FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Cracker Barrel 500 March 12, 2000 Atlanta Motor Speedway JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 43rd) -- "I'm OK actually. I'm pretty happy to be OK. That's about as hard as you...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES
Cracker Barrel 500
March 12, 2000
Atlanta Motor Speedway
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 43rd) -- "I'm OK actually. I'm pretty happy to be OK. That's about as hard as you can hit here when you're going into the corner and something happens. There's no time to get slowed down or anything, so I hit real hard. It's a real shame. We had a great race car and we came from a long way back. We had great pit stops, the car was really fast, it's a real shame."
ANY INDICATION THE TIRE WAS GOING DOWN?
"No, it just went. I was sitting there driving away from the 31 and pretty much driving away from everybody else and there was no sign at all that anything was gonna happen. I must have run over something because it went so fast. After a caution sometimes things get on the track and we probably ran over something and there's nothing you can do."
WHAT HAPPENED? "We must have run over something. These tires just don't fail like that unless you do run over something, so, obviously, there was something on the race track. I never saw it or never felt it, it just went so fast. There was never an indication, it just turned around. There's nothing you can do but hang on and hope you don't hit too hard."
HOW WERE THE TIRES THROUGHOUT THE RACE BEFORE THAT?
"I think a lot of people are making a bunch about the tires, but the fact of the matter is that we all have the same tires and getting them to work is what it's all about. My car turned well, it had good forward bite and it was doing everything I wanted so I can't complain about the tires a bit. I thought they were in the race track really well and, even if people don't like the tires, they're equal because we've all got the same tires. To me, it's a safer tire, it's a better tire, it's a sturdier tire, we just ran over something and had some bad luck."
KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- FamilyClick.com Taurus (Finished 38th) -- "I can't say enough for all the guys on this FamilyClick.com Taurus because they did a great job. We were just riding out there picking them off one at a time. We came in and did a routine stop and on the way out I broke a left-rear axle. I just hate it for everybody in Liberty (N.C.). We had a great race car...definitely a top five race car and maybe even something to win with. We'll just go out and get some points now and get them next week at Darlington."
SO THE PIT STOP WAS OK, IT WAS AS YOU WERE LEAVING?
"It was just when they dropped me, I took off and must have broke an axle."
SCOTT PRUETT --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 41st) -- "We were just running hard, chasing the car around a little bit and learning a lot about what's going on. The Tide car kind of slid back and then we started to get in a good rhythm and started going back forward again. I was just driving hard and got down into turns one and two a little bit too hard and got back on the throttle a little too soon and it was a lazy slide around."
WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE TO YOU HAVE ON THE CAR?
"We took a pretty good lick in the rear and a pretty good lick in the front. They're gonna take a good look at it now and see if we can get back out. These guys are working real hard and I'm disappointed. We had a pretty good run going. The car was running solid. We started out way too tight and made some adjustment that had it pretty well in the realm, but, unfortunately, it got away from us."
HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
"I just got in a little too deep in one and two and got the throttle a little too soon and it just slid out from underneath me."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Finished 40th) -- "The DeWalt Taurus was good all day, I was real happy with it. We were up in the top 10 there and I noticed the water temperature was a little bit too hot, so we came back around again under green and that's how we lost our couple of laps just putting water in it. After that it was OK, everything was back to normal, the temperatures were fine and everything and it didn't give any indication at all. In the middle of the frontstretch there it just blew up.
WALLY DALLENBACH --75-- Cartoon Network Taurus (Finished 39th) -- "We've had a loose race car all day long and I've been catching it every lap, but that time I missed it. I don't know what the deal is. We made a lot of changes and started getting it a little bit better, but we were still way loose. The WCW car got slammed today."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 36th) -- "We had a Monday on Sunday, it was one of those bad days. Nothing went right and something finally happened in the engine compartment. It just started off bad and got worse."
IS IT THE ODDS CATCHING UP WITH YOU? YOUR LAST DNF WAS LAST YEAR IN THE DAYTONA 500.
"Things are gonna happen. These guys have done a fantastic job, they always do, and, unfortunately, things are gonna happen some days. I got into somebody on pit road, he cut straight across in front of me and I couldn't miss him and then things got worse from there but these things do happen."
IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS ISN'T IT?
"Nothing went right. We weren't that bad at the start, but then I got into somebody on pit road, they cut straight across in front of me and then something finally happened in the engine. It's just one of those days, they're gonna happen sometimes."
ANY INDICATION YOU WERE HAVING ENGINE TROUBLE?
"No. We got the car pretty decent and I started up through there and then all of a sudden I noticed I had lost a cylinder. There was no warning those things just happen."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 32nd) -- "Tony Stewart lost it up there, somebody did. There was no place to go. I tried to get away from it. My car was just about blown up though, it was smoking real bad."
YOU HAD A GREAT RUN GOING FROM THE BACK OF THE FIELD.
"Basically what happened was we broke an exhaust header. When the header broke it caught the inside of the car on fire, believe it or not. There was smoke everywhere, so I had to pit under green thinking I had a tire going down because it was stinking like tire smoke real bad and the car had a squirrely feeling. We pitted and didn't find anything wrong with the tire and went back out and then it got really bad. Come to find out the header broke and it was catching the whole inside of the car on fire. Then we had something going wrong with the motor, it was spitting oil out the tailpipes and smoking on caution flags, but it wasn't affecting the way it was running. Man, it's just unfortunate because I had a real hot rod today. We started 30th and drove it up to fourth and everything was great and now this happens. But this wreck, I guess Stewart spun. I don't know what happened there. I had them all cleared on the outside and somebody came flying across the race track through the grass and got me in the door. Now we're trying to get it back out there and make just a couple of laps to get some points and that's it."
IT SEEMED LIKE THINGS WERE VERY RACEY TODAY, WAS IT DUE TO THE TIRE? "The tire was really hard to figure out. It's a great tire and it just took a lot different setup. Everybody was really really loose...my tire wear was great, my camber wear was great...everything was going good except this doggone header broke and that's what caused everything."
STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak Taurus (Finished 35th) -- YOU HAD A ROUGH DAY TODAY? "Yeah, it has been. The Cougar Melling car started having problems right from the start. We had a spindle break and it just hasn't been our day. We got back out there and trying to run in the back and just get some seat time and figure out what this thing needs the next time we come. I'm not sure what happened over there coming on the front straightaway. I tried to avoid, I got down in the grass, but I couldn't avoid it."
YOU HAD SOME PROBLEMS ON PIT ROAD EARLIER AS WELL. WHAT DID YOU SEE IN THAT SITUATION?
"I couldn't tell. I saw a couple cars sitting in front of us, I went low and somebody got into the right rear. I'm not sure who it was or what happened because it all happened so quick."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 33rd) -- "If we could ever have any luck we would be happy. We were running good but that 9 car wasn't paying attention I guess. He came through there and didn't take the caution, so we're out again."
WHAT DID YOU SEE WITH TONY SPINNING?
"What happened was Tony lost it up in four and then turned around. He was sitting up there and he was out of the way. Then the 9 car came through there wide open and hit Rusty and then I think he hit me. It was not a wreck until the 9 car came."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 28th) -- The sad part is this is probably the best car we've ever had at Atlanta, including the one we finished third with last November. We were zipping through the field and felt like we had a chance to really do something. We were lined up in sixth place when we lost fourth gear. I'm not really sure what it was but we lost 15 laps fixing it. By then it was riding for points. Even then we could run with anybody out there when we wanted. That many laps down, though, you usually just let people go on by. Man, we had a good car. The way things went at the end, another 100 laps and we might could have won that thing."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus (Finished 3rd) -- "We didn't run good at all, but the Valvoline team did a great job of getting me a third-place finish out of it. We just couldn't keep up with them guys. I feel sorry for Mike Skinner, he had us covered today."
DID YOU GET ALL YOU COULD GET TODAY?
"I got more than I deserved today. We had a lot better finish than we really deserved. We didn't really run very good. Mike Skinner had everybody beat and had trouble, I feel sorry for him. We got lucky. We wrecked once and didn't hit anything. The Valvoline team did a great job to run third, that was a 15th-place car."
DID YOU FEEL AT ANY TIME YOU COULD COMPETE WITH THEM?
"Only early. Early we maybe had a shot, but later on we just couldn't keep up. Man, they had us covered."
THERE WERE MORE LEAD CHANGES AMONG MORE DRIVERS. DOES THAT MEAN THE RACING WAS MORE COMPETITIVE TODAY?
"That means coincidence. That's what that means."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 11th) -- "We had an air gun break or something on a pit stop and knocked us out. That's what killed us. We were about a fifth-place car and ended up 11th. It seemed like we were playing catch-up all day. We didn't want the race to end. A lot of days you want it to end, but we didn't want it to end today. We just kept playing catch-up."
BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus (Finished 10th) -- "I wasn't as good as the 3 and the 31. I was pretty good there at the first and I drove out when a car coming in on pit road knocked the front fender off of it. Boy, we fought it the rest of the day. We got in the back and just never could overcome that. I got really bad loose there in one section and finally got the thing tightened up, we just need a little bit more. We'll keep digging at it. These cars are so temperamental, I mean it don't take anything to mess them up aerodynamically. We'll give it our best shot and see what happens next week."
WHAT ABOUT COMING BACK FROM THE PIT ROAD DEAL AND FINISHING IN THE TOP 10?
"I was totally amazed. The guys never gave up and that's what we keep trying to strive for. After we had the problem I said, 'Boy, I'll be lucky if I get in the top 15' and to be in the top 10 that was pretty amazing."
HOW MUCH FUN ARE YOU HAVING RIGHT NOW?
"I'm having a lot of fun. The first part of the race was really a lot of fun, but the last part was a little bit less. Still, it was a good day."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus (Finished 16th) -- "We did what we needed to do. We came here and we qualified solidly first round and we ran very respectable at times today. We had some handling problems, but we overcame some of those handling problems and kept ourselves in that one-lap down group. We had some real good pit stops under green. That was a question mark on our part because this was only our second race. It's the fourth race of the year, but it's only the second time we had a chance to make pit stops. That part of the program I was very happy with, so, all in all, I'm gonna call this weekend very successful. It's a real good starting spot for us because we learned a wealth of knowledge here at Atlanta."
THERE WAS A LOT OF RACING GOING ON OUT THERE.
"I'm telling you there was racing everywhere. Man, I raced hard every lap. There was never a time that I just put my time in out there. It was racing hard from first to dead last and that's what the fans want to see."
CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus (Finished 6th) -- THIS CAR IS MAGIC HERE AT ATLANTA. "This car has raced five times and four of them have been here at Atlanta and its got some good finishes (three top 10s and an 11th). We're real pleased with that. We need to take it to the next level and I'll be real pleased."
A GREAT DAY.
"We're real pleased for all of John Deere, the Roush Racing team and the number 97 team. We haven't had a great year so far, but this certainly helps and we have a little momentum into the program as we get ready for Darlington. I'm very happy. The pit stops went well. We had a good car all day long and adjusted on it a little bit and made it better. It was one of those days that you need to have more often. That's the key -- more often."
ALL DAY LONG THE RACING WAS PRETTY GOOD. DID IT FEEL MORE COMPETITIVE?
"Atlanta, the configuration of this track makes for a very competitive race because you can run so hard into the corners and out of the corners. It's the nature of this race track."
HOW ABOUT THE CHEVROLETS.
"Obviously, you look at their nose and you can say to yourself it doesn't even look like the rest of the cars now. I think they went to the extreme. I was a little surprised to see they went that far, to be honest with you. I mean, I could see giving them a half-inch and kind of creeping up on it, but two inches...I'd say they went pretty far and maybe they'll take another look at it now."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 17th) -- "We didn't have a good day today. We finished, but our car was just snap-dead-loose. The Chevrolets got what they wanted and they're the best car right now by a lot, by a real lot. The Monte Carlos look like it's gonna be really hard to beat 'em the rest of this year unless something happens."
DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 31st) -- "We came to Atlanta with absolutely no prior knowledge of this new Goodyear tire. Last year we missed all three races (fall events at Michigan, Charlotte and Atlanta) that they ran at. This weekend, what little we got to run, before the rain washed out Happy Hour, was all on a qualifying set-up. We made our best guess, but were way way off at the start. We figured the best thing was to take it to the garage and make major changes. We ended up 100 times better than we started and with almost 300 laps more of experience on this tire. That will definitely help us down the road."
MARK MARTIN PRESS CONFERENCE
"We didn't run very good but we finished great, so it was a great effort by the team. They did a good job. I got real lucky, one time I crashed and didn't hit anything. We were fortunate...great pit stops...the car ran real good at the end which enabled us to pull off a third-place finish."
WERE YOU TIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE? "I don't know, we couldn't keep up."
WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF THE DOMINANCE OF THE CHILDRESS CARS TODAY?
"Try a different question. What does that mean?"
SINCE THE 31 WAS SO DOMINANT AND THE 3 WON THE RACE IS THERE ANY INDICATION THE CHEVROLETS GOT TOO MUCH OF A BREAK ON THE RULE CHANGE?
"That would be (a question for) NASCAR...that's not up to me."