Grand Am Road Racing Media Conference
Topics: Grand Am Road Racing
August 4, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to this week's NASCAR Grand-Am teleconference as we look forward to the next race on the Grand-Am Rolex Series schedule, Friday's Crown Royal 200, which joins the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series at Watkins Glen International. Joining us today is Andy Lally, winner of the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona and a driver set for double duty this weekend.
In addition to sharing TRG's No. 67, Construct Corp. No Fear Porsche in Friday's race, Andy is going to be making his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut Sunday at the Glen.
Andy, you're a native New Yorker with many miles of racing at Watkins Glen International. How big lit be for you and your career to get your first chance at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at your home track?
ANDY LALLY: Well, J.J., big really wouldn't be even the word. It's massive. It's as huge as it could possibly be. This would be a dream come true, something I've wanted to do ever since I was a little kid.
And we're not in the game yet. I'm going to get an opportunity to qualify and we're one of the go or go-homers and I just can't wait to get on track on Friday and can't wait to give it a shot to qualify and try to make it in the field Friday afternoon.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Andy, I remarked to you a few races ago that there have been times this season when it looked like you had been kind of laboring in your love of motorsports. Does this chance here at the Glen and Sprint Cup car, the TRG Motorsports Sprint Cup car make up for some of that?
ANDY LALLY: This is without a doubt probably -- this is without a doubt hands down the biggest motor sport day I've ever looked forward to in my life. I've got to thank Kevin Buckler and all the guys from TRG Motorsports that put their faith in me. And all the partners that got behind me and wanted to give me a shot to come here. And Adobe Road Winery for sponsoring the car this weekend.
It's a massive deal. And it's really hard to put into words the amount of time and the years and the nights and the days that I've thought about trying to get this opportunity. And so when we roll off Friday afternoon to qualify and try and put the 71 car in the show, it will be probably one of the most exciting anticipated moments of my whole life.
Q. Well, this is a one-off deal at least as it stands as present. How much faith do you have that the equipment underneath you will be up to the task as you surely are?
ANDY LALLY: I know I'm up for the task. I know our crew is up for the task. As far as the car goes, I really don't have a lot to compare to. But I know these guys are extremely meticulous. I just came from the shop a few minutes ago where the guys are going over every nut and bolt and getting that thing lined up just perfect.
I've got a lot of faith in our engine program and a lot of faith in our chassis program. Slugger and the guys have been doing a really good job with me bringing me up along with testing. I've probably done a total of maybe 50 or 60 laps in a couple of tests that we've done so far.
But in those days, compared to the guys that were on track that were also in Cup cars, we were doing pretty good.
So I'm not planning on going out and setting the world on fire and taking pole position or anything like that. Although, that's every racer's goal as soon as they hit the track, but I've got reasonable expectations, I think, of trying to put her in the field and seeing what we've got with these guys.
There's a ton of things that will be on my mind as far as priorities. I want to make the right impression here coming into my first-ever Cup race if I get -- if we're fast enough to qualify. And at the same time I don't want to get in anybody's way.
There's a chase coming up and we're getting really close to that point. So the guys in the top 12, handful of guys that are just outside the top 12, I want to be real respectful of what they're doing and their goals and just try to make that impression without messing up anybody's day.
Q. Andy, you know, guys like Ron Fellows and Boris Said have come in from road racing, from the Trans-Am originally and they did really well on the race circuits and NASCAR and they made it look easy, I guess, from an outside perspective. But I guess from your perspective, with the seat time you've got, it's probably not as easy as it looks.
ANDY LALLY: It's definitely not as easy as it looks for a handful of reasons. Especially going to Watkins Glen. If it was something like Sonoma which is more technical I'd probably have more of an advantage going in there. Although I'm from New York and I've been to Watkins Glen for the past 15 years plus, actually, these guys have been coming to the Glen for a long time. And with the exception of a handful of rookies and relative new guys to the field, they've got a ton of laps here. When you do those laps at that track in the same car, that will be a little bit of an advantage.
I'll have an advantage probably having done more laps here than most guys in the field, but they'll have an advantage having done those laps that they've done in that same equipment.
The difference between the COT and the old style car isn't massive. But it will be enough that maybe that will kind of level out the playing field here.
I think guys like Boris and Ron, those are guys I've looked up to that have multi-tasks, that are great sports car drivers and at the same time great stock car drivers and that's my goal in life.
I want to race every single thing I can. And I look up to those guys. They've made it look easy in the past, but I think now, I mean I'm sure if you ask Ron and Boris, they'll agree. A lot of these guys and a lot of these teams have put a lot more focus into the road course stuff, especially as we get near chase time here.
This is a real big event. I've noticed when we've been testing -- Reutimann, for example, has been at a road course a lot more than he had been in the past. And a lot of these guys know this is the same 185 points at Watkins Glen as it will be at Pocono last week or Michigan. And it counts, and it can make or break your year when you're coming down trying to get into that final 12 there.
Plus, the talent of these guys. The stock car talent is, I think, sold short a little bit when it comes to these road courses. There's some tremendous drivers in this series that it doesn't matter whether they're on a road course or an oval, their talent is going to come through and they're going to be fast.
Q. To follow up, I think they will be fast, as they usually are. And they have good equipment. I'm wondering if David Gilliland had a minor incident on pit road that meant that Kevin Buckler had to replace the car built for Sonoma and purchase another road racing car in short order earlier this year. Is that why he has two cars for this race? And which one are you going to drive?
ANDY LALLY: I'm going to be in the No. 71 car. That is the chassis that had the incident on pit lane there. David will be in the one that he raced. And was that the reason that we did that? I'm not really sure.
I know that from the very beginning of this program when we started this, Kevin had spoken to me about possibly doing the Cup races on the road courses, not on the ovals. And so I think possibly if that hadn't have happened, we probably would still have gone and found ourselves a second road course car.
I had a real good time with David. We tested together one day at VIR on the north course there, and he was great with giving me some positive feedback and we worked together well and I think we both advanced the car. And it will be a pleasure running with him again this weekend and bouncing ideas off of each other and what I can relate to him with the track and what he can relate back to me with his experiences with the car and hopefully we'll be able to both make each other strong.
Q. Am I correct you've raced in one of Kevin's entries in the Truck Series, or is that not right?
ANDY LALLY: Yes, sir. The first time I did was right when we had bought out Michael Waltrip Racing's truck team. Kevin purchased all the assets from that and we ran three races at the end of '07; and then I ran seven races, I think, at the beginning of '08.
And Kevin just didn't have the budget to do it anymore at that point. And I got shuffled back to the sports car side. My dream has always been to be in these stock cars, whether it's road courses or ovals, I love the racing and I love the car itself. It's a lot of fun. It's super challenging to drive.
I like the high horsepower, and I love the side-by-side racing. I'm more a racer than a car guy. So appreciating the lines of an exotic marker or whatever is something I do but it's not priority.
For me, side-by-side door-banging racing is where it's at and that's what I love about the NASCAR stuff and that's why I've been itching and trying for so long to get a foot in the door and hopefully make a good quality attempt this weekend at making that dream come true.
Q. Just one more follow-up. You mentioned 50 to 60 laps of testing. I'm assuming or guessing that was at Watkins Glen but you mentioned the VIR scenario with David Gilliland. Has there been other opportunities for you to get in a sprint Cup car on a road circuit or on an oval?
ANDY LALLY: Unfortunately, we were not at Watkins Glen. That would have been great. But the testing that we did, I shared a test day with David at VIR, and then we did about a half a day again later at VIR, and then I did most of a day at the New Jersey Motorsports Park a week ago. It's been technically two and a half days and I was guessing at 50 or 60 laps. Could be 45. Could be 75. It's plus or minus. It was good quality laps, though.
I got relatively comfortable in the car. I know that's not a lot of laps compared to what the guys at the front of this series and actually not just the front but all of the series have probably thousands and thousands of miles under their belts, but hopefully knowing the track, Watkins Glen really well, will help me reduce the steepness of that learning curve.
I'm not sure if you're aware, in 2007 I did the Nationwide race here and I finished 10th. There were 18 Cup guys in that event and we finished 10th and I was ahead of the other road course ringers that day. There was one other Busch regular that was ahead of us and after that the rest of the top 10 was all Cup guys.
I had a good scrap with a bunch of real good guys that I respect and admire and it was a blast. And that was something that I think gave me the confidence. I always had the confidence, but just kind of reinforced the confidence that I'd like to be able to come back and try to make my mark positively in the Cup series.
Q. You'll be racing in both races this week, correct?
ANDY LALLY: I'm racing in the Rolex Series race on Friday night, Friday evening. And then if we make the show on Friday, I'll be racing in the Cup race. We're one of the go or go-home cars.
So there's 11 guys going for eight spots. 46 cars trying to make the field. So if we can make it, then, yeah, I'll be doing both. I was actually trying to pull triple duty, calling a handful of Nationwide teams, seeing if I could do a Friday/Saturday/Sunday deal. But nothing's come about yet.
Q. The question I had was: I understand the schedule that there will be extensive Rolex practice on Thursday. And you look to that, can that be of any help to get that feel, and could you talk a little bit about that and also are these cars basically apples and tennis balls or how would you describe the difference in how you would approach each race?
ANDY LALLY: They are. They're as far apart as you can get. You've got a lightweight rear engine, slightly underpowered relative to the Cup car. But great on the brakes sports car. To give you an example, we go to just almost to the 300 marker going into the bus stop, which is there's markers on the back straightaway, one to 600. And in the Cup car we're not even going to get close to the 600 marker.
So the thing that will help on Thursday, our schedule, just to go back, our schedule is an hour and a half of testing on Thursday in the Rolex car and then Friday morning we have 95 minutes of practice in the Cup series. And then we go right into one lap of qualifying for the Cup Series and then our Rolex race that evening.
The Thursday practice should help me get acclimated just seeing different points in the track. There's times every time you go back to the track it will be a little different. Whether they change the curbing a little bit or whether there's additional bumps here or there, whether they've put some sealer down, some things that I'll hopefully be able to take away from that test day and be a little bit more aware of when I first go out in a Cup car that might help us out a little bit.
Q. Brakes in particular, ever since NASCAR has been coming to Watkins Glen, the braking issue, there's always been a concern. Because of the way you brake in the Grand-Am cars versus the taxicabs, you have to watch -- do you in particular have to watch very carefully that you don't use up your brakes too soon?
ANDY LALLY: Yeah, you do. The Montreal race that I did in 2007, the Watkins Glen race that I did both in the Nationwide and I also did an ARCA race at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, so I've got a few of them under my belt right there.
You're exactly right, where in the Rolex cars you can be 100 percent braking for the entire stint. With the Cup car, you've got to be mindful. Watkins Glen is not as bad as New Jersey. Not as bad as Sonoma. But you've got three points on the track where you're threshold braking really hard. You need to be smart and back that up a tiny bit so you run at 95 percent instead of 101 percent, so you don't burn up those brakes. You need to have a good, hard pedal halfway through your fuel run to be able to still fight.
You don't want to be tentative on being offensive. If your brakes are going it's going to be hard for you to commit and really get inside a guy and really be aggressive. It's going to either lead to a crash or lead to you being tentative and just backing up through the field. So you've got to be smart on that. In the longer 24-hour races I've done before I've had to do that. So it's something I'm mindful of.
It's something that's always on my mind. So it's not going to be too new to me but it's definitely something I need to keep up with.
Q. I've had the pleasure of watching you being most of my last 10 years up in New York watching you over the last 10 years and following your career. And just simply if given the right opportunity there's no question you've got what it takes to make this work. And we're excited for you for this opportunity. You've said several times to me and again today that you've always had that dream of going to do NASCAR and do stock cars. Your route to NASCAR, though, is not what anyone would consider the traditional route. Talk to me a little bit about -- we could talk for hours on this, but briefly talk a little bit about your route to NASCAR and how maybe doing things the way you've done through sports cars gives you an advantage or disadvantage trying to make yourself a full-time NASCAR stock car driver?
ANDY LALLY: Well, as a young kid growing up I didn't have a lot of family -- I didn't have family involved in motorsports. My family was athletic, but definitely not into the motorsports side of things.
So I played a lot of stick and ball sports growing up and found a go kart one day. Had a neighbor with a go kart. Everything I had with wheels I was riding down hills, and I wanted to be a race car driver from a young age but didn't have a lot of direction.
I also had a concerned mother that wasn't too sure about the sport and really wasn't interested in having her son flying around on a track at 200 miles an hour.
So when I got into go karting and was very serious into racing, my family was extremely supportive of me. But not being involved in racing, we didn't have a lot of direction or idea where this thing was going to go.
But I was very fortunate that my soccer coach, Pete Madsen, had introduced me to a gentleman by the name of Walter Siminger. He took me from go karts and put me in sports cars. It was something that he was doing at the time recreationally in the SCCA. And he took me under his wing and was my mentor and took me through my first three years of auto racing.
And it took me up a different path than I had ever envisioned. I learned about sports car racing and what it was all about. And as the years went on, my opportunities became available, more and more opportunities became available to me in sports cars.
And when you're a young kid at that young age you're never going to say: No, I'm going to go NASCAR.
I'm having a blast. And I'm thrilled with the path that I took. I'm one in a million as far as young drivers that didn't have millions of dollars to put into something that have actually made a career out of it. And I'm really lucky. There's not a bent bone in me that says man I wish I went late model racing at 17 instead of SCCA racing. I love it and I love what I do.
So the path I took, again, to shorten it up, to NASCAR is definitely not your typical path. I'm glad I'm here. I'm thrilled I get this opportunity. I tried to get every single one of the team owners I've ever worked with convinced we should give this a try and really didn't hear a whole lot about it in return as far as positive things or guys willing to make the financial jump.
But Kevin was one of the first ones to listen to me. And we took that jump together in '07 and kind of made the plan, set it assail and it's been working pretty well. Unfortunately, we couldn't finish the whole truck season last year. But Kevin's been loyal to me and trying to help me out to put me in for this race.
If it goes well, who knows. I'd love to talk to Brett Bodine and other guys at licensing to get my licensed bumped up to be able to do more and more tracks. If there's other opportunities, if I can make myself desirable to sponsors or team owners or anybody else out there, I'd love to be able to have a shot, especially with TRG Motorsports and expand their program and be able to do more races with them.
Q. You mentioned about being respectful of the situation you're stepping into, five, six weeks before the chase starts. And you're going to be out there with guys competing for some pretty high prizes. You're not the traditional first-time NASCAR. Today you're looking at Joey Logano and all these kids coming up at 18, 19, 17 years old sometimes and making their debuts. Do you think your experience and your ability of being respectful of that type of situation is something that makes you attractive to people to continue this past Watkins Glen?
ANDY LALLY: I sure would hope so. I think maybe there's a level of maturity or an ability to speak to sponsors. The job that you do inside the car and the lap times you do and the results you get is an extremely important part of this, important part of the marketing. The further you are up front, the better you're going to do as far as TV ratings.
When you get out of the car, though, and being able to have the experience and the ability to talk to a large group of people and cater to different styles and where people are from and be able to relate is a big thing, I think. And in the past that's been very successful for me and it's helped maybe open additional doors. Or if you've got two fast guys, it could maybe help tip the scales in one direction of pleasing people outside of the car just as much as you're pleasing your crew and team owner with results.
Q. You obviously enjoyed a great deal of success at Watkins Glen over the years. And how important is a strong showing Friday night going to be to turn your season around since you haven't won since winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona?
ANDY LALLY: It will be huge. Again, Watkins Glen being my home state, I've got a lot of family coming up here. The boss certainly wants me to win. And one of our cars anyway, we're going to have a handful of cars there, TRG, this weekend. It's always important.
You get a win, you get momentum. And we've just had some really bad luck this year between little things going wrong, getting run over by other cars on the track or whatnot. It's just for whatever reason it just hasn't come altogether. We've had some very good runs and been very fast and had some podium finishes but we've also had a lot of lows this year. If we can get it back on track and finish the season outright with a couple of wins and a bunch of podiums it will be a really positive strong point and strong finishing point leading into 2009 for both myself and for TRG.
Q. You elaborated on your desire to drive stock cars and be in NASCAR, whatnot, how tough is it to be patient to find the right ride and the right fit for yourself?
ANDY LALLY: It's extremely tough, because even the wrong fits don't come along that often. It's not like I'm getting calls left and right from different teams to do their cars.
A lot of this field right now in trucks and in Busch is sponsor-dependent. Or if you've got your own backing. And I don't have either one of those right now. Working hard to try to find sponsors. But it's a tough hill to climb right now especially in this economy. As far as choosing the right team to go with when there's opportunities, that is certainly a tough one, because as a racer you're like, you want to do whatever you can.
But for your career, you've got to sit back and think, okay, is this the right team? Are they going to have the right car, the right program? Does the crew gel with you right? Is the drive there? And most of the time that answer is yes.
So, I mean, I'm chomping at the bit to get any stock car I can. I want to go racing. I want to get the additional experience. I've got a lot of experience on mile and a halves and super speedways and short tracks and whatnot, but I want more. If I can continue the dream, it will be wonderful. I'd love to expand it one way or another. I'd love to continue with TRG Motorsports if we can put a proper deal together and make it worthwhile.
It's certainly a super solid team, and I think as this season goes on and next year, it's going to be proven to a lot of people if they're given the right resources and the right opportunity they can put some really, really strong cars out there. And they've done a great job with David Gilliland this year and David's done a super job.
They are the supreme underdogs of this deal, and they are the Cinderella story of Cup this year. They're doing so much with so little, it's amazing to watch these guys work.
Q. A lot of my questions were already answered, but Watkins Glen has two different courses, the short course and the long course. Which one do you like better?
ANDY LALLY: Oh, that's a tough one. I think for sure that NASCAR's made the right decision to run on the short course with the stock cars. They're heavy and they have a ton of power.
And to really get it through the bus stop in 10, 11, shutting it down and going into one and what's actually the craziest thing is flying up through those Ss in a 3500-pound car, it's pretty amazing.
But the long course, the laces and the toe of the boot and the heel are really made for light, agile cars. And it would probably -- as much as I think it would be an awesome show, I think it would be a pretty wild show.
So many other tracks get two races a year. I would love to see two races a year at Watkins Glen, one on the long course and one on the short course.
For me it's fun driving prototypes and GT cars on the long course. I've raced open wheel cars here, too, on the short course. And that's fun, too, because it turns into like a road course version of Talladega, because the draft ends up being so big in the open wheel cars and you're so fast through these corners that it's a blast.
It would be really tough to pick a favorite. I've had some wins on the short course that have been great and some wins in the -- we won the six hours of the Glen twice and those were both times on the long course. So that's a tough one.
The outer loop is much more fun when you're running the short course as you continue around through there because you're really carrying the speed there. And that makes Turn 10 completely different than when you normally run the long course, too, because you're arriving going like almost 100 miles faster, probably. So they're both a lot of fun.
Q. With Porsche, is the set up pretty different between the two courses?
ANDY LALLY: We will run the same shocks and the same springs. We're essentially setting the car up, springs and shocks, for the bus stop, to tell you the truth. That's where we're going to get the most amount of travel. That's where we're hitting the most amount of curve.
Our down force settings will be a little bit different on the Porsche on the short course as opposed to the long course. That's about it. And we'll probably gear Turn 1 a little bit differently because we don't have to compromise with the slow corners that we have with the toe and boot and heel.
Q. Where is the 66 car this weekend?
ANDY LALLY: I just got off the phone with Spencer a little while ago. They are hustling trying to put something together. Unfortunately, Spencer's teammate that he started the season with wasn't able to continue, and there's some potential maybe for him to come back at the end of the season, but right now Kevin's hustling. It's kind of last minute here. We're trying to find a teammate for Spencer Pumpelly to run the 66 car. I'm a little bit out of the loop. I'm sure I'll get a phone call when I get out of here and hopefully get updated with some good news. But I know Kevin's hustling trying to find somebody for the car right now. Maybe he'll drive it again. Who knows.
Q. Six years ago at the inaugural Barber Motorsports Park event, we talked about going potentially NASCAR racing. And rather than be frustrated about how long it's taken, do you feel like the twists and turns and the experience you've got in your career, particularly a race like New Jersey in the ARCA car last year has made you better equipped to make this Cup debut this weekend at Watkins Glen?
ANDY LALLY: I certainly think anytime you're doing laps in anything, every year I've ever done, I think I've gained in being wiser and being more efficient with the time that I spend in the car.
If we rain out and there's only half an hour drive time, I think I can get my car up -- every year I'm learning. I'm constantly one of those guys that is usually annoying my engineer, my crew chief with 20 questions every hour on how does this work, how does this work, I want a better understanding of everything because it's so important to be strong in that department as a driver.
It's not just get in and drive the heck out of whatever's under you. You've got to be able to get in, lay the lap down relatively quickly, and then come back and give a whole dissertation of every single corner, braking, entry, middle, exit.
And you've got the -- the more you can relate and the more words and more detailed you can be talking to your crew chief or talking to your engineer, the more tools, the more he's going to be able to use and be more detailed in exactly how to make that car faster.
So I do think it's been a benefit. It's certainly been frustrating. But, again, I have to go back to say, again, I'm one of the most fortunate guys in the world. I get to make a living racing cars. Whether it's road racing, stock car racing, sport cars, GTs, prototypes, late models, I don't care, legends, monster trucks, top fuel cars, whatever, I'll do it any way I can do get it and enjoy every single opportunity I get.
So frustrating, a little bit just because I want it so bad. But when I get it, if we can qualify Friday evening, it will be that much more important and that much more respected.
Q. Somewhat of a follow-up, and I was late getting on. I apologize if you already answered this. But can you explain what went into the decision to put you in the full season car, the 71, and have David drive the 70? Was it a race-off at the test session? How did you come about that decision?
ANDY LALLY: I honestly didn't expect that decision, to tell you the truth. I would have expected that I would be in the 70. I'm not exactly sure what was behind it. And to be honest I didn't ask.
I only found out that it was going to be the 71 last week. I thought I was basically under the assumption that it was going to be the 70. Nobody said anything to me either way. We weren't even sure -- TRG Motorsports is doing this on such a small budget. And I don't want to spoil anything, but they're probably going to announce a little bit of news here real soon for David that's a positive.
So I'm not sure. I really can't answer that too much. And probably if I did they might not want me to say it anyway.
Q. When you tested it, I guess it was VIR, who was quicker between the two of you? Who was the quicker between the two of you guys there? My thought is maybe they want to get the best possible point experience for the 71. But who was quicker at the test session?
ANDY LALLY: I can't remember exact lap times there. But what I would say is David was a great help to me. There were things that I've experienced -- I'd been to VIR a whole lot more than David ever had. So there was a huge advantage with me on knowing that track. And David, obviously, has thousands and thousands of miles in a Cup car.
So we sat down before the beginning of the day and he gave me what he felt the new guy should know stepping into a Cup car for the first time, and I drove with him around the track and pointed out different areas of where the danger zones are going to be or what might not be really obvious to the eye as far as lines and what to do and how it goes on there.
So we were both extremely new at different aspects of that test day. So it was a bonus. For me the COT car wasn't that far off of what I felt in the ARCA car and in the Nationwide car. So it wasn't a huge learning curve for me, but it did take a little bit. The additional horsepower is awesome. But the extra weight, you certainly feel that under braking.
So it was a challenge for both of us. But I think we made -- together we had -- what I was extremely thrilled at more than anything was our feedback was almost identical. He would say one thing and I would get in and try it and I would report back almost the exact same thing. And sometimes we weren't talking to each other in and out of the car because I'd be watching from a corner and then I would come in and hop out and he would talk to Slugger as I was bolting in and Slugger would be thrilled when I came back in I said pretty much the exact same thing.
So we were really able to advance that car. When they went to Sonoma, the primary car was great. Again, it's a low budget team so we didn't even have a back-up car. And David had a wonderful qualifying lap going there. He's been super strong at Sonoma before. He had just had a little bit of a slide it chomped him back in the qualifying order a bit. But he'll be a great teammate for me this weekend, and I look forward to looking up to him and his experience and learning from him more of what I can apply to the Cup cars.
Q. Andy, you got 11 guys going for eight positions in the field. First of all, have you been keeping up with the weather and what's the weather prediction, because I'm going to be packing tonight?
ANDY LALLY: I have been keeping up with the weather. When they released the entry list last night, I looked at those 11 guys and then I immediately went to last year's practice times and looked up how they were doing, who was there and whatnot.
We've got some really go or go-homers there. The weather right now looks good for Friday. It looks spotty for Saturday and Sunday. But it is -- is today Tuesday? -- it is early in the week to be guessing what it's going to be like for this weekend. But I would say low of 55, high of 75 and nice and sunny on Friday is what I last saw. So it looks like that qualifying challenge is going to be there and we'll see.
These go or go-homer guys, you've got Fellows. You've got Boris Said. You've got Simo and Riggs and P.J. and Blaney and Speed and my teammate Gilliland and Nemechek and myself. I don't know if I missed one or two there, but they're strong guys and it's going to be definitely a challenge to do this.
Q. I always knew you were an excellent driver, but myself excluded, I'm impressed by this elite group of people that I've got on this call today. I think that's something that you should be honored by. At Pocono this weekend there was discussion about the upcoming race and the new NASCAR restart procedure and added with the, I guess you call it the thrill of the first turn at Watkins Glen. Could you talk about that a little bit? I don't know if I would say it was concern, but it was discussed. If you could talk about that, I would appreciate it.
ANDY LALLY: I think it will be wild. We saw a lot of really wild racing at Sonoma going into Turn 1 and 2 there with the same deal there. I think it will continue at Watkins Glen. Turn 1 is not an easy one to go in too wide with these cars, and I think for sure it's going to create some excitement. That's a great thing, though.
The restart procedure in Cup now is actually almost identical to what the start procedure is in the Rolex Grand-Am series. So I'm extremely familiar with it. It won't be anything too crazy for me as far as procedure or remembering the right things to do, not do, not pass before the line, not pulling out, so forth. I've been going over the rules and doing the best I can do so I go there and don't make any rookie mistakes. I'm going to try my best to do that.
I think, though, it's going to be pretty exciting. Watkins Glen has good years and bad years with few cautions and lots of cautions. So I'm looking forward to it either way. Either way you look at it, if I make this field I'll be out there with some of the heros I've been rooting on since I was a really young kid.
I grew up loving Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon, and a lot of these guys that are still in the game since I was really young. Posters I had up on my wall.
Whether we were starting single file or double file, it will still be something that I will try to keep from being overwhelming and looking around with a big smile on my face, just being so thankful for the position I'm in.
Q. How difficult is it to go from the Grand Prix Rolex Series cars to the Sprint Cup cars and which one do you enjoy driving more?
ANDY LALLY: If I had my fantasy series, it would be probably stock cars on road races for 25 events a year and then hitting up the mile and a halves and the super speedways and short tracks for a handful of those. I really do enjoy those tracks. My big loves are stock cars on road races.
After that it's the big endurance races, the 24 hours at Daytona is kind of the biggest event for me. It's the biggest sports car event that I look forward to every year over any other sports car event in the world. And so the fact that it's at Daytona, the history of Daytona, coupled with the exciting races we've had there in the past I've been a fortunate winner of that race two times. It's been something incredible.
But I get along with these big heavy high horsepowered cars on road courses. I love them, and I cannot wait for this weekend. It is hands down the most anticipated race of my career. So I'd have to say the stock cars on road races for sure.
And before we close I'd like to thank the guys that did call in. I appreciate all of your questions and concerns and appreciate that you took the time to come out and talk with me today.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
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