STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Marlin's runner-up finish Sunday at New Hampshire boosted him to third in the final NASCAR Winston Cup Standings, matching his previous best career finish in the standings in ...
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Marlin's runner-up finish Sunday at New Hampshire boosted him to third in the final NASCAR Winston Cup Standings, matching his previous best career finish in the standings in 1995. Marlin closed the season with finishes of fifth, second and second and ended up just 22 points behind second-place Tony Stewart. "Our car would slide around a lot. It was just too tight all day. We kept tearing up tires. We'd run the same speed whether we took two tires or four tires. We kind of had a plan laid out. To keep track position, we'd just put on two. We were a little bit tight all day. We had a good car, and I hated to screw it up. I'm proud of all of the team. We knew what we had to do for the points. We just ran as hard as we could and let the points take care of themselves. We were second last week and second this week. We're going to try to get lined up and get going for next year. "We had a pretty good car right off the bat. We were real tight early. We feel back. We made a few adjustments on the car to try to free up the car. We never got it real good and free. We didn't want to lose too much time messing with the car. Track position is real critical here. We took two tires at the end, and it worked pretty good for us. "Probably winning Michigan, the first race for Dodge (was the highlight of the season) in the manufacturer's backyard. I felt going into this year with the team that Chip (team owner Ganassi) put together a good season. We did a lot of testing over the winter and saw what we had. We felt like if we didn't have much trouble we could end up in the top five in points and sure enough we did. "It wasn't bad today. I thought it was going to be 20 something degrees, but it was perfect in the race car today. The track was a lot better than it was in July. The rubber built up a lot in July. I guess the rubber didn't build up today. We may have had a little too soft of a tire. I think some tires were tearing up. We tore up a couple. We didn't tear up any tires all year. One race we had a little trouble, but that was my fault. "I watched two Gordons run into each other. We were leading and our car just wouldn't get any grip, and the 24 was fast on restarts all day, him and Robby both got by me and they both ran into each other. Maybe Robby ran into him down here. I don't know what happened, but it worked out good for us. "At one point in time during the race we were running sixth or seventh and I looked in the mirror and he (Robby Gordon) was kind of leveled off behind us. I guess they got their car adjusted good and got going better, but it kind of surprised me they ran as good as they did today. "I think we tore up three right fronts. You just had to back off and not charge the corners hard."
LEE McCALL (Crew chief No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) "It was pretty nerve-racking all day. We had problems with tires blistering. Our car really worked good on two tires. It didn't tear up the tires as bad. We fought a tight condition all day and never got it freed up. Track position is real important here, and that's what we worked for all day long. We took what we did the first race here and tried to better ourselves. We definitely did that. Sterling was up on the wheel today like he's been all year long. We had a lot we could prove today here, and everybody did a good job and we ended up third in the points. That's unbelievable. We had a phenomenal year. We didn't expect to be here. We stayed in the top 10 all year and stayed in the top five toward the end of the year. We kept having to bump our goal up. We came here 42 points out of second and 16 out of third. Our goal was to finish second. We're ready for next year. We're going to shoot for that championship next year."
TONY GLOVER (Team Manager Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) "I thought it was a real good race today. I'm tickled with the way the Coors Light car ran. The driver did a good job, and the crew did a good job. It was a big improvement from the last time we ran here. I'm excited about finishing third in the points. That equals my best, and it equals Sterling's best. For basically a first-year team, I think that's an incredible achievement, and I'm proud to be a part of it."
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "It wasn't too bad of a day. We had some motor problems there at the end. We had a good strategy going, but we just couldn't stay on the lead lap and we got knocked out of the way and couldn't stay on the lead lap. We wanted to beat the 77 and stay in 25th place, but the 77 had a great day, and it was going to take heck of a day to finish ahead of him."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We had a good car. We just broke a valve spring and that pretty much took care of it. We held on to 15th in the points, so we're happy about that for the first season together."
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We got caught in the pits again. We had come out and ran about a lap and a half and the caution comes out and we go a lap down. The 32 had a flat tire, and it caught us again. We were gaining on everybody. I think we had the fastest car after 20 or 30 laps every time. We were finally getting caught up. We changed four tires all the time. If it had just cycled out and gone green, I think we had a shot at it. I just got beat up at the end and got knocked back. We were coming good. On the long run, we were awesome. It wouldn't go very good for 20 laps. Then it would come in and go forever on the tires. We had a good car. We just couldn't get anything good out of it."
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) "It was a long day, but the weather was good and we're proud of these guys on this Kodiak Dodge. We worked hard all year, and we wanted it to end a little bit better than we did here today, but we fought some tire problems here today, and we never could put our finger on what we needed. I think everybody is glad to see it's over and now we're going to take a little time off. We expected it to be a lot colder, and Goodyear brought a great tire. Maybe if it had been colder it would have been better. I think the weather fooled us just a little bit. It was a great tire. I think maybe it was just a little soft for the speeds we run here."
JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T) "It was a long race, but the guys did a good job in the pits. As the track cooled down we got faster, but we learned a lot all together. We'll take the experience and move on. The weather was cool this morning when we practiced, but the track temperature heated up in the middle part of the race and our car went to junk."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) "The motor started acting up about 30 laps before it blew up. The guys did a good job getting it to handle today. I felt like we had a top five car, but this is the kind of stuff we've got to learn from this year and not have happen next season. We've had good running race cars. We've just had a lot of DNFs this year. We made a two-tire change once to get track position. It made the right-front wear out, but we were running in the top five a good bit of that run and in the top 10 the entire time. We were running laps as quick as the leader at the end. I was feeling pretty good about it. We've been running great when we can run, but we've got run over a bunch. If we don't get run over or break, we finish good. It was a beautiful day, and it really wasn't that cold. I'd say we got lucky in that respect."
BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T) "I got run over by Kenny Wallace. He needed a caution to try to get his lap back. I don't run my mouth after the race, but that's exactly what he did. The car is beat up pretty good. I don't know if we'll be able to get back out today or not."