WINSTON CUP; PONTIAC EXCITEMENT 400 KENNY WALLACE, NO. 27 GEICO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON HIS ENGINE FAILURE "This is not a devastating blow. It was a good day for us. We ran 17th or 18th all night. We had a pit stop there that got us down a...
WINSTON CUP; PONTIAC EXCITEMENT 400
KENNY WALLACE, NO. 27 GEICO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON HIS ENGINE FAILURE
"This is not a devastating blow. It was a good day for us. We ran 17th or 18th all night. We had a pit stop there that got us down a lap. But I'm really happy for Geico Auto Insurance. We ran real well. I'm not going to take any more negativity. We're pretty good. We just blew up. That is all there is to it."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
WHAT IS IT ABOUT RICHMOND?
"Dale Earnhardt taught me a lot about this place. I followed him a lot of laps here and he would just flat wear you out. You would think you were going to beat him and pass him and go on, and the next thing you would know he would run back on you, so you learned how to save your tires. You learned how to not abuse your equipment around here, so I learned a lot from him here."
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD A GOOD CAR?
"When we were following Rusty and Ricky, we knew we had a good car, but the top was so good there toward the end and the middle part of the race that you really had to be real good on the bottom to get by. Every time I kept racing Ricky, Rusty kept getting away. We finally just followed him a little while and made sure that we got caught back up. I tried to get Ricky to try to race Rusty a little early and couldn't get him to do it anymore, so I just had to try to save the car.
"We just rode around there for a couple laps and finally I got a really good run on Ricky. I noticed he was having a little problem with being a little bit tight in the center of the corner. We were cutting pretty good in the center of the corner at that time, so I made another run at him after we cooled the tires down and got by him. Then, the odds were a little better at that point to try to get around Rusty.
"It just shows 'Wider Is Better' after all. This Pontiac was great all night. The guys kept making adjustments on it all night. We had great pit stops. The 'WideTrack Attack' was fast tonight."
ON THE LAST CAUTION
"I didn't need to see that. The last two laps the car slid around all over the place. I tried to think of every restart I knew in the book and everything I've learned in 23 years on how to get a good restart with a couple laps to go like that. I think it worked.
"The last thing you want to see is a caution when you've got almost a straightaway lead. We hated to see that, but at the same time we had a really good car. I was just hoping that nobody would pit. I was hoping we could stay out because we had a pretty good up to that point."
DO YOU THINK YOU HAD THE BEST CAR ALL NIGHT LONG?
"This is probably the most competitive Richmond race I've ever been a part of. So many cars and so many drivers were so fast all night long that on any given run there were five or six guys that had potential to lead the run. We really didn't know at the end. At the beginning of that run on low air pressures on stickers we were really bad. I was hoping that as the pressures came up and we got some laps on the tires that our car would come back into it and it did. We were running fifth at the time and I thought even if we finished there, it's not a bad night. But at the same time, I wanted to get more."
DID YOU THINK ABOUT PITTING DURING THE LAST CAUTION?
"I didn't want to, to be honest. When you're leading a race like that, you're darned if you do and darned if you don't. He (Greg Zipadelli) just said, 'Watch what everybody else does.' Jeff [Gordon] wasn't coming in and as long as Jeff didn't come in, I wasn't coming, no matter how many guys came in behind him. When I saw him stay out it was a little sigh of relief.
"But sitting there that long, all the tires got cool. We picked up enough stuff - Buster rolled us around there so slow we picked up so much rubber that you couldn't get enough speed on the caution laps to get it scrubbed off. The last two laps were probably the skatiest that the car was the whole race."
DOES THIS GET YOU BACK IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP PICTURE?
"I sure hope so. We're working awful hard. These guys have never given up and I've never given up and Pontiac has never given up on us, and Home Depot. I'm not going to give up now. We've got a lot of racing left to do. We've got two extra tracks to try to get some points on now."
ON WINNING YOUR FIRST RACE OF THE YEAR
"It's always good to get your first win of the year. It always seems like it takes us a long time to get that first one. But once we get the first one, they seem to come a little more frequently."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"Track position was everything. The car got a little tight there for awhile, so we just slid around."
DID LONGER OR SHORTER RUNS FAVOR YOU? "It really didn't matter. I wasn't any good either way."
ON THE LAST CAUTION
"It didn't help me, it didn't hurt me. It really didn't matter. We were about a 10th place car all night."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We're real happy. The Valvoline Pontiac ran really good. The guys did an excellent job. I wasn't happy with the car, but I'm happy with the finish. It was just a handful tonight, but still good enough to finish sixth."
ON IMPROVING SUBSTANTIALLY FROM 'HAPPY HOUR'
"James Ince and the guys made a great call on some changes to the car, so I'm pretty happy. I told James, 'Just make it fast. I don't care how it drives.' That's what he did. He made it fast and just didn't make it very easy to drive."
ON THE TRACK TOUGH TO GET A HOLD OF
"This is the worst the track has been in a lot of years, but it put on a good race. I'm glad a Pontiac won. That's the first time this year. I can't believe it. The Fords have been so strong, so I'm glad a Pontiac won. But we still need help."
HOW ABOUT THE SEALER?
"It was just coming out of the track. It was peeling up and really hard to get a hold of. It was getting bumpy as heck through one and two. It was almost like a dirt track in one and two."
ON HAVING A GOOD POINTS NIGHT
"I'm not racing for points. I ain't worried about that - yet."
KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We battled pretty hard tonight to finish ninth. We pretty much had made our mind up that we weren't going to pit regardless and we restarted 10th [on the last restart]. We were able roll around Casey [Atwood] and the four guys that pitted weren't able to get to us. "We're making gains. You can see it."
* Tonight's win by Tony Stewart is Pontiac's first of the 2001 season and the first for Pontiac in the Pontiac Excitement 400 since Rusty Wallace took a Grand Prix to victory lane at Richmond in 1989.
* Stewart now has 10 career victories, making the fourth winningest driver in Pontiac history behind Rusty Wallace (31) Joe Weatherly (20) and Bobby Labonte (16).