The Ralph's/Food4Less Racing team arrived mid-week in Oregon. They set-up a car display at the Fred Meyers store in Hollywood (Ore.) and then driver for the team, Butch Gilliland, competed in the Malibu Grand Prix, a charity event that raised money for the Doernbecher Children's Charity.
The team is now preparing for the ninth race of the NASCAR Winston West season, the GRAINGER INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY 200 at Portland Speedway. So far, Gilliland has had a successful season, in which he's driven to four top-10s and recorded a win in the Forum Marketing 200 after a fierce battle with Bill Sedgwick in the final laps to the checkered flag.
Gilliland has finished in the top-three at this event two years in a row, including winning the event and the pole two years ago. The semi-banked 1/2-mile has been a tough track to tame. It has produced 12 different winners in the last 12 races. Who knows maybe Gilliland will be the first repeat winner in 13 years.
RacingWest: Of all the tracks the Winston West travels to, how do you rank the Portland track?
Butch Gilliland: I think it is very different from most tracks we race on. Car set up is very important.
RW: Considering the pit situation at Portland, how does this affect your race strategy?
BG: We just don't want to go a lap down.
RW: Does the bump on the track coming out of four change the way you race at this track?
RW: Do you care to offer an opinion on wheel tethers?
BG: I think they are a good idea, but they are in my opinion overkill in size.
RW: What is your spotters name and how important is your spotter to you?
BG: Joe Dehorty - Spotters are very important to the outcome of a race.
RW: Do you prefer your spotter to talk you around the track or do you prefer to concentrate on your driving with less input from your spotter?
BG: My spotter is very good and he knows when to talk.
RW: What is your crew chief's name and what was the best strategy your crew chief exercised this season?
BG: Ron Hearidge - I would say putting on 4 tires at Bakersfield with 50 to go.
RW: If you are lucky enough to win Portland, how will you celebrate?
BG: I think congratulating the crew, and if time permits taking them to dinner.
RW: What do you feel could improve the Winston West even more?
BG: I think transponders would be a huge asset to help aid in scoring as well as having a driver, spotter, crew chief meeting before the race. I also think letting the teams have only 3 sets of tires instead of 4 could improve the series.
RW: Where can the fans find you for autographs and such?
BG: I believe that there will be an autograph session under the grandstands after qualifying.