Chevrolet Darlington race notes

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (sidelined with motor problems on lap 240) "We kept adjusting on it and I thought we were getting better. But all of a sudden I looked up and the temperature gauge was about 250 (degrees) and...

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (sidelined with motor problems on lap 240)

"We kept adjusting on it and I thought we were getting better. But all of a sudden I looked up and the temperature gauge was about 250 (degrees) and it started sputtering after that. We came in and tried to fix it. I don't know if it was a leak in the radiator or head gasket or what it could have been. But we'll find out so that it doesn't happen again and go get 'em in Bristol."

Mike Skinner, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo (sidelined in crash, finished 37th):

"I guess somebody's spotter didn't see who was out there or something like that. They turned up into us and just kept on turning into us. I don't know why they didn't just turn the steering wheel back to the left. But they just pretty much stuffed us into the fence. It was a tough break. I hate it for Lowe's. I thought we was finally going to get us a top ten here in Darlington. But we'll just go to Bristol and see if we can win one there."

Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 2nd):

"We were real dominant on the long runs. This is a tough old place. It wears tires out. We worked real hard on getting out set-up where it needed to be on the long runs. And with 18 laps to go, we knew we were in trouble. We pitted and came out second. I knew DJ (Dale Jarrett) was going to be tough. He ran us hard there and ran us clean in the end. We're real disappointed and we hate to be disappointed with second. This Pennzoil team and these guys have been working so hard. We've been through so much. We would have loved to get another win, but we'll go get 'em at Bristol next week.

With your strong finish here today, do you feel like it's all coming together?

"I think so. We've run well here in the past. We've had a couple of top 10 finishes. I just think the whole team has just stepped it up a little bit. The places that we've run 28th, we're running in the top 10, and the places we've run in the top 10 we're running in the top five now. So I think it's just a steady progression of the Pennzoil team and how well they' ve all worked over the wintertime to build good racecars and good engines. I think the way the year's been going, it's just been up and down. We started out at Daytona and got involved in a wreck and finished 31st, and then we came back and won (at Rockingham), and finished 7th in Las Vegas, and then blew-up last week (in Atlanta) and were 43rd. So if you look at our season, it's still fluctuating. We are hoping to make that steady in the top 10. So a good run today has really boosted all of our morale and helped us in the points and we'll just have to go on to Bristol next weekend."

With 16 laps to go, if there was no red flag, do you think you could have caught Jarrett?

"I tell you I would have had a better shot of holding him off than catching him. It's hard to pass here, especially in such a short amount of time. Like I said, my car was good on longer runs and Dale's was good on short runs. With 10 or 15 laps to go if you're out front, you obviously have an advantage, I feel, even if your car isn't as fast. It's one thing to lead but it's another thing to pass. I think he would have had a difficult time getting by us. Like I said, he was just real strong. He was faster than we were on a 10 or 15 lap run. We're going to lose races like this like we did today. One of these days the tables are going to be turned and we're going to have a car that's not going to be that good on long runs, and that'll be real good on short runs, and we're going to win the same way. I think it's just part of the growing process. I hate to be disappointed with second, but when you're running 5th or 10th all day long and then you finish 2nd or 3rd, then you can be pretty happy about it like Jeremy (Mayfield) said. But to lead all day long and then to lose it in the last 15 laps is just a little disappointing."

Bobby Hamilton, No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 9th)

"We're real happy. Every race this year we've had a top 10 car, we've just made a few mistakes. But the team is really coming together. We keep getting stronger and stronger. If you look, we finished 22nd in Atlanta, but we got penalized there for something and lost a couple laps, but we're competitive. But we've been a top 10 car every race since Vegas. So we're pretty happy."

Was the car good all day?

"Yeah, this Square D Chevrolet ran good. It was really good on old tires. I didn't want that last caution. I wanted to stay out on old tires. We was probably about a 5th or 6th place car at that point. But right there at the end, me and Rusty (Wallace, No. 2) had a real good race. We didn't touch or anything, and he raced real clean and all."

Are you anxious to race at your home track in Bristol?

"I like it. If you finish there, you're doing good you know. I've always run real good there. So I'm excited about going there with this bunch right here. They make all the perfect calls for me. It's just great."

Are you going to have a good car for Bristol?

"Yeah, I think we'll take this one. We'll just run the heck out of it until the fenders fall off."

Jerry Nadeau, No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 20th):

"I was the last survivor on the island for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend. I learned a lot about being patient today, but I didn't learn much about this track, unfortunately. The car was just so erratic today, I didn't know what to expect from one lap to the next. We were wicked tight for most of the race. I'd have to drive it into the corners on the apron to keep from knocking the wall. But the UAW-Delphi guys did a good job in the pits and Gordon Gibbs did a great job filling in for Tony Furr (crew chief) over the last few weeks."

-GM Racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Jerry Nadeau
Teams Hendrick Motorsports