DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE (finished 2nd) THAT WAS EXCITING. "Yeah, that was rather exciting. I could see when I caught Ricky with three or four to go that he wasn't gonna give up that inside. I just had to know that my chance was probably...
DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE (finished 2nd)
THAT WAS EXCITING.
"Yeah, that was rather exciting. I could see when I caught Ricky with three or four to go that he wasn't gonna give up that inside. I just had to know that my chance was probably gonna be on the outside. I tried a couple of times faking high and hoping that he might go up in the center to where I could really get a run off, and with my four tires versus his two, I knew that I had an advantage. The biggest thing was that my car just didn't take off on that restart. I was really loose and I hadn't been like that all day. I was having to work to keep Ward behind me more than I was having to try to keep up with Ricky and he just jumped out there. On the last lap I jumped on the outside of him and thought if I could pin him down with his car loose that I might be alright. He did what he was supposed to do. We hit down the backstretch. I was up against the wall, so I hit the wall too and then going down into three he just carried me up high. That's what you're supposed to do on a short track on the last lap of the race. It got me up to where I just couldn't get a run off of four at all, but Ricky did a great job and it was a fun race."
WHAT ABOUT RICKY GETTING HIS FIRST WIN?
"It's great. If I couldn't win the race, obviously, my mindset was that the worst I was gonna do was second. I could have probably stayed on the bottom and I could have hit Ricky and I might have turned him around, but that wasn't the way I wanted to do it. Ricky Craven's a good guy. He races hard and he races you the way you race him. That's the way we've always raced and that's why I wasn't gonna take any chances of spinning him out or doing anything like that. It's great. To get another first time winner. Ricky Craven has been through a lot and it just shows the perseverance and what he has down inside of him to gut it out here. He knew that I had four tires versus his two and he jumped out there and got the job done. I certainly want to congratulate him."
WHAT WAS YOUR VIEW OF THE HARVICK-HAMILTON SITUATION?
"I just saw the 29 get sideways off of two to start with and then they were three wide. It looked like the 29 backed off because he was on the outside, but he got into the 55. It's hard to sit here and say what was intentional and what wasn't, but he didn't seem to slow up any there. So, I guess, maybe he felt the 55 had hit him, but he was out there on old tires and really holding things up. If you're putting yourself in that position, you've got to expect some contact at some point in time. That's the way it is around here, but you can't let it get the best of you. They told us that in the driver's meeting yesterday. Of course, he wasn't here yesterday so maybe he didn't hear that part, but I think you've got to pretty much know that's not gonna be accepted. You're gonna get beat on and you're gonna get hit here and you're gonna hit people, but you just have to go about your business."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR FINAL STOP?
"There wasn't any question -- we never thought about two tires. We got four tires. We didn't know how many guys would get two. I knew somebody would take a chance and, of course then, I guess two or three guys stayed out there after pitting under another caution. Four tires just seemed to be the best, especially on our car today. I really thought on the last restart, I said, 'I've just got to be patient here and whenever the track is open for me here I can make the move.' It totally took me by surprise that my car was as loose as it was for the first five or six laps after that caution. I had not been like that all day at any time on used tires or anything, so I'm a little bit baffled as to why that happened, but that's what got me behind and really didn't give me any better chance than making a last-lap move on Ricky. I really thought our four tires were gonna pay off again, just like they did in the spring."
ANY CONCERNS WHEN RUDD'S ENGINE BLEW?
"My only concern was for them because I know that's just hurting them. It doesn't concern me for my car or anything like that. I don't know if they had something going on for the weekend -- maybe a line that was closing shut or something. I don't know. It's unfortunate because I thought Ricky had a good race car and it looked like maybe he was gonna be able to gain a few points today. It looks like from here that Jeff can take care of business just by doing what they normally do on the race track. Yeah, that was unfortunate but my only concern was for that race team and not for my engine because I know we have very good stuff. I'm sure they'll find it was something freak that happened."
WHAT ABOUT THE NEW SURFACE IN TURN FOUR? WAS IT SLICK?
"Yeah, it was slick, there's no doubt about that, but it got better as we got rubber down on it throughout the day. It's hard to say that it was any more so than normal coming off of there, but you had to have your car pointed in the right direction and up high I never really got enough of a groove there and rubber worn into it to where you could really feel comfortable. I knew with my last lap deal there that I was gonna have a difficult time getting off of there, but it was the last lap so if it spun sideways it wasn't gonna be any big deal. I just kind of let it hang up there, but Ricky got me up far enough anyway that he already had cleared me before we got off the corner. I can't say that it altered the race any. I'm sure that guys that were having trouble with their handling that they found that spot to be a little more troubling to them, but for our car and what I saw all day, it wasn't that bad."
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE VINDICATION RICKY CRAVEN MUST FEEL TODAY?
"Yeah, I think I probably do. I'm sure there are maybe a couple of guys that would understand that, but I certainly do understand. Having been there a little bit and knowing what it's like to struggle. When you're in a situation where everything is supposed to be there and you're supposed to be running up front every week and winning races and the expectations are extremely high, and then all of that doesn't happen. I'm sure there are a lot of things Ricky could tell a lot of people, but he's a class act and he's not gonna get into that. But he can sit there today and will when he talks to you, and have a very good feeling about what he has accomplished here and what he's gone through to get to this point. It's never been easy for him, and not that it has been for anyone, but he has certainly fought and battled and probably held back some emotions at times that were very difficult to do. There were things he probably would have liked to have said or done, but because he is the class act that he is, he kept that to himself and went on about his business. He's got himself in a good position now and he's run well all year. This is just the culmination of a number of opportunities and times that they've put themselves in situations to win these races."