BOBBY HAMILTON JR., NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "For about five laps, one of the guys had the radio hung and I couldn't hear my spotter. All I could hear was somebody breathing. We just kept going along and going along. I was afraid...
BOBBY HAMILTON JR., NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"For about five laps, one of the guys had the radio hung and I couldn't hear my spotter. All I could hear was somebody breathing. We just kept going along and going along. I was afraid they'd wreck and of course they wrecked right in front of us. I think it was the No. 25 (Vickers) and Jeff Green or whatever. I just got in the back of somebody. I'll tell you what, after today you really realize how important a spotter is. But we've struggled and we've had bad luck with odds and ends and things like that. I don't know what I've got to do (to catch a little luck). But we haven't been running bad. We've been running good. We've just been in the wrong place at the wrong time for the past three weeks it seems like. We've had mechanical failures Little bitty dumb things like that and the radio stuff. It's just ruined another day. They don't leave a hole for us. We are in the 35th spot (in points). There are other teams having trouble. Hopefully we can get back out there and have a little better luck. I think it's going to be good racing once we they get through all this madness. Once you get the good cars and they can get up there and race, you'll see some good racing."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 44 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Sidelined with mechanical problems due to an early crash on pit road:
"We got wrecked (by No. 11 Jason Leffler) on pit road to start with. Our car was really pretty good at the start and we were passing a lot of cars but then we got wrecked on pit road and that hurt the front end a little bit. And then something came out of the rear end or something. So, something's wrong with the rear end and we're done. The track isn't bad. You can run all over the place, really. It's pretty slick. Other than that, it's not bad."
ROBBY GORDON, NO 7 JIM BEAM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Sidelined by crash due to ill handling car:
(WHAT HAPPENED?) "We didn't break anything. We just chased a bad ill handling car over the bumps and it finally got away from me. We started the race pretty good and then we started adjusting on it and all we did was make it worse. And that's frustrating because we started 31st and got up to 17th or whatever. I thought we were going to have a pretty good run. We were terrible. We started good. The track is pretty good. Our car just wasn't very comfortable. We couldn't get the thing into the corner and every time we'd go over the bumps, it would just turn sideways. We chased the balance pretty bad. We just never got it back before we wrecked it. It was a hard hit. But if you're going to do it, that's the best way. I'm fine."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 6th:
"This was a great race for our team. We were good at California and broke. We were good at Daytona and broke. We were very good at Bristol and Martinsville, but got messed up. So we haven't pushed the panic button yet on our side. We had a test down here a couple of weeks ago and it was very encouraging the way we ran. I was here a year ago testing, and I write notes on my racing. And you would have put me on suicide watch if you would have read those notes after that test. We were doing nothing right. We left here and came back and got the Lucky Dog twice and finished 20th. We ran like crap. I left this test a week ago and I knew we'd be right - we'd be good. Shoot. Like I said earlier, I thought I could win. So that was a great feeling. We were just a little tight in the middle. We freed it up at the end."
(ON HIS ANXIETY REGARDING THE AERO PROGRAM) "Well, like I said, the test put away a lot of those worries for me. I was very confident about the test and very confident about yesterday morning's practice. The first practice, we were really as good as anybody. And in the second practice, we were as bad as anybody. And so the team put it back to the way it was in the first practice and I think it showed. But I was very confident when the race started today that we would just mosey on up through there and that's how it worked."
(ON DEI'S ABILITY TO BE COMPETITIVE ON INTERMEDIATE TRACKS NOW AFTER A GOOD RUN AT TMS FOR BOTH WALTRIP AND EARNHARDT JR.) "I'd have to say we're not far off. I love Charlotte. We ran second there in the 600. My team won the last two Phoenix races and I finished fifth there in '03. I'm still pretty confident about the things we've got going on and the things we've got coming up."
(HOW MUCH OF A MORALE BOOST IS THIS FINISH FOR YOU?) "It's great for me. I was thinking when we were running second and really doing good that we were running well. But if you don't finish the deal off and finish well, people will forget how well you ran. So you've got to post the finishes and it was great to put one up today."
TONY EURY JR, CREW CHIEF, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Biffle was probably a half a tenth better than us all day. I got scared there at one point, over adjusted and made Michael too loose. I didn't really didn't go after some major adjustments that I should have when it became overcast. It's my fault that I didn't have the car the way he needed it 2/3 of the way through the race.
"There at the end it looked like we hit the setup right on again. But the leaders were gone and we had already lost the track position. We came home sixth and that's and that's a great day.
"We ran up front. It was a successful day for us. We had a good test out here and I think we have these 1 ½ milers figured out. Now we just have to make sure we have the same package that we did in Phoenix."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 9th:
(THINGS SEEM TO BE COMING AROUND FOR YOU) "Well, they're coming around a little bit, but we had a Top 5 going there. I was trying to get a good run for all my fans here in Texas, but we just couldn't get it done. I don't know. We changed tires on the car and it changed the way the car drove every time. That's real frustrating. It was like they were putting a different set of tires from a different track every time. It's just frustrating.
"I just wish the engineers from Goodyear would get with us and show us how to keep that from happening. But, as long as tires aren't blowing out and people hitting the fence, you don't see them. Hopefully we can get it figured out before the end of the season, because we had a good Top 5 car at the end and we struggled all day but we got it good right there at the end."
(BOBBY LABONTE SAID THE SPOILER CHANGE MADE A LOT OF CARS SPIN OUT. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?) "I agree with Bobby. Bobby's pretty smart. He's been doing this for a long time. I've felt that way but I haven't said much because I got grilled pretty hard when I said anything about that at California. You know, we could run around the top if we had to, but you never went there because you wanted to. And, the reason why the Busch cars seem a little bit more comfortable up there is because of the spoiler. I couldn't get into Turn 3 without spinning out. I was real loose going into Turn 3. Once you got into the center you were okay. If you really want to get technical, we do need a little bit of spoiler back on the car. They ain't going to do it, but that's just the way it is. You've got to get the car to work with what you've got."
"And, it just costs a lot of tests and a lot of guys spend a lot of money at the race track. We were hiring a lot of engineers trying to get the bodies and everything handling like it was with the old package. The aero push has been around since the second car ever built drove behind the first one ever built. You're not going to get rid of that, no matter what you do. They got the aero push just as bad as when they had no spoiler on it, so I don't know why they wouldn't put it back on."
(HOW IS THIS GOING TO AFFECT PHOENIX?) "Not too bad. It's got short-track tendencies, so you can race pretty hard there. It's more about the setup of the car than aero. But you come here and Atlanta and places like Michigan, going into the corner at 195-190 mph, you need it, believe me."
(IS THIS FINISH A STATEMENT FOR YOUR TEAM?) "Well, we're working hard. I've stepped up my commitment. I started out the year relaxed, and allowing those guys to get used to the change first and with me coming in there I didn't really want to push them hard at the start. But, we're starting to get into the season. Me and Pete (Rondeau, crew chief), we're starting to work a little harder and demand a little more from ourselves around the race track. We're driving real, real hard to get good finishes for this team and keep them going.
"I know those guys have been through worse. You know, they had some tough times with Michael. It was good to see them get a good run today too. They've struggled this year, too, with crashing. I'm just trying to run hard and work hard and get kind of semi-close to that top 10 for when it counts there.
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note: Sidelined with a blown motor that erupted in flames on lap 297:
Comment attributed to Mike Arning, PR spokesman for Tony Stewart:
"Tony has some first degree burns. There is a small burn on the lower back of his right thigh that's about the size of a fist. The other area is on his right elbow. It's about half the size of the one on his thigh, and it's more like a bad sunburn. Both are minor burns which he'll treat on his own in the coming days."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 15th:
"It was a frustrating, long day. You know, we weren't very good yesterday. I guess we've got to be happy to be coming home 15th."
(YOU DIDN'T SEEM TO BE COMFORTABLE OUT THERE TODAY) "We were pretty good on new tires for about 4-5 laps. Then we were just really far off and it certainly wasn't for lack of effort. We fought hard all day hard long yesterday. We fought hard all day today and just never hit on anything that worked well for us."
(ON GOING FROM WINNING ONE WEEK TO 15TH THE NEXT) "Well, it just makes you appreciate those days more. You know, it certainly inspires us to find out what we can do when we come back here. We want to come back here and win this race at the end of the season. You're going to have days like that. You know, all you can do is just work hard at it.
"You know, you can't give up. You just have to keep fighting all day no matter where you end up. We made the best of what we had and it wasn't pretty. But it could have been a lot worse also."
(IS IT A BIG DEAL THAT YOU HAVEN'T WON AT TEXAS?) "I want to win every race. You know, I want to win every weekend. I want to win at every track. I don't focus on it as much as the media does-it's just another race to me."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE - NOTE: Was under the weather with a cold this weekend:
"We got caught up in that wreck with the No. 18 Bobby Labonte. Everybody checked up. I checked up and got hit from behind by the No. 18. The team took the car to pit road and worked on it but we had lost the bumper. We fought a lose condition all day long because that bumper made it aero-sensitive.
It's a real shame because the Kellogg's / Delphi car had real potential. We were real fast in practice yesterday and thought we were going to move through the field pretty quick, but unfortunately got caught up in another accident."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 12th:
"It was a pretty good day, considering what we had on Friday. To put the effort into it and get down, I'm pretty proud. Again, good pit stops. Today we got what we deserved. You know, we've got to be better. But today was the first time we got what we deserved. We definitely need to make some improvements, but I'm real proud. Nobody made their car better from Friday to Sunday than us. I'm real proud of that."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - FINISHED 17TH:
"We came in here with high expectations and are leaving disappointed. It was a long day out there. We never hit on the right balance and just battled through it. Believe me, we tried everything, but nothing clicked. The car was tight and then it was loose -- never had the necessary grip to make a big move. But we never quit and felt like we persevered and salvaged an okay result."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 13th:
"I think we did the best we could today to finish where we did. The Goodwrench Chevy was tight early and then it just wouldn't get going early enough in the runs for me to go anywhere before we got all strung out. Heck, the car was as fast as nybody towards the end of each run. I have to thank my GM Goodwrench crew. They kept me in it with the fast stops, but unfortunately it wasn't enough.
"It sure was bumpy out there, especially if you got out of the groove. It happened to me a few times and I had to fight to save it. We'll take a top-15 finish and head to Phoenix."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - UPDATE:
Labonte experienced a stomach flu all day Sunday but managed to complete the race.
Labonte visited the HCA Infield Medical Center early Sunday morning and complained of an upset stomach. He received intravenous fluids and slept before he attended the mandatory 10:20 a.m. (CDT) drivers meeting.
Following the drivers meeting, Labonte returned to the medical center for additional intravenous fluids and before he attended driver introductions.
Following the event, Labonte was given a final examination and was released in good condition.
Labonte finished 38th and completed 232 of the 334 laps after being collected in a seven-car accident on Lap 33.