WINSTON 500 RACE NOTES
GLEN BROWDER (Alabama's Third Congressional District Representative to the U.S. Congress) -- We are absolutely very proud of this facility. It's in my district and it's a great tradition. The Winston Select 500 is one of the great sporting events in the world. Someone else would have to give us the specifics of the economic impact of this place but it's tremendous, not only on race day but also during the year. It helps our economy tremendously. I'll have to tell you it was a thrill -- not only starting the race -- but running around that track (in the pace car during the initial pace laps). You can look at that bank all you want to but until you're on it you don't realize how steep it really is.
T. WAYNE ROBERTSON (Vice President Sports Marketing Enterprises) -- (DURING RED FLAG FOLLOWING MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT.) The good news is that all the drivers are OK and I think that's a testament to the NASCAR rules and the integrity of these cars. Nobody likes to see that happen but when you have good, close, competitive racing like we have in NASCAR Winston Cup racing unfortunately that happens once in a while. This is going to be a busy month for us but it's kind of like the whole Winston Cup season. Everybody knows that it starts at Daytona but everything really starts moving from this point on, too. As you know a lot of drivers can turn their seasons around here. This is where Jeff Gordon took over the point lead last year -- and won the $100,000 bonus for doing that -- and went on and won the championship. Dale Earnhardt's shooting for a $70,000 bonus today if he's able to do that but in the point championship there's five guys who have a chance to do it. We've been sponsoring the Winston Select 500 since 1971. This is the longest-running sponsorship of any event in sports and we're very proud of that. That's because of the support that these fans continue to give this sport. It's hard to believe -- when you look around this facility and you know where it's been. If you were here back when it first started and you look where this sport's grown...and Talladega just exemplifies what we've done with this sport. And the fans -- you can't say enough about the fans who support this sport. They're orderly fans coming in, they're in lines waiting in traffic, they're orderly getting in and getting out and they see the best racing in the world.
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 94 McDonald's Ford) -- (After examination at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, where Elliott was airlifted following his accident on the backstretch, it was determined Elliott had a fractured left femur (thigh bone) and will undergo surgery Monday morning to repair it.)
RED FLAG: The red flag to effect repairs to the damaged catch fence in turn one was out for 52 minutes and six seconds.
OTHER NOTED turn one incidents in Talladega history: Phil Parsons flipped numerous times on May 1, 1983, in the Winston 500. His car is on display in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Jimmy Horton flipped over the turn one wall in the 1993 DieHard 500. There were 15 cars involved in today's accident, including Nos. 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 18, 22, 24, 27, 28, 41, 44, 90 and 95.
WHEN STEVE GRISSOM took the lead following the red flag he became the 14th different leader of the Winston Select 500 -- an event record at Talladega Superspeedway. It was Grissom's first time to lead this year and the first time he's led at Talladega, his home track. The Talladega record for different leaders is 26 in the 1986 DieHard 500. No other drivers led, so 14 is the event record.
EDDIE WOOD (Crew chief No. 21 Citgo Ford) -- (Wood was named the Western Auto Mechanic of the Race.)
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet) -- (Craven was airlifted to Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham. It was reported that he had no serious injuries -- he was simply bruised and sore. A CT scan was negative. He was in the Intensive Care Unit for observation and was listed in stable condition.
TONY GLOVER (Crew chief No. 4 Kodak Film Chevrolet) -- Everybody in our motor room gave us a heckuva motor. (Glover received an icewater shower on pit road following the race.) It's worth it (sputtering and shaking his head)! They built a heckuva race car. It ran great, it handled great and Sterling drove his heart out! Man, he drove one heckuva race! (ON OVERHEATING PROBLEM AT BEGINNING OF RACE.) Yeah, that was our biggest problem, but we knew we had a good enough race car to come in and fix it and I can't say enough about Sterling Marlin -- he drove a helluva race!
LARRY McCLURE (Car owner No. 4 Kodak Film Chevrolet) -- What can you say? It was a good race car, a good driver, a good race team... You know, we had to come from behind a few times today but he was up to the task. The car performed flawlessly and we're proud for Kodak and for all the fans who stayed to watch this thing. I think us and the 88 were the best cars today. We were pretty close qualifying but we've got some work to do there. I don't know how they always beat us. They did, but we'll take today's victory!
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet) -- It wasn't a fun race for us today -- it was aggravating. The good thing about the race is the points. You know, we're happy to be where we are at -- the finish today is just another notch.
STERLING MARLIN (No. 4 Kodak Film Chevrolet) -- I'll tell you, all the credit in the world goes to this Kodak team. All them guys did a great a great job and the shop and here at the track and I'll tell ya, ol' Runt (Pittman) sure built us one fine motor. We saved the best for the race and it showed. My hat's off to all those boys in the motor room. Charlie Brunnhoelzl for the body...all the crew did a great job. All I had to do was steer the thing. It kind of worried me when I got separated from the front group one time, but a couple or three cars came up and give us a little boost and got us back up there. The car ran flawless -- we never touched a jack bolt all day. It drove good and it run good. You could almost pull out and pass at will, almost. If they ever got lined up and got a run at you you were a sitting duck but we held 'em off a couple times. (ON FINAL RUN WITH DALE JARRETT) It's hard to do anything with just two cars when you're one-on-one. When Dale Jarrett was in the lead I couldn't have passed him or Terry Labonte or whoever. You needed to get four or five cars to get the wind stirred up to start passing. (ON MOVING INTO TOP 10.) Man we've got an awful lot of momentum going! We've got some good tracks coming up, except Sears Point (chuckling). We've got Charlotte and all of 'em coming up and we're looking forward to it. We'll get it back on track like it was last year, try to get us some more wins and get back in the top five in points.
RUNT PITTMAN (Engine builder No. 4 Kodak Film Chevrolet) -- All the late nights are paying off and I'll tell you what -- it's a whole lot better to win than it is to stay up all night and not win! All of the guys at the shop in the engine room, J.E. and Darrell and Glen -- all of 'em worked real hard, everyone works well together and it all turned out real good. We was good at Daytona and the thing busted a piston. We came down here and tested. We changed the design of the pistons and we came down here and ran 560 miles and everything worked out good, everything worked out good today so we must have our problem cured. (WHAT ABOUT QUALIFYING?) (laughing) We're going to have to learn from somebody else, I reckon!
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- Sterling was just too strong for us. When it comes down to the end you want to be in the front. There was a lot of racing going on during the final few laps. Everybody wanted to get into position and I knew where I wanted to try and get -- up into second. Hopefully, there would be someone up behind me. I got up into second but I just didn't have anyone behind me. Congratulations to Sterling -- he does a great job here and he has a good race team -- but also give my guys a lot of credit.
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet) -- The car was just too tight there at the end and pushed down a little in turns three and four. Car 88 got under me and the 3 car got past me and I got pushed back to fourth. This was a typical Talladega race.
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 21 CITGO Ford) -- We had a great run but the circumstances just worked against us there at the end when the pack fell apart. We needed a pack because our car was kinda weak by itself. Everything worked like we thought it would, except when everything just broke up there at the end and we couldn't get up to the front. I told the guys at the red flag that I just wanted to be there at the end and battle for the win, but I didn't get to -- we just rode across the finish line. It's a good run for the CITGO Ford Thunderbird. We were good all day. Our team doesn't quit -- all they want to do is race.