Darlington Chevrolet race notes

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The guys on this Lowe's team really put a great car under me this week. Darlington is not a place I look forward to coming to, but I'm looking forward to coming back. We had a good race...

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The guys on this Lowe's team really put a great car under me this week. Darlington is not a place I look forward to coming to, but I'm looking forward to coming back. We had a good race car and a good qualifying effort and was keeping up with it pretty good there in the race. That car really got going after about 20 laps. We were just sitting there biding our time. Something let loose in the engines, but we've had some great engines this year. I don't want the to change anything. Something let loose in the bottom of the engine, but we had an awesome race car today. It really shocked me because this is my worst race track. To come here and run like we did this weekend has just been a real treat. It makes you look forward to next week. I guess bad luck is what you can call it. Richard Childress always told me you make your own luck. I don't know what I'm doing to make all this, but if I ever figure it out we'll be OK. "We had a car that was adjustable. We were going to be OK. This is by far the best we've ever been at Darlington. When we were here last time, we were awfully good. The last two times we've been here, we've improved so much and haven't had the opportunity to prove it. When we come back next time, hopefully we can carry it on. "We had a better shock package on the car. Spring wise, we ran real close to where we were at before. I think we had a better shock package and I think we had a real good body on this car. It had good balance in yaw, and I think the driver, for the first time, has quit overdriving Darlington. You overdrive it on Friday (qualifying), and then you've got to underdrive it on Sunday. If you don't do those two things, you're not going to run well here. I don't guess it's any big secret, but I've had a hard time grasping it. I'm a competitor, and I want to run up front and I want to run good, and I drive it too hard. "I've got some movies over there in the coach I wouldn't mind watching during this rain delay. I've got a good bottle of wine over there if they have to come back tomorrow. I really think we had a car that could have given them a run for their money today. We had moved up to third and we were headed in the right direction. We'll get 'em next week at Richmond."

LARRY McREYNOLDS (Crew chief No. 31 Lowe's Monte Carlo) "It's almost like the life story of this race team. We just can't get all the elements together. We get our car good. Mike has a good frame of mind. We have something go wrong with the engine. We get the engine working and Mike on a good wavelength and something is missing with the car. We're so close to winning. I can't tell you how close this race team is. I'm not dwelling on 2001. I'm dwelling on 2000 right now. We've got 10 races to go. I just hope I can be a part of this race team's first win. It's close, and I really want to help them accomplish that while I'm here. If they don't do it this year, I'll grant you they'll do it next year and I'll have fun talking about it to the world. "It could have been today. To us a good top five here today would have been like a win. We weren't writing ourself out of the picture to win this thing. We had a good game plan I think. Race this race track and everything was on schedule. It wasn't meant to be. I can't complain on this motor deal. Our guys are awesome. I've been with RCR now for more than three and a half years. We've only seen motor failures twice now on cars that I've worked on. "Unfortunately those motor failures came on days when you've got a good race car. Last week at Bristol, I don't think we could have thrown a bolt down the carburetor and blow it up. We even talked about going with a little lower gear today, but we ruled that out. We were good with what we had, and that's what we went with. "We quit Happy Hour practice early yesterday. When he made that 30-lap run and he drove away from Mark Martin, Mark is a pretty good benchmark here... The tire sheet looked good, everything looked good. The car looked good. There's a part of us that would have liked to throw another set of tires on and tried another shock package or tried something. Darlington. Mike Skinner. The Lowe's 31 team. This is as good as we've been here ever, ever, ever. We decided to seal it right there. "It's a fine line. On lap 30, when he was running today, I told him to remember it was the race motor. I don't think you can ever look back. If you go out there and run 150 laps in practice on Saturday, you can say you wore it out. I don't think you can even look at that. "We've sat on the pole at Richmond. We've sat on the outside pole. I think we had that race won a year and a half ago. Like Rick Mast put it, he hit us. We just elected to spin. We've had good runs. I look at these last 10 races coming up and look at all the tracks we've got left. We've performed well at Richmond, Loudon, Martinsville. I can't wait to get to Martinsville, and we're going there to test. Atlanta, Charlotte. Where are our weaknesses? Dover, but we ran good at Dover this past race. We're going to Rockingham to test. Talladega speaks for itself, but God only knows what the rules are going to be. Phoenix, we've got good race tracks, we've got strong race tracks coming. We've got some weak race tracks, but those are race tracks we're going to go test at. I don't know how we can cover our ground any better."

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "We had a pretty good car all day. We started out running in the top two or three and just worked with it. The caution came out, and we were worried about the rain. We stayed out and gambled, Jarrett and I. That was our day. Then we had to go back to the back and work back to the front. That last caution, those guys did it again. We had great pit stops all day long and moved up positions all day long. We just didn't move up two enough on that stop. We came in ahead of Bobby and behind Jeff and we came out behind Jeff and Bobby beat us both out. It was just one of them days, and then the rain clouds came from the right direction for the right guy. I think maybe they were going to give us maybe 10 or 20 laps to go because it was getting dark if it hadn't rained. It was going to be a shootout. Instead it was a rainout. That was my day. "Darlington has started to have a lot of rain problems the last several years, and it's dictated finishes of the race several times. It was a weird day, starting and stopping and not sure if it was going to rain or not rain, do you pit or don't you pit. We just had to fight through it. Fortunately after we did pit, we had some green-flag laps to work our way back up. The guys moved me on pit road pretty good. They got me three or four positions every time. It was a good day for us. "Congratulations to Bobby. He worked hard and came from 37th. His pit stops were great, and that's what won him the race today. "It's difficult to race four hours here. When it rained, we went down and had a sandwich and laid down in the motorhome and took a nap and was ready to go again. I felt good and rested. I was ready to go again. I'm worried about getting home now. I've got to drive home in this mess."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That was a great day for the DuPont team. This is a lot better than we've been finishing lately. We ran in the top five all day and had some great pit stops. We just never had that killer pit stop that got us out front. But I'm not complaining, because any time you can finish a race like this and come out in the top five, you've had a pretty good day's work. "We just kept fighting for track position all day. It was a guessing game with the weather, but that's not the first time we've seen that here. We stayed out of trouble most of the day, and it was sure fun to finish up there with the leaders again. This team has been working hard, and it paid off for us today. "When the weather is as tricky as it was today, it keeps you guessing all afternoon. Do you pit? Do you stay out? We've guessed right and we've guessed wrong in those situations. It really keeps you on your toes. Robbie Loomis and the guys stayed on top of it all day. You just keep plugging away and try not to second guess yourself. "I don't know if we had the car to beat today, but it was good. It was a good run for this team, and it'll give us plenty of momentum going into Richmond. We've got 10 races to go, and we'd sure like to win some more before the season ends. We're going to keep working hard and get as many points as we can. We're solidly in 10th place, but we've got our work cut out to move up. I think we can gain a few more spots, and we're going to keep working on getting back in championship form for next season."

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We were great on long runs today. We started out too tight and then made some adjustments. We went the wrong way, I thought, and then it came around. We finally got it right before that last pit stop. The guys did a great job in the pits all day, and a super job on that last pit stop getting us out 10th. That gave us our second straight top 10. We didn't gain any spots in the standings, but we gained some on the guy in front of us. This team is getting better every week. That win at Watkins Glen pumped up everybody on the team, and we've stayed pumped up since then. I can't wait to race at Richmond. Maybe we won't have to battle the weather up there."

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The good thing about this race is that we learned a lot about Darlington today. The next time we come here, we'll be a lot better. I'm still a rookie, and I might have shown that today. We'd make some changes and I'd go out, and it'd take me too long to react to those changes. It was a new learning experience. It was great leading the race. Too bad it couldn't have rained then. We got out there in that clean air and sailed away. This is our second straight race as the top rookie, so that's a plus. We're getting back closer to a top-10 finish, and we're going back to a track where we won last time, so things are looking up."

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "It blew up. I'm real proud of Bobby Kennedy and those guys. That's the first car we've been able to build and tweak aerodynamically. We could have been really good, but we're having a lot of trouble finishing. Most of the good teams finish, so if you want to be one of the good teams, you've got to finish."

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I'm sorry for the Michael Holigan.com guys. I know it's been a tough couple of weeks for this team, but I know we've got a good car for Richmond next week after we tested there. The car was the best it had been all weekend just before we finally lost the motor for good. We'll know what to do when we come back next time."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rick Mast , Michael Ho , Robbie Loomis , Mark Martin , Bobby Kennedy