Charlotte: GM teams race quotes

Joe Nemechek ...

Joe Nemechek #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet
18th position

Note: Nemechek's right-rear tire went flat after he hit debris on the track with nine laps remaining.

All of sudden the car started vibrating going into Turn 3 and I didn't have a prayer. Nine laps to go in the race -- just incredible. It was our race to win. But something hit the bottom of my car and the tire went flat going into the corner. With all those crashes we kept on running over so much debris all day. It's hard to swallow, but we can't overlook how we fought back from being a lap down to get in position to win the race. The crew kept on making adjustments and we finally hit on it. When we got into clean air the Army Chevy checked out. It was flying. This is a good team and we'll win races.

Scott Riggs #10 Valvoline Chevrolet
19th position

Note: Was running fifth with 57 laps to go when he lost a cylinder. He stayed on the track and finished the race.

HOW WAS YOUR RACE? We chased the setup all night. The team kept making good changes to the Valvoline Chevrolet and we worked our way up front and into some good track position. Things were going our way and we knew we had a shot at a top-five finish. We were cruising around up there making our move, but with about fifty laps to go we lost a cylinder. That put a stop to our run.

The way the race played out I honestly think we could've been sitting in first place. The way our pit strategy was working I really think we had a shot at the victory. The Valvoline Chevrolet was awesome.It was still a good night for us. We started off the night struggling a bit and by the end of the night we had a car that could've contended for a win. Everyone did a great job. We'll just come back next week and get them again.

Jeff Gordon #24 DuPont Chevrolet
30th position

Note: Gordon retired on lap 382

YOUR RACE IS OVER, WHY? Too much damage from the wreck. We had a good car. We got very unfortunate when that caution came out after our green flag stop. It just caught us way back and there was just no way were going to make our way back to the front. But we were going to salvage what we could. The #91 or Elliott got spun, and I got into him.

Well, we had a rough end of the night. We had an awesome car. What a car. You know, in the early stages, we had the car to beat. As the sun went down, and the lights went on, we got a little bit tight and some other guys picked up. Brian Vickers had the best car, but unfortunately, he ran out of patience a little bit there. He's my teammate, I love him to death and he's doing such a great job. I hate it for him, I know he didn't want it to end that way. It's what it looked like to me.

WHAT HAPPENED EARLIER ON WITH THE PIECE OF DEBRIS HITTING YOUR CAR? I was pretty disappointed in what happened to us. I'm not sure what came up off the race track and got us, but it certainly set us back. Weren't any other issues other than that. I didn't see any. You know, I think there was some kind of a sealant that was being pulled up off the track.

CAN YOU TALK MORE ABOUT THE CAUTION FLAG THAT CAUGHT YOU OUT OF YOUR PIT STRATEGY? Yeah, I knew that was going to be a thorn in our side. I thought we were going to be one of the cars to stretch it, but we weren't. You've got to play your strategy and unfortunately that didn't work out for us. We were just salvaging what we could wit hthe race car. Unfortunately we got caught up with that wreck.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO THE TRACK? Well, the track is too fast, the tires are too hard. I think there are a lot of things, but for the most part things were good. They had some problems tonight that was totally separate from the racing. I'm not so sure, once they fix the crack and things that the track will mature and really come to us and get better, but if not they're going to have to repave it.

Brian Vickers #25 GMAC / Chevrolet
31st position

Note: Vickers led late in the race but retired after an accident on lap 379

TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR RACE ENDED TONIGHT? The GMAC / Chevy team did an awesome job. We had a car to win the race. You know, and I got frustrated when the caution came out and put us in the back. We were trying to get through there and we were four wide. Door to door, about three or four deep and Bill was slowing down and I don't know if he just lost his momentum or what, and I was coming and I started to back off and I just got into him. I think it was in the tri-oval and I apologize. You know, I take responsibility. It was an accident and I didn't mean to wreck Bill. But, I don't know what happened. I don't know why he lost the momentum, but I was looking and it was just too late.

WHY SO MANY CAUTIONS OUT THERE? It's just, you know, the track gets real tight. You have to start so loose to be good. On a long run, that makes it harder for guys. It's really, mainly, just one groove. When you get someone, it's real hard to pass. And you get loose and all kinds of things. I mean, it's a fast, fun race track. You know, I mean, it had potential. But it still means a little bit more.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. #8 Budweiser Chevrolet
33rd position

HOW WAS YOUR CAR? It was real tight when the race started, then we got to working on the car. And the car was real fast right there before we got into Michael. I was pretty happy with it at that point. It still needed a little bit more work, but it was just how it all turned out. Really, it was anybody's race tonight. And felt like we were in real good shape right until the accident.

WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE INCIDENT BETWEEN YOU AND MICHAEL? Um, well, Michael was just running out there in front of me and I got a real good run off the corner and tried to the go to the outside of him. I looked to the outside of him on the front straightaway and he either moved up or took his natural line through the front straightaway and I got.I mean, it didn't take.I was right there on him, I was right kind of to the outside of him a little bit. The next thing I know he was spinning right there in front of me. I didn't know that I was as close as I was to him to hit him. But, just spun him out and you know, I hate it for him and Tony Jr. and all his guys. You know, I just made a mistake. But, I was running real hard, I had a great run off the corner and I didn't think.I thought I'd be able to get to the outside of him and try to make a pass on him.

TONY SR. SAID THERE MIGHT BE A PROBLEM BETWEEN YOU AND MICHAEL. HE WAS A LITTLE STEAMY Yeah, I can understand that. There's no problem between me and Michael, and I think Michael understands that. Just, we just.he's definitely not the person I wanted to run into tonight! It's unfortunate and hopefully everybody can come to terms with it in some way or another. I know some of the guys on Michael's team are probably upset and don't really know. I mean, if you're not in the race car, you don't know what the hell is going on out there. I can't expect everybody to understand exactly what was going on at that moment at that time and how we all come together and wrecked. You know, the people that understand will move on and we'll try to get better next week.

HOW WAS THE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND STEVE HMIEL? The communication between me and him was awesome. We kept getting the car better and better. And kept making changes that were improving the car. We hadn't run in the 29's all night, and right there up right before the wreck, we were running 29-6's. We were half a second faster than we had been all night. I know the track was cooling off a little bit, but I felt like that we let one slip away here. We could have had us a good top 5 or even a victory tonight.

IS THERE ANY TRUTH THAT OFF THE TRACK YOU AND MICHAEL ARE GREAT BUT THERE MIGHT BE PROBLEMS ON THE TRACK? There's no truth to it. We don't get in the habit of running into each other. And we don't really race each other that hard. We actually try to work together most of the time. It's just unfortunate. We were out there racing, and he happened to be the guy. It could have been anybody else. He was the last person I wanted to run into. But, we was all going for the same piece of real estate.

ANY EXPLANATION FOR WHY THERE WERE SO MANY WRECKS TONIGHT? The track was real slick. Just got a lot of grips in spots and then spots where there's no grip. But, once you got your car working pretty good, it really wasn't that big of a deal. Wasn't that tough drive, but the car was real tough to drive if you had a push or a loose condition. It would do some good to put some new asphalt down, I think, because the track is tearing up a little bit anyways.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR TEAM. ANY PROBLEMS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN CARE OF? Not really. We've just got to keep working hard. Everybody's working hard. We had a good car tonight, you know. We've got to be focused and realize the potential. I think we've got good potential. The team is good. I think we've got a good idea with Steve Hmiel making the shots. He's got a good idea what needs to change. He's a smart enough man to make the calls and if people need to be changed, or whatever. I don't know. We'll just see how it goes. I'm feeling real confident right now for the team. We had a tough night tonight but the car was real fast when we went out with trouble there in the crash. The car is fast, I've got to do the rest, but tonight I slipped up a bit.

Michael Waltrip #15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet
36th position

Note: Waltrip crashed out of the race on lap 245

WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? I don't know what happened. I'm trying to figure it out. I was running with the #8 car and I'm think he got into me.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Michael Waltrip , Joe Nemechek , Scott Riggs , Brian Vickers