TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC XX NOTES DALE EARNHARDT (NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- We were really fortunate -- unfortunate for (Steve) Kinser -- that he hit the wall. The car was starting to push real bad and it gave up the right front (tire) real...
TRUE VALUE FIREBIRD IROC XX NOTES
DALE EARNHARDT (NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- We were really fortunate -- unfortunate for (Steve) Kinser -- that he hit the wall. The car was starting to push real bad and it gave up the right front (tire) real bad. It was vibrating and I was concerned about our car. When they (Kinser) had the problem off of two, then we came in and got tires, just like (Jeff) Gordon, Robby Gordon and a couple of other guys did. We got back out there and Robby Gordon and (Tommy) Kendall and I drafted back to the front. Once I got back to the front they got to racing side-by-side -- them two guys did -- I just watched the race for a second and I went on and won the race. I tell you, I'm glad Robby Gordon isn't going to be in Sunday's race. He's awfully tough and he's awfully tough in the draft. It really made it an exciting time. He's awfully fast. He got in under us and we went right to the front. We were running good together and he saw that it made a difference together so that made it good for us. I didn't have any way to communicate with him and let him know that was the thing to do. He did the right thing. He did a good job. I felt like if they (Gordon and Kendall) would ever have got nose-to-tail with each other and started drafting back up, maybe it would have been a different story. They would probably have caught up with us and -- who knows? I was excited about watching them race for second myself. I was just watching in the mirror to see who was going to come. If they would have gotten started, I'd have tried to have gotten down in front of them and raced with them. I blocked them. I didn't know how wide those new Pontiacs was; I just found out! I've got to hand it to Jay Signore and the guys, True-Value, Goodyear and everybody that did a great job. They did a good job of putting these cars together in the short time they had. They work great. It was a little tight off Turn two but that I could attribute to the wind. Everybody's pretty equal. It was all a key of getting together and drafting together and pushing each other. That was the key to getting in front and staying in front. (ON COMING IN FOR TIRES.) I felt our right front was unsafe and, as a driver, I made the decision to come and see if they'd give me rightsides. They did. I made a judgment call that worked out for me. Robby Gordon did. (Tom) Kendall did. The other guys didn't.
JAY SIGNORE (IROC President) -- We didn't know what to expect from the cars. It turned out pretty decently. We have some drivers who are a little mad at us. We'll get through that, fix up our problems and make everybody happy again. For a long time we had a tire rule where if you came in and changed tires you were penalized a lap. With the Goodyear radial tires being so good we decided to forego that rule. Unfortunately, like any rule it comes back to bite you now and again. It bit us today. We had a couple of drivers -- Terry Labonte and Mark Martin -- who didn't really want to talk to me except for a few words. They were pleasant enough. Once it calms down hopefully we can sit down and have a meeting of the minds.
STEVE KINSER (World of Outlaws) -- It got to pushing and just wore the (right front) tire out (causing him to hit the wall in turn two). We had a rough go from the very beginning.
AL UNSER JR. (PPG Indy Car World Series) -- For sure tires were the story. All the guys that came in and changed them, they won the race. The Pontiacs were all pretty much equal. Everybody was holding their own. You could see the guys that abused their tires - - they were going away. So they came in, changed their tires and went out and won the race.
SCOTT PRUETT (PPG Indy car World Series) -- We just ran ran out of tires and then got into it a little bit with Jeff Gordon. All of us were slipping around a little bit and got up into the fence coming off of four. I just had to make it to the end. We might have had something (for Labonte), but we'll never know. It looked like the smart move was coming in to take on tires. RUSTY WALLACE (NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- The cars ran pretty good. It was just that they were pushing the front ends a little too much. My oil temperature just got sky high and it finally blew up. Other than that, it was a good run. They're going to be good cars. I've had a lot of bad luck so far (at Daytona), but hopefully it's behind us.
MARK MARTIN (NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- We were fine until they let Dale change tires.
TERRY LABONTE (NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- I don't want to talk about it. It was a bad deal!
ROBBY GORDON (PPG Indy Car World Series) -- Some of Mark Martin's guys told me if you can, get right behind Earnhardt and stick with him. I helped push him all the way up to the front. At the end, Tommy Kendall and I got side-by-side and that dragged me down a little. Early in the race I had to back out of the gas once, and I lost the draft. They got away from me and I knew our only hope was a caution to get caught back up. The caution with 10 laps left when we changed tires changed the whole race for me. It was a lot of fun. I did everything I could to protect my position there at the finish line.
JEFF GORDON (NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- We caught the wall off turn two early on, and we changed tires but it never was right after that.
STERLING MARLIN (NASCAR Winston Cup Series) -- I saw Steve Kinser hit the wall and then some drivers come in and get tires. When Earnhardt came in for tires I felt if they was going to get tires then I was gonna get me some tires too. I didn't know you could pit under caution and get tires. The car was real tight. I couldn't turn it so I came in and got some tires. It was a heck of a show after that.
TOMMY KENDALL (SCCA Trans-Am Series) -- When I was out front I knew if I got off the bottom that they would get underneath me. Sure enough, they did. I left too much of an opening and they came steaming by. When I got in behind them in the draft I was being pinned on the bottom and it was really hard on the right front tire so I felt I had to come in for new tires. I came in for a right front and they put four tires on. I kind of had an idea that taking on tires was the right move. Earnhardt was ahead of me and I waited until he was past 'pit in' before I dove in for my tires figuring that he would end up behind me if he came in for tires. It didn't take him long to figure out how to get back by. Dale and I laid back too much on the restart and the field left us. Dale came steaming by and and went to the front. I was hoping he would come up behind me and we would move together.