Ken Howes began 2002 as the Director of Competition for Hendrick Motorsports but was drafted in as an interim crew-chief for the #25 team in mid-April when Tony Furr stepped down.

With Joe Nemechek now behind the wheel of the UAW/Delphi machine Brian Pattie has assumed the role of crew chief leaving Howes to return to his normal post.
ANY TALK OF RE-ARRANGING CREWS SUCH AS RCR DID?

KEN HOWES "No. I don?t see any need for that right now. With crew chief Jim Long and Terry Labonte (No. 5 Kellogg?s Chevy Monte Carlo), things are coming on well there. Jim?s made a lot of progress. We feel like they?ve had some good races this year. We feel fairly pleased. Although it was a 15th place finish in Dover it was still a good run for the team. They were competitive. Terry drove hard all day and as competitive as it is these days, just to stay on the lead lap some of the days is an accomplishment. We feel good about the way that team is going right now.

"The 48 team? We wouldn?t change that. The 24 team and Robbie Loomis? They?ll be OK. They?ve not had the best season so far, but they?re third in points. We?re pretty encouraged; we know this stuff kind of cycles and in the second half of the year they?ll probably start to wake up out of the funk, come out of the fog and possibly enjoy another championship year. It will be interesting."

DID YOU EXPECT THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON WOULD BE SO AWESOME?

KEN HOWES "No. It?s a total surprise to everybody; obviously a pleasant one. Our goals, our sights, were set a lot lower. You always hope to win a race or you like to think that you can. The reality was we knew it was a new team, (and) a lot of new people had come together. It was a team put together in a new way for us, because it?s two teams housed under one roof, which we had not done before. We were expecting to take some time to figure out the problems and let Jimmie gain more experience. So, yeah, we?re totally surprised."

THE 24 (JEFF GORDON?S DUPONT CHEVY MONTE CARLO) AND 48 (JIMMIE JOHNSON?S LOWE?S CHEVY MONTE CARLO) ARE IN ONE BUILDING?

KEN HOWES "They operate out of one building, which is not the way we have done it here before. You have a lot of people under one roof, so you have to have more management in place, more things you have to control. We felt like it was the way things needed to go, so we took the plunge and did it. It will be interesting to see if we can keep this going. Jimmie is way ahead of the curve, I suppose -- as the saying goes -- way, way ahead."

NO WAY TO GO BUT DOWN?

KEN HOWES "We understand that and we?re prepared for it. Perhaps they won?t; maybe they?ll ride the wave for a long time. Who knows? They?ve accomplished a lot, obviously, in a short time, so if they were to run into some problems, we can live with that. We will help them work through it and come out the other side. All teams go through that -- good teams, bad teams. Luck turns around sometimes and goes against you. You have a couple of bad races. We can live with that right now."

ARE WE AT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD AT THIS STAGE?

KEN HOWES "No. Chevrolets are still at a disadvantage. We?ve got good drivers and good teams. We tend not to dwell on that too much here. The rules are the way they are and we are just working as hard as we can to do the best we can. If GM or somebody can politic to get us an advantage we?re certainly happy to take it and go on. The emphasis right now is on doing the best we can racing week in and week out."