"I think these guys have more pride in the job they do by being with the car all the way from the shop to the track and back. It's like it's their baby," says Ward.
"Look at my over-the wall-guys-they're some pretty talented men. My crew chief, Tommy Bladwin, changes the rear tires; Mike Brown carries the rears for Tommy, and he's the shop General Manager. Tommy Wallace changes the fronts for us-he's a suspension fabricator back at the shop, while Trip Bruce, who carries the front tires, is also my car chief at the track and a mechanic back at the shop."
The team's finest hour has to be awarding Dodge its first Daytona 500 of the new age. Davis was overwhelmed with pride by what the team and Dodge accomplished.
"It doesn't get any better than winning the Daytona 500," said Davis. "This is it. This is what we all work for. When you're a young person and you want to be a racer, and you're a real racer, you dream of not only competing at this level, but then to win the biggest race that we run is just amazing. I thought the Southern 500 was about as good as it could get last year, but this is just hard to describe. It is unbelievable. I'm just so happy for everybody that supports us-all the people that work at Bill Davis racing who work so hard and dedicate themselves to it. This is just a wonderful thing.
"Without Dodge's support, development, and engineering help, we couldn't have won the 500. The manner in which they help all the Dodge teams is more than you can put into words," said Davis.
Claiming his first Daytona 500 win was also the highlight of Ward Burton's Winston Cup career, and the Virginia native has high praise for the whole team.
"It's been exciting," says Burton. "To win NASCAR's biggest race is a real accomplishment for the team. I just feel really thankful for all the support that Dodge has given us; the guys on the team and their families who have sacrificed so much and worked so hard. Bill, Gail, this team, and myself have come a long way since 1995. It means a lot to bring home this trophy together."
The entire BDR crew has been through some rough times since their Daytona 500 win. NASCAR's one-engine rule has given Terry Elledge and the guys in the engine shop more than one sleepless night, along with many others in the series.
In addition, the new and harder Goodyear tires have been a headache in setup for Todd Holbert and the engineering department, not to mention driver Ward Burton.
The depth of a team's talent is most evident when their back is against the wall. Remember why Dodge chose Bill Davis racing-their eye for and use of talented people.