JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 ZEREX PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT ON THE LAST LAP? "To tell you the truth, I don't know. Here I am cruising in third place, the next thing I know I'm heading straight into the wall. I don't...
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 ZEREX PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT ON THE LAST LAP?
"To tell you the truth, I don't know. Here I am cruising in third place, the next thing I know I'm heading straight into the wall. I don't understand what happened. I don't know. I didn't even know anybody was even near us, so I don't know if I got hit from behind or what. It acted like I almost got hit in the side because the car spun so fast that the next thing I knew, I'm in the wall."
WERE YOU IN THE POSITION YOU WANTED TO BE IN AT THAT POINT?
"I was in as good of a position as you could be in. You'd run all day long in the top five and hadn't been in a wreck. That's the best place you can be. The next thing you know, like I said - we were going the wrong way."
YOU MADE THE SWITCH FROM THE HUTCHENS DEVICE TO THE HANS DEVICE
"I think they're both great. Don't get me wrong on either one. I switched because I wanted to try [the HANS]. I'm telling you what - that thing worked really good. I'm glad I had it on today. I don't necessarily care if it was mandated or not. We were going to use it either way. But, I'll tell you, the devices are probably a good thing. I was pretty impressed with how the thing worked today."
HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT DO YOU THINK THE HANS HAD TODAY IN YOUR ACCIDENT?
"Pretty big, because my neck doesn't hurt at all. My chest hurts a little bit, from the HANS device, because it's going to work in that area. But, I'd rather have my chest hurt than my neck hurt. My neck is in perfectly good shape.
"At first, I criticized everybody saying when they'd get in a wreck, 'Oh man, that thing saved my life.' But I'll tell you what, I'm going to go right behind them now and say that that was a damn good thing I had that thing on because I hit the wall awful hard."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT ON THE LAST LAP?
"I was just trying to keep those cars, I guess. That's just part of racing here. I got a run on him (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) there. Either he laid back, which is kind of what you do here - you get a run on somebody and either knock the rear bumper off or get by them. It's the last lap, so I tried to block him. So, he knocked the rear bumper off of it - what he didn't knock off earlier and then the '55' car got me sideways. Then I kind of got it straightened out and then I ended up sliding down the back straightaway."
WAS THIS ONE OF THOSE HEAT OF THE MOMENT THINGS?
"Yeah, but only here and at Daytona. I was listening on the radio in the ambulance on my way to the care center and the commentators said how exciting a race it was, so I guess everybody got their money's worth. It doesn't matter about us."
ANY FRUSTRATION WITH THE RULES PACKAGE?
"It's disappointing when you're on the bottom side of the deal or upside down. I guess when you win, it's not. Today we didn't win, so I guess we're on the bottom side of it."
WOULD YOU JUST LIKE TO SKIP THESE RACES?
"I don't know about skipping anything, but I didn't run at the back all day like I should have, probably."
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS FROM HAPPENING?
"A large rainstorm, an earthquake - who knows? No, not really. It's just part of it. You ride around for a long time and wait until the end. The grandstands are full and everybody is OK, so I guess it's OK. We're OK. It's just part of it. I hate that we tore up a race car, but it was an old piece anyway, so I guess we need a new one.
"That's typical racing here a lot of times. Today we rode up front instead of riding around at the back."
HOW ROUGH WAS THE RIDE ON THE ROOF DOWN THE BACK STRAIGHTAWAY?
"It wasn't too bad. Actually it was smoother than a lot of times on wheels. It was on fire about halfway down the back straightaway and I slid the fire extinguisher off. When it came to a stop I hopped out. Everything worked fine - the safety stuff worked fine."
"No. Of course, a heartache and hard feelings - at least a bitterness right now. But you go home and cool off and everything will be fine. This is just part of it."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON COMING FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT
"I'm just glad to be alive after this one's over."
ANY IDEA WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT ON THE LAST LAP?
YOU FINISHED SECOND ON A VERY TOUGH DAY - BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY...) "We just rode around at the back all day until it was time, until there were 35 [laps] to go. That was the last restart and we knew that we had to go at that point. So the last 35 laps were the only hard laps we ran all day. Are we happy with where we finished? Absolutely. I think we could have finished one spot higher even, if a couple of circumstances hadn't happened. But...I don't know what to say because there's so much frustration. It's pretty bad when you're this frustrated.
"I'm not frustrated because Junior won. I think he did a great job. I watched him all day because where I was at I was able to watch everybody. I'm happy for Junior because he had the strongest car all day and he deserved to win. Him and I get along good, so I was glad to see him win.
"But, when you come off of turn two after the checkered flag's over and you see your teammate's car upside down...it scares you to death. And there is no reason that we, as drivers, should be put in that position."
GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON LOOKING OUT FOR TONY FOLLOWING RACE WHERE HIS EMOTIONS RUN HIGH
"I'm going to be selfish and I'm going to protect him. He's my man, and we're not going to do anything that we're going to regret later. We're just going to do what we need to do.
"He's a very significant part to this race team, and we're going to work through all of this stuff, and hopefully things will be a lot better the last four or five races of the year and we can start next year on a little bit more of a positive note and get through some of the problems and issues that we've had and just go on."