FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DuraLube/Kmart 400 February 27, 2000 North Carolina Speedway ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 43rd) -- "I don't know, I think we might have run over some metal and knocked a hole in ...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DuraLube/Kmart 400 February 27, 2000 North Carolina Speedway
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 43rd) -- "I don't know, I think we might have run over some metal and knocked a hole in the radiator or something and just got the motor hot. I've been running Winston Cup for a long time and if the first two races of this year are any indication of what we're gonna have, these are the best race cars I've ever driven in my life. I messed up and lost a lap there, but at times we were running two-tenths quicker than the leaders just sitting there riding. I knew something was gonna bite us because it was too good."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 7th) -- "It was a great day, a hard day I know that. I drove my butt off. On the restarts we couldn't get it tightened up and that's all we could do. We ran hard and our pit stops, man, the pit crew did an awesome job. They just kept me up there. I'd get down a little bit and they'd bring me right back up. I can't say enough about them, they pulled me through today." AT WHAT POINT DID YOUR CAR START TO FALL OFF? "We were fast on a short run, but I knew it wasn't gonna last. We're getting better. I'd like to say my hat's off to Pontiac and Chevrolet. They pulled a pretty good scheme on everybody didn't they."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 32nd) -- "We broke a valve or something. That's pretty unusual, we don't normally have engine problems. That's a tough way to start early in the year having a problem but the car ran well. We had good pit stops, we made some good changes on the car, it was just one of those days." WHERE DID THE DAMAGE ON THE FRONT COME FROM? "Mike Skinner was a lap down and he had to get out of the gas pretty hard coming off the corner and I couldn't slow down, I got into him." DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A CAR CAPABLE OF WINNING? "I had a car that, if we made the right change, could win the race. We were gonna have to make the right adjustment because we weren't where we needed to be right then, but if we made the right adjustment I thought we could be there."
CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus (Finished 18th) -- "Obviously, we need to do better than that but considering we got the nose torn off the car at about the 10th lap on that restart, it's a decent day for the John Deere team. We learned a lot. We had a fender still rubbing our tire and I know that's what added to some of the handling problems. We learned enough to come out with a top 20. It's an OK day."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 11th) -- ON THE FIRST CAUTION. "I couldn't believe how unbelievably fast new tires were. In only 18 laps the 22 car had come back and taken the lead and was about 1.2 seconds faster on fresh tires. We came back and we were looking pretty good, but we kept having those doggone pit problems again and it was killing us. The guys were really working hard trying to overcome it, but to add insult to injury, right there at the very end of the day, the lugnuts came loose on the left rear." HOW ABOUT THE FORDS ON THE DOWNFORCE TRACK? "I think it's a little too early to tell yet, honestly, for all makes. The chassis has a lot to do with what goes on here -- aerodynamics isn't everything. Aerodynamics at Daytona are completely different from here. There, we run only 45 degree spoilers, real narrow, slippery cars. Here, everybody is trying to get as much downforce they can and shocks and springs play a big factor. I felt like I had a top three car today, but that lap going down early, I finally got it back. Then, the pit problems we had and finally the loose lugnuts that kind of KO'd me, but we got back up to 11th and made some points today. We'll go back home and get this thing fixed.
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 5th) -- "We struggled. We just missed it on the setup, too big of a swaybar. We adjusted and adjusted. The guys worked their tails off and we just couldn't get anything. We were just outclassed today." COMING HOME FIFTH IS STILL PRETTY GOOD? "Those are the things you have to do when you don't have the best car or even a very good car, you've gotta make the most of it. We got a top five out of it and we can't complain about that. Fifth is definitely as good as we could have expected today. We were just outclassed and we were fortunate to be able to work on the car some and made it somewhat better. It just wasn't very good, but we'll take that and learn from it hopefully." YOU NEVER REALLY CHALLENGED FOR THE LEAD TODAY? "Fifth is about as good as we could have done today, as a matter of fact that might be more than we could ask for. We just weren't very good. We missed on the setup, so we're pretty happy with fifth." DID YOU EVER GET THE CAR TO YOUR LIKING? "No. We weren't going to unless they would have let us take about 10 minutes to change something else we needed to change. No, we missed on it today. I thought we had something yesterday afternoon, but the car just wouldn't turn in the center of the corner. To make it halfway turn we'd get it too loose off, so it was just a balancing act that we couldn't quite get. Those guys were just a lot better than us."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus (Finished 8th) -- "We thought we were gonna be junk and we drove to the front and led the thing and were good even on equal tires, then we thought we were gonna be good and we were about junk like we were in practice. I can't explain it. The car handled great. I don't know how to make it better than that last set of tires and we ran as good as we could, but I guess we finished about eighth." YOU CAME IN TO PIT WITH THE LEAD AND YOU CAME OUT AROUND 10TH AND NEVER GOT BACK TO THE FRONT. "It just never ran as good, I don't know why. I can't explain it."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Finished 37th) -- "We should have known better to get tires. Half the field pitted for tires and half of us stayed out. Even though we were right up front we weren't running that great. We started up there and we should have gotten tires. I was just struggling to keep up with the guys on new tires and I got in the wall a little bit and bent the lower A-frame, so it was downhill from there."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus (Finished 28th) -- "Actually, we had real good race car, we're pretty proud of it. We have some new people working on our pit stops right now and they had an off day and sometimes you have that. We're steadily building a team and we're gonna keep getting better and better each and every week. We're pretty happy with the way the car worked. We're gonna save that car and carry it to Darlington probably. All in all, it was a pretty good day. We didn't get in any wrecks or anything like that, so we'll just take it and try to go on."
KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- NorthernLight.com Taurus (Finished 27th) -- YOUR CREW CHIEF SEEMED TO BE UPSET AT ONE POINT IN THE RACE AND WAS TALKING TO AN OFFICIAL. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT? "I don't really know. Somehow, we thought we were on the lead lap and obviously they didn't think so. From that point on our day just went downhill." HOW WAS THE CAR? "It was very good at the beginning and then at the end of the day the car just got way too loose and I couldn't drive it. We'll get ready for Vegas."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 6th) -- YOU SEEMED TO GET STRONGER AS THE RACE WENT ON. "That's where we were really stout was coming on at the end of the race. We were better than a sixth-place car. We almost caught Dale at the end for fifth, we were just about side-by-side at the finish line. I don't think we had anything for Bobby and Earnhardt was pretty stout, so I'd say we could have finished a solid third." IS IT FAIR TO SAY THE FORDS WERE BETTER ON THE LONG RUNS? "I don't know if it was the Fords or just the way the chassis were set. I really couldn't tell you. I know that we were good on the long run. We weren't good in the short run, so at least we had something going for us. In a way it worked out. We'd get a straightaway behind and then when it came time near the end to pit, all of a sudden, we'd make that difference back up again. So, I'm not really sure exactly why, but I guess I'm sure it had something to do with the shocks and the springs but we were good in the long run."
ROBBY GORDON --13-- Duracell Ultra/Turtle Wax Taurus (Finished 38th) -- IT MAKES FOR A LONG DAY WHEN YOU HAVE A ROUGH START LIKE THAT DOESN'T IT? "Yeah, it's unfortunate. I feel sorry for what I did to Kenny (Irwin). I just tried to go underneath him and as soon as I got into the bank the car got loose and I had to steer out of it and, unfortunately, I clipped him at the same time. I hated that it happened. That kind of took the wind out of our sails the rest of the day. We just struggled the rest of the day. We lost the power-steering pump, the pulley fell off, and it just took all the fun out of it. We did finish and we have a whole car, plus I gained a lot of experience throughout the race so, hopefully, I'll do better the next time I come here." IT IS IMPORTANT TO AT LEAST ALL OF THOSE LAPS OF EXPERIENCE, RIGHT? "Yeah, if it wasn't so important to finish I would have parked the thing right after we lost the power-steering pump because it just wore everything out on the car and put some more damage to it. It's unfortunate because this is the car we wanted to run at Vegas next weekend. The poor guys, they're gonna have their hands full getting it ready." NOTE: GORDON SAID HE LOST THE POWER STEERING AROUND LAP 100.
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 26th) -- HOW DO YOU FEEL? "I feel fine. I didn't get tired or anything. We just missed the setup up. We were sliding around a lot today, but I feel good. The only hard part is getting in and getting out, so my ribs are OK. I'll be in good shape next week for Las Vegas."
DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 39th) -- "Our car was so sensitive. It was either really good or really bad. Most of the time we fought a push that snapped into loose when I tried to turn the car. We qualified good, had good stops and ran all day. We'll just have to use this day at the Rock as a building block."