ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POST-RACE QUOTES -- Sunday, July 27 BRIAN VICKERS (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota): "We never can afford to take a points hit. It's a tough day out there. The Red Bull team blew an engine. We dropped a cylinder. They tried...
ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POST-RACE QUOTES -- Sunday, July 27
BRIAN VICKERS (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota): "We never can afford to take a points hit. It's a tough day out there. The Red Bull team blew an engine. We dropped a cylinder. They tried to take the parts out so we could continue to run, but it didn't last. I've got to stop and just apologize to the fans. We got some awesome, awesome fans that come out here and watch these races. I don't want to point the finger at anybody; it's a culmination of a lot of things that took place today that caused the problem we're seeing with the tires. We as a sport should have done better. I'm embarrassed; I'm sure a lot of people are. But we appreciate everybody staying here today, watching the race and sticking behind us."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 26 Crown Royal Ford): "It is just frustrating. They said the track was getting better in Happy Hour, but we didn't see that. It never really did take rubber, so I got really mad in the middle because they were letting us run until the tires were blowing up. I was like, 'You can't put us in that situation.' You have to throw the tire before we blow a tire because if someone gets hurt we could have prevented that. Thankfully, they let us run about 12 laps, and then they'd throw the caution. Just about every time the caution would come out, the lap before I would be like, 'I am done.' There it is. That's an odd way to race."
(Was that a race for the fans?): "I don't know. I didn't watch it. I drove it, so it would be hard for me to say. Certainly, that wasn't the right tire. They've been critical of Goodyear at Atlanta, but at least at Atlanta we could drive our cars and run more than 10 laps. I'm just shocked they did a tire test and this is what they ended up with."
(Should this track be a mandatory test?): "I think that is a good idea, because if we can get 40 to 50 cars here, they could lay enough rubber down and know if they are going to have this problem again."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 10 Valvoline Dodge):
(About the amount of cautions): "We had no choice. At one point, I was like, 'Just let us run, and if we feel a vibration we'll come in (to the pits).' A lot of guys would have kept crashing anyway. They had no choice. They wanted to run the race so the fans get a finish. They are going to work on it. Either they need to work on the track or the tires a little bit more, but they'll get it figured out. With that car, it is very hard. The center of gravity is so high that it kills the car."
(Does your team ever prepare for a scenario like today?): "No. I'm proud of my guys. The car was fantastic. The Sears Auto Center/Valvoline Dodge was fast. The guys did a great job in the pits all day. I was really proud of them. They kept moving me forward every time. It was good because we'd move forward. It gave me some practice with the pit stops. I hope for the fans it wasn't too bad. I don't think it was all Goodyear's fault. They (the India napolis Motor Speedway) had the same problem with Formula One and didn't even run the race. They were good to run the race. They had some spare tires, and everybody made it to the end. It was a bit boring, but at least the end was exciting. It was good for them."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Wrigley's Big Red Slim Pack Dodge): "We were unlucky. We blew a right rear tire and that was it."
CASEY MEARS (No. 5 Kellogg's-Carquest Chevrolet): "We just had a long day. Tires were blowing out left and right, and you couldn't really pass. We just got stuck in the back and never really made any ground."
MARK MARTIN (No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet): "It was frustrating. It wasn't bad, because they started to throw the cautions soon enough. At the beginning, it wasn't soon enough. But at the end, they started throwing it sooner. And of course we got caught twice, but after they got the hang of it and saw that it was going to take 10 lap runs only, it was OK."
(About getting into rhythm when there are so many stops): "It's unfortunate that it worked out that way. I hate it for this U.S. Army team. We had a monster motor in there today and we had a great race car. Probably a top-five car. Probably nothing for Jimmie Johnson, so I wasn't going to be able to back up my prediction, but we had a lot better car than we finished because we pushed a little hard a little soon and got caught twice out on tires, and we had to pit under the green. It was just hard to make your way back up through there."
(About who's to blame for poor racing): "Everybody did the best they could today. There is no blame. Everybody did the best they could. It's an unfortunate circumstance."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser/Lifelock Dodge): "We had one of the exhaust pipes break coming off of the engine. We lost a lot of power, but that's the way it goes. I wish we could have run 30 laps straight, but we couldn't today. It seemed like all of the teams did a great job taking care of that, especially our Budweiser team. I feel like they did awesome all day. There's nothing you can do about it now, and everyone did awesome for what we were dealt with. When they do another tire test, they should probably learn something from it instead of bringing us back on something that you can't race on."
TRAVIS KVAPIL (No. 28 HITACHI Power Tools Ford): "For the first half of the race, we were just trying to survive and make sure that we were there at the end of the day. We worked on the car, but we never really got the car any better. Track position is really critical, and we were just kind of caught in the back. It's really a big disappointment for our 28 team. It wasn't very good racing, that's for sure. NASCAR really didn't do a very good job in getting prepared for this race."
A.J. ALLMENDINGER (No. 84 Red Bull Toyota): "My crew chief made great calls all day. He kept me up front, which was key. Once we got up there, the car was pretty good. The last stop, we lost a couple of spots, which hurt us on the restart. Once we got back in that 10th-place range, it was really hard to do anything. All around, it was a great day. It was good for points, and now we go to Pocono, where we had a good race earlier this year. It's a little frustrating that we couldn't run for 30 laps straight, but I made most of my time in the last couple of laps when guys were really hurting their tires. It's just the race you have to race. In some ways, it's tough, but everybody's doing the same thing. You just have to figure out the right strategy, which Jimmie (Johnson) did, and just stay up front all day. The last two laps of each run were not fun. I was hanging on and praying that the right rear didn't blow out. There were a couple of runs were I could really feel it vibrat e. Luckily, the yellow came out. The first eight laps were fun, but the last two laps weren't as fun."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge): "This is a great weekend for us to bring a new car here and qualify sixth, and run in the top seven or eight the whole day. I actually got pushed back to 13th or 14th with 40 laps to go and passed a lot of cars to come back to the front. I'm just proud of my guys. It's pretty cool to come out with a new car, and get a good run in a Stanley Dodge. We've had a lot of bad luck for Stanley this year. I'm so proud of my guys to finish a good race here at the Brickyard."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet): "I've never seen nothing like it. But I was glad that it got finished with relatively no chaos. NASCAR did what they had to do. I was proud of the way NASCAR handled it. I mean, that was the only way we could put on a race today. People are going to complain it didn't go the way it was supposed to go down. But with the way things were today, that was the best NASCAR could do. It was actually kind of a fun show, I'm sure, to watch. We weren't seeing the tires come in, and we weren't seeing that track come in. The tires were still going about 10 laps, maybe 12 at the end. But they did what was right and I'm proud of them."
(About his race): "I thought we had the lucky dog the first time. I feel like we should have got it. The guy on pit road got it and had a flat tire. When the lights come on and he ain't even a lap down, I don't know how that works. I would have liked to have gotten my lap back so I could have wo rked getting through the pack sooner. We were running out of time trying to get through the pack. The car was really, really good in the middle part of the race. We made some changes in lieu of the tire situation that hurt the car, especially in the traffic. We should have left it alone. The track got better in the late hours of the day, and a lot of shade came in to the front straightaway. You could keep the right sides in the shade all the way down the front straightaway. We should have probably left it alone. I think we had a few flats. I don't think it was just one. That was terrible at the start of the race. That was very, very frustrating. But there was no way around it. I helped tire test here. Blame it all on me if you want to. But when I was here they were wearing out five laps, too."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge): "It was a ridiculous race. There was no racing involved other than the mandatory cautions, which was ridiculous."
JEFF BURTON (No. 31 Prilosec OTC Chevrolet): "We struggled really hard in practice. Early in the race, we were really good. The slower the pace, the better we were. I think the sun kind of going behind the clouds and the pace picking up there at the end wasn't what we needed. Our car just doesn't have speed."
GREG BIFFLE (No. 16 Dish Network Ford): "It was pretty good. We got really loose the middle part of the race, three-quarters of the way through, and lost all of our track position and fought there at the end to get back to finish eighth. We had a little better car than that. We're happy with the top 10."
(About the tire situation): "Goodyear is in a tough position. One thing we ought to keep in mind is we keep making these cars faster and faster and faster. And it's Goodyear's job to slow it down. They had a tire that was a second-and-a-half a lap faster, but NASCAR and everybody doesn't want us going that fast. There are certain speeds that these cars race good at. Long story short: They're having to control the speed and try and get us a tire that'll stay under us."
(Have you ever driven in a race like this?): "Yeah, Charlotte was like that. Not so many (competition yellows), but it was a shorter track so probably about the same amount of mileage. About every 20 laps, we ha d to put tires on. It all depended on how you drove. If you drove real hard, you'd cord 'em. If you drove easy, it wouldn't be so bad. That's what it was like today."
(Was there anything else that could have been done?): "Maybe something they could have done is let us pit under green or something like that to give the fans a little more show or something. That might have been an option."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet): "I've never seen anything like this. I really hate that it happened at the Brickyard. It's such a big race. I think all of us are disappointed with what happened here today. It was a great eight-lap shootout there at the end. I hate we didn't get the track position we needed there at the end. That hurt us. I felt like we were as good as Jimmie, but we were really a second-place car because they had the track position. They had that number-one pit stall, and it was hard to beat those guys with that."
(What do you make of the tire situation?) "It's embarrassing, and it's disappointing. I don't know where to start, really. We've got ourselves into a position here where obviously something's going to have to be done."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge): "The big thing for me was just continuing to move forward. I felt like I raced pretty hard today, maybe a little bit more so than some of the other guys. At the end, we pretty much held our own".
(Is that the dirtiest you've ever been coming out of a race car?): "Dirtiest on asphalt, I'm sure of that. Can't even wipe you're eyes off because you have all of this black stuff all over you. It is what it is."
(Comparing this to his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2000): "First time with an IndyCar, I didn't even finish, so it's a lot better than that. I think we had a little bit better car than where we finished. We'll improve on it and it will be better next year."
MATT KENSETH (No. 17 DeWalt Ford):
(How bad out there was it?): "It was bad. It was actually embarrassing, it really was. I apologize to the fans. You can't really blame NASCAR. After yesterday, we knew this was probably how it was going to be. We knew it wasn't going to get any better. We knew we could only run about seven or eight laps on the tires. I don't know what they could have done differently. They did the best with the situation they were in. We knew it was going to be like this yesterday."
(How do you change your strategy for the last races?): "Well, we won't really change it. We will run as hard as we can. We had a really great car today; it was just harder to run right rears than other people. There wasn't really anything we could do about it (today). It was the tires' fault. Didn't see much of a race today, so just kind of disappointed right now."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Totinos Dodge):
(About the tire situation): "Well, we used a lot of them. It was hard for us to get in a rhythm and race, so for us it wasn't very good because you'd run 10 laps and I'd just start screaming because the right rear tire was gone. And I'd look at the 26 tire, I could see it, and I said, 'What's mine look like?' and they said, 'Like the 26 tire.' And I went, 'OK, that's all I need to know,' because his looked bad enough. So you just couldn't get in a rhythm. It was unfortunate that it happened that way."
(About your race): "Finished 26th, got caught on pit road for speeding, went back to 34th, came back to 16th here at the end. We had a better car than that most of the day. We just lost track position. We had one set of tires that just gave up on us."
(Have you ever had a race like this?): "No, that was a first. You can't race. Well, you can race for 10 laps, and then you just scream because the tires are fixing to blow out. Not very good, not very fun."