Big Plans For Compton
December 10, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Yes, Compton hopes to torture himself by running both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series schedules in 2002. He’s already signed with ST Motorsports to do the entire Busch season, and an announcement of his Winston Cup plans may not be far off.
“May do the Kevin Harvick thing,” Compton said recently.
Is he crazy?
“If any of the drivers out there had the opportunity to do it, they would probably do it,” Compton said. “That’s the racer in you, wanting to compete every week. It would be a good opportunity.”
Oh, and get this: Compton might not stop there.
“The Busch thing is the only thing concrete,” Compton said. “We’re going to run companion Truck races (with Melling), we’re going to run the Busch Series full-time. That’s what we’ve got rock-solid right now. We’re real, real close to putting something together to run all the Cup races as well. It’s not signed, sealed and delivered, so it’s not a done deal.”
Of course, Compton’s Winston Cup plans are in flux. His old team, Melling Racing, recently laid off several employees, and crew chief Chad Knaus left for Hendrick Motorsports.
Still, Compton has to be a little bit leery of running a full schedule in both series, right?
“Kevin has said it, Mark Martin and Jeff Burton has said it, and if you look at what Jimmy Spencer did this year: when he started running on Saturday, it turned his Sunday program around,” Compton said. “It’s an opportunity to get more seat time, it’s an opportunity to go out and figure out what the track’s going to do the next day. I think Saturday helps Sunday, and I think Sunday’s program probably helps Saturday as well.”
That’s the racer in Compton talking. He doesn’t want to settle for moving down from Winston Cup, but Compton was backed into a corner a little bit. With his Cup ride pulled out from under him when a sponsor didn’t return, Compton had to look elsewhere. He hooked up with Busch Series owner Tad Geschickter at the season-finale at Homestead, and the two began talking.
About a week later, Compton and Geschickter had a deal in place to run the entire Busch schedule in the No. 59. They waited until after the Winston Cup banquet, hoping to get a little extra publicity. It didn’t help that several Winston Cup crew chiefs decided to change jobs, so that put a bit of a crimp in Compton’s and Geschickter’s hopes for making a big splash with their announcement.
But while Compton was working out the Busch Series plans, he still had his eye on Winston Cup. Had Melling been able to continue, Compton would have stayed with that team.
Now, though, Compton is trying to secure a ride with another team.
“I’m working on a couple things,” Compton said. “We’re still working with Mark (Melling) trying to put some stuff together and working with another team trying to put some stuff together, too.”
There aren’t many open Winston Cup rides left, A.J. Foyt Racing’s No. 14 being one of the few. Is it that ride?
“I could tell you that, but then I’d have to kill you,” Compton said.
Of course, nothing has been settled.
“You know the nature of this business,” Compton said. “There’s always a chance. There’s certainly a chance that there won’t be a Cup program. But there’s a better chance that there will be than a chance that there won’t be.”
And if it does come through, Compton had better hang on, for he’ll be in for a long season.
“We’ve put some things together and looked at how it was going to be going back and forth,” Compton said. “There’s going to be a little bit of traveling involved. Still, you’re not talking but about six races. It’s not an every-weekend thing. You’re pretty much at the races. You might as well race, rather than sit back and watch it.
“The logistics are going to be a little bit tricky sometimes, but I think it can be worked out.”
Hang on, Stacy, you’re in for quite a ride.