Charlotte post race quotes

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations Coca-Cola 600 Post-Race Quotebook CONCORD, N.C. (May 26, 1997) Selected quotes following the Coca-Coca Cola 600 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

Coca-Cola 600 Post-Race Quotebook

CONCORD, N.C. (May 26, 1997) Selected quotes following the Coca-Coca Cola 600 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

JEFF GORDON No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet

"At the time I was leading and didn't realize we were going to have to come in and pit. Until I found that out, I was pretty happy. When I found out we had to pit, I thought it was going to ruin our whole race. We were lucky it didn't. I think Rusty made the right call by coming in early and leaving us out on old tires. Ray also made a great call by going with the four because he had been out there a while and he thought I could run 'em down. It was one of those things when they said (20 laps to go), I was looking where Rusty was and how much I was gaining on him. I felt pretty comfortable if I could keep the pace. I was hoping that we could catch him."

RUSTY WALLACE No. 2 Miller Lite Ford

"I was proud of the pit crew. The motor ran great. Mike Ege and Larry Wallace worked real hard on the engine and the thing performed great. The car was perfect and the pit stops were good. The jackman was awesome. It was a really cool night. Early in the race the right front lug nuts came loose and got us a lap down. The car was really fast. It was bullet fast all day long. All we had to do was just keep trying, trying and trying. And finally, after the rain delay, we got the lap back. The motor ran really strong and I led a ton of laps. But right there at the end, Jeff just had less laps on his tires and he beat me. I wish I could have won this Coke 600. The crew did a fabulous job. I'm real proud of 'em. We've had a good year all year long. We won at Richmond and had a lot of second places. We had that little heart-breaker between me an Gordon at Bristol and it was a heart-breaker at Sears Point when I was leading the race and blew the motor up and it was a heart-breaker at Talladega, running so strong. But we just brought it back here and ran good."

MARK MARTIN No. 6 Valvoline Ford

"We had a good run. We got awful far behind. We were 20th when it rained. We had had all kinds of problems in the pits. We injured one of our tire changers and all kinda things. Finishing third is awesome. We had some great team work with this race team. We never changed our car after the rain. The car was good. It was good, it just wasn't as good as the 2 and the 24."

BILL ELLIOTT No. 94 McDonald's Ford "We just started getting a little loose there toward the end. The guys gave me a good ride tonight. I was a great deal better on long runs. It sure would've been nice to win this thing, but all in all, we had a pretty decent two weeks at Charlotte. I don't know if that delay hurt or helped us. I hadn't been feeling too good all day. I guess it's the flu or some type of virus."

BOBBY LABONTE No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac

"If it hadn't been such a hard rain I think they would have run a few more laps before they called it, but they didn't know what it was going to do. It was pretty hard rain. "I about wrecked one time after the red flag, and it was over for me after that. It was still a good decision to take on two tires. We led a lap. If it had gone like we thought it was going to we would have won. That's just a chance we had to take. There at the end we made all the right decisions again and got back up front where we needed to be, and I got loose. If I had it to do over I'd to it the same way."

DALE EARNHARDT No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet

"Our car was good in neutral, but we were a little tight coming off the corners. The engine was a little lazy. I think we pulled the wrong gear. We were better on fresh tires. I don't want to run any more on Sunday nights at Charlotte. If they're going to run all night, they need to start on Saturday night. We need more horsepower and more spoiler. I was loose getting in. I ain't crying, but those doggone Fords...Is Martin crying tonight? Has he got his towel out tonight?"

TERRY LABONTE No. 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet

"It was a screwed-up race. We were good when we went back out after the delay. We got out of sync on the pit stops and then they came up and said we had 20 laps to go at 12:45. That changed everything. This is the first time I've raced on Monday morning at Charlotte, but I don't care. I wish they would go back and finish it right now. We didn't have a car good enough to win. We stayed out as long as we could hoping for a caution, but we didn't get it when we needed it. We gambled and it didn't really cost us anything."

MORGAN SHEPHERD No. 1 Cruisin' America Pontiac

"I would have loved for the race to go on because we were moving up. That's their call. It was real late. I would rather it had gone further because we would have gained some more spots. There's no secret that we need sponsorship for this team to continue. It takes money to come here and race, and we've got to get some sponsorship for this team to continue. It takes money to come here and race, and we've got to get some sponsorship in this team to continue. Unless Richard gets the money we won't be at Dover. It kind of doubt it. Hopefully, somebody will come through. Hopefully, Cruisin' America will come up with some more money and we can go racing. Our Pontiac was really strong and we just had to come from the back so many times there, and the rain seemed to hurt us more than it did the other cars because we had just seemed to have gotten going good."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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Series NASCAR Cup