Hotwheels.com 300 Saturday notebook By Brett Borden
MIAMI (Nov. 13, 1999) The Bud Pole winner for Saturday's race, Hut Stricklin, battled a handling condition all day long and finished a disappointing 21st.
"Needless to say we're disappointed," said Stricklin, driver of the No. 38 Barbasol Ford. "We had hoped to have a lot better run than where we ended up. We made a lot of chassis adjustments throughout the day and the car stayed tight all day. We kept loosening it up, but we just never could get it free for whatever reason. It seemed every adjustment we made it just wasn't responding. We're disappointed and that goes without saying. At least we did have a good run in qualifying and do have a little something to show for our trip to Miami anyway."
Ward Burton wasn't the only member of his family disappointed in the way things turned out Saturday. Jeff Burton feels like he had much more car than his eighth-place finish showed. "We never caught a break," said Burton, driver of the No. 9 Track Gear Ford. "On old tires we were really fast, but we lost so much track position because we had to pit under green and that got us behind. We never could make that back up. We got a lap down because we pitted too early one time, we made that lap back up, and put on four tires.
"We were sitting fifth with four new tires and ran over something and it pushed really bad for the first lap. I knew something was wrong and it ended up we ran over and cut something on the right rear, so we did a really nice job of saving it to keep from wrecking, but, at the same time, we thought we were in pretty decent shape.
"We ran better than we finished. We're happy with that. On long runs we had a real fast car and on short runs we weren't very good and we never caught a break. Everything that could have gone wrong for us did, with the exception of I was in two wrecks and never hit anything. It just didn't work out for us."
An accident on Lap 192 after a restart caused a major demolition derby that claimed the No. 66 Phillips 66 Chevrolet of Todd Bodine. "Adam (Petty) got caught up in the loose stuff and went into the wall," Bodine said. "Everyone panicked and checked up instead of just going under like they should have. Caused a big pileup. Up to that restart (Lap 191) we were going to go the whole way without another stop for fuel, we definitely had it."
On the first lap of the race, an eight-car accident collected the cars of Matt Kenseth, Ron Hornaday, Shane Hall, Jason Keller, Stanton Barrett, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Lyndon Amick, Mark Martin and Dave Blaney. Hamilton, Jr. was able to go on and finish ninth. Hornaday took 12th, Martin 14th, and Blaney 16th. None of the other drivers were able to finish in the top 25.
"It was a shame," Barrett said. "Somebody was trying to push people around on the very first lap. Joe Nemechek and I were going down the backstretch. He was on the outside. He decided to try to pass somebody. He came right down on me. I was down on the apron and had no place to go. There was no need for it. Our car was great and then this. Some guys think they can push people around."