KEVIN LEPAGE --38-- GEICO Direct Taurus (Finished 43rd) "We had a battery go dead on us, which is unusual, but I can't say enough for all the guys here. Mark Tutor came over to try and put this GEICO Direct Ford in the field and we did that ...
KEVIN LEPAGE --38-- GEICO Direct Taurus (Finished 43rd)
"We had a battery go dead on us, which is unusual, but I can't say enough for all the guys here. Mark Tutor came over to try and put this GEICO Direct Ford in the field and we did that solidly the other night. Unfortunately, the motor let go. We came here to try to prove to everybody that we belong here and we had a good qualifying effort. We actually were running pretty good there. We made the right changes from the other day, but we're out too early. We had two weeks to put this together and I thought we did a fairly good job at it. You never know, you might see us somewhere back down the road."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus -- Raybestos Rookie (Finished 41st)
"I guess Charlotte hasn't been my place for engine failures. I guess we made our money last weekend. I think we would have had a pretty decent car once this race would have started to draw out. We were trying to get our lap back, but our car was super, super loose all day. That's just part of it I guess. They're engines and they do break."
WAS THIS A ONE-ENGINE RULE CASUALTY? "There will be plenty of cars to finish and make a good race out of it. It'll be fine. When the break this early, it doesn't matter if it's one engine, two engine, three engines or five engines. It's just a mechanical failure."
WAS IT HOT OUT THERE? "The motor is hotter than I am, let's just say that."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo Taurus (Finished 40th)
"We had some sort of problem. We picked up a real bad vibration and pitted and that got us a lap down. At times we had a 10th-place car and at times a second-place car. We were never the best car, but we were a decent car all night. The darker it got and the cooler it got, the better our car seemed to be. We had a lot of bad luck this weekend with the Busch car and the Cup car, but what we do is hard. Not every week is gonna go your way and certainly this week didn't go our way, but I was encouraged by the way we ran."
THE FACT THIS ENGINE WENT BEFORE 500 MILES MEANS THE ONE-ENGINE RULE WASN'T A FACTOR HERE. "We wouldn't have made it 500, so I'm not gonna complain. The engine rule is the engine rule. You've got to build your engines so they last. If you're building engines that can't run 600 miles and run the practice, then you're doing something wrong. You've got to be able to build your engines so they last. This engine would have broke in a 300-mile race. We had a part failure or something and it wasn't because of the longer distance."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus -- VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW -- "I never drove that hard in my life to win a race. I thought he was gonna beat me. It's just great. This Viagra team, I'm gonna share a huge portion of my winnings with them because I can't win this race with a slow car. The money don't matter. We're taking this trophy home to Florida and that's what I care about. I want to thank these fans for coming out here tonight and let's keep that Winston here at Charlotte."
WHAT ABOUT THE MOVE WITH THREE LAPS TO GO WHEN YOU SPLIT TWO LAPPED CARS? "I couldn't wait. Matt was faster than I was and I had to go. I couldn't afford to get him up on me. He could have beat me fair and square, but he was gonna have to race hard. He wasn't gonna beat me in traffic. I would have rather wrecked that thing than just give it up, so I just stayed after it. This win is big for us. That was a good race. I hope everybody enjoyed it. We certainly did and we got us a millionaire here tonight."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 2nd)
DID THE LAPPED CARS GET IN THE WAY? "Well, a little bit, but they're out there racing for position too, so if I'm in that position you've got to get everything you can get. I'm real proud of my DEWALT guys. We had an uphill battle all day. I think we broke a valve spring or something right at the end and I had to let off the gas a little early. I felt like we had a little bit better car than Mark, but he had a good car and I'm happy to see him win. Maybe that will put him in a better mood." ROUSH RACING HAD A GREAT NIGHT. "Yeah, we ran really good. We were a threat to win it. The 48 was definitely the class of the field, but he had his problems in the pits. But the 6 was there all night and we were there all night and I feel real good about our DEWALT-AT&T crew, they did a good job."
WHAT DID THEY SAY TO YOU WHEN SKINNER SPUN? "I knew there was a car stopped on the bottom. They just said there was a lot of smoke and there was a car stopped on the bottom, but he was on the apron. So I didn't on purpose back up, I just got into the corner too hard and I got loose. I was doing everything I could do."
WHAT ABOUT THE LAPPED CARS? "It was tough for Mark too, but those guys are fighting for everything they can get at the same time, so they're all trying to get position so you can't really blame them. Yeah, it was pretty tough out there. They were two-by-two-by-two. It would have been nice if it would have been at least single-file and we could have picked our way through there. It was pretty hairy there at the end, but I'm happy to see Mark win. I wanted to win worse than anything and I really thought we had a car to do it there at the end, we just had a couple problems that slowed our car up a little bit. But, all in all, it was a great day."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Havoline Taurus (Finished 4th)
"We were good. The front end got pushing at the end and I couldn't run. If I drove it into the corner too hard, the front end would just take off. I don't know, it seems like we fight that a lot and I'm not really sure what it is. That hurt us tonight. We were real good in the middle stages of the race when the track was a little greasier. When the track got faster and had a little more grip we weren't as good."
NICE TO SEE MARK WIN? "Yeah, Mark has struggled a little bit, so that's good. I'm glad to see it."
YOU BATTLED DOWN THE STRETCH ON THE LAST RESTART. "We were fading. We thought we were gonna get Craven for third and we caught him but couldn't do anything with him. Then Gordon and Stewart came on at the end and we got into a pretty hard battle there at the very end."
YOU DON'T LOOK TIRED BEING THE IRONMAN. "Not really. It was pretty nice out there. I had the AC going tonight. I had it on cruise control. It wasn't that bad."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 3rd)
"That was a great display of teamwork because we had a third-place car and the guys got me off pit road great. They made some great decisions and we just battled all night. I'm just really proud of this Tide team. They really gave me a hell of a run."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 10th)
"We just got behind early. We had to come from the back up to 12th or 13th like three times. We put way too much tape on the grille to start the race and I thought it was open plenty enough, but, man, I tell you what, it must have been humid out or something because it pegged the gauge at 240 and pushed all the water out. We came back in and filled it up with water and then Wilburn started saying, 'Man, everytime you're making a pit stop it's dumping water out,' so we came in that last time and really did a good jam-up job filling it up with water. We put some stop-leak in it to find out where the hole was at or whatever it was and filled it up again and it held the rest of the race, so that was good. We got it up to 10th, but there were two times I was out of control. I took a spring rubber out of the left-rear one time trying to make it turn better and then it was so loose I couldn't touch the throttle. Then at the end there, I said, 'OK, let's put the rubber back in and drop some air-pressure out of the right-front,' and it did the same thing again. So it didn't want to get messed around from the right-front to the left-rear corner, but we got a top-10 out of it and that was good. But, like I said, I feel like I drove the World 1000. I came from the back to the front so many times it was unreal. I had my son, Greg, spotting today and he did a great job. There must be something about your own kid, you understand their voice better."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 19th)
"It wasn't from lack of effort on the guy's part. I mean, on every single pit stop they changed something. We probably just made a mistake on some shocks that we ran. The car just bounced around and flopped around all night. At one point we got it halfway decent and adequate and got it in the top 15, but then as things got faster and I tried to go faster with them it magnified our problem. We just couldn't get after it. I don't know how many times tonight I about wrecked. When I was out there at the end we made some adjustments just trying not to wreck, so it was just a bad night."