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NASCAR BGN Series Gateway 300 Preview -- #98, John Andretti

23 July 1997

 #98 John Andretti, RCA Ford Thunderbird 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Brickyard 400 Advance   
 Indianapolis Motor Speedway


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - You would expect John Andretti to have a few advantages 
over other Winston Cup competitors at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I have a huge advantage," Andretti said. "I know where the bathrooms are. I 
know where the police stake out for speeders and I know all the back roads 
in, so I'd say I have an advantage."

But that is where the edge for the RCA Racing Ford driver ends. Once on the 
track, everyone is still trying to figure the famed 2.5-mile oval out.

"When we went to the Brickyard for the first time (in 1994), I was still very 
much in my learning curve of Winston Cup racing," Andretti added. "If they 
started the Brickyard this year, I'd be wetting my lips and thinking that I 
might have a little something for everyone there, but the way it worked out 
then, I didn't.

"The Brickyard is still an unknown. In an IndyCar, I've had enough good cars 
there and enough bad cars that I know what I want in a car and I know how to 
get there. In a stock car, I don't think that I've ever hit a set-up that I 
really want. I always give something up. When you go to other tracks, like 
Bristol, you follow Mark Martin during practice because he is probably going 
to get the pole. There you can judge how much you're giving up and where 
you're giving it up. At Indy I don't think anybody has really found the 
set-up. Jeff Gordon has found something and he might be the one you would 
want to watch in practice, but there isn't a big group that have figured it 

"In a good Indy Car you just go around, hold it wide open and steer. The 
biggest difference in a stock car is that you can drive it in too deep, you 
can drive it in not far enough. You've got to back and you've got to brake at 
Indy. I think everyone has decided that shifting doesn't really work there, 
because nobody does it anymore. There has been a lot of experimenting and 
there still is. Obviously the prize money promotes a lot of testing there. 
Some guys bring cars that they need to run down the straight-aways. Some guys 
bring cars that are just killer in the corners.

"It's been three years and guys are still trying to figure it out."

But the RCA team has figured a lot of things out in the past few weeks and 
Andretti and crew are trying to make it all work to their advantage so the 
their second trip to Victory Lane won't be too far off.

"We walked away from Loudon knowing what cost us the race," Andretti said.

"We knew we had a good enough car to win and we know why we didn't win. We 
maybe didn't have the best car out there, but we could have changed some of 
the things we did and given ourselves a better opportunity.

"There is always one car at every race that has everyone covered, but you can 
beat them if you outsmart them. They almost did it to us at Daytona, and we 
could do it somewhere else. It taught us a lot. At Indianapolis it is 
critical you find the opportunities to outsmart them."

By RCA Racing Public Relations