RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Avenger) NOTE: Newman has finished ninth, sixth and fourth in the past three races at Talladega, Richmond and Darlington, respectively. Newman's three straight top 10s have allowed him to move from 26th to 14th...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Avenger)
NOTE: Newman has finished ninth, sixth and fourth in the past three races at Talladega, Richmond and Darlington, respectively. Newman's three straight top 10s have allowed him to move from 26th to 14th in the series standings. He's 97 points behind 12th place, the final transfer spot in The Chase.
"The alltel Dodge was really good today. We ended up just a little short of Gatorade victory lane today. Those guys were racing me clean there at the end. I was just trying to hold on with old tires. I guess old tires won it, but we were in a position where we were trying to get the lead and it just didn't play out. The wheel inside the car was turning a lot. The guys did a great job all day and it gives us something else to build on. It was a good points' day as well. The two (Penske) teams are getting along great. I think Kurt struggled on that last pit stop, but the two teams are working great. We're looking forward to the all-star race and things to come. I think we've got a good program for the rest of the year.
"Old tires won and new tires were close. I think if we hadn't had that one caution we would have been in better shape yet, but that one caution hurt us. It gave those guys a couple of spots off a chance to knock the rest of us off. I've got to thank Jimmie (Johnson) for racing me clean. It's give and take here at the end, but I was in position with old tires. He knew when he came in he was going to have an opportunity to pass some cars back. I just appreciate him racing me clean.
"I want to thank the fans for coming back and supporting us. It was a great race I thought. I guess the Car of Tomorrow is here today. We had a good run with it, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the races this year. You couldn't bring the tires up on the short run for them to be there on the long run, at least in our car and I think some other cars had the same situation. We got the lead and raced for the lead a couple of times there. We just weren't there when the checkered flag fell.
"To be able to pass some guys for the lead instead of staying out on old tires and holding the lead down, it was a good run for us and a sign of good things to come. I respect Jimmie a lot. I'm glad he raced me clean. He had a good opportunity a couple of times there to take my quarter right on around. I'm real ready (to win). I was ready today. It's Mother's Day and I wanted to give my Mom the best Mother's Day present possible. I tried hard. She knows that. We went from ninth to sixth to fourth, so it's going in the right direction. It's just a matter of time in my opinion.
"We only had four laps on our tires and it's a race where you hope everybody else fake the track position, and they did. That last caution flag we had gave everybody a chance to bunch back up the field and they had new tires. That helped them a lot.
"We just finally got results. We've had good performances and we've had great racecars. I struggled qualifying here for some reason. Once we get everything back on track we'll be just fine. Our guys are doing a great job. The Hendrick guys are obviously tough, but we're showing what we're capable of. We've just got to keep following through. It's not the championship Chase right now. We're just working our way to it. We'll keep building on it.
"It was a little rougher, a little more bumpy here with the COT. I wouldn't say it was night and day difference, but it was a defined difference. I think they did a great job choosing a tire to come here with. It's not easy task, probably the hardest task they have all year to come here with a good tire. When you get your car right, all you've got to do is be better than everybody else, no matter what car you're driving.
"I heard the 25 blew up. I was hoping the 24 would be next, but those guys did a great job."
TROY RAKER (Crew chief No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger)
"I'd say we had a solid top-five car today. It's just about track position. It's been roll the dice on these pit stops. I've tried to team up with people who have been doing this for years and they even missed it a little bit. We were talking coming down the backstretch trying to decide whether to pit or not. Everybody on the crew is pretty proud and everybody at the shop is pretty happy right now. We're running better. There's no doubt about that. Everybody is a little frustrated that we're not getting the finishes, and they ought to be. We know they'll come. We can't wait to get to Charlotte."
NOTE: Driver Kurt Busch, fresh off back-to-back top five finishes, ended up 12th today at Darlington. He moved up two spots to seventh in the series standings. He's gained six spots in the last three races.
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)
"We were loose at first and the guys did a good job working on the car. We got some cautions there at the end and worked our way back on the lead lap and ended up with a decent finish."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Avenger)
"I think we had a top-10 car today if everything had worked out just right, but it's tough for everything to go right at Darlington. It looked like an Avenger was going to win the Dodge Avenger 500 today, and I think we're all getting better and more comfortable with the COT."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)
"We all really worked hard today to try to figure out how to improve this Dodge Avenger during the race. We made some changes and got better, and had finally gotten close to the top 20. We got the lucky dog, and that really helped us move up through the field. But, we started overheating toward the end and had to back off so we could finish the race. At least we finished and brought the race car home in one piece. That's not what we wanted here today, but we're going to keep working on getting better finishes every week and working our way into the chase for the championship."
-credit: dodge motorsports