TONY RAINES, NO. 74 BACE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: NOTE: Raines was involved in the lap-5 crash in Turns 3 and 4 among Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Jason Leffler and Christian Fittipaldi. "It looked like the 43 [Fittipaldi] was...
TONY RAINES, NO. 74 BACE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Raines was involved in the lap-5 crash in Turns 3 and 4 among Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Jason Leffler and Christian Fittipaldi. "It looked like the 43 [Fittipaldi] was having some serious problems. I don't know whether Jason got into him and turned him or what. We were all stacked up there and everybody was trying to be calm. The track just doesn't have a lot of grip, even for slowing down, and everybody got stacked up. It's kind of aggravating, to be honest. I don't think it was intentional. Maybe somebody was trying too hard. This happened to us here in the spring. I had a pretty good car and we got torn up early in the race. Darlington hasn't been that good to me."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: For the second straight week, Waltrip was involved in a major crash early in the race with Rusty Wallace. Jason Leffler, Dale Jarrett and Christian Fittipaldi were also involved. "I just saw Christian spin out. I don't know if somebody spun him out or what. The track gets real narrow in the corner, and I started hitting people ahead of me and people started hitting me from behind. It's unfortunate. We were right. I think it was going to be a fun day, but it got over way too soon for our NAPA Chevrolet."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
NOTE: Skinner crashed on lap 100, hitting the wall while running in front of the leaders. "Well, I hate to say it, but it was driver error. The car was really tight all day. I'd been clipping the apron all day, just really stopping getting into the corner and clipping the apron to make it turn, then sliding the car coming off the corner. That time there I just couldn't get it to the bottom. That happened two or three times, but that time, it hit hard enough to hurt it."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
NOTE: Benson was involved in a crash near halfway that also eliminated Jeff Gordon. Benson was trapped in the middle and his car nearly flipped, but he crashed down the banking and was able to drive to the pits. WAS THAT A WILD RIDE? "Yeah. I didn't see any of it, but it was wild from where I was sitting. I just got creamed from behind. The 41 [Casey Mears] put the 24 [Jeff Gordon] in the wall up there, I don't know why. We got caught in it."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DuPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Gordon was pushed into the wall by Casey Mears near the halfway point of Sunday's Southern 500. WAS
SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CAR? "Yeah. Something was bad wrong. We're very frustrated right now with the way things are going. We were having a frustrating day anyway, the car wasn't working well. Casey Mears is a good friend of mine, but he needs a spotter. I don't know what he was thinking. I was on the outside of him, he was a lapped car and he just turned right, right into me. There wasn't anything broke on the car then, but there's a whole lot broke now."
IT'S BEEN A ROUGH DAY ALL THE WAY AROUND? "It's been a rough month. It hasn't been a lot of fun out there lately, and it's beyond frustrating. I can't wait to get August over with and get to September. Casey sort of went low and I went to the high side, and he just turned into me. I don't know if the spotter didn't say anything to him or if he even knew I was there. We tore up a lot of cars."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 GIVE KIDS THE WORLD/TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Finished 8th:
"We definitely could have gotten the car better, but it would have taken a day to do it. Whatever we did, we couldn't get the push out of it getting in the corner. But the key is that we fought all day. The pit stops were exceptional. That's pretty rewarding when you battle back. It was a great effort and great show of courage. Everybody just stuck in there."
HOW ABOUT TERRY LABONTE WINNING THE LAST SOUTHERN 500 ON LABOR DAY? "If you were going to write a script on the last Southern 500 on Labor Day, it would be appropriate that either Terry Labonte or Bill Elliott win, and doggone if they both weren't there."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
Finished 25th: "The problem we had was the left rear halfshaft came disengaged and that's why I rolled to a stop down there. We jacked it up and replaced it, and I was just as fast after that as I was before. I even like Darlington a little bit now. We made up some laps out there."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
Finished 2nd: "Terry and I were pretty much the same speed. When the 12 got up in the wall--I don't know what those guys were doing, but when I hit the 12 I got that much farther behind. I'll tell you what, if there's anybody that's going to win the last Southern 500 on Labor Day, it's Terry Labonte. He's one of the great legends of our sport. I'm proud to have him here. He's pretty awesome."
YOUR GUYS WERE AWESOME IN THE PITS. "We had a great day in the pits. We'd gain two or three spots and come out first or second. We were really trying to take it easy. Yesterday I annihilated the car in the first 20 or 25 laps. Today we tried to take it the first 50 laps and just be patient."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
Finished 3rd: "It was a great run for us today. This track is so tough. You can be a little tight, but by the end of the run, this track is so abrasive that you just run the right front off it. It's the same with being loose. If you're a little loose, at the end of the run you've just killed the right rear. We were just back and forth, tight to loose, tight to loose, but at the end we got it pretty consistent where we could stay in the top five. We had a great stop at the end and came out third. I'm very happy, but I just can't say enough for Terry Labonte and the whole 5 team. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports works so hard, and I'm glad they had a great day and also a great day for the Lowe's team."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/got milk? CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Labonte's victory was his first since March 28, 1999 at Texas Motor Speedway and his first at Darlington since he won the Southern 500 in his rookie year of 1980. It was the 22nd victory of his career. It was also Chevrolet's 12th in 25 races this season.
WHERE DOES THIS VICTORY STACK UP IN THE 22 CAREER VICTORIES YOU HAVE? "I think this is the biggest one right here. It's been a while since we've been to Victory Lane. We've been working hard this year, and these guys have been doing a great job. The guys in the fab shop have been building me great cars and the whole Kellogg's team has been doing an awesome job at the track. We felt like we were close enough that we could think about winning a race. The pit crew was awesome and that made the difference. It's so hard to pass today. We got clean and checked out on them."
THAT LAST STOP WAS 13.1 SECONDS. SITTING IN THE CAR, COULD YOU TELL HOW QUICK IT WAS? "I knew it was pretty fast. These guys have done some quicker than that. They're awesome on pit road. They earned this one here. This was their win today. We adjusted it one way or the other. We were a little tight or a little loose. It was a great day for us."
HOW SPECIAL IS IT TO WIN THE LAST SOUTHERN 500 ON LABOR DAY? "It's really special for me. I was running there with Bill Elliott and I thought to myself, 'Man, I hope one of us wins it, because we appreciate this place maybe more than some of these young guys do.'"