Elliott Scores Fourth Win Of The Season For Dodge 4 Dodges qualify in top 5; 3 finish there; 5 in top 10 BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "I've got to thank Ray (Evernham) and Mike (Ford) and all the guys. They work hard...
Elliott Scores Fourth Win Of The Season For Dodge
4 Dodges qualify in top 5; 3 finish there; 5 in top 10
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I've got to thank Ray (Evernham) and Mike (Ford) and all the guys. They work hard week in and week out. We came down here a couple of weeks ago and did some stuff and I didn't think we were that good. We started out yesterday and changed the car a little bit, more like we practiced a couple of weeks ago, and that's what seemed to work. We put two tires on and that's the best the car had been all day. We got tight in the middle of the race. We got back in traffic and couldn't work the traffic very well. When you've got two or three cars running together you never could get up there to make the thing work. I could finally get some clean air and I was really concerned about every being able to get back to Casey. He was running just good enough. I almost got him on the restart. He got a little bit of distance on me, and I said, 'man, that's it.' I thought maybe I could hold off the third place guy from catching him, so we just kept working and working. I finally worked a couple of different grooves and caught him back. I got up under him and he got bad loose down there in three and four. That's all it took.
"It's been great. The relationship we've had with Ray this year has been fantastic regardless of how bad the weekends have gone he's stood behind me through thick and thin, and that's the kind of team you want. It's not I, it's we. It's all of us collectively putting this deal together week in and week out and it's a great relationship.
"Yesterday I wanted to put this car in victory lane so bad, and I was trying so hard in practice. I think sometimes you try too hard. Today we just kept working at it and working at it. I thought maybe we'd get a top five or top 10 out of it. Then we came out third and we kept working at it and got to second. Jeff Burton couldn't do anything with me and I said, 'well maybe we've got a chance.' When the caution came out, I think that equaled everybody up. That kind of put us in a better position."
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Blaney finished sixth Sunday, equaling his best finishes of the season at Texas and Michigan.
"I kind of got knocked around one time and got put to the back. We didn't run real, real good until the last two runs. The car was really good, but we just couldn't make up the ground. We had a good run down here last year, too. We just had good handling cars here both years and handling is everything here. The car does all the work. It was a pretty good day. I wish we had a longer race. It would have given us a better chance to do something, but all-in-all it was a good day. Maybe one day soon we'll get that first top five finish. We've got three sixths this season, so we're getting closer. I'm looking forward to Atlanta next week."
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Atwood finished third Sunday, his highest finish ever in a NASCAR Winston Cup race. It's the seventh time he's been the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year this season.
"I thought we had it man. We took two tires on that last caution and it was a really good decision. We just didn't need that last caution. I think we had a four-second lead with 20 laps to go. I think we could have held them off from there. We just didn't need that caution. Our car got loose there because we took two tires. Our tires just wore out. I got loose and couldn't hold it. I knew I probably couldn't beat Bill after he got by me. I was just trying to get a 1-2 finish for Ray.
"We got too loose and I couldn't hold them off, but it was a good day for us. I don't know what's really going on. We had a shot to win at Phoenix. We had the best car there. At Rockingham, we qualified well and didn't really have a good race car. We had a good shot to win here. I'd just like to keep it going like that.
"It makes everybody real nervous (battling your teammate for the win). I know Ray was up there about to have a heart attack, having both cars up there. When you're racing that fast and the track is that slick, it doesn't take that much to get together and not mean to. Luckily, everything was fine. I think I got a little sideways right in front of him, but he was able to go on by me. I tried to hold him off. I wasn't going to do anything that would take us both out. I'd rather him win and me finish third than taking us both out."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The car doesn't have much to do with it here. The setup makes the difference. We had a good qualifying setup. We just started the race way too loose. It took the rest of the day fighting to correct that. That's three weeks in a row."
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We ran good all day, and I stepped on the brakes down there and the brake pedal faded a little bit. I'd been on them pretty hard. We got 'em a little bit too hot. I didn't want to take Ward out, so it turned around on me and I backed it in the wall. I hate it for the guys. We just can't buy a break right now."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It wasn't looking too good early, but we kept adjusting on it. We adjusted on air pressure and got off, so we put it back like it was, like we started the race. We put on four tires at the end. I think we had the fastest car at the end, but we passed a lot of guys. We needed about 30 more laps. We put on two tires a couple of times, and that worked good. Goodyear's got a great tire. It was a good day for us. The KISS Dodge ended up back in the top five, and that's been our best finish here. This car runs in the top five every time we run it (six for six top fives with two wins). We're going to take it to Atlanta and try to get another win with it."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I feel bad about it. I'm getting ready to go to the hospital. I thought I was clear and I was coming out (of the pits). Somebody was coming down or made it three wide or something. When I was coming out, my right front hit their car in the side and sent me into the side of the 28. I feel horrible about it. We did OK, but I just want to get to the hospital right now and see how they're doing."
JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Leffler, a Raybestos Rookie of the Year driver, finished 10th Sunday after qualifying seventh. It was his best career finish.
"It was a good day for us. We should have been running like this all year long. With Doug (Randolph) coming on and helping out, it's been a major help. It was a good day. We'll go to Atlanta and hopefully do a little better."