June 17, 2001 Pocono Raceway Ford's Ricky Rudd Gains First Victory With Robert Yates Racing Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Taurus, passed Dale Jarrett with 24 laps remaining to gain his first victory since joining Robert ...
June 17, 2001 Pocono Raceway
Ford's Ricky Rudd Gains First Victory With Robert Yates Racing
Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Taurus, passed Dale Jarrett with 24 laps remaining to gain his first victory since joining Robert Yates Racing just prior to the 2000 season.
Rudd, who recorded the 21st victory of his NASCAR Winston Cup career, last won on Sept. 27, 1998 at Martinsville (88 races ago) when he was the owner/driver of the No. 10 Tide Taurus. The win was Ford's seventh of the 2001 season, which ties Chevrolet for the most victories this season. In addition, it marked the 49th all-time victory for the Taurus, which made its debut in 1998, and 519th overall for Ford -- most of any manufacturer.
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 1st)
VICTORY LANE COMMENTS
"Eighty-eight races, that's a good number for Yates Racing and it worked out to be the day for us. I can't say enough about Michael "Fatback" McSwain, Raymond (Fox), all the guys back at the fab shop. They worked and spent a lot of late hours working on this car. The motor shop, they're great as always. I'm leaving out a bunch of names, but this is truly a team effort -- not only with the 28 but the 88 bunch as well. It was just good, hard, clean racing at the end."
YOU SEEMED TO MEASURE DALE AT THE END WITH THAT PASS?
"We kept sizing him up. Early in the race, we didn't have much for him. We kept adjusting the car and the chassis. It was no big deal to lead, we just kind of wanted to see what we had. I got to sizing him up and could see I was beating him in turn one pretty bad. I got side-by-side and drove down to the inside and made it three wide. I looked up and saw daylight and said, 'Man, that's what I want to see.'"
WAS FUEL A CONCERN?
"They just said under the caution to go easy with it. I think we had to watch it, but they were pretty confident that if I took care of it under caution we'd be okay."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 43rd)
"I brought it on myself. I flat messed up. I missed a shift and killed the engine. I really, really messed up. We'll just have to bounce back next week."
DID YOU MISS THE SHIFT COMING OUT OF THE PITS OR ON THE TRACK?
"I was just shifting from third to fouth. I got it in neutral and over-revved it. You don't get any second chances. I just made a mistake and paid the price."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Finished 5th)
"We really weren't all that fast, but we dug in there and we fought hard and we got a top five out of it. We need some more speed. We've got to faster through the corners and faster down the straightaways. We had reasonable pit stops today, but we're just getting beat a little bit."
YOU'VE PICKED IT UP THE LAST FEW WEEKS.
"Yeah, it's coming. We've got a little bit more work to do. We've got half of it, we just need the other half. If we get the other half of it, we'll be up front there."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 3rd)
"We're really happy for Ricky. They've been right on the verge of winning for a long time and it's really nice to see them finally get in victory lane."
YOU HAD A STRONG CAR.
"Yeah, it was good a lot of the time. The last set of tires was the tightest we had been. That was a little unfortunate. We loosened the car up a little bit, but it wasn't quite enough."
WHAT HAPPENED THAT LAST RUN?
"I was just too tight in turn one and it hurt me getting off of turn three, but his car (Rudd's) was good and mine just wasn't quite as good as it needed to be."
I'M SURE YOU HATED TO SEE THAT LAST CAUTION COME OUT.
"Yeah, I hated to see the caution. I thought we were in pretty good shape there, but that's the way it goes. I don't hate it too much. Ricky and his team helped us a lot. Yesterday, we were decent, but we were struggling a little bit and they really helped us. That really made a difference for us."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 10th)
"We sure didn't get the result that we should have gotten. That last stop we had a lugnut that started to get loose and we had to come back in and tighten that up. Those things happen, but, all in all, we got lucky. We had an alternator go bad. The last two laps it skipped and sputtered, so we were lucky to finish. We'll take that 10th and not complain."
A GOOD DAY FOR ROUSH RACING.
"Yeah. We're all starting to get a little more competitive. We're trying to take baby steps. We're not trying to turn everything around in one day because that isn't the right thing to do. We're taking baby steps at it. We're improving every day and I think that's the right approach. We're certainly much more competitive. I ran in the top five all day. I got messed up on pit sequence and then we got messed up on the pit stop and then the alternator went so we finished 10th. The key though is that we ran well. We're starting to run well."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 6th)
"It was good. That's the best we've run on a big track since the last time we were here. It was a consistent day for us. We made the right adjustments and got the car to come around somewhat. It was a great day for us. That matches our best finish of the year."
WHAT ABOUT THE 28 WINNING?
"That's awesome. All of those guys run good. Yates has a great organization and you knew it was just a matter of time before Ricky won."
YOU HAD A GOOD BATTLE WITH LABONTE AND STEWART DOWN THE STRETCH AND HELD
"Yeah, I had to block Bobby a little bit there, but we were a little bit too loose and I needed to get away. When they were up behind me I was too loose to hang on to it. I was trying to get away from them as much as I could. I thought we were good enough to run down the 6 and the 40, but we were just too loose on our last run."
A GOOD DAY FOR ROUSH?
"Yeah, we ran better. That doesn't guarantee anything. We might go to Sears Point and look like a bunch of dummies, but at least we ran better today. It feels good to at least be competitive throughout the whole run."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 16th)
"I still disagree with the call hat put us a lap down. They said that the 24 beat us to the end of pit road when the yellow flew, but he didn't slow down after taking the yellow. We should have been in front of the 24 and been allowed to come all the way back around. We probably should have just sped down pit road. The car was loose pretty much all day long, but we still should have been up there in the lead lap at the end. Robin said we were running lap times anywhere between fourth and seventh, so we for sure should have been in the top 10. I can't believe that we won poles and races here last year and were such junk today. I thought some guys were racing some crazy setups out there today. It was just a really rough day again for us."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 13th)
"It wasn't too bad. We came up through the pack with a two-tire stop at that mandatory caution we didn't know about, so it ended up playing in our favor. We steadily worked toward the front and I saw all four of us Roush cars in the top 10 at one point. It would have been nice to finish there, but we had a little trouble in the pits and got loose at the end, but, all in all, it was a good Pocono start. We were the top rookie and that's what we need to do."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 18th)
"I had fun today. This was actually the most fun I've had in a long time. I had fun driving the car, the car was loose and I actually enjoyed that. I had fun sliding around. That was pretty cool. Shame on the fuel pressure stuff. We're going to check our fuel cell, fuel lines and everything and make sure we get that taken care of because I really like this car, the way it drove today. The body's real comfortable with it. We'll just check that and bring it back and try it next time a little better."
THE LONGER YOU RAN THE BETTER YOU RAN.
"I think we did and I think when we pulled the rubbers out of the back it helped more than anything. It was pretty cool driving as slick as the track was. That made it a lot of fun, made it feel like I was dirt racing again, so that was pretty cool."
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- Roush Racing Tauruses
"We were real consistent today. We need that. We really need that two inches of nose extension that the Chevrolets got to be able to work and build enough downforce. It's pretty amazing the 28 was able to win. If the 24 would have been in front of him, he would have been absolutely gone. There would have been nothing he could have done. But my guys all ran good. Matt showed some great speed. He wasn't in track position where he could really challenge and it wasn't quite fast enough either, but, certainly, we made a step with his program. Mark was real consistent and was good at the end. Jeff had a loose tire that he had to come back for which cost him track position and kept him down, and Kurt was on and off but he was on as much as you could expect a rookie to be. All in all, it was a great day for us."