NASCAR Sprint Sound & Speed presented by SunTrust
January 9, 2010
KERRY THARP: I'm going to ask Brian Scott, this year you're going to be full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Talk about that and the excitement that brings for you.
BRIAN SCOTT: Well, I'm very excited to be able to announce I'm going to be running the Nationwide Series for the full year, going for the Rookie-of-the-Year again, I think it's the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year. It's awesome to be able to progress, take the next step in my career, hopefully have a season like I had this year in the Camping World Truck Series. Got to experience a lot of success, be a weekly contender. That's all you can ask for, moving up.
I'm excited to stick with Toyota and Braun Racing. We're building a great team and I think we're going to be a force to be reckoned with.
KERRY THARP: Morgan, you've been doing this a long, long time, as you said. What motivates you and excites you still about getting behind the wheel in NASCAR?
MORGAN SHEPHERD: Well, first of all, our race fans. NASCAR is one big family. Just going to each race, having the opportunity to put the word 'Jesus' out in front of people, we use it as a ministry tool. We just got a great opportunity of reaching the world, encouraging people to better their lives.
KERRY THARP: Justin, talk about your outlook for the season.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Yeah, definitely, looking forward to coming back with Penske Racing, Verizon Wireless coming back onboard with us. Last year was a lot of fun for us. We were able to have some good runs, win Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year. But it was a great time. Wish we could have gotten to Victory Lane at least once. We didn't do that. But we learned a lot.
Going forward into this year, nothing really has changed on the crew, everything is pretty similar to what it was last year. Hopefully we can take all that and learn from the things we did this year and learn from our mistakes, make it better.
I guess I get to vote for Rookie-of-the-Year, too, at the end of the year. I'm part of the vote panel. Maybe I need to work on talking to Brian and seeing what to offer. I'm really looking forward to it.
BRIAN SCOTT: Being a politician. Taking bribes already.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Like Morgan said, NASCAR is a family sport. It's cool to be able to be a part of it. I know this is a big event. I've heard lots of great things. I'm glad to be here this year.
HOLLY: I want to ask you about your debut record, how things are going. Are you in the studio? What's on tap for the spring? Is there a tour coming?
THE KOOPOLA SISTERS: We're working on all of that. Last year was a fun and exciting year for us. We got to go on tour with amazing country acts. We sang at a lot of NASCAR races, sang the national anthem. It was fun for us to join the NASCAR family. NASCAR and country music is all one in the same. We had a great time.
This year we're just working on our next single, writing a lot in the studio, recording for our new album. It's very exciting.
KERRY THARP: Questions.
Q. You girls have come a long way since the duet days, debut performance in the Grand Ol' Opry. 2010, have you set goals? How do you look at that? How do you top last year? Pretty phenomenal year starting out.
THE KOOPOLA SISTERS: Yeah, I mean, I think we definitely set goals all the time. The goal for us is to keep performing, keep getting out there, meeting as many friends and family out there on the road as we can.
Our goal this year is to get as many songs recorded as we can, get out on the road, and hopefully be bigger and better than last year.
Q. Justin, coming off of Rookie-of-the-Year, finishing top 10, what can you take from that to move this team forward and possibly have a top five or even win it this year?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Well, I think the biggest thing that we've got to learn is last year I had not been to a lot of the racetracks before, so each time we went to a new place, learning the schedule, learning the track, learning all the stuff that was going to happen, learn how the track changed over the course of a day.
We've gotten that down. The other thing we were learning last year is all the crew was different, something new, to try to learn as well.
This year it's going to help us a lot to have some repetition in the fact everything is exactly the same. Most of the racetracks are the same. I think we only have one new racetrack on the schedule. We lost Memphis down the road here. That's frustrating. But we gained an extra race in Gateway, St. Louis. We had some success there this year, so hopefully we can use that.
But I think the biggest thing is just making sure we come out of the gate strong and gets good runs at the beginning. That really seemed to carry the tune for the rest of the year. I mean, we started off pretty bad and we never really completely overcame that. So I think we've got to start off well and hopefully 2010 is as good if not better than 2009. We'll be definitely happy.
Q. Morgan, being an owner/driver, last year it was evident you struggled with the sponsorship problems. Looks like this year is probably going to be the same. You're not alone in that boat. I commend you on your fan sponsorship project. I hope that works. But as an owner of a small team as yours, how do you look forward to 2010 and '11 with the implementation of the new car coming in? You've been working with Johnny Davis a bit on that car. How much of a struggle is it for you of a small team, is that new car going to affect you?
MORGAN SHEPHERD: Well, I found it's just like anything in life: you got to have a passion for it first of all to do it and determination to do it. We operate with a very small amount of money. The race fans help us. Of course, Tony Stewart helped us last year. He won't be able to do that this year. He bought us tires and all.
We're going to go out with the same goal of going and making every race. Where there's a will, there's a way. So we've got the will, and we'll find the way.
Q. Morgan, why is a seasoned, veteran driver like you, why do you have a hard time finding race seats and top-notch equipment?
MORGAN SHEPHERD: Well, first of all, people want the young drivers. They're gonna be here a long time. They're the ones that your big companies are trying to promote.
But there is people that supports us. You know, it looks like I ought to be able to get a vitamin sponsor or Geritol. Anyway, everything is governed toward your young people. That's the way it should be.
But we're here to encourage other people. You're not dead after your 50 years old. We encourage people to get up off their couch and do something with your life. That's what I'm about.
Q. Someone with an impressive résumé, and other drivers, why was this rush to get a new hotshot, young gun driver? Why?
MORGAN SHEPHERD: Well, why?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: I don't know the answer.
MORGAN SHEPHERD: That's just part of life, whether it's racing, boxing or basketball, football. There's a time that you're not gonna be as good as you was when you started.
But, you know, with our sport and the safety of it, the way the cars are, as long as you got good reflexes, you got determination, you can do it for a good while. I think I've proven that.
People get burned out on what they're doing. I haven't ever felt like I didn't want to be at a race or I didn't want to work on a racecar. But, you know, I really don't know how many racecar drivers would be out there if they had to do it our way because I still work on my racecar and still work all night and do all those things.
We drive across country, where guys get in airplanes and fly backwards and forward. So this is determination. That's what I have that keeps me here.
BRIAN SCOTT: The important thing is to remember the legacy of Morgan Shepherd, that he paved the way for younger drivers like this and helped shape the sport of NASCAR what it is today.
Q. Congratulations on signing to Big Machine. I hope Scottie is looking after you. Who is your producer there?
THE KOOPOLA SISTERS: We've worked with several producers over the past year on different tracks. Mostly whoever we kind of wrote the song with, we go in the studio with them and record it. Right now we're working with Danny Myrick (phonetic). He wrote, She's Country for Jason Aldean. He wrote our single and a bunch of songs with us. We're looking forward to getting in the studio with him, really focusing on what the three of us do together. That's our next step, going in the studio and recording a bunch of songs we recorded with Danny.
Q. This year we now see the last name to the group. The obvious question, are you related to all the others?
THE KOOPOLA SISTERS: I wish. Maybe Francis Ford would do our music video or something. No, we're not related. We're from the same part in Italy, but our relation would be a far part on the family tree.
THE KOOPOLA SISTERS: We're going by Kate and Kacey.
Q. You haven't contacted them for connections?
THE KOOPOLA SISTERS: For wine (laughter)? No.
Q. Brian, similar question to what I asked Justin. In this case, you're coming on full-time to Nationwide, looking to hopefully have some success there. What can you take from the brief experiences last year or your truck experiences to possibly get your Rookie-of-the-Year or top five finish at the end of the year?
BRIAN SCOTT: Hopefully I can take the experience of a little bit of the respect among the other drivers in the Nationwide Series. I hope they feel more comfortable racing those seven races that I did this year. I hope to have a little bit more familiarity with the vehicles, the equipment, the length of races. You know, the equipment is different between the truck and the Nationwide car. Aerodynamics affect them both incredibly different. So just figuring out the little things like, the million little things that a driver has to do in a race to make it look so simple on TV where we go round and round and turn left. Hopefully I have a little bit of an edge.
Q. Will you have familiarity with your crews?
BRIAN SCOTT: It will be a new crew. It will be somewhat new equipment. I did four races with Braun Racing, so I have a little bit of familiarity with their equipment. They're in the process of changing their tight Camrys around a little bit, aerodynamics a little bit. Don't know how much it will affect it. I know they're taking steps forward. I have a new crew chief. Might be some familiar races. Actually two of the guys that were on my truck team are coming, so I have a little bit of a familiarity there. One being an interior guy, which is incredibly important for a driver. Hopefully I'll have that familiarity that everything is right, that peace of mind when I strap myself in and get ready to go as fast as I can go.
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