STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Marlin's third-place finish was his best since his win at Darlington 12 races ago. He now leads second-place Mark Martin by 77 points in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings after 17 of...
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Marlin's third-place finish was his best since his win at Darlington 12 races ago. He now leads second-place Mark Martin by 77 points in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings after 17 of 36 events on the 2002 schedule. Marlin has led the standings since his runner-up finish at Rockingham in February.
"We're back with the Silver Bullet for the rest of the year. This Coors Light car ran great tonight. I'm proud of all the guys on the team. They've really worked hard. We did all we could do with what we had. I was hoping the race would go green the rest of the way, but I'd like to thank my teammate Jimmy Spencer. He gave me a hell of a knock down the back straightaway and I was able to pass a bunch of cars. Nose to tail, it's pretty hard to make a move. Everybody is wide open.
"Everybody is due a couple of bad races a year, but we came back here and led and had a really good car. We had good pit stops. I'm proud of everybody on the Coors Light team. We got rid of our gold car. Everybody thought it was bad luck. I was waiting on the red flag, but I didn't want to see it. The man who won the race should have won the race, but we did all we could do with what we had with the Dodge. The Chevrolets and Fords are pretty stout. Our car drove good, and it was really good on the long runs. It was a little tight one time.
"We led early, but when they could get nose to tail, it's pretty hard to pass them. The good handling cars come into play. Stewart spun out, and I don't know why they threw a caution, but it bunched everybody back up. When I drove the 4 car we were really dominant on the big tracks. I think Chevrolet has got a good car and they've got the advantage. We did all we could do.
"I'm glad the race ended under caution. We didn't need a red flag. I didn't want to see one. We had a pretty good run, and ran in the top five most of the night. The two DEI cars were really stout. They're really good at the plate tracks, but I'd like to thank my teammate Jimmy Spencer. He really helped me out the last four or five laps there and pushed me by a lot of guys. It was a good race.
"All I know is that our guys worked as hard as they can. We cut the bodies off and pulled our hair out and did everything we could do. When I drove the 4 car they had a real good combination for the plate races. It goes in cycles. The 88 and 28 were good two or three years ago. It just goes in cycles and we've got to work hard with what we've got and see if we can make it better.
"Man, I love it (not throwing red flag). That probably saved another three or four cars. It's hard to take the race away from somebody. It was a good decision. It all broke up. We had such a long run under green. That's always the deal at Daytona. A bunch of us broke away and we had a six or seven-car pack. That's why I hated to see the last caution.
"It's unfortunate we had a wreck with 20 or 30 to go. I'd like to see it go 100 laps under green and let the best cars come to the top.
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The first part the car wasn't good. When we got up there and started mixing it up, it got a little too loose on us. Andy and Doug did a good job making adjustments with tire pressure changes. We got it really good and then the last change was awesome. We worked our way up to the top 15 and that was a bad accident. I just thank the Good Lord I missed it and nobody got hurt. That put us in a situation where we could battle for the win and a top five. I gave Sterling a heck of a push. I know Michael lost his teammate in Dale Jr. That only left two Dodges and a Chevy and Ford. We'd probably made it three wide and it would have been a heck of a finish, but we'll take a top five and look forward to the Winston No Bull 5.
"I know when you hit him (Marlin) about 10 mph faster than he's going and he says give me some more, you know he's wanting more. It was interesting. The longer our car ran the better it handled and I think Sterling was in the same boat. Being in the lead draft, being in the lead is the key. You can dictate what you've got to do. You can move around the race track, you can do a lot of things. That's what Michael had tonight, and I congratulate him on it. They've worked hard on their superspeedway program. So does Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates racing. All-in-all this was a good thing. It secured the points lead for Sterling and moved us closer to the top 10.
"I don't think it was impossible (to win). I think Dale Jr. tried to win the race. He moved on the outside of Michael and nobody went with him. Last night in the Busch race, nobody would even try. They all stayed in line. They were all a bunch of wimps. But I knew these would boys would make some action happen at the end. I was just glad I had my teammate there. I just stayed with him. We moved back some, but we knew if we stayed together we'd be all right. Dale Jr. tried to win the race, and I don't blame him one bit. It's too bad that accident ended the way it did because it would have been a heck of a finish.
"A lot of guys were not handling well and were pushing and shoving. We didn't get in any trouble tonight and we had a good run. I told Sterling on the radio that I was going to push him. I got on his back bumper and we stayed right together and that got us past the 6 and 8 and we might could have got past the other ones. Michael lost his teammate, and I was with mine. That's all we care about, Team Dodge and Coors and Target."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We've got to find a way to keep the cowl pressure up. It did the same thing at Talladega. Actually when we started the race, it felt like it was a little better. The bottom of the nose got hit a little bit on a restart when one of the guys was wrecking in front of us. Then when they had the big wreck, we must have hit something else right there because it got progressively worse. We ran all night, finished in the top 10 and I'm not complaining. That's exactly what we needed. It's not like winning the Daytona 500, but after the season we've had since February, it's pretty close."
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It was loose all night, but we got it pretty decent there at the end. We were a little bit off, and that was because we didn't get any practice. We stayed out of the wrecks all night and got a pretty good finish. We could have made the car better if we had some practice, but we finished on the lead lap with this Sirius Dodge and we're looking forward to next week in Chicago."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"What can I say? It was one of those deals there at the end. Everyone gets to bumping each other. What can you do? We were in a position to have a top five finish, but I guess that's just what happens at Daytona. At least we moved up to night in the standings, and we're not that far from eighth. We'll keep working hard and try to get all we can get."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint/Men in Black II Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We got another top 20 finish, and that's six in a row now. We're going to have to kick it up a little bit more and start shooting for top 15s, but we're doing what we need to do. We got in that big one a little bit tonight, but we managed to stay on the lead lap and get a decent finish. We'll keep gaining on it and working hard and try to improve each week."