NOTES AND QUOTES Coca-Cola 600 Lowe's Motor Speedway May 30, 1999 Note: After 12 races, Pontiac Grand Prix drivers have combined to post 14 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes. At the same point a year ago, Pontiac had five top-five and 13 top-10...
NOTES AND QUOTES Coca-Cola 600 Lowe's Motor Speedway May 30, 1999
Note: After 12 races, Pontiac Grand Prix drivers have combined to post 14 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes. At the same point a year ago, Pontiac had five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. Pontiac had three drivers -- Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Ward Burton -- finish in the top-10 tonight. Pontiac has had at least three drivers finish in the top-10 in eight of 12 races this year.
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We definitely missed on the setup a little bit because it was pretty bad at the beginning. It came around at the end. I had a little bit of lapped traffic and that held me up a little bit. The guys did a great job in the pits. We didn't come home victorious, but we did have a heck of a run there at the end. That last set of tires got a little loose on me for about five laps. I just couldn't catch Jeff after that. When we changed tires the car was extremely loose there at the end for the first five laps after we took off. It just didn't go like we wanted it to. Jeff had a fast car and if we had beat him it probably would have been a little bit of a miracle. We fought hard all night. We missed the setup early and I wasn't as comfortable as I wanted to be. Even when it got dark it was still pretty loose. It finally got pretty good there at the end.
"The car would get better, but it was still giving up some at the end of a long run. I just don't think I had the right setup to beat the 99 car. We just finished second tonight. I came out right with the 99 car and got in a little bit of lapped traffic. The car got real loose for about five laps, I don't know why, and finally came around. It was too late then. Earlier in the race it didn't do that on new tires. I'm kind of buffaloed there. I started to come back around him there a little bit. It might have looked good, but it was a valiant effort to no avail. I was going to get close, but I wasn't going to pass him.
"We made an air pressure adjustment for a short run (on the last stop). I'd do it again, it just didn't turn out. I didn't make very good decisions probably there at the end (getting through lapped traffic). Jeff might have gotten on or off pit road better. I think I had a little bit of traffic and when I left pit road I had a car I had to follow all the way around the race track. It was probably that. The pit stop didn't hurt us and our pit position didn't hurt us. It was probably entry and exit into pit road that did. I think the track changed like it normally does. I just wasn't properly setup for both. I didn't adjust the right way and do the right things.
"It was obvious last weekend (Tony) was fixing to win The Winston. I wasn't really surprised. They had a bad qualifying run because they had so mething wrong with the rear end. The driveshaft, something happened to it, and it vibrated real bad. It didn't matter, he had to start at the back. I wasn't surprised. He's done really good all year long and he likes this race track. When he ran a Busch car here he ran really good here. It didn't really surprise me. It didn't look like he could run very much in traffic, but when he was by himself he was hauling butt."
Note: After 12 races, Tony Stewart has three top-five and five top-10 finishes, the exact same marks Jeff Gordon had at the same point in his rookie season. However, Gordon had four DNFs and was 10th in the point standings.
Stewart has no DNFs and ranks higher in the points.
GREG ZIPADELLI, crew chief (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "I don't think any driver ever wants to get out of the car. They want to fight until the end. He's a fighter and he did a great job. I was really proud of him. The whole team did a great job. We were a little behind starting so far back and our pit stops were pretty good today. They were what we needed and he did a hell of a job. Running the Indy 500 was something we knew he was going to do back when we put this team together. It wasn't an issue of whether he could or couldn't do it. We wanted to do the best we could to get him to run the whole 600 here. He got a little tired and dizzy the re at the end, that's all. He came up a little short. I think he was just tired. I don't think he ate enough today. We were giving him candy bar s and things like that throughout the day. It helped him a little bit. He raced pretty hard today. I think we showed we had a car capable of winning again. I don't know if we're ready to win. Maybe we have to walk and jog before we can run. I'm real proud of everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing to have both cars in the top-five again. It was an excellent run for us to start where we did. We got the cautions where we needed them and that helped us, too. His exhaustion started about lap 150. He complained he wasn't feeling good and he was nauseous. We got him some ice on his chest and gave him a candy bar and Gatorade and that helped him a little bit and then toward s the end there he really started to feel bad. Tony did a great job. He ran an awful lot of miles today. I think he's just tired, exhausted, that's all."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "It went from one end of the spectrum to the other all day. The motorhome compound is so tight here that I got a little carbon monoxide poisoning last night and that kind of played against me. I wasn't 100 percent in the car late in the race. I hope Humpy and them will do something about that because that's not right. We were all over the place. The generator fumes were coming up under the bus and I started to get a hell of a headache. The buses are so close together it's like you can hardly open the doors. We'd be tight, we'd be loose. There wasn't a happy medium in the car. They work their tails off, but it just wouldn't handle right. We just adjusted, adjusted, adjusted. The guys did a good job for me. And you know, I still like to go to victory lane and congratulate Jeff. I guess I have a millionaire brother now. I'm happy for him because he's my brother. But I'm like everybody else here, too. If I can't win I don't want anybody to win it. We got another top-10. Those are coming consistently now."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "We were OK to bad to worse. We started off OK and got a lucky break and stayed on the lead lap. We put on a set of tires that didn't work on our car. It was a long run and we fell back and got lapped. We hung on as long as we could and right there at the end we must have broke a piston or something. There's not much you can do when that happens."