Sunday, June 20, 1999. Pocono Raceway. Pocono 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We all went down into the tunnel turn and things got jammed up there a little bit. The next...
Sunday, June 20, 1999. Pocono Raceway. Pocono 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes.
WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We all went down into the tunnel turn and things got jammed up there a little bit. The next thing I knew I got hit from behind and got turned around. It's unfortunate it had to happen that soon. It's too bad. At the start of these races things get jammed up over there, and I think it's like an accordion effect. The next thing I knew I was going sideways. We tore up a good race car. We'll get it back out, but it's no fun getting it back out and running like this. We had an opportunity to get to 15th in the points today, and we don't want to lose a whole lot. They'll get it fixed and we'll go out and stroke around until the end of the race."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Something broke inside the engine. I'm not sure what it was. It's a shame. We came here to Pocono, and my teammate sat on the pole. We thought we had a shot at the pole. I was just trying to ride there at the start, and I don't know what happened. Cars started spinning and I got into the back of Jeff Gordon a little bit and knocked the headlight cover in. We came in and fixed it and went back out running in the back. Came off of turn two and it started vibrating really bad. It broke something inside. It knocked the oil pan off of it. It's just a shame. We were pretty excited today. We thought our car was pretty good. It was just a tick on the loose side, but it was awesome. It drove up off the corner good, but when you have problems early it's really frustrating. I don't know what's going on. It's kind of a crazy day. You never know what's going to happen in racing. It's just another one of those days. We've got to get our luck turned around somehow. I don't know what happened at the start of that thing. Those guys were driving crazy. That's typical here at Pocono. They go nine wide on the first lap. It was nothing different today. Everybody is just trying to gain a position. It's pretty hard to pass here. You have to have some help, especially going down these straightaways. You have to have some help to pass. Guys are just going crazy. They're taking advantage of someone else being cautious."
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We've been slow. It was a learning experience for us today. We just missed the setup quite a bit. I wasn't too bad by myself, but I couldn't do anything in traffic. We'll evaluate and come back with a much better effort next time. I don't think the track is changing. It's really in pretty good shape. The clouds help. It's cool, and I think the speeds are pretty quick for a few guys. Unfortunately, we weren't one of 'em. I guess I'm tough on equipment. The right rear axle broke. The outer part on the right rear axle that drives the wheel, broke off. In my 45 years of racing, I started when I was five, I've never broken the end of an axle off like that. I've always said that if I race long enough, I will break every part that's put on a race car. I'm counting down. I'm getting close to that magic number. I guess there's a thousand parts that can break. At the rate I'm going, maybe by the end of the year, I will have this thing conquered."
DWAYNE LEIK (Business Manager No. 71 Realtree Monte Carlo) "He (Dave Marcis) took a hell of a hit, and he's just shaken up by the whole thing. He's got some cuts and ankle and chest stuff. It looks like he'll be all right, but he's kind of shaken up pretty good. They're taking him to Wilkes-Barre and we'll go up there and see what's going on tonight. He's a little sore, but I think he's all right. He's got a cut on his chin from his chin strap and his ankle's hurt. He hit it on the brake pedal. He's not real happy about the way it happened."
DAVID GREEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I'm not sure what happened, but she just wouldn't go anymore. It was the drive train or distributor or something like that. It did a good job up until then, but we had bad luck again today. I scraped the wall a little bit in turn three. It didn't do as much damage as I thought, but it knocked my fender in a little bit. It wasn't bad. This was my first time back here in a couple of years. It's a little bumpier down in turn one, but our car worked pretty decent. We qualified 22nd, and we were about a 30th-place car in Happy Hour on Saturday. Maybe we could have gained on that a little bit today, but we just weren't quite where we needed to be. I don't care what happens. When you fall out of them, it's not good. We'll get ready to go to the road course now."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "You try to respect each other's space, and you try to give the guy in front of you room on the restart. You know people are going to get tied together, and you know people are going to check up. It just wasn't a good deal, but stuff like that happens. When you're not great, like we were today, and you work all day long and work your way up to the top 10 with great pit stops and a great effort by the crew, and then just have someone mess up... Now we're going to finish 30 something. That's three of the last four races we haven't finished and three of the last four races we've had solid runs. "Restarts are tough. You know they're going to stack it in there. You know people are going to check up. The guy in front of me checked up and I checked up. Whoever was behind me ran over me wide open. He couldn't have hit me any harder. It's just disappointing because we ran 18th or 20th all day long. We kept working on the car and got it better and better. It was finally running and we got it toward the top 10. All that work, and now we're going to finish in the back. When you race steady and try to collect points, these kind of things just kill you. We didn't have a car capable of winning today, but we were smart and we were going to run close to the top 10. To get taken out just breaks my heart."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We wrecked it and got to running better. I got to messing with a slow car on the restart and ended up in the fence. It knocked the tow in out and the rear end was crooked. We came in and straightened it and it ran better than it did all day. The crew did a good job, and we qualified good. It was real loose early. We got it tightened up and it was OK. I don't know what happened after we wrecked it. It flattened the side out I guess and got the aerodynamics better. It was real good after we wrecked it. "We got lucky on that wreck. It's lucky we didn't come back across the track and two or three get us. It's a brand new car with an old-style chassis. I'd say we'd stick with it. We pulled the wrong ratio on our transmission for the restarts. I think it will give the team some momentum. We were good all day. We were off on the start. We were loose. Then we got behind and hit the fence, got behind, got behind, got behind. All the boys made the right call on getting track position, when to pit and when not to pit. "We were a little loose early. We had about a 10th-place car and we kept working getting it a little better. I got to messing with a slow car on the restart and got stuck in the fence. We got it fixed and kept working on it and it kept getting faster and faster. We were faster than we were all day at the end. Maybe we need to wreck 'em every time. I figured out just to lay way back and get a run at 'em on the restarts. We pulled the wrong ratio on the transmission and you'd get run over on the restarts. We'll put that in our notes and get it fixed. "We sat on the pole and ran fourth, so that's a pretty good weekend. We had a top-10 car early, but we were too loose to run good. We got it fixed at the end and it'd go. It wound up right for us. We needed the cautions today because we had to work on the car a lot. We got it better. We'll go to the house and get ready for Sears Point."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "I think we could have outrun a couple of cars in front of us, but we just got caught on those restarts. We raced all day. We just didn't get anywhere. I want to apologize to Johnny Benson. The 44 car and somebody hit or smoked or something happened up in front of him. He checked up a little bit and I got into him and turned him around. That's what caused that wrecked there at the end. It was a typical Pocono."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The car was good. We just pulled the wrong gear. We were conservative on the motor and they outgeared us all day. On old tires we were good. The pit crew did a great job all day. We very seldom lose spots anymore, and that's what it's all about. It's another top 10 finish, and we need it."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I had a really good car and some bad luck when I cut a tire at the start of the race. That's all there is to it. It's hard to make up a lap when guys are running as good as Labonte and them. We just had a bad break and a great car. You do what you've got to do. You race when it's time to race. It was times to race, so we ran hard and stayed out of everyone else's trouble at the end." Sunday, June 20, 1999. Pocono Raceway. Pocono 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 4.
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're happy. It's nice to be a little disappointed with a 13th-place run. These guys on the Pennzoil team have been working hard. We came off that great run last week. Then to come to Pocono for the first time and run 13th, we're pretty happy with that. We just couldn't get the handle on it. We'd either get it too tight or too loose. It seemed like some of these other guys that have run here before have a little better grip on what the track is going to do. My hat's off to my guys. They worked hard all day and all weekend long and 13th place ain't too bad. We just kept trying to free the car up all day. At one point we got it just a little bit too loose and it still wasn't turning good. We just need to go back and reevaluate what we did. It was my first time here, and I know a little more what I need in the race car now. We're sitting here disappointed with a 13th-place finish, but we would have been thrilled to death with it a month ago. These guys keep working hard and we're working together as a team. The longer we do that, the stronger we'll get. I'm pretty excited. Sears Point is another track I haven't been to, but I had a chance to go out there and test a formula car. I'm getting used to the track layout, but I'll have to get used to it with the Winston Cup car. I love road racing, so I'm looking forward to it. We didn't want to see the cautions today. We were really good on the long runs. It wasn't really that fast on the short runs. The cautions were kind of hurting us and getting us further behind. We had the car set up to go some long runs. You don't usually see that many cautions here. I think the cautions probably hurt us today. We can take what we learned this week. We're coming back in four weeks and we'll look to improve on that 13th-place finish."
JEFF GREEN (No. 01 TRACFONE Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I guess that was a pretty decent run for my first start of the season. We ended up with just third gear, so all those cautions really hurt when we had to pit. I tried just about everything I knew except putting it in reverse. We had some great pit stops and everybody really pulled together today. I can't wait for the next one."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) NOTE: Gordon scored his third straight runner-up finish. "I knew I was in trouble when I was out front to begin with. Spencer could get right on me and get me loose. I had to a bunch of guys go by. I was still racing him and he kind of drifted up. We touched in the tunnel turn and then I lost a bunch of positions. We had to come back from that. The car got real tight after that. I was back in traffic and I felt the car get real tight. I feel real good about coming back up there to second. "The last four laps after the restart were just wild and crazy. You've got to go hard. Most of us were on pretty old tires. I was worried about D.J. here. I knew he had fresher tires, and he looked real strong. I didn't think I was going to be able to hold him back. I knew on the restarts I was better than Mark, and I thought maybe I could get a run on him. I didn't know if it was going to be on the inside or outside. I got to the outside of him and I said, 'well, this would be one spot.' Then if D.J. comes up there, I might have to give up that one. Luckily we made a great effort to get up there and get close to Bobby. Bobby and I were kind of drafting and Dale was on his own and we were able to hold him off and finish second. I'm just glad I was watching the guys behind us and not stuck in that. It gets crazy on restarts here. "That first or second-lap incident, somehow Jeff Burton and somebody got tangled together there. Whoever was behind me ran right into the back of me and pushed me right on through it. Luckily, I didn't hit anybody. I never even saw how much damage there was. I knew there was a little bit because they were talking about it. I wanted some cautions at the beginning. There were some at the end I didn't want to see. Starting that far back and these guys were running hard. The leaders were fast today. It would have been impossible to run them down if we didn't get some cautions. "I think that team (18 team) has really jelled. They've really been putting a good program together. I think the Pontiac is strong right now. They're getting the most out of the Pontiac. If you look at the race car and ride behind it like I did today and several other times this year, they're making good horsepower and they're getting through the corners good. Bobby has always been a great driver. I remember running against him in the Busch cars when he was going for a championship. He's smart and uses head. I think we've been seeing it coming for awhile. We've got our hands full with him this year because he's running good and he's real consistent. "I don't know what that (potential shock problem) is. I'm going to talk to Ray about it. There was something going on there. The thing just wasn't acting right. We came in and it was better. I don't think we actually fixed whatever it was, but we were better. "Compared to some finishes we've had this year, I'll take second anytime, every weekend. Consistency is really what it's all about when you're running for championships. I'm happy we're finishing second right now. The only problem is we're finishing second to the wrong guys. The guys leading the points are the guys finishing ahead of us. You get as much as you can and you keep working hard and you hope that things fall your way. We keep putting our car in position now. We keep getting these good finishes and hopefully we'll get some more wins before the year is out. The way I look at the championship, we've got to keep doing what we've been doing the last two or three weeks, but as long as Dale and Bobby don't have any trouble or keep doing what they're doing, it'll be impossible. I don't want to wish them any bad luck or anything. It's part of the championship battle. When they've got that big of a lead on you, all you can do is get the best finishes. If they're finishing right there ahead of you or behind you, there's not a lot you can do with that. "He (Jimmy Spencer) got underneath me, and I got a little loose down in turn one. We were racing side by side in the straightaway going into the tunnel turn. I ran in there beside him and he drifted up and touched my left front and got my car sideways. I got out in the marbles and three or four cars drove by me. I was just happy I was still going straight and got it back together and the car started coming back to me after I got the tires cleaned off again. We started to make our way back up through there. "It's a total package race track. You've got to have good horsepower, good handling race cars, a driver that likes to adapt to three different types of turns and can be patient at times and be smooth and then know when to be aggressive."