BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: (DID YOU HAVE ANY INDICATION OF ENGINE TROUBLE?) "No, there was no warning at all. I just blew up. It's just one of those things. There's nothing you can do about it. Obviously,...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(DID YOU HAVE ANY INDICATION OF ENGINE TROUBLE?) "No, there was no warning at all. I just blew up. It's just one of those things. There's nothing you can do about it. Obviously, this isn't the way you want to start the season. We'll try to come back at California."
(ANYTHING YOU CAN PASS ALONG TO YOUR TEAMMATES?) "No. We didn't run long enough."
STEVE ADDINGTON, CREW CHIEF, INTERSTATE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"He said he didn't have any warning. We broke a valve or a piston. It's nobody's fault. Mark Cronquist and all the guys in the engine shop worked real hard. I know they will come back and work real hard at California next week."
MIKE WALLACE, NO. 4 LUCAS OIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(WHAT DID YOU SEE OUT THERE?) "Someone cut what looked like a left rear tire. I don't know if it was Ricky Rudd. You know, it's hard to tell; I think it was the #21 car that cut a tire down. You've seen the tire carcass come off and the car just spun up the race track and I was in the middle. There was nowhere to go, unfortunately."
(THE GOAL IS TO GET THE CAR BACK OUT ON THE RACE TRACK?) "Without a doubt. They are working very hard. The whole Morgan McClure Lucas Oil Chevrolet team is hard at it. It's just a shame, we had a really, really good race car today and that always happens when you're running well, it seems like. The guys will get it out and we'll get the best points we can. And we'll do the best job we can for Lucas Oil and everybody on our team."
KENNY WALLACE, NO. 00 AARONS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY)" I just want to thank Michael Waltrip for a great car. You know there was no warning at all. Something happened in the motor. I avoided the crash. I knew there were a couple of things that could have gone either way this whole week but you know, all I can tell you is that everything was going great. It was a really good day and had looked like everything had finally settled out. I don't know know what happened to Ricky there but we avoided that. Man, it was running and handling really good. That's what I'm excited about more than all. It sounded like it dropped a valve or something. You know, DEI makes great motors. We put quite a few laps on this motor as it's the one we ran at the 150."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It just blew up. I broke something pretty big under the hood. Fortunately we were able to get out of the way and not cause a wreck. We can take the other car to Talladega. Man I just really wanted to run these last 25 laps. We have a very fast car. We just kept it toward the front. We did everything we needed to do to win the race, except finish it.
"It was all about conditioning throughout the middle of the race. I just followed Tony. You know you just try to make a comrade, because he was going to be a buddy of mine. I just couldn't wait, couldn't wait for those last 25 laps. It was going to be a riot. The people in the stands are going to see a heck of a show. You can make major runs out there. We had a car that was going to make some. Man! The NAPA Auto Parts, Domino's Pizza, you know all that stuff...Oh! I just...I'm trying to mask the pain. I'm just upset but understanding. A lot of people put a lot into this effort. There are a lot of parts spinning around and sometimes they break."
(DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT BROKE?) "I'm not sure. I think it was a rod. It might have been a crankshaft. Possibly a piston."
(JEFF GORDON AND TONY STEWART SEEM TO BE THE OTHER FAST CARS OUT THERE. DOES ANYONE HAVE ANYTHING TO CHALLENGE STEWART?) "Yeah, Jeff's faster. Jeff's fast than Tony, so we'll see."
JEFF GORDON'S WIN OF THE 47TH RUNNING OF THE DAYTONA 500 GIVES CHEVROLET IT'S THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN AND 18TH ALL-TIME VICTORY OF THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE. THIS MARKS GORDON'S THIRD CAREER WIN OF THE DAYTONA 500 (1997, 99, 05).
(TELL US ABOUT THE PASS ON DALE EARNHARDT JR.) "I was trying to pass so many people. I thought Tony Stewart was going to be the guy. And he held us off for so long. I had three shots at him and he drove a great race. It was fun racing him. Dale Jr. came out of nowhere. He was just hanging back there all day until it really counted. And I was worried. He pushed me a couple of times. I thought there was no way I was going to be able to keep him behind me. When he got the lead, I thought it was all over. I've got to thank Jimmie Johnson. He gave me a couple of great pushes. We were just trying to get up there. I was shocked when I got to the quarter panel of the No. 8 car when I did. It just carried my momentum and I got in front of him. I couldn't believe it. And then the caution came out and I thought, 'Oh man, please, I don't want a green-white-checkered.' This win is really dedicated to those families who were part of that tragic loss last year (plane crash). It's something we'll never forget. Days like today allow us to honor them that much more and we're thankful that we're in victory lane and can talk about them and honor them."
(ON HOLDING OFF KURT BUSCH ON THE LAST LAP) "That was the best thing that could have happened to me. There were times that that No. 8 car was so fast that you can't keep him behind you. Kurt and I worked well together all day long and I kind of knew how we stacked up with one another. He had a strong car. I just did everything I could to stay in front of him. I was looking in my mirror more than I was looking at what was going on ahead of me. I was doing everything I knew to hold those guys off. When I saw the No. 48 and the No. 8 racing side by side back there, I knew there was nothing the No. 97 could do without a push from behind and I knew we had it."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(ON THE WILD FINISH) - Finished 3rd "The car wasn't that good in the race. We made some adjustments and then I could drive it right up in there. I got the lead there with a couple of laps to go. I had enough room to pull up in front of Gordon in the middle of Turns 1 and 2 and hold him back there, but I didn't know if I had him cleared or not and he came on back by me on the straightaway. We had a good car. I don't know if it was a third place car, but it was good. I want to thank my guys for staying with it all day."
(IF YOU HAD A LITTLE HELP AT THE END, COULD YOU HAVE WON THAT RACE?) "Absolutely. It was amazing the difference in the car from then, and maybe 50 laps before then. It was really fast. The Budweiser Chevrolet sure runs good when you need her to."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND TONY STEWART THERE AT THE END?) - Finished 5th "I don't know. We were all trying to block and do what we can. Evidently he was upset with me blocking him like you're supposed to and kept running me in the outside wall down in Turn 1. I just tried saving my car and we bounced off each other a few times. There is no retaliation. We were wheel to wheel and it almost spun me out and I ran back into him. It was one of those deals. I'm sure he's upset. He led a lot today and didn't win the race. But congratulations to Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon for doing it."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 THE HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET - FINISHED 7TH
"It's hard leading sometimes like that. We had a great car. To lead all those laps that we led. I'm so stoked about the way these guys brought this car here. It was an awesome race car. I just got caught up there on the restarts at the end."
"I think we ran about as good as a race as we possibility could of run. At least we had a car that was good enough to lead laps. You don't lead laps like that if you don't have a good race car. I'm just happy these guys did a great job over the winter getting this thing ready for the 500. We got a good start to the season. I'm ready to go."
(WHAT WAS CHAD KNAUS UPSET ABOUT?) "I think he was upset about me running into his driver after the race. I think his driver did enough running into us before we got to the checkered flag. Chad's just upset. I don't know what Chad is upset about. That's just Chad I guess. If he wants to talk about it, I'm easily accessible."
(WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR ENGINE WITH THE NO. 18 BLOWING UP SO EARLY?) "No, I wasn't."
NOTE: TONY STEWART AND JIMMIE JOHNSON WERE CALLED INTO THE NASCAR TRAILER FOR BUMPING EACH OTHER
(WHAT WAS DISCUSSED INSIDE THE TRAILER?)
JOHNSON: "We just got everybody together to see what can be made up."
STEWART: "We were trading cooking secrets."
(WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE RACE?)
STEWART: "It was fine. Like he said, we're racing and it's the last lap of the Daytona 500. You know, I was mad he pinched me into the No.10 (Scott Riggs). We went down there and we both bumped into each other. We both did the same thing to each other. So, you know, it's fine. We both had good weeks here, we both finished in the top 10. He finished fifth and I finished seventh. We're both leaving here in a good situation in points.
STEWART: "You know, NASCAR more than anything wanted to make sure it wasn't something that was going to linger overnight. It's like I told Jimmy, you know, Jimmy and I are really, really good friends and this isn't something that's going to linger tonight. It's not going to be here until morning. It's over with. I think NASCAR just wanted to make sure there wasn't anything big happening out of it."
(WHAT WAS YOUR VIEW OF THE SITUATION?)
JOHNSON: "Exactly the same. I mean, NASCAR was kind of joking about it inside the trailer saying that they just want to make sure there wasn't anything to start off the season. If there was they wanted to squash it now. As Tony had mentioned, it's just hard racing. We both come to the finish line doing all we can. There's been a lot more media attention to this than was ever needed. Let's all go home."
(HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR ON TRACK PERFORMANCE?) "We got a top 5. You know, that's a good start to the season. I wish we would have been up there to battle with Jeff for the win. But, you know, we just didn't have enough cars in the outside lane. It's cool to have a Hendrick car in victory lane at the Daytona 500. We're off to a good start to the season."
(IF YOU HAD MORE LAPS COULD YOU HAVE GONE TO THE FRONT?) "The first three or four cars were really disciplined to stay to the bottom. I tried to get out and make some moves on the outside of them, but I guess it was too early in the race. People weren't ready to get up there yet. At the end, that's the move that worked for Jeff. It backfired a couple times for me. In the end, it worked out for him.
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET - FINISHED 29TH
"The car drove good again. It did everything I asked it to do. We had a problem with the rear end gear or something. We'll fix that. This is just one race. It's unfortunate to finish that far back with that good of a car. That's racing. You've got to keep all the parts on it."
(ARE YOU FEELING A LOT OF PROMISE WITH THIS TEAM?) "It's a good race team. We have a lot of dedicated people. We have a lot of desire and a lot of commitment. Those things will pay off."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 21st
"It wasn't exactly the kind of finish I was looking for. You know, the GMAC Chevy team worked hard and the guys worked hard. It was an up and down day. There were times that we were running really well and there were times when we weren't. We were a lap down and we made it up. We were running back to the top 15 and we got caught in that wreck. I'm not really sure what happened, who caused the wreck or if it was just a racing deal. But, it was frustrating. I'll be honest with you, this is one of my favorite race tracks. I love Daytona, I love speedway racing, I love Talladega. But, it can be just as frustrating at the same time because it can be so easy to get caught up in something that's not your fault."
SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 VALVOLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 4th:
WHAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY AT THE END OF THE RACE? "I was trying to figure out who to work with and who not to. Man, it was chaos. We had a run and I was just going to try to hit who was in front of me. I was hoping if it was open I could go. I'm just proud of all the guys on the Valvoline Chevrolet. They gave me a good car and I hope this is a sign of a lot of things to come this year."
(WHAT HAVE YOU DONE IN THE OFF SEASON TO IMPROVE?) "The biggest thing was, we talked about chemistry and how we need to put the right people in the right places. What's thrilling is to be able to have those guys in the right place, attract the right kind of guys and I can just see these guys come alive in the off-season. You can see this chemistry start working. Everybody is getting along and the car is getting better. You know, we figured out all kinds of things we were doing wrong last year and it's all coming together all at once."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO- Finished 13th
"We never had the rhythm today. We had a couple of great runs and then I messed up by sliding through the pit box twice. We were all over the map but seemed that we were always battling back from the rear of the field. There at the end, I thought I was going to salvage this race with a top-10 or even a top-five finish, but I couldn't pick the right lane and got passed by too many cars. I really feel I let my U.S. Army team down by messing up in the pits. But considering how erratic we were today a 13th-place finish is okay, and I mean just okay. We're a much better superspeedway team than what we showed today."
BORIS SAID, NO. 36 CENTRIX FINANCIAL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 27th:
"I love this kind of racing...these guys sure change their personalities in race mode. They're like Doberman Pinchers with a hand grenade in their mouths. I love it, but the bad side is that we just never had a chance to show our stuff today. We got clipped early in the race by the No. 38 and from that point we were playing catch-up. And when we got our lap back, we had a problem with the axle and couldn't take advantage of the situation. That was really disappointing because our car was flying...I mean it got so good that I really feel that we would have had a great finish had we not had the axle problem. The way the CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet performed at the end -- it was the best since we started to test in January. I really had a blast the past two weeks and I should be walking out of here feeling good. But I really wish we could have raced this car because of how good it was today. The good news is that we kept it in one piece and we'll bring it back here for the summer race."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 28th
"We had a fast car once we got the grill fixed. It was really starting to come alive, but it turned into a wreck fest at the end. I thought we had the crash missed, but the 16 got our right rear."
"It was a disappointing speedweeks but we just have to roll with it and try again at California next week."