Winston: Jimmy Spencer preview

Spencer has his own ideas for The Winston MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 14, 2003) - When it comes to the future of The Winston all-star race and the ongoing debate of whether it should be moved from Lowe's Motor Speedway to another venue, Jimmy Spencer ...

Winston: Jimmy Spencer preview

Spencer has his own ideas for The Winston

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 14, 2003) - When it comes to the future of The Winston all-star race and the ongoing debate of whether it should be moved from Lowe's Motor Speedway to another venue, Jimmy Spencer has a suggestion. Granted, Spencer's suggestion has the traction of a bowling ball, but that's never stopped him from sharing his thoughts before, and he's not about to make history today. So here you go:

There's a racing venue up north only several people in the NASCAR Winston Cup garage know about, because it remains to this day "invites only." You want to race at this track, you've got to earn it. There are no records, no inspection lines, and certainly no manners. The proof is in the name of its annual event: The International Race of ... well, something to do with bodily waste and craniums.

At this track, sweet, little, old ladies have their automobiles snatched away by inconsiderate drivers looking for a car to race. Really, that's no lie. One of the best stories ever told was the time Richard Childress went scavenging for a car after wrecking his so bad it wouldn't crank. He came back with a four-door Dodge owned by a sweet, little lady who used it to tote laundry back and forth from her house to the laundry machines. He ended up wrecking it, too.

There are more stories like this one, timeless tales of Dale Earnhardt, Buddy Baker, Benny Parsons, Tony Stewart and others racing around this little, eighth-of-a-mile dirt track located right out back of the Spencer family home in Berwick, Pa. The track has no official name, but if you want to single out the best driver in all of racing, bring The Winston here. Just one request: Please keep away from Mrs. Spencer's laundry wagon. She's still angry about the time her first one mysteriously disappeared.

As the No. 7 SIRIUS Racing Team prepares for Saturday night's Winston Open (7:30 p.m. EDT on FX) and, hopefully, the premier race that follows (9 p.m.), Spencer continues his argument of bringing The Winston to his boyhood home, and he also weighs in on Mongo's chances for success this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Team SIRIUS driver Jimmy Spencer's thoughts:

From what it sounds like, you guys don't race at your junkyard track with the intension of using those cars again. Is that true?

"Those cars end up in a crush pile. I'll put it this way: If you compared the cars we tear up at our track back home to the car (North Carolina) governor Mike Easley tore up the other day (while taking practice laps at Lowe's Motor Speedway), the governor's car still looks like it belongs in the factory showroom."

So is this track in Pennsylvania really a good place to hold The Winston all-star race?

"You want to find out who's the best, don't you? This track tests every talent and skill God ever gave you. Buddy Baker is one of the best drivers in NASCAR history, but at our track he ended up in the swamp pit outside of turn 3. I remember it like it was yesterday."

Why was he in the swamp pit?

"Because me and Dale Earnhardt ran him off the track right into the swamp pit. We timed it perfectly."

You and Earnhardt were in the same car?

"This is what happened. One of Earnhardt's tires went flat, but, of course, he kept racing. Eventually the tire came off the wheel, and then the ball joint broke. That was the last straw for that car, because it came to a complete stop. I'm coming around the turn in my car, and I see him standing on top of the roof of his car yelling for someone to stop. So I pull over, and he slides in. But he wanted to drive, so we're wrestling for the steering wheel, and he eventually forces me out of the driver's seat. So we're riding along, and we start to catch Baker. I say to Earnhardt 'When you get over there to turn 3, push Baker into the swamp pit.' We started laughing, and sure enough we proceed to run Baker straight into the swamp pit. The next time we drove by we glanced down there and saw Baker just sitting in his car in the middle of this swamp, trying to figure out how he's going to get the car out. No sooner does my brother drive up in a big, Caterpillar tractor with forks on the front to pick him up. My brother slides those forks underneath the car, lifts the car eight feet in the air with Baker still in it, backs the car out, and sets it down on the ground."

What did Baker have to say about that?

"The swamp pit is awful. Take my word for it; you didn't want to go in it. There were snakes everywhere. About the time my brother pulled Baker out, our cars were pretty much junk. None of them were running anymore, and the race was history. We went back to the house to eat steaks, and Baker says, 'I thought I was in deep trouble when I was in that swamp pit, but when I saw Godzilla coming, I knew I was in trouble!' We still laugh every time we think about that. We stayed out there until about 11 o'clock that night. Earnhardt said it was illegal to have that much fun."

It actually doesn't sound like a bad place to stage The Winston all-star race. What kind of advice would you give (crew chief) Tommy Baldwin in setting up the car?

"Make sure it has a high crush factor."

What about this Saturday night? You guys will be trying to race your way into The Winston by winning The Winston Open. What are your thoughts heading into this big-money weekend?

"We're excited about this weekend. We really think we can win The Winston Open and race our way into The Winston, because we've shown how strong a team we are. Our finishes aren't indicative of how well we've run. We had a shot to win Bristol. And had a tire not cut down at Richmond, I honestly believe we could've won that race, too. Things just haven't gone our way so far this year, but that doesn't hide the fact we're certainly capable of winning the Winston Open, and then going after that $1 million in The Winston.

If you were to win the $1 million Saturday night, do you think you might buy your mom a new laundry wagon?

"I'll buy my mom a lot of things, but a laundry wagon isn't one of them. Childress owes her that."

-um-

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