JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Nadeau qualified fifth for tonight's race but wrecked in practice Saturday morning and will switch to a backup car for the race. The backup car, which must drop to the rear...
JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
NOTE: Nadeau qualified fifth for tonight's race but wrecked in practice Saturday morning and will switch to a backup car for the race. The backup car, which must drop to the rear of the field for the green flag, is the Monte Carlo he raced at Darlington earlier this season.
"I just went in there and lost it. It's one of those deals. This place is so damn fast. I got out of the car and looked at the right rear tire. It's got a hole in it, but I don't know if it happened after the wreck or before the wreck. I hate it for all the guys. We had a good car. She was moving pretty good. We had a good qualifying run. What are you going to do? You can't take anything back. We're going to all take it as professionals. We'll take our backup car out and do the best we can tonight. Hopefully we can stay on the lead lap. I'm sure pit strategies, we're going to have to do something tonight to gain positions. The car was pretty awesome, but I can't say much about that. It's one of those deals. You try hard. You want to do well. I'm the type of guy you've got to slow down sometimes. We just went a little bit too far. This place doesn't change much. Cement tracks don't change much whether it's cold, hot, day or night. It means a lot to test. I was running by myself, but I collected about three other cars. I hate it for those guys. I just lost it. We're all human. We all make mistakes."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
NOTE: Waltrip's Monte Carlo was collected in the mishap with Nadeau and Brett Bodine. Waltrip will also switch to a backup Monte Carlo for tonight's race and will drop to the rear of the field. He had qualified 19th and like Nadeau will be pitting on the frontstretch.
"Nadeau spun out for some reason. I don't know what happened. When I got there, I saw him up against the wall. I was minding my own business, going on the bottom. Brett evidently didn't have a spotter or didn't have it all together at that point and drove into the back of me and knocked me into the 25. The 25 was sliding along the wall when I got there. We had just got the car where I thought it was going to be all right. We made a long run there and got it in a good time range. Now it's tore up. That's the car I've run here at Bristol every time with this team. We finished 11th with it in the spring this year and 12th in the spring last year. We were running great in the fall last year and had a motor problem. It's been a good car. It's just too bad to fix. You almost have to have a special car for this track with all the ground clearance. I hope we can get our backup car going. Stranger things have happened.
"I know what my agenda is in practice and that's just to kind of drive my car under control. You've got to be under control for 500 laps tonight, so I wouldn't dream of spinning out at this point in the game. I've certainly done it before, but you just try to drive your car and work on it and make it good for tonight. Getting in a wreck in practice is not a good deal. Causing a wreck in practice is even a worse deal. I was going to start in the top 20. We used a provisional last April and finished 12th and made it through the field and never got lapped until late in the race. We've done it before. I'm not happy about it. The way I look at it, when the race starts, I won't have any cars between me and the leader. Each one I pass will be one more between him. With the head start I get, I should stay ahead of the leader."
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
NOTE: Bodine will drive in tonight's race. Todd Bodine qualified the car on Friday, but will not be at the track tonight.
"I was a little congested last night," Geoffrey Bodine said. "I took some medicine and got my head clear. I got in the car this morning and felt fine. The plan right now is to go the distance tonight -- all 500 laps would be nice. You know if you do that that you'll get a good finish here at Bristol. Todd went home. He wanted to go to Randy LaJoie's party tonight, so I told him to take off. We're not going to have anyone standing by. We'll see how it goes and how I feel and maybe if someone falls out and they're the right size, well, they've got to stick around anyway, but right now I really plan on making it all the way. I feel good. The car feels good, and I think if we can stay out of trouble that we'll have a good finish tonight."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"Track position is everything at Bristol. Our car still wasn't as good as we'd hoped. It's hard to set 'em up in the day and race 'em at night. It basically stayed the same as we did last race here. I thought we'd be OK. We pulled some rubbers out during the race. It helped the car a little bit, but it didn't really help it as much as it needed. We fought back to fourth place and did finish ahead of Bobby Labonte and the 88 so maybe we gained a little. It was an OK night. We dodged a lot of wrecks.
"We were in pretty good shape then (until having to come back in pits to replace lugnut). That's luck. That's called racing luck. We do the best we can with it. We'll see what happens here. That's the way it is here at Bristol. You fight up and slide back, fight up and slide back. It was good overall. We're heading to Darlington and that's a pretty good track for us. We'll keep notching 'em and try to gain a little as we go.
"No kidding. If you survive what we went through, going back to the back and back to the front, back to the back and back to the front. I did it all day at Michigan, and I did it here. One of these days we'll get it where we've got good track position and maybe race 'em for the win.
"The two DEI cars were there pretty good tonight. Dale Jr. had a little trouble there at the end, but Park ended up OK. He's really coming along. It was good to see him get another top five finish after his win a couple of weeks ago at Watkins Glen. He ran good last week at Michigan but had some problems near the end of the race, so it was good to see him bounce back with another strong run tonight."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
NOTE: Hamilton worked his way into the top 10 by lap 88 after starting 20th. He had moved to sixth by lap 314 and blistered a tire.
"I was trying to get a lap back, and the hole closed up way too fast. We ran over a piece of metal and cut a tire down. The hole was open and he said go and try to get your lap back. I went after it and didn't make it. The car was real good. We're happy. We're turning this thing around. It's making our sponsor happy, and it's making me happy, too. We had a clean shot. Jeremy (Mayfield) didn't know I was coming. We had a good car car, and that's all you can ask for.
"We ran in the top 10 the entire first half of the race. Our bad luck won't go away. The past few weeks have shown that we're capable. Our run tonight gives the team encouragement. If we can just get some luck. Danny Gill (crew chief) made good calls. All of the guys worked real hard. We're looking forward to Darlington."
LARRY McCLURE (Car owner No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo)
"We had a top two or three car. Bad luck strikes our team again. What else can I say? We had good calls. Danny Gill made a few gutsy calls, and they were good. When you're out there racing, you can't settle for 25th when there's a chance to get a lap back and maybe end up 10th. Our calls tonight were not second guessed. We needed a lap back and went for it. I'm happy with the way things are going. Hamilton is happy with the car now. We'll just keep building on it. We've come a long way in a short period of time."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We had a pretty good race car. We just got a little behind on that last stop. We were hoping to come out second or third and race those guys, but we came out pretty far behind and had to drive our way back up through there. It's Bristol and we got a top five. We were the second highest Chevrolet. The boss finished right in front of us. The boss and I raced a lot tonight, actually. Dale Jr. was in the mix a little bit. The boss seemed like he had a good car on the short runs and struggled on the long runs. Cautions fell his way and he got a good finish.
"We had a car that was really good on long runs. We had a lot of grip and had a car that was able to go to the front on those long green flags. All those short cautions right there at the end hurt us a little bit, but we had a good race car. Top five at Bristol, it's in one piece, hopefully we came here and improved on what we wanted to do. We finished seventh here last time. We still don't have nothing for the 2 and the 6. They look pretty stout here, but we'll get 'em.
"Five hundred laps around this little place is tough. I'm fortunate. I'm young and can bounce back from it. Some of these older guys, I was hoping we'd have more green flag racing so we could wear 'em out a little bit more, but those guys are tough. They've got a lot of experience here, and we're still kind of learning. We had a little bit of luck on our side. We got spun around. Mark (Martin) spun us early on. He came over to talk to me about it and apologized. I know it wasn't intentional. It was just a Bristol deal. He had a run and couldn't get it slowed down and got into the back of me. Fortunately we didn't bounce off the wall or nothing. We came back and got a good finish.
"It seems like if you can run up near the front most of the night, you tend to stay out of the wrecks, but you can be taken out in the last 10 laps. It's always a nail-biter right until the end, so it was nice to see the checkered flag and get a top five finish.
"We've got 11 more races. I seem to be Mr. September or something because last year we came on strong in the second half. This year we came out of the gate strong and had some good runs, then faltered a little bit. Then we bounced back with a win and top five. We were on our way to another top 10 last week at Michigan and had a motor failure. We just need to keep the pieces together and keep running good and try to claw our way back up close near the top 10. I think a lot of the point guys got hurt tonight, and we might have moved up a little bit (two positions), but consistency is the key, and that's where we need to be."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It was a good run for the Coors Light team. We had a little better car than what we showed. We got caught behind and jumbled behind on that pit stop and let Mark and a bunch of them get out in front of us. We lost track position, but our car got tight the last two or three runs. It wasn't as good as it was earlier. You can sit here and say what if, but we think we might know what to do different next time. It felt good to lead a race again. We were right up there. One time we cut a tire down and had to pit early. That worked out good for us. We were on fresh tires and we got the lead. It worked out good. I love this place. It's a neat old place. My dad used to race here and I used to think it was awesome to watch him go around here. I love this place. We had a third or fourth-place car. We just got too tight. We beat Mark out of the pits two car lengths and they put him back in front of me and the 1 and everybody. We ran good at Michigan, and we ran good here. We'll get it. We're working hard, and it's starting to pay off."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"I don't know what happened. I think we broke a valve in the engine, and that just ruined our night. We weren't bad. It was a little bit too tight, but I think we could have pulled a top five out of it. You never know. We were fortunate to be able to finish. It could have been a lot worse. We could have blown up all the way and have been sitting in the garage waiting for the race to end. We stayed 10th in points, and you've got to be happy with that."
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 01 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"This was probably the best car we've had all year. It was awesome. We were at a big disadvantage because of the backstretch pits, but the guys made up for it the best they could. We got spun out by the 8 and lost a lap, but we still got a decent finish."
JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"Is this finally over? It seemed like the longest race, but it was just a typical Bristol deal I guess. The guys worked so hard getting the backup car ready. We started the race in it without any laps. We were good early on. We took two tires early and that put us up near the front. But a tire went down or something, and I went into the wall in turn two. After that, it was pretty much all downhill. I'd rather forget about this one and just head to Darlington."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It was just another fun night at Bristol. The car was way too loose. We fussed with this thing ever since we got here. We pulled off a pretty good lap in qualifying, but I knew when we started that we were in trouble. We didn't pit. Larry didn't want to give up track position, and that's what he gets paid to do. I knew we were in trouble. I knew we needed to work on our car, the sooner the better. It's just Bristol. Somebody hit us in the back and spun us into another car. We got in trouble for that. Someone else checked up in front of us and we were sliding trying to miss it and bumped into someone else. It's just Bristol, a lot of hard racing, but we'll get our Lowe's Chevy going. You very seldom get out of here when someone isn't mad at you and you're not mad at somebody."