KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 36th) - "I was running three wide and the cars came up into me. There's a lot of things you do at a brand-new track at the beginning of a race just to try to get going. I needed to finish in the top...
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 36th) - "I was running three wide and the cars came up into me. There's a lot of things you do at a brand-new track at the beginning of a race just to try to get going. I needed to finish in the top 10 in points and we didn't get that this year. It's a real bummer. I really commend the group that works with me all year with this Rubbermaid team, but we just never had any luck. Never."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 43rd) - "Real disappointing for the DeWalt team. This is the same way it ended last year. We blew an engine in the last race last year, too. It didn't really give us any indication, something just broke. It's real disappointing. We had a pretty good car, you probably couldn't really see it, but I think in a long run we were going to be real good, and hopefully be a factor at the end."
THE CHAMPIONSHIP IS ALREADY SECURED. AS FAR AS THE TEAM IS CONCERNED, WHEN DOES NEXT YEAR START? "About two months ago. We started building cars and started getting ready already. So, we've got three or four 2004 cars done, and been to the wind tunnel and have been working on them. So, we're already working on it. But, this is a disappointing way to end the day."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Finished 35th) - "It looks like people are having troubles with right-front tires. I'm not sure what the problem is. It's definitely not air pressure because we talked to Goodyear and when the first one blew out we came back up on air pressure. I don't believe there's other cars out there more aggressive with right-front camber than we are. So, it looks like it could be a problem, could be a serious problem, blowing right-front tires, especially some of the faster places we're gonna go next year. If this is the new tire, I'm a little concerned about it."
SOME HAVE SAID GETTING OUT OF THE GROOVE AND COLLECTING SOME OF THE MARBLES COULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAUSE. "It's possible. I never got out of the groove at all. I felt it go down at the end of the straightaway. The crazy part about it is it's going down and it doesn't have a load on it or it's all bound up. I'm not sure. It seems like that's a worse spot for it to go down, going into the corner at a hundred and about ninety miles an hour. It's unfortunate. We had a pretty good car. We just had that earlier flat, right-front tire, and had to come in and work on it. If there is a problem, they're obviously not gonna find it out because it pretty much killed the car. Nothing was dragging on the tire, we came up on pressure per Goodyear's recommendation, but it didn't fix it. It's unfortunate, let's hope nobody else gets hurt today."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TRACK? "It's really good. I like the race track. We kind of got our car going pretty good there, but were having right-front tire troubles and that's not good for us. But, I like the race track. It races really good, and puts on a god show, I think."
ARE YOU OKAY? "Yeah. I hit my head pretty good, but I'm alright."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 33rd)- "We got too racy there with Ward. Ward and I were racing real hard and we got together and went around. We had a pretty fast car, and I was pretty happy with it. It was certainly a top 10 car for sure. I was really great on long runs. I wish I would have had some race cars like that this year because that thing was awesome."
TODD BODINE - No. 54 National Guard Taurus (Finished 11th) - "We had a great car. Gary made some changes before the race that clearly worked, that thing was awesome right off the bat. But, it kept getting tighter as the race went, and we really didn't find anything that freed it up. I think the track just lost grip and we need a little help on the front end with the Ford, so I think that's what it was because we couldn't find anything. But it was a great day for National Guard, last race for them with us as a team. We were just glad to do a good job for 'em."
MANY SEEMED TO HAVE PROBLEMS WITH TIRES TODAY. NO SUCH TROUBLE FOR YOU? "No. When it started pushing I started taking care of it because I knew that was going to be a potential problem. I was babying it pretty good when it started pushing so we didn't have that problem."
EVEN SO, YOU WERE VERY CONSISTENT. YOU DIDN'T FALL BACK AT ALL. "Yeah. We were consistently eighth-to-twelfth all day. That was really good for us."
LOOKING FORWARD, WHAT CAN YOU TAKE OUT OF THIS RACE? "We learned an awful lot. We think we figured out the things we've been doing wrong, and we corrected them and that's what made us better in the race. But, hopefully, leading into next year, it'll make us a lot better."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Finished 14th) - "Really looking forward to next year, that's the best I can tell you. We just got behind on the body stuff and the engine stuff, and next year we hope to be better. We got a lot of stuff in play for 2004 already. We made something out nothing today. We managed the race really well and I'm proud of that. We weren't fast enough to get a top-five, but we managed the race and I finished 14th. Made something out of not much."
NO TIRE PROBLEMS FOR YOU TODAY? "We were just real safe. Maybe that was one the reasons we weren't very fast. We were real safe on the right front."
EVEN SAFE, YOU WERE CONSISTENT. YOU REACHED 15TH AND STAYED CLOSE TO THERE. "We got about 15th and that's where we stayed. Once we had gotten there with all our problems, that's what we had."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 31st) - "I was hoping to end on a high note. We changed a lot, cars, crew chief, everything, and we didn't test. There really wasn't time for it. We sort of gambled and figured we didn't have a lot to lose. The points deal was sort of over for us a long time ago, so it was probably a good call that we went and used these last two races as a test. We were pretty decent at Rockingham, and obviously we missed the handle on it pretty good today."
WHAT ABOUT NEXT YEAR? "I think Ford's getting some new stuff. They're getting a little bit different body style, so that'll help, and, I guess, new cylinder heads. Fords, in general, I didn't see them much leading laps today. So, all the Fords can use some help, we'll take that."