RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Finished 24th "I just lost it. I drove up underneath the 25 car. I had a flat tire. I had a loose lugnut. I got laps down and finally got everyone of the laps back. We got back up there and we...
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Finished 24th
"I just lost it. I drove up underneath the 25 car. I had a flat tire. I had a loose lugnut. I got laps down and finally got everyone of the laps back. We got back up there and we were going for it with the hammer down. I didn't have anything to lose. We went for it and it was going good. We were passing cars like crazy. The car was handling great. I caught the 25 car, and I went to go to the outside. He moved up, and I saw he was taking my line. He knew I was coming up there. That's fine. Fair game. Then I saw he was blocking the top of the racetrack, so I shot to the bottom. When I shot to the bottom I had it made through one and two. Then on the exit of the turn I got loose and he got up underneath me and that was it.
"I got real aggressive trying to get all the positions back. We had a good car, and it kept getting better and better. The lugnuts got left loose. I couldn't believe it. I got two laps down and ended up getting one of them back on the racetrack. I got the Lucky Dog and had one more shot at it with 23 laps to go. Then I got up to 13th and was getting ready to pass the 25. I just got too loose and lost it and that was it.
"It was a real fast track. I never had any tires issues at all. My car was fine. I really thought I was going to be in good position, but I didn't need a flat tire on the restart, and I didn't need loose lugnuts. We stopped under caution and we were the only ones on pit road because we left the lugnuts loose. I don't know how that happened. That's racing.
"It turned into a real wildcard (race). There were a lot of tire problems, but I never had any. I didn't have the fastest car, but I easily had a top 10 car and that would have given me some points. I came in this thing 92 points out of the lead and now I'm still 92 points out of the lead. I don't know what happened, but Stewart going out helped everybody.
"We've got five to go, and I'm still in it. It was a good chance for me to make up some points, but all the stupid stuff got me behind."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 11th
How do you feel about coming home 11th with a car that didn't handle well early on? "That's what it takes. I don't know what happened. We were just slow. We just had a little luck going with us there toward the end. I just kept digging and clawing and scratching and all that and got ourselves in position at the end. I was real proud of the guys. They had a good two-tire stop and got us up there at the end. I'm real proud of
them. It was a good day." How did you handle a really tight pit stall? "That's about the closest I've been getting out of pit road in forever. And we did it every time. I just took off. I didn't have a really good car anywhere but we came home where it counted there in the end."
How do you feel about going to Martinsville? "It will be real nice. We're excited about that. Martinsville -- we ran good earlier at the first race. Man, I don't know what to say. I'm just glad we came out of here 11th."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 23rd
Did you think you had a car that could run up front at the beginning of the race? "Yeah, we didn't really know. We were just in the middle of the pack trying to stay out of trouble and not blow tires. Finally, by the end, we had moved up to the front." How worried were you about the tires? "You really can't think about it. It's tough to conserve when every car around you is just as fast or faster. You conserve a little bit and you get passed. So there's no conserving, there's no way to conserve. You can conserve a little bit here and there, but you really can't conserve. It's just a bad situation that they put us in this weekend on this racetrack." Describe the efforts of the team to improve the car throughout the night? "They made a lot of changes and I think they did a good job to get us out front. The pit crew did a good job. They did a good job in the pits. The car was pretty good -- it was really pretty good from the start. We just had to work on it a little bit." What happened at the end when you were leading? "We just blew a right front tire, just like everybody else did. I just didn't hit the wall. I felt it going down and had just told Tommy the car was getting tighter and tighter. Three-quarters of the way down the straightaway I slammed the brakes and stayed out of the wall but tore the fender off."
JEFF GREEN (No. 43 Petty Fan Fest/Bugles Dodge Charger) -- Finished 19th
"We just survived; we didn't have a very good car. It pushed like it had since Thursday, and we just could never make it any better, never could really make it worse really, just stayed about the same. We survived, and we knew going in that if we could survive we would have a pretty good finish."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge Charger) -- Finished 15th
"We had a great run, great run. We struggled a little bit off, but the Dodge Charger just came back, it was good at the end, very good off after we changed four tires, we were going to change two so we lost a few positions. It was a good day for us, I really can't complain at all. We've struggled all year long and to come to hear and have a good run that's good for us."
CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Mears led the way for Dodge with a sixth-place finish. It was his third top-10 finish in the past four races.
"It was a good day for us; track position was so huge and right out there at the end we were running third, we had a big battle on the pit box on what we were going to do. I just told Jimmy to do whatever he had to do. It was an eight man decision on top of the box to take two or four, we decided to go with a conservative decision because we already had two cars in the fence that were running up front and doing good because of tire trouble. We just didn't want to take a chance of having a tire blow out and risk our decent finish. I think at the end we sort of handed the win away when we didn't take two, because we could have gotten out ahead of those guys."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) -- Finished Seventh
"I babied it a lot. It was really disappointing, the tire situation and the racetrack. I don't have a whole lot nice to say about that, but we salvaged a good day after having some bad things going on. Track position we didn't have what we needed at the end, but the Alltel Dodge was fast. To get a top 10 out of that to come back after a cut tire and gas can. We only got a lap down and got the Lucky Dog. It worked out good for us, but it could have been better. We had a shot at winning the race. The 48 plain got lucky. He had battery problems and everything else. Timing wise with the way the tire situation was they just plain got lucky. We'd like to have a 150 point lead, but we'll just keep the pedal to the metal and see what happens."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Havoline-Texaco Dodge Charger) -- Finished 31st
"I don't know if when I got into him there if I cut my tire down or what. I saw the caution. The whole night it was somewhat like playing Russian Roulette. You would just wait for a tire to blow out and hope it wasn't yours. It was totally a different type of racing than we normally have. You get on the inside of guys and you get so loose. Michael got into the wall a few laps before that and I think he got tight or loose or something. He was struggling to maintain speed.
"When we started I didn't go real hard. My car was fast on new tires. Then I would run hard until one end would lose grip. We were really, really loose. I kept blistering the right rear tire. We tightened the car up one run and really got tight. I told them I'd rather have it a little free than to blow a right front. You never saw anybody blow a right rear. It was just a very frustrating evening to try to race like that.
"We had a good car. Some of those guys put two tires on and got track position on us. We seemed to always be able to get back in the top five. It's the best car we've had all year. It's frustrating to get wrecked or to wreck. I didn't get wrecked. I'd rather it end like this than race all day and end up 12th. Basically if somebody got underneath you, you had the opportunity to either let him go or wrecking. That's just the way it was. It's hard to race like that."
DAVID STREMME (No. 39 Commit Lozenges Dodge Charger) -- Finished 36th
"I don't really know what was going on. We didn't have too many tire problems all night. In the Busch race last night I didn't have any problems. I could have run over something. I just don't know. It's hard to tell. I know there have been a lot of tire failures. I'm real proud of my guys. We had a strong car. We learned a lot here, and that's what we're here to do. At least we were running up front (fourth) when we wrecked. I love it. It's fun. I hope they don't pave it. It's fast. It's fun. We had a good car. I enjoyed it. It's just a shame the car got tore up.
"I was running 90 percent. I don't run 100 percent until about 20 to go. I told them I wasn't gaining on the lead pack. I was just kind of riding. I've wrecked hard the past three weeks. It's a testament what NASCAR has done for safety. I hit at Kansas driver's side, and I hit here. That was some big hits. I'm not sore, no bruises or nothing. I feel real good. Our car was pretty good in Happy Hour and the whole race. We haven't had any tire issues, and it blew out. It might have been debris, I don't know. It kind of hurt my car when they told us to go up with air. I felt I didn't have the grip I needed, but they've got to do what they've got to do to make it safe."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Charger) -- Finished 40th
"We blew a right front tire out. These track owners, I wish they'd contact somebody before they do anything to the racetrack. They had a good track here before and didn't need to mess with it. They messed with it and messed it up and ruined it tonight for everybody. You've got to race. You've got to go as fast as you can. We had a problem back in the late '80s with Hoosier and Goodyear and we had to slow down. We ain't going to slow down. We're going to go as fast as we can. This is the same car we had at Kansas last week, and it really ran good. It ran good here, and the motor ran great. We're getting back where we used to be. We just can't get any luck. The car was tight, but it wasn't one of them deals where you kill the right front on it. With the speeds these cats run, you need to be able to run full throttle. The front rail went over into the motor, so we couldn't fix it. We'll go to the house and get ready for next week."