Transouth Financial 400 Post-Race Notes Darlington Raceway - Sunday, March 23 DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- That was too exciting. It was a little closer that I wanted to be. I really didn't think I could hold Ted...
Transouth Financial 400 Post-Race Notes Darlington Raceway - Sunday, March 23
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- That was too exciting. It was a little closer that I wanted to be. I really didn't think I could hold Ted (Musgrave) off. I had them make an adjustment, a very small one, on the last pit stop...half a round of bite. Give Ted Musgrave a lot of credit. I know he was after that first victory. I cut him off and didn't give him a lot of racing room a lot of times in those last 10 laps, especially. He would've been well-justified if he'd have hit me a little harder than we actually did hit coming off two on the last lap.. You have to give the guy a lot of credit. I've always thought I could win back-to-back races. I had never done it before but I thought I could. But that goes with my race cars. When you have confidence in the car, it's amazing how much better you all-of-a-sudden become. It's not like I've gone to a driving school or anything. Ive just got equipment that allows me to drive hard and be aggressive. Dale Jarrett is just fortunate to have Todd Parrott and the rest of the guys and all the guys in the engine shop who give me this equipment week in and week out. Dad (two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Ned Jarrett) was a little emotional, too, knowing that this is the second place that we have both won. He realized the difficulty of this race track and what it means for a driver to win here. It puts a notch in your belt to win here because this is the toughest place by far that we race at.
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 16 Family Channel/PRIMESTAR Ford) -- Dale was just so strong! I think we were pretty equal. If I had been in front of him I think I could've held him off. I wanted to try him anywhere I possibly could. We were both pushing like dump trucks over in 1 and 2. I tried to get under him. I nerfed him a little bit and turned him sideways a a little bit and tried him again off turn 4. I could have won it by taking him out, but that's not our style of racing. There will be a day when Dale will be on my bumper and he will return the favor.
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet) -- The only bad part is the guy who picked up points on us today is the guy leading the points. He's (Jarrett) going to be tough. In my eyes, he should've won every race this year.
JEFF BURTON (No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford) -- I would rather be close than far away. We keep getting close. We'll win our races. We were real good early but we got loose at the end.
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac) -- We made a change every stop. It didn't matter what we were doing -- after all, this is Darlington. We had gotten a little better after the last stop and evidently some cars had gotten worse.
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 21 Citgo Ford) -- We had better than a seventh place car for the second race in a row but we finished seventh. My fault totally! I just gotta qualify better They're giving me a car that's capable of qualifying up front -- you can tell that by the way it races. But we're not able to get it up front for qualifying and until I can do that it's really gonna hurt our chances of winning one of these things. Track position just killed us all day. I'd march to sixth or seventh and be gaining on a lot of cars. The caution would come out and I'd restart 15th (due to pitting on the backstretch). We did that time and time again. Forunately at the end the green stayed out or we would've finished 12th or 13th.
JOHNNY BENSON (No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac) -- I think we'd've had a top six or seven if I hadn't have hit the wall with about 10 laps to go! I was going for it and doing the best that I could and I got into the wall between turns one and two and screwed the car up pretty bad. That dropped us back a ways.
DARRELL WALTRIP (No. 17 Parts America Chevrolet) -- We were 11th and closing fast on the next group of four-five there at the end. From what we had all week to work with and what they did with the car today -- I'll tell ya -- the team is really coming on stronger and stronger. I'm so excited about this Parts America car. Next week we're gonna run the chrome car... It's Quicksilver and I think it's gonna make for another good weekend. We're on a pretty good little roll. We're not getting the top fives yet and we're maybe not right there ready to win a race yet but we're making strides todards the front. Today was a great day for us because my team didn't give up on it. Our testing paid off pretty good.
KENNY WALLACE (No. 81 Square D Ford) -- We were running 11th with two laps to go and we had a flat tire and I finished 14th. We'll take it. We've had motor problems the last couple weeks so that's a good moral victory for us. We were strong in the middle of the race. We were running low (tire) air pressure so the car wouldn't get going for about three or four laps, but we paid off on the long runs when we'd run real strong. The back pits didn't kill us but they didn't help us, either, for a young team. We've been running that good but we haven't been there at the end because we've blowed up -- two motors in a row. Hopefully this'll be the start of something.
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet) -- Those Fords need a lot of help, don't they? We had some trouble at the beginning of the race and that hurt us. We ewre trying to scramble and catch up after that. We need to turn this thing around and hopefully we'll be able to do that in Texas.
WARD BURTON (No. 22 MBNA America Pontiac) -- The guys did a good job adjusting on the car. I messed up coming into the pits. The 75 car (Rick Mast) was leaving and I was coming in and I had to slide right past my pit stall or I'd'a hit him. Just a lack of experience mess-up! We were passing guys in the top 10 at the end of the race. There weren't nobody gonna get their lap back on the 88 -- just like Atlanta, but we got the car a whole a lot better and we'll be better next time.
RICK MAST (No. 75 Remington Arms Ford) -- We basically missed the set-up today. Our car pushed bad all day. One time -- one time -- we had the car real good and running as good as the leader, but that was just that particular set of tires. The rest of the time we were just too tight and we couldn't fix it. We started Saturday morning too tight and we haven't fixed it yet.
DERRIKE COPE (No. 36 Skittles Pontiac) -- It was a learning experience for us. We got another good run in. The car was nowhere near right. We just kept working on it. We were decent on long runs but not in the beginning and that hurt us. We were able to salvage a top 20. That's a start for us. This was our first first day qualifying effort and our first top 20 finish so we'll go to Texas and see if we can't enhance that. We just need to keep logging laps. That's our deal right now. We have no information to base anything on because we're starting our own information sheets. When we come back to these places a second time I think we'll be a lot more productive. We're trying to gain experience and cut that learning curve down.
PHIL PARSONS (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet) -- First and foremost, our sympathy again for the Nemechek family. There were heavy hearts on this crew with myself and the owners and everybody else. We just wanted to try to run all day. The first half of the race went pretty good. We ran with some good cars and passed some good cars. The second half of the race I just couldn't get it going. I couldn't get the car feeling like it did in the first half. We ended up pitting under green and the caution came out a few laps later. That really hurt, but we brought it home in one piece at Darlington. I want to send my condolences and prayers to the Nemechek family. I was glad I could step in and help out. It was good to get back in a Cup car. It's very different from a Busch car, which I've always known. They've got a good race team and I'm looking forward to Joe getting back in the thing at Texas.
KYLE PETTY (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac) -- (On accident in turn three.) I don't know what happened -- somebody just run into the back of me. They all bunched up and there wasn't nothing anybody could do. Everybody just got together so there wasn't anything anybody could do. I don't know what kind of car we had... You'd only run two laps at a time before there'd be another caution, you know what I mean? We never got a good shot at anything today. It (accident) knocked all the crush panels out and messed up the tail pipes, but it didn't bother anything and I'm OK.