------------------- Pepsi 400 Post-race Notes: ------------------- Larry McReynolds', crew chief for the #28 Robert Yates Racing Texaco Havoline Ford Thunderbird, was unable to attend the Pepsi 400 race at Daytona due to the death of his mother, Mary McReynolds.
Bud Moore's publicist, Marti Rompf, spent two days in a Daytona Beach hospital with bruises and a head injury after being mugged in a motel parking lot during the weekend of the Pepsi 400.
Soda Pop Wars: With Jeff Gordon's win at the Pepsi 400, Coca Cola, an associate sponsor on the #24 Dupont car, wanted to congratulate him in the typical manner. So, Coke purchased an ad in the Winston Cup Scene with a photo of Jeff in victory lane with the caption: "The competition knows... You can't beat the real thing!"
--------------------- Slick 50 300 Post-race Quotes: --------------------- KYLE PETTY: "We were looking at two top-10's in a row. We were slowly moving up on pit stops, and they would have got us close to a top-five by the end of the race. The motor just broke."
JIMMY HENSLEY: "It just knocked the wind out of me a little bit. I got into a car a little early and probably had a leak in the front tire. The right front tire blew at the front straightaway and tore the brakes off the car. I didn't have any brakes and I hit the wall pretty hard. I've got a few bruises but I'm OK. It just winded me a little bit."
DALE EARNHARDT: "We didn't get the lugnuts tight and had to come back in to the pits. Then we got a vibration in the car and had to come back in again. That's the way it goes sometimes. You've just got to forget about it and go on to the next race. I think the 1 car [Rick Mast] spun the 98 [Jeremy Mayfield] and I ran into the back of the 15 [Dick Trickle]. Everybody jammed on the brakes. There wasn't anything anyone could do. I think honestly that helped our car. It helped to push the front end down. It shut off the grille and made the front end more aerodynamic. It made the car turn better in the middle. We didn't have the horsepower off the corners. We just weren't as strong as we could have been. We had a good motor but maybe the wrong gear. We had a good time racing Rusty [Wallace]. It was a good race all in all. It was just one of those days."
STERLING MARLIN: "It didn't drive and the motor didn't run. We swapped motors yesterday, and this one didn't run as well as the other one. It was just a combination of things. We got a good finish out of it, but we probably would have been better off if it had stayed green. We would have probably finished fifth or sixth, but we couldn't run on new tires. After 40 or 50 laps, we could run the same speed as the leaders but they were gone by then. We lost the points lead, but that's all right. The season's barely half over. We've got a lot of racing left."
TERRY LABONTE: "We didn't have a bad day. We were better early in the race. It seemed like when the track got more rubber on it later in the day, I wasn't as good. I couldn't find the line I needed to really go good. We just put two tires on that last pit stop like everybody else, but my car picked up a little bit of push in the center. I thought I was going to get Mark [Martin] for third, but I ran out of laps. We knew we had to stop for tires, at least right-side tires there at the end. I didn't see where anybody had a big advantage over anybody else today as far as manufacturers are concerned. It was going to be a heck of a race for second if that last caution flag hadn't come out. Second through fifth or sixth was really getting bunched up. If they're going to make another rule change, they need to make the lapped cars start on the outside. We had a good run last time at Pocono, and we're anxious to go back up there next week. Jeff [Gordon] had a problem and we won the race, but we're taking the same car back. Hopefully, we can qualify a little better and improve on the way we did run. The track does change a little bit for the second race. It's hotter and slicker. Sometimes the setup you have for the first race doesn't work for the second one. It was good to see Jeff win today and take the points lead. If we can't win the race or the title, I hope he does. I'm sure he's anxious to get back to Pocono, too. I'll bet he doesn't miss a shift this time.
MORGAN SHEPHERD: "We weren't bad today. We had some tires that made our car tight, and we were going to loosen it up, but then we put on another set and then we were pretty good. So we never really made any adjustments. Our Citgo Thunderbird ran awful good. I want to thank the Lord for this today. We had a good, safe race, and I feel like we almost won this thing here.
MARK MARTIN: "That's a good run for us. The track changed real bad throughout the day and we were real good at the start, but it slipped away from us. The track changed just real dramatic throughout the the day. The sealant that they put on the track wore through and instead of running on the sealer, after we ran for a while, we were running on the old asphalt. It just completely changed the track and our set-up was off after that."
RICKY RUDD: "We had a good run. One of our guys on the crew [Keith Koldsdeck, right rear tire changer], his wife had a baby Friday and he didn't come up and that hurt us in the pits all day. We kept losing track position. We didn't have anything for Jeff at the end, anyway, but I think we could've finished second or third instead of fifth. But I'm not unhappy finishing fifth today. We'll take it. We just couldn't get the track position after our pit stops. But it was a good day. We needed to get some good finishes, some top-fives first and then we can worry about the wins."
RUSTY WALLACE: "I had a great race car today. It was wonderful. Halfway through the race, three-quarters, I was sitting there running second and I thought I had him beat. I went in the corner and the car slid around a little bit and Earnhardt got underneath me. When he did, a bunch of cars freight-trained me. Ricky Rudd drove into the side of me and just about tore the left front fender off the thing. When that happened, I had to pit to get the fender fixed. And that was it. Then we put a set of tires on at the very end and the stagger was all mismatched and the car got loose. We should've just stayed and put two tires on the right side. That's what we should have done, but we didn't. We put on four tires and it bit us. But it was my fault, because I made the call for four tires."
TED MUSGRAVE: "We have to be happy with a top-10 finish today. Loudon's a nice race track, but it's a one-groove track as everybody can see. It's awful tough to pass. The guy in front of you has to mess up or have the most god-awful motor in order for you to pass him. Track position meant a lot. And we didn't qualify real great this week and I think that hurt us. We salvaged a top-10 out of it. We weren't ultra fast today, but we were consistent. I just need to see if I can't qualify hotter next time I come back and not start so far back. Last year, I remember qualifying sixth and ran in the front and didn't have any trouble. Starting back where I did, the cars in the back would hold you up. Lapped cars are hard to get around, too. We had to work hard for this top-10. We were just talking in the front lounge and Howard [Comstock, crew chief] said, 'Well, that's another top-10 finish.' And I said, 'Yeah, but it almost feels bad to get a top-10 after finishing in the top-five these last few races.' Not getting a top-five today has us almost crying, but really, another top-10 means we've got 10 top-10s in the last 16 races. It's a points day and I've seen championships won that way. I don't think we're going to win the championship, but I do want to stay in the top-five and this is the way to do it."
JOHN ANDRETTI: "I thought the guys did a really good job of putting a good car out there. These weren't the best of circumstances since Tim Brewer couldn't get up here until this morning [Brewer's wife was injured in a July 4th accident on the lake]. But everybody worked hard all weekend. The KMart/Little Caesars Ford ran really well and we thought we were going to finish at least in the top-eight and maybe even fifth or sixth. With 15 laps to go, we lost the brakes. Those last laps weren't a lot of fun."
--------------- Misc. News & Tidbits --------------- In the July 3rd issue of AutoWeek, a photograph of the #02 Papa John's Pizza pit shows a baseball bat on top of the tool box. The caption, of course, makes reference to Michael Watrip.
------------------------- Rumor DuJour a.k.a the Silly Season ------------------------- In the seemingly never ending story of Pontiac's Search for Excitement: Ricky Rudd has told Pontiac "no thank you" for the offer to switch from Ford to a Pontiac next year, but Pontiac still continues to pursue talks with several other Ford teams.
After seven years of winless racing, apparently Pennzoil & Bahari Racing are not too pleased with Michael Waltrip's few seconds of boxing fame. With all the bad press, it has been reported that Bahari racing is already talking to other drivers as a replacement with the leading contender being Johnny Benson Jr. (Looks like Johnny is getting alot of attention these days.)
The Kranefuss-Haas team is looking to expand to add a second car, with Jeff Burton or Kenny Schrader as two possible drivers mentioned.
An old rumor with a new twist surfaced regarding Dale Earnhardt starting his own WC team next year, with now the possibility of hiring the "potentially rideless Iron Mike" Waltrip as driver. Dale will reportedly stay on as driver with Childress for atleast another year or so.
And, in the continuing saga of Kenny Bernstein's #26 Quaker State team, rumor has it that drag racing's Don "The Snake" Prudhome is looking to buy the #26 team. This rumor is predicated upon Don's recently aquired NASCAR license, but Don has good relations with Pontiac, so he may just start his own team.
Oh yes, the rumor about Kyle Petty leaving the #44 Sabates/Mello Yello team has surfaced again. No details or reasons.
----------------- World Wide Web News ----------------- Ford now has a home, on the net that is. Unfortunately, no racing news yet, though there is alot of historical information and a really neat dealer locator. The URL of Ford's home page is: http://www.ford.com/
Happy Motoring :-) =Ken=
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