Spencer Blasts Team Car Owner
June 13, 2000 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Spencer, a native of nearby Berwick, Pa., enters the weekend 23rd in points but, more important perhaps, frustrated with the performance of the Travis Carter-owned team.
"We're trying. It's not that we're not trying. I think we've got a good race team, I don't think we have the leadership we need," said Spencer, who has finished in the top 10 just once this year with a fifth at the DieHard 500. "I just don't think he's (Carter) grabbed this bull by the horns and decided to wrestle it to the ground, I really don't."
"Why does Joe Gibbs do good? Why are Robert Yateses teams doing good? Why, why, why? Why is Childress doing good? He saw what was happening and he fixed it."
And Spencer can’t count on his teammate, Darrell Waltrip, to help him, as is the case with other multicar teams. Waltrip’s best finish this season is a 24th in the DirectTV 500, and he has started last in five races, which puts him 39th in the points standings.
"We're a one-car team in my eyes right now because the 66 hasn't helped us," Spencer said. "Now Gibbs and those two cars, Roush with three or four cars, they can do all that stuff to help them, we can't do it."
Spencer’s troubles aren’t as pronounced as Waltrip’s, but he said the poor showings are starting to wear on the team.
"Your confidence level is so important when you're running good, then when you're not running good it's like your confidence level really deteriorates," said Spencer, who is in his 12th Winston Cup season. "I don't think we're any different."
Spencer went on to say that Haas-Carter Motorsports not only lacks leadership, but also lacks team members that are dedicated to winning week in and week out.
"I still think there are peaks and valleys with our race team. I still think the attitude is like, 'Alright, we did good this week and last week, now we can sort of relax.' That's the thing, the minute you relax all of that aggressiveness that you showed is gone until three or four weeks down the road when they figure they've got to do it again," Spencer explained. "They can say what they want to say, but the bottom line is if you're not aggressive in every aspect of this sport you're not gonna win."
Unfortunately for Spencer, the story is not much better in the Busch Series. In the one race he has entered, he started 20th and finished 40th. And his second driver, Dick Trickle, has only managed two top-10 finishes. That’s not the sort of numbers Winston Cup regulars usually put up in the Busch Series.
As a result, Spencer has laid down the law to the members of the Spencer Motor Ventures team.
"To me, it's people -- that's the bottom line -- it's the people. We're really doing a lot of changes in my Busch organization right now. If people aren't fitting in we're firing them. I'll probably get a bad reputation for it, but I am so tired of hearing excuses -- that's the bottom line," he said. "Everybody's gotta answer to somebody, so the bottom line is that if you're just sitting there pacifying somebody or do just enough to survive or just enough to get along, to me you're not ever gonna become a successful person.
"My theory at the last meeting I had is that you should give 100 percent all the time. Everytime. Everyday. And if you don't like working at this shop and you don't like what's going on, then take your damn toolbox right now and we'll help you load it in your truck so you can get it out of here. That's the way I feel like it should be."
The way it should be at Pocono, if a script-writer were to decide it, is Spencer comes to the track he grew up visiting, grabs the pole, leads the most laps, collects the victory and turns his season around in the process.
Sound far-fetched? Not to Spencer.
"Pocono is great for me. I've had some good races up there and I've got a lot of good memories about Pocono," said Spencer, who was leading with 15 laps left last year before he brushed the wall after going through some oil on the track. "I still know I can do it. I don't give a damn what anybody says, and if I can't do it, then I quit. I'd absolutely quit."
"The bottom line is that in this business you've gotta survive, and you've gotta prevail. Being a nice guy and being nice to everybody in the garage is great, but you've also gotta be a hard-ass sometimes."