Atlanta Ford Cracker Barrel 500 Report


March 14, 1999        Atlanta Motor Speedway                                

RICKY CRAVEN -58- Hollywood Video Taurus -- NOTE: CRAVEN LEFT THE RACE WITH A BLOWN ENGINE. WAS IT JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS? "Yeah, but it's progress. The car really ran good and we needed that because Hollywood Video is trying real hard to secure this thing for the whole year. It's a shame we couldn't show our whole hand because we had and awfully good car today. I really believe when we get all of these little gremlins out of the way, that we're gonna have some really awesome races because we've shown too much potential early on for it to not be real. I believe in this team and I know they believe in me and you can't run as well as we've run without repeating it and we'll do that."

JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "I don't know for sure. We had some carburetor trouble. I know what happened, I mean the throttle stuck, but I don't know for sure why and it went straight in the wall. It's unfortunate for the Mobil 1 Ford. We're having extremely bad luck going for us again, but we'll get 'em back. It was just a bad day for us. I hate it for everybody, but what are you gonna do?"

RICK MAST -98- Yarborough/Burdette Motorsports Taurus -- "We just kind of dug a hole at the beginning and the car wasn't working right. Then we got it working a lot better and got our lap back. We just needed more running, we needed more running to adjust on the car. We made two adjustments the last two stops that went the wrong way and kind of screwed it up, but if we could have just started racing a little better, we could have ended up a lot better, but we're pleased."

BILL ELLIOTT -94- McDonald's Taurus -- "We never give up. The guys did a good job and we just kept working and trying to work through different things and it finally got better and better as the race went on. The car, I thought, was good but it wasn't as good as that 24 and that other piece."

DID YOU THINK YOU COULD DO SOME DAMAGE ONCE YOU GOT BACK ON THE LEAD LAP? "Yeah, I thought I could do some racing, but I knew I didn't have nothing for the those other guys. It looked like the 24, the 18 and the 31 were just the class of the field."

JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "We had a really good race car. The 24 and the 18 put on a clinic today, they did a great job. I just couldn't run with those guys. At times during the runs I could, but, overall, they were just faster than we were. That's no great surprise, they both get around here good, their teams do a great job. When we come back to Atlanta we'll make some changes for next time and try to be a little bit better, but, all in all, I'm real proud of the Exide team. Everybody did a great job."

DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A TIRE GOING DOWN? "I thought I did just for a brief second. It jumped sideways on me in the middle of three and four about halfway through the race and I backed up quite a bit. I gave up a lot of track position, but I had to slow down just to make sure that everything was OK. I gave up some track position, but it was OK."

MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline Taurus -- "We managed to keep on the lead lap and get adjusted around and get our track position back. We knew on long runs our car was decent on a long run, so there at the end we were able to do pretty good, but we couldn't run with those guys. There was a half a dozen that were faster than we were that we just couldn't run with, but on the long haul they would back up, so this is a real good finish considering the way it started out."

YOU WERE LOOSE TO START? "Yeah, we got the car going real good during the middle of the race and I don't know how to make it better than it was and it obviously wasn't good enough today, but that was as good as we could get it. It was great teamwork today." "I'm real happy with it. I feel like we beat a lot of cars that were faster than us today. I never dreamed we could run third and at the end the car was the best it was the whole race. You couldn't ask for any more than that."

HOW MUCH DID THE WEATHER AFFECT THE CAR? "I think that the biggest change was the rubber being washed off the race track. I didn't know it was gonna do that, but it was really bad. For us, we were in bad shape at the start of the race and the first adjustment that we made the car was even worse. Over the long haul it came back."

RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "We finally had to come in and change it (the shock). I said, ' Let's just fix it because I can't even get it going straight the way it is,' so we changed the shocks and it got a little better, but not much better and at the same time we started making some huge, huge chassis adjustments and all of a sudden the car took off and it got real, real good. But it was too late. At the end there it was an easy top five car. I wasn't even concerned about that, but we got so many laps down there it was unreal."

ELLIOTT SADLER -21- Citgo Taurus -- "We worked on it an actually had a pretty good car there at the end. I just tried to stay out of trouble and try to run 500 miles. I didn't know if I could last that long, so it's good to last that long, keep this car in one piece and get it ready for Texas."

WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH THE CAR EARLY? "Just way too loose and I think we've got rear-end problems. One lap it would be loose and one lap it would be tight, so we just tightened it up a whole lot just to be on the safe side, so we're gonna check that when we get back home. But we're gonna call this a good day. Hey, we finished once and we feel like we're going in the right direction."

CHAD LITTLE -97- John Deere Taurus -- "I'm just tickled to death. I think the team has come so far, a long ways, and we're all contributing and helping. Everything's going well."

WERE YOU TIGHT MOST OF THE DAY? "We were pretty much chasing that all day. We actually started out a little bit loose and pulled a spring rubber and from that point on, I'd have to go back and look at the notes for sure, but from about that point on we were just a little on the tight side. It was hard to really get a good run off the corner being tight, but the car was very close and everything went pretty well. It was a pretty competitive race."

KEVIN LEPAGE -16- PRIMESTAR Taurus -- "We had some problems in the pits, but we're gonna work on it. It's nobody's fault, we've got some new guys and we've just gotta get a little bit better. We wanted to get some points and that's what we decided to do, so we got some points. This is probably the most disappointing we've run all year all day long. We could never make the car any better and that's the problem. We're gonna work on it and get ready for Darlington."

DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "It turned out pretty good. We just struggled all day long. It seemed that the car never would really run and we were having to try to make up for it in the corners and that's kind of hard to do. But to come out with a top five with everything that went on, that's not bad."

WAS THE MOTOR FLAT? "Yeah. It just never turned the rpm's that we turned yesterday in practice. I don't know, we had, I don't know if it was a fuel pressure problem, but the fuel pressure fluctuated a lot all day long, so it just didn't perform like it normally does."

HOW TOUGH IS 325 LAPS ON THIS TRACK AT THOSE SPEEDS? "It's pretty tough. You have to work awful hard and you're going awful fast. It was nice to get an upper groove worked in today back like the old Atlanta."

YOU WENT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT TODAY, DIDN'T YOU? "We did a lot of work all day, we just never seemed to get everything right. The motor was a little flat all day. I don't know if something got in the carburetor or what, but we never turned the rpm's that we turned yesterday in practice and that made it difficult, but the guys worked hard and we managed to get back in the top five."

YOU DID IT ON THE TRACK TOO BECAUSE OF THE JACK PROBLEM AND SPEEDING PENALTY. "We overcame a lot today, so those are the kinds of days that if you can come out with something decent you feel pretty good about."

HOW WAS THE CAR TODAY? "It wasn't bad. We were a little bit tight in the center of the corner and that kept me a little off all day long. It wasn't bad on new tires, but then it would get too tight later on. We couldn't seem to get that out. If we got that out of it, I was way too loose at the beginning so I had to compromise somewhere."

KENNY IRWIN -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "We knew going into today that we were gonna have problems with the car and we survived. That's how I look at it and I think that's how the guys on the team look at it. We didn't tear anything up. We ran all day. We weren't competitive, but the way we have to try and look at it is that we did finish and didn't tear anything up. We'll never race that car again. That's the same car we ran at Charlotte last year and we had problems with it there. We thought that it was something setup wise, but it's just in the car."

DID THE WEATHER DO ANYTHING? "Actually the weather probably helped us if anything. The track kind of came to us and tightened up the car, which is what we needed."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup