NASCAR Sprint Sound & Speed presented by SunTrust
January 9, 2010
KERRY THARP: Got a great group up here now joining us for our next media session. We'll start out introducing the NASCAR drivers. To my left is Reed Sorenson. Look forward to watching him this year. He's going to be with Braun Racing in 2010. Thanks for being here. To his left is Michael Waltrip, two-time Daytona 500 champion. Did a great job last night as a host, storyteller, joke teller. He does a little bit of everything for us. Michael, thanks for being here.
HOLLY: We have Chuck Wicks up here. Chuck signed to RCA Records in late 2007. Released a record in September of that year. His debut single Stealing Cinderella off of that record. You've also appeared on Dancing with the Stars. You have announced you're starting work on your second album due sometime this year.
Chris Young in 2006 was the winner of the USA Network's Nashville Star. After winning he signed to RCA Records and released his debut album. In September he released The Man I Want to Be, currently No. 15 on GAC's countdown.
KERRY THARP: I'll throw a question to Reed Sorenson. You're going to be with a new team this year. Talk about it.
REED SORENSON: Should be a good year. Looking forward to working with Dollar General. Fortunate enough to be with them all day yesterday, visit their headquarters building. That was neat. They're continuously growing. Hopefully we can race good for them this year. I know they're pretty excited about it. I'm looking forward to going to tracks I haven't ran in a couple of years. I think we definitely can win some races this year. I'm excited to have that feeling again where we go to the racetrack every weekend and we have a shot to win and we feel like we're one of the best teams there.
KERRY THARP: Michael Waltrip, as you enter the 2010 season, certainly your race team has made huge strides. This year you're going to be in a little bit of a different role. Talk about that.
MICHAEL WALTRIP: We've just enjoyed the opportunity to see our team grow. We started in '07. Quite frankly '07, '08 looked like it might be in question. We got in a little bit of a bind trying to start a new team and race against these established organizations.
Not only were we able to survive, but 2009 we got our first win as an organization. This year we're adding Martin Truex, Jr. to our lineup, David Reutimann, and Marcos Ambrose drives under our roof, too. Had a great season for a guy that hadn't raced these types of cars much in his whole life. He was really impressive.
Looking forward to watching those guys race a lot, see what's out there for me. I'm going to race some, but I don't know exactly when, where or how much.
KERRY THARP: Also pleased to be joined by Clint Bowyer for RCR Racing. Clint, talk about your outlook for this coming NASCAR season.
CLINT BOWYER: Hopefully better than last season. We need to be a lot better. Looking forward to getting things started off right. It's so important to get out of Daytona with the season started on the right foot. Daytona has been good to me in the past. I'm looking forward to it.
I think our cars were running a lot better by the end of the year. Can't wait to get to California and some of these mile-and-a-half tracks and see what we got for them.
HOLLY: Chuck, you want to talk about the second album you're working on.
CHUCK WICKS: Sure. We've been in the studio non-stop probably right before the Christmas break. We recorded nine new songs. We're almost done. We'll be done by the end of January. We have a new single coming out right around March 3rd.
HOLLY: What's it called?
CHUCK WICKS: I don't know. We're tossing it up. We'll decide in the next couple weeks. We have a good problem that we believe in a bunch of songs. We'll figure out which is the best one to lead off.
It's going to be fun. Coming off the show Dancing With the Stars, second record, having stuff under my belt, I'm excited to get to the new music. Sounds a little different than the first record.
HOLLY: How is it different?
CHUCK WICKS: You just kind of grow as an artist, I think, over time and as a songwriter. I think I've found a better niche of who I am as an artist through touring. I toured with Brad Paisley for a long time. Watched him. You just get to figure things out as time goes by. I think this record is going to show who I am as an artist and songwriter together.
HOLLY: Chris, what do you have cooking? Going out on the road any time soon? What is the summer looking like?
CHRIS YOUNG: I think if Kyle Petty gets to sing, I should be able to race, so...
HOLLY: I think that's fair.
CHRIS YOUNG: I think that's how it should work (laughter).
I'm excited. Have a really good year coming up. Had a great year last year. Like I said, last year would say awesome for me. Had really my first song to break top 30, it was a No. 1 record. Still getting a lot of play on the chart.
KERRY THARP: We'll take some questions.
Q. Chris, first No. 1. Now that you have that first No. 1 under your belt, what is that doing for your career when you show up and do gigs?
CHRIS YOUNG: You know what, it's really cool because you know you have a point in your set regardless of the other stuff going on that as soon as we start playing that song, everybody knows the lyrics and they start singing along with it immediately. It's just been crazy to watch the response to that song.
I've had people come up to me and say, even being that it's a No. 1, the response is so much bigger than it usually is. I'm glad people fell in love with the song. It's also helping us out at country radio. This new single we have, it's already inside the top 30, climbing real fast for us. The title track of the record, called The Man I Want to Be.
I'm just really excited. Like I said, I'm looking forward to what this year holds.
Q. Are you getting a lot of black dresses in the audience?
CHRIS YOUNG: We have. Did a show in Mexico. In Mexico, everybody is in swimsuits. Halfway through the song, dropped the black dresses. Freaked me out for a few minutes.
Q. A lot of people come to Nashville to make it. Do you have problems being from the area to try to make it in the business?
CHRIS YOUNG: I don't think I did. Maybe I just got really, really lucky being able to watch everybody else as I was kind of growing as an artist. I got to kind of pick everybody's brain and say what should I do, what should I not do. I messed up and had to learn the hard way.
It was cool for me to be able to live here and experience that.
MICHAEL WALTRIP: How much does it pay to have a No. 1?
CHRIS YOUNG: It's a house (laughter). I bought a washing machine. That's what I got.
Q. Michael Waltrip, first race of the year coming up at Daytona, a place you've won twice. What makes a good plate racer and why is that one of your best tracks? What are the characteristics it takes?
MICHAEL WALTRIP: I think at Daytona it's a lot different than Talladega. It always been that way. I've been fortunate to figure out how to make my car handle well and run with my foot on the floor the majority of the race. That's how you have success at Daytona.
Now, the way it has worked lately is you position yourself all race long, then there's a caution with 15 or 20 to go, and it's whoever is the bravest, luckiest, can get in the right line.
It's important at Daytona to be in tune with your car, getting where it will handle so you can drive it the way you want to drive it. You need to be able to look in the mirror instead of the windshield to get to the places you need to be. Obviously, if it's not handling right, you can't do those things. It's all about how the car's handling in my mind.
Q. Chris and Chuck, I know it's a long-winded process when you're selecting songs for an album. When you hear songs, obviously you feel strong about it before you get ready to record it, but do you realize the song was that strong as the potential for No. 1? Do you feel that strong about a song?
CHUCK WICKS: I think there's a process when we are making the record, you start leaking out the songs and you start seeing people's natural reaction. It's easy to, you know, don't play them for your best friend because they're going to like whatever you play, but play for people you know is going to give you an honest opinion. You try to dwindle it down from that.
Chris, I'm sure when you heard your No. 1, like when I played Stealing Cinderella for people, the reaction was always consistent. Wow, I really like that song. That turns into, Okay, maybe this should be the first single. It weeds its way out, you figure it out pretty quick.
CHRIS YOUNG: You wrote Stealing Cinderella. I wrote Getting Home. As a writer you can tell, too. It's a different feeling. It's not taking anything away from anything the both of us have written. When you write a song like that, you have a pretty good feeling when you're writing it that this is really cool and you can't wait to play it for people. I think that probably plays a big part in it, too.
CHUCK WICKS: We'll write a hundred songs and 95 of them will suck. We take the five and try to figure it out from there.
Q. Michael, following up on Daytona, possibly going away with the yellow line rule. Your thoughts on that?
MICHAEL WALTRIP: That would be a mistake. The yellow line was put there for good reason. When you get to the end of the back straightaway, if you're under it, you got to make a right before you make a left.
Here is what people don't understand. If the yellow line wasn't there, then the yellow line would simply become the grass. You're going to go somewhere, if you can. So go to the yellow line and quit there so that everybody can have a place to position themselves.
We've proven we're perfectly capable of wiping each other out with the yellow line. Taking it away, what are we trying to accomplish?
But I do have a good idea. I want to get this out there. A point a lap for the leader at Talladega and Daytona, let's glob those together, one point a lap. That way people will race hard at Talladega instead of doing what is smart and riding in line till you get down toward the end. Someone said, We're going to wreck cars. That's right. At Talladega we wreck 'em at the end now because we just wait around. So if we had a point a lap, we could wreck some early, some in the middle, and some late, too.
If I could get y'all to get your arms around this idea and we could get it like we're all about the fans, we want the fans to enjoy the experience. The fans have spoken that the way we race Talladega, they don't enjoy it as much as they had before. So there's no scientific answer how to fix the track or the car. Can't fix the track or the car. So what can you do? You can change the drivers' philosophy and reward them for racing all day long.
There you have it.
CLINT BOWYER: It's a mistake. The yellow line, like he said, at the end of the straightaway, there's 10 foot of runoff over there between the yellow line and the grass, say. You get down there and you don't get back up before the bank starts again, you're just gonna launch up there. You'll turn right, wipe everybody out.
At least the yellow line keeps everybody on the bank as you get into the transition of the corner. I think it's important. It's a good rule. It's tough. Like David Ragan or whoever it was that lost that race, you know, got blocked down there. Probably if that yellow line rule wouldn't have been there, he would have won the race.
It's unfortunate, but I think it's a good cause. It's done its job, what it was intended to do. I hope they keep it.
MICHAEL WALTRIP: By the way, that was my idea, too, the yellow line.
Q. Clint, if they take away the wing, put in a spoiler, does that help or hurt you? What impact would it have?
CLINT BOWYER: This is my opinion on it. Right now we need to do something, you know. Our fans are not happy. You got to do something to cater to our fans. Without them we can't do what we do. They've made a lot of changes on this car over the years, but nobody has been able to see them. You take a wing off the back, put a spoiler on it, a fan watching on TV can see that change. He's going to stay tuned and follow how that reacts and how it changes the sport going on into the season.
Q. Michael, how is it going with the training for the upcoming race that you're about to do in Dubai, the 24 Hours of Dubai? Is there a future racing at the (indiscernible) circuit the year after that?
MICHAEL WALTRIP: I went to Italy and tested for a couple days back in September. The test went really well. I work out all the time anyway so I know physically I'm ready to go do it. Our goal is to race LeMans. If we can race well or win at Dubai, the team I'm going to drive for is a championship team, we're capable of winning the race in Dubai. Marcos Ambrose is going to be one of our drivers. We got a good lineup. If that goes well, we'll grade ourselves. The reward for a successful event in Dubai will be a trip to LeMans. I'm looking forward to that as well. That's pretty cool.
Q. LeMans this year or 2011?
MICHAEL WALTRIP: Maybe this year.
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