Chevrolet Charlotte race notes

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I got caught speeding on pit road, and that put us in the back. We came back up through there pretty good. We were back up in the top 20. We had a bad pit stop and that...

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I got caught speeding on pit road, and that put us in the back. We came back up through there pretty good. We were back up in the top 20. We had a bad pit stop and that put us dead last. Then the 97 car, I don't know what he was thinking. He just pile drived the 31 car. I was on the outside and didn't have anywhere to go. It bent the whole right side of the car. The guys have to replace the lower and upper control arms and rear trailing arms. It was just a bad day. It's been like that all year. The way I look at it, it's nothing new right now. We've just got to keep working and hope our luck will change. When I was a rookie, I tried to show a lot of respect out there. We had a good car today."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "I hit hard enough to mess the car up but not hard enough to hurt me. I just saw somebody spin up ahead of me and I got on the brakes real hard. I was expecting everybody to slide back down to the bottom. There was nothing but smoke and I knew if I went to the inside I was going to get into it. We were good in the beginning and then started going backwards. I think on the long runs we would have been in good shape. "We were having a little bit of a tough time with it, but I think it would have come around by the end of the race. We were a little bit loose there in one end and a little bit tight in the other end. We were kind of biding our time and trying to be patient and keep working on it. It looked like somebody or a couple of guys got together and got loose and spun out right in the middle of three and four. I slowed down, but there was so much smoke. I was hoping they were going to go to the bottom, but they didn't. "It lost a lot of oil, and I didn't drive the car very far. I'm sure we can get it back out there, but what fun is that going to be? I'll have a ball here at Charlotte out there driving around. "I was good for about three or four laps, but if those guys got to the outside of me or got behind me, it really loosened me up. I saw somebody get sideways, and I think they got in the wall, and I started backing down and got on the brakes real hard. There was a lot of smoke. I tried to stay up against the wall. We'll make it back out. It won't be much of a speed demon. "I think the 88 and 2 know what happened. It was quite a ways ahead of me. I just know somebody spun out and put out a lot of smoke. I had nowhere to go. "We were struggling with it a little bit. We were a little bit loose and were kind of waiting for it to come in. I couldn't see anything. I tried to slow down and stay up against the wall. When I got there, it was a big surprise to me. "Things have been going pretty good for us. We had the pole. We had a fast race car. The track is a lot different today than it was yesterday. We were throwing a lot of things at it. We were just trying to be patient and wait for the end, but I just hate it that we were that far back and got caught up in it."

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "I don't know if we had a left front shock go bad or something, but the car picked up a terrible push in the center and it sort of bounced a lot in the left front. I'm thinking we had a shock go bad, but the car was running good. The car just don't go that bad, and then we adjusted and adjusted and adjusted trying to tighten the car up and never got it any better. We just had a terrible day. It was (good enough to win) at one point. "It was really good and then it picked up a terrible push and bounced a lot. We had a pretty good race car, and I thought we had a shot to win the race. Then that happened and we just sort of suffered along with it and held on to wherever we finished. I don't think the weather would change the car as bad as it changed. We were in pretty good shape racing there with the guys in front and then all of a sudden we can't race with 'em. "Somebody has got to have some bad luck, and he (Bobby Labonte) ain't having done is he? He drove right up there. Do you think he was sleeping all day? As bad as our car was driving, it wouldn't stay down on the left front, so I don't think a two-tire stop would have helped it. "We had good pit stops all day, and then we got behind and got back in traffic trying to make adjustments and then we just tried to do the best we could."

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Park led the way for Team Monte Carlo with a seventh-place finish. It was his sixth top-10 finish in the past nine races. He moved to 11th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings, 313 points behind 10th place Jeff Gordon. "We had a decent race car. We were fighting loose-tight. We just couldn't get it right in the middle. Right there at the end, we were just a little bit too tight. We were catching the 99 and kind of ran out of laps. The 10 was catching us, too, so we had a good race car, finished in the top 10 and we started almost dead last, so it was a pretty good day after a long weekend. This car was running too good. We didn't want to go to an unknown with a backup car. The guys spent all night and all morning fixing it. They had to put a right side on it (after crash in Saturday's Happy Hour practice). They put a fender on it and rocker panel. I didn't question it at all. They build them from scratch. I've got a lot of confidence in those guys. "We've got a great race team. I think everybody knows we're there now, fighting for the wins. We came from far back today. We had some good calls in the pits, got some good track position and got out front. It's not going to surprise me if we win another race before the year is out. We keep putting ourselves in that position. We've got a great race team here. We've got Dale Earnhardt behind us and Pennzoil and we'd just love to win again. We found out how much fun it is at Watkins Glen. I think we can get to victory lane again. We had a tough weekend and overcame it. We had a tough weekend at Martinsville and overcame it with an 11th-place finish. That's what championship teams are made of, and I think we've got the makings of a championship team here. The car stayed consistent. The tires changed a little bit. We were fluctuating from tight to loose. We just couldn't get a good medium balance. We didn't want to get too far out. We were trying little things to get it perfect and just couldn't get it perfect."

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We were sitting there running 11th with 25 laps to go. We had too many laps on our left-side tires. It wanted to be real tight. The left front was worn out and then getting off the corner wanted to spin the back, so we'll take 14th. We were hoping for a top 10. If that caution hadn't come out, I was working on Matt Kenseth there. I think we would have got him, but maybe we wouldn't have. All in all, it was a pretty good day. The sun would come out and it would get a little bit slicker, but no real big changes. We were like one pound of air pressure up or down and it would change the whole race car, so that was pretty good. "They told me right after we stopped yesterday that we were going to be a lap and a half short and to conserve. When those guys started coming, what could I do. We're not points racing. We came to win. We showed we had a dominant car. I was just cruising on that last set of tires, saving fuel the whole run. To run out with a lap and a half left, it's kind of hard to swallow. I thought maybe we'd catch a break today, but it didn't work that way."

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're really disappointed to be 19th, but we're also really happy that we were fast enough to make up two laps. At least we ran up front even though we weren't on the lead lap. We had to make some green flag pit stops. It felt like it was about ready to hit the wall, so we had no choice. I think we had some loose lug nuts. I didn't get slowed down fast enough on pit road, and we got penalized 15 seconds for speeding, but that's the way it goes."

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The crew behind us (in the pits) was swinging out really wide. I almost hit 'em twice, and we just couldn't get in our pit stall and it really hampered our guys. Once the 13 car fell out, we had a pit stall in front of us and we could stop a little longer. Then they got us some track position and I think we ran pretty good. The car drove halfway decent on the last two sets of tires. It might have been maybe a 10th or 12th-place car if things had worked out a little different. We were just racing and the 33 shot up in front of me and I hit the brakes real hard. We just touched. It really didn't upset either car, but what happened was it knocked the fender in on the tire and I felt a really bad vibration in it. Larry said to pit and I stayed out awhile. I was going to try to stick it out and it was just getting worse and worse. I thought as bad as we were running there was no sense in tearing up a good race car. We came down pit road and Royce McGee said it was a good thing. Another lap or two and we would have blown a tire and hit the wall. It was a tough day for us. Now we'll go to Talladega and try to get 'em there. "There were some real aggressive young guys out there today. There was a young aggressive driver behind us trying to prove himself in Winston Cup. He just got a little aggressive and ran into the back of us coming off the corner. It was just one of them deals. We were on the gas, off the gas, on the wheel, off the wheel. We did everything we could do to save the car and was fortunate enough to save it. Hopefully people like Richard Childress will see stuff like that and it'll make 'em feel a little better."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Michael Ho