Report from Motorsport News International
NASCAR Public Relations
Pennzoil 200 Quotebook
LOUDON, N.H. (May 31, 1997) The following are selected quotes from the Pennzoil/VIP Discount Auto 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
JAY SAUTER No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet
"The Chevrolet truck was awesome today! This Goodwrench team kept faith. We had a great set-up yesterday, we just didn't show it in qualifying. Our game plan was to save our tires for the last 25 laps of each segment and that strategy proved beneficial (to his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory). It's been real tough getting started this season but these guys really stuck behind me and had confidence in me and that kept my confidence up. This team just works so hard and so well together that I can't thank them enough."
JACK SPRAGUE No. 24 Quaker State Chevrolet
"The Quaker State Chevy was good right up to the end when I really needed it. It got terrible tight and I was driving it like a sprint car. I'd go into a corner and just pitch it in with the brakes. I just couldn't keep it up. It wasn't mechanical -- it was just terrible tight. I couldn't turn it in a 40-acre field!"
RICK CARELLI No. 6 RE/MAXX Chevrolet
"It was a good race and I had fun out there. We had a real good truck today and if I could've gotten by Jack (Sprague) I might have had something for them up there. They tell me we were running a little faster than the rest of them. At this place, you've got to be on the bottom to pass. The outside lane just doesn't exist."
BORIS SAID III No. 44 Federated Auto Parts Ford
"My next goal after finishing on the lead lap was a top-10, and to finish in the top-5 today was like a win, especially fourth is even better. I've got to thank the crew, Robert Yates for the engine, especially (owners) Mark (Simo) and Ernie (Irvan). They give me a lot of support and a lot of tips. I mean today I feel like I won.
YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT ERNIE GIVING YOU TIPS. "Yeah, we're like best friends. We talk almost every day. Even though sometimes he isn't directly telling me what I should be doing, I still pick up things just from hanging around him. He forgotten more than I know about going left. It is the best place a rookie could be, just being around him." "Fourth place feels like a win for me today. We had the best truck out there today and we probably could have finished in the top three. This track is all about track position and pitting at the right time. We pitted for fuel a little too late in the second half and we lost a few positions. Other than that we ran a flawless race. Jay (Smith) gave me a truck that I could drive anywhere on the track. When we came in for the halftime break, we didn't have to change one thing to the set-up." I have to thank the crew and Ernie Irvan for getting me into the top five today. I have always said that Irvan-Simo Racing is a top five team with a top twenty driver. I was on the phone with Ernie last night and he gave me a lot of good advice. Without the help of Ernie my learning curve would be steeper. It feels good to finally prove to myself and the crew that we are capable of running and finishing in the top ten."
KENNY IRWIN JR. No. 98 Raybestos/Ford Credit Ford
"It was a good day. We ran in the top-5. Those Chevrolets just got a lot of fuel mileage, and that's something we weren't counting on. But we'll be ready to go to Texas."
RICK CRAWFORD No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford
"I told the crew on the way in on the cool down lap, it's amazing what you can do when you've got a truck under you. There was just a little foul up in the pits on the gas stop caused us to come back in twice. It was nobody's fault. The truck was a good truck today. We came all the way from the back twice. Now we can get ready for Texas. We're going home."
BRYAN REFFNER No. 66 Carlin Burners & Controls Ford
"It was up and down. We had a decent truck. For once we were close. That's where we've needed to be at all these races. It gives us something to work off of. I feel the motor was maybe down a little, because I couldn't run with some of the guys. But all in all it was a good day for us. The way the season has gone, we'll take a top ten. To run up where we did is good. That's what this team needed for a boost. Now we can go on to Texas, and maybe get another top ten. All in all, I'm happy."
JOE RUTTMAN No. 80 LCI Worldwide Telecommunications Ford
"I think the truck on the outside of the guy I was passing cut into him and just forced him into me, and that's what happened. It just happened. I was inside of them. They should have given me the room."
BOB KESELOWSKI No. 29 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge
"We ran a whole lot better than we practiced, but later on the tire pressures got uneven and the handling just went away. This series gets more and more competitive all the time - you look down the list and they're all good trucks - it's tough!"
BUTCH MILLER No. 20 Orleans Hotel & Casino Chevrolet
"I ran the brakes off the fourth place truck (his own). We had zero brake pedal there at the end -- it just went to the floor -- so we ended up in 14th. I was pretty lucky coming through traffic -- I started 29th and they had some crash and bangers in front of us. I was lucky several times there was a hole to get through the crashes."
STACY COMPTON No. 86 Valvoline Ford
" A couple trucks got together up front. We got on the brakes. It's just racing. We got on the brakes, somebody got into the back of us. We got turned around. I don't know who hit us in the side, but they straightened us back up. My hats off to the Impact Motor Sports crew, all of them. What can you say. They got the truck back. We didn't loose a lap until right there at the end. I mean these guys did such a good job. Ford has a good program. We had a good truck today. We ran good in practice. We just had a little mishap early. We've got our feet on the ground now, and we're starting to run. I feel like before long you are going to see us up front."
MIKE BLISS No. 2 Team ASE Ford
"I think Dokken got loose. That got Bickle into Dokken, and that left me no track. I got into him. I couldn't do anything. It screwed the whole day up. We had a lot better truck than what I showed there. I wanted to save the tires in case we had a yellow so I could get my lap back. I wanted to have tires left so I could get my lap back. We had a good Ford there all in all. It was all beat to death, but it was good."
RICH BICKLE No. 17 Sears DieHard Chevrolet
"We pushed like a dump truck. The changes we made at halftime didn't help today, but we learned a lot about setting up the DieHard Chevy that will help us at other mile tracks."
JIMMY HENSLEY No. 43 Cummins/Touch One Dodge
"We blistered a tire 30 laps in, and once that happened we were history anyway. We got a couple laps down. We're not sure what the problem was."
MICHAEL DOKKEN No. 18 Dana Dodge
"I thought I gave Bickle enough room, but maybe not. It's just one of those things - we got together. This weekend's been tough. The truck was handling real well - I felt like we could've been in the top five, and definitely in the top 10."
TONY RAINES No. 19 Pennzoil Dodge
"Sprague crowded me in on the apron. I bumped him, and then he got loose. He waved his fist at me as he went by. What better rivals on the track -- Pennzoil versus Quaker State! On lap 49 a seal in the transmission popped off. We changed the transmission and got back in, but we decided to pull the truck and save the motor."
BRANDON BUTLER No. 56 Husky Power Tools Dodge
"I felt like changing the tires was the right thing to do, to change tires, rather than jeopardizing myself and somebody else. Later in the race, when the accident happened, the 86 got into the 52, and I was right behind the 86. There was nowhere to go."
ERIC NORRIS No. 02 Wolverine Vinyl Siding Ford
"We blew a motor. That's what finished us for the day. Ruttman and I tangled, and there was a car up beside me, and I didn't have anywhere to go. I hit him. Then the truck was tight the whole rest of the time. It wasn't the day I wanted to have. Our Wolverine Ford was running so good, and I sure expected a lot better than this today. I think it (my next race) will be Milwaukee."
ROB RIZZO No. 27 RGR Racing Ford
"My spotter told me Joe Ruttman got into the back of Eric Norris, and he got into the side of me. I guess Joe went to go high, and then he got into me. It's too bad it had to happen. I don't know why they were trying to dog down into one the way they were. But you know, what are you going to do. We came in and tried to fix the truck, but it was all over the track, and rather than put it in the wall I figured we'd just park it."
Jack Durbin firstname.lastname@example.org Motorsport News International email@example.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html