Chief, the No.00 Monte Carlo of Scott Gaylord is excited about this weekend's race. Said a very excited car, "I can hardly wait. I don't know what Scott has planned, but I plan to get some attention. I'm one of the youngest cars out there. Those other clunkers are going to have to watch my line and learn from a rookie."
Sitting in the garage in Colorado while the young ride is being hauled out to Irwindale Speedway is Merlin, the original No. 00. This is the car that has been calm, cool and collected, the car that worked with Gaylord through ten years of NASCAR Winston West racing.
Said Merlin, "I always put Scott's safety first. Winning a race or two would have been awesome, but I think I brought home enough podiums to the Oliver Gravity Separators Team to sleep well when the cover goes on. As for Chief, he is full of himself. If he thinks he is going out there on the track and show the veteran cars how to do things, he has a hard lesson in store.
I've been trying to tell him to listen to the crew and work with the driver. I've seen young cars before do what they want. Usually when you hear a driver has a bad push, it is the car fighting the driver. The only way to remedy that is to bring it in and adjust the attitude or wedge as the humans call it. When the car is loose it is because the car is so full of itself it thinks it can go anywhere it wants. This is the way young Chief behaves. It is the same thing, if he acts like that on the track, the guys will bring him in and do an adjustment, put a couple of rounds of wedge in. This can be costly, especially if the race is green. I just hope Chief comes to his senses before the event. Scott and the team have enough work without dealing with a car with an attitude."
And what were Chief's final words? "Merlin is a great old car. Let's emphasize OLD here. I think he is also a little upset cause I am 300 pounds lighter and nimbler on my tires. I'm not going out there to make Scott look bad. I'm going out there to make him look good. Merlin just doesn't get it. Oh, and he says I'm loose? Well who was leading Laguna Seca, two times I might add? Yep, Chief, Chief, Chief! All I have to say to Merlin is this, better to be loose than in a garage on raceday."
Shocked at the statement even the Cab started talking. "Look, a young car is no different than some of the young drivers. They say things you wish they wouldn't. A few bad mentions in the press and I would look for Chief to be as concerned with his public image as Merlin. Trust me, he talks tough, but underneath that sheet metal is one of the sweetest Chassis' in the West!"
A late change in plans and Chief is NOT going to Irwindale. Zephyr is. Chief needed a time-out to think about some of the things he said.
RacingWest: You have a break in the schedule to work on your car. What will you and the team do to prepare it for Irwindale Speedway?
Scott Gaylord: We're trying to get Zephyr ready for Irwindale so even though there may seem to be a break we'll likely come in right under the wire.
RW: Do you find Irwindale a hard track to set the car up for? What gives you the most difficulty?
SG: We have missed all the Irwindale events so far, so we will be going at it fresh with no history/notes to fall back on...But we are excited to go this year.
RW: What tire do you anticipate running in this event:
RW: What is the surface like at this track?
SG: Don't know but hear its smooth.
RW: How important is a good starting position at this track?
SG: Starting position is always important but more so at short tracks, if you get caught up in traffic you could get lapped in a real hurry.
RW: What is the key to passing at Irwindale?
SG: We'll just have to find that out.
RW: How has the competition been this season?
SG: Competition has been strong, there's some good rookie teams to add to the many we've seem the last couple of years.
RW: How about you? Are you where you wanted to be? What is your goal for the remainder of the season?
SG: Pretty much, we were very disappointed and the mechanical we had at Laguna, our team has not had a mechanical failure in 3 years, it just blows us away that it happened when we had that race in the bag. We were hoping to climb in year end points after Laguna but I guess we were all pleased we were able to hang on to 7th. Our team has two complete cars ready to race, and the 3rd one with a goal of June 24... If we manage that it will be huge for our team.
RW: Does a full load of fuel affect the handling of the car?
RW: Do you think quality motor oil is important in a racecar? What oil do
SG: Yes, we use a synthetic,
RW: Do you feel promotion of your racing efforts should come from NASCAR,
the track or you?
SG: All three, we're all in this together.
RW: What do you think of this season's schedule? Any event you would like to see added or any date you would like to see changed?
SG: Pikes Peak, Sears Point
RW: Where can the Irwindale Speedway fans meet you and the team?
SG: Working on the car as usual