Sunday, April 11, 1999. Bristol Motor Speedway. Food City 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "It was a fighting day. It's pretty good for unloading off the truck and not...
Sunday, April 11, 1999. Bristol Motor Speedway. Food City 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes.
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "It was a fighting day. It's pretty good for unloading off the truck and not changing any springs. We were scared to. We were scared to go adjusting. We basically raced it the way we unloaded it. We went down on the front swaybar a little bit. I wished I would have done it a little different. I wish I would have went back and did some springs and things I'd run here in the past. I ran good with them. I ran second with them and won races with them. We've gotten off that, and I'd like to come back up here and test to see if we make it work next time we come. I'm pretty happy with it. Still, to qualify like that, it penalizes the pit crew starting on the back pit road. If we had been on the front pit road, we would have been a lot better. Circumstances. Just like me wrecking that car on Saturday. You're doing all you can do and sometimes that doesn't seem to be enough. Tenth is good, a lot better than 43rd where we started. We came here to try to race and win, and that starts with qualifying. On green flag restarts, I couldn't go hard. The car went up the track. Five hundred laps here will wear you out. I guess old Rubber Head wore 'em out today. We got about 15 laps practice on that backup car yesterday, and the crew really did a great job getting it ready. My hat's off to them."
RICHARD CHILDRESS (Car owner RCR Chevrolet Monte Carlos) "We came from 43rd to 10th, and two weeks ago at Texas we came from 37th to eighth. We've just got to get qualifying better. We all know what we've got to do there. We'll keep working. Nobody has given up yet. We had pretty good pit stops today. One time we had a problem, but other than that we had good stops. We keep changing the pit crew. We're going to fix that weak link. We were good today on most of the stops. We really didn't have a bad one. Our bad one was good, and we're going to get better. Pitting on the back stretch, we gave up two or three spots. That's tough to do."
GARY DEHART (Race Day Coordinator No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We were loose all day. It caught some of us offguard with that five and five rule from last year. You get to the point where you think that what you ran last year is what you're supposed to run this year, and it's hard to get away from it. I think that's the biggest thing that caught us. We had a real old car, but sometimes that's what you bring to Bristol. At the end of 500 laps, if you knew you would be in one piece, you might have brought a better car. The one Rusty won with was a new car. That just goes to show it's hard to beat a new car on a short track."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We finished 16th and that's not what we wanted, but all-in-all, to come to Bristol with a brand-new team, well... I'm a little upset with myself because I misled the team on the chassis setup. I knew better than to run what we had about 50 laps into the race. It wasn't a horrible week. We'll take it and go to Martinsville and try to do better next week."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "When they had that first caution, I was asking myself how many laps we had to go. When you're that far away, it doesn't matter how you feel. You wonder if you can make it all the way. After that, once we got running, actually the longer we ran the better it was because the quicker the laps ticked off and the less I thought about it. I really think we did (have something for Rusty). We kept coming on and the track got better. I really think by the end of this race we were going to have something for him. You get used to that when you come to Bristol and Martinsville, too. The short tracks have so many races going on out there. You can't be selfish and be thinking about the battle you're in if you're on the lead lap. Guys out there are battling for position that might be several laps down, but it might be a position in the points for them. It's frustrating at the end of the race when a lapped car holds you up when he's not racing anybody. That was pretty frustrating. I got to racing with a couple of guys like that. I didn't see what happened in that wreck, so it's hard for me to comment on it. "That was a great comeback for us today. The first issue was to see if I could go all the way. I was sore, but I felt like I had a good, strong car. I didn't want to have to get out of it for anything. Luckily I had some good people to work with me this week to get me prepared. We were sitting there in the race and everything was going good. The biggest thing you worry about is lapped cars getting tangled up in front of you. They all started crashing and I couldn't stay out of it. Unfortunately, we tore up the race car and had to go to the tail end of the field. We made a great comeback. I'm real proud of these guys. To fix that car as hurt and damaged as it was and to come back up and be able to finish sixth. We could have finished higher than that. I think we had about a third or fourth-place race car. "I didn't see everything that happened that caused the wreck. I just saw a car get sideways and we all started to get on the brakes. Some got slowed down faster than others. I got in the back of Robert Pressley as he was slowing down and then I spun and luckily nobody else hit me when I spun. They just had to pound down the hood and try to clear out the sheet metal that was rubbing on the tires and underneath and on the fan. They did a real good job, and they did it quick. That's what it takes to make a comeback like that. "I'm real sore when I take a deep breath and when I move my arm around. It doesn't matter. I made 500 laps at Bristol, and that's what counts the most. I wasn't sure how good the car was going to be after the wreck. I ran just a couple of laps easy to see. It felt just like it did before, maybe just a little bit tighter. It didn't have as much front end downforce, but for the most part it was really good. I was really surprised. Me and Tony Stewart were working our way up through there. He was getting them out of the way for me, and that was working pretty well. Then I think he must have cut a left rear or something."
LARRY McREYNOLDS (Crew chief No. 31 Lowe's Monte Carlo) "A fellow Chevrolet had already beat and banged his way in front of us. When they got to the blend line, we just tried to get back what he had taken from us. By the rules, once you cross the blend line, you can't do that. They black flagged us. We didn't observe it. We were trying to understand why we were being black-flagged, so they pulled our scorecard. They gave us back what they pulled the scorecard on. We should have finished 12th. We ended up 20th or 21st or something, but at first they had us 30th."