NASCAR

Ricky Carmichael Q&A: Born to race

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Ricky Carmichael, MB2 Motorsports development driver, is a 15-time American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) national champion and holder of a record 144 wins in Supercross and motocross competition (closest to Carmichael's AMA win record is Jeremy McGrath at 89). Born in Clearwater, Fla., he resides in Tallahassee, Fla. The 26-year-old is married to Ursula, and they are expecting their first children, twins, on April 9, 2007. He spoke with the media on Sunday before the Phoenix Nextel Cup race.

Q: ON DECISION TO COME TO NASCAR:

Ricky Carmichael: "I was born to race. It is a great opportunity that I have gotten through people that I know through what I have accomplished in motorcycles. I am really looking forward to it." Q: ON TIMING OF LEAVING MOTORCYCLE RACING:

Ricky Carmichael: "I have had a great career and accomplished so much and had a great career, but when it is your time, it is your time. I feel like I have done enough in that industry, I don't need to prove anything. I am very happy and excited about having a new challenge." Q: ON TIME SPENT IN A STOCK CAR THUS FAR:

Ricky Carmichael: "No racing, just testing in late models and stuck in North Carolina and Florida." Q: THOUGHTS ON NASCAR COMPETITORS AND HOW RACING BACKGROUND WILL HELP IN LEARNING TO COMPETE:

Ricky Carmichael: "I a lot of respect for them to start with. It is the greatest sport in the world. It is where motocross wants to be but obviously we have a long way to go to do that. I am just happy and thankful for the opportunity that I have. It is a great sport and I am going to try to do everything I can to be like these guys. I am just happy to finally be in it."


Thursday, 11/16 on SPEED
9 p.m. ET: The Chase is On
9:30 p.m. ET: Chase for the Cup contenders news conference
Friday, 11/17 on SPEED
2 p.m. ET: NASCAR Live
3 p.m. ET: Nextel Cup qualifying
5 p.m. ET: Craftsman Truck qualifying
6:30 p.m. ET: Trackside
7:30 p.m. ET: Craftsman Truck race
10:30 p.m. ET: SPEED Report: Truck wrapup
11:30 p.m. ET: Tradin' Paint
Saturday, 11/18 on SPEED
Noon ET: NASCAR Live
12:30 p.m. ET: NASCAR Performance
1 p.m. ET: Nextel Cup practice
2 p.m. ET: NASCAR Live
2:30 p.m. ET: Nextel Cup Happy Hour
3:30 ET: Busch qualifying
5:30 p.m. ET: NASCAR Live
10 p.m. ET: SPEED Report: Busch wrapup
Sunday, 11/18 on SPEED
9 a.m. ET: Breakfast at Homestead
10 a.m. ET: Wind Tunnel: State of NASCAR
11 a.m. ET: NASCAR RaceDay
7 p.m. ET: NASCAR Victory Lane
8 p.m. ET: The SPEED Report
9 p.m. ET: Wind Tunnel

Q: ON PLAYING NASCAR VIDEO GAMES:

Ricky Carmichael: "Yes, I have tried the video games and practicing and that stuff. It is just great." Q: ON NASCAR TIMETABLE:

Ricky Carmichael: "December I will start testing down in Florida running some of Mark Martin's late models. Then up in Charlotte with an MB2 race car. It is going to be a long process and try to make it the right process." Q: ON HAVING MARK MARTIN AS A MENTOR AND INSTRUCTOR:

Ricky Carmichael: "It is going to be a huge advantage. I can't believe it. It was icing on the cake when I heard he was coming. I had actually already signed my deal and they said he was coming in. They (MB2 Motorsports) did a good job of keeping it secret. It just made my decision that much better." Q: ON GOALS OF BEING AT PIR WITH MB2 TEAMS:

Ricky Carmichael: "I just wanted to see what it is like in a race situation, meet the guys and be around the guys in a team situation. I think it is important for me to see that. And also I want to listen. I think I have been a great student as a motorcycle rider and looking to do the same in car racing." Q: ON BIGGEST THING NEEDED TO GET READY FOR NASCAR:

Ricky Carmichael: "I need to behind the wheel. I lack a lot of seat time. These guys told me they can teach me. One thing I have is that racing mentality and hopefully I can put it to work. I have a great opportunity. I am just going to try and make the best of it." Q: ON USING MOTORCYCLE SKILLS IN NASCAR:

Ricky Carmichael: "In this you have to have a little more patience. I am looking forward to getting rid of some of that motorcycle mentality. I have hung my neck out enough and I am looking forward to getting to where I don't have to do that." Q: ON WHOM HE HAS SPOKEN WITH IN GARAGE AREA:

Ricky Carmichael: "I have spoken with quite a few of the guys. I am really surprised at the welcoming environment this sport has given me. It is really nice. In motocross, it is a great sport and provided me a great life style, but there is a lot of jealousy in that sport. It great to see the welcome I have gotten. It makes me feel happy to come to a race and be wanted." Q: ON JEALOUSLY IN NASCAR:

Ricky Carmichael: "Maybe not for me, I am a nobody but I will take it (CHUCKLES)." Q: ON RECEPTION BY OTHER DRIVERS WITH EXTRODINARY CREDENTIALS IN MOTOCROSS:

Ricky Carmichael: "It is funny, I think it is the opposite. I feel humbled. When Jay Frye (owner and general manager of MB2 Motorsports) gave me Mark Martin's number, I was scared to death to call him. The guy's a legend man, and I was scared. We ended up talking and I told him 'To be honest Mark, I was scared to talk to you, very nervous' and he was awesome. We are all normal, we all put our pants on the same way." Q: ON WHY GOING TO STOCK CAR RACING:

Ricky Carmichael: "You know what, I think just because it is a racing sport. I really like the level of safety that NASCAR brings. I like what they are all about. I like how they promote their sport. That is really why I like it and because it is racing." Q: ON PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE FOR 2007:

Ricky Carmichael: "I have to do 15 stock car races next year. That is my plan next year. 25 the following year and then a full series hopefully after that. I have a three-year deal. It is a long process. I don't know which ones yet. I am going to do 15 motorcycle races and 15 stock car races so I think it is a good story. We are juggling a lot of stuff, but fun at the same time. " Q: ON WHERE HE WILL WATCH TODAY'S RACE:

Ricky Carmichael: "Probably on pit road there next to Jay on the No. 01 pit cart. I just really want to watch and learn and listen on a headset. I am still a fan too, man." Q: ON TAKING BIKE TO NASCAR RACE:

Ricky Carmichael: "I don't really want to take the bike anywhere. I want to leave that to the motorcycle races. I want to keep the two with the two and four with the four. "Some people said when I made my announcement, I should jump through a ring of fire or something but I said, no, lets not do that, that is kind of silly. I probably could but we don't to do that. "My first stock car race is yet-to-be-determined. We haven't set the schedule yet because there is a lot of testing that needs to happen before I go racing. Right off the bat I will test a late model - that is the easiest. We are going to participate in some ARCA. We have a test in Lakeland coming up in December that I think they are bringing an ARCA car and maybe a Busch car too. I am looking forward to that. The car is a little bit heavier. The best thing to do is to be in a car you are hopefully going to be racing some day. "I have been in a car quite a few times. I have driven down at New Smyrna and at Hickory a few times. But haven't been in a car since the announcement, just prior to the announcement with Evernham Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and a local guy at New Smyrna." Q: ON LEARNING TO ADJUST TO ENCLOSED FEELING IN CAR, SO DIFFERENT FROM MOTORCYCLE:

Ricky Carmichael: "It is definitely different than motorcycles. On motorcycles you are out in the open, where it definitely felt foreign to me in the beginning. But every time I got in the car, in the seat and strapped in, it felt more and more comfortable." Q: ON WORKING WITH A SPOTTER, CREW CHIEF AND RADIOS:

Ricky Carmichael: "I am looking forward to it. Sometimes I wish we could have headphones, communications with the teams and spotters because we just have to go on reading a pit board and all that. I am looking forward to it. I get along really good with all the teams I have ever been with and I have a great working relationship with them. I am a great people person and I look forward to it." Q: ON WHAT TESTING SCHEDULE IS SET TO BE:

Ricky Carmichael: "I don't know exact, but as much testing as possible. That is the biggest thing for me. I would hope every other week in a car. That is the one good thing about Mark Martin coming to the organization, is he lives in Florida and I do to so it is just a short drive away." Q: ON LIVING IN FLORIDA:

Ricky Carmichael: "It is very easy to ride there (motorcycle), the travel is very easy. That is where I was born and raised, so that is pretty much why. It is home and roots." Q: ON BEST KNOWN MOVE ON MOTORCYCLE:

Ricky Carmichael: "Well, I am known for my "Whip" as they call it. That is where you the bike perfectly horizontal, very flat, that is my best trick. But as I get older, it seems to get a little bit harder. I know you guys are laughing, but 27 is old for our sport. I have had a 10-year career. I have been very fortunate and very happy, but it has been tough, I feel a lot older than I really am. "I have actually, knock on wood, I have been fortunate and only broken three bones, in the 21 years that I have raced. I have been very, very very lucky." Q: ON PLANS TO MOVE TO NORTH CAROLINA:

Ricky Carmichael: "I am going to stay in Florida now. I don't want to make a commitment on moving up to North Carolina until I know, hey, I am going to be in this for a while so I am going to commute for the time being until I know I am really going to make it." Q: ON TEAM CONCERNS ABOUT GETTING HURT ON MOTORCYLE THAT WILL PREVENT FROM RACING STOCK CAR:

Ricky Carmichael: "There is some talk about it. This is a very unique situation between my motorcycle contracts and my car contracts. MB2 is again being awesome about my motorcycle career at the end of this year and the beginning of next year. After that, the motorcycle stuff is going to go to the side and the focus on driving." "I have 100 acres and tracks behind my house. That is the thing with motorcycles - you have to ride all the time. Unlike this, the only time you get to drive is either at a test or when you are at the race track at the event." Q: ON THOUGHTS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT TAKE HIM SERIOUSLY:

Ricky Carmichael: "I don't really know what to say. I am going to take this very serious and I am very thankful for the opportunity. And try my best." Q: ON TALKING TO OTHER MOTORCYCLE RACERS WHO HAVE MADE THE MOVE TO CAR RACES:

Ricky Carmichael: "I haven't talked to Jeff Ward at all, but I have talked to Ricky Johnson a little bit. As this was going down, last year, I talked to some of the motorcycle racers but not Jeff Ward." Q: ON BEING A FAN:

Ricky Carmichael: "I have been a real fan for about four or five years now, like a serious fan. I grew up with my Dad always watching and my Grandpa raced a lot. Ever since Clint Bowyer signed his deal with Richard Childress, that is when I kinda got in to it. He is a life-long friend of mine, we are great friends. Our families are great friends. So when he started doing it, I had someone to watch. Now I have just grown to love the sport. "I met Clint through his brother who raced motorcycles. He brother was really good. I was a couple of years younger than his older brother and the same age as Clint, I am a couple years younger than Clint. We went to a race a long time ago and ended up parking next to them and became friends. He used to race motocross and got to be 15 and said 'Man, I am going to try racing cars'. I just watched him work his way up through the ranks. "It has been fun. He always helped me out if I need some advice. I have also gotten to be good friends with Kasey Kahne, which has been good. Clint is a lifelong friend and will be to the end. He is really the reason I got so involved is because I had someone to watch, talk to and guide me."

Tagged: Kasey Kahne

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