June 24, 2001 Sears Point Raceway BRIAN SIMO --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 42nd) WHAT HAPPENED? "We're not really sure. The Hills Brothers Ford was running great. I don't know. Everything seemed like it was running good. We came...
June 24, 2001
Sears Point Raceway
BRIAN SIMO --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 42nd)
"We're not really sure. The Hills Brothers Ford was running great. I don't know. Everything seemed like it was running good. We came in for our tire stop and even though we're still learning to adjust this car as we go, I still think we would have been pretty strong. It's something in the drive train. I suspect a rear-end or an axle."
HOW DOES THIS YEAR COMPARE TO LAST YEAR IN THIS CAR?
"I think we're ahead of last year. This is a game of progress and we're working together. This is our third time together, so I'm looking forward to the next race. These guys are a great bunch of guys and I feel sorry for this team. They deserve more."
JIM SMITH, Owner --7-- NationsRent Taurus
"I knew Robby was gonna be good. To be in the hunt for the win of a race at our stage at Ultra Motorsports is phenomenal and to do it with somebody I grew up with. You know, Robby only lives a half-a-mile from me in Orange County. We've raced desert races together and it's just a wonderful day, just wonderful."
DO YOU FEEL YOU DID ALL YOU COULD AS FAR AS WORKING WITH THE 29 CAR?
"I don't know what the deal was there. You would think, especially, this team needed a break and we certainly didn't get one today. But, I guess we did. You know what? We're second and I'm thrilled to death with that, but we could have won this race."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 5th)
"It was a good road course race. I tell you what, I was pretty happy with it. I was pretty surprised with how strong Robby Gordon was, that was good to see. My car was great, but I just missed the setup a little bit."
YOU STAYED IN THE TOP FIVE ALL DAY, BUT COULDN'T LEAD.
"No, I just couldn't seem to get there. I had a doggone good car. I dropped some air pressure out of the rear tires and, man, it slowed me down. I should have never done that because that let those guys get ahead of me."
THE THING IS YOU HAVE TO STAY WITH YOUR PLAN AS FAR AS PITTING, RIGHT?
"Yeah, you do. Robin did a great job of just saying, 'No, we're not pitting. We're staying out. Just stay out on those old tires. I don't care how slow you're going, we've got to stay in that window,' and it worked out good."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 4th)
"We struggled. We got behind in qualifying, but it was a good comeback by these guys on the Texaco Havoline team. We weren't very good when the race started, but they kept dialing it in and we got better and better. We needed one more adjustment, we just couldn't get a break on the caution."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACE TODAY?
"It's always tough at Sears Point. You've gotta handle good, you've gotta run good and you've gotta have good pit stops. With the way the pit strategy played out today, our guys did a great job considering we didn't stop that much today."
JEFF GORDON EXTENDED HIS LEAD A LITTLE BIT TODAY.
"I think Jeff might have gotten us by about five points since he was one position in front of us, but we had a good solid finish. He's right on top of his game right now and we're getting better as time goes on. Maybe we can catch him before the year is out."
DID YOU THINK THEY MIGHT BATTLE SO HARD UP FRONT THE RACE MIGHT FALL INTO
"I definitely thought about that. I new Robby needed to win. He sort of had something to prove, I guess, and he drove a heck of a good race, a smart race, but I thought it might get exciting there. As a matter of fact, I even talked about it on that last caution. I figured it wasn't a matter of if it happened, but when it happened and I was just hoping we could drive through."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Finished 10th)
"Next year we're gonna come back and I know we can make our car better than that, and I'm not gonna choke qualifying and we'll have a better starting spot and a better pit stall and we'll race 'em for this thing."
YOU FINISHED 10TH.
"I think that's pretty good considering the competition. You could have done better than that years ago, but the competition is tough. We did the best of anybody off of Gilligan's Island by a mile. I'm satisfied with that. I know that I hurt us. I know that I cost us, but I did everything I could to make it up to 'em today and recovered reasonably well."
YOU TALKED ABOUT SOME STRATEGY YESTERDAY. DID ANY OF THAT PLAY OUT?
"We had to race. We just had to race from the back. None of the stuff that we could have done worked for us with the way the cautions fell. Unfortunately, we just had to race 'em equal -- straight up -- and drive from 38th or whatever it was we started."
I TAKE IT YOU DON'T EVER WANT TO BE BACK ON THAT ISLAND AGAIN.
"I'll go easy the next time and make sure I get 15th or 20 or something like that before I put myself in that box again."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 8th)
"I'm happy with that. We weren't as good as we needed to be, for sure. We've been a lot better here than that before, but we've never gotten any results. This time we weren't as good on the track, but we got some results. We had great pit stops and some things worked out for us that normally don't work out. Nobody wrecked us and I didn't run off course and I didn't break anything, so that got us a good finish."
DID ANYTHING HAPPEN TODAY TO MAKE YOU CHANGE YOUR PLAN?
"We didn't stick to our plan 100 percent. It ended up late in the race that everybody had the same idea of pitting as soon as you could and go the whole rest of the way, so there wasn't an advantage in doing that it was only a break even. It would have been a huge disadvantage not do it, so I'm happy with our result. An eighth-place finish is better than we've ever had here. Again, this isn't the best we've ever run here, but that's the best result we've ever had. We're starting to knock off top 10s and that's what we needed to do."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 26th)
IT SEEMED EVERYTIME YOU STARTED TO DIG YOURSELF OUT OF THAT HOLE SOMETHING
"Yeah, just a lot happened. It all started Friday and ended with coming to get the white flag. It was just one thing after another. I kept having trouble with third gear. I had third gear, but it just kept popping out so I was having to do something totally different. I thought in that way we were lucky and we made our way back there, but I went to the outside as they bottled up and got clipped there coming to get the white flag and spun and lost a lot of positions."
IT SEEMED LIKE THINGS WERE GOING PRETTY WELL UNTIL THE INCIDENT WITH THE 17
"Yeah. Those guys came in and got tires and with our transmission trouble, there again, it let them catch me in places. My car wasn't bad, but these guys with fresh tires just drive in and use you to stop. It's just part of it."
BORIS SAID --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 11th)
"Our day was kind of like a yo-yo, up and down, up and down. Things went good, but it all started when I screwed up in qualifying. That was my fault just being over-aggressive. We had a good car. The Penske-Jasper engine ran great. The crew gave me a really good car and we ran towards the front. It's tough to pass here because track position is everything. I got up there pretty good one time and then Brett Bodine got a little mad at me. I got into by accident, but I backed off and let him have it. Then I guess he was mad at me because he knocked me off the track once and then I got in front of him and he just turned me around. He was mad, but I think he forgave me later because he let me back by when I caught him the second time. We passed a lot of cars. It was a good car. I just wish the race was a little longer because I would have liked to have gotten in the top 10. Hopefully, we can do that at Watkins Glen and I won't screw up qualifying."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Taurus (Finished 13th)
"The car ran good all day. It was just rough and tumble out there, typical road racing. We had a good finish for us and it was a good effort by everybody. We really finished where I thought the car was capable of finishing. Track position is just so tough. When we started the race we were terrible, terrible loose. I fell back some, but then Mike made some real good adjustments on the pit stops and the car started to come around and we were more competitive. I feel bad about spinning Skinner out. I think he was on old tires and I was on a little fresher tires than him and I got a run on him. I think he got loose and I just ran in the back of him. I didn't mean to spin him. I was just trying to pass him and I just feel real bad about that. It was just a tough day. There were a lot of people beating and banging."
ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE WAS BORIS SAID. YOU BATTLED HIM AS WELL.
"Yeah, we raced hard all day. He was beating my back bumper off and I don't appreciate it when a guy that comes in here -- he's got nothing at stake but this race, we've got a whole season at stake. I just wanted to let him know it wasn't appreciated and I just wanted to let him know it wasn't appreciated."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 17th)
"That was pretty fun at the end, everybody wrecking and having to dodge a bullet. We had an awful race car today. We didn't have much to work with, but I just stayed out of trouble and stayed on the race track. That's what we wanted to do at the beginning and we ended up picking up maybe 10 or 12 positions there at the end not even passing anybody, just staying out of trouble so we're pretty happy about that."
MORE RUSTY WALLACE
"We were just too soft on the rear springs. We needed to stiffen them up front and back. We still have some work to do to get back up there. It was at least a moral victory for us today, though, with the way this whole month has been going for us. I couldn't pass anybody because I was too tight in some places and too loose in others. We went up on the air pressure in the rear tire and that got us stronger and stronger, but we still couldn't run up where we needed to be."