The top finishing Chevrolet drivers were Kevin Harvick (third) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth). Steve Park, who made his comeback from injuries suffered in a Busch crash at Darlington in September, was again involved in an accident and finished...
The top finishing Chevrolet drivers were Kevin Harvick (third) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth). Steve Park, who made his comeback from injuries suffered in a Busch crash at Darlington in September, was again involved in an accident and finished 39th. Jeff Gordon led the race for 176 of 293 laps, but was involved in an 11-car accident and had to settle for ninth place. The following are post-race driver comments:
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"The GM Goodwrench crew got me out of the pits all day long. We had a good little battle with Dale Jr. there at the end. I had a lot of fun. We were just tight-in and tight-off. As soon as we got our car loosened up enough, we would get out by ourselves and we were a little too free. We kept working on it and that's what you've got to do here is race the racetrack and keep the fenders on it."
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo - finished 4th:
"I told Tony Eury Sr. I should just jump out and try to run away from them like we did when we got our lap back. But the No. 40 car (Sterling Marlin) was too good. I wore my car out. We ran out of tires with about five laps to go. I tried to stay in front of Kevin (Harvick), but we couldn't do that. But we got fourth. We were loose at the end. It was a crazy day - running up front and getting lapped like that. I've still got to see the tape on that deal and how we got a lap down. But we came back and got our lap back. The guys did a good job on the car. We normally don't run good here so I'm real happy to be able to take the points out of here."
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"Before all that happened (the 11-car accident) I think it was a pretty clear indication that if you put our car back in traffic, we're done. You cannot drive the car in traffic because it pushes so bad that you're just along for the ride in the middle of the pack. But you put that car out front, and watch out. That's why I'm going to - not that we haven't been - but we're going to really work hard on qualifying. We've got to cut perfect laps when it comes to qualifying because when we get that car up front, it's capable of winning."
Did you hit Tony Stewart in the accident?
"Yeah. What happened was that he hit the No. 44 (Buckshot Jones) after he spun and then Tony got in the wall. He was coming back down and I tried to go through the gap but there was nothing but smoke. I didn't even know where he was until I clipped him with the right front headlight."
Were you surprised that the cars still had a lot of speed coming into that crash?
"You know, at this place it's so hard to get slowed down because there's not a grip. The tires are worn out and when you stand on the brakes too hard, you lock them up and go into the wall. So you've got to be on the brakes but you can't let them slide. For me, I didn't want to jump on the brakes too hard because I didn't want to lock the tires up. I couldn't go to the apron because it's nothing but sand and grit and you've got not control. I was afraid that somebody was going to drive into the back of me, too. So you just make your best guess when you go into smoke like that after you've seen where the cars were last and you hope you miss them. I just barely clipped Tony."
Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"Lapped traffic (caused the wreck). Everybody saw what happened. It's just a shame because the Pennzoil Chevrolet was running good. All day long - lapped traffic was a hassle for all of us. The lapped traffic has got to give the leader a break. The leader is the one who gives the lapped traffic a break to get their lap back. We've seen this before. I'm disappointed because I wanted the Pennzoil Chevrolet to make it to the end. The car ran good. I thought we had a car capable of winning the race. I'm just really disappointed."
Robby Gordon, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"I went into turn three and just stepped sideways really big. It's unfortunate. We were trying to stay on the lead lap and doing the best job we could for Cingular Wireless. It's a difficult racetrack. I really don't like this place and this is the reason why."