KERRY EARNHARDT IN THE ...
KERRY EARNHARDT IN THE #12 SUPERCUTS CHEVROLET WAS INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT EARLY IN THE RACE. HE COMPLETED 60 LAPS AND WAS CREDITED WITH A 41ST PLACE FINISH.
"I got into turn one and lost the nose behind Shane Hmiel. I got up too high and got into the gray stuff and turned around and back her into the wall, enough to put us out of the race. It didn't really hurt the car real bad but enough to put us out."
SCOTT RIGGS IN THE #10 NESTLE NESQUIK FORD WAS THE RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE RACE AT ATLANTA. RIGGS FINISHED FOURTH, HIS EIGHTH TOP-FIVE FINISH OF THE 2002 SEASON. HE HAS NOW TAKEN HOME TOP FINISHING RAYBESTOS ROOKIE HONORS 14 TIMES THIS SEASON.RIGGS LED THE RACE TWICE FOR 12 LAPS. RIGGS UNOFFICIALLY LEADS JOHNNY SAUTER BY 76 POINTS (291-215) IN THE RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE STANDINGS
"Considering where we've been lately, it's a good run for us. I don't know how in the world I keep getting beat getting in and out of the pits. I feel like I'm as close to speeding as I can and almost spin out getting into the pits. Somehow other people get in and out faster than I do. It seems like I keep getting beat on pit road somehow on those green flag stops. I don't understand that part. All the guys did a great job. They kept working on the car. We came here and tested and ended up bringing a different car back and I'm sure glad that we did. This car felt a whole lot better and we were a lot faster. Even with the 30 minutes (of practice time) that we got yesterday we could tell that it was an improvement.
"We got beat by fuel mileage. I'm proud of all these guys on the Nesquik Ford. With the way that our last, I could say 15 races, especially the last few races, the way it's been going finishing 30-something every time. It's been awfully frustrating. I think that a lot of the communication breakdown that me and my crew chief Harold (Holly) have sort of carved through in the last couple of weeks is something that probably drivers and crew chiefs don't hack out until maybe a couple of years down the road. I feel like hopefully I'm already through my sophomore slump and can come out next year and look like a veteran and have some good finishes and stay solid in the top-five. Like I say I hope this is a turning point for us. Every time we have a good car and we are running up front it seems like some dumb luck always seems to happen to us: flat tires, or something breaking. Being able to hold it all together and come back is all that the team needed."
HOW HARD IS IT TO FUEL MILEAGE RACE?
"You can't. Fuel mileage has got to be won back at the shop. You save as much gas as you can under caution but as far as out there racing you have to keep the hammer to the wood and keep racing hard. You can't do it out there. It's a good day for all of us. All the guys on the Nesquik Ford did a good job, kept faith, and I hope we are back on track."
BRIAN VICKERS, #40 VICTORY JUNCTION GANG DODGE, FINISHED 12TH. VICKERS LED THE RACE TWICE FOR 12 LAPS.
"At the beginning of the race it was really good. It was a little loose at the start and it was coming to us. We got on the outside of Hank (Parker Jr.) and I'm sure that I took the air off his spoiler. I think he got loose and he over-corrected and got in our door and took us out. I think most of it was because I took the air off his spoiler. I was going to do the same thing either way but I think it was just unexpected. That ruined us. After that the car just got real tight. It doesn't seem like much, the door being caved in, but it made such a big difference. At the beginning of the race we had a loose car and then it came too us. After that it was tight at the start of a run, it was a rocket ship, and then it just went away. The Goodyear tires did a great job for us. The Dodge was pulling us down the straightaway. I'm real proud of these guys and they gave me a good car. Starting 35th and finishing 12th, I guess we can't complain that. I wish that wreck wouldn't have happened. I'd like to really go after those guys."
HOW COOL WAS IT TO LEAD THE RACE?
"It was nice. It was different being up there. I hope we see it a lot more often."
HOW CLOSE WERE YOU ON GAS AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"Talk about cutting it close. Actually at that point and time it was a benefit we were one lap down because I cut off coming to the white flag right beside the leader and that made me take the checkered so we ended up 12th. Our car wasn't that bad. It was real good before that wreck but after that we were kind of hurting a little bit."
JOHNNY SAUTER, #2 ACDELCO CHEVROLET, FINISHED 10TH. THIS IS SAUTER'S FIFTH TOP-10 OF THE 2002 SEASON.
"It was a good run. No matter what we would have had a top-15. Fuel mileage played into our favor and we got a top-10 out of it. I'm happy. The car was so bad at the beginning day, loose, I was afraid to be racing with anybody. I was letting everybody go. We worked on it and made the right adjustments on pit stops and we're heroes now, I guess, from what we had to start with."
HOW HARD IS IT TO FUEL MILEAGE RACE?
"I don't know. We didn't fuel mileage race. We just pitted every caution because we had to keep working on that thing it was so bad. It was real, real, loose. We didn't play the fuel mileage game. We had to keep pitting to keep working on the car. I don't know how the whole deal shook out. I think fuel mileage won the race but we definitely didn't play it."
WHAT DID YOU GUYS DO TO MAKE THE CAR BETTER DURING THE RACE?
"It was really, really loose entering the corner, and especially real bad in traffic when somebody is on the outside of you and the air is moving around. We came in and put wedge in it, lowered the track bar, put a spring rubber in the right front, did a little bit of air pressure stuff and kept tuning on it."