JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T) "I had a motor failure at Martinsville, but otherwise those are the only two motor failures we've had all season at Petty Enterprises other than a broke piston at Daytona with Kyle. I can't ...
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I had a motor failure at Martinsville, but otherwise those are the only two motor failures we've had all season at Petty Enterprises other than a broke piston at Daytona with Kyle. I can't complain. The motors have been running great. I sit there and I run around Darlington and I'm driving like a wild man. I didn't hit anything. I blow the motor and then hit the wall. It's disappointing, but at least I'm leaving on Sunday and not Monday so that's a good thing. Something on the bottom end of the engine blew out. I can't get to the clutch. I spun out in my oil and hit the wall. Every time I hit the wall it threw my foot off the clutch. It's disappointing. We came from the back to the front and had good lap times. I'm not going to complain. I love coming to Darlington. When you come to Darlington to race you pick the car up and carry it a little bit. It's a lot of fun. Nobody is perfect out there, and it just makes for a lot of fun. I love racing here. Believe it or not I think the track is getting a lot better. As we ran on it, it got really greasy. It's like the tires laid down a grease. When we got that first caution, it helped. We picked all that up. Then the track has been really good since then. I figured the track would have a lot of grip to start with, and I didn't feel the grip to start with. We adjusted on it. Hopefully it won't rain on 'em and they have to run the rest of the day."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It got real loose on the last two sets of tires. We were really loose on the start and got adjusted. I thought we were going to be in good shape. We were just really loose on the last two stops and we couldn't do anything with it. It was a good day for the Coors Light Dodge, and we'll just see what happens. It looks like Jeff is getting on a roll here. We had him beat early, but we just didn't finish. You've got to run good all day to win this thing. We had a good car in the mid part of the race. I thought we had this thing and that $200,000 bonus. We just got real loose and I couldn't drive it. We were gaining back on him, but we just ran out of time. We had some good pit stops and came out leading two or three times. All the guys on the Coors Light Dodge team did a good job. Since last year we had a two-inch kick out on the nose. We've had stuff taken away. We're back to an inch and a half. Chevrolet has more nose jobs than Michael Jackson. We had $200,000 on the line today. We worked as hard as we could and we were too loose at the end to do anything. That's all we've got. The last 100 laps you couldn't drive it because it was so loose. You could drive it, but you were sideways and couldn't make the time we made in the mid part of the race. After the last two stops it wouldn't go anywhere. Gordon looked like he got his car driving good. Early it wasn't as good as ours and he got his driving good. He was pretty quick on the get-go."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It was a really good day. We did a lot better than we did last time, so that's good. We made little changes on the car all day and it kept getting better and better. It was a good top 15 finish."
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We had a solid finish in the Target Dodge today. It was sort of an up and down day. The car was pretty loose. We made an adjustment that helped a lot, but overall our setup wasn't perfect. The Target guys were awesome in the pits today."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"From where we started and finishing sixth that was a heck of a comeback. We were really off there at the beginning. We changed all kind of stuff. I hit every wall out there. I didn't get a Darlington stripe. I got 25 and about wrecked it one time. I was just out of control. I'm real happy with it. The guys fixed the car from Bristol. They worked their tails off this week. Obviously it wasn't what we wanted coming to Darlington, but we can't have the best car every time we're here. We'll take a top six and go to Richmond and try to do better up there."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Gordon looked like he was just out there riding at the end. Me and Ryan and Sterling were doing all we could do, and we were just hanging on.
"He (Jeff Gordon) is always the man to beat. Past history tells you that. Jeff is coming up on a good stretch and that team is really strong. If they don't have any bad luck, they'll be hard to beat. Sterling's got a good lead, too, so there's 11 races left to go. We've got to be a little bit better than we are all the way around. I think this team has progressed 1000 percent since last year. It seems like all the way across the board we've been a lot better. We've got to stay that way the next 11 races and we've got a lot of catching up to do. You've got to have extreme good luck and they've got to have bad luck. The odds of that happening and doing it race in and race out is pretty tough. Right now we're just concentrating on a race at a time and trying to get our stuff better so we can turn around and come in next year right off the bat and come in and run good in each and every race.
"Last year we were decent at a place or two and bad at some places. This year we've got our consistency better. We're whittling away at it. We're running in the top five and top 10 and that's what it's going to take to stay competitive. Now they're kind of on a roll. They've got the momentum behind 'em. Looking at the races coming up, Jeff runs well at all of 'em coming up. Compare Sterling's record versus Jeff's record, but there again, you've got to have the luck. Eleven races with as many cars running as well as they are, you could gain or lose 100 points in a heartbeat in today's environment.
"It was a long day, but it was a good day. We had a pretty good piece. We got a little behind here and there in the middle of the race and picked it back up there at the end. We pretty much adjusted all day long. We still missed it there at the end, but all in all I was proud of the guys. They worked hard and got me back in a position to be pretty decent at the end of the day. The team is doing well. We've really come a long way.
"We got a little better as the race progressed, especially on long runs. Track position here kills you because you've got to fight the lapped cars."
"You're going from a mile and three-eighths (Darlington) to a three-quarter mile track (Richmond). To me, that's very little difference. We didn't run that well at the last race at Richmond. I think Mike (crew chief Ford) and the guys have expanded on our setup and hopefully we'll be better this time around. It's a raceable track and it's a pretty enjoyable Saturday night even though last time it turned into a Sunday afternoon."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We were loose all day and never really got tightened up. We finished. We did the best we could and we'll go to Richmond and give it another shot. We finished fifth at Richmond last time, and we're going to take the same Dodge back up there and hopefully we'll be able to improve on that finish."