Ryan Newman in the no. 12 Alltel Ford was the RaybestosÂ® Rookie of The Race at Darlington. YOU FINISHED SECOND AND FIFTH IN YOUR FIRST TWO RACES AT DARLINGTON. "We're working on it. We're going in the right direction. We just need to keep...
Ryan Newman in the no. 12 Alltel Ford was the Raybestos® Rookie of The Race at Darlington.
YOU FINISHED SECOND AND FIFTH IN YOUR FIRST TWO RACES AT DARLINGTON.
"We're working on it. We're going in the right direction. We just need to keep going."
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT NOT TO BE ABLE TO CATCH THE LEADER AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"It's definitely frustrating when you follow Jeff Gordon at Darlington. The guy is pretty good here. The guys did an awesome job with the Alltel Ford in the pits today. We kept it off the wall and that's one thing. We didn't win the race in the pits but they did an awesome job trying."
WHEN YOU CHASE JEFF GORDON, YOU ARE CHASING ONE OF THE BEST EVER AT THIS TRACK.
"No doubt. I think that's five Southern 500s for him and to finish second to a guy like that is special to me, but we still want that win. To finish second to him is almost like a win but it's not. It doesn't count like that. It was a good run for the Alltel Ford all day, to have those good pit stops, get the track position, and have a fast car. Everything worked out. We were just one spot short. He was better on the restarts than I was. He wasn't that much stronger. He was better on the initial restarts and that's what gave him the distance. It would have given me a shot but I don't know that I could have done anything with it."
YOU'RE TEAM IS GETTING CLOSE TO THAT FIRST VICTORY.
"We're just working on it, you know. The guys are doing an awesome job, preparation and everything. The pit stops have been awesome today and the last few weeks and that's important, too."
IS IT FRUSTRATING TO COME SO CLOSE AND NOT WIN?
"It's a little frustrating but look at what we just did in a matter of 500 miles. We're a rookie and we came home second in the Southern 500. I guess you have to look at the bright side of things."
WHAT COULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENT TO WIN THE RACE?
"I guess the best thing I could have done was done him like he did Rusty (Wallace, Newman's teammate) at Bristol (laughs)."
DID THE 30 CAR (JEFF GREEN) GET IN YOUR WAY AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"He was running hard and I would have probably done the same thing, but from my point of view he probably shouldn't have run me as hard as he did."
DID THE CHANGE IN TRACK CONDITIONS HELP YOU OR HURT YOU?
"The track conditions were going to be basically the same as yesterday in practice. That was one thing that's not usually the same for us from Saturday to Sunday. Seeing the front coming in and out might have changed things a little bit, but overall it was Darlington with the tires falling off and trying to keep it off the wall and everything else."
IS IT SATISIFYING TO RUN SO WELL?
"It's satisfying, but we're here to win. That's what counts and that's what pays the bills. We didn't get to do that today."
MATT BORLAND, CREW CHIEF, ALLTEL FORD:
IS RUNNING SO WELL AND NOT WINNING FRUSTRATING?
"It's frustrating but at the same time we just want to try and run in the top-five all year. Any top five is a good day. We had a couple chances there to lead some laps and had some unfortunate things happen. He just ran great all day. The car was good. The guys in the pits had awesome stops today. It was just a good day all around."
DO YOU EVER GET TIRED OF FINISHING SECOND?
"I don't think so in this series. The way the point system is set up it pays to finish in the top-five and that's what we're going to keep trying to do. Obviously, we're going to keep trying to win races but races like that where Gordon was way ahead of us you've just got to take what you've got and finish second."
DO YOU THINK IT'S A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE YOU WIN?
"I hope so. The guys have been doing great and we've just got to keep putting it there and eventually circumstances are going to fall. We'll try to keep doing what we're doing and win a few, hopefully, before the year is out."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD SHOT TO CATCH GORDON?
"The run before the last one I thought we had a shot. We were a little bit quicker and then that last run he was strong."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE, CHASSIS-WISE, TO CHATCH GORDON AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"I don't think so. He was real strong. Another two inches of kickout would have been nice (laughs). I don't think we're going to get that."
DID YOU MAKE A LOT OF CHANGES FOR THE RACE BASED ON THE WEATHER?
"We didn't change anything. We thought the weather would be similar to what it was yesterday. During the day it didn't seem to change the setup a whole lot."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET FINISHED NINTH. JOHNSON BECAME THE FIRST RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE THIS SEASON TO LEAD A LAP IN 2002 AT DARLINGTON. JOHNSON LED ONCE FOR A TOTAL OF 17 LAPS.
"When they dropped the jack I was taking off and they were going for the last lug nut. When the gun went in, the tire was rotating and the valve cord caught the gun. It just ripped the valve cord out of the tire, right out of the wheel, I guess."
DID YOU KNOW THERE WAS A PROBLEM?
"I found out when I got on the backstretch when I was trying to accelerate. I thought I had punctured it driving around on the apron but it ended up being the valve cord knocked out of it."
DID THE CAR COME CLOSE TO SPINNING OUT?
"When it came apart, luckily, I had made my way onto the straightaway when it came apart. And then we were real lucky to stay under the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and make it back to the start finish line and stay on the lead lap."
"As soon as we started worrying about points problems happened. We were just up front talking. We don't care where the points end up. All you do is loose sleep over it and get frustrated. We're showing up to win races like we did at the beginning of the season and that's what we did this weekend. The setup was way out there and we were in good shape there until our little mishap happened. We've been joking we've got our mojo back, we feel."
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, IS THIS A GOOD POINTS DAY?
"It's awesome. It's amazing to me to see how this team can rally back from things. It's just amazing the glue that we have in this team and how much everyone believes in one another. We can also see that on the 24 side. There's just something special inside Hendrick Motorsports, especially inside of our shops. When times are down and when people want to break the team down, these guys don't. They dig deeper and work harder together and come through it all."
IF THE RACE HAD GONE LONGER, HOW MUCH BETTER COULD YOU HAVE FINISHED?
"I needed a caution bad. I had used up everything. I was driving like animal trying to keep Burton behind me. That was as far was I was going to get at that point. If there had been a little more time, or if I had a chance to put some tires on, I think maybe we could have finished in the top-five."