BUSCH CLASH POST-RACE NOTES TODD PARROTT (Crew Chief No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- I don't know what to say -- I'm at a loss for words (visibly emotional, fighting back tears). I just want to thank the good Lord for giving me the ...
BUSCH CLASH POST-RACE NOTES
TODD PARROTT (Crew Chief No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- I don't know what to say -- I'm at a loss for words (visibly emotional, fighting back tears). I just want to thank the good Lord for giving me the ability! I can't say enough about the hard work by all of this race team. They worked their guts out! I think he's (Buddy Parrott, his father and a veteran NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief) as tore up as I am. It's unbelievable, man, what he did (coming from 16th to second in first lap of second segment). We've worked HARD all winter on these race cars and this is where it's really paying off!
ROBERT YATES (Team Owner No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- We've just got a great bunch of guys who came along and came to work for us. The level of competitiveness is high on both teams. We're really excited! (On Todd Parrott.) Todd's ready for this job -- being the crew chief. I worked with his dad for many years and I know how good he is. We've got a lot of them. I can't mention all of them, but they're awesome guys. I sure hope they keep this up!
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- (On his move in turn three to start second segment.) Yeah, it was one for the books. I got a good start and it kind of opened up for me. Everybody seemed to be wanting to follow (Dale) Earnhardt there. In most cases that's great but it opened up a line for me. I just decided to go to the inside and I had some good help from the back. I got my car wound up a little bit better than the others and that's very critical with these engines with restrictor plates. Starting back there is a disadvantage but it can be an advantage, too, because you can get a running start. I was just fortunate that things worked out. But, I had an awful good car. My car was just really good in the draft. Anytime it sniffed any air, it just took off. I could feel the surge. The engine was great and the chassis worked great and it was just a tribute to these guys for getting this car ready. (On breakaway with Sterling Marlin.) We both had good cars but I was afraid the Chevrolets were going to line up and come at me all at once. They kept racing each other and that helped me out a lot. I was glad to see it every time they started racing side-by-side. With a new team and a new sponsor I'm as happy as I can be to win this thing -- now I just have to win a pole to get back in it next year! (Asked if he and teammate Ernie Irvan looked pretty tough for the Daytona 500.) Well, in a 10-lap sprint with new tires on things can look good like that. We've got awful good race cars. There's still the issue that those Chevrolet's back ends are still wider than what they are on a stock car. If we can get that remedied or get a little help things will be great.
CHEVROLET NOTES (From Ray Cooper)
STERLING MARLIN (No. 4 Kodak Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) -- That was fun. It was some good racing. We just ran out of time there at the end. Dale (Jarrett) ran awful good. A lot of cars did. If we'd had a couple more laps we might have got 'em there at the end. This was the first time we got a lot of good cars out there together. Our car seems to draft well. We feel like our 500 car is a little better than the one we used today. I got hung out with the Hendrick cars and went back to fourth or fifth. If we could have got back in line then, I feel like I could have got the 88. With those chopped tops on those Fords, they're glued to the track.
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Monte Carlo) -- We ran the engine we qualified with yesterday and we felt like it hurt it. It ran the first part like it had a dead cylinder. We changed the ignition over during the break and it ran a little better, but we were up in the draft better. I had no engine really. It didn't go like we wanted it to. It didn't go like the practice engine we had in the Busch Clash car. We just made a mistake by changing engines probably. We should have left it alone and raced with what we had. We were trying to get everything we could. It wouldn't even go at first. I thought we had burned a piston right then. If you ain't got no motor, you can't draft. I wasn't in the right place.
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Monte Carlo) -- We ran pretty good. It gives us a little indication of what to expect in Thursday's race. I'm pretty happy with it really. I thought Kenny and Jeff and I were going to be able to go to the front. Everybody started racing and some guys started coming on the inside and messed us up. I know those Fords are at a big disadvantage, but they looked pretty good today.
KEN SCHRADER (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) -- We're real happy with that. We sure would like to be down there in victory lane, but we're starting from scratch. This is basically a whole new team. The guys have been working hard, and we just want to see steady improvement. We've seen a whole lot of it since we've been down here so far. It was a pretty clean race. Everybody who hit me was trying to give me an assist down the straightaway. They hit me square, so it was good and clean. Heading to the front felt good. We've just got to get there and stay there now.
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) -- I thought when the three of us (Hendrick Motorsports Chevy) got together, we could go to the front, but the 3 and 4 cars were just too strong. I thought we could blow by 'em, but we didn't. I knew I had to do something, so I passed Terry and I think I messed us all up. I like to work with my teammates, but I knew I was running out of laps. You don't want to finish second or third in this race. Anytime you're in a race and you're drafting around other cars, you're going to learn something. The 125 is a longer race, and that'll help us get better prepared for the 500. I think the car we've got for the 125 and 500 is a little bit better. I didn't expect anybody to help me, and that's what you go into the Busch Clash expecting. I was surprised Earnhardt stayed back at the start. I thought he would try to come to the front. The Fords have been talking about how they are lacking speed. It doesn't look like they're lacking too much today. That 88 certainly wasn't today, and I doubt if that 28 is either. A couple of those Chevrolets are pretty fast, too.
DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Prodigy Chevrolet Monte Carlo) -- I had lots of fun. I've got to get back in it next year somehow. I came to run hard. I ran the car as hard as it would go. Finishing 10th in one segment and 11th in the other, I think is great for us. We were right there on their bumpers.
DARRELL WALTRIP (No. 17 Western Auto Parts America Monte Carlo) -- I'm optimistic we'll get better. The car is driving good and it's handling good, but it's not going fast enough not to be. I need to work on it. There's something off in the distribution in the engine. I couldn't stay in the draft. As soon as somebody got on the inside or outside of me, they could shake me out of the draft. It's good to know what I need to work on today instead of waiting until next Saturday or Sunday. This kind of gets the edge off. You get out there in all the traffic in race conditions and it kind of gets you ready for it.
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Monte Carlo) -- Something was just missing. We don't know what it was. We haven't found it yet, but the carburetor just missed.
DAVID GREEN (No. 96 Busch Beer Chevrolet Monte Carlo) -- We beat a couple of cars and got to race with some guys that are no slouches. When this car unloaded, we ran a 52-second lap. The pace car runs that fast. Kirk Shelmerdine and Richard Childress and the guys worked on this car and the last lap of the race today, I was basically by myself and ran a 48-second lap. We picked up four seconds in basically an hour and a half of practice. I think they deserve the most improved award.
FORD NOTES (From Wayne Estes)
MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline Thunderbird -- It was OK. We have a good-handling car, like we expected. We're short on speed, and we may have to deal with that this week. But we've got a good handling car and the slicker the track gets, the better off we'll be. We'll be in the thick of things by Sunday. I'm not too surprised to see the outcome. This was one race, two 10-lap sprints, and you expect to see Robert Yates' cars do well.
RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Thunderbird -- We need some more get up and go, but we've got a car that will handle. It's the first time I've ever had a car at Daytona that I could drive on the bottom -- and pass. I think our 500 car is a little bit better driving car than this one. There was a lot of scrambling going on out there. It looked like a Richmond race. There wasn't much contact really. It was like the cars were going to hit each other, but an air barrier would get between them. The cars would wiggle a little bit and straighten back up. It wasn't so much hitting, but the air was bouncing the cars around. This shows today that we can get in there, tag along and mix it up a little bit. We'll work on a little more speed and see what happens with the motors. At Daytona, it's a 60-40 thing. You need to handle and you need the motor. But handling's a big factor. That's all we can do. We haven't found much to help the speed, so we've concentrated on making it handle.
BILL ELLIOTT -94- McDonald's Thunderbird -- That was fun. I enjoyed that. I don't know if my heart can stand it for the 500, but... Nobody was afraid to make it three-wide, but as slow as you run now, it was pretty easy to make it three-wide. The problem is, as the track gets slick, I don't know that you'll want to do that. It could be a problem later one. It seems like when you pull out and get beside one another, your lap times get so slow that it's opened up a new lane out there -- one that doesn't need to be there. It's typical though. At Talladega, they make it four or five wide and we'll do that again. Today, I think we shot ourselves in the foot when we worked on the other car so much to get it up to speed that we didn't have any time on this other motor. It ran a lot of temperature in the first segment and it still ran hot the second segment. I'm pretty sure it hurt the motor.
TED MUSGRAVE -16- The Family Channel Thunderbird -- I'm glad that's over. We learned quite a bit actually, even though we didn't run that great. With the new rules slowing the cars down, it still looks like you're going to need the same springs and shocks and everything that you've run here in the past. We thought it would require a big change, but it doesn't seem to be. We thought initially with the speeds down, you could run a lot less spring or different wedge, but it doesn't look like that's going to be true.
JOHN ANDRETTI -37- Kmart/Little Caesars Thunderbird -- "I think we had a really strong car. And I know that everybody's going to say that, but we never had a chance to prove it. Unfortunately, we developed an oil leak and had to come in and fix it. There's no playing catch up in a 20-lap race -- especially when you're five or six laps down. I'm not quite sure what happened, but after it was fixed, we could run with the best of them out there, but I didn't dare mix it up to much with the guys going for the win. I hear black race cars are fastest, so I thought it was going to help to change ours today.
HUT STRICKLIN -8- Circuit City Thunderbird -- My first half was a lot better than we were expecting. We've struggled with both cars. But it seems like we found some things overnight and it helped us a lot. Something went away in the steering in the second segment. It got real darty, but once we figure out what it is, we'll fix that and apply everything we've learned to the 500 car.
DALE JARRETT (On his Daytona 500 chances.) -- ANY INDICATIONS ABOUT NEXT SUNDAY? Next Sunday's a whole different story, and even Thursday's a whole different story. I don't want sit here and complain after winning a race, but there's still a disadvantage on the Ford side of down force. If we could get those Chevrolets back to fit that stock template in the back where there not five or six inches wider and gain all that down force, then things would be a lot better. But that's not the way it is, so we're going to have to work on our cars a little bit harder to keep tires on it after 30 laps. That's when it seemed last year we were getting beat. We've got some ideas about that. We are very excited about next Sunday and next Thursday. We feel like Ernie and I both have great cars and opportunities to win the race. DID YOU KNOW ABOUT EARNHARDT'S PROBLEMS, AND DID YOU THINK HE WAS SAND-BAGGING? I didn't know where he was when we got ready to line up. I didn't see him on the board. I asked, and they said he'd had trouble. You've got to just know Earnhardt to know that he's not going to sit back there so he can start the second segment up at the front. Not him. You have to figure he had some kind of problem there. It looked to me like he was running all right there in the second segment. Once I got by him, I guess they all got to drafting. No matter how good your car is, that makes it difficult, but I don't think by any stretch of the imagination was he laying back to get to start on the pole. LAST YEAR YOU WON THE DAYTONA 500 POLE BUT NEVER LED A LAP... Well, I think we learned from that. We brought a car here last year to run really, really fast. And we kind of lost sight of what it was going to take in the race then -- because we had no idea how good the Chevrolets were going to be. And they showed us how good they were. So this year, we knew that. We compromised, made more down force, but not a lot of drag. Hopefully that's what we've done with our 500 car. The body is the same as this car today, and I felt comfortable in the draft. The new nose and new hood -- the hood doesn't make any difference, but the new nose gives us a little bit more down force on the front, but we're still lacking in the rear. We have improved it and some things we've learned chassis wise will help us Thursday and Sunday. COMMENT ON THE TWO CREW CHIEFS IN YOUR PIT TODAY: First of all, before I get to Larry (McReynolds), let me say that this was Todd Parrott's first race as a crew chief and it ended in victory lane. There's a lot to say about him and we'll be able to say it as the year goes on. He's a terrific person and he knows how to manage people and we've made the right choice by far in getting a crew chief for this team. Larry was there. He was asked to be there by Todd for the simple fact that it was in the 28 car that I won the pole last year. That's why I was in this race. We had a number of guys there, but Todd wanted him there because he knew Larry was a big part of me being in this race. We are a team. We may have two separate race cars, two separate numbers and two different sponsors, but we're one team. We work together and we're going to enjoy victory lane together and our wins. You're going to see a lot more of us being all together. Ernie was in victory lane, too. Ernie tested this car, too. We ran these cars, both tested these cars. Actually, this car we won with today, we came down here to test and it wasn't running like we thought, so we cut the body off and put another one just like the ones on my and Ernie's 500 cars. We didn't even know what it would do until we came here Friday. Obviously, it did the right things. WHAT PART OF THE TRACK DID YOU TAKE SECOND PLACE ON THAT FIRST LAP IN THE SECOND SEGMENT? I got into second just past the middle of turn three. That's when I cleared Darrell Waltrip and was able to get in behind Earnhardt. It took almost a lap to get to second, but when you've got a good car, you just hang on. It all worked out. You don't think about getting that far that quickly, but I knew I had a good enough car to get there in 10 laps. It's just that everything opened up for me in a short time.