KEVIN LEPAGE-16-FamilyClick.com/TV Guide Taurus-DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED YET? "No, it's something in the motor. Lost oil pressure and started to slow down, so instead of staying out there, we decided to come in and take a look at it and see if we...
KEVIN LEPAGE-16-FamilyClick.com/TV Guide Taurus-DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED YET? "No, it's something in the motor. Lost oil pressure and started to slow down, so instead of staying out there, we decided to come in and take a look at it and see if we can figure out what's wrong with it. We still don't know what it is, but we had a good race car, that's for sure."
DID IT GIVE YOU ANY WARNING AT ALL? "It started to slow down just a little bit going down through the tri-oval and it had some smoke in the car, and I looked down and the oil pressure was gone, so, obviously, there's something going wrong, we just don't know what it is right now."
UP TO THAT POINT, WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE CAR? "I believe, really, I thought we had something to win the race with."
JEREMY MAYFIELD-12-Mobil 1 Taurus-"I'm not sure right now. It looks like we might've broken something somewhere. Just had a good car. We were just kinda sitting out there making laps and that was kinda our game plan, Rusty and I both. Could pretty much go anytime we wanted to, that was the good thing about it."
JIMMY SPENCER-26-Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus-"We broke a shock mount, just pulled it right out of the plate. First I ever had that happen. The car was running really good. We were just sitting there waiting, like I guess a lot of other guys are. But our car was really strong, and every time we needed to we could get up there. Ain't gonna do it now."
CAN YOU GET BACK IN THE RACE? "Oh, yeah. We'll fix it pretty easy, just take a couple of laps, gonna lose a lot of laps, because we can't replace it the way we want to. The way it pulled it out of the piece, we gotta put a piece of tubing in there. So, it's not too good."
ELLIOTT SADLER-21-CITGO Taurus-"We run good all day. I was running fifth going into turn three and then ended up 17th, just got caught on the outside and didn't have nowhere to go. When I get some more experience and more people to work with us, we'll be okay."
WHAT WORKED TODAY? "We just had an awesome race car. That S.O.B. run bottom, top, it didn't matter. Just needed a little more help."
BILL ELLIOTT-94-McDonald's Taurus-"We got hot. That thing pegged the temperature gauge at the end. I don't know why."
BEFORE THAT? "Before that we had a good day going, but it started running hot, even leading the race. Man, I don't know what happened."
BRETT BODINE-11-Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus-"We just hung around, that's all. We didn't have much of a race car and we just tried to keep it out of trouble and get what we could out of today, and that's about all we could accomplish."
DID YOUR CAR HAVE THE ABILITY TO GAIN SOME GROUND WHEN NEEDED? "No, our car wasn't quicker. Anytime I tried to be aggressive I'd lose spots, I couldn't be aggressive. We just didn't have a very good race car."
MATT KENSETH-17-DeWalt Tools Taurus-HOW DID IT LOOK FROM THE TRACK? "It was real scary. You had to let off the gas almost every lap or you'd run into the back of somebody and the lines were really moving around a lot. You'd really get slowed up into the corner, the whole line would start slowing up. You knew when they threw the white flag that nobody was gonna lift for a lap and they were gonna steer and find whatever lane they could, and that's pretty much what happened. I know there was wreck after the finish, and that's too bad because everybody made it all day and really used common sense, but when they want to score the points and score the victory for the last lap everybody is just gonna stick it wherever they can."
THE EXPECTED BIG WRECK WAS AVOIDED DURING THE RACE. "They were real stable, they drove real good. It was a different kind of racing. I liked it better as far, you know, throughout how the whole race went because you didn't have to be an inch away from somebody's bumper and be wide open, you could let off the gas and rest a little bit and then catch right back up again because of the bigger hole in the air. It just makes it scary there at the end."
ANOTHER GOOD FINISH. "It was a good run. It's hard to say what's a good run here. If you can finish-if there's 27 cars on the lead lap and you finish 27th and you got a line there at the end you finish first, it's a good run. So, if you make it to the end without wrecking and you can walk out of here and everybody was safe, so that was a good day for us."
YOU RAN NEAR THE FRONT AND LED A COUPLE OF LAPS. WHAT WORKED? "Our car was pretty good. We really were just pretty careful in the beginning. I was real paranoid about the big wreck happening and I didn't want to be in the middle of it. So, we pretty much rode around in the beginning and then after our first tire stop I didn't really have a drafting partner anymore so we just started driving hard and staying up in the draft-and we handled good. A couple times we drove all the way to the lead and stayed up there. Our car was real slow by itself, we were the last one to make it on time, but when you get in a big group of cars, it can take a last-place car, almost, and make it a car that can run up front. We still have some work to do to improve our speedway program, but it was a real good finish for us."
A TOUGH DAY FOR FORDS, PLUS THE RESTRICTOR-PLATE CHANGE YESTERDAY. WHEN YOU GOT IN THE CAR TODAY, DID YOU HAVE A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT IT COULD DO? "You didn't know what was gonna happen because of the draft and big hole in the air and going back and forth, so we really didn't know that for sure. I think we all were disappointed they dropped the Chevy spoilers down. They were the top-four positions here in April when we raced here last, and I think they won again and all finished up front, so I think they did penalize us a little bit. There restrictor-plate thing was no big deal, that was equal for everybody. But the spoiler thing I thought was a little unequal."
DALE JARRETT-88-Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus-"Couldn't get much more than that. It was wild racing, they got the passing at the end. It was just surprising the outside groove wouldn't work at all. That made it tough. You checked up there on the bottom and you could sit there and ride or see you could get out there and go, and I got out and tried to go and tried to make it where I could put myself in a position to win, and it just didn't work."
IF THESE WERE THE DAYTONA 500 RULES WOULD THEY NEED TO BE FINE-TUNED A LITTLE BIT? Daytona is so different than this it's really hard to say. The car seemed to drive okay, and that's the main thing, handling's a key down at Daytona, so it looks like it oughta work.."
DRIVERS SEEMED TO BE CALM IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE RACE. "Everybody did a good job there, but, you know, when it gets down to trying to get positions and trying to win the race, then everybody's has to do what they gotta do. I thought everybody did a great job."
MARK MARTIN-6-ZEREX/Cummins Taurus-"Nobody got hurt." YOU BROUGHT HOME THE BANNER FOR FORD TODAY WITH YOUR SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH. "Well, that ain't nothing to brag about. We did the best we could here today. That wasn't racing, but I sure was proud to see those drivers, everyone of 'em deserves a gold medal."
WHAT HAPPENED? "I was getting ready to pit and somebody didn't know it. You know, that happens sometimes when you get ready to pit. Somebody behind me didn't know it."
RICKY RUDD-28-Texaco/Havoline Taurus-"Our guys did a good job, it's just that string on the outside ganged up and caught us there at the end. What really hurt was Earnhardt, Jr. drove down on the flat down there, came back on the race track and just about wrecked the whole field, and that's why I got jumbled at the last lap."
HOW DID THE RULES CHANGE WORK OUT FOR YOU? "I thought it was good. I thought it was better than it has been."
JEFF BURTON-99-CITGO SUPERGARD Taurus-"We weren't in it all day. We cut a tire, and we just never had anything go our way, so I don't know. You'd have to ask somebody who was in the middle of it. It looked like a mess, though."
HOW DID THE RULES CHANGE WORK OUT FOR YOU? "If you had a Chevrolet it worked out great."
STACY COMPTON-9-Kodiak Taurus-ARE YOU OKAY? "Yeah, all's fine. We don't know what happened. Somebody turned somebody after the checkered flag, and we had it missed, and, of course, trying to get stopped, somebody run into the back of us and turned us into the outside wall. Luckily it wasn't any worse than it was. We got whoa'd down pretty good, but still got into the outside wall, still got into somebody, I'm not sure who. Hate it for this Kodiak Melling team. We had a good car all day. We had to equalize a tire twice and went to the back both times, and that last run we gained about 12 spots on that last 15 laps. That's sorta the way the year's went, but all in all, we can't complain with the run. We'll just dig down a little harder and figured out why we had to equalize those tires and come back and get 'em next time."
COULD YOU MAKE UP GROUND WHEN NEEDED? "We got so loose when the tire equalized, we dropped back and almost lost the draft one time. Fortunately we were able to draft back up to those guys. The draft worked well. I commend all the drivers out here. Up until the last lap it was a heckuva show. I think the fans got their money's worth. It was a good race. I still think we need to slow 'em down just a little bit. I think we need to put the handle back in the race car, but still it was a good race."
THE HIGHEST FINISH BY A FORD WAS SEVENTH. AND, THE RESTRICTOR PLATES WERE CHANGED YESTERDAY. WHEN YOU GOT IN THE CAR TODAY, DID YOU HAVE A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT IT COULD DO? "We had a good idea, but two inches more spoiler across the rear, that's a lot. I think it's hurting 'em a little bit. It's hard to say. You look at how good the Chevrolets and Pontiacs ran in practice-we felt like we draft good, and we did, but the Chevrolets were a little bit better than us today and I'm not sure whether it was the spoiler or whether we just need to do a little more homework, but we've been awful good all year and a couple of rule changes and seventh is the best we finished. So, I think the rules need some adjusting and I'm sure NASCAR will do what's right."