Parrott Looking To Repeat History While Kahne Wants To Win One For Ford
Todd Parrott, crew chief of the No. 19 Reynolds Wrap Ford Fusion that qualified second with driver Elliott Sadler yesterday, will be looking to repeat history tomorrow when the green flag falls in the Pepsi MAX 400. Parrott and Sadler teamed up to win here at Auto Club Speedway in 2004 when they were both members of Robert Yates Racing. Parrott spoke about getting the 19 team back up front before today’s practice.
TODD PARROTT, Crew Chief – No. 19 Reynolds Wrap Ford Fusion – ELLIOTT SAID YESTERDAY THAT THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR CAR WAS 100 PERCENT YOU AND IS THE SAME CAR HE WRECKED IN THE BRICKYARD 400. WHAT WENT INTO GETTING THIS CAR READY FOR THIS WEEKEND? “Yeah, this is the car we wrecked at Indy but all of the guys back at the shop, the Roush people in the fab shop and chassis shop, it’s not all me. It’s 100 percent team effort and that’s what it was. It was a good car. We felt like at Indy we were gonna have a great race and never got the chance because we wrecked on the first lap. So we went back and with the way we schedule our cars we just looked into the future and said, ‘OK, California is a semi-flat track. We’ll get this thing fixed up, get a snout on it and get a body on it and get it ready for there.’ The guys have done a great job. It’s an awesome race car. It was really cool yesterday to see the smiles on all the guys faces. They’ve been beat up all year long. They work their guts out and they don’t get the credit or to show what they really can do, and for Elliott to go out and qualify second was good for the team, not just for me. It was cool for me, but to see tears in the eyes of Mike Wolf, my engineer, that’s pretty awesome. That’s how much it means to all of our guys.”
THAT LAP SURPRISED A LOT OF PEOPLE AND NATURALLY BEGS THE QUESTION, WHY HASN’T THIS HAPPENED MORE OFTEN? “I think it’s something that has been building the last eight or 10 weeks since I came over here in Chicago. We’ve had good cars. We’ve run well, but we just haven’t been able to finish it off. It seems we start the race and the car is off a little bit, but by the end of the race it’s faster than the leaders, so we’ve come out here with a little different package. It’s something we’ve been working on back at the shop and the guys have done a great job putting it all together. Elliott put together a great lap and, who knows, a little bit more and we might have had that 19 car on the pole. That would have been awesome.”
WHAT’S THE KEY FOR YOU TO WIN THIS RACE? “Yeah, there are things we have to do today to prepare ourselves for tomorrow. We’ve obviously got to get the balance of the car right and make sure that we’ve got everything where it needs to be, and then just have a good, solid day in the pits and make good pit calls. The way this chase has gone, the end of these races have been long green-flag runs, so we’ve got to have our car good on the long run.”
IT SEEMS THE NON-CHASERS HAVE BEEN A BIG FACTOR THESE FIRST FOUR WEEKS. “The non-chase cars aren’t out of this by any means. The guys that aren’t in the chase work just as hard and have just as good a cars and equipment as the guys that are in the chase, it’s just that all the limelight is focused around the 12 guys in the chase. The other guys kind of get overshadowed, so when they come out and feel like they have to prove a point and show themselves like they have so far this weekend, I think it’s awesome.”
DO YOU AND ELLIOTT FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO PROVE A POINT? “Oh, yeah. I still, in my heart, I’ve told these guys in the meetings and everything that if the stars line up and we get all of our stuff right, we’ll win a race before the end of the year. I know it’s far-fetched and a long shot, but it can be done. I know I have confidence in myself and what I do and what I can do from the first part of the year working with Matt and having the success that we did together. I know if we can get all of our stuff together, who knows what can happen.”
PLUS YOU AND ELLIOTT HAVE SOME KARMA HERE AT THIS TRACK, RIGHT? “In 2004 we had a lot of success and won a race here when we had a good car, but that’s 2004 and this is 2010. The competition now is unbelievably different than what it was then, so you just have to make sure that all of your stuff is right.”
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion, qualified fifth for tomorrow’s Pepsi MAX 400 and is still looking for his first win of the season. He spoke about his chances of reaching Victory Lane before Saturday’s first practice session.
KASEY KAHNE – No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion – HOW DO YOU VIEW TOMORROW’S RACE? “If you have a good balance, you can pass cars and be pretty good. It’s gonna be hot and slippery, so if you get off a little bit, you’ll lose a lot of time to the leaders and to the guys that are fast. We just need to be balanced well and stay on top of it throughout the race, but it’s tough to do at a track like this.”
THE NON-CHASERS HAVE BEEN A FACTOR SO FAR. HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY DIFFERENCE IN THE RACING SINCE THE CHASE STARTED? “I don’t at all. I think the chase guys have been the most consistent throughout the year, but you saw a lot of the non-chase guys were up front the last three or four races prior to the chase. They’re not gonna just fall off the map once you get to the chase, even though we missed it. I think everybody races the same. You’ve got to race hard and race to win. When we get to Homestead, the last thing you want to do is wipe out the guy leading the points or anything like that, but, at the same time, we’re out there racing hard and if you’ve done the same thing you’ve done all year, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
THE GOAL IS OBVIOUSLY TO WIN ONE OF THESE LAST FEW RACES. HOW DO YOU ASSESS YOUR CHANCES? “I’d like to win for Ford and Budweiser, but things have to happen your way. You have to be in the right place at the right time and do the right stuff. Hopefully, we’ll be in that position. We still have seven races and hopefully we can figure out how to be that car at some point. We’ve won some races over the last few years, so I think we know how. We just need to do it.”