RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Avenger) "The Alltel Dodge was pretty good. We knew that we were good enough to get track position with the disadvantage. With two tires or with fuel only and that was okay. I wasn't mad about that, but I wish we...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Avenger)
"The Alltel Dodge was pretty good. We knew that we were good enough to get track position with the disadvantage. With two tires or with fuel only and that was okay. I wasn't mad about that, but I wish we just had that extra little speed so we could get on everyone else's strategy. You know, being able to take two tires when everybody takes two, or take four when they take four. We're getting closer to that. It's just a matter of time. To have a top-five finish is great. To build on another top-five finish, that's two in a row, that's really great. I don't know if we've done that all year, so to finish up at leas two out of three would be great."
YOU HAVE FINISHED AS THE TOP DODGE DRIVER IN THE COT MORE THAN ANY OTHER DRIVER. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE MADE GAINS SINCE EARLIER IN THE SEASON? "I think both Penske teams have been good all year with the Car of Tomorrow. We haven't had the greatest finishes, but we've been competitive. Hopefully we can build on that for next year in the Car of Tomorrow on those short tracks, but more importantly have a leg up on the intermediate tracks."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger)
"We had a good run with the Miller Lite Dodge. It was just a little too tight in one spot and a little too loose in another spot. So all in all we'll chalk it up as a year of experience with the COTs. We have some more work to do."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Siemens Dodge Avenger)
"We have to run the back of the car so loose just to get the front to turn. That's been our problem with the COT all season. We haven't hit on the combination at this point. The 9 team has worked hard on the new car and we will get things sorted out. I'm confident we will figure it out. We got the car close a couple of times, but when we put on a new set of tires with no adjustments, the handling went away. We have one more shot at closing out the season on a positive note and then we'll turn our focus to 2008 and solving this handling issue."
RODNEY CHILDERS (Team Director, No. 19 Siemens Dodge Avenger)
"I thought we had a better car than that today. It shows we have a lot of work to do with this car during winter testing. We've made gains, but there's still work to do."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/Lifetime Powertrain Warranty Dodge Avenger)
"Right there I just hit the wall. Today was frustrating. We got into it with a couple other cars earlier and the car wasn't where we wanted it to be. It was time for the day to be over."
WHY DID YOU WALK BACK TO THE CARE CENTER? "I wanted to walk. I don't know."
SAM HORNISH, JR. (No. 06 Mobil 1 Dodge Avenger)
HOW DID THE DAY GO? "It was a long day for sure, but I was pretty happy with the car. We started out intentionally started out a little bit tight and then we got a pretty long run there at the beginning where we lost a lap and we never could get where we needed to be as far as that. I had a lot of fun out there. The Mobil1 Dodge ran well all day. The driver's obviously lacking a little bit right now; still learning as much as I can. I am just glad I didn't take anyone out or hit anything. We'll go into Miami with one race under my belt and a little bit less of a rookie, I guess.
HOW DOES THIS HELP YOUR CONFIDENCE? "I just wanted to go out there and finish the race. I said a couple times finishing in the top 30 would be a pretty good day as far as I was concerned. I guess we hit it right on the head. It could have been better; had a couple problems in the pits but I'm a little bit rusty as far as race experience. It's been two months since I ran this long of a race. It's been a little tough. It's probably the longest I've ever ran in one of these cars with all the heat; I drank probably ten bottles throughout the day and still feel dehydrated. So, we'll keep working on it."
DOES A STOCK CAR WORK THE DRIVER HARDER THAN AN OPEN WHEEL CAR? "If you're going to do it one lap or two laps, the IRL car, I believe, is a lot more physical. This is very demanding because of the temperatures that you face in the car, the amount that you are doing as far as footwork, plus you have 43 other cars so there is nowhere to really relax. There's nowhere, even the last 40 laps, only about the last five laps was I ever in a rhythm where you were just kind of running by yourself and able try new things. Most of the other time you were in traffic, right on the edge of your seat and your heart rate goes up right there so every thing seems a little harder at that point. The physical effort of driving these cars is very much because it's like you're doing in a sauna. But, one or two laps, the Indy car is more demanding."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY? WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD LEARN TODAY? "I've known for awhile that I've got to learn and I've said it a lot. It's throwing everything that you've learned over the past couple of years out the window. Driving the Busch car is totally different as much as it's similar it's a lot different. It's just so much different than the Busch car even, because the quality of the competitor. Everybody's a past champion of something. Daytona 500 winners and past champions go home every week, it's tough. That's why I like the challenge of it and hopefully I'll continue to get better and hopefully someday be a winner."
WHAT WAS YOUR PLAN TODAY? "Obviously I had two main goals today. A was to not get into an accident with Jimmie or Jeff and B was not to get into an accident with Kurt or Ryan. I should say they were both my number one concern. Either way I was going to be in a lot trouble if I had any problems with any of those four guys. So, I did my best not to get in the way. The other thing was that important to me was to get as many laps as I could. I wanted to bring it home and say that we got the maximum we could get that day and not that I ran into the wall on lap two and was done."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 10 Valvoline/Sears Auto Center Dodge Avenger)
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU GOT THIS WEEKEND? "Everybody told me advice from the team and Ray (Evernham). The two that helped the most were Jimmy Kitchens and Kenny Schrader. I qualified because of what Kenny Schrader said on Friday. That's what got me in the show and how to do it."
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU LEARNED TODAY? "It's so hard. You have to be so smooth that it's almost impossible. You have to go in hard and then get off the throttle. You abuse the car and then as soon as you do that for 10 laps you are done. The car just slides. Every time they put new tire on I was like yeah this is good. Oh I got it. I get the picture. Then 10 laps later I was back to battling the car."
HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO COME IN FOR A PIT STOP? "It was hard. I mean the guys did a good job. They have been nice all weekend. They have been great. We took the last pit so it was easier for me. I had good power I must admit. The car was pretty good on that. I just couldn't get out of the corner. I was just coming in too fast all weekend and I was trying to adjust in the race. It's so hard. There are no computers, no nothing. You have got to count on what the car does and half the time I am right and half the time I'm not for now. That's what's hard."
YOU SAID BEFORE THE RACE THAT IF YOU WERE STILL RUNNING AT THE END OF THE RACE THAT IT WOULD BE CONSIDERED A SUCCESS. DOES THAT STILL HOLD TRUE? "I'm very happy. I'm not happy with the speed for sure, but we ran all day. It's the first race, I did one at Cayuga with cars that have half the power and were one-tenth the length of this race, but it's the first time that I've done that. I'm pretty happy. Kenny said if you do 310 laps today you've achieved a really good weekend, so we did it. I just want to be nice with the guys. I didn't want to be in anybody's way. I gave a lot of hand waves to go by, and that is important for future races."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Avenger)
YOU IMPROVED FROM THE WAY YOU RAN HERE IN THE SPRING. "I guess this is a really bad track for Ganassi. I don't know why. We struggled all day with the car pretty tight and when we tried to free it up it was really loose off and could never find a good balance. But hey, that's the way it goes. Generally we've been pretty good. This is generally a bad car for us [smiles]. But hey, that's the way it goes."
DID THE TRACK IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE RACE? HALF THE TRACK WAS IN SHADE AND THE OTHER HALF IN SUNLIGHT. "We had the same problems all day long. We were good in a short run and really bad in long run."
DID YOU RACE WITH SOME OF THE OPEN WHEEL GUYS TODAY? "They were pretty good. It's hard to judge them after a race."
-credit: dodge motorsports