Darlington: GM teams race quotes

MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "As soon as I let off the gas getting into Turn 3, I got a flat tire. Away it went. We spun out and got some heavy damage. We weren't in that bad of shape, but the No. 77 (Brendan Gaughan) came...

MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"As soon as I let off the gas getting into Turn 3, I got a flat tire. Away it went. We spun out and got some heavy damage. We weren't in that bad of shape, but the No. 77 (Brendan Gaughan) came by and I hit him and that turned me head-on into the outside wall. So we've got some damage to the NAPA Chevy. It's very disappointing, but sometimes stuff happens in life that's craziness. We've had our share of bad luck. But there isn't anything we can do about that. It's a tough day."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"I'm going to be okay. I'm pretty sore right now. I was right behind Elliott Sadler going into Turn 1 and I just couldn't see through the smoke up ahead. The spotter said to go low, but by that time I was already committed to the outside lane. When the smoke cleared, Andy Hillenburg was sitting right in front of me. I tried to slow the car down, but I just got right into him. When cars spin here or wrecks happen, it's hard to stay out of them at Darlington.

"I'll be sore tomorrow. I haven't taken a hit like that possibly ever. The HANS device did its job, thankfully. The belts did their job. It's unfortunate. I don't know what happened there with Andy getting spun, but I'll tell you what, there are a bunch of cars out there that do not belong out there. They're way off the pace. They're in the way. We about had several wrecks before that and I came on the radio and asked if NASCAR could take some guys off the track, not just because they're slow but because they're in the way. This is a narrow, tight race track. It's a hard enough track to race with guys who are at speed. It's just frustrating right now.

"That was a heavy hit. I was just riding behind Elliott Sadler. There was so much smoke I didn't know which way to go. My spotter said to go low, but Elliott was already right there on the low side and I couldn't go anywhere. Unfortunately I drove right into him (Hillenburg).

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ISSUE OF SLOWER CARS BEING INCLUDED IN THE 43-CAR FIELD?

"It's been an issue. I think in qualifying, maybe there's a certain percent. In Formula I has a 107 percent rule. This is the NEXTEL Cup Series, man. I mean this is the best of the best. We don't need to have cars there that are just out there making a qualifying attempt and making the race. Everyone is caught up in this 43-cars.

"I don't care if there are 43 cars. I don't know if the people in the stands really care if there are 43 cars. We need cars out there that are competitive and that need to be out there competing for position, not just riding around."

ARE YOU GOING TO ASK NASCAR TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS?

"We talk about it all the time. They've tried to address it with a minimum speed. Maybe the minimum speed needs to be adjusted."

ON ANDY HILLENBURG'S COMMENT THAT HE JUST NEEDED A FASTER RACE CAR:

"As long as they are allowed to go out there and run the speeds, they by all means. It's nothing against them. I don't know if that was Andy's fault. But I know there are other cars out there that are definitely not up to the speed that the need to be to be in this series."

RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "No. 10 car ran over us after the caution came out. He'll have to explain that one to me. There are some things that you accept and move on. But he'll have to explain that one to me."

ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - FINISHED 4TH:

"Yesterday, I would never have thought we'd be this good. We changed just about everything under the car. They worked real hard all night long. I'd like to thank everybody back at the shop. This is where it helps when you run the Busch car on Saturday and then you come back to the Cup car on Sunday."

WERE YOU BETTER ON THE SHORTER RUNS OR LONGER RUNS?

"I think we were better on the longer runs. There at the end we made a change. I was just a little bit too lose for about the first 15 laps. We tried to tighten it up with some air pressure there at the end. I'm real proud of these guys. We ended up with a top five finish, which is our best finish of the year and hopefully we can build some momentum from there.

"We've had some absolutely terrible luck. We've been running good and most time we should have been in the top15 at least, but we came up with big ole' goose eggs instead. We have missed it. We were really good at Atlanta last week, but couldn't get our lap back. Today we ran up front all day. I'm really happy - real happy for the guys. They gave me awesome pit stops in pit lane. But we were way too loose for the short runs. We were really good on long runs. It was unbelievable."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 2nd:

"It was a handful early on but the guys adjusted on it, Michael and everybody worked real hard to get this car better throughout the day. We missed out a little bit at Atlanta. If I had known that then, I wouldn't have gone to work on Sunday. But anyway, the guys did a good job. We got beat out there at the end. On the short runs, we weren't quite as good. Obviously on the long runs, we were before that caution came out when Kyle (Petty) blew his motor. But the caution flag got us. It was still a great run for us. It was a good top five and we needed that." More to follow

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Winner:

"I can't believe I've won Darlington. This is unbelievable. This has always been a goal of mine to win at Darlington. We've always had a great car and been very close. And then to do it today with the great car that we had is awesome. We had great teamwork. We had a great car on short runs. The pit stops made the difference and got us the lead and got us the win.

"Bobby (Labonte) had the better car. I knew I had better air being in the lead and I knew I just had to protect it. I knew he was coming but luckily it was a short run and we were able to bring this Lowe's Monte Carlo to Victory Lane. This is an awesome day. I can't believe it. This is the highlight of my career so far." More to follow

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 8th:

"The GM Goodwrench Chevy started out super-tight. We started with small adjustments, but nothing really helped. Something knocked a hole in our nose early on in the race and I don't know if that was the cause or not. We struggled there for a while and then caught a break when we were the Lucky Dog (got his lap back). It gave us a chance to work on the car, fix the hole, and throw two rubbers in the rear. That must have been the trick because we were on it from there. I tried not to use up too much of the tires, but the car was driving so good. It was a lot of fun racing there at the end. I'm proud of this GM Goodwrench team. They helped me hang in there and we just kept working on it. It paid off big time today."

GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"We worked hard all day to end up in the top 10 and that's where we were with about 15 (laps) to go. Then we had that deal with getting on pit road with (Greg) Biffle. I didn't see it, so I don't know other than what my spotter told me, and what he said was that Biffle drove up underneath us. Tony (Stewart) sped up to try to get back around him, where he should've been. But then we missed pit road because he got in the sand there and slid past the cone. That's frustrating to know that we had a terrible car and we battled back. Through a lot of runs, we passed a lot of cars and got back up in the top 10. That's what we said we wanted to do when we came here. This hasn't been our best place. We've had decent finishes, but we've never just really run well. We just tried to run in the top 10. That's what we needed to do, and we gave up seven spots there at the end. It's frustrating that stuff like that happens; because it seems like if it's going to happen it's going to happen to us. Just another comment I can put in my book."

-gm-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Brendan Gaughan , Elliott Sadler