DRO: Do you have any opportunity to enter into the decision making as far as what Lee does? Do you give input?
WB: I give input certainly; give my opinion, as I'm known to do. Lee and Mike make most of the decisions. But to Lee's credit, he's very open with his information and shares it with the team - - that's something he's very good at, in fact. We get to discuss it and I like that. So I do pay attention to what we're doing, but I leave the tune up to Lee. That's his area of expertise. I don't make any decision regarding the tune up at all.
DRO: Since you had only a short period of time to prepare for the season, why do you think the team gelled so quick?
WB: Number one, everyone is pretty good on this team and that's very important. Ability wise, everybody's real good. They all work hard and do their jobs. That's key. If there's a weak person on the team then it would cause a little consternation and some problems. But here everyone does a good job and Lee is a good leader - - a good motivator. So is Schumacher. That's what it takes.
DRO: At the first of the year when Force got off to a good start and opened up what seemed like an insurmountable point lead, you were quoted as saying that it was going to tough for anyone to catch the champ. Now you are making up some ground. Where did the turning point come and you started to make up some ground on the leader?
WB: I think the turning point came in June when we had three really good test sessions in Columbus, St. Louis, and Chicago. We tried a few new things in St. Louis that worked really well and our performance stepped up from that point on. You know, it's not brain surgery, it's just a car but you got to have a good baseline tune up and good performance. Then you've got to be able to adjust that level to the conditions that you are presented with at each track during each day, during each run. That's where I think this team is good. We're able to adjust the car and consistently make the right decisions on the tune up.
DRO: There has been a lot of controversy over your new Funny Car body. Talk a little bit about the controversy.
WB: We're really not paying that much attention to the controversy.
I've got to say Force's team has been very good about it. They're not
saying anything. 'Cause we're just doing what they do. They just work
hard, read the rule book, build something, and go through the steps
that NHRA wanted us to go through to build what we built. That's what
Force's team had done and that's what we did. The teams that are crying
about it are some of the GM teams that, quite frankly, in my opinion,
are too lazy and too stupid to do this on their own. I know one team
specifically that could have and should have been doing this type of
thing for many years and they didn't. That particular team owner has
had a very good budget for the last several years and I think he's more
interested in lining his pockets. So, it's all a priority. Where your
priorities are. I've always thought, especially when I had my own team,
that you put everything you can into making your car and your team better.
The last year that I owned my own team, we switched to a five-disk clutch
with two races to go. We tested and ran our career best numbers at that
time. Even though we had no deal for the next year, were going out of
business, we tested, so that if anything came along we'd be ready. We
could have just as easily pocketed the money that the change cost and
been satisfied. But we weren't satisfied. That's just like this team.
We're not satisfied. Don Schumacher has the same attitude and so does
Lee Beard. We make the effort. This body was a big effort that was made
and it follows the rule book to the letter.That's all you can do. And
the people that aren't happy about that, well forget them.