Bristol Ford Racing Race Report

April 11, 1999 Bristol Motor Speedway ROBERT PRESSLEY -77- Jasper Engines Taurus -- "We had a good car. I mean, this team was going good and it looked like another top 15. All of a sudden, the last couple of laps it ...

April 11, 1999 Bristol Motor Speedway

ROBERT PRESSLEY -77- Jasper Engines Taurus -- "We had a good car. I mean, this team was going good and it looked like another top 15. All of a sudden, the last couple of laps it smelled like somebody was burning up a rear-end or grease or something. I got up and let Rusty go by and I don't know if he got into me or if we just got in the oil, but I just lost it and then somebody else got into us. It looks like we're finished for the day."

JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- "We taped my ribs and it was a little too tight and being here in Bristol it just kept putting on too much pressure. I couldn't stand the pain any longer. I just really feel bad because we had a really good race car and I think we had a car capable of running in the top five. I'm very, very upset over it, but we'll try to do better next week at Martinsville."

WHAT IS YOUR SHORT-TERM PROGNOSIS? "It's just black-and-blue. It's just bruised real bad. I think I'll be alright at Martinsville, that's what I'm hoping for and if not I'll have to have Steve (Grissom) stand by again."

WAS THERE A CERTAIN POINT WHERE YOU KNEW YOU WEREN'T GOING TO BE ABLE TO MAKE IT? "I got up there on that restart and I felt good about the caution. I thought there would be more cautions, but I can't believe the race went that long non-stop and it just kept beating me. I kept trying to breathe differently, but I'd lose my rhthym and I said, 'Man, this is not gonna work out.' Then I said I would just wait for the next caution. I told the guys, 'Guys, I'm out of breath. There's nothing wrong with the car, I can't breathe right and I'm getting dizzy.' It was just the constant pressure put on myself. We tried to make something work and it failed us."

JERRY NADEAU -9- Cartoon Network Taurus -- "I was going by a lapped car, Bobby Labonte, and it looked like he was pushing really bad. I might not have given him enough room or he might have pushed into me. We lost a good race car, it's too bad."

JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- THE RACE SEEMED TO PLAY IN YOUR FAVOR TODAY CONSIDERING YOU PITTED ON THE BACKSTRETCH? "Yeah, it did. I'm real proud of my guys, it was a great run for us. From starting back there, it's a long way to go, not only starting on the back straightaway, but it's just so far to go here. There's very little damage to the car, which is always a good sign because that means you did what you needed to do, so all in all it was a good day for us. We hoped for a little bit better, but I guess that's all we could really hope for today."

YOU ALSO KEPT THE POINTS LEAD FOR ANOTHER WEEK. "Again, we keep knocking off top fives and then we'll be real hard to be. Even if we don't win a gazillion races, if we keep knocking off top fives we'll be hard to beat, but we've gotta win more races if we're gonna win the Winston Cup championship, there's no doubt about that. We haven't been in position to win the races the last two weeks, but we've gotten everything out of both of those races that we should have gotten and that was one of our goals this year to improve on. Last year we gave up a lot of stuff needlessly. We'd have an eighth-place car and finish 14th with it, things like that. One of our goals was not to do that again this year and so far we've been able to do that."

DID YOU HATE TO SEE THE LAST CAUTION COME OUT? "I did. We were a little faster than the 88 and the 2 at that time. We were better on a long run. I don't know if we had enough time to catch them, but it would have been nice to find out."

TED MUSGRAVE -75- Polaris Taurus -- DO YOU LIKE THIS PLACE A LITTLE BETTER NOW? "If you've got good fortune and good luck on your side it ain't bad, but there are times where you can have everything going your way and get caught up in a mess and be a bad day for everybody. Today, we were lucky on everything. We missed all the wrecks, the chassis setup was real good, we just had to play with it a little bit. We faltered a little bit at the very end. We put a little too much air in our tires for that short run and slid around and Gordon got by. Like I say, we're building on it and we'll work from here. The guys did a really good job for me. It's a brand new race car too, it's never been tested, just right of the box and it was good right off the bat. It qualfied good and ran good, so it's coming together. We've shot ourselves in the foot a few times this year and stumbled, but it's gonna come together. I've got a lot of faith in these guys and I hope they've got a lot of faith in us as a group. We're gonna turn it around."

DID THE LAST CAUTION HURT YOU BECAUSE YOU SEEMED STRONG ON A LONG RUN? "Yeah, our car was better on long runs. The first 20-25 laps there were a handful of cars that were a lot faster than I was and I couldn't really hold them off. My car was better in the long runs. If it would run 100 laps, each time I'd be right up in the front. I was almost going for the lead one time during very long run and that's what our car was set up for. It played into our hands at the start of the race because we had a long run there, but it hurt us at the end. Hey, if we can get a top 10 out of the deal, which we did, you've gotta be happy from what kind of frustrations we've had in the beginning of the season. To come up to Bristol no less and come out of here with a top 10 we're happy."

STEVE GRISSOM -23- Team Winston Taurus -- "This is an awesome bunch of guys. On pit stops we gained positions everytime we came on pit road. We were off with the car just a little bit, but nobody ever gave up. We made a couple changes on the last caution and gained two or three spots there. From that standpoint it was a lot of fun to have the opportunity to get in. Jimmy Spencer has been awesome to me for giving me the opportunity to drive his Busch car, not only yesterday but here last year. He gave me the opportunity to test his Winston Cup car last week at Talladega and now to be able to step in for him, my hat's off to Jimmy. Not only him but Travis(Carter) and Donnie (Wingo) for letting me in the whole deal. With the situation I'm in and have been in, this is awesome to be get to sit down in this kind of car."

KENNY IRWIN -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "From the fourth or fifth lap out on the race track we had some type of problem. We got lucky and didn't have to go a lap down when our oil line came loose, but we had a strong run all day. The biggest mistake I made all day was we went with two tires with 30 laps on them and that just put us really about three-tenths behind per lap and I just could never make that up."

YOU HAD TO KEEP DIGGING ALL DAY, EVEN AFTER LOSING A LAP DIDN'T YOU? "That's exactly what happened. We just never gave up all day. The team didn't and I didn't. We just worked as hard as we could and we got back up there. I'm real happy with how things went today."

MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline Taurus -- HOW CLOSE WAS IT OUT THERE TODAY? "Pretty darn close. We didn't run good enough to win the race, but we were that close to winning it anyway. Our car seemed to be pretty quick on that last set of tires. We had a couple runs at him, but just couldn't quite make it past him."

WERE YOU CLOSE TO ANY WRECKS? "I missed them. I didn't want to be any closer than I was to a couple of them."

IT'S TOUGH TO BEAT A GUY WHEN HE'S HOOKED UP LIKE RUSTY WAS TODAY ISN'T IT? "Yeah, Rusty was the class of the field all day today. I can't believe we almost beat him. I mean, we were right there. It could have happened and that would have been a shame because he had everybody covered the whole day. We gave him a run for his money at the end and came up short."

DID YOU FEEL YOUR CAR WAS BETTER AT THE END AND WHERE WERE YOU TRYING TO PASS HIM? "It was gonna be coming off the corner. I was beating him off the corner just a little bit...the cars and track is so one groovish it was just hard. I was just a touch faster than he was and that wasn't enough to make it stick or not enough time. When you're leading this thing that close to the end, you're hard to pass."

WHAT ABOUT THE LAST 10 LAPS? "I have to tell you the truth, I don't remember the last 10 laps of that race, I was racing so hard. I couldn't tell you. I just tried everyway I could to pass him. Every way, every chance, every opportunity, I got close and didn't make it stick. I just got close. I don't really even remember the last 10 laps it was so out of control."

DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "If that caution hadn't come out I don't know if I could have beat Rusty. Catching him is one thing, passing him is another, but I would have liked to have tried there for about 45 laps to see what I could have done. It was a good day for us. We had to adjust on the car a lot and finally got it to where it was pretty good, especially on long runs. To get a top five here is pretty good. We gained some points, that's the main thing." "We adjusted on the car all day. We started out a little bit loose, got it too tight, and then got what I was looking for on a long run. We just didn't need that last caution. I needed for it to stay green at the end. We were just too tight in the center on new tires and Rusty and Mark were just better for a short run. It was a good day for us. We stayed out of trouble and gained some points and that's the main thing."

HOW HARD WAS IT PHYSICALLY? "It was hard. We had some long green stretches there and you're always around cars and the track was slick. If you got your car tight to where it was comfortable it wasn't fast, so you really had to drive hard, but it beats you around pretty good. I felt good at the end, I just wish we could have had 50 more to go and then we could have seen what happened."

YOU'RE RIGHT BACK IN THE POINTS RACE. "We're doing the things that we need to do now. We have been. We ran well at Daytona and unfortunately had a bad finish. Even the other three races before we didn't run that well, but we've run a lot better the last three races. I think that's what we're capable of running. I think this is showing now that even though we had a bad start and didn't run as well as we're capable of doing, we're right back in the middle of it. Now the only thing left, if you keep getting top fives eventually we'll get a win and that's what we need next."

JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "It just wasn't out day. We had an ignition problem early and got that worked out, but it cost us some time. We lost a lap over that and then lost two more when a caution fell on us right after we pitted. We chased handling some. We pushed the first half of the race, but we did get it a little better. We wanted to come out of here with the car in one piece, still in an OK position in the points and a good finish. I guess two out of three ain't bad."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Jimmy Spencer