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NASCAR Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

NASCAR Media Conference

Clint Bowyer
Ted Musgrave
Dennis Setzer
Martin Truex, Jr.
November 15, 2005


TRACEY JUDD: Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to the NASCAR Nextel teleconference. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will crown its 2005 champion this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway where the season and the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup will end with Sunday's Ford 300. Tony Stewart leads the standings and must finish ninth or better to clinch the title outright, second place, Jimmie Johnson, third place Carl Edwards, and fourth place Greg Biffle are the other Chase participants who are still mathematically eligible to win the title. And please note that all four of these drivers will be available on Thursday at the Hotel Sofitel in Miami. A media lunch on will begin at noon and will follow with a press conference featuring those four drivers. Some usual housekeeping that we'll go through: This week's NEXTEL Wake-Up Call will begin at 10:00 A.M. Friday at Homestead. Guests will be team owners who participated in this years's chase. Those confirmed are J.D. Gibbs, Ray Evernham and Jack Rousch. And NASCAR would like to extend its congratulations to Dan Passe who became a new father over the weekend. All three of NASCAR's national series will be ending their seasons this weekend at Homestead, and today we are going to be joined by the eligible contenders for the NASCAR Busch Series title and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title. And first we'd like to speak with the NASCAR Busch Series contenders, Martin Truex, Jr. is the defending series champion. He hopes to make it two straight this weekend. He leads the series standings and second place Clint Bowyer by 64 points, and needs to finish 12th or better in Saturday's Ford 300 to clinch that NASCAR Busch Series title outright. We have Clint Bowyer on board with us and Martin is going to be joining us shortly. Clint we appreciate you joining us today, thanks a lot.

CLINT BOWYER: No problem. Thanks for having me.

TRACEY JUDD: Tell me, what it's going to take, please, for you to catch Martin? You had some starts the last three races that probably were not what you were looking for but you managed to come back through the pack and finish very well to have a 64-point deficit heading into Homestead. What's it going to take to catch him?

CLINT BOWYER: It's going to take a miracle, there's no way of getting around that. We're just going to have to go out and run as hard as we can and try to win the race, try to get all of the bonus points. And if they happen to have some bad luck, you know, we've got to make sure that we're there to take advantage of it, and that's all -- that's the bottom line. That's all we can do.

Q. Knowing what you have to overcome, it would involve a lot of good luck on your part and a lot of bad luck on Martin's part, you don't want anything bad to happen to a driver, but knowing what you have to do, how do you reconcile that little dilemma?

CLINT BOWYER: Oh, you know, he's going to have to have some bad luck and that's all it's going to take. You know, on the other hand, if he does have bad luck, we're going to have to make sure that we do everything possible to go get the bonus points and win that race to even take advantage of if he does have some bad luck. It's just going to be -- just going to have to see how it goes. Those are the cards that we're dealt and just going to have to play them the best we can.

Q. When you look at the season as a whole, do you look at it as just, let's say, a building process? Obviously you'd be disappointed if you didn't win the title, but how do you look at it otherwise?

CLINT BOWYER: Well, I mean, you know, you're darned right we're going to be disappointed, but I mean, look how far we came in just a year's time: A 14-race schedule last year, had like four Top-5 finishes, and then this year, started out, right out of the box pretty strong. You know, I don't think -- I think a lot of the teams didn't have a road (ph) into the contender for the championship at the end of the year. And by midway through there and changing our minds, and then here we are at the end of the year, you know, we're in contention for a championship. You know, that's all you can ask for is at least a chance to win. And just really proud of effort of Gill and all the ACDelco crew has put together for this race car. It's been good each and every week, and, you know it's been a learning process. It's been a short road from dirt race to asphalt races for me and I'm still learning. I think we're still learning each other. As we go through the year, we're still getting better every week, and I think our results are improving.

Q. My question, somewhat of a statement, too: The NEXTEL Cup Series has a Chase which resets the points, and y'all have a certain number of races, and the Truck Series has a different number of races; but all three of your championship scenarios are basically the same where the runner-up is 50 to 60 points behind first place. Does that surprise. And you do you have an explanation for how that can happen that way?

CLINT BOWYER: Well, I think it's ideal for NASCAR, and for the sport; I think it's brought a lot of attention to all series. Going into Homestead it's going to be a lot of attention on all three series, so it's really neat that it's come down to the last rate and the last few laps of that race. I think it's just been a lot of hard racing this year, with a lot of good teams. I think that's why. I think as the competition gets closer and closer every year, I think that's why our points battles are getting closer and closer.

Q. Can you talk about last weekend, what an incredible effort for you, and your mentality going into this weekend's race, being the guy who is chasing?

CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I mean last weekend was a really cool weekend, just starting as far back as we did, I was just really worried about -- I knew we had a really fast race car but just been really loose lately. Because of the way we've been in the race we've suffered from it qualifying. Memphis, spun out, hit the wall; at Texas, spun out and hit the wall; and Phoenix almost spun out. But the cars you know, we've got to figure out some happy medium there. It's been really, really loose in qualifying and it's to the point where you couldn't hold onto it a couple of times. As soon as the rack falls, the thing takes off like a rocket. It's kind of disappointing finishing second after being that close. We were all -- it was just a really cool race to be in: Three or four race cars there that all could have won that race and were battling pretty hard for it, sliding around and going for it. It was fun, a fun race to be in. As far as next week goes, I mean, it's going to take a miracle to happen. So we've just got to go out and try to win that race. I'd like to win another race before the end of the year. We can only do what we can do, so if they have some bad luck, we've just got to make sure that we put ourselves in a situation where we have a chance, and that would be leading laps and winning that race.

TRACEY JUDD: Clint, could you talk a little bit about the relationship that you have with Kevin Harvick as a teammate? Kevin, of course, is our 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion, he's been through this before. What kind of advice has he given you, what kind of a mentor has he been for you this season, your first full year in the Busch Series, as well as going into this last race with a mathematical opportunity to win this title?

CLINT BOWYER: Well, he's been a good friend and a good teammate, as well. He just tells me, you know, halfway through the year, we had a conversation. He was telling me: Hey, you've got a real shot at this thing. Just make sure that you do everything you can to get everything out of each and every week, and that's what I've tried to do. Looking back, hindsight is always 20/20 and looking back over the weekends, you know, we didn't have the wrecks and stuff like that through the year. We just got in some situations where we beat ourselves. I've won championships before and those are the things you can't do to win a championship, and unfortunately we just stubbed our toe a few too many times. Looking back to Michigan, that was a -- we were going to finish in the top two that day and possibly win the race, but it was pretty much looking like we were going to run either first or second and couldn't get that feel in the car, and that was a 100-point hit right there. It makes you look back and want them points back pretty bad.

TRACEY JUDD: We've been joined now by Martin Truex, Junior, our reining Busch Series champion. Martin, thanks for joining us today.

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: You're welcome.

CLINT BOWYER: 'Bout time.

TRACEY JUDD: Martin, Clint has just been giving us some thoughts on what he thinks it might take to overcome you at Homestead, so let's turn the tables a little bit. What's it going to take for to you keep your focus and to keep the championship lead and capture that second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series title this weekend?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: We just need to go to Homestead and have a good day. We don't need to do anything special. We don't need to go out there and try to -- we're just going try to win the race, that's what we're there for. We just need to have a decent day, we don't need any trouble. We don't need to beat ourselves, we certainly don't need flat tires or anybody jerking around with us. Just if we just don't have any bad luck and have a decent day like we're used to having, I'm sure we'll be in good shape.

Q. Martin, you are the king of low-key, have you been at all stressed, and do you feel like there's more pressure on you this championship than there was last time around?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Certainly we're expected to win it this year. We were expected to win it going into the season by a lot of people, really didn't even hold up to our own expectations for a while in the season. So it's been really -- it's been a tough year. It's been a long road for us. We've had to battle and overcome a lot of things, and nothing could be better for us now than to win this. It's not over yet. We've got another race. If we don't win it, we'll still be proud of our year and what we've done and what we've been able to overcome, but definitely a lot of pressure on us, within ourselves I think to win.

Q. Is there more pressure on yourself because you want to prove that it wasn't a fluke last year or because you want to head into next year with that under your belt for the momentum for the Cup side?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: We just want to win it again. You know, I don't think we have anything to prove. Everything has been done in the past two years I think, speak for themselves. If we lose this championship about by a handful of points, I don't think that's going to take away from that. We just want to do it. We worked real hard. This has been our goal for the last year is to win a championship. So it's a big confidence boost for next year and something that we should be real proud of.

Q. With that desire to win that second title, is that what helped maintain your focus in a year where it was -- knowing that there's a Cup ride already awaiting you, that you can just really try and learn as much as you can, that you really have something to shoot forecheck check?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Yeah, obviously, racers don't like to lose, and that's what we all are. We got here because we love to race and we love competition and we want to win every week. Just the fact of beat getting beat doesn't sit well with any of us. We're there every week giving 110%. Just because I have a Cup ride is sitting there waiting on me doesn't mean I'm just going to go there and go through the motions and collect a paycheck. I'm there to win, very passionate about what I do and that's just the way it is.

Q. At any time during the season, have you allowed yourself to kind of think down the road about what the Cup ride and what you'd like to do and just picture yourself in that, even though you feel that you had a few other Cup races this year?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: No, to be honest, I don't really think about it too much. Really been focusing on the championship and just trying to get through these past few weeks and just be prepared the best we could for every weekend. The Cup thing is going to come around quickly enough where I don't need to think about it, I don't think. So we've had some races where we've run well and that's the bottom line, it's been tough for us and it's real important just to focus on the race.

Q. I wonder if you could just briefly describe your relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., whether you guys hit it off right away, or whether you guys have any shared interests outside of racing?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Yeah, I think most people are pretty aware of how our relationship goes. We've become pretty good friends. We hang out, spend a lot of time together. We both enjoy racing together. Kind of have the same personalities I think, been going well from the start and it's been a great relationship so far.

Q. If you had not been able to make a living in racing, would you have gone into your family business?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Yeah, I worked in business for a few years, right out of high school and when I was in high school just to make some money on the side. So that's probably what I'd end up doing. I worked on a fishing boat to long enough to know I'd better get good at something else, and maybe racing is the best place for me.

Q. If you can talk about your feelings and emotions this year at this time compared to last year at this time, Martin, you having already wrapped up the title and then just kind of talk about maybe anticipating around the post-season?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Well, I think it's been great. Obviously we'd like to have it wrapped up right now. Last year was a great year for us. I think we went through a lot of the season last year, just kind of in shock and then all that we were able to do, we were doing. Nobody expected us to be in that position. And certainly, we thought we could do well, but we never thought it would happen like it did. This year has been kind of opposite. We find of feel like we've underachieved. Went through a lot of the year struggling and really turned it around big-time throughout the summer. Had a lot of fun, won a lot of races, and it all turned back around on us again. We've just been working out guts out all year long it seems like. I think every time we feel like we're doing good or getting ahead, someone else is getting ahead, someone is beating us or we're beating ourselves. Kind of the way this season has winded down, and hopefully we'll come out as champs again.

Q. Clint?

CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, it's been a good year, had a lot of fun and learned a lot. We started -- right through the middle of the year, like when Martin was talking, they their strongest point was when they made that big run in the middle of the year and won a few races, several races. Anyway, it's been a good year and it's been a lot of fun, just comes down to the end of the year. I wish we had a few more races, though, I can tell you that.

Q. There's talk about if you finish 12th or better, you get the championship; is that something that you as a competitor need to put out of your mind throughout the race?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Well, I think it depends on the kind of day we're having. Obviously if Clint is up there leading the race and looks like he's going to win, that's something we need to think about. And not put ourselves in a position to be able to fall out of the top ten or get ourselves in trouble if we're running decent. It just depends. We're going there to obviously try to run the best we can and win the race if we can, which I think is a legitimate shot for us. Homestead has been a real good track for us, but I'm looking forward to it. We'll just have to see how the weekend is going. You've just got to take it as it comes and hopefully we'll have a good qualifying effort, and that can take the pressure off and keep everybody's spirits up. Just go into the race and do what we can do, that's all we can do. We can't worry about other cars.

Q. Junior was the last to win back-to-back Busch Series titles, considering your relationship with Junior, how much would that add to your satisfaction if you were able to do that?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Well, I don't know if it would do anything as far as that. I'm not after trying to top what he's done or beat everything he's done. Sure would be nice to match his stats. Just having success and accomplishing goals is a real good feeling to have and something to be proud of.

Q. Tell me about the international process about the arrival of the Mexican drivers and the series?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Obviously it's been great to have it for the series. NASCAR has been reaching out to different markets for a couple of years now, and going to Mexico City was a huge step in that process. And a lot of them came in there and run really good and showed off for their countries, and I think you'll see more of it in the future. So it's been a really good addition to our series.

Q. What advice can you give the Mexican drivers, Michel Jourdain, or Adrian Fernandez?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Nothing, really. Obviously they are competent in series racing and don't have much experience on oval tracks and kind of have a little bit a tough time of it; it's just real competitive. It's one of those deals where you have to get in that situation and keep your head up and not get down on yourself. Just keep working hard at it and eventually you'll get it. Just that it's real, real competitive and it takes a little bit of time to get used to.

Q. Do you plan to run any Busch races next year, and how do you see the Ice Busch program expanding in the future?

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Yeah, I'm going to run I think eight races or something like that, somewhere around eight, ten maybe. I'm not really sure exactly which direction the program is headed in. I know me and J are going to split the 8 car next year. I'm not sure who else is going to run -- Evans, I think he will be a real contender for the championship obviously the way he's been running. So with them running every week, they will keep out Busch program at the top level and I think we can compete with that.

TRACEY JUDD: We appreciate you spending the time with us today. Best of luck to both of you at Homestead this weekend and regardless of the outcome, congratulations on your seasons. I'd like to turn it over to Owen Kearns, NASCAR's communications manager for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series where he has the two top contenders for the Truck Series Championship with him, Ted Musgrave and Dennis Setzer. Owen?

OWEN KEARNS: Thanks, TJ. Top two contenders for the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series the title is joining us this afternoon, or this morning where I am, Ted Musgrave, the leader, and second place Dennis Setzer. Ted leads Dennis by 58 points and must finish tenth or better in the Buddy Ford 200 to clinch the title outright. This will be the first series title for either driver and the eighth different champion of the series' 11-year history; and might add parenthetically this is the tenth time in 11 seasons that the championship has gone down to the final race. Ted, you've been the third place finishing competitor in each of the last three seasons with a runner-up in your first full-time season in 2001, any difference in how you're approaching this weekend?

TED MUSGRAVE: Not really. The thing you've got to do is just get yourself prepared very well. You know, the mile-and-a-half track has been really good, other than Texas. We're taking the same truck, same setup, see what goes on from there. But approaching-it-wise, no, it's just like everything else. Everybody is a racer and everybody wants to do the best they can. They are not just going to ride around and say I'm in this little spot here and protect the lead. I'd rather go out and win races than win championships.

OWEN KEARNS: Dennis, we'll put you in the hot seat. You've been the series runner-up for two straight seasons and probably sort of feel like in a rut. What will it take to finish first this time in.

DENNIS SETZER: Hopefully just continue on what we've been doing. We're taking a different truck than we took the past few miles-and-a-half races right there. We're excited about that. We kind of got in a little rut on the mile-and-a-half races here recently, so we need to try to work our way out of that. The team has been working hard, got the truck prepared. I think RCR has got us the best motor we've ever got from RCR, and that's what we plan on doing this weekend.

Q. Do you go into this race looking to race all of the competition is, or are you strictly trying to keep an eye on where the other driver is? Dennis, are you looking for where Ted is? And Ted, are you looking for where Dennis is?

TED MUSGRAVE: Dennis, I'll let you answer that one first.

DENNIS SETZER: I've definitely got to make sure I see him in the mirror at least all day. We're just going to run the best we can with our Silverados. We are going with a different truck than we've run the past few weeks at those times and hopefully get our program picked back up from where we've been a lot during the year. So obviously I need to see Ted in my mirror for sure, so just depends, he's more in control of it than I am probably.

TED MUSGRAVE: Pretty much the same deal for us, just trying to go out and do the best we can, right now it looks like the way the finish is going to be, probably about five Toyotas and a few Fords and Chevrolets mixed in there. It will be tough to win that race, I know that for sure. But we're going to try to do like we did last year and run in the Top-5 again, let things happen where they happen. If Dennis turns out that he's got a great truck, wins the race, he wins the championship; then he deserves it, he had a fantastic year. If we do it, well, we deserve it, too, for the team that came on strong and dug real hard at the end. So whatever happens in Miami, I'll be happy with it, don't get me wrong. Dennis and both with love to see the championship go our way but if it doesn't, you have to look back on what happened the whole year and know that you had a really good year.

Q. My question is for both Ted and Dennis, with all three NASCAR series having basically the same scenario going into Homestead, which is basically the leader 50-some-odd points ahead of second place. How does that happen, do you think, and does it elevate the attention focused opponent the Busch and Trucks going into the championship?

TED MUSGRAVE: Well, I mean, as far as all three series going down to the wire, that's a straight situation to have and I think it just shows that the teams and the rules and everything, it's pretty well justified to have a lot of mixture through the year to make this happen. You've got to remember, now, we don't have as many races as the Cup series or the Busch guys. So our point system I think needs to remain the same way because it seems like every year it comes down to the racing wire. So I think it just puts extra hype on this race.

DENNIS SETZER: I agree 100%. I think out points system needs to stay the way that it is with a 25-race schedule. The competition in this series has been unbelievable this year with new manufacturers coming in. Ted's enjoying manufacturer support pretty big from his manufacturer. Chevrolet has stepped up tremendously in our camp and brought all of our teams together.

Q. Dennis, three quick questions for you, first of all, what lights your competitive fire?

DENNIS SETZER: Just having a fast vehicle out there. You know, if you get there and you practice good, you qualify good, you're excited about the race. And then you get -- if you get there and you're a little bit off, you get excited because you made some good adjustments getting ahead the right way. It's always fun been to be in some type of competitive vehicle.

Q. What's your hairiest moment behind the wheel in your career?

DENNIS SETZER: Wow, that's tough. I don't know, that could change from minute to minute, I guess, whenever you're in the race. As far as anything else in the past, I don't know, it's hard to say. You've had hard crashes and stuff like that, but it's hard to put your finger on just any one thing. What may look like it's bad, there's something may be worse that didn't actually complete that circumstance.

Q. During the last race, from my perspective, after your stint, it seemed as if you said yourself: "Dennis, I'm not going out like this," and you moved forward. What was that moment like from your perspective?

DENNIS SETZER: Well, that is pretty much it I guess. You know, unfortunately, I started the race, I was a little bit tight. I got under Bobby East and just touched a little bit and turned and sprung myself out and said, oh my gosh, what a bad move there on my part. So I was determined driving back to the field, guys had great pit stops, as they have all year long, and passed a lot of trucks on pit road that we passed on the track. My hat is off to those guys, got us back in contention. These guys, they don't give up, so there's not a chance I'm going to give up in the seat, either.

Q. What's the status of Ultra Motorsports for 2006?

TED MUSGRAVE: I think right now you're pretty much going to have to wait until after the Homestead race, although everybody and know that the Dodge is pulling back some of the financial support in the Truck Series to give it over to the Cup Series to try to elevate their situation a little bit. We've been hinting around whether we are going to run one truck or two trucks. Definitely no matter what we do, we have a really good team and good equipment and stuff, so whatever happens, if we run one truck or two, or if we run the Dodges or Fords or Chevrolets or Toyotas or whatever we're going to run, it will be competitive and I'll be driving it. Status will change a little bit like you say, but the announcements will have to wait because nothing is already completed on paper.

Q. How long is your contract for?

TED MUSGRAVE: Lifetime. Yeah, I've got a handshake and a lifetime deal with Jim Smith. We really don't have a contract together, we have like the old school of Richard Petty; I'm trusting you, you trust me, let's go do the best we can together. Contracts are just for lawyers to make more money off of us. We're having a good time right where we are.

Q. How much are you looking forward to Mark Martin coming over and racing with you, since your relationship goes back to far?

TED MUSGRAVE: I'd enjoy it, anything like that. Like you say, we were teammates way back in '95, '96, '97, that era in the Cup series, and racing against him in ASA. So when he does come into trucks, I've talked to him off and on about it; that he just wants to come over and have some fun and race real hard. It's going to be neat for us because it just elevates the series again showing how strong the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is to bring in Cup drivers and crew chiefs and all that, brings it into the sport and into our series and elevate it. But I tell you what, if we get any more of these guys, we're really going to have to pick up the pace.

Q. Both of you, how do you prepare, if anything differently, pore in week? I know everybody says you're doing the same thing, but practices, extra cars, or extra trucks, I know some of the teams on the Cup side are bringing extra cars; mentally, physically, both of you, how do you prepare for this weekend being as it is the final Chase race for the trucks when it gets right down to the end?

DENNIS SETZER: We haven't changed much. We're bringing our best Silverado in our shop to Homestead this week. I guess RCR may have put out some extra effort, because they are bringing in the best engine we've ever had, so we're pretty excited about that. Other than that, I don't know of anything else. Our guys do the same thing every week. They prepare to win ever race every week, and I don't know what they can do differently. I'm proud of all of these guys for the effort they've put in.

TED MUSGRAVE: Our guys, actually worked on Sunday and got the truck prepared and finished it up yesterday. I'm actually -- well, I've got most of my guys on motorcycles are riding down the East Coast heading down to Miami right now. We're kind of kicking back and let things go out of our mind right now. We're not thinking about it, just having a good old time and get down there and get down to racing again.

Q. Do you try to put it out of your mind or do you think about it quite a bit?

TED MUSGRAVE: Don't get me wrong, you think about it. But you do like we're doing now, just clear the air and get everybody's, not tension or whatever, off of them. Just get them in a good mood, get them out in the fresh air and riding along and not really thinking about it. Even in the back of your mind, it's kind of there, but the more you think about it, sometimes the worse it will be. So we're just good to go right now.

Q. For Ted, how much would winning this title make up for the things that happened in the 2003 race down in Homestead? And secondly, do you think that you got to this point by being Mr. Nice Guy or not being Mr. Nice Guy after 2003?

TED MUSGRAVE: Well, everything happens, everybody gets keyed up to win a championship. 2003, sun was in our eyes, everybody made a mistake trying to get to the green flag. Just mistakes happen and that's the way it is. To win the championship would mean more, I think to team owner, Jim Smith, and Ultra Motorsports, especially to Jim Smith, because he actually got this thing going with the Truck Series. He's been in it ten years, never missed a race, always had something entered. To win that, I think it would be more gratifying to do it just for him than it would be for anything else.

Q. Do you think you're still Mr. Nice Guy or is there more of an edge?

TED MUSGRAVE: Well, yes and no. There's some times that people want to lead a lap and I might not -- I just don't give too many breaks out there. I used to give -- I used to give more breaks than I used to, but now the competition has gotten so close, you can't because you may not get that position back. You have to fight for everything you can nowadays. So like I say, being a Mr. Nice Guy a long time ago, it just doesn't work in the series anymore. You've got to fight for everything.

OWEN KEARNS: Ted, you've never won a championship in anything, and maybe you can kind of reflect on the whys that you never have, given the fact that the face of racing is probably changed a great deal over the 30 years that you've been racing, touring the series now with championships. But back then, I guess you guys had your shop in an old gas station and had a garden hose over the grease rack taking showers; it was all money racing.

TED MUSGRAVE: Yeah, you must have got some pretty good facts right there. I did, I used to take showers back there in back bathing area in the gas station with the hose hanging over the top. Back then when you're coming through the ranks, you know, you do real well in your situation as far as your series or your area. There was a couple of times I could have stayed and ran my Saturday night races and stuff and win championships. I was close to it. But at the same time, there might have been a big race going on in the Midwest or somewhere elsewhere where drivers and champions from all over in the east and west would get together and run a race. What I did was I elected to go and run against them to see how good I could be against them, rather than staying back home and win a championship. Like they say, a big fish in a small pond, and I just wanted to see what I could do about getting out in the big ocean there against all the sharks. That was more, I don't know, educational I think than winning a championship back then. Now, it's altogether different.

OWEN KEARNS: Dennis, you came at it the opposite way and started at Hickory Motor Speedway and it was different there in the southeast as far as trying to move up to late model sportsman and that?

DENNIS SETZER: It was. You had a lot of competitors: Bobby Houston (ph), Sam Arnold (ph), all of those guys, a lot of guys came back, and we were fortunate enough to race against some big guys who ran late model cars against us. I was fortunate to be with a group, I raced with for probably about 16, 17 years, the same Rahal guys. I raced at Hickory Speedway, Caraway Speedway, fortunate enough to race with Bobby Isaacs' brother along with Way County Speedway and win a championship there in Raleigh, and mostly just track championships, but I had a lot great times over the years.

OWEN KEARNS: Thanks, guys, for joining us, taking this time. A big week for both of you, good luck this weekend, one of those deals that you wish you could have two champions. And thanks, everyone, for your participation and we look forward to seeing you next season in Daytona.



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