KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus (Finished 42nd) ANY INDICATION THE CAR WAS GOING TO GO? "Coming off of turn four it just sputtered and acted as if it had dropped a cylinder or it lost an ignition box, so we tried to do the things inside...
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus (Finished 42nd)
ANY INDICATION THE CAR WAS GOING TO GO? "Coming off of turn four it just sputtered and acted as if it had dropped a cylinder or it lost an ignition box, so we tried to do the things inside the car to alleviate our problem and it was something more catastrophic. We haven't had any type of problem like this all year. Doug Yates has done an awesome job, as well as Jack, going through that program and we haven't had any problem. It's tough to have that right now, but with three races to go - I just had one of those feelings that something was gonna happen and today was our day. Next week we've got to come back just as strong."
IS THIS YOUR ONE MULLIGAN? "It's just one bad race. You could have four bad races if everybody has four bad races. Right now, the 24 has been decent at most of the race tracks as well as the 8, but they had a problem last week. This is the kind of deal where everybody made the race today. We didn't have many guys that are gonna pull in and just take their laps. This was a field of 60 cars that made the event and this is gonna put us in that 40th bracket. We're not gonna finish 33rd or have a decent finish out of it. We're gonna be pretty far back. It's a tough blow, but we're gonna put our body armor on for next week and do the best we can at Phoenix."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FEELING YOU HAD? "It's just tough to go 10 races perfect. We thought we could do it, but this is something that nobody forecasted. It's just one of those feelings that you get every race, but you overcome it every race. This race we just weren't able to overcome that. We had one bad circumstance under the hood that we couldn't fix today."
HOW WILL THIS TEAM RESPOND? "We did everything we could today to alleviate this type of problem. We ran a conservative gear and had high air pressures. We didn't risk anything and we worked our way into the top 10 with those conservative settings. The car was very loose and we were just working our way forward with the momentum that we could carry on the top side of the race track. I don't think that led to our problem, it was just one of those bad circumstances."
WHAT ABOUT THE TEAM REBOUNDING? "We've done an awesome job for six weeks. We stumbled this week, but we've got three more to go and they're great race tracks for us. I thought this one was gonna be good to us, but you never know, you just have to race as hard as you can every race."
YOUR TEAM HAS A LOT OF CHARACTER TO BOUNCE BACK. "Yeah, it's just a bad race. It's really unfortunate that we had this in the final 10. We didn't need a catastrophic failure and to be able to overcome this, we can. We're a team that's strong enough. We've been in a title chase before in 2002, but now it's time to see what we can rebound from."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Tools Taurus (Finished 41st)
WERE YOU WORRIED WHEN KURT WENT OUT? "I was worried when I saw it happen to Kurt, but not because we've had engine trouble. This is the first engine problem we've had all year and I can't complain at all. Our engines have been awesome. They've done a phenomenal job in Mooresville of making us real competitive, so I don't have anything bad to say about that. The reason we broke is we ran too much gear. We ran more than Kurt. I don't know why he broke, but I knew in my head this morning we shouldn't have run it and we all decided as a group to do it, and I was one of the guys that decided to go ahead and run it so we should have known better than that."
WHAT HAPPENED? "Something broke in the engine. I don't know what it is, but we might have broken a valve or something like that."
WHAT DOES THIS DO TO YOUR TITLE CHANCES? "I thought we were out of it before we ran today, so we're really out of it after today. I didn't think coming into today we really had a chance, but we're trying to get as high as we can. We still really want to get in the top five and finish as high as we can and end the season on a strong note."
YOU SAID THE CAR WAS BORDERLINE EVIL YESTERDAY. "Yeah, we had it better today, but all weekend it was terrible. Today it was OK. It wasn't great, it wasn't near as good as what people are running, but it was a top 10 car, which isn't great for us because this is one of our better tracks, but it was definitely better than it was all weekend."
THIS WAS A CHANCE TO GAIN SOME POINTS. HOW DO YOU ASSESS THINGS? "We probably didn't make the best decisions. I don't know why it broke. Maybe it would have broke with any gear that we ran, but we chose to run more gear than most other guys were and that hurt us today."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"Pat Tryson was a sitting duck. He lost either way when they threw that caution. If I find out that that caution was for the show, I'll choke. I saw the 29 car coasting slow and if I'd have been NASCAR, I would have told somebody to push him off of pit road. It wasn't a problem and I hate that, but we were a sitting duck. If we pitted, they stay out and win. If we stay out, they pit. So it was nobody's fault, but those caution flags."
YOU HAD TO BATTLE LAP TRAFFIC AT THE END TO CATCH JIMMIE. "We got beat."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 World Financial Group Taurus (Finished 3rd)
"First, I want to say congratulations to the whole Hendrick organization and Jimmie Johnson. I was really glad to see him win that race. Second, I've got to thank World Financial Group for being on board. We're racing for our careers trying to get a sponsor for next year and this is a good run for us. Third, I feel terrible for the 8 car. He crowded me up there and we bumped and that ended his day. He's a great guy and I hate that, but we had a good run. I was happy."
DID YOU THINK YOU MIGHT WIN AT THE END? "I thought there for just a minute that we had the car to beat, but Jimmie was just so fast and Mark, that guy is unbelievable. I'm really happy with the way the day ended up. I couldn't pick two better guys to finish behind."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE INCIDENT WITH THE 8? "Yeah, that was really frustrating. We were just racing for every inch there and he was on the inside of me and he kept coming up. I thought, 'He's not gonna come all the way up here,' and then by the time he got there I was lifting off the gas and we crossed - I don't know where he hit me, but it was only an overlap of about an inch. I probably could have given a little more and he probably could have given a little more. Gosh, the guy raced so hard all day and he's such a great driver. It's terrible that that happened and I feel terrible for him."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 36th)
"Obviously it was an unfortunate day for this M&M's team. We were just trying to get to pit road under green and made contact with the 01 for the second week in a row. It was a pit road miscue, but he hit me hard enough to break the transmission. We had to come behind the wall to fix the steering and transmission and lost about 50 laps. I'm upset for everyone that works so hard week in and week out because we started off so strong and drove the front. It hurts when you have something that avoidable take us out of contention for a win."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 15th)
"We just never could get the car off the corner. We could make it worse, but we never did make it better. We kept adjusting, but it just wasn't a very good day. We worked on it some, but it just seemed that everything we did wasn't any better. I don't know. We were just off. We'll have to go evaluate it a little bit. This is the same car that was loose all night at Charlotte, so we'll have to look at the car."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Finished 10th)
"For a while I thought the engine was vibrating, but it ended up just being the drive train and normal stuff. I felt like maybe the left-front shock wasn't working from the start of the day or something and that's why it was so loose. Then I got penalized that extra lap. I could have finished fifth or sixth. You saw me pass the leaders after we got the shock on it. The thing was awesome, I just couldn't get there all day."
JOHN ANDRETTI - No. 14 VB/APlus at Sunoco Taurus (Finished 25th)
"It was OK. You want to do well and I think we did OK. We haven't tested enough with race stuff and I haven't run all this year enough on the mile and a halves to see what these guys are doing, so it's not like, 'Oh yeah, that set of shocks that we need there,' or, 'Those springs that we ran there.' It's like we need to try everything, so it's catching up a little bit. We're gonna get better and better. We've got two full races in so now we just need to keep doing that and the results will start coming."
THE FACT THERE WERE SO FEW CAUTIONS FOR MOST OF THE RACE. DID THAT HURT AS FAR AS WORKING ON THE CAR? "We lost three laps because we pitted under a caution. We lost one and then we got penalized, basically we got put to the end of the longest line because I sped through trying to keep the one because when I hit pit road the caution came out. And then another time I was in my pit stall and another caution came out, so we lost three laps to nothing other than we were on pit road. Three laps is worth something. With three laps we would have had a decent result."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Rent-A-Center Taurus (Finished 12th)
"It was a good car all day, but for some reason we were a little slow on the take off on the get up and go. I'm not really sure why that was, but on into a run we were really good. They made some adjustments there at the end and it was pretty good, so it was a good day. To come back 12th here at Atlanta, it's not my best track by far. It's a struggle when I come here. I've had some good runs, but not very many of them and today was a pretty good run for us."
GOOD PIT STOPS WITH A NEW COACH. "Yeah, Gary Smith is doing a great job and I'm tickled to death. The team is just building all the time. They find key guys along the way that for some kind of reason end up between jobs or whatever and they know when to grab them. Things are really shaping up and it's really looking good."