FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400 July 3, 1999 Daytona International Speedway Tonight's victory by Dale Jarrett in the Pepsi 400 marked the eighth victory of the season for Ford, most of any manufacturer in 1999.
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400 July 3, 1999 Daytona International Speedway
Tonight's victory by Dale Jarrett in the Pepsi 400 marked the eighth victory of the season for Ford, most of any manufacturer in 1999. In addition, it was the first win for Taurus at Daytona International Speedway in a points race in its third attempt. Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin drove Tauruses to victory in the Bud Shootout each of the last two years. Ford increased its manufacturer's lead to 12 points over Chevrolet. Ford has 120 points compared to 108 for Chevrolet and 95 for Pontiac.
58 LOY ALLEN, JR. - Turbine Solutions Taurus - "Right now we're just hitting the race track. We need to change some things to get it to where it's better there. Going through the corners with it doing what it's doing, there's no use staying out there when you're that bad. I needed to come in and try to fix it considering where we were running at and stuff. I think right now if we can just get it to not hit the cross-member a little bit, I think that will help us a lot. Everybody is running them so low and trying to get them on the ground, but I think we're just gonna try some different shocks and different front springs. Other than that, we're OK but we just need to get it better. If we can just learn something here and then take it to Talladega."
2 RUSTY WALLACE - Miller Lite Taurus - "That was unreal. I can't believe that. I was sitting there running second and had a run on the leader and I looked up and I thought Dale (Earnhardt) would go with me and stayed up high and hung me out to dry. I couldn't believe it. I thought of all guys he'd help me. Then I went from second back to 11th because of that, but, hey, that's racin'. We had a great car today, led a lot of laps and that's it. I thought I had it today. I really thought I had it easy today and it just didn't happen. It's a bad deal. It's another one of those deals where you lead all those laps and come up with a big disappointment at the end. I couldn't run up on the high side at all because the car was so pushy up there. That shuffled us back several times, but we had a strong enough car to get back up there and lead. We didn't need that last caution...that's for sure."
6 MARK MARTIN - Eagle One Taurus - "I don't know, I didn't do a very good job. I feel really bad. We were running 13th with 10 to go and finished 17th, so that's not how I want to race. I feel pretty bad about it. The Eagle One team, these Valvoline guys, they were awesome today and I would have just liked to have gotten them a better finish, but it's over with now and I'm glad. It hurt. It hurt a lot." COMING FROM THE BACK. "We were right on the bubble of coming to get tires or not coming to get tires. I was a little bit afraid of coming to get tires and then having to race wild back there. I was afraid of having a wreck and, sure enough, I guess they did have a wreck. I was lucky to get through that one and we'll just take this lump and go on with and try to do better next time."
99 JEFF BURTON - Exide Batteries Taurus -- "We came through there under that green flag stop. We knew we were giving up a little bit of track position to do it, but we thought it would pay off in the long run and, sure enough, a caution came out and we had a huge benefit because of it. It was a great call by Frankie (Stoddard, crew chief)." WERE YOU TIGHT, LOOSE? "We were everything. I'd get in the corner and think it was gonna be loose and it would push. It was just real slippery tonight."
28 KENNY IRWIN - Texaco Havoline Taurus - "That's not bad. I thought we were gonna have a terrible race there at the end and that caution came out and we were pretty good. In the middle of the race we were loose in and tight off and I just couldn't stay with them. I couldn't hold it on the mat and that's why we kind of got behind, but it didn't work out that bad." WHAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY AT THE END? "We were just gassing and going. I can see some other guys didn't. We ended up taking tires on that very last caution and that's what got us back up there. Considering we were 26th with eight laps to go to finish 14th is pretty good."
9 JERRY NADEAU - Cartoon Network Taurus - "We were terrible. The car was just terrible. We were tight all night long and then coming in the pits the transmission locked in fourth gear and we had to ride it out. That's all she had."
66 DARRELL WALTRIP - Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus - "My car hydroplaned all night. That's the only way I know how to explain it. I don't know. It was never down on the ground and in traffic it was just miserable to drive. I just had a bad night. We just missed it somehow -- shocks, springs, bar, gear, motor, body, driver -- somewhere along the way we just missed it."
88 DALE JARRETT - Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus - "It would have been awful close (on gas). I think we could have made it because being out front I could kind of dictate what was going on and I think we would have made it, but they cut it awful close there." THE DECISION NOT TO TAKE TIRES. "Todd had told me about 10 laps before we were gonna pit what our plans were and I agreed totally. It seemed our car was awful good later on older tires and some other guys started sliding around. We didn't slide around as much, so I was all for that -- to take a chance. That's just a gamble, but everything is and they made a great pit stop and a great call. The car was just terrific, it drove fantastic." MIDWAY THROUGH THE RACE IT DIDN'T LOOK LIKE THE CAR COULD WIN. "I wasn't sure. It would start off really good on new tires and then it would kind of go away from me a little bit. I would get to sliding in the front and it would actually get me loose off the corner. Then after we ran 15 more laps the car would come back in, so I was just kind of riding then, just sitting there biding my time waiting for the right opportunity and things came along and went our way."
10 RICKY RUDD - Tide Taurus - "We got behind a little bit, the chassis went away. I didn't want to give the lead up, but I was sliding to the top of the race track pretty bad, so I said, 'Well, we'll just wait and get it worked out later and come back.' We ran decent and I think it was one of our better runs we've had all year. If the caution hadn't come out at the end we were gonna finish eighth, so that would have been good."
12 JEREMY MAYFIELD - Mobil 1 Taurus - "I'm not sure what happened there at the end. I was kind of tight and I was turning, turning, turning and, next thing I know, I've turned all the way around. I don't know if somebody got into me or what. All I know is I was running through the fourth turn, headed to the start-finish line and, all of a sudden, I was aimed at the Goodyear building. We got a lot of oil on our windshield at the start of the race and that cost us. By the first 10 laps the car in front of us had covered our windshield and I could barely see. I had to back off. That cost us track position and we had to play catch-up the rest of the night."
JEFF BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE TALK ABOUT YOUR PIT STOP UNDER GREEN. "We took on two tires under green. My car had gotten to where I couldn't run wide open in the corners by any means, so Frank decided to put on two under green. The 24 and myself, we were struggling to stay with the lead pack. We thought the worst that would come by taking two was we might lose one or two spots under green, but the positive outlook was if we did get a caution we wouldn't have to pit. We thought some other people, really to be as good as they needed to be, would need to pit but wouldn't because they'd lose so much track position. Frank did just a great job of calling that race. That strategy was perfect and I'm proud of him for making that call." TALK ABOUT HAVING TO COME FROM THE BACK AGAIN? "These races are long, 400 miles is a long time. I think we were running 15th in three or four laps. If you get in the right line here, you can roll toward the front. If you get in the wrong line you're going to the back. My car was fast enough where starting in the back didn't really hurt it any. Sometimes it's almost an advantage to start in the back at a restrictor plate race because you've got momentum coming to the front and some guys don't, so they check up and you can get by them pretty easy. We get down when we don't qualify well because it's part of what we want to do well, but we don't let it ruin our weekend. We don't say, 'Well, we qualified poorly, so we can't win the race.' We just don't have that mental outlook. We feel like wherever we qualify, if we get our car ready to race and it drives well, we'll have a chance to win and where we qualify doesn't mean anything." WERE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT MECHANICAL PROBLEMS? "To say I'm not nervous about mechanical problems would be a lie. Even though we do have good reliability at Roush Racing, we have had a string of some mechanical problems that has made the last week especially very stressful around our shop. Through adversity people try harder to fix and sometimes we can try too hard. We're trying hard not to try too hard. I'm proud of everybody on my team. Everybody was down this week. We just didn't have a good week at all, but to come here and get a top five finish and, hopefully, get ourselves on track was big. When we look back on it at the end of the year, we might say this was a turning point for us. We had a lot of momentum lost. We had a lot of down people in the shop. I was down, Jack was down, Frank was down and, hopefully, this will help pick us back up and get us headed in the right direction." DID YOU GET TO RUN WITH WARD TONIGHT? "I ran with Ward quite a bit. I was hardly ever right behind him, but it seemed Ward, John Andretti and myself ran together a lot tonight. We're all friends, brothers and all that stuff, so that was pretty neat. I'm glad to see Ward have a good finish, but he's been kind of like us. He's been running well, but having bad finishes at Sears and Pocono. He's run better than his finishes indicate, so I'm glad to see them finish well also." COULD YOU HAVE GONE WITHOUT TWO TIRES? "When tires cool down you never know what they're gonna do. I had the confidence with two tires to make it four-wide going through the tri-oval on the outside, which enabled me to put myself in position to make it three-wide the next lap and get myself into third or fourth spot. The two tires gave me the confidence that the car would stick and I had no confidence that the car was gonna stick before that. I think two tires, mentally, was big and it made the car drive better." WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THE CAUTION? "You don't ever know. I was committed to go with Earnhardt. We both had on two tires. The 88 did not put on tires, so I was committed to going with the 3 car. The other thing was the 31 was behind me and I really thought with as much press that's been going on with the 3 and 31 not working together on the superspeedway that, wherever the 3 would go the 31 would go. So, I decided that I was gonna go with the 3 in hopes the 31 would go with me and help the 3. That was my thought process. I would have driven straight off the end of a cliff if that's where the 3 car would have gone. I was committed to going with him and that's what I would have done."
21 ELLIOTT SADLER - Citgo Taurus - "We had a great race car, just inexperience on a pit stop put us way behind and we had to play catch up. I shouldn't put my guys in that kind of a predicament, but to come in 17th-18th and have to restart 30-something is something I've gotta work on. I was just trying to gain too much speed down pit road and lost it, but at least we came away on the lead lap. Jack Roush's fuel mileage saved us there. I just thank them for that. We came away with a good clean car. We could have wrecked it there at the end. We missed that wreck and came away with a pretty decent finish."
DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE "We won. We had a good car all night. I wasn't real sure at the beginning. We started out pretty good and, of course we were in the outside line, and about 15 laps into the race the car started to really slide the front end. I got concerned that I was gonna be in real trouble and I worked my way and got down to the bottom and I wasn't sure that was any better. We ran about 15 laps like that and then all of a sudden the car started coming back in. It got really fast going through the corners, so we actually went up and took the lead before we made the first stop. I wasn't sure if that was a characteristic of the car at that time or if it was just the race track. The next set of tires did kind of the same thing, so we were having a difficult time knowing exactly what to adjust because I couldn't afford to adjust too much for sliding the front because I could also get loose. Todd made some tire pressure adjustments on the car and, again, I knew kind of what to expect from the car. We got ourselves in good shape and new at the end of runs we could be back up front. One time I was trying to take the lead and got myself in a real mess. I actually put myself in the middle, which wasn't smart. But I think everybody did such a good job of giving guys breaks when they would get in the middle. I think a lot of that came from Rusty Wallace saying something in the driver's meeting about if we get in that situation it's not the end of the world. Give somebody a little bit of a break and we'll all finish a lot better and have a finish and won't have to worry about having a wreck, and guys did that. I was able to get back in line and with a fast car once I did that I knew that I could get back to the front. I just had to bide my time. I asked what our plans were to pit and Todd told me and I agreed that we didn't need to put tires on because that was really when our car was getting good again. He said we were gonna come in and put four seconds worth of fuel in and that's about as quick of four seconds...if they had that in the NBA they wouldn't have gotten a shot off in that four seconds, but it worked out. That got us the lead. Rusty and them made a good stop, but that got us out just in front of him and then we were able to stretch it out a little and having cautions. I'm sure we would have made it anyway. The guys racing behind me were actually letting me save fuel because I was able to come out of the throttle a little bit because I didn't want them to get too much of a run on me. So that was allowing me to actually save a little bit of fuel while we were racing there the last few laps. It's hard to say, I know the question is gonna come, 'Would we be able to win if the caution wouldn't have come out.' I don't think things would have been any different because what I could see behind me was that Earnhardt wasn't getting much of a push from anybody, so I was able to keep him kind of where I needed to keep him. Our car was fast enough down the straightaway and off the corners is really where it was fast. I don't think things would have been any different, but it was a fun race to be a part of. It had to be fun to watch I think with the swapping of the lead and with no accidents." WHAT ABOUT YOUR POINTS LEAD? "Obviously, we could finish last in the next race and Bobby could win and we'd still be leading the points. That's a nice feeling to have, but I think it's an even better feeling to know that we can go race and race hard and try to win some races. That will put more pressure on those guys to perform. I think the last five or six weeks have shown us what we needed to know about these Tauruses and that we're gonna run pretty good at most places. We've got a lot of confidence right now. Things may blow up in our face, but we're gonna go to Loudon next week and try to win that race and show on one-mile flat tracks that we're pretty good too. As far as getting conservative, I don't think that's gonna happen. We want to get as big a lead as we can and enjoy it. Hopefully, the end of the season will get here soon."
TODD PARROTT, Crew Chief -- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- WHAT ABOUT THE GAS AND GO? "Having confidence in what you do, if you've got total confidence in what you do and are sure about it, more times than not you're gonna win. I said four seconds and someone said we were only there for 2.2 seconds, so it would have been close. But we won. We didn't run out of gas and I guess we had enough gas."
DALE JARRETT CONTINUED -- DID YOU RUN ON THE APRON TO CONSERVE GAS? "I was just being careful, making sure. Riding on the bank that slow gives the fuel plenty of time to go away from the pickup that's over on the right side of it and we just didn't want to take any chances. We felt we had enough fuel, especially under caution, to make it, but there's no sense in taking a chance in having the thing burping and running out or something for a split second and then being hard to crank up. We felt we had enough, we were just being cautious there. You can't be too careful when you're in a situation like that, but, again, I think we had plenty of fuel to finish under green, if it would have come to that. I lost sight of the pace car. I was trying to look away because we have a fuel light and fuel pressure gauge and I didn't want to see either one of them. I was looking away and by looking away and wanting to get around there as quick as I could, I just lost sight of the pace car for a minute. I wanted him to be running at the speed he was supposed to be running. When you get down there, it's hard to turn your head up and look up 31 degrees of banking and see exactly, but I really didn't want to look to the right. If that light would have come on, that wouldn't have been good." WOULD YOU LIKE TO FINISH UNDER YELLOW OR GREEN? "The understanding from Richmond was that there was a lot of oil on the race track and it was just gonna create another bad situation if we continued, and for them to get the track cleaned up properly it needed to be red-flagged. This, there was some debris there and there was no reason to throw a red flag here tonight, but if we get that point and they want to say we're gonna do a green-white-checkered, then we need to make that rule to know that's what's gonna happen. Because this has worked the way that it has for so long, it's unfortunate that a great race like tonight comes down to that, but we were racing right to that lap anyway, so I don't think things are gonna be any different. I certainly didn't think they would throw a red flag there. I didn't see the first thing to throw the first caution, but apparently there was something on the race track. Some go for you and of them go against you. They told me at Richmond all these things would even out and I'm pretty happy with the way it's going so far." DID YOU THINK THE 2 CAR WAS THE ONE TO BEAT? "Rusty's car was awful good. They've really stepped their program up at Daytona and Talladega. I know he led the most laps in the 500 and they've run awful good. I knew that it was important for us, when we came out of the pits and he was still sitting there, and we kind of raced out of the pits once we got out, that it was important for me to be in front because he was gonna be hard to pass. It definitely looked like he was gonna be the guy to beat, but the 3 car most of the time to get himself in a position and when I saw him coming through the pack there towards the end, I was more concerned about him at that particular time. Earnhardt seems to get more help in situations like that because guys know he's going to the front, so they want to latch onto him to improve their position. It's not that people want to help him win, they want to help themselves improve their position, so he gets a lot of help in that way. When I saw that start happening, I knew he was gonna be a factor. Again, Rusty was a strong car and it was gonna be an interesting race there. I'm sure before long he's gonna win one of these, but we've got a good restrictor plate program too and, hopefully, we can continue to be up front." WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT KEEPING EARNHARDT AT BAY? "I know Robert Yates and Todd Parrott. That's about the best thing I can say. I've been fortunate to have good cars and I've been fortunate to get myself in the right position later in the race. A lot of what I know about drafting here comes from watching Dale Earnhardt. I've watched him. I've watched how he's maneuvering through traffic. I've watched how he's used the air to his advantage, so I've just been lucky to get in front of him late in races and that comes from having a good handling race car on a slick race track."