Charlotte The Winston Ford Racing notes

KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- FamilyClick.com Taurus -- "On that restart the motor just didn't get up to speed. The fuel pressure went down and I don't know if we lost the fuel pump or the fuel pump started to go, but it's just a great effort for...

KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- FamilyClick.com Taurus -- "On that restart the motor just didn't get up to speed. The fuel pressure went down and I don't know if we lost the fuel pump or the fuel pump started to go, but it's just a great effort for everybody. This is a great deal for Clemson and we're really excited to carry their colors here. We came up a little bit short, but it's still a good effort for this team. We've had an up-and-down season, but we came here to race tonight and were just one position off."

DID YOU THINK YOU MIGHT BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME WHEN SKINNER AND SADLER GOT TOGETHER?

"I was kind of hoping nobody got wrecked. I was kind of hoping they just slid up the race track and the race could go on because I think it would have bottled up everything. I knew Jerry was coming. Jerry was pretty good, he was good last night, but, hey, second is better than third right now."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus -- "I think we definitely had the car to win -- to come from last like that. I thought more of that than Mike Skinner. I got a good jump on him, I got a good run off of two and he ran me high in the dirt and then he just nailed me going into turn three. You know, I run in the back every week and in the middle and look up front and watch the way those guys run each other nice and clean. I get up there and try to run as clean as I can and then something like this happens. It's a shame for everybody involved with this Citgo team. That was a brand new car that I was definitely bringing back for the 600, but now we've got to do something else."

IT APPEARED THE CAR BROKE LOOSE ON SKINNER, IS THAT THE WAY YOU SAW IT?

"I don't know. He might have, I couldn't tell really what was underneath me. I know he ran me pretty high coming off two and I just try to run those guys as clean as I want them to run me, but I would hope he wouldn't do that intentionally. I think a lot more of Mike Skinner than that, but we definitely had a car good enough to win. I'm looking forward to coming back for the 600. We've got a car just like this one, but to come from last to leading in the money laps shows you how good of a race team we've really got here."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus

THIS WILL BE THE FIRST TIME YOU'RE NOT IN THE WINSTON. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

"The frustrating part is Mayfield wins California and they bump Hamilton and me out. No one has yet explained that to me. But after that, we had an equal opportunity to race ourselves in and it just didn't happen. We weren't good enough to get in. The first run had we run like a 50-lap segment we were sitting real good. We started off, we fell back, we came back and came back to fourth but it didn't do you any good to be good in the long run, so we loosened it up a bunch in the second segment and I got it too loose -- I couldn't drive it."

HAD THEY NOT DROPPED YOU BOTH, YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN THE ONE TO GET IN AND NOT HAMILTON BECAUSE YOU WON AFTER HE DID, RIGHT?

"They always told me it was the most recent winner. All I want is somebody to explain it to me. It's their race, it's their deal and they do what they want to do. It's a Reynolds deal."

THEY DIDN'T GIVE YOU AN EXPLANATION?

"I didn't even ask them, I didn't bother. They did what they wanted to do."

CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus -- "The green machine was battered and bruised. We were pretty loose and somebody slid up and got in to me and around we went, but I'm OK and we learned enough to help us in the 600. I'm just not sure we'll be able to bring the same car back, but we learned a lot and it was a lot of fun."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "When the caution came out there I went to put it in third gear right before we took off and I was missing third gear somehow. It wasn't all the way out, but I was just grinding it. I knew on the restart it was gonna be tough and I went from second (gear) to fourth and when you do that it's pretty tough. It's a tough night, but overall we've got a great race car. This is a new car here, the motor ran good and everybody did their job on this Mobil 1 team." H

OW WAS THE CAR?

"We had a great car. We were a little tight the first time and made some adjustments and it was absolutely perfect. It was the best car I've ever had here after we tuned on it a little bit. Evidently we messed third gear up somewhere along the line and I knew it before they even threw the green. We talked about it, but going from second to fourth you're not gonna help matters any. I did that and I guess messed it up more." WAS IT A GOOD TEST THOUGH? "Very good. This is a brand new race car and these guys worked hard. Like I told them before the night even started, everybody has held their heads up there and worked hard. That's the reason why we're in The Winston. We could not have even been there period, but when you win a race you get in The Winston and that means a lot to us."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- "We were in the way, so I guess that's what you get for being in the way. It's a shame. That's the best race car we've got and, of course, we won't be using it next week. But it don't matter. We were giving it our best shot there and we stunk." WHAT HAPPENED? "I don't know, I couldn't see it. It kind of happened behind my vision. I'm not sure. We were sort of in the way out there, so I guess that's how it goes. If we would have been faster I don't think that anybody would have got to our back bumper."

IT LOOKED LIKE YOU GOT BUMPED FROM BEHIND?

"I don't know. I didn't see it. I just didn't want to tear that car up. It's an awful good race car, but we'll bring out another one."

THE CAR WASN'T AS GOOD AS YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED?

"No, we were kind of in the way and sometimes that happens when you're in the way. We'll just have to try to do a better job next Sunday."

DID THE FIRE SCARE YOU A LITTLE BIT?

"Not too bad. I felt like it was pretty well contained under the hood. I hate fire, but it was far enough away that I knew I could get away from it."

DO YOU HAVE A BETTER CAR FOR THE 600?

"No, a worse car. That was the best car we've got."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus

WHAT ABOUT THOSE LAST FEW LAPS?

"It wasn't much of a battle. He came up there and blew me away, but congratulations to Junior. It just shows what a great competitor and what a good team they have. They made the right call there, we made the right call for where we were and what we had and I thought it was gonna work out for us. Man, the first of this race -- the first 30 laps -- I would have never dreamed I was gonna have a chance to win this race. The car was so loose I couldn't go anywhere. We adjusted on it a couple of different times and finally got it to where I could really run and made it fun for me to be able to race, but Junior just made the right call there and his car was awful fast."

YOU HAD SMOKE THAT LAST 8 LAPS. DID YOU KNOW IT?

"It didn't affect anything. I saw a little bit on that restart and I'm not sure exactly what did happen there, but it wasn't putting anything out or anything and it wasn't distracting to me. Obviously, the way Junior came up through there it wasn't hurting the race track. I don't know if we cracked a line or something like that, but it was a great job by my guys and now we'll look forward to the 600. I thought I might have my first Winston there. That was gonna be fun, but thanks to the fans for coming out tonight and R.J. Reynolds for putting on this great show."

BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus -- "I mean, you weren't gonna beat that 8 car. Golly, he was tough. Even at the best I don't think I could have beat him."

ALL IN ALL IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD NIGHT.

"All in all it was an excellent. To come out with a race car that is still intact and me intact and win two of the legs and the pole, we did good."

OBVIOUSLY TIRES WERE KEY. YOUR GUYS WERE GLUING LUGNUTS ON LATE IN THAT LAST SEGMENT.

"With that last set I didn't feel good about it and I was so far back that I wasn't gonna do any good anyway, so we just decided to put four on it and gamble."

YOU WON A POLE AND TWO SEGMENTS. THAT'S A PRETTY GOOD WEEKEND.

"I'm pretty happy. We'll see what happens next week."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "I had a pretty good night. In fact, at the end of that second 30 I'm sitting there running second with like eight laps to go thinking this is perfect and then, all of a sudden, all the strategy took off. Tires, no tires, should we, shouldn't we -- all that junk -- and I went from second to seventh. Then we came in and put two right side tires on and it's pretty disappointing because I thought I had a good car. The first race I took off and did pretty good then I started pushing. Then we made some big adjustments in air-pressure and a shock and it got a lot better. Then I thought I was in right in position when the 33 was leading and I was running second, I really thought we were gonna finish that way and put four tires on it. On the restart I thought I'd be able to get him on the outside getting into one, but I just never got to that point."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus

HOW WAS IT OUT THERE?

"It was a little wild. The 20 car was real wild. He caused a couple of incidents and I think he was the biggest culprit. He caused a bunch of stuff."

DOES THAT FRUSTRATE YOU?

"It frustrates me, yeah. I mean, people are driving these things and we can replace race cars but people are in them and you need to be a little more respectful than probably he is."

SOME PEOPLE SAY THIS IS A SATURDAY NIGHT SHOOTOUT KIND OF RACE. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THAT AND DOING SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK IS NOT RIGHT?

"Well, I mean, driving somebody aggressively -- Earnhardt and I, we had a great race. He got me up against the wall one time, but we never touched. A lot of people had great races and never touched anybody but some people just figure if they hit somebody it doesn't matter. If that's what it takes to win these races, then I'll never win because I wake up in the morning worried about what other people think of me. I guess other people don't."

DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE

"I basically got blown away. I heard him just say that he messed up a couple of times, I'd hate to see when he has a perfect race. I thought we made the right call for our car and our team. We were up front and we thought with the tires that we had on the car was the best the car had been and even though we knew the 8 went in, I guess I was hoping that I could get a good enough jump. I got a good jump, but I was hoping those guys might race side-by-side a little bit more back there and hold him up, but, basically, it looked like he could go wherever he wanted and get there in a hurry. He was just too fast. The tires made the difference. I had probably 15 or so laps on my tires and he had the fresh ones and his car was awful fast on new tires in particular. They made the right call for them and we did for us. It just worked out for Junior."

THE SMOKE?

"Yeah, I'm not sure exactly what it was. I turned the rear-end fan off just trying to use all the power that we could. I'm not sure if it was something from that because I had just turned it off and then it just happened on the restart, but I don't know how much. I couldn't see much smoke myself from it, but obviously it wasn't putting anything down because it wasn't bothering Junior from coming up through there, so I'm not sure exactly what it was but it was very minor and didn't have any effect on the outcome of the race because my car was as good as it had been and he was just better."

IS THERE MUCH DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 2ND, 12TH OR 13TH ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS?

"No, does it pay more? That's the only thing. Not really, no. This race is about winning and bragging rights, but more than anything it's about $500,000 there and that's what this was about. So, no it didn't make any difference. They went in and did what they thought was gonna make them win the race or give them that chance and we did what we thought was gonna give us a chance. The only thing about this night other than we finished second and we didn't win was that, man, the first 30 laps of this race I was terrible, along with some other people that were struggling too. But we learned some things about our race car and I was glad that we did that because I feel a lot better about coming back here next weekend for 600 miles. If I would have had to think about 600 miles the way I drove the first 30 laps, I might have called in sick next week or something. But Todd did a great job. We made a couple of adjustments and then after the first 30-lap segment we talked about it and made some more and got the car to where I could really run and be aggressive and have a good time, which is what this was about."

WHAT ABOUT THE FORMAT?

"I think when you've got that there, you had a lot of different strategies taking place. Bill Elliott and myself and a couple of others stayed out that last 10 laps. We went in and got tires with six laps to go in the second segment and then we decided to stay out for the 10-lap segment. You had other guys going in and getting tires, so a lot of different things going on -- people driving hard and unfortunately got some cars torn up, but that's what this is about with that kind of money. I think the format was great."

PEOPLE TALK ABOUT MOVING THIS TO A WEEKNIGHT. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

"For $500,000 we'll race two times in a day, it doesn't make any difference. No, that doesn't matter. I think it's whatever works with the schedule, what's gonna be best for the fans -- to make it good for them to where they have the opportunity to come and whatever works for Winston. They're putting up the money and whatever can work best for them is what we're gonna do. Whenever they tell us to be here we're gonna do that. This is a great event and we enjoy putting on the show for the fans. If it happens to fall in the middle of the week or something like that, I think that would be great too."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DALE, JR. BEING THE FIRST ROOKIE TO WIN THIS RACE?

"I would have to say that I'm probably in the majority saying I'm not surprised. He's gonna be a rookie to win a lot of first things and I'm sure he's gonna win a number of races throughout the rest of this year. If it (The Winston) suits anybody, I mean this race has suited his dad's style for years and it suits him because he's so much like him. He's a great talent, they have a great race team. I think I saw a number of people earlier this week picking him to win and they were right on."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Mike Skinner