JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid) - Finished Fouth NOTE: McMurray scored his second straight top five finish. He finished third last week at Bristol. It was his third top-five finish in the past five races. "Sterling is about as...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid) - Finished Fouth
NOTE: McMurray scored his second straight top five finish. He finished third last week at Bristol. It was his third top-five finish in the past five races.
"Sterling is about as good here as anybody. We learned a little bit from him, but I said across the radio when the race was over that if we can't win it's pretty cool that Terry Labonte did. With the tradition the racetrack has and him being around so long, I can't imagine anybody winning would be cooler than Terry.
"We were really fortunate. The car was bad at the start and we kept making our car better. It was a very tiring race, especially having the flu earlier in the week. When you run good, it makes you have a lot more drive. I was motivated as much to win Bristol, but it would have been nice to win this last Southern 500. I can't imagine a better guy than Terry Labonte to do that. That guy has had some ups and downs. If it wasn't me, I'm glad it was him. He had a really good racecar. It seemed like track position was the deal again.
"It was an all-out team effort. We drove to the front. It wasn't like at Bristol. We just passed a lot of racecars and kept making our car better all day long.
"I'm just tired. I felt a lot better this morning. I don't know that yesterday I could have done it. When your car is good it makes you be motivated more and have a little extra adrenaline.
"My car handled well, and that was huge. You wear a blister sometimes on your hand when you're loose just kinda hanging on. We made the right changes again last night. I don't know we had that great a car in Happy Hour. Donnie (crew chief Wingo) and I had a talk last night, and we made our car better. That's the most exciting thing to be about our race team. Donnie and I are communicating well, and the team is getting better and better on pit stops. I have never taken water on every pit stop. They kept giving me a little bottle of water on every pit stop. I wasn't even thirsty, but I kept drinking the whole thing. By the time the caution was over I was cool again. The air conditioner worked well today, too. The fact that you lose grip as the race goes on here, makes it a lot easier to drive. Then the sun went down and it got a lot cooler.
"We thought we did (had the field covered until last caution came out). It's the same thing. Whoever gets out front, your car picks up half a second a lap. We didn't make any changes on the last pit stop, and the car was really tight. We couldn't find a happy medium there, but when you get out front you can just go. I ran wide open through one and two two or three laps in a row."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid) - Finished fifth
"The guys did a good job. They worked hard all day. We struggled. The longer I ran, the tighter I got. I was hanging on man. Anything (weather wise) will be better than today. Man, I whipped. I ain't the only one though. I looked down through there and there were several others. It ain't the last time (for the Southern 500). Everybody is making a big deal out of it, but I'm real proud for Terry. He did a heck of a job, and he did what he had to do. There again, track position is everything."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid) - Finished sixth
"I'm wore out. That was all I had man. It was never off pace all day. That was one fast car. We had to fight our way back, but it was just a great job by all these guys all day long. We just needed to be a little bit better.Oh yeah, it's a real good shot in the arm for this team. I had a good run going with Bill there at the end for fifth. I got passed him, but he came back and got me. Just shows how competitive the guy is."
KEN SCHRADER (No. 49 1-800-CallATT Dodge Intrepid)
"We just couldn't get stopped. They all wrecked in front of us, and we just didn't get through. It's a shame. I think we would have been all right. This 1-800-CallATT Dodge wasn't bad early in the race."
CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid)
"I feel really bad for everybody that got caught up in the accident. It never should have happened. I got a run on the pack in front of us, and I kinda checked up and moved back up the track. I ran into Jeff (Gordon). I had no idea that he was there. If I had known he was there I would have never moved up. These things are hard to spot. You never know sometimes. Sometimes you've got a good run and sometimes you don't. You can't really blame everything on the spotter. It was just one of those things. Like I said, I feel bad for everybody involved, but if I'd known he was there I would have never done it."
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Dodge Intrepid)
"It was a very frustrating day. We were just so loose all day. I was doing everything I could to keep from spinning out. We just missed it. This was just a frustrating weekend as a whole because we had a good car, one I really thought I could get a top five with, and I wrecked it in qualifying. To finish 22nd in this backup car as bad as we were is probably a good thing. So we'll take it and move on to Richmond."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
"We had a good car, led the most laps and probably should have won the race. I just made a mistake. The air cooling system wasn't working well, and when I came in the pits I hit the kill switch by mistake. That really killed us. It's a shame because I thought we had the car to beat. It would have been really nice to win the last race on Labor Day here at Darlington, but now we'll just have to win the first race here in November I guess. We didn't lose a spot in the points, but we could have gained a few if things had gone according to plan. That's racin'. Sometimes things just don't go your way, but there's always next week. We had some bad luck at Richmond last time, so maybe we can bounce back and have a really good run there."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid)
"You'd think it was a restart on a quarter-mile somewhere. They took off and somebody jammed the brakes on. I guess the 24 got hit and the 15. Somebody hit me in the back end and knocked me into the 16 car and busted the radiator. I wish they'd learn how to restart. It happens a lot. They just jam the brakes on and tear somebody's stuff up."
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid)
"The year I'm having, I've never in my career had a year like this. Four DNF's in a row. Basically, I went into turn three and the car was fine. It was a little tight. I went into turn three and all of a sudden the 43 and 0 and the 15 all wrecked right in front of me. I was right up against the wall, my normal Darlington line, and there was no place to go. I need some good luck. I don't know what I'm doing bad out there to deserve all this bad luck, but man, the team doesn't deserve it and neither do I or the sponsors. That's two weeks in a row I got caught up in some bad luck. The bad qualifying the past two weeks has hurt us, too. I've got to step that up."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid)
"The car was very tight to start with. I don't know what happened. Jason Leffler just nailed me from behind going into turn three. That sort of caused a big wreck. I want to believe he had some brake problems."
JOHN FERNANDEZ (Director, Dodge Motorsports Operations)
"We had three Dodges in the top six today at Darlington, and that just shows that we're gaining on it. I think we've had cars in position to win the last eight races with the exception of Watkins Glen. Ryan was strong in the first part of the race today, and Jamie was strong down the stretch. If it hadn't been for that last yellow, I think Jamie probably wins the race. He's been doing really well lately, and he's still just a rookie."
NOTE: Fernandez, 54, wasn't in Darlington on Sunday to watch the 54th annual Mountain Dew Southern 500. However, he was at a racetrack, but not as a spectator. Fernandez was racing at the Mid Ohio track in Lexington, Ohio, and won the SCCA Showroom Stock C race in his No. 33 Dodge Neon. Not only did he win the race, but he also won the divisional championship for the fourth straight year.
"We had a good race, and racing is a passion for me. It's a lot of fun. I know I'm not ready for NASCAR, and I never will be because I'm too old," Fernandez said.