MATT KENSETH-17-DeWalt Power Tools Taurus (Finished 33rd) -"Looked like Harvick tried to block Gordon and Gordon turned Harvick, so, once you turn somebody here, if you're in the front of the pack, you're gonna collect a whole mess of cars and ...
MATT KENSETH-17-DeWalt Power Tools Taurus (Finished 33rd) -"Looked like Harvick tried to block Gordon and Gordon turned Harvick, so, once you turn somebody here, if you're in the front of the pack, you're gonna collect a whole mess of cars and there's going to be a whole bunch of race cars getting tore up."
DID THE CHANGE HELP THE FORDS? "I thought our DeWalt Ford was pretty good all day. I thought we were getting up to at least in the lead draft at the end. I got a little behind before our last pit stop and that got me toward the middle of the back of the pack. When you run anywhere near the back of the pack, and somebody turns somebody up front, it's just gonna collect a bunch of cars."
WAS THAT THE BIG ONE THAT EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT? "I don't know. You saw it more than I did. It felt big to me."
YOU LED TODAY. DID THE QUARTER INCH HELP? "It seemed to help. Today was the most competitive we've been all week. We worked really hard on our handling and we got our car to handle so we could hold it wide open all day and that seemed to be a big advantage. It seemed like a lot of people weren't handling as good and had to take their foot off the gas."
WHAT HAPPENED? "I just saw it on the replay monitor. It looked like the 24 the 29, the 29 was trying to block, it looked like, and that was the start of it."
MORE ON THE WRECK. "Well, it was all smoke by the time I got there, you'll be able to see it on the replay better than me, but it looked like on the replay that the 29 and 24 got together and once they spin it just makes a bunch of smoke and you just try to make through the best you can. Sometimes you make it and sometimes you don't."
TODD BODINE--66-- Kmart Taurus (Finished 31st) -- "I don't know. Somebody got down on the apron and all I could see was smoke by the time I got there. We were all trying to slow down, but people were running into people. It's just a mess. It's probably the worst rules package we've had yet. There is no give and take. You cannot let off the throttle. It is brutal to be racing out there. With a Ford, I don't know about the Dodges, but with a Ford by the end of a run your car is pushing when somebody gets up behind you. With another quarter inch off the spoiler, it's just making you loose."
WHAT DID YOU SEE? "I just saw smoke and everybody locking 'em up. There wasn't a whole lot to see."
JOE NEMECHEK--26-- Kmart Taurus (Finished 40th) -- "I'm fine. It was just a big cloud of smoke when I got there and I just went sliding. I stayed up by the wall and I was all clear and then at the last minute I broke out of the smoke and Ricky Rudd came up backwards. I hit him in the door pretty hard. He's alright and I'm alright, it's just a tough day at the races. It's pretty tough out there today. Everybody was starting to get a little impatient there towards the end and things happen."
WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS RULES PACKAGE? "Man, I don't know. It seemed like guys were trying to take more chances now because it a was so hard to go. If you couldn't go, you had to make sure you blocked and did the things you needed to do."
RICKY RUDD--28-- Havoline Taurus (Finished 38th) -- WHAT ABOUT THESE RULES? "These rules were supposed to maybe get you strung out a little bit, but it didn't look like they did that too much. I don't know. I didn't really see much difference in these rules from the last set of rules really -- everybody was right there in one big pile. It seemed like you were in a pile for at least 15-20, maybe 25 laps and then it would get thinned out and you could go race, but for about 25 laps everybody was on top of each other and that's usually when the action would happen."
ARE DRIVERS TAKING MORE CHANCES NOW? "I don't know. The cars are going so slow. I mean, it feels like you're running about 60 miles an hour out there, so everybody feels like a hero and takes a lot chances. That's the biggest problem, the cars are going too slow."
ARE YOU OKAY? "Yeah, I took a pretty hard hit in the door. It's the first time I've ever been hit in the door before, I think. Luckily, all the new seat braces and everything did their job."
DID YOU THINK YOU GOT THROUGH IT? "I thought I was gonna miss it and then somebody got me in the back corner and turned me into it."
COULD YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED? "No, I just saw the aftermath and the smoke, that was it."
KURT BUSCH--97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 4th) -- "A lot of guys didn't use much patience and a whole new crop of drivers were up front today just because the veterans seemed to want to go to the front and bully everybody around. It seemed like it was an odd race. Just sitting in the cockpit I wanted to bide my time. I knew the Fords were gonna run well. I knew I had a car to win the race. I was the victim of a restart. I didn't want to get too aggressive with blocking because people were getting sent for that."
THERE WERE A LOT OF FORDS UP FRONT. "You saw a lot of Fords up front because we've been working so hard at getting the drag out of these cars. They kept knocking the rear blade off of it and that kept knocking downforce out of it too. We had a loose race car, but that made us good on a longer run. We got out front and could hang for a while because all of the Chevy and GM cars tore themselves up."
HOW WAS THE RACE? "It was an odd race for sure."
YOU STAYED OUT WHEN LEADING WITH 29 TO GO. "We stayed out with about 59 laps to go. That was gonna be the game."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR RUN? "You saw a lot of unusual driving out there today. There were a lot of unusual circumstances with everybody trying to get to the front. A lot of GM cars tore themselves up and that's what allotted all these Fords to go to the front. I'm very happy with my guys. It's awesome to have this experience around me like Jimmy Fennig, Shawn Parker, Jack Roush -- the whole group. This is Rubbermaid's time and we're gonna march forward."
GEOFFREY BODINE--09-- Miccosukee Indian Gaming Taurus (Finished 3rd) -- "In the beginning it was senseless to try to race in the middle of all that junk. We might have been in one of those wrecks, so we just rode in the back and kept adjusting on the car. Johnny kept doing things and I don't even know what he did the last stop, but whatever he did was perfect. That's what we needed. We needed to wait for the wrecks to happen. Unfortunately, they're a part of restrictor-plate racing nowadays and we just outsmarted them. We didn't get in a wreck."
WHAT DOES IT SAY TO COME BACK AFTER THAT TRUCK WRECK AND HAVE A FINISH LIKE THIS? "I'm not over the hill yet. I still love this. I still have nerve. I still haven't lost my nerve, I still want to run up front and I think we proved that today. Hopefully, I showed I have the skill left. I'm not gonna ride around out here just to be here. I'm too proud for that, I'm too proud of a person and I think today I stood up for being a proud guy. We did a good job."
WHAT WILL THIS DO FOR YOUR CAREER? "I don't know. Do you have a sponsor so we can run some more races? That's what we need -- more money so we could run some more. James (Finch) would like to run Indy, Richmond, California, Phoenix -- tracks like that this year. Maybe 10-15 races and then maybe next year the full schedule."
DURING THE RED FLAG WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU WERE GOING TO WIN? "Oh yeah. I was thinking of a way, but we hit some debris in that last incident and knocked our nose a little bit. The car wasn't quite as fast after that, but still good enough to get third."
WHAT ABOUT NEXT WEEK? "Next week I'm gonna be in Salt Lake City. I'm gonna see my bobsled run -- the four man. We're going down Wednesday and we're gonna see the four man races that weekend. I can't wait to get there."
DO YOU HOPE YOUR LUCK CARRIES OVER TO THEM? "Well, third is pretty good. That's a bronze in the Olympics, so maybe the guys got bronze today."
DID YOU THINK THE CLOCK WAS TURNING BACK TO 1986? "I never felt like it was gone, I never have. I've prided myself in staying in good shape -- physically and mentally. Yeah, the wreck was tough to get through physically, but mentally it was a breeze. I wanted to get back the very next day, but, hopefully this proves that I am back. I'm not afraid. I still have the desire to come out here and go fast."
DALE JARRETT-88-UPS Taurus (Finished 14th) -"Just got turned. Just racin'. I was trying to make a spot. I thought I had a run, and came back down to the inside and just got touched a little bit and it was a bad place to get touched."
YOU WERE RUNNING WELL BEFORE THAT. "Yeah. We ran a lot better than I thought we might. We put ourselves in a position to try to win or least have a good finish and just came up a little short."
MARK MARTIN-6-Pfizer Taurus (Finished 6th)-"It was a good run. I'm proud of these guys. I was convinced we weren't going to be any good today, and they dug in and never gave up and put some stuff under the car for set-up that we had never practiced, and it was the best car I ever had during Speed Weeks. It was the best we've been since we've been here and it's a real credit to Ben Leslie and Bruce Hayes and all the new guys. Maybe this is a start of good things. My son gave me - I don't believe in luck charms at all, ever - but my son gave me some today and I was so desperate that I went back to get it before the race started because I knew that we were going to do terrible today."
WHAT WAS IT? "It was just a penny that he found."
ROUSH RACING DID WELL TODAY. "We're happy with the performance, but we need more. We need to do better but that was good."
RUSTY WALLACE-2-Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 18th)-"Forty-third to fifth was a good run for us. I was real happy with that. And then right there with a little bit to go, you know, we had a re-start and I just took off and Mark Martin didn't get going because some guy in front of him stopped and I got drilled from the back by Terry Labonte, but it wasn't his fault, it was just racin', it's just what happened."
THE RULE CHANGE OBVIOUSLY HELPED THE FORDS. "Well, it really helped the Fords in the race, there's no doubt about that. We were competitive with the Chevrolets and everybody, we just didn't win, but, man, for a while there I thought I was going to win. It was just a great car today."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH STERLING MARLIN DURING THE RED FLAG? "I was in the pit area when all that happened, so I wouldn't know. I guess he thought he had a tire rubbing, he thought he could fix it, and I don't really know the rule to that myself, so we all know now."
WOULD YOU HAVE DONE THE SAME THING? "Yeah, I would've if my crew said I could've done it."
WHAT'S RUNNING THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU'RE SITTING FOR ALMOST 20 MINUTES WITH JUST A FEW LAPS TO GO IN THE DAYTONA 500? "The guys said, look, we got six laps to go, but I said, in about 10 minutes the whole thing will be over with and I've been here for two weeks and I'm looking forward to it. I would've never believed that on a re-start we would've all bottled up and crashed, but it happened. What a mess that was. I learned a lot about our car today, and I think we'll be really strong in the Firecracker 400 when we get back here and really strong at Talladega."
RYAN NEWMAN-12-ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 7th)-HAS IT SUNK IN YET? "No, it won't sink in for a little while, I'm sure, but it was a great effort by the whole team and I'm just happy to be here."
WHAT WENT WELL FOR THE TEAM TODAY? "Just great pit stops, I messed up there once - we fell back, I think, to like 18th or something. It was a great team effort, our pit stops were really great, spotting was great. I got through that wreck in one and two that was really as much luck as it was skill. It's just a great opportunity to be a part of Penske Racing."
ELLIOTT SADLER--21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 2nd) -- "That's pretty awesome. This Motorcraft Ford Taurus drove great today, it handled really good and our pit stops were unbelieveable. I tell you, it's a lot of fun to race in front of these great fans here at Daytona Beach. It's a great way to start the season. I'm shaking so much. I'm glad Ward Burton won, another Virginia guy. I had to go with him and help him because he had been helping me all day. This is a great start to the season for everybody involved with the Wood Brothers, Motorcraft Quality Parts, Ford, Air Force -- a great deal, great job."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo Taurus (Finished 12th) -- "It was a wreckfest. We didn't handle that well early in the race, so we tried to be smart and kind of ran in the back and kept working on our chassis and we finally got it to really work well, but everytime I made a move the guy behind me wouldn't go with me, so I kept going backwards. I thought a few times I had people that were gonna go with me and they didn't and that hurt us. Then somebody missed a shift or whatever happened there at the end and we got into that. That pretty much finished it up for us."
WHAT ABOUT THE QUALITY OF RACING TODAY? "It's the race tracks. They need to fix the race tracks. There's no fix until we can go fast enough and make them handle terrible. That's the only thing that will ever help it. Until then -- we've got to change the race track and figure out how to do that. I applaud them for making a change because what we did last year was wrong. We just need to keep working."
DAVE BLANEY-77-Jasper Engines and Transmissions Taurus (Finished 25th)-"We were running fine early and it just shut off. I don't know if they found out for sure what it was. I think it was the steering wheel kill switch, but I don't know for sure. But, we got it back out and rode around and I guess we gained a little bit by it."
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN USE HERE LATER? "Not a thing. It was so beat up you couldn't tell, so it was a wasted day, really."