Connie Dote has watched throughout the day as rumor after rumor has floated across her computer screen in both news reports and message board posts. The owner/manager of the Dote Racing Top Fuel team has a bit of sage advice for race fans, “Don’t believe everything you read.”
Dote, speaking with CompetitionPlus.com on Tuesday afternoon, said her decision to release Hillary Will for the most part will be kept between her and the former driver. She did say no one bought or stole the ride.
“Both parties knew there were a few issues we were trying to work through and the results we wanted just weren’t there,” said Dote. “I don’t want this to be negative because I really like Hillary and her family. I want nothing but the best for her.”
Regretfully, as Dote admits, the two parties were just not the right fit.
“This was performance,” she added. “And … our expectations weren’t met.”
The eight races Dote Racing participated in resulted in a semi-final and quarter-final finish and six first round losses. The most recent event in Indianapolis resulted in a first round loss to eventual champion Tony Schumacher. Running a limited schedule the team still finished 14th in the regular season.
Dote believes while the team holds high standards, they aren’t unreasonably high.
“I think we expect a lot out of our team,” Dote admitted. “I don’t think we give anyone on our team unreachable goals. The goals might be higher than someone else’s standards. We set our goals at Dote Racing high because you have to if you’re going to be a professional race team. This is a professional race team. You have to take every aspect serious. It’s hard out there.”
Dote says she’s disappointed when Will says she’s finished with pursuing driving professionally.
“I let her know she’s very good for the sport,” Dote said. “There isn’t a person out there better with the race fans than her. That’s the God’s honest truth from the bottom of my heart.”
Dote selected Dixon to drive her car for the team’s remaining three races and pointed out she’s had discussions with several other drivers for the 2013 seat, none of which are a lock for the ride. Regardless of who she chooses, Dote added, the decision will not be predicated on who brings money.
Dote said the team plans to race at least 12 events next year. Anything beyond their planned schedule would require sponsorship money to fulfill.
“I’ve spoken to many drivers over the last few months and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing a good job for Dote Racing,” Dote said.
Dote confirmed Leah Pruett is not a lock on the 2013 driving gig.
“We haven’t talked to her about anything outside of Monday’s licensing and getting passes on our car,” Dote revealed.
Dote said the team will bear the total financial burden for Pruett’s licensing test session following the O’Reilly NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway.
“We’re getting more out of it than just licensing Leah,” Dote explained. “We’re going to try some different things on our car.”
Dote said her team will evaluate those results for implementation on the car and not to determine the 2013 driver.
“Any decision of remotely thinking of this is the one [driver] or that is the one hasn’t even begun to be decided yet,” Dote said. “As of this past weekend [we entered the event] with the belief Hillary would still be driving in Charlotte. Unfortunately that’s not the case.”
These are words, Dote said, you can believe.
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