Team Monte Carlo The Winston race notes

Saturday, May 19, 2001 Lowe's Motor Speedway Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo (involved in first lap crash): "We just went in down there, and backed off and went in the corner and just turned sideways. I thought I just...

Saturday, May 19, 2001
Lowe's Motor Speedway

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo (involved in first lap crash):
"We just went in down there, and backed off and went in the corner and just turned sideways. I thought I just lost it, but instead it was just raining. I feel bad and we only got one lap for America Online tonight."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (involved in first lap crash):
"It was misting a little bit when we started, but it wasn't that bad. But then Harvick lost it and so did I. It was obviously wet out there. It just went sideways and I couldn't save it. I took a hard lick, but I'm okay. I heard somebody say we might be able to bring out the back-up car, and I might want to try that. This was a brand new Monte Carlo, but it's junk now. We hadn't planned to run this car next week in the 600, but we were going to run it at Chicago and we tested it there. Not now.

"But this is The Winston. It just continues to get more and more interesting. If we can use the back-up car and go out and win this thing in it, boy wouldn't that be a story. We've got a good back-up car, but our primary engine is really stout. That's the kind of power you need to win a race like this. Our back-up car has a good engine, too. But it's not raining now, and I doubt we'd have time to change engines."

Michael Waltrip, No. 5 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Monte Carlo (involved in first lap crash):
"We just lost it. I didn't know it, but it was raining I guess. I started out feeling on the low side, but now I'm finishing this interview on the high side because I guess we might be able to bring out the back-up car. That wouldn't be so bad. You work so hard and look forward so much to this race, it's a shame to have it end like this. So, maybe it won't."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"Man, I was all fired up. I didn't know whether it was wet or not. We didn't think it was going to be a problem, but I guess it was."

First 30-lap segment notes:

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"I think the breaks are locked up now. When it's not your night, it's not your night. At least we didn't crash that car. It's just not going our way today. Hopefully we'll get it all out of the way for the weekend. We'll run good at Nazareth, maybe win us a race tomorrow, and come back here next week and run good."

Bobby Hamilton, No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"We had what looked like a bad fitting on an oil line. That's the bad part about not getting any Happy Hours or practice. It had a place on it like a wrench slipped on it. So we was probably just in a rush getting the motor in it and not having any practice and it sort of worked its way loose. But the Square D Chevrolet runs good. The thing drives excellent in traffic and it feels real good. We'll make a small change to tighten it up a little bit. It seems to be real good on the outside groove and that's abnormal with this hard tire. But the tire feels real good. I'm proud of what Goodyear has done with this tire. I think it's going to be a real good tire for the 600."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"These tires are pretty tough. It's just a real tough time getting the balance on them. Our crew is doing an awesome job. We had a great pit stop there. We had four fresh Goodyears and that helped us get up there. When you start way in the back, it's pretty hard to come up through there, but I think we've got a good racecar. We'll find out here during the next segment."

Post Race notes:

Jerry Nadeau, No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 5th):
"Yeah, I'm pretty happy. The UAW-Delphi Chevrolet ran pretty good. I'll tell you what I think really screwed us is that the first run we were really good and the car was a little tight. We put another set of tires on it and the car was just terrible. We started making changes but we couldn't get the car working right. Finally when we put another set of tires on, it came back to life. I hate it because I think I could have given my teammate a run for his money. I'm glad for them though, I'm glad they won the race. Hendrick Motors did a superb job. Everybody on my team did an excellent job."

Did you learn anything for next week?
"Yeah, we've got a fast racecar."

Robbie Loomis, crew chief, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"That's Hendrick Motorspots at its best right there. I have to thank them for just an incredible night. The No. 5 and the No. 25 guys all pitched in to get that thing (back-up car) ready. It's just incredible."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (winner in a back-up car):
"If they'd let us do that another weekend, we might be able to do it again. But I'll tell you what, it just says a lot about this race team. They just work their tails off to not only put great primary cars out there, but to have a great back-up car in the truck. I just can't say enough for them and their effort. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports contributed to this whole effort. There was a lot of work to be done to get this back-up car ready in a short period of time and I just want to thank each and every one of them. I'm so proud to be a part of Hendrick Motorsports.

"I want to thank God for such a great night and for keeping me safe out there when I hit the wall. That was a hard hit and there's nothing sweeter to come back and win. I said earlier to come back and win in the back-up car would be quite a story, and it is."

Were you concerned that you didn't have your primary engine in the back-up car?
"Those guys in the engine shop worked extremely hard to give us as much horsepower and reliability as they can. I've got the utmost confidence in them no matter what's in that car. But we had a great motor we wanted to put in this thing, but we didn't have a long enough delay there. We went with this one, so we had to make up for it in the corners. Really, The Winston is all about not only having a great racecar and a great race team, but it's about positioning. And it couldn't have been positioned any more perfect than it was for me. I wanted to start on the outside front row of that last 10-lap segment. Jarrett gave Ward quite a push there and I thought they were going to get away from me. I just hung with it up on the outside. Ward only had two tires, so I knew four tires would be real strong. It was just great call, great positioning. Everything just worked out perfect. Couldn't have asked for more for the Dupont Chevrolet."

At what point during the second segment did you think you had a chance to win?
"The first segment, I knew the car was good but we were stuck back there in traffic and a lot of dirty air. We worked our way up there on new tires once we got that pit stop. In the segment, they dropped the green, and I just knew the car was really strong. The adjustments that Robbie Loomis made were just great adjustments and I've got to thank him, he does such a really great job. It was just great calls all night tonight.

"I was running in Tony's (Stewart) tracks and he was making me just a little bit tight when I was up behind him. I thought it would come down to me and him. Unfortunately, he got hung up there on a pit stop. I thought if I could get in front of him, I thought I had as good a car as he had."

Talk about the "pass for the cash".
"Hey, every pass we made tonight was for the cash. Let me tell you, that's what all this is about. I've got to thank RJReynolds and their Winston brand. They do so much for our sport. It's so exciting to be a part of NASCAR Winston Cup racing right now. All these fans came out here to see an awesome event and I hope they saw that. I need to take advantage of these cheers. Oh, there's a few there. We've got to say a lot about them. They waited out as long as we did tonight to see this race. It was raining and they didn't give up on us. They stayed here and I hope they got their money's worth because we certainly got ours out of RJReynolds because we certainly got ours. $500,000. We'll take it."

Mike Skinner, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 9th in The Winston Open):
"That's not quite how I envisioned the race going for the Lowe's Chevy. We were a little tight at the beginning of the 30-lap race, but the guys loosened it up during a pit stop. That helped a lot and we started buzzing by a lot of the guys. I really thought we had a shot at grabbing the lead until the Lowe's Chevy and another car bumped each other. I tried like heck to hang onto the car and somehow (I) saved it. That was so important because we plan on taking this car to next week's Coca-Cola 600. We're pretty disappointed because our car was good and we were moving up in the field so fast. But we accomplished one of our big goals tonight - learning something about how this car will race next week. We didn't want The Winston Open to be just a practice for the Lowe's team or next week, but we'll take it."

-TMC-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Michael Waltrip , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Jerry Nadeau , Robbie Loomis
Teams Hendrick Motorsports