FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES TRANSOUTH 400 ADVANCE March 20, 1999 Darlington Raceway RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Taurus -- RUDD'S STREAK OF 544 CONSECUTIVE STARTS WAS IN JEOPARDY THIS WEEKEND AFTER...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES TRANSOUTH 400 ADVANCE March 20, 1999 Darlington Raceway
RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Taurus -- RUDD'S STREAK OF 544 CONSECUTIVE STARTS WAS IN JEOPARDY THIS WEEKEND AFTER HE FINISHED 40TH IN FIRST ROUND QUALIFYING. RUDD, WHO STANDS 37TH IN CAR OWNER POINTS, ENDED UP MAKING THE FIELD IN 41ST PLACE. RUDD'S STREAK IS THE THIRD-LONGEST IN NASCAR WINSTON CUP HISTORY AND THIRD LONGEST ACTIVE STREAK BEHIND TERRY LABONTE (606) AND DALE EARNHARDT (583).
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TODAY? "It wasn't today as much as it was last night. In looking over all the possibilities when qualifying ended yesterday, I looked and knowing we're so bad in points I said, 'Man, we're in serious trouble.' Then somebody looked and said it wasn't as bad as it looked. We had the fifth provisional and track history shows that it would be slower today than yesterday. We still had an opportunity, if we could have come out and made the car better today we still had a chance. There was a lot of thinking about qualifying instead of what you need for race setup." YOU WATCHED SECOND ROUND QUALIFYING FROM YOUR TRUCK. WERE YOU PRETTY CONFIDENT IT WAS GOING TO WORK OUT? "I was probably more confident when I saw what was happening in practice. We watched real close. Marcis, who was pretty good yesterday, bolted on a set of sticker tires and ran a pretty slow lap. It was fast for today, but the track was considerably slower. It was a half-second off the pace from yesterday, so I felt a little bit of relief. I hate it for those guys, but a little relief that the track was slower. We knew there was no sense in us going again. No one could run quicker today, so we're relieved that we're in this race. Where we're at, we've got a lot of people trying to help us and get us guided back in the right direction. We've got a lot of friends out there, so we're listening." SO WHAT'S YOUR GOAL FOR TOMORROW? "We need to do two things. We need to start running better on the race track, that's one big thing, but we also need to log some points. I don't care who you are in this day and time it doesn't matter how good of a team you are, you could end up needing one one day. And if you're not careful, where we are right now, we almost don't have them when we need them."
KEVIN LEPAGE -16- PRIMESTAR Taurus -- HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT STARTING THE RACE SEVENTH? "We started fairly decent last year and had a little bit of a mechanical problem, but this is probably one of the race tracks James Ince is really comfortable at. He almost won this race a few years ago with Ted (Musgrave), he finished second. I like the place. From the first day I came to Darlington I've always run good in the Busch car and had some decent success in the Cup car here. We've got the PRIMESTAR car running fairly decent. We're surfing right now. We're surfing all over the water trying to find the right combination for us. We were pretty quick this morning and went another direction and went slower so we went back. We're gonna play some more in Happy Hour. I just got done talking with Tony Stewart and one of the things that I've learned about this place is that you race that black asphalt all day long. You don't race any cars, you don't race any competitors, you race the asphalt and at the end of the day you'll have a good run." IS IT TIME FOR SOMEBODY NEW TO WIN A RACE? "I'm really excited about the opportunity we have this year to win a race. It would be great to do it here at Darlington, but if it's not this week I know it'll be down the road because of the effort that's being put together by the Roush organization and the 16 team."
2-2-2-2 (TRANSOUTH 400 ADVANCE, 3/20/99)
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- IS THE CAR ANY BETTER TODAY? "It's still not like we want, but we're gaining on it. It seems that we can't get a lot of speed out of it yet, but it just comes down to whose car handles the best at the end. We made some good gains this morning, so things are looking better. You can definitely win from where we're at." NOT MANY HAVE WON FROM OUTSIDE THE TOP 10, YOU'RE 21ST. YOU REALLY FEEL IT'S POSSIBLE? "Oh, it's definitely a possibility. Qualifying is so close that it only takes a little bit and it cooled off a lot yesterday afternoon and some guys ran some fast times. We feel we can win from where we are, we just have to be patient, have good pit strategy and have good pit stops. We need to make sure that by the time the day's over that we've got the car the very best that we can. We've got an idea of where we need to be we just need to try some new things. The 24 and 99 have been a little better than us here, even though we've run some races they've been a little better the last few times that we've raced as a whole, so we just have to try some new things and see if we can make it to where we're better than them." IS TIRE WEAR THE SAME HERE AS USUAL? "It's not the same it gets worse as we race each time. You just wear the pavement out a little bit more and it chews the tires off, but that's what makes Darlington what it is. It's a challenge. It's a challenge to the teams who can get their car to not only go fast, but keep the rubber on the tire. That's the key, tire management." HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT POSSIBLY TYING DAVID PEARSON'S TRANSOUTH RECORD? "It certainly adds something to it, but it doesn't make it. In our eyes this is an important race for us for a lot of reasons. Tying David Pearson at anything is tremendous and having that opportunity is great, but the main thing is that we come out of here with a good day. We're a good race team, but we haven't really shown that this year. Even though we've got a couple of top fives, we haven't run up to the capabilities that we think we have so it's more important for us in that respect. If we can get to victory lane that will be tremendous for us. If we can't then we've gotta have a good solid top five where we run good all day."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DIAMOND HILL PLYWOOD 200 March 20, 1999 Darlington Raceway
MARK MARTIN -60- Winn Dixie Taurus -- "They took off and then slammed the brakes on, so I plowed the back of somebody. I don't know what happened. They took off and then stopped." YOU HAD A GOOD CAR THOUGH? "Yeah, I was pretty happy with it. I couldn't run with Matt, but no one else could either. It was a good run. I was disappointed because I wanted to run that car in Texas, but they won't have time to fix it now."
ELTON SAWYER -98- Lysol Taurus -- TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY. "We started 24th and the car was pretty good, we drove up to about 12th and had a caution. We came in and got four tires, made an adjustment, and about 10 laps later we got in a deal down in one and two. I'm not really sure exactly what happened, a couple cars ahead of us had to check up and as I checked up it was kind of a chain-reaction deal. Somebody got in the back of me and we spun, so, basically, we had used up a set of tires there. We came in and elected not to put new tires on then. I was really scared we had flat-spotted them, but the guys said we hadn't so we stayed out on those tires and had a run going for about 20 laps and then the caution came out. We elected to come in then and get our four tires and that's where we kind of got out of sync. Right there at the end when Trickle and the 33 got together off of four, we still had maybe 10 or 15 laps where we were gonna have to pit, so it was just a great effort for the whole team all day. Our strategy was good. The car cosmetically looks torn up a little bit, but chassis-wise it was fine. We didn't have anything for Matt and I don't know that we had anything for Mark or some of those other guys, but we got to the start-finish line and checkered flag second, so that's all that counts." THAT'S THREE TOP 10s IN A ROW. "Our main goal starting the 1999 season for the Lysol team was not to dig ourselves a real deep hole as far as the points. In the past years we have done that and then we've had to kind of work all season to work our way back up. This year, our main goal is to get out of the box strong, gain some momentum and we've been able to do that. Last week we had a good run at Atlanta and also at Rockingham we were in the top 10, so we feel if we can continue to do that, when we get in the summer time and the tracks really heat up, that will be the strength of the schedule for us. The guys are doing a great job. Jack Roush is giving us great engines. This is the same motor Mark had at Rockingham, so they're not being stingy with the engines. They're giving the 38 and the 98 the same thing they give the 60 and the 9, so we really appreciate that and we just have to go out and work on our cars and work on the driver to beat Mark and Jeff." COULD YOU GO OVER THE WRECK IN TURN TWO AGAIN? "Basically what happened, we went off into one and I'm not sure who it was, there were four cars ahead of us, and someone had to check up so it was kind of a chain-reaction. When I checked up, the guy behind me just didn't have anywhere to go and he got into me, so I kind of did a 360 there and didn't hit the fence. I was real fortunate, but we made some contact with another car. The body was tore up a little bit, but that was kind of a blessing in disguise other than we had to spend a large part of the race trying to get back to the front, but we were fortunate in one aspect and then in another, at Darlington you don't want to have to come through traffic a whole lot. You just want to race this race track, so it was a good day for the Lysol team." DID YOU SEE THE ACCIDENT THAT GOT MARK AND HERMIE? "Not really. The last restart there we were leading, but I think Terry Labonte and maybe Jeff Purvis were the other two cars in the outside lane that was on the tail-end of the lead lap, and when we got going I wasn't as good on new tires as we needed to be and the 17 car, Matt was just awesome. He got a run on us down the back straightaway and we just had to let him go, but as far as the accident it's one of those deals where it's good to be out front. I don't know what happened to Mark or Hermie."
2-2-2-2 (DIAMOND HILL PLYWOOD 200, 3/20/99)
JEFF BURTON -9- Track Gear Taurus -- "Our car wasn't like it needed to be. We missed it a little bit on the setup. The lack of practice hurt us some. It got pretty confusing there at the end about whether to pit or not to pit. That's hard to figure out what to do, but we had a second or third place car and with all the sequences and stuff we ended up in sixth, so not a bad day for the Track Gear guys. The right car won the race. All the confusion with who was in the lead lap, who wasn't in the lead lap, the right car still won the race so it's OK."