TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - Winner ON BEING IN SHAPE AND LOOKING GOOD OUT THERE: "Yeah thanks, I'm feeling good in the race car too. It's showing on the race track and all these guys behind us. They're the ones who won ...
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - Winner
ON BEING IN SHAPE AND LOOKING GOOD OUT THERE: "Yeah thanks, I'm feeling good in the race car too. It's showing on the race track and all these guys behind us. They're the ones who won the race this race today. The first time we came in we were second and we never lost a spot after that so it's all due to these guys behind me on the pit crew. This win is really due to Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief). We didn't have the car driving exactly like we wanted last night and we made some changes late last night. We made some changes between last night and this morning and this thing was perfect.
"I've been racing 27 years and I can count on two hands the amount of times that I've had a car that was as good as this one was tonight. It's just an honor to drive a car when it's that nice. You really feel fortunate and you cherish days like today."
ON THE LAST RESTART AND KNOWING THE 48 WAS HUNGRY AND PROBABLY HAD BETTER TIRES: "Yeah but I don't think he had much after leading all those laps. I wasn't giving nothing up either so I don't think he was going to take any chances. He had a good day today too so it was a big day for both of us. The biggest focus was trying not to spin the tires on the restart. I figured if I could get it in turn one clean that I'd be able to run my line and I'd be fine but it was just a matter of getting it from turn four to the start finish line in good shape."
ON THIS RACE CAR: "Yeah, it's going to Homestead. I can promise you that. I don't care what the crew chief says. I'm driving this car at Homestead (laughs). He better get it ready. There's just something about this car. I'm not one of those guys that's ever said I had a favorite car but last year we had a car that was really, really good everywhere we went and this year this car has run three races and has three wins now so there's obviously something to it. The balance of it is always really good. I don't know if it's a percentage of aero balance or what but it's just one of those cars that is always comfortable everywhere we run with it."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 2nd
"Man, what a night of racing. I can't believe how fast we were running around this race track as we were driving. I'm just so proud of this race team. This race team never gives up. We're working hard and doing a great job. It was a good night for us. I'm mentally tapped after this one."
ON BEING THE CURRENT POINTS LEADER: "That's great. We just hope we can lead this thing at the end of the year. That's the goal. Our guys are doing awesome and we've raced our way back into this and that's something I'm very proud of. Regardless of how this turns out this Lowe's team and Chevrolet has been awfully strong and I'm very proud of these guys."
ON TAKING FOUR TIRES ON THE LAST PIT STOP AND KNOWING TONY STEWART MAY TAKE TWO: "Well I didn't realize everybody else was taking two until I got on the track and saw I was pretty far behind. I thought that might not have been a good idea but then with the restarts here at the end the end the four tires helped me out a lot and I was able to at least get back to where I was before our pit stop."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 3rd
"Yeah, it was a good run for us. We kind of fought the car all night and we kept adjusting on it and trying to make it better and better. We got towards the end there and put two tires on it expecting to go to the end and came out there with a top three finish so a good night for us all around."
ON WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE 10 CAR: "He pretty much got loose and crammed to the bottom and I committed to go low and he got loose and I got into him and he wrecked."
ON THE CHASE: "We're just going to keep at it. That's all you can do."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 8th "We started off incredible. I was so pumped about the way we started the day off driving from 23rd up there to inside the top 10. We got in the top five at one time but for some reason after that we were never really that good. We hung in the top five because of track position there for a while and tried to make some bigger adjustments to get the car better and just kept losing the handling on it. Unfortunately it wasn't what we were looking for but at the same time we got a top 10. That's good for us here today."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 6th
HOW DO YOU FEEL? "I drank so many fluids, I just had a hard day. The first part of the race it wasn't very good at all. But the guys worked on the car and I got to feeling better halfway through the race. And the last half of the race we were fine. I'm just sorry we didn't do any better than we did. We really couldn't get a hold of the car. The No. 07 got right up on me there. I did the same thing to the No. 16 here a year ago and I couldn't believe how quick it spun me around there and we got in the fence. The guys worked on it and fixed it. And I want to thank them. It's a great race car and hopefully we can have it repaired for Homestead."
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW GOOD THE CAR ACTUALLY WAS AFTER YOU WERE BACK IN 34TH AND MADE SIX STOPS TO REPAIR IT? "I've seen these guys fix some wrecked race cars before. And they've got a great habit of still having that little glimmer of hope that that thing might handle all right. And a lot of teams will just ride it out. These guys stick it out and you can hear it in their voices that they anticipate the car to drive the same, so I go out there and try to make it happen. It was a good race. I'm real proud of my team. It was a good effort for us with all that we went through."
ON BEING SICK 'The first part of the race, I was a mess. It was grueling for me. I could concentrate for about three laps and then I'd have two laps to where I just couldn't get nothing done and I was just all over the place just feeling sick. I got that out of my system somehow or another. Hitting the fence sort of woke us all up a little bit. But it's a shame that I had to put that car through that. That's a great race car. It's a good finish for us, and hopefully Tony (Eury) Jr. and the guys can fix it.
"Physically, it was pretty tough. But the last half of the race I was fine. We knocked the crush panels out and got a little carbon monoxide - sort of like taking a Valium. It kind of gave me a little bit of a pace there. I had a real bad case of heartburn all weekend from drinking so many power drinks trying to put my fluids back in me. I was just so full of fluids and the first couple of corners, man, it was just all coming back up."
TALK ABOUT BEING JUST 78 POINTS BEHIND THE LEADER IN THE CHASE:
"I'm really glad that we're close and have that opportunity. That's what you shoot for. We've got some hard, tough teams to beat. But we're putting up a great fight, I think, looking at the two races where I made the mistake in Martinsville and then the Talladega race. I think we're putting up a great fight. I don't think anybody anticipating this team running as strong every week. We all probably agreed on a few tracks we'd run good at, but I don't think anybody anticipated running great every week. So, I'm proud of my team."
HOW SIGNIFICANT WAS THE 4-TIRE CHANGE NEAR THE END? "It wasn't that significant. We had that wreck off of Turn 4 and I run it through the grass and I hit the frame rail on that go-kart track and tore the car all to heck. It was just vibrating and shaking them last couple of laps.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU GOT INTO THE WALL? "I was just going along. We had been really loose in and really loose off and a little tight in the center. We were trying to figure out what to do to fix those problems. And Clint Bowyer came up on me and we kind of crossed paths on the exit of the corner and man, it just took the air right off my car and I went into the fence. I've had that happen. I've been on Clint's side of that. And it's off that corner - that very corner with Greg Biffle a year ago. Man it takes off. The track was really slick tonight. I couldn't get off none of the corners and was real tight in the center and loose in and we really couldn't fix none of my issues. We were probably going to finish third or fourth if we hadn't hit the wall, but it was a great comeback."
DID YOU THINK YOU'D BE ABLE TO MAKE THAT SURGE? "No, I thought maybe we'd be great if we could finish 15th."
WHAT DOES IT SAY FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM TO BE ABLE TO FINISH 6TH? "I hope it says a lot. We've been called a lot of things and it would be great to be called resilient. This team is very strong and very dedicated. They carry me whenever I need it and vice-versa and it helps to have that. It really, really does."
DID YOU HAVE A RELIEF DRIVER? "No, I didn't think I needed one. Man, if I wasn't racing for a championship, I might have. We talked about it. But Tony Jr. won't allow me to do that. He's going to push me. I wasn't in that bad a shape to need a race driver."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHT ON THE CHASE WITH TWO TO GO? "We'll just keep working hard. Hopefully the chips fall in our favor."
CAN YOU WIN IT? "Yeah, I think so. We finish pretty well every week. We should be way out ahead if we can change a few things."
ARE YOU GLAD TONY STEWART IS NOT IN THE CHASE? "Yeah. Absolutely. He's looking great."
TONY RAINES, No. 96 DLP HDTV CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS:
"We had a pretty steady night. We started deep in the field and slowly worked our way up to 20th or so. We got boxed in the pits a couple of times tonight and that really hurt us. We had about a 13th or 15th-place car and finished 19th, so I'm a little disappointed in that. We kind of rebounded, the 6 car (Mark Martin) and I got together in practice and so for the way the weekend was going, it got a lot better."
TALK ABOUT THE LAST 24 HOURS. YOU AND MARK MARTIN WRECKED AND THEN YOU WERE SICK MOST OF YESTERDAY AND TODAY. "We've had trouble all weekend it seems like. From Mark and I getting together -- we didn't qualify good. Our DLP car was pretty decent in happy hour and then Mark and I got together and our car was all torn up and we had to fix it. The DLP guys worked really hard all weekend and really did a great job. I got sick during the second practice and I didn't feel good all night or this morning, so to finish the race and come out with a top 20 -- that isn't all that bad. We're headed in the right direction. It wasn't the best the night could've been, but it could've been a whole lot worse."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 44 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 36th
"Well it was a tough day. I knew our car was a little bit too loose yesterday. We made some adjustments on but we didn't go near enough. It was so bad we had to go to the garage and work on it for a while and we came back out. But I was determined to finish the race and these guys worked hard on it. It's just too bad we were off a little bit off more than I thought we were going to be. Anyway I'd like to thank all the fans here in Texas. It's just been a great ride. On one hand I guess it's sad but on the other hand I'm excited about it. Anyway I've got to thank all the guys at Kellogg's and Hendrick Motorsports for such an awesome opportunity. It's been a lot of fun."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 4th
ON NOT BEING HAPPY WITH THE CAR BUT BOUNCING BACK FOR A GREAT FINISH: "Yeah, we did. I just kind of told them what we needed within the race car and Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made some great calls on what to make adjustments on and we were able to bring the CARQUEST Chevrolet back up towards the front a little bit. That two tire pit stop there towards the middle of the race really got us some track position, got us up front where we can run with those guys. We knew we could we just couldn't ever pass out here. This track is so tough because the bottom groove is still so fast. It's got three lanes but it's not pretty good about 50 laps on tires. It's a little bit tough out there, but all in all a strong day for us. We're happy with it. We'll take it and go on to Phoenix. We love Phoenix."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS: "We blew a right front tire. I had just asked my guys how long before we pit and they told me how many more laps and I said it would never got that far. I was getting ready to tell them we were coming the next lap and it blew out. As soon as we put that set of tires on, it never felt right. That is the longest front A frame and the least camber we have run all year long you could actually see the wear indicators as it was worn the same on the outside and the inside. So I don't think we did anything wrong. I think we just got an unlucky tire.
ON TAKING A HIT IN THE POINT STANDINGS: "This is pretty much going to do it for us unfortunately. We will keep fighting and get all we can. You never know what is going to happen. We won't quit racing, I will assure you of that. It makes it pretty tough unless everyone else has trouble. I am really disappointed; I think we put together a good effort. If I to do anything over, I wouldn't do anything different. We will keep fighting."
ON THIS BEING A DEVESTATING BLOW: "That pretty much does it for us as far as the championship unless something crazy happens. We put a good effort out. We'll go to the next two races and try to win 'em. If I had to do anything over that we've done so far, I would change some things in retrospect, but today is something that I don't think was our fault. I think this is the longest A-frame we've run all year with the least amount of camber. And the tire wear, if you look at the tire wear right there, it's wore on the outside as it is the inside edge with a lot of tread on the inside edge left. So we didn't do anything wrong camper wise. Every now and then you draw a lucky tire and we drew it."
DID YOU FEEL THIS COMING? "I asked Scott (Miller, crew chief) how many laps til we pit and he said 20 and I told him we'd never make it that far and about 10 seconds later it blew out. I was getting ready to tell him we were coming. I contemplated coming the lap before but you just never know. You never know what is going to happen and it's a really difficult spot to put a driver in, having tires that are marginal is very difficult. The driver doesn't know what to do. If I would have pitted they would have found nothing wrong with the tire. That's the thing, there's nothing wrong with the outside of the tire. It's something with the inside of the tire. They would have found nothing wrong and I wouldn't have slept all night thinking I shouldn't of pitted. It's an uncomfortable thing for drivers to know when to pit and when not to pit. It's a tough position to be in."
ON HIS LUCK CHANGING DRAMATICALLY OVER THE LAST THREE WEEKS AND WHAT HAS HAPPENED OVER THE LAST FEW RACES: "That's racin'. I mean that's how it goes. Again we put a good effort out there and for the most part I think we've done a nice job. I don't think that we should shake ourselves in the foot. We made a little mistake in Atlanta. We made a little mistake at Martinsville but we were still in the hunt coming into this race. The biggest hit that we've taken in my opinion here I don't think was our fault. I know that Goodyear would probably disagree but the reality of it is all we can do is get tire tests and be as easy on the right front as we can and that's what we did today. We actually ran a longer A-frame than we wanted to just because of that and because the truck race the people had tire problems. We actually were way more conservative than we ever have been and still had a problem."
-credit: gm racing