MOUNTAIN DEW SOUTHERN 500 RACE NOTES RICKY CRAVEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet) -- We either burned a piston or dropped a valve, by the way that it sounded. Either way, I think we've run our last lap today. It's a shame. We gave it our all in ...
MOUNTAIN DEW SOUTHERN 500 RACE NOTES
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet) -- We either burned a piston or dropped a valve, by the way that it sounded. Either way, I think we've run our last lap today. It's a shame. We gave it our all in qualifying trying to end up in the front pits, but that didn't work out. Now this...
JEFF BURTON (No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford) -- It was either the ignition or something else electrical. This is our first mechanical problem of the year. I felt like we had a car that could win the race, so this really hurts.
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Ford) -- I tell you what -- it happened so quick I don't know what happened. I just went down into turn three and the front end just took off to the wall. All I saw was the 11 car (Brett Bodine) spinning up ahead, then the 28 (Ernie Irvan) got into the 88 (Dale Jarrett) and the 5 (Terry Labonte). I don't know for sure what happened to cause it.
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- (Jarrett lost three laps while making repairs on pit road to the car's suspension.)
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 21 Citgo Ford) -- (On accident in turn one.) Ward (Burton) spun out. I was right there on him and hung into him. Not exactly what I had in mind for the Southern 500 but we'll get it fixed and get back out.
WARD BURTON (No. 22 MBNA America Pontiac) -- I don't know what happened! The car was dad-gum good -- they did a heckuva job changing it over after the problem in qualifying. The car was fine -- that car didn't just jump out from under me! I don't know if there was something on the track or not. I don't know what the hell happened! I've got to go look at the film!
TODD PARROTT (Crew Chief No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- There's a lot of bent sheet metal, some loose ball joints, it bent a lower control arm and busted the head off a shock and lost some air pressure. We had to put a couple rounds in it to bring the frame height back up.
DERRIKE COPE (No. 12 Badcock Home Furnishings Ford) -- I think somebody just droppeed something on the race track. When the leaders came through the corner, we didn't know what hit us. You don't lose these things for nothing. It's too bad because it was going to be a good day for the Badcock car.
ED BERRIER (No. 60 Mr. Olive Ford) -- We really don't know what's wrong. We've got an oil leak somewhere -- maybe an o-ring on the oil tank. It was going to be a good day. We were working on the car and getting it better. I just want to thank Mean Green and Mr. Olive.
LARRY McREYNOLDS (Crew Chief No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford) -- (On accident that involved teammate Dale Jarrett, Brett Bodine, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Derrike Cope, among others.) It knocked the toe-in out real bad on the right front. There's still something bent on it because he said it's quite a handful. That's just Darlington, but it is kind of sad because we had a chance to really do something today, I think.
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 98 RCA Ford) -- We were following the 3 (Dale Earnhardt) and he got loose, he got in the wall and turned sideways. I couldn't get out of it in time to miss him (and Gary Bradberry and Todd Bodine also got involved). It's a tough break for the RCA Ford and the Goodwrench Chevrolet.
TODD PARROTT (Crew Chief No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- The crash knocked some of the crush panels out of the right side. He's gotten hot and is asking for a lot of fluids and some ice. If we get a caution and can get someone in there we'll do it. He's had some trouble with carbon monoxide before and we don't want to take any chances. We've got the rest of the year to look at.
DICK TRICKLE (No. 90 Heilig-Meyers Ford) -- I don't know if we've got an ignition problem or what. Maybe it's a ring because it started smoking inside the car. We were real competitive and run up into the top 10. They've asked me to relief drive for Brett Bodine and that's what I'm going to do (Trickle did replace Bodine later).
GARY DeHART (Crew Chief No. 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet) -- The car overheated because it had too much trash on the front of it. Maybe it blew a head gasket -- I don't know.
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 94 McDonald's Ford) -- Man, I'll tell you what -- you couldn't catch a break! We just never could get caught up. I was loose awhile, tight awhile -- loose awhile, tight awhile... I never could get the car like I wanted it and right there at the end I think one of the tailpipes broke. Whew! I was just hanging on at that point. There was so many lap-down cars that were racin' you so hard and they held you up so bad that the leaders got the track position. You couldn't do nothing! You'd get to a guy and you'd be faster and then you'd start running along at the same speed. It was just one of those unfortunate things. I'm just proud to get out of here with a car on a decent day and we'll try again next week. (ON HIS PHYSICAL CONDITION.) I'm about used up, boy! These hot races are bad enough as it is, but after you lay up in the hospital for so long you have a real hard time with it.
DARRELL WALTRIP (No. 17 Parts America Chevrolet) -- I am SO disappointed. I was running good, the car was good and something happened. We don't know what yet. We don't know if it was the gear, the (rear end) ratchet. We thought it was a shock, and we changed shocks because the car was bouncing all over the place. The car got violently loose and I couldn't drive it for the latter laps, there. We were so pleased. We were having a good time and coming up to the front. I think I had a top five car, it just...dad-gone-it! It's terrible (to have to soldier around a track like Darlington on a day like today)! It's terrible because you're afraid you're going to get in someone's way and you're going to get run over. I know I've got a good car and I didn't want to tear it up because we want to run it at Dover or Charlotte or somewhere. Something's moving around on it and we'll find it when we get home. It's too bad. We had a great car today.
LAKE SPEED (No. 9 Spam/Melling Ford) -- Well, this Spam/Melling Ford team is a good race team -- we just have some poor luck, I think, or misfortune. We fought back and passed everybody so what else can you do? That's all you can do, and we're thankful we got a top 10 out of it, at least. It's a crying shame to have that good a car and not finish any better than that. We will be back! Darlington's been good to me a lot of times. Today was almost another one. I cut a right front tire down right at the restart and lost all those laps. I got back two out of three!
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet) -- (Third straight NASCAR Winston Cup victory at Darlington.) I only ruled for 15 laps I think -- but they were the most crucial 15 of the day. Hut drove a great race. He was real strong on new tires but he was really hanging it out. There was nothing I could do but let him go and hope that he would get hung up in lapped traffic. I finally got a great run off of two and got up beside him down the backstretch. It seemed like he was struggling a bit on the straightaways. I think he must've had some engine trouble. It's tough to watch someone drive away from you like that. You always hear it here -- race the race track. But I've learned a lot winning here the last two times. As frustrated as I sounded at times out here they gave me what I needed to get back to the front. I just kind of rode along there and raced the race track like you're supposed to do (ON THE POINT RACE.) I kinda like being in second right now, actually. There's not a lot of pressure -- we're just riding along trying to do our jobs. This team has learned a lot because this year has not been picture-perfect. Right now we're seeing what hard work and teamwork can really do. I really feel like we can win another championship, but Terry and Jarrett are gonna be tough and you can never count out Dale (Earnhardt), although I know he had a tough day today. It's funny how things work (Jarrett crash). We were running like first or second and had a bad pit stop and came out running sixth or seventh. If there was ever a time to be sixth or seventh, that was it. I hit the oil too, but I was able to not hit the wall. I saw all the smoke coming off their cars because they were in the wall. You could see the determination in Dale Jarrett today, and his team, whether they were leading or three laps down. It was neat to see.
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) -- I thought for a while we might be able to come back, but I believe the right front lower control arm was bent and and as the day went on that took its toll. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it but I got some water and after that I was OK. We had a job to do -- to salvage as many points as we could. We came out of here OK. I knew I'd hit too hard and had bent too much stuff to have a chance to win. They got it back better than I thought they could.