GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - ON THE WIN: "Boy it was close, but we had nothing to lose. The pressure is off of us. We went to Loudon, and said we were just going to win. We kind of had that attitude to do...
GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS -
ON THE WIN: "Boy it was close, but we had nothing to lose. The pressure is off of us. We went to Loudon, and said we were just going to win. We kind of had that attitude to do whatever we can, we can take those chances, we did what we had to do today. I am really proud of this team; they did a great car. We had a top-three or four car all day. The No. 48 car was definitely was the class of the field there at the end. We did what we had to do and we did what we had to do. We probably cut it a little close but it worked out for us. I am going to go talk and celebrate with my boys."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - 27th CAREER VICTORY
ON CROSSING FINISH LINE WITH NO FUEL: "This is the first time we ever did this in the lead. That is the thing about not being in the Chase, we can roll the dice. Zippy asked me what I thought and I said we might as well go for it. He was really hammering on me hard to save fuel. I didn't realize how big of a gap we had there over the second place. I thought the No. 99 behind me there was for position. I raced last night in a dirt late model and my ears were still ringing, and I could hardly hear him all day. But that is my fault.
"When I finally realized I had a 13 or 14 second lead, I was driving half throttle all the way around letting the seconds click off but trying to keep some momentum in case it did run out of fuel, we would at least be able to coast as far as we could.
"I am pretty happy about that. We miss being in the Chase but it is nice to finish the day up here with a win. It was a good weekend for me. I was fourth in the Busch race yesterday, second in the dirt late model last night at Knoxville and win today. Old Spice, Bass Pro Shops, Home Depot and Chevrolet all had a good weekend.
ON WHEN HE KNEW HE WAS OUT OF FUEL: "When the fuel pressure gauge was at zero and the engine was dying. I just kicked it in neutral and let it coast. These things being 3,400 lbs will coast a long way. The longer I kept it in gear without power, it was just slowing the car down. So as soon as it went to zero, I was quick to push the clutch in, switch off the ignition and kick it out of gear and ride it around the apron and hope that I had enough momentum to get to the finish line."
ON BATTLING THE CAR TODAY: "We had to do quite a lot to the car actually. We were really tight at the beginning of the race. I am so proud of these guys on this Home Depot team, these guys work so hard, and this pit crew guys had an awesome, awesome day today. It is the best day of pit stops we have had all year. They really picked it up today and kept us in contention all day by being consistent all day. The consistency means more than one quick stop. We kept working on it and kept trying to free it up, we got it a little too free at the front of a run, we would lose two or three and then start working our way back up. WE were definitely a third or fourth place car today. We had to dice to get here. I would have much rather rolled the dice to take a chance on winning than coming in and finishing third or fourth today playing it safe. I would have rather ran out of fuel than not take a chance.
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS - Sidelined with fuel pump problems, finished 39th
ON DISAPPOINTMENT: "It is very disappointing. We know what those other guys feel like at Hendrick Motorsports. We are just going to have to fight really hard. We put out a great fight today. We really came up through there. I lost the handle a little bit there, I don't know if the track changed, if it was tires or what happened. We were still going to salvage a pretty decent finish, then going into Turn 3, the engine cut off, I switched boxes, all the normal stuff, then I noticed there was no fuel pressure. Couldn't find out what was wrong. So here we are.
"We still can win the championship but I am just upset right now. I want to know what happened, I want to get out of here and move on, go to Talladega and go from there.
"We had two good finishes in the first two (Chase) races and now we don't and so now we're in the same boat as the rest of those guys back there."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 14th
WHAT HAPPENED? "Coming into pit road the No. 9 spun out in front of me and I got back out on the race track but the caution didn't come out so we lost a bunch of time there and then I guess I got a speeding violation on pit road and so I'll have to go and see where that was. I definitely don't feel I was speeding on pit road but the computer doesn't lie, so we'll just have to see what happens."
WERE YOU WATCHING THE GAUGE AND DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CALLED IT THE SAME WAY YOU HAD ALL DAY ON PIT ROAD? "Yeah, definitely, the same way. I knew some guys were maybe going to make it on fuel mileage. We had such a big lead over the guys running in second and third and all that, so I wouldn't get beat by them. So I wasn't in a hurry to get on pit road. I just wanted to get on and off and get back into the race and evidently I got a speeding violation."
HOW HARD IS IT FOR YOU NOW WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE IT WAS GOING TO BE A COMEBACK DAY? "It's definitely tough. In looking around, some guys had some bad luck. But man, I just hate missing opportunities to gain points. We had the speed. We've had the speed the last few weeks. I know our finishes haven't shown it. We just need some luck to come our way."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 5th
YOU FINISHED 5TH, BUT HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CRAZIER FINISH THAN THAT? "I was afraid that it was going to be worse than that. I was afraid we were going to finish 15th or 20th or whatever. I hate those fuel mileage things. But my guys did a great job today. We had a really good car. Again, it was good when it needed to be. We started breaking even with or gaining on Jimmie (Johnson) just a little bit. And on a day like today, that's saying a lot because Jimmie was by far the best car. I'm real proud of everybody on Team Cingular. We had a good day today. We ran well and I'm proud of where of our day."
TRAVIS KVAPIL, NO. 32 TIDE / DOWNY MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 19th
We were really nursing it there at the end. We were two laps short after topping off on the last stop but we made it. I'm not sure what all I gave up to save gas but we'll take what we got considering what happed last week. The car really got loose in the end but we were able to hold on.
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 7th
"It was definitely a great day from the beginning. We just picked our way through there steadily and easily and made the most out of the Kellogg's Chevrolet there early and through the mid-part of the event. We were bad fast there on the top and it was a lot of fun running up there and doing the 'Junior' line, you know that's what we all call it around here. It was going to be a heck of a shootout there at the end between Jimmie (Johnson) and myself. I started conserving a lot there probably at the last 20 - 25 laps just so we could make it because we had nothing to gain running back there wherever the heck I was running. The pit road penalty killed us today, but I guess I miscalculated myself on the tachometer.
It could have been a lot better than it was. Of course it was a bummer day once again, but overall we probably finished better than what we deserved after what happened on the pit road penalty but after how we ran all day today, we deserved way better."
DOES THIS GIVE YOU A LITTLE BIT OF CONFIDENCE KNOWING YOU CAN RUN WELL AT 1.5-MILE RACE TRACKS KNOWING THERE ARE SEVERAL MORE TO COME? "Not really. This one is so much different than Charlotte, Texas, and Atlanta. Going to those places, it's just going to be a totally different ballgame so we'll have to see when we get there."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TALLADEGA? "I'm looking forward to it. I know we have a brand new car going there so I'm looking forward to that.
"Our restrictor plate program has really picked up here recently - this year especially. We've been able to run strong. At Daytona we had a penalty. And then at Talladega I think we got wrecked there on lap 8 after qualifying well. So we'll just have to see.
COULD YOU HAVE WON THIS RACE TODAY? "Oh, yeah, we could have won this race. There's no doubt. We led I don't know how many laps there. We just weren't the best when it mattered the most."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 10th:
"We had a good car, my team had a good stops. They worked really hard; we had a good day. I was just really proud of the effort they gave me. We got beat by some guys with some gas mileage but I can't complain about that. I had a good car and I had a lot of fun. I worked hard today, I am tired, that's all.
WHAT DID YOU HIT TO POKE HOLE IN THE VALANCE: "I hit a spring rubber and it punched a big ole hole in the nose. I couldn't believe a spring rubber could do that kind of damage. The crew tried to patch it a couple times, and I am sure it had something to do with the aerodynamics on the car. But otherwise, man, it was a good day, we had a good car, we ran up front, I am really happy about that. We are doing the best we can. These other guys that are ahead of us in the points are doing better, but if we catch a couple breaks here and there, we are just hoping it will come our way here the next couple races and we will be able to gain on them. We gained some on them today, but we got that one guy out front we need to gain on."
ON PITTING FOR FUEL LATE AND TELLING TONY EURY JR. NOT TO RUN OUT OF FUEL: "Some times we think a little different which is good. It gives him another option. I said hey lets go for the championship and come in and get tires and fuel now, cause I couldn't pass the No. 99 (Edwards) and the No. 20 (Stewart), but I thought maybe if I was on the track on new tires, I could make some time on them and if they pitted for tires and gas, they would come out behind me. It didn't work out, we had a little problem on our pit stop cost us a few spots. The guys worked really hard and I am really proud of them."
TODD BERRIER, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 REESE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 15th:
It was kind of an interesting day. We struggled a lot at the start of the race. We spun through the grass and lost all that track position so we didn't get after the car like we should have. I blame it more on track position, than anything else. He didn't hurt the car at all; it didn't get a mark on it.
"The pace was just so slow today, so much slower than it was yesterday, the car was tea-totally terrible. We had to change the right rear spring to stiffen it way up. We doubled the rate a bit, moved some stuff and changed just a million things, to get it better. Not what you want to do, but obviously we had to do it.
"Fuel mileage obviously didn't get us where we wanted. If we had had the fuel mileage some of the other guys got, the No. 31 (Burton) could have won today and we could have finished in the top five, six or seven.
"Every week we have in our mind that if something goes bad wrong, we have a couple of directions on the cart. We practice it here in the garage before we ever race so it is part of the plan. Normally when you are planning on the worst-case scenario, you don't want that to be what happens but today we did have to use.
"It isn't the finish wanted, we ran in the top-10 and ended up finishing 15th but it is the circumstances. The gas mileage didn't help us. Maybe the way we pitted there at the end, we might have done differently but what it is what it is and it is over and done with so we just go on from here."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC/GARNIER FRUCTIS MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 8th
"It was a long, long day. We backed up early in the race because of handling, but no one gave up and we kept adjusting and adjusting. We were probably a 15th-place car, but things worked out and we made it to the end on fuel. It was a good call by Lance and the guys to come in and pit during the last caution. That's what got us the top-10 today.
-credit: gm racing