TONY STEWART, DRIVER, AND GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 30 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS Regarding engine failure on lap 215: Zippy: "Our Home Depot Chevrolet was pretty good there. We just came up a little short today." Stewart: "We had an ...
TONY STEWART, DRIVER, AND GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 30 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS
Regarding engine failure on lap 215:
Zippy: "Our Home Depot Chevrolet was pretty good there. We just came up a little short today."
Stewart: "We had an awesome day. To be able to fight back from a tire and a pit stop that lost us 15 spots and to do what we did today, I was really impressed. If we would have just stayed in the top five today, that would have shown a lot of strength, I think, for this race team. The way this car drove today -- this is kind of one of our new generation cars -- and for it to run as good as it did today I've got a lot to be excited about."
ON THE OVERALL DAY: "We had a good day, but a bad day. There were a lot of things that got us behind, mainly having the flat tire. We had a fast race car, and that's really encouraging for the whole year. I'm really excited about this Home Depot Monte Carlo SS. It's going to be a good car all year. I'm really proud of these guys. They did an awesome job. We had a miscue in the pits and went from leading the race to 15th and I think we got back up to fourth or fifth and then had the tire go down. Fighting back from a lap down -- that was a pretty impressive effort I thought. Everybody did a great job, and I don't think we had any complaints there. We made a change, we just made it the wrong way. But if we had one more shot at it we might've been able to win it.
"We had an awesome day. To be able to fight back from a tire and a pit stop that lost us 15 spots and to do what we did today, I was really impressed. If we would've just stayed in the top-five today, that would've shown a lot of strength, I think, for this race team. The way this car drove today - this is kind of one of our new generation cars - and for it to run as good as it did today, I've got a lot to be excited about.
"We were really pretty good. I wasn't good enough to catch the '16' at that time. These things are so aero-dependent that our car wasn't really good on the front of a run. But we were really good in the middle and end of a run. I don't know if we were going to be good enough to catch him, but if we had a caution we were going to be able make one more adjustment and be really, really good at the end of the night."
IS THE FLAT TIRE SOMETHING YOU COULD'VE BOUNCED BACK FROM? "We were. I think it was pretty obvious we already had bounced back getting back up to second and being third there. I'm just excited. It's not the way you want to end the day, by any means by dropping out, but at the same time, to run as well as we did today and to fight back from what we fought back through, I'm as excited as if we won the race just from the standpoint of what we were able to overcome."
ON THE COMPOSURE OF THE TEAM: "This is how we won a championship last year, and that's what I told the guys. The good thing is that they'll leave here excited today about the performance of how we ran. They're not going to be excited by how we finished, obviously, but we'll look past that and see the big picture.
Last year when we here at this time we were in bad shape when we left and we knew we had a lot of work to do. I think we showed today that we're right on top of our game again to start off the season. You know, we don't normally run this strong early in the year, so I'm really excited about where we're at right now."
DID YOU FEEL THE ENGINE GOING AWAY? "I just felt it at the end of the straightaway. The biggest thing was just trying to get it shut off and redeem myself from last week trying to keep from oiling the track down and help everyone out."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS:
ON THE BATTERY PROBLEMS: "Yeah, I thought we had a motor problem at first because of the way it was acting. I looked at all the gauges and I finally looked at the voltmeter and it was gone or down to zero. We lost a lot of time on the track but only lost about two or three positions doing that (changing batteries). We had plenty of time to make it back up. But we were just so loose on new tires that we'd lose a lot of time. But we were one of the best cars on the long runs. We just couldn't get track position."
WAS IT NICE TO GET AWAY FROM LAST WEEK'S PRESSURE AT DAYTONA AND RACE AT CALIFORNIA? "Yeah, I was a little disappointed in this race track. Right now, there's no passing. It's just really difficult to put on a good race here. I don't know what we've got to do. I think we've got the cars so good that we're just all running around the bottom of the race track. Other than not having to deal with restrictor plate tracks, it was fun out there adjusting on the car and trying to make it better and getting to race with guys, you feel like you can make a difference based on a few different lines you could take."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR. NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS: "We had some new tires there at the end and were able to pass six cars there on that green-white-checkered. I think we went from like 17th to 11th. That was good for us. We didn't come and get tires with 22 to go like some of those guys did and we were sitting 11th so when we came in there at the end, we lost all those spots so it was great to get them back.
"I felt like we had a 1op-15 car all day but we were right outside of that all day, down on horsepower a little bit which was really evident this weekend. So we need to work really hard at the shop on that. We had a great Monte Carlo SS that handled really good in the corners and drove good all day long."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS MONTE CARLO SS:
"It was a good day today, 15th place. Our car was really loose off the corners all day. Made a lot of changes throughout the race and got it better and better. At the end there we got our lap back and were able to race for it. We could have done a little bit better had we put four tires at the end, but we put two on instead. It was a good day for us. California is not one of my best tracks so to come out of here 15th is really great."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS:
"We had a pretty good day for the Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS. We would have liked to have finish a little closer to the front but we will take this, it is a good points finish and gets the rest of the season off to a positive start. The crew worked really hard so I am proud for my whole crew and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS:
"We kept making changes and making changes, and by the end of the race we were really good. We just stayed in the game and had a really good car and got off a little bit and got it back. That's what I'm most proud of was to get it back."
DID YOU HIT ONE OF THOSE SEGMENTS DURING THE RACE WHEN YOU WERE CHASING IT A LITTLE BIT? "Yeah, the Cingular Chevrolet really went fast the first run. We went out and drove up to second I think and had the fastest car on the track. We stopped and put on tires and then I got too tight and I just wasn't any good. I finally got it where it was sideways loose and when it was sideways, I could make ground. On long runs we were really good. It was a good solid day for us. I really like it when you get tight and then you can make an adjustment and make the car too loose. That means you're bobbing back and forth but you can eventually hit the middle. We were our best when it counted and that's a good thing.
"That's what I liked the most is that when you get off, I feel like there's hope that you can get back. And you're not always going to be right. We made some changes today and we were way too tight and made some changes and got it too loose. And that's a good thing. I could drive this car sideways and be real aggressive with it and drive it and make good time with it loose. I like loose race cars and these cars seemed to turn well and I'm happy with it. This new Monte Carlo is certainly better."
IS THIS WHERE YOU TAKE BABY STEPS IN POINTS? "It's time to go. All of our sponsors deserve to run in front and it's time to go. I'm not claiming that we're as good as the winner, No. 17 (Matt Kenseth) is, or where the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) is, but we need to get there in a hurry. Its just time to go."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 2nd
"We are leaving here with great success. We didn't have the best driving car on Saturday and today all day in the race. I am very proud of the way things have been going. The communication that we have is amazing, we knew each other better than I expected, Darian Grubb and I. He has obviously been paying close attention to what Chad has been doing and it is showing here at the track. When we get Chad back, everything will be fine."
DID ANYTHING UNUSUAL HAPPEN TODAY BETWEEN YOU AND DARIAN? "I found myself not being very descriptive when I described the car to him. Those are just certain things you learn about one another, like when Chad is on the box. One time. I asked him if he understood what I was saying or did I need to describe it more to him. He said No, no you are fine and we will fix you up. At that point I thought Wow, I can lapse back into to acting like Chad is on the box because Darian has worked with us so long, he knows right what I am talking about and got it fixed up."