BRETT BODINE --11-- Hooters Taurus (Finished 38th) "It looks like it just blew up. It dropped a cylinder the lap before, so maybe it dropped a valve or something. It just went away on us." IS THIS ONE ENGINE RULE KILLING YOU GUYS? "It isn't...
BRETT BODINE --11-- Hooters Taurus (Finished 38th)
"It looks like it just blew up. It dropped a cylinder the lap before, so maybe it dropped a valve or something. It just went away on us."
IS THIS ONE ENGINE RULE KILLING YOU GUYS? "It isn't a help. These things are making a lot of horsepower and all the parts and pieces were researched to run 500 or 550 miles and now we're having to run them 650-700 miles. Here it is late in the race and I blew one up. I wish we could run a practice engine, qualify with an engine and then take it out, put a practice engine in and then put that qualifier back in for the race. That would keep some miles off the race motor and I think it would save us some money."
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR NASCAR TO MAKE A CHANGE? "I don't know. Who knows what it takes? Hopefully, they'll just see this and make an adjustment because this is tough on the engines right now."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 4th)
"That was a great run. I was a little disappointed. At the end we lost a tire on our pit stop. I guess some guys were gonna get it with a stick and I screamed for them to grab it and I kind of messed up our stop myself, but maybe we would have had a shot to win, I don't know. The 20 was really strong, but I'm just real happy. We came from dead last and came up and ran with the leaders all day, so I can't ask for more than that."
YOU AND KURT BATTLED UP FRONT ALL DAY. "Yeah, he was running. I was gonna try and lead for a while, but he was too fast. It was a shame to see what happened to him on the last pit stop. I think something happened and he got a little behind, but it is encouraging. We both ran really good today and we both led a lot of laps. We were both in contention if the race would have unfolded right, so that gives me a lot of confidence."
THERE WAS SOME GOOD RACING OUT THERE. "There was. This is one of the greatest race tracks we go to. It is real fast, but you can run on the bottom or you can run right up against the wall and I think it makes for a good race. The driver can do a little extra here. If your car is not handling right on the bottom, you can move to the top or vice versa and that makes the race a lot more fun for me."
DID YOU THINK YOU WERE GOING TO GIVE YOURSELF THE PERFECT BIRTHDAY GIFT TODAY? "One thing I've learned with this kind of racing is you never count your chickens until they hatch, that's for sure. I knew we were in a good position and I knew we had a fast car, but I wasn't as good as Stewart and a couple of those other guys. When I'd take off in the front, they could catch me and I'd back up to fourth or fifth. If everything would have fallen our way we could have had a shot to win this thing, but I'm real happy running fourth."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 5th)
"I'm really proud of the Tide team because this is our second top five in four races. The biggest thing is we improved over last year. Last year was a very good year, but we've gotten better and I'm really proud of everybody."
ATLANTA ALWAYS SEEMS TO HAVE GOOD RACES. "I tell you what, it's the most fun you can have as a driver. It's really cool. It was a lot of fun with Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch. We were battling for the lead there during the middle part of the race. We were two-wide, three-wide, high side, low side, that's as good as it gets. I'll wrestle with an alligator all week if I could do that for a couple of hours on Sunday. It's just awesome, but I wouldn't be able to do it if I didn't have a great car. The Tide Ford was strong again and if you run in the top five long enough, you're gonna get your share of wins."
YOU SEEMED TO GET BETTER AFTER THE LAST STOP. "We got tighter and tighter and we just had to keep taking bite out. I think everybody learned something about all of that. It's such a unique race track right now that I hope they never pave it again. Right now there are so many options and it's so much fun."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 11th)
"I wore out my right foot today. We were on the throttle quite and I'm real proud of the effort that we got. It's just a matter of time before we start getting those top 10s every week."
YOU WERE LEADING WITH ABOUT 60 TO GO. WERE YOU HOPING IT WOULD GO GREEN THE REST OF THE WAY? "I knew it was gonna go yellow. These races always end up yellow. There are no more fuel mileage games. There are no more 60-lap runs. It's all either a 40-lap dash or a 20-lap dash. People that aren't factors are taking two tires and running in the top five, so we finished 11th today."
YOU WERE UP FRONT ALL DAY UNTIL THE END. "This Rubbermaid Ford was incredible all day long. We came out with a great car and give it our best shot. The crew did an outstanding job, but, unfortunately, we lost a few positions late in the race that we couldn't make up."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Finished 8th)
"We never did get any track position unfortunately, but we had a really good car. There were times when we'd run as good as the leader for a long time, but we were so far back and fighting lap traffic and racing people for position that we never did get very far up the running order. This team did it again. They put it all together at the end and got the best finish that we ran all day. This is a great race team that gave a great effort today. The car ran pretty darn good. We've still got work to do, but we're working on it and making progress. This was a new car for me and we didn't get a chance to test it, so we kind of had to go from scratch here, but I love my team and the job this Viagra team is doing is really great."
THERE'S BEEN SOME TOP 10 CONSISTENCY TO START THE YEAR? "Yeah. I would like to pick up the pace a little bit more and then I'd really feel good, but I also feel really good already. We dragged ourselves up from back in the pack in a short period of time and it's actually coming along a little faster than I expected."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 13th)
"We just couldn't make it do what I wanted it to do. We were tight in the center most of the day and we kept trying to adjust that. At times we got it better and at the end we really tried to make the right adjustments, but the car was just terrible. I don't know if it was the set of tires or the adjustments that we made, but it was just awful there. That was unfortunate because I don't know that we ever ran out of the top 10 all day, so to finish out of the top 10 is pretty disappointing."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 6th)
"We had a really good car all day long. I started off and the thing would fly. I made up something like 20 positions and then I felt the track getting tight and we started chasing after it because that's what has really killed me in the past. I've had trouble keeping up with the track enough when it gets tighter, but we kept working on that and freeing the car up. The car was great. To come from 38th to sixth was a good job. At one point it looked like we were gonna get up to third, but then it just got too tight on me at the end."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 19th)
"We just can't seem to catch a break with the yellow flags. We are getting great gas mileage, but it's bitten us two weeks in a row. The guys gave me a great race car today. It was really good on the long runs when we got to make them, but we'll just have to look forward to Darlington. I like that track and I think we can have a good race there."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 10th)
"Just being able to complete 500 miles was the most important part, just to be able to complete all the laps and not have any problems. We had some really great pit stops all day for the ALLTEL Ford. I think we had a car that was capable of running a little bit better than where we finished, but I think we had a top 10 race car and we brought it home in the top 10 today. Sometimes that's all you can ask for."
YOU LOOK READY TO GO OUT THERE FOR 500 MILES RIGHT NOW? "No. I was telling my dad. We used to go snowmobiling together and you'd go through a field really hard for about 15 minutes and you come out and feel like a wet rag. That's kind of how I feel right now, just really loose but I know I'm gonna be really tight tomorrow."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR RACE TODAY. YOU WERE TWO-WIDE AND THREE-WIDE AT TIMES. "We had a lot of fun. There were times where I wish some people would have given way and showed a little more respect than they should have, but there were times where I probably should have showed a little respect and I didn't. That's just good, hard racing I guess and it's fun to be able to be out here and do those things."
WHAT ABOUT THE CAUTIONS DOWN THE STRETCH? "There was one caution that we needed because we had a real bad vibration in the right-front tire and it got right down to the cords. It was good that caution came when it did or something else could have happened. The caution flags weren't bad and I think it evened the race out. We had some green-flag stops and some yellow-flag stops and I think it was a pretty good day for everybody."
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH THIS TOP 10? "I'm pleased with the top 10, yeah, it was a great effort for our first Winston Cup race at Atlanta but, again, I think we can do better and hopefully we'll do that next time."
DOUG YATES, Engine Builder -- Robert Yates Racing
YOU SAID ATLANTA WOULD BE A GOOD TEST FOR THIS ONE-ENGINE RULE. WHAT WAS YOUR TAKE ON THIS WEEKEND? "Every week has been a test and I think today was the hardest one. Traditionally, this race is hard on engines. I think last year we had some engine failures, but I think the rule is good. People are trying to find out how hard they can push it and, obviously, there's a fine line there. I think we saw some of the guys cross that line today, but, all in all, I think everybody will adapt to it and it'll make sense for everybody."
SOME HAVE SAID THEY'D LIKE TO SEE THINGS GO BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS AND OTHERS HAVE SUGGESTED MAYBE HAVING ONE ENGINE FOR PRACTICE AND ANOTHER FOR QUALIFYING AND THE RACE ONLY. HOW DO YOU FEEL? "I think I'd like to see NASCAR keep it the way it is. We've made the rule, so let's try and stick with it and ride it out a little bit. Atlanta is hard, but the true test is going to be at places like Pocono, where you have to start shifting and things like that. That's the kind of place that really concerns me, but I think it's a good rule. When you show up you've got what you've got and you've got to make the best of it. Right now you're starting to see some guys make better of it than others, so it's pretty interesting."