Sunday, March 21, 1999. Darlington Raceway. TranSouth 400. Chevrolet notes and quotes. JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "I can't believe that. We should have had a caution the lap before that. They knew it was coming.
Sunday, March 21, 1999. Darlington Raceway. TranSouth 400. Chevrolet notes and quotes.
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "I can't believe that. We should have had a caution the lap before that. They knew it was coming. Those drops were too big to play around with. The spotter told me to stay high, and I thought he said the cars were up high and I needed to go low. It was so wet. You couldn't see anything out your windshield. I just drove right into the 28. I think just fender damage and the tow out was the worse thing. We can fix it, but we're going to lose a lot of track position."
RAY EVERNHAM (Crew chief No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo) "The fender is bent and the tow is knocked out. At least the right front wheel is on there and it's got air in it. That's a plus."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We had a real good car today. We had a little bit of an air push and we were going to adjust that on the next stop. We knew what to do to fix it. We pulled some tape off and we were afraid it would get hot. It ran cool. I think if we had put the tape back on we would have been real fast. We had a good test here. We didn't have to a wedge bolt on it all weekend long. When you have tests like that that's what you've got to do. What I've learned to do here is not even worry about anybody else. I just look at that black asphalt in front of you and try to run the same groove every lap. The pit crew has come a long way. I went up there and worked with them two days last week. I think it might have showed them I was definitely interested in what they're doing. Jimmy Bender (tire changer) has come a long way since last week. He's been busting his tail. He worked on Little Bobby's Busch car and got him some more experience. Two times we went in and came out the same place we were running. That's the next best thing to gaining spots. I'm real proud of them. We should have been better everywhere so far this year. We should have had top 10s in every race. Between the pit stops and me crashing at Daytona, that pretty well took care of us. For us to come here and run good, I'm looking forward to next week."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "It was a tough day. We were really junk all day. I think our shock combination was off, but we missed a lot of things and we just weren't right. We just didn't have a handle on it. We'll work hard and try to get it next time. I wish we could have raced some more, but I guess I would have been further behind."
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Everybody checked up going into turn three. I guess the 1 car got into the back of us, but there wasn't a lot he could do. Everybody runs out of room the father back you go. I thought I had it gathered up, but I just got drop- kicked. It hit pretty good."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I wish the race could have got going again for about five more laps. I could have passed some of those guys who wrecked. It was Darlington. I've never run good here, and I don't know what I've got to do to run good here. We seem to qualify pretty good, but as soon as that green flag comes out, we're in trouble from there on out. I just don't know what to do. We were so messed up to start with, the rain didn't hurt us any. We just missed it as usual. I told them what the car was doing in practice and we never were able to fix it. I'm not going to beat myself up too bad this time. At least I gave them information. We just couldn't fix it. We'll get what we get and take what we take and go on from there.
"During the pit stop after the rain delay, we made adjustments to the car. It made the car better than it was before, but it was still so far off from where it was supposed to be. We had a terrible setup for Darlington. I've done everything I know to do, but it still wasn't good enough. So I don't really know what to do. You just drive as best as you can, take what you can get and go on."
LARRY McREYNOLDS (Crew chief No. 31 Lowe's Monte Carlo) "We're really fought this thing ever since we qualified. The car ran fine on new tires Friday, but we were pretty concerned yesterday. During the long runs, it didn't have good staying power. I want to say the changes we made on the stop after the rain delay helped. The car ran better than it was, but it certainly wasn't a miraculous cure.
"If they were to let us come back tomorrow and run again, give us a shot to change anything, I'm not sure what we would change. There's something we're fighting and I'm not sure we could have fixed it on a pit stop. We worked furiously during practice yesterday, making 13 different runs and probably twice that many changes. We made two or three changes a run. We kept touching on it, but never quite hit the nucleus of what has been battling us in the car.
"The car has run well for us, although we haven't run it this year. It ran well for us in Atlanta last November and ran well in Charlotte last October. I kind of rule that out -- if it had been a new car or something that we hadn't run well in, I would consider that. We just didn't plug the right peg into the right hole from the beginning.
"Mike had to do something different today than he hasn't so far this year -- move right out of the leader's way. He had to hang on and race the race track. We were fortunate to come out of that last crash. He had to not be competitive. I'm sure it was a tough race for him mentally, but we have to get him pumped back up and get him ready for Texas."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "It was just an odd day with all this rain. This was my first time here in a Chevrolet, which is no excuse. I really couldn't get any rhythm. We got to running good there. After a great pit stop, we came out of pit road and were exiting turn two and Jerry Nadeau didn't see me. He came down and caved my whole right side in and beat my fender in and caused me to push. I was up to about 16th and he body slammed me."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "They should have thrown the caution a lap earlier I feel like. There would have been fewer wrecked race cars. We came off four and I don't know if they threw the caution when the wreck started or just before that because of the rain, but I saw the caution lights and we were all slowing down. Then all of a sudden I saw smoke, and it came down hard on us in turn four. I know my windshield was covered in rain. We were all trying to slow down, but it got pretty wet there in a hurry and everybody was going different ways. We all kind of slid in there. Some of us got through there and some of us didn't. I tore up the right front pretty good on my car. I'm the opposite of Jeremy. I'm kind of glad it got called because I would have never ended up third.
"We were running much harder than I wanted to run because we were not planning on going the distance. We were all pretty much banking on getting to the halfway point and the rains coming. You never know if it's going to happen that way, but your guess has to go with that. Unfortunately, the 99 short pitted, but he beat us pretty bad getting to pit road. That's what Ray told me. Me and Jeremy ran as hard as we could in there, but somewhere they beat us pretty bad. He was a long ways out in front of us. He was running hard and he could stay up there. We were running hard. Jeremy took off in front of me and I didn't want to run that hard. I was trying to ease off, but they just kept stretching out and stretching out. I was afraid I wasn't going to reel 'em in. I was running a lot harder and I think we were all running pretty hard there getting to that point.
"We're right there where we need to be in the points. I thought we had something for 'em today. I was a little disappointed, but we're just getting that consistency going now. That's what we need to do for the championship. We've got to keep getting these top threes and top fives and take advantage of these other guys when they don't have a good day. Skinner didn't have a good day today, but Burton did. He had a real good day. I felt like we had something for 'em. I wish we could be leading the points right now, but we're close and that's all right. I'm just frustrated because of what happened to me on the last lap. I'm sitting there running second and running Burton down and the rain is coming. I know it. I'm having to let off, but I don't want to let off too much. Then there's a big wreck and I get caught up in it. I was disappointed that happened."