Volume III, Issue 1, Page 9
With John Carollo

I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Chevys and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC

Awesomeness and Equalness

Well kids, the new season is looking to ‘light the fires and kick the tires’ so it’s time to take a look-see at what we can expect this year from our NASCAR Chevys. First off, you gotta know the odds are stacked against them to go out there and totally destroy the competition like they done last year. Yeah, it was fun and all but you just don’t have a year like that twice in a row. And if they did, the Ford, Dodge and Toyota reps would be camping out on the steps of the Room of Doom we know as the big ‘ol NASCAR Sprint Cup trailer. They’d be there looking for some help. That’s not to say those guys are whiners, ALL the companies do it. When one brand is winning more than their share, there is a steady stream of ‘politiking’ going on. It’s kinda like those lobby fellas in Washington always stickin’ their two cents in (and coming away with OUR tax dollars.) Racin’ fact: NASCAR don’t want nobody stinkin’ up their show.

A lot of the reasons why Chevy teams did so well last year revolve around the old body style and its use on the Intermediate tracks. Chevy’s program for those tracks that make up the bulk of the schedule was dead nuts. When they faced a choice to put money and effort into the new COT or continue to flog a lame duck car, they did both! Teams kept up their programs and resources to put more into those downforce cars as well as the new COT and that’s why they ran so well. It was a calculated risk, paid off right proud and was a lesson to be learned.

But this new season is one of them “clean slates” as the Car Of Tomorrow comes slidin’ up the driveway and says, “Let’s go racing!” The biggest thing that means to teams is that they can concentrate on one style of car for ALL tracks and HOPEFULLY get back to racin’. And with a body and chassis that is so rigidly enforced, teams will have to partner up with each other to get any sort of advantage. For those of us that watch the big show, it’s the proverbial level playing field all over again. It’s kinda like NASCAR done pushed the reset button or something. Hopefully this will provide some of the good solid racing that a lot of us feel has been MIA for a number of years. After all, that’s what it’s all about, right? We all want to see good close and safe racing. And if’n you’re a Chevy fan and they win, well, that’s just more honey on the biscuit.

So, after a season of total awesomeness, we’re set to have one of equalness. And that reminds me when I was writing about the International Race of Champions. Remember the IROC series that made us all wanna go out and buy Z28s and start rat racing around our neighborhoods? Well, good ‘ol Darrell Waltrip got the pole position at this one race. Needless to say, he was stoked and was looking forward to laying a real good smackdown win on some of the best in the business. Well, as soon as they dropped the green, it became apparent DW had one of those ill handling race cars that A.J always refered to as livestock  – ‘cept he used lotsa dirty words in front of the name of the livestock. We could tell DW was a goner by how fast he charged his way right straight to the back of the pack. DW was a good company man and rode it out. Later, when he pulled his Camaro back into the garage, I was there to get a quote from him. Now, I done a little racing myself so I knew there was a pretty good chance he was gonna be pissed. Hell, if that was me, they probably woulda had to hose me down before I got out and started cussin’ and swingin’. So I knew ol’ DW might not wanna talk about it right away. I looked at him as he climbed out, kinda gave him a shrug, waving my tape recorder and said, ‘You know I gotta ask ya.’ And he said, “Yeah, I know. Just give me a minute,” and I backed off a few steps.

Ol’ DW was always a pro and I knew he just needed a minute to get his “composure.” That’s racing talk for remembering not to say any bad words when any electronic recording devices were around. When he waved me back on over, I asked the cliché they all hate to answer, ‘What happened? You started on the pole and drove straight to the back.” It’s almost an attack on a driver’s manhood to ask him that cuz it’s saying it was him and not the dang car. It’s the racing version of saying ‘Yer Mama!’ But DW was ALWAYS good for a great quote and he delivered this time, too. He just kinda looked at me, sighed and said, “Well, these cars are all prepared equal and I guess mine was a little less equal.”

And that’s where this new season is gonna be touchy. Now the cars will be more equal than any time before. Don’t tell nobody but here’s the difference. The really good teams will continue to find any and all small subtle ways to improve their cars. The teams that don’t seek those small advantages, well, they might just end up being a little less equal. Thanks for the line, DW!

Note: We’re writing this before we head on down to Lowes Motor Speedway for the annual NASCAR Media Tour. We’ll give you a full report on that next time. 



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