Kmart 400 June 10, 2001 Michigan International Speedway KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 43rd) "It's tough to go out two weeks in a row real early like this. This is a new type of car and new type of cars need decisions...
June 10, 2001
Michigan International Speedway
KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 43rd)
"It's tough to go out two weeks in a row real early like this. This is a new type of car and new type of cars need decisions on what to change during a race. Early on, we made the wrong decision on that pit stop. The draft was more extreme than I expected early on. The car was real loose and we made a decision to change the car under that pit stop and it just didn't go the right way."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 41st)
"We had gotten up to ninth or 10th, the car was running great, and I made a pass on Robert Pressley on the bottom. He came back and passed me on the top side, so I tucked in behind Robert and we were just going down the backstraightaway. Right in the middle of the back straightaway all of a sudden I get drilled in the rear end from the 66 car. That turned it sideways right into the wall, so I don't know what the boy was thinking. I don't know where his head was at on that one."
TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus (Finished 42nd)
"We cut the left-front tire down going into three. The Kmart Blue Light Special was awesome. We started 30th and got all the way to 13th. I was going outside of Rusty on the back straightaway and, evidently, his spotter said he was clear and he wasn't. He came up and I got together with him. That messed our fender up. We had to come in and fix it, which put us in the back. We were coming back through and I got the car squirrelly one time off of four and I think it hurt the left-front tire when it did. It's a shame. We've just got no luck. It's incredible how bad it is. These guys have done a great job all year and we just don't have any luck. I tell you, when it turns around it's gonna be big. We're gonna win a lot of races. This is a really good team that deserves to be up front."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 40th)
"I must have run over something and cut the left-front tire down. It didn't give much warning. The car hadn't changed any, so I don't think it was steadily going down. I must have just popped it. It tore the car up really bad and tore the sheetmetal and stuff off the front end really bad. The last three times we've been here, this track hasn't been good to us so I'm starting not to like this place too much." WHAT HAPPENED? "I think we just ran over something and busted a left-front tire. When the outer core came out of it, it just ripped all the sheetmetal off of it. It's just a bad day for the Motorcraft Quality Parts Ford. We had a really good car. I know we started in the back, but we were running times as good as the top two or three guys. We were picking 'em off one by one, but it just wasn't meant to be."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 18th)
"I could not be aggressive with the car. I could not get hard on the gas. We short-pitted and got a lap down when the caution came out (on lap 173), but something was wrong with the right-front. The car was extremely loose the last 75 laps."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 4th)
"We gave it everything we had. I don't know, we thought we had something after happy hour yesterday but we weren't quite where we wanted to be today. I guess if you're disappointed with a fourth-place finish that's a good thing, but we're out here to win. That's all we want -- to win. When we're doing that, we'll be happy. Until then, fourth or third or second, we can't be totally happy. Hey, Pocono next week, that's good."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 7th)
"We had an awesome run here. We kept our rhythm going from the Coke 600 and didn't let last weekend's performance get us down. This is by far the best engine I have ever had here at Michigan. And, as always, gas mileage was key. Jack thought early on we could go all the way, but the opportunity for us came out and we took it."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"It was pretty exciting. I had a little bit of a front-end push and I just couldn't get the front-end to bite in the corner like I wanted. I just got beat there at the end. I made a good run at him, I just didn't hold the car down on the bottom of the race track. I probably made a move a little bit too early. I had a run at him going through three and four -- I probably showed him what I had the lap before. I probably should have waited until the checkered flag, but I didn't really know if I could get a bite out there and, sure enough, I did. It was a lot of fun. I'm sorry we didn't win for the Texaco Havoline guys. They certainly worked hard enough to deserve it, but it was a good race and we moved up in the points a little bit."
DID YOU WANT A LONG RUN TOWARDS THE END?
"Yeah, we definitely needed a long run. We weren't good on the short runs and that was sort of by design. They could adjust the tire pressure around a little bit. I think at the end of the race I didn't quite understand what was going on in the pits and I'm glad I didn't have to make those calls. Fatback McSwain and Raymond (Fox) and all those guys made a good call. We came back in and ended up getting four tires and that was a big difference."
RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 5th)
"We got lucky there with the yellow. We were just getting ready to come down the pit lane and I saw the yellow light pop on and we stayed out. It was just a lot of good hard work by the team and a little bit of luck too. Jeff, obviously, had a strong car all day and my hat's off to his team."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACING THE LAST 20 LAPS?
"Oh, that's just good, hard racing here at a nice race track like Michigan. Roger Penske knew what he was doing when he built this one."
YOU CAME ON STRONG LATE.
"The two sets of tires we had there at the end were really good. It balanced the car out real nice and we didn't have to do much changing there at the end. Some days you're good like that and some days you struggle to find that."
WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE?
"It's a lot for my confidence, but it's big for the team too. We're a new team that's been put together by Don Miller and Roger Penske and ALLTEL and this gives us a lot of confidence to go into the next race."
DOES THIS BACK UP YOUR CHARLOTTE EFFORT?
"Yeah. This is the same race car we had at Charlotte, so it tells you what the potential was at that race track had I not screwed up. This was just a good run."
SHAWNA ROBINSON --84-- Aaron's Taurus (Finished 34th)
"We were real loose that last pit stop, obviously that's why I lost, but it was good that we gathered it up and were able to finish."
HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO FINISH?
"That's what my goal was. That's all they asked of me today. Obviously you always want to do more, but that's what they asked of me. I needed to get the miles under my belt and learn about the car. I think I'll be better the next race and better the next race. That's how it goes."
WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU STARTED TO SPIN?
"Oh no. Just hold on to it. We weren't really up to speed, so that was a good thing. It just got loose and came around on me."
WAS THERE A POINT WHERE YOU SETTLED IN AND SAID, 'OK, IT'S TIME TO GO
"There was a point where I said, 'I found my line.' I found my line and they didn't run away from me as quickly and then there were times when I was in groups and I stayed with them. Again, you have to understand that as hard as it is, what every single driver out there expected me to do was probably crash or get in the way and I think I did neither one of those things so my goal was accomplished. This is my first race. Believe me, everytime I sit in that race car I'll get better and that's what it's about. The only thing they asked of me today was to finish. 'You have got to finish. If you finish, then we've got a chance to race full-time next year. You can't crash.' So, yeah, it's not fun being the last car in line, it's not, but it also wouldn't have been good to overdrive and drive over my head and screw up."
SO YOU SENSED OTHER PEOPLE EXPECTED YOU TO CRASH?
"You're always being focussed on in this situation. The question first was, 'She'll never qualify, she'll never make a race.' I'm not saying this is other drivers saying this, I'm saying this is fans, this is anybody. And then when I accomplished that, well then they go, 'Oh, she'll be the first car out,' so I needed to finish. Hey, my crew is proud of me and that's all that matters because that's who I work with everyday and that's who I learn with and that's who I'm going to Chicago with."
ROGER PENSKE, Car Owner --02-- ALLTEL Taurus
YOU MUST BE PROUD OF RYAN TODAY.
"A great run, he certainly did. I was up spotting for him and you could certainly see him make the right moves. This is a good track for him. He had a good car and the stops were terrific. All I can say is we've got a real champion coming on."
WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HIM DOWN THE STRETCH?
"We didn't say 'go easy,' we said it was time to make a run. I said, 'let's not give anything up' and I said, 'just be careful of the 12 car ahead of you. He was after the 12."
THAT HAD TO BE KIND OF SCARY WHEN HE'S GOING AFTER ANOTHER TEAM CAR?
"Well, that seems to go on all the time when you've got good drivers and good cars. They always seem to be racing each other, but it was a good race. I'm sorry Rusty got hit there at the beginning because he probably had the best car, but there's nothing else we could do. It was a great day."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Finished 16th)
"We were pretty weak on long runs and we had a couple of slow stops and a poor call on my part for an adjustment -- you combine all that and it cost us a lap. If we could have stayed on the lead lap we would have been able to have a reasonable finish, but that's the best we could do. We finished one lap down and couldn't make it up."
HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 6th)
"We didn't seem to get going at the start of a run like we could at the end of one, but once we figured out what it was gonna take, the guys came in on the last stop and made one adjustment and the car just took off. I couldn't ask for it to be any better. We just couldn't seem to get the track position that we needed to go good."
YOU SAID THE OTHER DAY THIS KIND OF FEELS LIKE YOUR ALLISON DRIVING DAYS.
"Yeah, it really did. I'm having more fun right now than I've had since the 12 car days. It just brings back memories of those days when we used to run good week-in and week-out. It feels like I'm back home again."
HOW CRITICAL WAS TRACK POSITION?
"For me it was everything because I couldn't go anywhere at the start of a run. I was really good in long runs, but, unfortunately, I lost so much track position at the beginning that I just couldn't go. There at the end, I knew if I could protect the outside and had to get around me on the inside, they were gonna have a pretty tough road to hoe. It was a good day."
DID YOU HATE TO SEE THAT LAST CAUTION?
"Yeah, I really did. I don't know, it might have helped us or it might have hurt us. I was kind of surprised there. I thought Blaney was gonna try to just hold his spot and wait for Ryan Newman to slip and when Blaney tried to make a pass on Ryan Newman, that opened up a hole for me to get one more spot."
DID YOU HAVE A 6TH-PLACE CAR OR COULD YOU HAVE CONTENDED WITH A FEW MORE
"Well, I'm gonna tell you, I don't think we could have beat Gordon. He was awful good. He had everything. Our car, when I really leaned on it hard, it was a little bit too loose. We did some things the last pit stop that really helped us a lot, but it was something that was only gonna help us for a short run. Everything really fell into our hands today and really worked out."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 15th)
YOU WERE READY TO TAKE A CHANCE AND GO THE DISTANCE, BUT IT DIDN'T WORK OUT.
"Either way it really wasn't that much of a gamble. We had some problems on our green flag stop and lost a little time, but, other than that, we ran a long enough green after that to make that back up, so I think we were in the same place even if we wouldn't have tried to stretch it after the caution. If it didn't work out, we would have finished where we finished today and if it did work out we probably would have finished in the top five or maybe better. It was worth the gamble. We could make it all the way and we weren't running good enough to run with the leaders anyway, so we might as well try it."
DO YOU FEEL YOU MADE PROGRESS THIS WEEK?
"We maybe made a little progress, but I don't want to kid myself. We didn't run that great. We were probably a 15th-place car and we finished 15th, so that's good. When we came into today I thought we were a 25th or 30th place car and we worked on it and got it better. I feel better about it than I did yesterday, but we still have a ways to go to be where we want to be."