NICORETTE 300 WINNER JEFF BURTON (No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet): My guys have been giving me really good race cars. The 5 was kind of in a league of his own today. We just kept plugging away. That next-to-last last run, that was the best we were...
NICORETTE 300 WINNER JEFF BURTON (No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet):
My guys have been giving me really good race cars. The 5 was kind of in a league of his own today. We just kept plugging away. That next-to-last last run, that was the best we were and we were starting to reel him in a little bit. We weren't far from having to pit; I was starting to get a vibration in the car and the caution came out. The way things cycled out, I don't think we could have ever beat him because he was really fast to start and we would start to come later, but I don't think it would have been enough time. But part of racing is putting yourself in position. You put yourself in position long enough and you never know what's going to happen, and that's what happened with us today. Our guys had great pit stops and kept getting us in the front and we were there when needed to be there and took advantage of someone else's problems.
(How hard was it for Kyle to give up win) It's hard; we had that a little last week in Cup race. We had a great chance of winning the race and had a part keep us from winning. And it's very frustrating, but it is part of racing. It's one of the things, the intangibles of racing that you just can't measure. Unfortunately it bites all of us from time to time and you hope it doesn't bite you too often. But when you feel like you have the best car, and you get beat, that's harder than when got outrun by somebody on last lap. I understand exactly what he's talking about. He did have the best car today.
(Comment on AT&T/Cingular): The only comment I've got is that Cingular's been a wonderful sponsor, and they want to be part of the sport. They have a real passion for the passion the race fans have and they want to be part of that. That's about all I'm going to say about it. It's unfortunate it's gotten to this point. We're trying to win a race, trying to win a championship, and they're giving us all the tools we need to do that with. Certainly we'd like to see it be able to continue. It's difficult to be in the position we're in. By the same token, we're focused 100 percent on trying to win races and win championships and we're not going to let distractions get in our way.
(Good to get back to racing, no tear wear problems?) Did you watch the race? Just because we're not talking about it doesn't mean it's not a problem. That's what's kind of humorous about last week, is that they brought a tire that nobody had a problem with. And everybody complained about it. This week we had problems and nobody said a word. I don't get it. I don't understand. Part of it is just change. When they said we're changing the tire, everybody went ballistic. If it was me, I'd put the small fuel cells in there for tomorrow. It's a problem. I don't know how long that last run was, but my right rear tire was completely killed. We were five laps away from wanting to pit. People were pitting way before they needed gas. It's an issue. It'll be an issue tomorrow.
(24th Busch victory; what means to RCR): It's just a really well run program. It's very organized. It's done with a lot of direction and a lot of meaning. All the drivers are lined up, talking, communicating, spending a lot of time together; it's a real together group. You can see that Hendrick Motorsports has stepped up their Busch program in a big way going into this year and we're going to have to answer that call. The 5 car today was outstanding. And we're going to have to find a way to answer that call because they were, in my opinion, in another league today.
(Any more fun to win on the last-lap pass?) Winning is special any way you do it, and there are more special ways to do it. A basketball player dreams of hitting the 3-pointer with no time on the clock and win by one. A race car driver dreams of coming off turn 4 and passing on the last lap to get the checkers. Last week was what you hope for and what you dream about. This week was more about taking advantage of the opportunity that was presented to you. I take a lot of pride in winning both ways. Last week was more exciting without a doubt, but that's not to say that this week isn't exciting too.
(Green car winning on St. Patrick's Day): It's pretty cool on St. Patty's Day to win in a green car.
(Had any conversation with NASCAR about smaller fuel cells) Just popped in my head sitting right here. I know that there were tires that were corded today. We had them and the neighbors in the garage had them too. I haven't had any conversations with NASCAR and I'm sure no one else has either. We have smaller fuel cells than we had last year already (18 gallons vs. 22 gallons in the Busch cars) and the track will rubber up and get better, but it wasn't going to stop being a problem today. I'm sure putting the small fuel cells in won't happen at this point. But there will certainly have to be some consideration early in the race for a competition caution to make sure we won't have problems. When you have problems in the Busch cars, I get nervous about what can happen in the Cup cars. The Cup cars are much harder on tires than the Busch cars and that makes me nervous.
(Worried about Busch catching you?) The thing that concerned me about Kyle was if there were a bunch of cautions. If it went green, I felt pretty good. When I looked in the mirror there's Matt Kenseth, there's Kasey Kahne, there's Kevin Harvick, there's Clint Bowyer - there's a lot of really, really great race car drivers lined up behind me. I was much more concerned about them. If the 5 car had been behind me, I would have been most concerned about him because he had exhibited throughout the day he was the fastest car, but he wasn't there. But every one of those other guys had my respect and attention.