NOTES AND QUOTES Brickyard 400 Indianapolis Motor Speedway August 7, 1999 Note: Pontiac's "WideTrack Attack" now has 24 top-five and 55 top-10 finishes on the season. Last year at the same point after 20 races, Pontiac had eight top-five and...
NOTES AND QUOTES Brickyard 400 Indianapolis Motor Speedway August 7, 1999
Note: Pontiac's "WideTrack Attack" now has 24 top-five and 55 top-10 finishes on the season. Last year at the same point after 20 races, Pontiac had eight top-five and 26 top-10 finishes.
Bobby Labonte finished second in the Brickyard 400 for the second consecutive year and was third in 1997 -- all in a Grand Prix.
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We ran well all day. We developed some kind of miss there with 40 to go. If we hadn't had that last yellow, a couple of guys had to pit, we would have been all right because we could have made it anyway. We never did find it (the miss). We just hung out there and took on two tires and hung on there at the end.
"He (Jarrett) runs this track really well, smoothest I've ever seen. I followed a lot of guys. I never led a lot, but I followed a lot. I know he runs real smooth and it's just going to be real hard to beat him. He just had a little bit better stuff today, a little bit better car and motor. He had a little bit better all around picture than our Pontiac today. We stayed up front all day in the top-five. We didn't have to pass a lot of good cars. We had good pit stops and that made it a little bit easier.
"I don't know if Dale could have made it all the way or not. We were hoping he couldn't. I developed a miss there for a while. I was switching gauge switches off, so I wasn't sure we were going to make it, either. Lo and behold, we made it and we got the yellow anyway. I'm not frustrated. We'll get one (at Indy). Jarrett had the whole package and we just didn't have the whole package. We came up a little short to Dale Jarrett and beat the guys behind us. I can't complain about that, but I'd have traded Pocono with him. It's awfully tough to finish second, third and second. We're gaining on it. It's a tough race track. We're just thankful we were up front all day. I couldn't run like I wanted to at the end. Some guys were coming up on me and we may not have held them off for another lap.
"It's awfully tough to keep up with him every week. He drives this track so well. I followed him lap after lap after lap and he don't vary an inch it seems. The whole Robert Yates team did a great job and our Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac finished second, so we'll go on to Watkins Glen. It could be a lot worse. We're just doing he best we can to keep up with him right now. If we do that we'll be OK. We'll just do the best we can. You're disappointed with second, because if you're weren't, I don't think you'd ever be a winner.
The motor picked up a miss and it just sounded weird, I guess. I didn't feel like I had thetorque up off the corner. I was better in three and four and he was better in one and two. We were within two car lengths that whole run (better motor miss). I thought, 'Well, we've got one more stop to go. We'll make another adjustment and go.' We made the adjustment and we didn't go because we developed a miss. Whether it was a miss or what, it didn't run quite as good. It didn't handle as good either, so I'm not going to blame it all on the motor. We just weren't as hooked up as he was there, either. We couldn't run within three tenths of him or the guy behind us. I knew I had something going wrong and I wasn't getting through the corners, either for whatever reason. In one way I was glad the yellow came out and in another way I wish it hadn't been there.
"We really didn't have a second-place race car there at the end. We just h ung on for the last few laps. It was kind of disappointing to be second. I wanted to win. I followed he 88 car a lot today and you saw it too, he didn't slip for fall any. His car was really good all day. He ran a perfect line. I think it's a perfect line. I know I don't have the perfect line. He had a better line than I did. He was just going to be hard to beat. Second-place is sometimes satisfying and sometimes not."
Note: Tony Stewart posted his 10th top-10 finish in his last 12 starts. He has five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 20 starts this season with one DNF. At the same point in his rookie season, Jeff Gordon had six top-five and nine top-10 finishes with seven DNFs. Stewart is fifth in the point standings while Gordon was 10th.
TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "There were only two cars ahead of us that could have made it (before the last caution). It was one of those deals where if we had gotten a break we would have had it made. I'm ready to go home. I'm tried of the hype and bull and ready to go home and relax. We did what we thought was right there at the end (taking on four tires). I don't think we got hurt by it. We might have been able to gain a little bit if we had taken two tires like everybody else did. I'm real happy. I'm really kind of glad it's over. We struggled with loose early in the race and it got tight late in the race. The guys worked really hard and we came out of here with another top-10, so I'm really happy. We could have made it on fuel so we definitely didn't want to see the yellow flag.
"The fans that come to this race are so knowledgeable about what's going on. Everybody is pretty clued in to what's going on. There not here just because it's a happening. They're herebecause they want to see a good race. It was neat to see the atmosphere. Everybody was so hyped and pumped up about the event, it makes you proud to be a driver again.
"I didn't put a scratch on the car all day. That's a pretty good race car we've got there. We just missed the combination. We missed the handle on it and were on both sides of the fence. We just could never get the mechanical balance right today."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "We're just going to keep capitalizing on our finishes. The Caterpillar team does a good job for me. We're close. We just need to get a little bit better and we'll be there. It looked like everybody but one guy there at the end took on two tires. We decided to gas and go and I think it was a good call. It was pretty good there for a while and then it started going back to the same ol' Jane where it was real loose. Once it started doing that I was just kind of hanging on. The motor ran all day and the guys had awesome pit stops. I'm proud of all the guys. They're really working well together. I sure wanted to make a run there late. I would have liked to be crying (tears of joy) about right now."
ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix): "We just had a tough time here at Indy. We were tight in and loose off all day. We're disappointed because we ran strong here last year and came here with the same aspirations this time around. We'll get better."
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix): "We had some good stretches and we had some really bad stretches. I hit the wall one time (lap 82). I fell way to the back and was really, really slow. I got way behind and got lapped. Other than that, if we hadn't had that stretch, I don't think we would have been lapped. At the end there we were fine. We got up there in the middle of them and could race. Just one bad run got us a lap down. I probably could have been a fuzz better, but I was pretty happy with it. It was just me learning. Being able to race here with all these guys was awesome. I was just trying to learn and earn their respect and trying to do the right thing a lot of times and not do anything stupid. That's what we needed to do here."
DERRIKE COPE (No. 30 Jimmy Dean Pontiac Grand Prix): "We were off on the car all day. We tried two tires to get some track position in order to stay on the lead lap. We tried some stuff, but it just wasn't there. We were too tight. We had a miss in the motor from the first lap. That was disappointing, but I'm really delighted. You've got to start somewhere. We made the race and we finished the race. We can take this Pontiac to Michigan. We'll just see what went wrong, make our notes and we'll be better. The more I put the throttle down it started missing on all the gears. It tried to clear up and was still kind of laboring. We'll have to take it apart and look at it. Jarrett let us back in that one time that helped us stay on the lead lap longer. I thought it was a decent effort for our first time together. Barry Dodson just did an outstanding job. He's worked with us less than a week. We hadn't made races and he helped us get in here. We had a pit crew today, a mish-mash of holdovers and new guys and some Busch guys and we actually made some decent pit stops. I'm really enthused right now."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "We had a good car early on. We kept losing wheels. I think the guns weren't getting them on tight. We just kept losing tires. Unfortunately, I didn't have a scratch on the car until I got run into in the garage area. Mayfield hit me by accident. The car was pretty good before our tire problems. The tires coming loose hurt us. They were hitting all the lugs but I guess they weren't getting tight enough and I could feel them right away. That would make the car inconsistent. If we could have had tires tight on the car I think we would have been good. We would have been right there."
KYLE PETTY (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix): "Evidently between turn four and turn one I ran over something and just cut a tire. It didn't blow a tire, it must have just run over a piece of trash on the race track or something. By the time I came off the corner it was just down and that was it. It hurt my feelings, that's about it. It was tight at the beginning of the race and then it got really good. We were a little loose at the end, but if we had been able to tighten it up a little we would have been good. This is a couple of years now I've cut tires up here. We'll come back next year and try again."