Ford Daytona Gatorade 125 notes

CARL LONG --85-- NOOPCO Paint Removers Taurus "We had just a little bit too much tape on it and it got hot. We were hoping for the caution and I was the caution. I stretched the engine as far as it would go and it didn't make it, but the car...

CARL LONG --85-- NOOPCO Paint Removers Taurus
"We had just a little bit too much tape on it and it got hot. We were hoping for the caution and I was the caution. I stretched the engine as far as it would go and it didn't make it, but the car drove good. I could keep up and run with the guys ahead of me, I could suck up to them and it made me feel good to be that way. I thought I had a real good chance of being in this race."

HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO PUT IN ALL THE WORK YOU DO AND NOT MAKE THIS RACE?
"There's not a lot of disappointment because I came down here knowing I probably wasn't going to be in the race. Anything better than that was out of the ordinary, so I looked at it as having nothing to lose and everything to gain. I ran well. Maybe somebody will pay attention to what we did. I didn't cause any accidents and I know in my heart that I think I could have been there."

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus --
"The 14 lost it. He kept trying to put himself in the middle and he got himself in the middle and he just lost it trying to keep it off of somebody else. I didn't have anywhere to go, so I had to slow down. I got hit from behind and turned into him."

WHAT DID YOU DO ON THAT PIT STOP?
"We just made a slight adjustment to it. I was all right at the first, we just made a slight adjustment to see if we could make it better."

HOW BAD IS THE DAMAGE?
"We'll probably have to bring the back-up car out."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS?
"You work all winter to build one good car and now it's gone. You wanted excitement and that's what you got."

WHAT ABOUT THE CAR?
"It's comfortable to a point. You just get it driving good and that's all you can do."

ARE YOU CONFIDENT YOU CAN BE COMPETITIVE ON SUNDAY?
"I don't know. We'll have to wait until Sunday and see."

DO YOU THINK WHAT HAPPENED TODAY MIGHT WARRANT A CHANGE FOR THE FORDS?
"That's not up to me. It's up to me to drive that car. It's up to somebody else to make the rules."

WHAT HAPPENED?
"The 14 car got himself in the middle where he had been going all day and it finally bit him. It looked like he was trying to stay off of somebody, his car pushed out and he turned it and got sideways. I slowed down and got him from behind and turned into him."

HOW FAR BACK WILL THIS PUT YOU ON SUNDAY?
"I don't have any idea."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus
"I knew with only one lap to go, God everything broke loose -- four-wide down the back straightaway. I really felt we had an opportunity to win. I went high and somebody blocked me and it was just a good race. You knew that was gonna happen with only one lap to go. None of the cars were up to speed and it was exciting. We were the first Ford, but we aren't proud of it because I think the Fords are really hurting myself, really hurting."

WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT?
"Everytime I tried to lead the draft or lead a bunch of cars, they just passed me. There's a lot of aero drag on our cars. I'd like to have the same width of spoiler as the Chevy."

WITH EIGHT TO GO YOU DROPPED BELOW THE LINE TO PASS INSIDE A COUPLE OF TIMES.
"You're exagerating. I thought that was the racing surface. I knew with only one lap to go that one of the things we had to do was try to maintain a top 15. We saw what happened with Ron Hornaday there coming three-wide off and they got three-wide on me, so I said, 'Well, there's an apron.' Instead of causing an accident I just decided to go low down there and it actually paid off for us."

YOU WERE IN THE BACK THE FIRST HALF OF THE RACE.
"I was driving hard, but somebody was leaking grease. I didn't know who it was, but I couldn't see. I told the boys, 'I'm sorry guys, I can't get up there and mix it up because I cannot see.' It was one of them deals that there was oil all over the windshield and I couldn't see a thing. Thank God for the caution because we were able to clean the windshield off and got some tires and were able to get a top five."

MIKE WALLACE - 7 - NationsRent Taurus
"It's just one of them deals. We worked real hard the last couple of years on my truck program for re-starts, transmissions and stuff like that. The right front tire was wearing pretty bad in the run, I had to roll out of the throttle in the corner at the end there, give us a few laps to cool it down. I didn't have no choice, I had to go for it. Kenny was on the outside and fortunately he was up there and he got jammed up and we just kept pushing and thought there was going to be a hell of a wreck there at the start-finish line. I'm thrilled. The NationsRent guys worked really hard. Robert and Doug Yates, they changed motors in this thing this morning and told us they had something a little bit better for us. It was good. The car was fast during the race. We were way up there in the front. Just a little bit too much tire wear, but we'll fix that for Sunday. We're at least in the lineup, that's all that matters." YOU RAN WELL FOR MUCH OF THE RACE. "We were very happy with the performance of the car up to the very end of the race, and then it was good enough to get in. That's all that matters here. As long as you're 43rd on forward in the starting grid on Sunday it don't matter where you're at."

JEFF PURVIS - 51 - Phoenix Racing Taurus
"We had probably practiced 20 laps, 25 laps total, because we've had motor problems ever since we've been here, mainly our fault. The car was good. I was little bit light on the front end, but the car was good the whole race. I stayed down on those tires and I think that made a difference, I'm sure it made a difference as to where we finished, but I know it made a difference when some of them started getting by me, like when Earnhardt got by me I couldn't turn left because I was just on some old tires. It's a great race car and I'm looking forward to Sunday."

YOU WERE CONSISTENT ALL DAY.
"I didn't really look to see where I was running. I just take positions where I can get them, and hopefully they were going to pay off at the end. That's basically how I raced all day."

NO BRAKES FROM THE SECOND LAP ON?
"From pit road on. That made a big difference, too. We'll just have to fix a few things that's wrong with it and go on and race this Sunday."

WHEN WILL IT SINK IN THAT YOU'RE IN THE DAYTONA 500?
"It's great being in the race, there's no doubt about that. I'm just looking forward to racing, whether it's Martinsville or Daytona, I'm just looking forward to this year."

ANDY HOUSTON - 96 - McDonald's Taurus
"Our Ford Taurus was real good all day. PPI Motorsports gave us a great car. All the guys in the fab shop worked really hard all winter to get these cars good. We came back here and tested, they weren't that great. I feel like we've got one of the strongest Fords in the field. It seemed like in that qualifying race there that if I'd had any help at all from a couple of the guys we would've had a really good shot at winning that thing. We're happy. We run fourth, we got a good starting spot for the 500. McDonald's will be happy and the team's happy, and it'll be good."

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD A GOOD CAR?
"I pretty much knew it throughout drafting practice, after we got qualified in the race. I saw how well the car would suck up to other cars, and I can make some passes and I can get to the back and I can work my way up to the front, and I was hoping it would be the same way today. You never know what the guys are showing in practice, but it proved that we do have a pretty good car and hopefully we can work on it and make it a little better for Sunday." WHEN WILL IT SINK IN THAT YOU'RE IN THE DAYTONA 500? "It's sunk in. I'm just really happy. It's a dream come true. This is what I've always wanted to do, and to come down here and race in the 500 and not just race it but start in the top 10, it's going to be good for us.

-FRT

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Gatorade 125 First Race, Page 3 February 15, 2001 Daytona International Speedway

After being involved in an accident in the first Gatorade 125, the 88 team has decided to work on its primary car and repair the damage for Sunday's Daytona 500, instead of going to a back-up. Crew chief Todd Parrott spoke about the decision.

TODD PARROTT, Crew Chief --88-- UPS Taurus -- @CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DECISION TO STAY WITH THIS PRIMARY CAR? "Well, it's just Thursday. We still have three days left down here and with drafting practice and all that stuff anything can happen. If we were to choose to put that car on the truck and something happened to the other car, then we might have even more problems. Like I said, there are still three days left. That's a good race car, just like we had last year and we can fix this one. We've got the people down here, we'll fix it and we'll be fine." WHAT'S INVOLVED WITH FIXING IT RIGHT NOW? "Right now we're changing ball joints, upper and lower, things like that. It didn't get hit too bad. Obviously, we don't need a front snout on it, so we'll do all that stuff and put some sheet metal on it. It's just sheet metal on the right side." THE GOOD NEWS IS UNLIKE LAST YEAR YOU'VE GOT THREE DAYS INSTEAD OF ONE NIGHT. "Yeah. We've been through this so we know what it takes."

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Gatorade 125 Second Race, Page 4 February 15, 2001 Daytona International Speedway

RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus -- @"That's the most fun and the least amount of fun I've had in one race. It was full of potential, but we got hustled there at the end. It's a family business out there and that's what got us. I forgot the guy behind me was brothers with the guy in front of me." YOU GOT TO THE FRONT. "That's encouraging. We've got a horse. It got pretty dicey and we had to think of the big picture, but we proved a lot. The car has got a lot of strength, we've just got to form a game plan and really count numbers. I swear, I had a lot of help. Tony Stewart, Junior -- I'll push them all day on Sunday. There are some other guys, they can forget it."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines/HotJobs.com Taurus -- @"The Jasper Engine Ford was good. We were a little tight and we were at a disadvantage once they started going side by side. There were eight or nine of us that pulled away from everybody and that's what we needed. We just needed to sit there and ride it out, but they started acting up. On that last lap I made a bad little move right there and gave the 17 a little bit of room on the outside. From there I was out of it."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus -- @"I didn't get hurt. I sure did think I was going to though. That's no way to race. To me, I'd rather have half the people in the stands say it was boring and have a real race than to do that. That was just putting us in such terrible situations with each other, plus you've got guys trying to make the race that are risking more than the guys just trying to protect themselves. It was really an odd-matched group of wild moves. The cars really didn't handle good and they stuck together too. That's twice as bad. I like it that they don't handle good, but I don't like it that they stick together and they kind of hang together too, so that makes it hard to stay off of one another."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- @"We're not hanging our heads but we know we have some work left to do too. When you're running anything but perfect at Daytona it's not a lot of fun, so today wasn't a lot of fun. If it's anything like last year, we ought to be great for the 500. Last year everytime things looked the worst, something great would happen. Who knows? A year ago at Daytona we hooked up with 15 laps to go in the 500 and finished 11th. If we hook up a little sooner this time, who knows what we can do? This restrictor plate racing, with this NASCAR rules package you can be running 30th one lap and fifth the next. All we've got to do is get up to 30th."

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus -- @"We could get a run on somebody, but could never quite clear 'em. I don't know if our bodies have a ton of drag on 'em or what. We could jump down under somebody and get a run, but I could never pass anybody. It seemed like where I was at, nobody could ever help us out. We just stayed in a bad spot all day and in 50 laps there just wasn't enough time. We came in and put four tires on that one time. I don't know if everybody else put on two and we gave up what little bit of track position we had gained, but we came out dead last and never did ever recover." HOW WILL THIS EFFECT YOUR TEAM? "I don't know. It's devastating to me personally and I'm sure it's devastating to them too. The bottom line is we needed to be faster when we got here and get a good speed, so we didn't have to rely on the 125 to race our way in. We weren't fast enough or good enough to do that and that's really the bottom line. We just have to go back now and get our preparation better for Rockingham and try to keep this from happening again."

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES    Gatorade 125 First Race Page 5  
February 15, 2001       Daytona International Speedway          

JEFF BURTON - 99 - CITGO SUPERGARD Taurus - "It was a great run for us. I think we got everything we could, had a great pit stop, got us in good position. Went back there about 10th or 15th and got a little nervous. Somehow or other we got it back up. They got two wide and I chose the right line and got back up to third. It was a good day for us." DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING ELSE FROM THE BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT TO TODAY? "Well, I've been learning all week. The conditions are a lot different today than they were Sunday, it's a lot hotter, it's a lot more slick out there. It's hard to get hooked up right now. It's real hard to keep the car where you want it. Made a chassis adjustment under the pit stop and that helped us a lot."

KURT BUSCH - 97 - 100th Anniversary Ford Taurus - "What we did is talked it over with the Roush drivers. It was great that we all hung together. It's good to see four cars working together. But we just didn't have the stuff to move towards the front when you have four cars. It was great, though. We were able to bump into that transfer position and get in 12th. What we did is put it up on the top side, that's the only place that our Ford will run." HOW LATE BEFORE YOU MADE YOUR MOVE? "All the Roush cars were up top, Burton left us behind there, and that enabled us to jump up a couple of positions. We weren't passing cars, other guys were making mistakes." WHAT DO YOU NEED TO WORK ON BETWEEN NOW AND SUNDAY? "We got a lot of handling stuff to work on. I had no idea the car's handle went away this bad. The trucks here last year, the handle stayed underneath us for the 100 laps and that's just halfway in the Winston Cup race. We gotta work on the handle."

RICKY RUDD - 28 - Texaco/Havoline Taurus - "It wasn't very impressive. We couldn't get through the corner like we needed to, you know, the car got real tight, pushed real bad. I don't know if all the Fords are pushing or not, evidently not, some of them ran pretty good. We're too tight. Never could get the car freed up." DID YOU RUN IN A GROUP ALL DAY? "We were in a group all day, just unfortunately the group was not to the front, it was towards the middle to the back. We see we got some work to do, I know that."

MATT KENSETH - 17 - DeWalt Tools Taurus - "It was decent run for us. We haven't been very happy with our car so far and we made a lot of changes and it ran pretty well. We finished seventh, we could've just as easily finished 15th the way the draft works here, but all of us hooked up there at the end with Jeff and Mark Martin and Kurt Busch, we all stayed in a line for a real long time and then worked our way to the front, and had a pretty good run." WITH THE CHANGES YOU MADE, WAS THIS A BETTER RUN THAT YOU EXPECTED? "It was okay. It's pretty hair raising, you know, that last lap is pretty out of control. We're three and four and five wide and all that kind of stuff. But with a 500-mile race it'll probably be pretty okay most of the race when everybody gets on new tires and gets toward the end the race it'll probably be wild just like the end of the 125s." DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING TODAY THAT YOU CAN USE ON SUNDAY? "I'm pretty happy with my car. I don't know what we can do to make it batter. We still need it to be a little bit faster, but as far as the handling and everything I'm pretty happy with it."

ELLIOTT SADLER - 21 - Motorcraft Taurus - "Yeah, I'm okay, I didn't hit really hard at all. We had to race our way into the 500 and now we're probably not gonna be in it. We had a good run, we were seventh or eighth, and the longer we ran the better we got. I was getting pretty happy. I was a little loose at first and had to back off and then made some pretty decent moves and got with a good pack. My car went good with Burton and Rusty. It seems like my whole career in Winston Cup is 'almost,' so it's just one of those things." YOU MADE A RUN FOR THE LEAD. "We made a run for the lead one time, I just couldn't clear 'em, but these guys have worked their butts off and it's shame we'll miss the 500 with a good car, but that's the way it goes."

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES    Gatorade 125 Second Race, Page 6        
February 15, 2001       Daytona International Speedway          

TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus -- @"I think I had probably one of the better Fords out there and it was terrible. I'm not one of those guys that go around complaining and griping. I leave that to the big dogs on the track, but something needs to be done. The drag that these Fords have, it just kills 'em when you get by yourself and you get five car lengths off a guy. It doesn't suck up like the other guys do. I'm glad they went to the wind tunnel because they can see now. They have the numbers and they know the differences. Hopefully for the 500 they'll do something. We had a decent car and I think we had one of the better Tauruses, but it was really hard to do anything with it." WHAT HAPPENED DOWN THE STRETCH? "We knew we had a shot when we came from way back and got all the way to fifth. I was just riding there and I was gonna finish the race fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth -- right in there somewhere -- and Dave Blaney had a run going into one and unfortunately it was too close to the corner. When we got to the corner he was still underneath me and he had to go somewhere and he slid up into me. I got off sideways and luckily nobody wrecked, but it took us out of a qualifying spot to 17th and probably going home because of his stupid move, but that's racing. I guess that's restrictor plate racing. If we end up going home, it's not for a lack of effort because my crew has worked harder than any crew in this garage all winter long. This is just one race."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- @IT LOOKED LIKE YOU AND JEFF BURTON WORKED TOGETHER ALL DAY. "I worked with Jeff as best I could and right there at the very end there was nothing I could do with them. The 22 drove to the bottom and I was getting ready to get hung out to dry and there was nothing I could do. I had to leave him at that point. I didn't want, man, I wanted to stay with Jeff the whole day because me and him were working good together." YOU HAD ONE OF THE STRONGER FORDS TODAY. "Yeah, I think we probably had about the strongest Ford, but that doesn't make it right. I still think we need some help, but they just watch and see what happens on the race track. They're watching the race track and not looking at the numbers. I'm not gonna complain about it. I'm gonna go out there and race hard and try to win the 500. I think if I work a little harder on my car, we'll have it better yet."

-30-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch , Dave Blaney , Mark Martin
Teams Phoenix Racing