MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 42nd) "This is a pretty tough road for all of us, but that's how it goes I guess. I feel pretty down about it right now, but you can't change it. The car was really working good. On that last stop...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 42nd)
"This is a pretty tough road for all of us, but that's how it goes I guess. I feel pretty down about it right now, but you can't change it. The car was really working good. On that last stop we really got it going good. At least we were running, but there's nothing we can do about it. We broke and we're in the garage."
BRETT BODINE - No. 11 Hooters Taurus (Finished 41st)
"We struggled with the car all day. The car was really, really pushing and it just wouldn't turn the corner. We got it going decent for a couple runs there, but that was just my fault. I didn't know the yellow came out. The guys checked up in front of me and I got into the side of Kenny Wallace. I hope I didn't damage his car too bad, but it was totally my fault. I didn't know the yellow was out and I just got in the side of him. Hopefully, like I said, it didn't damage him too bad. We're out of it, but we'll bring the Hooters Ford back at Bristol."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 40th)
"We were a 10th-place car at best. If we can get the downforce better and get the horsepower better we would be able to compete."
HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO PINPOINT THE PROBLEM? "No. We've always had a problem under the hood. We try and try and try. We gain horsepower, we're just not competing under the hood like the other teams."
HOW FRUSTRATING IS THAT? "It's part of life."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Finished 33rd)
"We didn't have a very good car. Everytime we needed a good pit stop to keep us on the lead lap, we had a real bad one. On the first set of tires we took off pretty good. We were running with the 6 and the 17 and the 97 and us - we were all sitting there running together. And then the second set we put on we were awful and then we over-adjusted and weren't good from then on. We went back and forth on the car from being loose to tight. In the last 20 laps the thing vibrated pretty good and then it finally broke."
YOU SUFFERED THE SAME FATE AS SOME OF YOUR TEAMMATES. "Yeah, I guess all of us but one or two are out, but, I don't know, the guys are working real hard. I don't want to call it luck because we need to do a better job, but it's not because we're not trying."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 4th)
"We lost our power-steering before that last restart. It was weird. It wasn't like I just didn't have power-steering, it was like it was 10 times harder to steer than if it didn't have it, so I just kind of had to hang on the last 10 laps. But we had a great car. I think we were first in class. It was almost impossible to run with those Chevy's, so I feel real proud to bring a Ford up front and get a top five out of it."
HOW CONCERNED WITH YOU ABOUT THE ENGINE LASTING? "I was real concerned about it, but there's nothing you can do except to keep running and hope for the best."
HOW WAS IT TO PASS? "It wasn't too bad. You could still pass. It seemed like I could have used a little more front downforce, then maybe I could have kept up with them a little better. It seemed like I couldn't stay at the front very good all day no matter what I did, but we had a great car. The DEWALT guys did a great job with it and we came home fourth."
THIS KEEPS YOUR SOLID START TO THE SEASON GOING. "Yeah, on the long run we were better than anybody on the last 20 laps of a run. I felt good about that and felt if it would have gone green to the end, I felt pretty good about our car. On the short run I'd get hurt a little bit, but, yet, it was a great effort. We found our way all the way up there. We struggled for a lot of the day and got it good when we needed it to be at the end."
DID YOU THINK A FORD WOULD EVEN FINISH IN THE TOP FIVE? "No. I'm just real lucky to have such a great team to get me in that position and get me a good enough car to at least finish in the top five with those guys. They were pretty stout."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO LEAD THE POINT STANDINGS? "I guess it doesn't really matter this early in the year, but it's better to be ahead than behind. We'll take that and build on what we did today and, hopefully, we'll have a good run at Darlington next week."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 6th)
YOU STARTED SLOW, BUT YOU BOUNCED BACK. "Yeah and that's what I've learned about this team, even when we don't start where we need to be, they know how to work on a car better than anybody I've ever been around. Shawn (Parker) and Raymond (Fox) are really using their heads and giving me great cars. It was fun. We were a little bit loose at first and we were falling back, but we stayed around the top 10 all day. They gave me the best set of tires and the best the car had been when it counted at the end of the race and, man, I'm proud of them."
IS THIS A RELIEF? "Oh yeah. This is a big relief because the bad luck has been awful. To be able to run all 500 miles with nothing happening to us is a good momentum boost. We had good pit stops and now we're going to my three favorite tracks in a row - Darlington, Bristol and Texas. We know we can make up some points and some positions there, so it's a good momentum boost for us. I'm proud of this race team. We've got a young team and, man, they're working good together and making me look good right now."
DID THE SUN THROW YOU GUYS OFF AT THE START? "Yeah, it's my fault. I wanted the car a lot freer than what it was yesterday in practice and the sun made the track a little freer than what I thought it would be. The car was a lot looser than what I wanted it to be, so it was my fault but they adjusted to it and made it better. They made it to where we got a sixth-place finish. We wanted a top five, but I was just too tight to hold Tony off at the end, so we'll take sixth."
THE CHEVYS WERE STRONG. "Yeah, we were the next best Ford to Matt, but the Chevrolets got us killed right now. If they can't see that going on two races in a row, I don't know what you've got to do. We've just got to work hard and keep our nose to the grindstone and try to come up with something. We know we're at a disadvantage, but if we keep working hard on our springs and shocks and getting it close that way we'll be fine."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 35th)
"Something broke in the motor, I'm not really sure. The motor tightened up and I caught it right before it exploded, but it was definitely a long day for us. It's not one that we're real happy with for sure."
DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 8th)
"That was a good day. We ran solid all day and just kept creeping forward. Unfortunately, sixth-seventh-eighth was all we could do. We couldn't get the car any faster than that. I was kind of yo-yoing back and forth all day. I'd be really good in one corner and struggle a little bit in the other, so I was kind of biding my time. We could never really get it good to run with the top guys, but after a miserable week last week in Las Vegas this makes up for it. It was a good week."
YOU GOT OFF TO A GOOD START DESPITE THE DIFFERENT CONDITIONS. "We did. Bootie (Barker) and those guys got it right. We didn't change much from yesterday. We were pretty loose yesterday and just did a couple of little things and that kept us from going down a lap early. If you were bad, you were in trouble. It's a good thing Bootie got it right because that kept us in the race."
BUT THE DRIVER HAS A ROLE TOO, RIGHT? "Yeah, here you do. This track, you've got to move around and find out where the car is the best but you've got to keep running the thing hard."