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NASCAR Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

NASCAR Media Conference

Greg Biffle
Dale Jarrett
January 17, 2006

Q. Last year's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series runner-up. First series win came at this speedway. Is that the confidence that stays with you every time you come back here

GREG BIFFLE: Really does. We ran extremely well that race - ran up in the Top-5 and the situation, we had to stop and put tires on and fuel because we avoided an accident and slit the tires so that set us up for the run at the end. But we had a really fast car and then came back and sat on the pole with that same car, so that's a lot of confidence. We haven't been able to find that magic again and I think that it's clear that some teams can get it and then lose it. The 20 team has been really fast on restrictor plate tracks, so is the 24. So those are kind of the two guys on top and we're all trying to catch them right now. So -- our National Guard car is running decent. We're about -- we feel we're around 7th or so, heads up, without any help, but the wind is kind of playing havoc now on us. It's really hard to see any changes in the race car now with the wind.

HERB BRANHAM: That was the 2003 Pepsi 400 we were talking about.

Q. Daytona, is it aero right now or is it horsepower? Is the deal right now who has the best aero or horsepower, or the best -- like we got some tricks out there...

GREG BIFFLE: You know what, it's more -- power means way more here than it does at any other -- any non-restrictor track. Like when I won Michigan, I remember they dyno'ed the cars, that was 24 horsepower off of the 24 car and then like 16 off of the '88. So horsepower there is really irrelevant. It's how the car handles and how you can really use the throttle. Here, three or four horsepower are very crucial. It makes a big difference. So it is hard to answer that question because it is a little of both. You need the car as slick as you can get it; to get through the air as best you can, but if that guy has got 5 horsepower on you, restrictor plate horsepower, it's going to be really hard to beat him because it's hard to make up that 5 horsepower in drag. But horsepower is really on restrictor plate racing it's kind of the king because you can suck up to the guy, you can pass; you can drive out there in clean air, you know, if you have got the power. So I would say the power here makes a bigger difference than anywhere.

Q. The questions for you going into this season are a little bit different than last season because of the way your term performed last year. Do you feel like a favorite to win the Championship? Address the different level of expectation.

GREG BIFFLE: I have had that question a few times, what are your expectations this year compared to what happened last year. You start thinking about it and it's like, gosh, I hope I can do the same thing I did last year because that was quite an accomplishment to win six races and finish second in points. Obviously my goal is not to finish second in points. My goal is to win the title. But I'd have to be begfull to end up -- obviously the first thing is make the Chase. We got to get in the Chase. That's going to be our main focus and then from there it's going to be get to the last 10, you know, lock ourselves in; then worry about the last 10. I prefer to start the last 10. Right now I don't want to run the 26 races. I want to do the last 10, and it's nerve-wracking. I am thinking about it now, you know, what if we get involved in a wreck or what if we have something happen or anything, you know, in that last 10, you know, it's like okay, now you got to look forward to 2007. Then you got to look forward to 2008. So the window is very small for margin of error in that ten races; whether it's mechanical, tire issue, anything. It's the guy that has the least amount of trouble, you know, is the guy who is going to win.

Q. Have you done any racing yet with your teammate in the 26 car? What kind of report do you see there?

GREG BIFFLE: We haven't. I will have a better idea of that question after Las Vegas because that's more where the driver kind of interacts with the setup of the race car and, you know, and other drivers, while you are testing. Here, it's, you know, I hate to say it, we're almost just like test dummies here. You see a lot of guys filling in, having other drivers driving their cars, in fact, I got, doing the Busch test because, you know, we can't really do anything to make the car go any faster. So I can't really talk to Jamie right now about the way his car is driving. When we get in the drafting trim, yeah, I will be able to interact with him some, but really -- what really tells the tale and where we can start seeing how each other works, is at Las Vegas, when we get into an atmosphere like that

he seems to be -- I have talked to Jamie before and I talked to him before he came over to drive for us, and I think he's going to fit well in the program. I think he's going to do good.

Q. How does it feel because you are in a precarious position where your greatest competition for the title is all within the Roush stable?

GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, that's -- you know, I mean, that's good and bad. That's good that we have great equipment, we've got good cars and we have good people to try and learn from. It's bad that those are the guys we have to race against, you know, you always like to treat your teammate a little bit different or better than everybody else. It's hard to race them and not let them get 5 points. Try and loosen them up, you know, aero-wise and try and pass them, you know, and that -- that's very difficult. I doubt whether we will have 5 cars in the Chase this year. That was pretty extraordinary last year. I certainly hope we do. I hope everybody runs that well, but odds are that, you know, one of us, you know, may have some trouble along the way. Matt barely made it last year. He came on really strong; didn't look like he was going to make it for a while, so anything can happen to anyone of us. But that was pretty extraordinary to have 5 cars in the Chase.

Q. You said that the window, the opportunity is so small. With that in mind, during the off-season, how many times did you think of a lug nut from Texas?

GREG BIFFLE: About every time I thought of racing. And it's hard to go back and, "what if," but that is a pretty cut and dried situation, you know, what if I didn't get involved in the restrictor plate wreck at Talladega. What if Tony didn't wreck at Charlotte, you know, spun out and wrecked, he was running decent. There's a lot of what ifs. We were leading the race at Texas. We weren't just running wherever. We were leading, and had that problem. So, that makes it worse, makes it pretty clear that all I needed to do was finish 10th at Texas and would have secured the title for me. And for us to finish 10th there would have been pretty easy, I think. So yeah, I thought about it several times, but I look forward to this year to try it again.

Q. With you and Carl finishing with the same number of points last year, I am wondering do you have any side bets between you for who is going to do better this year?

GREG BIFFLE: (Laughs) I don't know. Not yet, but we're both in great situations. We got great race cars, you know, we got ex -- a bunch of talent on our race teams and so it's just going to be up to who has the right track position on the racetrack and we got beat by Carl a few times last year where we had a better car and ran better than him all day and then you know, Carl beat us, you know, because we didn't have -- we made mistakes. And then we beat Carl when we shouldn't have. He was a little bit better than we were at Homestead and we got track position on him and were able to make that work. You know, it's all those gambles that can change the outcome, and it just who makes all the right gambles pretty much throughout the year, to see who is going to end up on top.

Q. You were here last July and you were sitting in that same seat and you were saying I am just glad to be here and have the points lead and shortly afterwards you lost it. You look back and regret saying that and then second part, is -- do the drivers at Roush ever get together and say, gosh, is this going to keep going like this, you know, this is a huge pool that we are all drawing off of and at some point it's got to go away or do you all look at it and say, hey, we're stronger because we're such a big team?

GREG BIFFLE: You know, I think that we have figured out on our race cars what is making them competitive and we're always searching for that little bit of an edge. And so I think that's what is going to continue to keep us on top is, you know, our guys are working like we are, you know, behind the competition right now. That's how hard they are working to make our cars better, better, better and better. And that's what -- you know, when you are searching to find out what is going to make you run in the Top-5 or what is going to make you competitive and you don't know what it is and you are searching for it, that makes it really difficult to try and get there. Like the Childress team or some of those other teams, they are trying to find out what do we need to build to be the fastest and we're trying to refine it and then how can we make it better. That's what we're focused on all the time, is -- we won't be satisfied until we make it a lot better and better yet. So that's what we're building on. So I feel really confident that when the season starts we're going to be a threat at, you know, California, for sure; and Atlanta and all those places again. We're going to be right on top of the competition, I think.

Q. (Inaudible)

GREG BIFFLE: Being here last July, oh, yeah, you know, I was nervous about this race, and it was unfortunate that we got tangled up. We got in a wreck in every restrictor plate last year, and that was tough. That was really tough. It takes a lot of excitement out of restrictor plate racing for a driver to be in four restrictor plate races and to be in four wrecks. It seems like no matter what you do, you are riding along minding your own business; then all of a sudden something happens or you are up front, pretty close to the front, something happens. So it is frustrating, but hopefully we'll get -- lead the points sometime this year and hopefully we can lead it longer than one week.

Q. With the new year just starting what do you think about the new testing policy and does it put more of a premium on the driver and the team?

GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I think it does. I understand the -- what the testing policy is for, is to restrict the large teams from having an advantage at so many tests, but -- I mean, I don't make the rules, I don't think about -- they don't ever come and ask us how they should do it, but I feel like possibly it could have been a little bit better if they would have restricted - and I understand there's a tire issue as well because I went to them and talked about it - they needed everybody together in order to manage the tires. But I felt it would have been better served if they allowed each organization to pick the five race tracks they wanted to test at and then forced all five cars to go to those particular race tracks. Because if you take, for instance, a 10 and 14 team or excuse me, 14 and 01, and say that organization needs to focus on their mile and a half program. To give them a chance, they can go and test three or four if they wanted to and work on those, and then if we needed to work on short tracks, we can go do that. It won't give an advantage where we have 5 teams and one guy go here, go there and then we can test every racetrack and have the data. So I think the testing policy, they needed to do something because it was unfair for a team that had 5 cars because we look at Matt's test data from Dover and then I can modify it because I know how Matt drives and how I drive. So I can modify it a little bit and I can be light years ahead of not going there and testing. So, yeah, I mean, they needed -- to do something, and might have been better served for -- they are trying to help the small teams if they let them go where they needed to go versus making the whole series go the same place.

Q. (Inaudible)

GREG BIFFLE: Absolutely. Because you got to look at it, you are only going to have one restrictor plate test; you are only going to have two mile and a half tests all season, so you got to bring all your stuff and figure it out.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Kurt Busch and what kind of teammate and is Ryan Newman getting in him and how is he at sharing information and stuff like that?

GREG BIFFLE: Kurt was extremely good at sharing information. He was really knowledgeable as a driver and it's like we almost get more information from the team engineer and the crew chiefs, you know, but the information, you know, through them, I think is going to benefit Ryan Newman to have a teammate like Kurt; not that there's anything wrong with Rusty, but that relationship, as I understood wasn't that great, and didn't pass on a lot of information. So this may help Ryan, you know, with information flow; might re -- start on a clean slate so to speak. So it might help them both. But Kurt is a great driver. He will do good in that organization.

Q. At the beginning of the year your team was big picture, big picture. You all seemed to be just like cranking on one cylinder. At what point do you think you maybe lost that, people get tired, what would you do differently in the whole momentum of the deal and where if you were ranking yourself would you rank yourself if you were a preview magazine ranking Greg Biffle?

GREG BIFFLE: Last part of the question I think I would rank us in the Top-5 for sure, put us in the Top-5 you know, we won all those races at the beginning of the season, we won 5 of the first 15, which was extraordinary, but when we got later in the season and seemed like the race tracks we were going to had changed a little bit and our -- maybe our aero platform wasn't as good as our teammates were and they may have, you know, found something that worked a little bit better on a slicker racetrack which is what you get in the later months of the year. They may have found something that worked a little better which we're going to investigate that, but the problem is testing now is such an issue, that makes it difficult to prove out those things. And then it's the right place and the right time, it is. We finished second, I don't know how many times, you know, Bristol and Chicago to Matt, and a lot of other places, so we're just missing those wins by a little bit. That's normally how it goes. But early in the season we were just right place at the right time every single time. So I will be happy if we come out this year and win three races. That's about average for a season really, if you are running very well and up front and make the Chase, you got to think that you are going to be able to do that

Q. The speeds are dramatically down today. The factor of the wind. Secondly, as we get closer to a common template, do you notice that the change from the Tauris, to the Fusion, these changes are becoming less gradual because the car's essentially the same?

GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, you know, there's a noticeable difference between the Fusion and the Tauris. The Fusion is, I think is going to be a lot better car for us. We're still just in the preliminary aspects of figuring it out, and we had pretty much optimized the Tauris. We have been racing that car for a long time or at least I hadn't until Jarret and guys like that have been racing the car for a long time. I think that this Fusion is definitely better race car and, you know, doesn't correlate but I think it's a lot better street version car as well. So I think Ford has done a great job in bringing that new car out. I think it fits for our series really well and I think that they are going to get back in the car market with that car. The wind is a big issue today. We're making changes on the car. We go out and make another run and it is slower. So it's like, it should have been faster but it's slower, so it is really hard. Right now only thing we can do is look at what everybody else's times are, and then realize that everybody else is kind of slowing down a little bit too. It makes it very difficult to make a change in your car and to go slower and you go, well, that must have been better, so it's really difficult, and you know, it's what we have to deal with. Those are the cards we're dealt. We have keep comparing each car to each car and sometimes you have to A.B.A., meaning you have to put it back, to see if back repeats the time and then put the change on again and verify it twice to make sure. But the line is so long at pit road, you know, we can't get any you know, lines extremely long. We're sitting out there for, I don't know how long, a long time. So that is making it tough too.

Q. (Inaudible)

DALE JARRETT: We have had kind of a dry spell running here. We have won some poles. That's not what we're after. We're after trophies. That's the wrong trophy. I believe that with the change to the Fusion that that's going to allow the Fords to get themselves in the position to be more of a factor in the Daytona 500 this year. I think that I am correct in saying that a Ford hasn't won since we did that in 2000. And so I think if you look back, you probably won't see any laps led by a Ford during that time. So I believe the Fusion is going to allow us to again be more competitive and have that opportunity again. So I am excited about it. So far the day and a half that we have had, we kind of changed our thinking as to what we wanted to do here and we made some chassis changes with one of our cars to hopefully get a piece that would really drive much better than what we have had here the last three or four times because this has become such a handling racetrack. And as I told the guys over the winter, I am willing to give up some speed if we can get me something that I know, come Sunday, afternoon in the Daytona 500, while the other guys maybe have to feather the gas a little bit at different parts of the corner, if I can stay wide open, that's what I am after. So we worked extremely hard and so far that's what we have seen. We're giving up a little bit on the clock; not much, because everything is so close, but hopefully that will pay-off when we get -- we'll be able to see some of that tomorrow in drafting practice. But hopefully that direction will benefit us greatly when we come back here.

Q. Dale, can you contrast the difference between what technology and computers have -- what roles they have played since you first started in this gig and what they are like and the role they are playing today

DALE JARRETT: Wow. Yeah, I was thinking earlier this morning, it's funny you asked that question, I can remember one of the first times I came here in a Busch car to test and I got permission from Wilson and Yarboro (phonetic) they were here on a private test and that was back everybody came at different times. I built this Busch car and actually put the body on myself with the help of the two guys that worked for me and we really wanted to test it and all we had was -- we put the body on with basically strings and going down the side of it and I rolled the metal with an oxygen tank and had different sizes of those to do that. Then we would come here and you would test and as you made changes, all you had to go by was a hand-held stopwatch. I mean, now if we go out and it if we can pick up 500ths of a second with a change, then that's great. But we know that if we did that that's the right time; that it wasn't somebody being a little excited and clocking it a little bit early. That's just a very small part of what it is. I mean, I literally sit in the car now and unless I am changing back and forth between the two and the engineers are looking at what took place the run before and I will basically tell them what I felt, if anything, with the car and then they look at everything else with the attitude of the car and exactly what did happen from run to run and what may have made a difference - if we picked up or if we slowed down. It's incredible what has taken place. It's made this sport -- I think that's what we see -- why we see so many competitive teams now because not only with what NASCAR has done with templates and things, but the engineers that we have involved now, they are so many smart people in this business; not that the people before weren't smart, but these people are smart in a different way and have a much better handle on what they are trying to accomplish instead of just trial and error as we were before.

Q. How much did the cars change from the developmental side at Robert Yates Racing from Daytona to your win at Talladega?

DALE JARRETT: Yeah, actually Robert might have been wrong on that. I don't want to dispute my owner but I think the two cars I had -- I have a brand new car here and the other car was the one I won Talladega with. And so it wasn't one that I won -- because I didn't want to drive that car anymore. I ran it at Talladega as a first race and that was it for that car pretty much. So things have changed a lot. I think that even though we have a new body style here, a lot of the same things you could incorporate and when we looked at the wind tunnel we saw what we had. We have a little bit better car from the wind tunnel numbers. So we knew that was going to help. We still had an issue of the car's not driving as good as what we needed to. I say "we," I speak with Elliott and myself I spoke with him every day after his test last week, and we kind of fighting the same things. Once we saw that and once his drafting practice was over on Wednesday; actually after the morning session was over, we started making some serious changes to one of the chassis of our cars. So we feel like that it's totally off the wall from what we have done in the past, so that's the kind of things that Tommy Baldwin and Slugger have brought to our team because what we were doing was different than what they have done and obviously Slugger has had quite a bit of success here over the years, even since we have had our success. So things have changed and that's what they have brought to us is a better driving car and that's -- I think that we look at these two race tracks now and I speak of Daytona and Talladega as totally different animals. You can't even -- you can't -- I don't think that -- if you have a car that runs good at Talladega, I don't think that you can bring that car here and be competitive with that car. Now, you may take a car that runs well here and you can go to Talladega, and you won't qualify very well there, but you might be okay once you get into the race. But again if you go there with a car and just like the car that I have here from Talladega, that was a very good race car although it didn't qualify extremely well at Talladega, it was okay. But it ran good in the race. So it's still not a good a driving car as my other car is. That's the whole key here keeping the tires on the car here and staying wide open in the gas.

Q. (Inaudible)

DALE JARRETT: Everybody talks about that that's all you do is run wide open but when you get into the race and you start losing some of that handle and grip of the tires the person that can stay wide open and that's why I think DI has done well over the years, those guys have been able to stay in the gas; when everybody else is having to pedal just a little bit. I think that's what Tony did well here, he was able to stay in the gas, and so I think that that's going to be the key.

Q. When you look at the field of contenders for the Championship this year you have got to include most of the 10 guys who made the Chase last year and maybe a half dozen guys who didn't make it. How much more difficult is it now to win the title, if it's, than when you won it in 1999?

DALE JARRETT: I remember something that someone said a long time ago regardless of whether it's winning a race or the title, that part hadn't changed because you still have to beat everybody, everybody else to do that. But I think because of the level of competition and you know, it used to be that -- and I will go back to '99, if we had an off-day, we could still run in the Top-10 most of the time. I think I am right in saying that that year we finished in the Top-10, 29 out of 34 races, and some of those days we didn't run extremely well, but because the competition wasn't as keen as it is now, -- you can have a pretty reasonable day this day in time, and be lucky if you run in the Top-15. So things have changed that much. So when you see that, you realize that if you have just a little bit of an off-day you are going to finish outside of the top 20 and those points don't add up very fast. That's what makes it difficult now is because you have so many teams that can make you go from a reasonable day to a really a bad day with just either missing the setup or having a slight problem. I think that's why it becomes so much more difficult to get in the Chase and then from that point on, to go on and win the Championship.

Q. What is going on at Robert Yates Racing? I remember when we come to the Daytona and Robert and Richard showed us they were the two teams to watch and it's just like both teams have sort of lost their focus last couple of years. It can't be that difficult. Everybody is doing the same thing with the same -- is there something missing?

DALE JARRETT: If I had to say -- I mean, things have changed, that's what I am saying, we have drastically changed one of our cars from the other, and I think that's what we have been doing. We had so much success for a long time that we felt like that we might have been missing at aero-wise more and we kept trying to make up for what we were losing handling by doing some things aero-wise. That really wasn't where we were having our problems. We could run fast laps but we couldn't drive the cars when we got in traffic and in race conditions. Now with everybody bunched right together you better have something that you can drive because if you don't, you are either going to get knocked out of the way or you are they are going to pass you get to the inside. That's why we have had to change that. You look at both Richard and Robert, they have both had a lot of success over the years but times have changed a lot, and you got to be willing to make that change at some point in time. We have been a little slow to react to that because of the amount of success we have had for so long. I can't speak for Richard and their team but certainly at our organization, we had to do some different things because to get the proper attitude of the car and to do -- to be able to carry the speed where you need to carry it, it takes something different than what we won races with from '96 to 2000. You have got to do things a lot different.

Q. Who is the leader among drivers in the garage or is there one?

DALE JARRETT: Leader among drivers? That's a good question. But I would say that probably Jeff Gordon comes as close to that as anyone. I think that everybody in the garage area has a lot of respect for Jeff and I think that because of what he's accomplished and the way that he's gone about it, that NASCAR has that same respect for him. So I would have to say that Jeff would probably be at the top of the list right now.

Q. (Inaudible)

DALE JARRETT: Probably not. I don't know why, but no, I mean, don't know that ever tried to take that, you know, be quite honest, didn't want to be compared to Earnhardt because I think everybody would come up short in that respect. I mean, he was such a leader and was so well respected by everybody, and it would just -- I mean, -- this isn't just light jest, he doesn't carry the weight that Dale did even then, so I am not sure exactly when you will see that. Obviously Junior carries a lot of weight with the fans and with the media and sponsors, but don't know that he wants that obligation as far as being the kind of go-between, between the drivers and teams and NASCAR like Dale did.

Q. If you were to rank yourself in the preview coming out, what would you write about your team now and what number would you give yourself?

DALE JARRETT: As far as a number, I mean, you'd be hard-pressed to say that right now looking at it that you can put us any better than really the 15th spot than we finished in the points last year - I think that's where we finished - simply because there are a lot of unknowns with our race team right now. I think that, if you look at it on paper and obviously that doesn't get to the playing field or to the race track in this case, that's why we go out and have the races, but if you look at it we have improved our team immensely in a lot of areas. We have a better product with the Ford Fusion. We have a better engineering staff right now than we have ever had at Robert Yates Racing, and we have two very hungry crew chiefs that have come in to take over and lead this group, and so I would say that our potential is there for both teams to be in the Top-10, and make the Chase. It's just a matter of us just going out and making that happen now.

Q. You mentioned that you have a better piece with the Fusion. In the past when you changed cars it was a dramatic change. It would take teams a year to get used to a car. Have the common templates made that change minimal and is what makes the Fusion better, is it what the Tauris was at the end and it just gives you a future because you can develop it, is that what makes -- is it more -- is it more what you are going to get on the calm with it than anything else?

DALE JARRETT: I think it's a combination of things that makes the Fusion better for us. And, yes, because of NASCAR's regulations, with the templates that makes it a much easier process for us to take a new car and know what we have from there. So -- because all of them are pretty much the same in that respect. What we know with the Fusion -- the Tauris in 1998 was given to us a car that was already built, that was already a very good passenger car, a very good family car, a four-door sedan and Ford says y'all make this into a good race car. That's what we had to work with. That has been Ford's policy for many years. They weren't going to build a passenger car that was just strictly for us to go race, because if you looked over the years, the history of manufacturers trying to do that, didn't sell very good. Obviously as much as we like to think that we're -- the manufacturers are just involved in this because they think we do a great job. That's not it. They enjoy the racing and they know that there's a benefit to it, but ultimately it's to sell vehicles and our job this year and years to come are to sell these Fusions. But with the Fusion, starting a couple of years ago, as this car started to get into the works, they did come to the teams and ask for input as to what would make it better; what small things. They weren't going to totally change the design of the car but what small things could they incorporate that would give us a better race car, something that would be easier for us. And the changes that were made have made this a better balanced race car for us, so therefore we might not have to try to trick the car as much as what we had to with the Tauris at times. Obviously a lot of guys figured that out, a lot of different times. But the Fusion should make our job much easier in that respect.

Q. Despite your talk about not necessarily wanting to be a leader, you have been around long enough and you do have I think a perspective because of the way your father sort have had the role as a driver and as a broadcaster, that you look and see the big picture of this whole thing. A lot of times you will see things or think about things that make us think when you talk about it. Anything that's occurred to you in the off-season, things coming into this season that you think maybe NASCAR needs to be worried about, concerned about, any sort of big picture trends that you are thinking about as we start the season?

DALE JARRETT: I don't know that it necessarily concerns this season. I think that the thing that we have to keep in the forefront all of the time and any changes that we're going to make is what product are we putting out there for the fans. As this becomes more expensive for the teams to do, more expensive for the sponsors, more expensive for y'all to come and cover this, it obviously cost the fans more too. So we have to make sure that we're putting a product out there that they are going to enjoy coming to watch and obviously signing the new TV deal, that's a lot of money, and so you have to have a good product. I think that we have to be careful in how we're going about that and I am not going to sit here and say that I am against the car of tomorrow because I haven't driven it. I have seen it and I have seen pictures. I am not sure that's totally the right direction. I understand a lot of the thinking behind it. Obviously all of the safety stuff everybody is for, that's a great idea, of trying to make the competition better just by building a boxier car that, to me, looks more like a half truck in the front and rest of it, car. I think we have to be careful there that the manufacturers don't lose their identity because as we were just talking, it's very important to them that as we race on Saturdays and Sundays that people are ready to go buy that vehicle on Monday and Tuesday. I would -- I have said this a number of times and NASCAR has talked to me about it over the last couple of years, I really would like to see and I will preface this with I have nothing against speed, obviously if I didn't like speed I wouldn't be in this business, and it has nothing to do with being 49 years old because I still like to go as fast as we can go. That's what the thrill of all of this is. But I think that on the side of competition is being challenged because the cars are going too fast and we can't run side-by-side, which is what this sport was built on. I think that we seriously have to consider downsizing these engines. If you look over the years, from the time that I started this business full-time, in 1987, a good engine at that time had somewhere between 620 and 640 horsepower. Since that time and it has not been quite 20 years now, we have got better tires, Goodyear's does a tremendous job there. We have more downforce than we have ever had with these cars. Those two things alone should allows us to run side-by-side better and longer if you just looked at just those two things, but because now you have to have 850 horsepower, to have a good engine, that's 200 more, that's where the speed has come. Therefore we need all of this racetrack and all of that air and all of the grip of the tires to even go out there and even run that speed by ourselves so we can't put on the showed we need to. It won't be a big deal other than you are not going to see and be able to talk about track records being set and things like that, but I don't think that anybody really cares about that. It's about Sunday and that race and we have to put that product back out there. So if we slow these cars down. If you took us out on Friday and I am not talking about here only because of the restrictor plates, but I will use California, because that's the first non-restrictor plate race, if we went out on Friday and ran with the engines that we have now and we were going 200 miles an hour down the front stretch and you came back on Saturday and put a smaller engine in the car and we could somehow reduce that speed by 15 miles an hour on the straightaway. I am not even sure it would take 15 off. If you do that, first off the fans couldn't tell the difference watching that car go down and you will see a hell of a lot better racing through the corner with what we can do then. I think that's what we have to keep our eye on.

Q. Talk about your Talladega victory; what that meant to you personally. Also can you carry that moment here at Daytona and also with the car in 2006?

DALE JARRETT: Certainly Talladega was big for myself personally and because of we had come close a few times, but being able to seize that opportunity and knowing that with the car and everything going right that you can still get the job done I think it gave our team a lot of confidence. Probably had been criticized a little bit and didn't really care about that because my job is to get my car to the finish and do as well as we possibly can, about hanging back at times at these race tracks, but my job again is to get to the finish and have a car that you can have a chance with at that time so I think it showed everybody that, you know, not necessarily that's not for everybody but that's the way that I have gone about it. I don't think -- I think if my car drives as good as what I have won here, I don't have to worry about that when we get back here. Anyway, it helped us a lot. I think it gave us a lot of momentum. Even though we have made a lot of changes, the people that we brought in, I think that was a key factor too in helping get some of those people there to show them that we still could win at Robert Yates Racing even though Elliott had won twice the year before and obviously didn't win last year, but we feel like that because of the way he runs and that victory and a couple of other runs late in the year helped attract some people to our race team and that's going to make us a very good team. And give us a lot of optimism. I am sure you haven't heard that over the last two weeks everybody being here and being excited but it sounds like you have 45 or so teams probably that have come in here and said that they can win the Championship. We're no different. That's what we are here to do too.

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