KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: HOW GOOD WAS YOUR RACE CAR DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY? "I don't know if it was the best race car out there, but she was fast. But, when the sun went away, we got bad. The antennae was broke off,...
KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
HOW GOOD WAS YOUR RACE CAR DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY?
"I don't know if it was the best race car out there, but she was fast. But, when the sun went away, we got bad. The antennae was broke off, so I couldn't talk to them and we had a real hard time making changes after that."
YOU WERE GREAT ON LONG RUNS TODAY, BUT THEN AT THE END WE SAW A BUNCH OF CAUTIONS...
"That didn't do us a bit of good. I hated to see them. We didn't need any part of that. I needed long green [runs]."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
SAME, OLD DARLINGTON?
"Same, old Darlington. We thought we were going to be pretty good. Then we started off not as good as we wanted, but James [Ince] made some great calls and we got the car pretty dang good. At the end, we went with kind of a conservative deal and it was fine. It was probably the way to go, but looking back, maybe we would have tried something different. That's just a tough deal."
"With the new tire that Goodyear has come out with for places like Darlington, Rockingham and all that, it's been a pretty good. Obviously, you're still going to come in the pits every time the yellow comes out. But at the end of the race there are still some decisions you've got to deal with. But, I think it's been great."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON PICKING UP A TOP FIVE AFTER THE LAST LAP, MULTI-CAR INCIDENT
"We finally got a break. I don't know if we deserved it or not, but it was just one of those situations. We got caught up in the wreck and I just turned it to the right, and it was just like Saturday night, short track racing. I just stood on the gas and got lucky enough to drive out of it. It was just one of those weird deals.
"It's nice to finally be on the receiving end of a break instead of the giving end for somebody else. It ended up alright."
DID YOU THINK YOU WERE FINISHED AT THAT POINT?
"I thought we were wrecked. But, I guess the way the cars stacked up there it kept us all from going around any further. I just got back in the gas as early as I could and tried to drive down away from everybody. Once I got away from everybody I kind of got straightened up and went on. There was a little bit of luck involved there."
HOW GOOD WAS YOUR CAR?
"We were about a 10th place car at the end. We kept working on it. We had a really good car at the beginning - a car that was just as good as the leaders. But, we got tight in the middle of the race and could not get it freed up anymore than what we did. It just made for a long day."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON NASCAR RED-FLAGGING THE RACE WITH NINE LAPS TO GO
"I had gotten passed by Ward [Burton] right before that. If we could have run under yellow it probably would have helped me out a little bit, if we could have run like that a while. But knowing what the situation was, I guess it's probably a good thing that they did. There was a lot of mess on the front straightaway. It (red-flagging an event near the end) is pretty much standard anymore, like Jeff [Gordon] said. We came home third, which, I haven't had a top five I guess since [winning at] Pocono, and I hadn't one before that since July 4 (Daytona). We had a great run all day. We would have liked to have finished second, but we would have had to have run under yellow to do that probably. Those guys in the back probably have got a little something else to say, because the guys that got torn up, it kind of hurt their chances - if they hadn't gotten torn up like that."
THERE'S BEEN SO MUCH TALK ABOUT THE AERO PUSH, BUT THERE WAS A LOT OF PASSING TODAY. DID RUNNING A HIGH LINE HELP YOU AT ALL?
"I didn't run as high as these guys did. He (Gordon) runs a lot different line than I do and there is only one line here, and I think he's got the right one and I've got the wrong one. But, I made mine work better for me today.
"Probably here, the tires give up so much that you're just kind of sliding all over the racetrack. It's not like a grippy racetrack like Michigan and other places where it's like Indianapolis, where it's flatter, where the aero push might be a little bit more critical. It might be more effective here for the first few laps, but then after a while, you don't worry about it. You worry about air - trying to make sure there is enough air between you and the wall. That's about all you worry about."
ON THE PASS THAT WARD BURTON MADE ON YOU FOR THE LEAD
"He got a run on me off of four and he passed me down the front straightway. I pulled a typical 'try to break his momentum' [deal]. I didn't break it, so I pulled back to the right and was going to try to pass him back going into one. Just as it happened when we got into one, they wrecked off of four, so the caution comes out. I raced into two, underneath him a little bit, but I was only to his left rear tire. There is no way I could have gotten by him, or we would have wrecked, so I just backed off. He had already beat me at that point. He was fair and square and everything was perfect on his part. What he did was right."
ON THE PROBLEMS YOU HAD DURING 'HAPPY HOUR'
"It's still a mystery. We still haven't found that, yet, but it sure did seem like something broke. We changed the gear and after that it was OK. For whatever reason, if the springs weren't right in the ratchet or something, and it broke loose - it sure did seem like it. If not, I need to take it easy I guess when I leave pit road next time. For whatever reason, it did it yesterday. It didn't do it all day today. We came back after yesterday. The car really wasn't that good. We didn't get many laps on the track after that happened. We changed some stuff this morning and found something a little bit better than we had yesterday."
ON BURTON WINNING FROM 37TH JUST AS YOU DID LAST YEAR HERE
"Prior to qualifying they were pretty fast. I know they had trouble in qualifying and started to 37th, but they were fast throughout the day. He's always run good here. Yeah, starting at the back is a disadvantage, I guess, in some ways. But with qualifying, you might not have the best pit stall or the one you want anyway. But at the same time, when they went through practice yesterday - I didn't seem them on the track that much - but, I suppose they were pretty good. Even though they were starting 37th, I'm sure they thought they could win the race. It was no different than us last year, at the same time. The only thing they did, was they used the same car instead of a backup car."
ON HOW SLICK THIS TRACK CAN BE
"Coming off of turn four on the bottom - that is about where I ran most of the day - it's good when you've got good forward bite, but if you lose a little bit, you slide up and you've got to be real careful not to get into them. It's pretty typical here, especially after a few laps and the tires get some laps on them and the car loses grip. It's typical Darlington, I guess. It's kind of one groove, basically, until you try to pass and then it's still one groove. You just try to pass in a real short period of time."
ON WARD BURTON WINNING THE SOUTHERN 500
"Ward runs good and Bill Davis' team, they needed a good break. They had a strong car all day. It's ironic that they started 37th and we started 37th last year, so that's kind of strange. But at the same time, they do run good here. Ward always runs good here. He ran good in the Busch car all the time and the Cup car --- no matter which one he drove. Again, it was just their day. They had a little bit better car than we did towards the end. They definitely had everything in the right place at the right time."
WAS IT FUN TODAY TO BE IN THE MIX ALL DAY LONG?
"I think so. At least we were racing today, which wasn't typical for us this year as much as we'd like to see it. We haven't had the top fives that we'd like to have. Today we ran in the top five, I guess, 80 percent of the day, for the most part. That was really good that we had that all day. Coming down to the end with a few laps to go it was like, 'Hey, it's been a good day. We might not win, but we're pretty happy with our day, totally.'"