JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- NOTE -- SIDELINED WITH ENGINE FAILURE: "I tell you what, this Army Chevrolet was awesome today. They knew we were here. I could go anywhere I wanted to go -- high or low. We had an awesome...
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- NOTE -- SIDELINED WITH ENGINE FAILURE:
"I tell you what, this Army Chevrolet was awesome today. They knew we were here. I could go anywhere I wanted to go -- high or low. We had an awesome day. I've got to thank Hendrick Motorsports. The engines are incredible and I don't know what broke, and it's not very often we break anything, but I've got to thank big Mike and all the guys back at the shop for an incredible race car, and Ryan Pemberton. All the pit stops were good. Everything was right today. We just didn't have that luck on our side. But I'll tell you what, we'll be back in Vegas. We've got another new one just like this and we'll be there to win."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- NOTE -- SIDELINED WITH ENGINE FAILURE:
"We just broke a motor. We either broke a crank like we did last week, or a rod. Something pretty big came out of the bottom of the NAPA Chevy. We had a great day though. We got caught speeding and that was going to put us back on our finish more than we should have been. But nevertheless, we just gained on it all day long and I'm real proud of my team."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- NOTE -- SIDELINED WITH ENGINE FAILURE:
(ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE ENGINE PROBLEMS YOU'VE HAD AS WELL AS OTHER HENDRICK-POWERED CARS?) "Yeah, I'm certainly concerned and it's a bummer. We had a good car. Joe (Nemechek) had a really strong car as well. We'll try to figure it out, get to the bottom of it and make sure it doesn't happen any more."
(DID SOMETHING BREAK?) "I think it was something in the valve train. I'm not sure. We should be really safe here. We're turning less RPMs than we were before. We're not really sure until we get to the bottom of it."
(DID THAT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE CAR'S HANDLING?) "Actually my car was handling really good. I was a little bit tight there at the end. If you're going to break engines when you're that good, then we've got a problem."
(DID YOU THINK THE NEW REAR SPOILER AND NEW SOFT TIRES WORKED?) "Well, this is a hard track for an indication. I think so, yeah. You know, we normally get spread out here pretty good, typically. I think we'll go a couple weeks and see what happens at some other tracks and go from there."
(YOU DIDN'T HAVE AS MUCH PRACTICE TIME. HOW WAS THAT?) "My only concern there is: yeah, we don't have enough tires. If you look at what we used to do, we used to get three sets of tires just to do qualifying runs. Now we get three sets of tires to do qualifying and race. I think we need to get at least one more set of tires. And possibly a little bit more time."
(WHEN YOU GET TO ATLANTA IS IT GOING TO BE A DIFFERENT SITUATION?) "Yeah, well, you've got to look at each track. This track versus Atlanta is a much, much different deal. It's hard to get comfortable qualifying there. So, making one run, two qualifying runs is going to be tricky there. I don't know. But I don't think we're under the same format at Atlanta, so I don't think we'll have to worry about it so much there."
SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 VALVOLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(ON THE HENDRICK ENGINE BREAKING):
"We had something break in the engine. It's a shame because you don't hear about Hendrick engines breaking very much."
(ON HIS RUN BEFORE THE ENGINE FAILURE):
"The Valvoline Chevy was running great. We worked our way into the top 10 there and had a solid run going. Then we had a little problem on the left rear on a pit stop and that sent us to the back of the field. But we drove right back up there to the top ten before we broke."
"I really wish we could've stayed up there. We had an awesome car. It's fun to have a racecar that good and competitive and I'm just proud of all the guys for giving me such a strong Valvoline machine. We're going to have cars like this all year I hope."
(ON THE TEAM'S MOMENTUM):
"This doesn't do anything to hurt the team's momentum going into Las Vegas. All we did today was prove what a strong car the Valvoline Chevrolet was. We started 12th, which we were disappointed with, and moved up to eighth before we had our pit stop problem (loose lug nuts on the left rear). But within thirty laps or so we were back in the top-10 when we broke.
So I don't think this is going to hurt us. Obviously we're disappointed we couldn't get the finish we deserve, but we still feel great about the team's performance this weekend and the way the guys are working together to build strong cars and strong performances."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
"The U.S. Army Chevy and the pit stops were as close to being perfect as you can get. The complete package was working. Aerodynamically we were balanced, the engine was great, everything did its job. We just didn't make it to the end. Man, once we got out front the car really checked out. My car was consistent all day; it was just awesome. I am definitely disappointed. We built a new car for here and one for Las Vegas. We're going in the right direction -- we qualified well, raced well and that's all I can ask for. Very seldom do we have engine troubles. I have to thank Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports for the engines. Just one of those days. We'll diagnose the engine, fix it and we'll be back in Vegas and I guarantee we're going to be there to win. What's amazing is that we made an air pressure adjustment after the first pit stop and never touched the car after that. It was incredible. This car was fun to drive. Today will hurt us in points, but there is always next week.
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(ON THE RACE) "Pit crews can't be winning races. We've got to get better cars. We got ourselves up in good position but we had a miscommunication on tire pressure. We were already loose and we ended up putting a lot of air in the right rear tire."
(HOW WAS THE WEEKEND IN GENERAL) "It was terrible. We never ran good. But as bad as we were on Friday, we did a really good job of putting ourselves in position to get out of here with a top 15. We just didn't get it because we had a miscommunication. I look at who finished 14th and 16th and 17th and we ran in front of them all day. We just had a miscommunication there at the end. We definitely have to be better, but I'm proud we were able to make something out of it."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We had a good run. We didn't really have the car to challenge those guys at the end, but we worked hard all day. We'd have liked a top-10 finish, but we're pretty happy with 13th after last week. The guys worked hard all day and we got the car better and better throughout the day. We were in a hole after Daytona and we began digging out of it today. We just need to keep getting after it in Las Vegas."
(ON FALLING BACK TO 33RD AFTER STARTING 12TH) "The car was really tight in the beginning, but Steve (Addington) and the guys worked real hard on it, made a lot of adjustments, and we had some great pit stops. That helped us get back to the front."