SCR: The Pettys openly admit that they've fallen behind the times. Compared to Hendrick Motorsports, just how far behind would you say they've been?Loomis: I've said all along that this sport is a lot like a big clock. The hands are always moving. There are teams that are at the top, and you'll watch them and they'll cycle to the bottom. Then, if you watch them long enough, they'll cycle back to the top. As far as a single car team, when we were at Petty Enterprises, we were really growing and gaining momentum. Then we came into the idea that to take it further we needed to step back a little bit, to take a little setback, to make it a multi-car team. As we did that, with a two-car team, it was going along pretty good. Probably the biggest setback that's come along, and there's nothing anyone could do about it, was the loss of Adam. Adam was really going to be the one to carry the momentum, and the torch, from the driver's standpoint, too. It takes a lot to find that right driver, to find that right mix. I know that Adam was a guy who had gobs and gobs of talent like these other guys, all these young guys, coming in-in addition to his experience of just being around the Thanksgiving table all those years of racing.
SCR: Take all of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers out of the mix and list the top three drivers out there today, strictly in terms of what they can get out of a race car.Loomis: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and probably Bobby Labonte. When you talk about talent in race car drivers, these guys keep getting these young guys coming in. I think Jeff is really the one who showed people, years ago when Mr. Hendrick got Jeff, that you can get these young guys. There are a lot of good racers out there running short tracks who keep raising the bar of competition because they understand the car and the equipment.
SCR: What one thing would you change about Winston Cup racing if you had the power to do so?Loomis: It's tough. I say all the time that I'll let NASCAR worry about that. It sees all the sides of it. We get caught up in just the competition part of it a lot of times. If I were in that position, though, I would try to work with the schedule so at least these Saturday-night events are spread out, where every third or fourth week you can at least give the road guys a break by having that Sunday off, and then try to schedule it where we don't have 20 races straight.
SCR: Where do you see the sport going in the next decade?Loomis: We had a lot of growth in the '90s. The last couple of years the sport has leveled off a little bit, maybe. I think with this new TV package and a lot of things they're doing that are computerized on TV, probably within the next year, the next five years, it will be taken to the level where the fans are a lot more involved as they watch it on TV. I see it taking another rise up in the next five to seven years.
SCR: How much interaction do you have with the other Hendrick crew chiefs, Tony Furr and Gary DeHart?Loomis: We interact all the time. Tony Furr and Gary DeHart both, they've been a tremendous help to us all year. It comes back to that saying that I try to listen to everybody. It's good to listen to Terry (Labonte) and Jerry (Nadeau), too, because they feel things different in a race car than Jeff will. A lot of times they'll be trying different things in practice than we are. A lot of times, on several occasions this year, we'll start the race with something we've got from Terry's or Jerry's situation in their car, and it will help us.