FORD RACING SAVE MART/KRAGEN 350 POST-RACE, June 27, 1999 Sears Point Raceway
RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- (Fourth) "It was good. I started the race and I was way too loose. We started dropping air pressure, started hooking the thing up a little bit, and started putting wedge in it. Then one time I thought we're fixing this car, and it's not doing nothing. I came in and we had a right front flat. The last stop of the day we got it pretty close. I really didn't need those cautions because we were right on Mark's tail and I had my rhythm going and I was staying right there and everything was going good. Then the caution flag came and everything went bad then. And I wheel hopped the thing on the last corner and I lost third to Andretti and went to fourth. And that was a bad deal." WHAT DID THE RED FLAG DO? "I think the red flag hurt everybody. It let all the tires cool down. The tires were picking up all kinds of rubber. The racetrack was in absolutely horrible race shape. In seven you just couldn't go through the turn. You had to drive over the berm to make the corner. The track was all tore up. I don't like the new turn. I'll tell you that. The track was real hot, but the track was so dirty. It was incredible how bad it was. I think that happened because a lot of people run off the track. It was coming up in seven. And when it's hot, who knows. When you run off in the gravel it brings the gravel out on the track. I'm voting to bring the carousel back."
MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- (Second) "This Valvoline Cummins Taurus was pretty strong today, and these guys on this Valvoline team are the best on pit road right now. Today they proved it. We were a little short on automobile there last week. The cautions just fell wrong for us. Otherwise we would have had a better shot at it. We needed a long run. Without that last caution we would have had a better crack at it. Jeff (Gordon) was superior on fresh tires. But he didn't have fresh tires there at the end. Our car was pretty darn good, but he was in front of us and that's the worst thing. I couldn't find a way to get by him. I tried and couldn't get it done."
FROM MARK MARTIN'S POST-RACE INTERVIEW: "The cautions slowed me down a little bit. It took my car a couple laps to back going on the old tires. His (Gordon's) car was real fast on new tires, extremely fast, and it was also quick on colder tires too."
WHAT MAKES GORDON SO GOOD ON THE ROAD COURSES? "Some people say he's the best race car driver out there, and some think he drives the best car so when you put that combination together and when you put a fast pit crew behind him, they're a potent combination."
WERE THE LATE CAUTIONS A DISTRACTION? "For us they crippled us a little bit because our car was better the longer it ran. For some of the guys, it helped them. They were there. That's reality and you have to deal with them. We raced hard. We gave it our best, and we made a race out of it and I'm proud of that."
DID JIMMY SPENCER STAYING OUT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? "Jimmy did a great job as a matter of fact. He did that last week and almost won the race. He figured out how to be in front after the last pit stop so that was no trouble."
WHAT ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS? "I didn't expect Jeff Gordon to lose it, but I kept the pressure on him. We were both about to wreck. The tires were wore out, and both of us were driving over the edge to try to win. We made a race out of it. What more can you ask. Our car was better on the long runs. His car was clearly superior on new tires. My pit crew won the battle on pit road, but I couldn't stay there. If I could have stayed there for 25 laps then we would have been okay, but it took about 25 laps to get as fast as his car. After that our car was as good as his car, maybe better. It was just the way they were set up."
YOU'RE UNDER THE WEATHER? "I'm just hot and tired and I'm ready to go home and I have a bad headache. And I've got to be a co-pilot on the airplane so I'm ready to go. Thanks a lot guys."
JERRY NADEAU -9- Cartoon Network Taurus -- (34th) "We can't help but be a little disappointed and a little frustrated. Our transmission locked in third gear on lap 30 or so and every time we thought we had it fixed, it would jam again."
RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Taurus -- (38th) "Rusty got loose up there. There were a lot of marbles on the racetrack and Rusty got loose and started out through the dirt. Maybe I should have tried to slow down to miss him but I went for it to try to pass him on the track. When Rusty came back on the track I couldn't miss him so I went off. It didn't leave me any room, and I had to go off the track coming down the hill and I couldn't get back on and I just ran head on into the tire barriers. I'm okay."
JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- (Fifth) "It all goes back to Jack Baldwin driving in my Busch car today, and to Boris Said. Boris coached. I'm very upset with this whole weekend because Boris didn't make the race. It really bothered me. But listening to guys like Jack Baldwin, who did a great job in the Zippo car today. And the coaching by Boris; I can't say enough. Saving the racecar. Saving the tires. And we did that. The shifter broke on us and the good Lord blessed us with getting it fixed. Getting back and getting a top-five finish is just unheard of. I still don't like these road courses. I wish Bruton would take the place and make a flower place out of it and take this date to another one of his tracks."
KENNY IRWIN -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- (22nd) "Actually I thought we were going to finish in the top ten. But the cautions just kept coming out and kept hurting us. We weren't as good on the restarts, and we were a lot better on older tires, but not without the cautions. I guess that's it." WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU GOT IN THE GRAVEL? "First I got pushed off. We ran out of gas the last lap, and it kept sputtering and I ended up driving it into the corner too hard. I didn't want to lose any positions because it was running out, but then I did."
BUTCH GILLILAND -38- Ralphs/Food4Less/Coca-Cola Taurus -- (43rd) "Something in the motor or transmission. They'll have to check it out. We were just coming past the start/finish line, and it just let smoke out. It started vibrating a little bit."
DARRELL WALTRIP -66- Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus -- (12th) "I'm ecstatic about finishing 12th. We had bad brakes all day, and I was fighting it all day. But this team is finally coming together, and I'm pretty happy."
TED MUSGRAVE -75- Remington Arms Taurus -- (20th) "It was a struggle. We started mid-pack, and it is really, really tough to get through and get up there. And me not being a real road course driver I just kind of stayed there all day long. And that's kind of where we ended up. All in all, there was no mechanical failure, and we came through all the wrecks. We never got off the course. The spotter was good. Everything was good there. The pit stops were great. We just held our own. That's all we did today."
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- (Sixth) "We worked hard. We had to come from the back and be patient with what we were doing. The guys made tremendous pit stops, and that was the key. They're the reason we finished where we did. The car was pretty good. It wasn't the best that we've had, but we managed to make something of it as the other guys had problems." DID YOU THINK YOUR DAY WAS OVER WHEN YOU WENT OFF THE TRACK A LITTLE? "No. I just slid off a little bit trying to get through that turn a little hard. The track was coming apart there and I lost one spot so that wasn't too bad. The pit crew did an awesome job today. That's what got us up there today to even finish in the top ten. We made the car pretty good. We've still got some work to do as far as our road course program. We'll take sixth and get on out of here. It's a tough place. I probably made as many passes coming out of turn two as I did going into 11. There's not just much place to pass here. You just have to wait until somebody makes a mistake or somebody's car gives way. The heat wasn't that bad. You just keep your mind on what you've got to do and it takes your mind off of it. We were just trying to keep the fenders on it. We saw the 99 have some problems. The 18 was fast and I guess he just got into a little accident and that allowed us to get a good finish." WHAT ABOUT THE RED FLAG? "NASCAR did what they thought needed to happen. Certainly I would've liked to run a few laps under yellow which might have helped me finish fifth or perhaps higher. We've had a lot of fortunate things happen and we just have to continue to take advantage."
BILL ELLIOTT -94- McDonald's Taurus -- (13th) "The car wasn't bad, but we just never could get caught up. We struggled at the beginning, and that just set us too far back. We never could make up any ground."
CHAD LITTLE -97- John Deere Taurus -- (16th) "I think for the disadvantage of "Gilligan's Island"; NASCAR not only holds you, but they penalize you for being on there, and I don't think that's fair. We lost a minimum of three spots every single pit stop, guys that I worked hard out there to pass. I think taking four tires at the end was the right call. I was a little worried there at first because we had so many cars in front of us, but it turned out several of them were a lap down. It was the right thing to do. The late race cautions just didn't let us use full advantage of the fresh tires."
JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- (Seventh) "We dodged a lot of bullets, pretty much kept the car on the race track and ended up with a decent finish for a road course. It was a heck of a finish. I'm not sure what happened up there in the esses. I saw Ricky (Rudd) coming off the banking, Ward (Burton) get with him and go flying. Ward came down on the right side of my rear end, pretty much flattening the spoiler on that side. At the end, that caused me to get into Sterling (Marlin). I really hated that. He's a good friend. I don't drive that way anyway and I don't hit people on purpose. But if I ever start it's not going to be with Sterling. It was a good finish for us for a road course, a really good finish. I'm ready to get back to Daytona though."
KEVIN LEPAGE -16- TV Guide Taurus -- (32nd) "We ran all day, and got great experience our first time here. If we hadn't had transmission problems we would probably have had a better finish. Experience is what it's all about and we took it."