museum, North Carolina motor sports museum up there, but all of the shops are located in this area are set up for the fans to come in and spend some time getting to know about our sports and the history of what goes on. And there's no better place you can bring it to that you can bring your family spend a little bit of time and have other opportunities to learn about our sport than you can in Charlotte. I don't care where you take it. There's no place you can do it like they do it here.

SPEAKER: In my book, and we was obviously as the video showed, we was a huge part of the first night of that race under the lights, but people said there's no way you can put lights around mile-and-a-half Super Speedway. And that's all you have to do is tell them you can't do something. Obviously I think it's proved -- it's changed our sport. I just wonder today if they had not been the type of people that went ahead and put lights around this racetrack, where our sport would be with lights. We would probably just still have them at Richmond and Bristol maybe. I think when you look at the roll of the dice that they did back in '92 and put lights around a mile-and-a-half Super Speedway and ran the first All-Star race under the lights, I think that was the night that changed our sport. And I don't know that our All-Star race would even remotely be close to what it is today if it were not for this man sitting in the middle of us and Mr. Smith and the people here at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

SPEAKER: If you don't think this race is worth fighting for, ask any of us, we have.

Q. Do you think, it's a non-points race, do you think NASCAR is too involved in the thing sometimes or not or should it be wide open?

SPEAKER: I'd like to say they quit letting us change rear and gear, because in ten minutes I had a gear and I was putting a gear back in and the pinion fell out and they had already cranked up the cars. I was about ready -- I was trying to get that back in the car when all the cars rolled out. Glad we couldn't change gears.

SPEAKER: I think you've got to have someone to keep control or be complete chaos. NASCAR does a great job and we all don't agree with what they do sometimes. Somebody has to be in that place. But I think since it's such an emotional race, I think Humpy and his group should pay the fine. (Laughter).

HUMPY WHEELER: Larry and Robert have already admitted that they were at that race, you can manage how creative they could get in if he had no rules. NASCAR was involved in the first 19, they were involved in every one that we've had and obviously it's been good races. I think NASCAR made a huge statement about two or three years ago, when they showed that since it is a special event, it's not a points event, that there is -- there is another little bit of set of guidelines to go by, and that's when those three or four cars wrecked on wet asphalt down in one and two and they said, let's unload the backup cars. I think that made a huge statement for NASCAR; that they understand, they understand there's more to this event than just black and white and red and green.

Q. When there is a vote among the stance to let somebody in who would not ordinary be in, how should you vote? Should it be a popularity contest, the next guy you think is of going in, a guy you've liked? We've talked with the fans about this. What about you guys? Who should be voted on to go in, any thoughts?

JERRY GAPPENS: The question is basically, if reports are true, and the possibility of voting somebody into the field is not already qualified or earns their way by winning the open, do guys have a thought on how the criteria should be at the time for that?

HUMPY WHEELER: It goes back, again, it's a fans race. They if they choose to go by popularity, that's entirely up to them. If they choose to go by whatever they deem necessary, let the fans make the decisions.

JERRY GAPPENS: I think we've gotten to the closing point. I want to thank Larry McReynolds, Robert Yates, Humpy Wheeler, and Jeff Richmond, Jeff even wore his tie, orange and blue team shirt in memory of that great moment there. So he's got the spirit of it.



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