DAVE BLANEY, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO- Finished 8th: "I'd like to thank everybody at Snap-On and Jack Daniels and at RCR and everybody - this has been a really solid day for us. We're trying to take little steps forward to get...
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO- Finished 8th:
"I'd like to thank everybody at Snap-On and Jack Daniels and at RCR and everybody - this has been a really solid day for us. We're trying to take little steps forward to get better. We thought we had a pretty solid weekend in Vegas and an even better weekend this weekend. We've been solid since we unloaded here on Friday until the end of the race. We had good pit stops and a good race. I'm proud of all my guys. The car was really good. We just kept having to free it up and free it up. It was really good when it was the sunniest and hottest. And then we just couldn't get it freed up enough to run really good once it got cloudy and cool. At the end it was the same way. Man, if we'd had some sunshine and it was a little hotter I think we would have been a factor."
(IS THIS A TEAM ON THE RISE?) "Definitely. The No. 31(Jeff Burton) was running up front a lot. I don't know what happened to Kevin Harvick's car, but all three cars were really good in Friday practice and we all thought we had something for them today. The cars are getting better and engines are getting better - everything is coming fast at RCR. We're going to run good all year."
(WHAT'S BEEN THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IN THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS?) "Well, I don't know that it's just been then - it's been over the off-season. Richard has just been spending so much time and effort on getting anything we need to run up front. The engine shop has made big gains with more to come and the bodies are getting way better. Everything is getting better. It's just a matter of putting all the pieces in place."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 15th:
"We ran great at times and it just gets away from us. This is the third race in a row that we've been worse at the end of the race. We're working real hard and trying hard. This is a good car. We've just got to keep digging and get a little better."
SCOTT RIGGS- NO. 10 VALVOLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 9th:
(WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FIRST LAP?) I saw the No. 41 and the No. 0 go up there and get real close and I think it took the air off of Casey and he got loose. As soon as I saw it I jumped out of the gas and got on the binders pretty hard and backed up away from it and was lucky enough to miss it all.
(SO YOU NEVER MADE CONTACT WITH THE NO. 41?) Oh no. I was probably three feet behind him the whole time.
(AFTER HAVING GOOD RUNS SPOILED THE LAST TWO WEEKS, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GET A TOP-10 FINISH?) We probably had better cars in California and Las Vegas than we did here, but luckily this week we were able to capitalize on the good run and get a solid finish. We came here thinking we had a top-10 car and we were able to stay in the top-10 on the track most of the day. We didn't want to see that last caution come out.
"We had a really good set of tires that were working well balance wise before that and we'd driven our way up to fourth and thought we could hold on for at least a top-five finish. After that last caution we had about 30 (laps) left and it didn't work out for us. That next set of tires was awfully loose, so we fell back some because we were so free.
I thought the Valvoline Chevrolet was a little better than the finish we came up with, but ninth is a good, solid way for us to leave here. We want more of these (good finishes). We had a good machine and I'm just glad we were able to come up with a decent result. We came back to Atlanta with a little vengeance (after not making last fall's race) and were bound and determined this weekend to finish the race."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 35th:
"We're not sure why there was a hole in the radiator -- there are many reasons for it, including debris on the track," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "We'll go over everything at the shop this week. We had a strong car all day and Joe drove a great race. It's a shame we're not getting the finishes we deserve.
"I don't know what to say except our finishes do not reflect our performances. We've been strong every race but can't seem to get to the end. The incidents that stymied us in the last three races were beyond our control. We should have had top-five finishes in each of those races. This is difficult to accept, but we'll fight through it."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 7th:
(WHAT DOES THIS 7TH PLACE FINISH MEAN FOR YOUR TEAM?) It means a lot. We're working really well together. Respect...it just makes me so happy. I've been on both sides of the fence. These guys just trust me believe in me and know that we can be successful together. It just feels so great. The NAPA team is right on par. We liked one little notch today to be exactly where we needed to be, and that little notch was right in the corner. Once I got in there, I could run with everybody. We're going to Texas to test this week and I have a lot of confidence with this team.
(GOOD SEE DEI IN THE TOP 10. SO FAR IT SEEMS IT'S BEEN A FIGHT BETWEEN HENDRICK AND ROUSH. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?) Well, we're see with the deal is with all that. People say they got more power-I don't know. People say they got better aerodynamics-I don't know. I just know that today I had a car that I could drive. I was able to run with a bunch of cars, but I never saw the 99, 16, or the 48. When they said go, they left. I wasn't able to keep up with them. But, I saw a lot of guys that did see them, eventually, you know...they would race with them for a while and then fall back and I'd pass them. We didn't have the best entry on pit road-I messed up. We had one bad pit stop that had me in the back. But, when you do that, you're able to work on your car and make changes and when you continue to do that, when it's time to go, you can get a good pit stop and get you a Top 10."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 5th:
It's awesome how well everyone has come together. This new #25/5 shop is working out great, Brain Whitsell heading that, all the people involved. You know, Rick has done a great job of getting us what we needed. I'm happy to have the GMAC/ditech.com Chevy back. I really, really have a good feeling about this year. I think we have a good chance.
DO YOU CONSIDER THIS YOUR BEST CUP RUN OVERALL? Yeah, I think so. It's been our best run. It was definitely one of the toughest to get. We had to go back to the back twice and come to the front for various issues and reasons, but the guys worked hard all day and had good pit stops and a good run.
COULD YOU TELL YOUR PIT STOPS WERE FAST WHILE SITTING IN THE CAR? You can tell. You can really tell if it's a good pit stop. We have a good pit crew and those guys just get better and better every week. You can tell they really want it and it's a lot easier to pass guys on pit road than it is to pass them on the race track.
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE TODAY IN THE CAR? The car was good. Lance did a great job with the setup and an awesome job working on it all day to make it better.
DOES IT HELP WITH THE IMPOUND RULE? I like it. I don't think it's a big deal or a big benefit. I don't think it hurts us but you know everybody has been saying both. You know, I like it just because it's an easier weekend, easier schedule. You focus on race setup, qualify and then go race. IT's the same format that I've done for a long time in many other series.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BRISTOL COMING UP? I like Bristol. It's one of my favorite race tracks, a fun race track. We went there and tested and I thought it went really well."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 24th:
"I'm proud of the effort my team gave today. We were really loose for most of the day, and at times it was hard to drive. But we had a car that could've finished a lot better than it did, and that's my fault. I was going too fast exiting pit road, and we fell two laps down and could never recover. I can't knock anybody but myself - I knew it when it happened that I was probably going too fast. I feel pretty bad about that. Pete and the guys kept digging, which makes me feel good. I can sleep well at night knowing we gave it everything we had. I drove my heart out today. I'm about as tired as you can be after a 500-mile race, but I'm going to drive just as hard every time as long as my team's busting their ass like their doing right now."