RICKY CRAVEN (No. 50 Midwest Transit Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I'm really disappointed. This is a special trip. We struggled with the brakes all day. I don't understand what it was. The brakes were just not working well. The balance of the car...
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 50 Midwest Transit Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I'm really disappointed. This is a special trip. We struggled with the brakes all day. I don't understand what it was. The brakes were just not working well. The balance of the car was great, but you've got to have the whole package. I was quite optimistic last night, but it didn't work out. I have no idea (what happened). The car underneath me broke loose. We got hooked together and we got the worst end of it. I'd like to race with these guys. They're good for me. Regardless of where I go at this point in my career, I've got to go to work. We've got a lot of catching up to do. Eight or 10 teams in Winston Cup have separated themselves from the rest of the field and in that eight or 10 there are four or five that are even at a different level. That's the group we're shooting for. This team has the potential to do it. Some guys who will typically run good weren't running that well today. The track was quite a lot different than Happy Hour. We had some brake problems that prevented us from doing any good until we got in and made that first pit stop. It was a really unusual race track those first hundred laps. When you get Rusty and Tony Stewart running as fast as they're running, it's just a matter of time. You've got to take some chances. You could catch a guy and it would absolutely give you fits trying to get by him. That's the nature of the speedway. I have no idea what happened. The car underneath me broke loose and somehow his right front hit my left front and shot us into the wall."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I don't know what happened at the end. All I know is I got in a wreck. I'm tired of getting run over. The car was pretty good. We worked on it all day and got it pretty good. We got some track position, but we were real loose at the end. We fell back a little bit and those restarts hurt us. I just got drilled at the end."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We were all real tight. The 99 was real tight on the back on me... it was just bumper to bumper. Dale Jarrett slipped up ahead of us, and he's leading the points and I didn't want to take a chance of running into him and messing him up. It cost me about six or seven spots by not sticking my nose in there. I thought I was doing the right thing. The man's leading the points. I didn't want to take a chance on messing him up. But those guys gouged down in there and passed us. We were a little bit faster than they were and then they checked up in front of us and I ran into the 43. It was my fault. I did everything I could to get it whoa-ed up, but they just stopped a lot quicker than I could stop. Somebody crashed in front of us (on second accident) and came down on top of the nose of the car and knocked us out again. It's just a track position deal. We had a bad day in the pits. The left front was loose after that last stop. It felt like it was about to break the wheel and send the car straight into the wall. I had to come in on an unscheduled stop or we would have ended up with a decent finish out of this thing (he was running 13th when he first felt the vibration on lap 236)."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"It's good to be out there and not have to push as hard and just be in that clean air. That's what you need to do. They (Pontiac) has got something. They've got Tony Stewart. Those things are awful fast. We saw a lot of them up front today. We were struggling quite a bit with ours, trying to get the right balance. We'll keep going to work until something else happens. I couldn't stay out of trouble there early on. Guys were getting into the back of me, and I was getting into the back of them. It was so tight out there because you couldn't pass. It was so slick. You couldn't even run side by side and guys were getting into each other.
"I was just going to be happy to stay on the lead lap. That was quite an eventful day for me. I was in about three wrecks and probably about three more we just didn't know about. It was a great effort by these guys on the DuPont Chevrolet. We were good early on and then we got loose and started to fade. Then we got into some of those wrecks and got so focused on trying to the wreck that I was just driving the wheels off the thing. We got to adjust on it because we were further back. Ray and these guys made some great calls in the pits to take two tires at the right time and get track position. Once we got track position, we were able to stay up there pretty good.
"Luckily, there were no major things (damaged). I think the tow might be knocked out a little bit in the front. I don't know. I got hit in every corner. It's hard to say, but it was mainly just sheetmetal damage that was messing up the aerodynamics of the car."
"We just had to fix a bunch of sheetmetal. We were able to pull some spring rubbers out and it didn't matter at that time because we were running at the back of the pack anyway. There's not a place on that car that hasn't hit something. It was quite a ride today. I was getting hit all over the place. I've never been knocked around so much and been able to come back and finish fifth."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"We had a pretty good car today. It's the same car we had at Richmond, and I think it's really going to be a good one when we get a chance to work on it a little bit more. We were a little loose today, but we hung in there. We dropped back at the end because we lost the battery. I'm not sure what was wrong with it, but that's the way it goes."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We almost got another top 10 finish. We just got run over there at the end and about spun out. We had dropped back to 13th, but we got by some other guys and we were there. It got a little rough right there at the end. I think we could have driven our way back up to ninth. We took four tires on our last stop and the car was good. I'm not sure who hit me there at the end, but it'll be interesting to find out. It was a brand new car and the guys worked hard on it. They got it right there at the end."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We struggled all day long. We took four tires a couple of times and were running in the top eight or so and lost track position, but we were able to get back up to the top 15 there at the end. We were trying to make a good day out of somewhat of a bad day I guess. We're 15th and we're not going to complain about it. It's nice to be sitting here disappointed with 15th. I wish we could have had another hour's worth of practice the other day when it rained. I think we would have had a better race car. The car's in one piece and now we can take it to Martinsville and get ready for Dover. Everybody was beating and banging out there today. I got spun with five to go. I forced it too wide and doing that forced the 21 too wide and we all checked up and people ran into the back of us. It's just flat-track racing."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
NOTE: Nemechek's first career victory on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit in Sunday's Dura Lube-Kmart 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway helped Team Monte Carlo gain five points on Ford in the manufacturers standings. Ford leads Chevrolet 179-163. Pontiac is third with 152 points. Ford leads Chevy in victories 11-9. Pontiac has six victories in '99.
"I don't know how to explain this. This is just an unbelievable feeling. I've got to thank The Lord for watching over everybody today and helping us make the right calls. Tony Glover has done an awesome job. He's a good coach. He was coaching me hard on the radio there at the end. I tell him every time I get in that race car I'm going to drive that thing as hard as I can no matter if it's a lap in practice, qualifying, a race or whatever. We just have to get the cars tuned better. We've had some good runs and haven't been able to capitalize on them this year. Finally today things went our way.
"When the last caution came out I didn't know what was going to happen. I just told myself I couldn't believe this. Here is Tony Stewart. He ran me down and caught me and was working on me. I didn't know what was going to happen on the restart. You get stuff on your tires and when they restart the race it usually gets pretty slippery out there. Lucky for us, I had really abused my front tires under that long green. I think Tony did, too. Tony (Glover) was coaching me on and when we restarted the race with 10 or 12 to go, my car had an awesome bite on the bottom of turn two. Getting in the corner I was really loose, like sliding on the marbles. Tony caught me and I was hoping he wouldn't run into me. When I got back on the gas, I got a good jump off and I think he pushed. The last caution with a couple to go, I didn't know how many laps were left. I just tried to keep my mind on what I was doing, and I heard Tony saying something, but I wasn't paying attention to him. I was trying to pay attention to what I was doing and not run over anything. Sure enough, I won it under caution. We got a big jump on him twice and we were pulling away. He was going to have to work awful hard to beat us today. I've got to thank my whole team. They did a good job on pit stops today. We had the whole package today. I don't care who you are or what team you're with, if you don't have the whole package you're not going to win. Today was our day. We've got a good driving race car, good motors. Tony made some really good calls. I drove my heart out. The guys worked hard, and we ended up in victory lane. That's hard to do.
"The flag came out and he was behind me. Believe me I got in trouble a few weeks ago because I caught the flag and still raced back. I learned my lesson on that. The caution flag came out and I knew I was leading the race. I just slowed down and Tony just ran up beside me. I guess he didn't know if he got the caution or not.
"The caution with 10 or 12 to go, the car that was wrecked in turn two, when the pace car pulled out, that car pulled out too and blocked my lane. I locked my front tires up to stop and keep from hitting him. I flat spotted my tires, and the last 10 laps we were running that thing was shaking really bad. I just hoped I didn't flat spot them bad enough to blow 'em out.
"There's basically two different rear end ratios you can run here in these Winston Cup cars. We pulled the one we thought was the right one that didn't turn as many rpm's. A lot of the guys I was racing with, the good cars, were turning more rpm's and they could get a jump on me off the corner.
"It was hard because I could beat them around the corner and then they would beat me around back off. I'd beat them to the next one and they'd pull me back. It was a tough deal, but in the long run it may have helped us. It was maybe a little bit easier on our tires getting off the corner. We learned from that, and I know we make good notes.
"I've got to thank Bob Bahre and the whole Bahre family. They've built a heck of an establishment here. It's a fun place to come. I won an awesome race here racing Dale Earnhardt back in '92. All the fans were on their feet. I beat him by a fender. It was an awesome race. I really like this place. Between the tires and the sealer that's on the track, it gets slick sometimes. You've got to figure out how to overcome it and that's what makes a good team and a good driver no matter where you go. This place has just been good. Since we started coming here, and I can't remember when the first year was in Busch, 1990, I participated in that race and we ran real strong. Every time I've ever been here we ran real strong. The last couple of times we've been here in a Cup car we kind of missed our setup a little bit. I told them what I needed. Last week at Richmond we didn't run very good. I wasn't going to have it happen this week. Tony gave me a race car I could drive and we were right on the money today.
"I'm still looking for a job for the year 2000. I don't know what I'm going to be doing. Hopefully this will definitely help. I'm talking to a few people out there. Who knows? Felix may come back tomorrow and start hammering me. I don't know. It's kind of a unique deal. Tony Glover and Felix, they've got a heck of an organization. We just struggled. Now to have it all come together, it's kind of disappointing. Who knows what's going to happen? We've run good here in a Busch car. We finally won in a Winston Cup car and this man sitting here beside me gave me an opportunity. You've got to have good people around you. No matter where I end up, I've got to be in a good quality ride. If I can't make a step up, I don't know what I'm going to do. I'll just have to wait and see.
"Believe me, tears were coming out of my eyes pretty heavy coming around that last lap. I miss him (brother John) a lot. I wish he was here. I know he was up there watching out for me today. The Lord was watching out for us. I just wish my mom and dad could have been here and my brother and sister. I miss Felix, too. He owes me one now. He said he was going to be there when I win and we can't even find him on the telephone."
TONY GLOVER (Crew chief No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"Joe was very happy with his car yesterday after Happy Hour and we discussed putting more gear in it. The 40 car actually had more gear yesterday than the 42 and they weren't as happy with their car as Joe was with his. We elected to stay with it, primarily because the majority of races won at Loudon, it's kind of a unique track, are won on long greens at the end and track position. We felt like with that gear it would be easier for the long haul. It would be more difficult to drive, but this gentleman sitting right here beside me, my hat's off to him because he came to work ready to play today. I can assure you that if Joe Nemechek wakes up several more mornings like he did today, you're going to be see a lot more of him."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We took two tires. We did it earlier in the race and my race car felt really good and drove good with two tires on it. You've got to think back a little bit and Jeff Gordon won a race here not too long ago by taking on two tires. We were kind of out of synch, but we were in synch and we were running good enough where we could dictate some of the things that were going on in the race. We put two tires on the last stop, adjusted the air pressure and the thing drove awesome.
"It was a tough call, and I left it up to Tony to make it. He asked me two or four and I told him whatever he wanted to do. When we turned in pit road it was we'll take two, maybe four because we had already run 50 laps. Fifty laps is a long time on tires and we still had 80 laps to go. We took two and it paid off for us. If your car drives good and you hit the setup perfect, you can go, no matter if you have two or four. This race track is not really abrasive on tires. They slow down to a point and then they kind of stay there. Tony made a good call today.
"There at the end when we ran that fast lap we put on the tires we qualified on. We made some changes to the car and went out and run and put wedge and did all kind of stuff, went out and didn't like it. We took part of that stuff back out and ran four more laps. The end of practice was coming and we wanted to see if it went back the way it was. It was awesome. At the end of practice it was a little bit loose, but we left it alone.
"You have to have the whole package. Mark Martin was terrible today. Some of these guys weren't good today that are normally good. You miss it, you're off. We hit it. These Winston Cup races are the hardest things in the world to win. I'm going to let Tony tell you how hard they are to win."
TONY GLOVER (Crew chief No. 42 BellSouth Monte Carlo)
"They're very hard. I left a team at the end of 1996 and basically started over a new life with my family and a new career at SABCO. I didn't realize it would take three years to get back to victory lane. It was very frustrating after going from I think 1990 until 1996 and had a win every year. It almost got to the point where I had to look old Glove in the eye when he woke up every morning and make sure he still thought he knew how to win. There have been a few occasions when I thought we had a car decent enough to win. We just haven't gotten in that position. I went to bed last night with a pretty good feeling. Every time I do that and I've got a pretty good plan of what we're going to do, it makes my job a lot easier. Everything went as perfect today as it has in any Winston Cup race that I've ever been a part of going to victory lane. The cautions fell at the right time. We made the right adjustments on the race car. You can do as a crew chief or driver or team member or whatever, you can do everything in your power to win and sometimes it's not meant to be. I guess the thing I think about a lot is they say you're as good as who you're riding with. Today, I think we were riding with the best guy here. I think Joe came to work this morning ready to go. He had a very good plan yesterday on how he wanted the race car to drive. I think he was on a mission. A few of my earlier wins, I think the first one I ever got at Bristol, I thought I was on a mission that night and Ernie was on a mission. We were lucky to do it. The next big win was the Daytona 500 with Sterling, and I think Larry McClure was on a mission to win that one. He made some changes on the engine race morning and it seemed like he was possessed Sunday, Sept. 19, 1999. New Hampshire International Speedway. Dura Lube-Kmart 300. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 7.
TONY GLOVER (Crew chief No. 42 BellSouth Monte Carlo) to win that race. You've got to have a driven force to be able to do this, and I think the things that have happened in the last month have maybe woken up a sleeping giant. You're going to see a lot more of Joe Nemechek the balance of '99 and I can assure you you'll see a lot of him in years to come."