* Today's NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory snaps a 131-race winless streak for driver Ward Burton. His last win came at North Carolina Speedway on Oct. 22, 1995. This is his second career win. * Today's NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory by...
* Today's NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory snaps a 131-race winless streak for driver Ward Burton. His last win came at North Carolina Speedway on Oct. 22, 1995. This is his second career win.
* Today's NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory by Ward Burton marks the third victory by a Pontiac in 94 NASCAR races held at Darlington Raceway. The last win for Pontiac was posted by Joe Weatherly in the 1963 Rebel 300.
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 LYCOS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It was a tough day. Actually I thought we were going to be pretty good. I ran into the back of Jimmy Spencer in that wreck on the backstretch. I'm not too totally sure what all that did (to the car), but it kind of hurt us a little bit. Pretty much from that point in time we just fought it the rest of the day. But that is typical Darlington. We just weren't as good as what we would like to do. We've just got to work on it and try to get a little better next time."
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It was a struggle. I couldn't figure out what I needed. By the end we actually got the car rolling around here pretty good. But we were so bad there in the middle stages that I just didn't know what I needed in the car and it showed. More information would have helped. I just need to run the thing longer in 'Happy Hour' so I know what I need - especially at a place like this."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We just keep getting better and better here. That's the main thing. That was our goal. Every time we come back to a track we've been to we want to be a little better. We finished sixth here last year and we finished fourth here this year. We're making gains. I feel like we're pretty good about everywhere we go. This was one that needed to be a little better, and that's why we came and tested. I think we're making gains. I'm real happy with the way today went. We kept working hard. They guys did a great job. We kept fighting the racetrack and fighting the sun being in and out. We changed everything but the steering wheel and the driver. That's what it takes. You've got to be able to keep up and the guys did a great job of doing that. We've just got to keep working. Every time we come here we keep getting a little better and a little better, and that was our goal this year. It's just something that only time can take care of. You look at the guys that run good here. They've been here a thousand times. To come here just for our third time and do what we did today makes me pretty happy. I want to congratulate Ward and all those guys on the Caterpillar team. They did a great job today. I tried to chase him down there once when we were second and I couldn't even keep up with him and I hurt the tires doing it. He was pretty strong all day. But I'm happy."
WARD BURTON, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(COMMENTS FROM VICTORY LANE) "What a heckuva car this Caterpillar team gave me today. I am just so proud to be a part of this team and awful fortunate to be sitting in the car today. Man we've got some good things to look forward to, but what an awesome ride today."
(DID HE THINK HE COULD WIN AT THE START OF THE RACE) "I really did. The car felt pretty comfortable in the long run. It's always hard to tell how good you are when you stack up with guys because everybody is not on equal tires. But man, this Caterpillar team just gave me an awesome ride, and they've been giving me awesome rides."
(ON THE LAST 15 SECOND PIT STOP) "When the trophy was on the line the Caterpillar team came through for me. We struggled a little bit last week with the pit stops, and they really worked hard this week to remedy the little things that we were miscuing on. They just did an awesome job for me."
(ON HIS BROTHER) "Those guys were fast as well as a bunch of other teams. It was just our day. We had a good car and we didn't have any bad luck. I'm just really proud to be a part of Bill Davis Racing."
(DID HE EVER DOUBT HE WOULD WIN AGAIN) "It's easy to get down on yourself. But we just tried not to pay a lot of attention to all that and just be consistent. If we kept being consistent it would happen. This time it did."
(WHAT DID THIS MEAN TO THE TEAM) "It means we're through a big hurdle. The pressure is off. We're still going to put the same amount of pressure on each other that we do every week. And I don't have to hear it from my little buddy Jeff anymore. Jeff believes I can win and that's a big thing there."
KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"Considering we wrecked on the first lap, we didn't finish too bad. I thought we just got some sheet metal damage but when I got out of the car and looked at it, there is a big hole in the side. I was pretty surprised at how bad it was. We changed the right front shock and thought we had a broken right rear shock, but I wasn't willing to lose a lap by changing it. So I hung on and ran as hard as I could with what I had."
DICK TRICKLE, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We just had 'Happy Hour' to get everything together and I don't think we hit it. We're going to go back to the shop and do some stuff we couldn't do here at the track. I think we can get a good run going next week. I know we didn't run good this week but we qualified good. We ran some good laps but we just couldn't do it over a full run. That is what hurts you. We threw some stuff at it this morning and evidently missed it a little bit. But we brought the car home and I'm looking forward to next week."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It was all documented before the race started. I was watching TV and they said this wasn't one of my better tracks. The way it started out we were having a good day. The negative part about it was that I came into the pits a little hot and got the right front tire to slide a little bit and blew it out and had to go back around. I took the worse trip around the racetrack that I could take because it was the slowest one I could make really because of the blown out tire and knocking the fender off of it. It's just one of those deals. I hate it for the guys. We had a good run today. I just blew it on that deal." (COULD THIS BE A CHARACTER BUILDER) "You never know. We ran good. We had a top five race car for the most part. Traffic got us a little bit today in and out. It's just one of those deals." (DID YOU EVER HAVE THE BEST CAR) "No. I think the 22 was definitely the best car for 90 percent of the day it seemed like. We were second, third, fourth or fifth for the most part. We didn't feel like we had anything for them unless we came up with something pretty magical." (ON THE INCIDENT ENTERING PIT ROAD) "We knew Ward was going to come in the pits. We had already planned this thing out way before that before the green flag ever fell as far as when to pit. I came in about like I had before. I just got in there a little too hot and got the right front a little warm, and cut it down on the racetrack and blew it out. Then it took off to the right. I was trying to dig myself out of a big hole there and I couldn't. I was trying to spin around, do a doughnut and go back to the pits. But I just couldn't do it. I just kind of blew it there basically."
JEFF FULLER, NO. 27 VIAGRA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"I really don't know what happened. All of a sudden it just snapped out from underneath me. It's a shame. We had a good qualifying effort and thought we could get a decent finish today. It just wasn't to be, I guess. We'll try again next week at Bristol."
WARD BURTON, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(DIFFICULTY GETTING ONTO PIT ROAD) "It was exciting. That's for sure. The problem is when your tires are worn out and you hit the apron, you try to cut in. It's real easy to go right past the barrels. I don't know if anybody did today. But it was really easy for me to do it. I know Tommy (Baldwin) and them got on me a little bit about losing some time coming to the pits. But I wanted to be a little bit more conservative because I knew if I ran over it one time that was going to be the end of the day. It would be at least two laps. I probably lost some time there the first couple times and then did pretty good there the third time. When the tires are worn out here at Darlington the car doesn't want to turn at anytime - coming down into the pits or on the racetrack."
(BURTON SUCCESS AT DARLINGTON) "I think we've been really fortunate to have good teams. Obviously Jeff's team has been putting good cars under him and he is a smart racer. I've had times here where I wasn't that good and at times real good. I don't think that I'm that much better. I think just now I've got a better team than I've had before and it is showing every week."
(TALKING WITH BROTHER JEFF AFTER THE RACE) "Jeff came by and congratulated myself and my family. It's definitely a relied. For the other side of my family - my mom and my dad -- and my brother Brian was down there. I talked to both mom and dad on the phone. It was good that Brian was here to enjoy it with us."
(WHAT IT MEANS TO GET PRAISE FROM EARNHARDT AND JARRETT) "It means a lot. From the time I started racing they were my heroes as well as a lot of other ones. I look up at those guys and at the same time I try to race them hard, too. But more times than not when we're down - if we're a lap down or we're having a bad day - we give them room and they do the same for us. When you run in the top 10 or top 15, but particularly top 10 and top five, all of us run each other with a lot of respect and a lot of courtesy because we have to race each other every weekend."
(HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BEAT YOUR BROTHER) "It feels damn good. But more so it feels good to beat the other 42 guys. Jeff and them are one of the cars we have to beat each and every week and we know that going to the racetrack. But we beat Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin - some of the best in the business at this track. The reason we beat them is because those guys just gave me an awesome race car. I obviously haven't watched the race on TV, but I think that car was dominant all day."
(PARITY IN THE SPORT) "I was talking to Mr. France at Atlanta and he was kind of getting a little bit antsy or disturbed about all the questions the media was asking about the competition in this sport. Then you've got a finish within a couple thousandths of a second at that racetrack. It looks to me like it is just as competitive as ever, if not more so. There were Fords in front of me today. There were Chevrolets in front of me today. We were just lucky enough to have a good set-up under our Pontiac."
(WINNING AT DARLINGTON) "Darlington, besides Daytona, is the biggest place to win. This is the place that David Pearson and Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison were winning races here when I was growing up. To win this race - this place is 'too tough to tame.' We didn't tame it today. We just didn't hit anything. This is a tough place to drive. But you've got to have a good car more importantly than anything. To win here is very gratifying." (ANY FRUSTRATION WITH BEING SO CLOSE IN THE PAST) "Last year at the end of the year after Rockingham when we finished second, Tommy and I both got frustrated. We made some changes to the car sometimes during some races that we shouldn't have, going overboard, trying to win a race. This year I had a lot of people ask me about it and would just say, 'Yeah, I think it is going to happen.' I made sure that I never drove differently because of what people expected me or my team to do because I knew if we kept doing what we were going to do - and that was being consistent - that one day our day would come. I obviously didn't think it would come this early in the year. But I did think that there were going to be some times that we were knocking on the door that we could have won the race. I am definitely relieved that it happened. But I don't think it is going to be the last time." (THE IMPORTANCE OF HIS CREW) "If I haven't learned anything else since '95 I've learned how dependent I am on people. In any part of your life you've got to have good people around you to be successful. That's what we've got. Bill Davis has stuck with me through the thick and thin, and so has his wife Gayle. We've got good people with our team. We've got the best sponsors in the business. They are the ones I want to go have a fun time with as well as my family." (WOULD THE WIN HAVE MEANT MORE IF HIS BROTHER HAD BEEN SECOND) "Of course not. He had a good run. Today we had the better race car. I felt like if we hadn't won the race something unusual would have had to have happened, which can a lot of times and has happened to us. We had one of the best race cars - probably the best race car - and wow, what a privilege to sit in that thing." (HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE FIRST PONTIAC TO WIN AT DARLINGTON IN 37 YEARS) "Wow. That's great. Pontiac has been great supporters of Bill Davis Racing and we're really happy to have a good run for Pontiac. We know we're going to Dodge next year, but Pontiac is still supporting our team. I've been very loyal and so has the team to GM and Pontiac, and they have been awful good to us. It feels really good to get them in victory lane here." (WILL THE PONTIACS GET BETTER AND BETTER IN 2000) "I think the teams are getting better and better. We, of course, have got the same body style basically that we had last year. But my team has done a lot of extensive research at the wind tunnel, and they are getting better. We're getting smarter with the body."
(HIS EMOTIONS ON THE COOL DOWN LAP) "It was about like when one of my two children was born. That was the way I felt about it really. It was just a relief. The pressure was kind of off at that time. We set out to accomplish a goal and we did it. It's not about me. It's not about an individual. It's about us as a team, and that's what feels so good about it."
(WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT WINNING THIS TIME) "Just the respect - the respect of the people that help you get to that point. There have been a lot of changes. We've gone through a lot in this time from Rockingham (in 1995) to here. I can't think of a better place for it to happen than here. I think it is just gratifying to go through what we have gone through - particularly Bill and I and his team. We've got the same people with some new blood in the team. The chemistry and all is there. We've grown a lot and it is just real gratifying to have that accomplishment together."
(ON THE DECISION TO SHORT PIT ON THE LAST STOP) "It definitely helped. The problem is some guys were short pitting us and getting some advantage on us. Tommy (Baldwin) has been bitten by it a number of times when the caution has come out after we've short pitted. So he was being conservative. I think finally at the end he just said, 'I've got to go with my instinct' and that's what they did."
(DID HE EVER FEEL LIKE THE WIN WAS HIS DURING THE RACE) "Well to be honest with you on the second lap when the caution came out, I was getting ready to pass the 24 car pretty quickly. I knew then, as good as good as he has been here, for me to feel that confident with the car and the car letting me do what I wanted to do that quick that we had made the right decisions Saturday morning as to what to do with the race car. I was pretty confident right then that we were going to have a good day. You never know how good a day. So many things can happen in this length of races. But they just did an awesome job for me."
(HOW TOUGH DID THIS WIN COME) "This one feel like the first win to be honest with you. That first one came easy. I probably didn't appreciate it as much as I do this one. That's for sure."
(THE CONSISTENCY OF HIS HANDLING DURING THE DAY) "Tommy and the guys worked real smart before the race and during the race. They listen to what I say and also watch what the car is doing. They made smart changes. We didn't make a lot of them. It's just typical of Darlington that when tires wear out. You might be leading the race but it doesn't feel good. You just have to try to keep it between the walls. But we were really good in one and two. It looked like I could always put a distance on them coming off of two and that was a strong suit for us all day. The car was really good. I could gain on them on short runs. Then in the middle of the run there would be five or six laps where I wouldn't gain, then it would really come on and kind of stay even with some of the better cars in the later stages. The strategy that Tommy and Bill and everybody used during the day, it all worked out for us."
(THE LAST FEW LAPS) "It was almost hard not to get emotional with five or six to go. Actually a couple times I hit the line wrong and had to buckle down a little bit. I just started thinking about the end of the run - concentrate. We've had a lot of pressure. You all have questioned us a lot. But at the same time, we knew that if we kept on doing what we had been doing --we were getting consistent. We got consistent last year. We had been consistent this year. We've just got to keep doing what we've been doing. That is working hard at the shop and communicating. The guys in the motor shop, they build awesome motors. Bill has just got the people together. It's all about people. Since we built this team in the latter part of '98, it has done nothing but get stronger. I'm just really excited about going racing the rest of this year, next year and the years to come."
(STAYING FOCUSED TODAY) "Normally you can tell the way our car is running. If I'm not saying much it's running good. Tommy is a good cheerleader for me. Mike (Swaim), our spotter, is a good cheerleader. They do a good job of keeping me focused. Today we had to manage tires a little bit. But to be hones with you, the car manages the tires more than the driver does. Here and at Rockingham, if a car is balanced properly, it manages the tires. I ran that car about as hard as I could run it every lap."