RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) "I was trying to run the pack back down and all of a sudden I saw the whole back straightaway filled up with smoke. I had no vision whatsoever. I went to the high side and when the smoke cleared ...
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
"I was trying to run the pack back down and all of a sudden I saw the whole back straightaway filled up with smoke. I had no vision whatsoever. I went to the high side and when the smoke cleared Harvick was sitting right in front of me. There was nothing to do. The 7 car got in the back of me and got me up in the air, but it was just bad luck. That was a hard hit. It was probably as hard as I've hit in my life.
"We've got to go to the backup car now, and I'm not real worried about it. It's the car we ran in the Shootout, and we'll get it good. It floated the nose more than I wanted it to, but we'll work on the front fenders and we'll be OK. The car was tight today, but I learned what I need to do to it, so I feel pretty comfortable. I think we've got a good setup we can throw in the backup.
"I was about 15 car lengths behind the leaders, so I didn't see what happened. I was running 'em down, but we were catching them when the wreck happened. We're not giving up. We're in the race and we'll see what we can do."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
"I don't know what's wrong with the car. It was just sliding around everywhere. It's one of those deals. We'll have to get it better for Sunday."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Charger)
"You've got to have help to run out there. It's hard to get help out there because it's hard to get lined up. In two laps you're separated. Jamie and Casey were in the first race today, but we'll all be out there on Sunday, so maybe we can hook up and go to the front. It's hard to plan ahead for it, but sometimes things work out like you plan. We were missing something today, but the car runs better the more I drive it. We'll go to work and try to get it handling better for Sunday. If we can get it handling a little better I think we'll be in decent shape for the 500."
JEFF GREEN (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger)
"Somebody hit me on the first lap, but we just don't have the car handling. I've got to lay off of it to make it turn. It'll run. The first four or five laps on new tires is fine, but once the tires get the good off of them, I can't make it turn. You can't run wide open, and that's what we've got to do, especially in the short races. The guy who wins has got to run wide open all day. We've got to get it that way. We haven't been able to get it that way yet."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Charger)
"We learned the ALLTEL Dodge Charger was a top-five car all day long. That's important for us here at Daytona. It hasn't happened a lot of times. I've got to thank everybody at Penske Racing for what they do and the fans for coming out. I'm looking forward to the Daytona 500 for once. We had a good race up there. Junior and the 15 car tagged up and got by me and Skinner. I watched a heck of a race for the checkered flag from my racecar. You want to be up front. That's the place to be. We were happy to be a top five car all day. We didn't know against tough competition what it was going to be like. You can practice all day long and until you go out and goes for the trophy you don't know what you've got.
"I let the guys down in the pits today. I stalled it once and we still came out second. The guys in the pits did a great job and hopefully we'll just keep that up for the rest of the year.
"They (8 and 15) didn't surprise me. I knew they were going to be strong. I think if we had had some dedicated help like they had we would have been just fine. We came back at the end and with another lap I think we would have been better yet, but we'll take fourth.
"I had the best seat in the house (for the final lap) unfortunately. We came up through three and four really fast. I think Junior was pushing the clean air and the 15 got a good run on him. We all lined up and the 15 got a good run on the 8 and that was pretty much it., I wish we could have been in a better position, but we're happy to finish in the top five.
"We didn't have any tire issues. They're not sticking the best, but they look great. As long as they're staying together let the best man win. I'm happier than I've ever been here at Daytona, that's for sure.
"Gordon had a heck of a save out there. I think somebody got into his left rear quarterpanel and shot him up the racetrack and he got into my door. He had a heck of a save. I'm happy to be able to walk away from that one. I thought we were (going to take it easy), but you get a bunch of overegoed drivers out there you never know what's going to happen. I'll guarantee you it'll be twice as wild on Sunday. This is the best I've felt here in a long time. We'll see what the second race is like today and see what the weather is going to be like. We'll change the engines and everybody will start from zero."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
"I think we can get back up to the front Sunday. It shouldn't be too hard if we can stay out of trouble. Maybe we can get up to the top 15 by midrace and go to the front after that. I watched on TV and I think it was one one-hundredth of a second from getting in the Daytona 500. It looked like Kerry Earnhardt ran a great race and just missed it because of the way the system is here now.
"Leffler and Gordon got together, and I checked up. I was right on their bumper. The 77 was behind me and he couldn't tell everybody was checking up and turned me sideways. We're going to have to go to the backup. I thought I was going to get through it. I was getting pushed a little bit by Carl Edwards. Then it went back across the track and hit the wall. It definitely hurt it after that.
"Our car is good enough to run in the top five. We were on two tires running up there. We should have been on four, but I screwed up and slid through the pits and we were only able to put on two tires. It didn't seem as crazy as the Bud Shootout. It was more like the 500 will be on Sunday. We ran the backup car in the Shootout Saturday night and it was pretty good. We'll make it better and hopefully be fine on Sunday.
"I screwed up on my pit stop. I went though the pit, and got back too far in the field. We had a much better car than that, a much better engine. I just got back too far. I was trying to come back up through and the No. 24 and No. 11 got together. They lifted, so I lifted, and the No. 77 couldn't tell we were lifting, so he just ran into the back of me.
"The tires weren't that bad. It's slippery. This track gets slipperier every year, and I think the tires are a good tire. I think the right sides were wearing out a lot more than the left sides. I don't know if you're going to be able to make two runs on a right-side tire on Sunday. If people try, it might blow out or something. Other than that I think the tires are great. Just run them one run and it's not a bad tire at all.
"I really liked that car a lot better (the primary car.) It was a comfortable car. It was handling the best we'd handled here since I started driving for Evernham, but we don't have it any more. So, now we've got to get the other car like that. We had two completely different setups in it from the Bud Shootout to today. So, they'll be able to put that setup in this car, and put a new engine in it. I think it'll be fine on Sunday. It's just disappointing. I think we had a top-five car. It totally sets you back. You try the whole week not to get into this position because it'll set you back. Plus, you get used to something. The cars are different. It's hard to make two of the same things anymore. That car, we were getting it better and better, and now we've got to figure out how to get the other one like that."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge Charger)
"We lost the draft and didn't get a good finish, but I think the car is pretty good. We've got to work on the springs and shocks and get it handling better for Sunday. We learned some more things today, and that's a good thing. I'm really looking forward to Sunday."
TRAVIS KVAPIL (No. 77 Kodak Dodge Charger)
"We really learned how much the emphasis is going to be on handling. The guy that can stay in the gas will make his way to the front. We learned a lot. The car was tight in the beginning. We made a couple of adjustments on our pit stops and we got it close. We're not there yet, but we got pointed in the right direction. We were all running so tight out there and the next thing I know we're all running bumper to bumper, jamming into each other. I really don't know what happened. It's just close racing. Nobody does in on purpose. You're kinda a victim of the environment. The guys are really sliding around out there. There's not a lot of grip as hot as it is. We know we've got to put an emphasis on handling for the 500. We haven't had tire problems that I'm aware of. It's a good thing because our car wasn't really handling that good. I thought I was working the front tires pretty hard. It seems like we're doing OK. Goodyear seems confident they got the bad ones out of the mix. Hopefully no one will have any problems."
CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger)
"If it had gone green there at the end I think we would have had a better chance. We got up to fourth on that last restart. I knew Michael was going to hang me out any chance he could get. I got tight off four and he got underneath me, and after that I didn't have any help. I went straight to the back. We're pretty much tapped out. We've just got to find someone to work with and hopefully at the end of the race on Sunday we'll be in the right shuffle or with the right guys."