DODGE DAYTONA STATS -- The last Dodge triumph at Daytona International Speedway prior to Ward Burton's victory on Sunday in the 44th annual Daytona 500 came in the 1977 Pepsi 400 with Richard Petty behind the wheel. The first Dodge win at Daytona...
DODGE DAYTONA STATS -- The last Dodge triumph at Daytona International Speedway prior to Ward Burton's victory on Sunday in the 44th annual Daytona 500 came in the 1977 Pepsi 400 with Richard Petty behind the wheel. The first Dodge win at Daytona came in the 1964 July race with A.J. Foyt behind the wheel. Dodge now has eight total victories at Daytona. Petty leads the way with 4, followed by Foyt, Sam McQuagg, Bobby Isaac and Burton with one each.
BOB WILDBERGER (Senior Manager, NASCAR Operations -- Dodge Motorsports)
"It looks like our teams were able to take advantage of the rules change. Obviously, the playing field was level today. They just worked hard. They only had an hour practice on Friday, and the 22 team nailed it. I held my breath for 18 laps and a red flag. I thought the 18 laps took a long time, but that red flag was a killer. It would have been nice to have a 1-2 finish with the 22 and 40, but hey, we won the Daytona 500 and it doesn't get any sweeter than that. Ward had a heck of chance winning our first race back here last year. Unfortunately, he got caught up in an incident that wasn't his fault. That was last year. This is this year, and we're celebrating.
"I feel very lucky because the Dodges were dodging it all day long and kept 'em in the race. We have a celebration scheduled tonight if Bill Davis accepts it. The whole team and sponsors, everybody involved with the program. It doesn't get better than this.
"It's a great start. For sure, I've got to believe that Ward Burton and Bill Davis have got a start on that million dollar bounty we've got for the driver's championship this year. I understand Ward has already started trying to pick the color for his Viper (awarded to Dodge driver for winning the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship). He's got himself a real good head start.
"This is really great because we're going to go into our next race and be ahead in drivers points and manufacturers points, and that's got to be a first time thing for the last 25 or 30 years. Now the trick is to stay there. The one-team approach is alive and well. We won it in trucks, and that was strictly teamwork. Four guys working together on the team, and now here we go with the Daytona 500, the biggest one of all, and teamwork worked again."
BILL TRACY (Senior Manager, Motorsports Operations -- Dodge Motorsports)
"I think Ward understands we're serious. I think he became even more serious, and I think he's going to have a great season after a season that just wasn't Ward Burton. He got taken out over 11 times last year, and for him to come back strong in the first race -- that's like getting off the horse that threw you. We're proud of Ward, Bill Davis and Gail Davis and their whole organization. We're in for the long run. We're not sprinters. We're endurance racers, and we go for the long run. We've got a long term program here. We won the trucks on Friday and the Cup on Sunday. We worked hard all week with NASCAR to make sure we had a level playing field. To see that NASCAR was listening is a credit to NASCAR. We couldn't be prouder. Ward was a rabbit on the last restart. The announcer said Dodge had the rabbit out there, the rabbit doesn't usually get caught. We knew it was going to take an awfully big Ford to get by Ward, and it just didn't happen.
"Restarts were a bugaboo for our engine department last year and they worked on it all winter. We had to improve our restarts. We lost a race at Michigan. We lost a couple of other ones on restarts. These guys went to work and got the problem solved."
TED FLACK (Manager, Dodge NASCAR Engine Department)
"Engines give you good restarts. I was pretty confident. Ward had a good engine and Terry Elledge (Bill Davis Racing head engine builder) does a great job. Terry worked and worked, and honestly a restart has a lot to do with the engine because the aero is not taking over yet. He had it at the restart, got away from the pack and that was it. I was confident as soon as they waved that checkered flag. A lot of it (good restart) has to do with the driver. He got away from them at the start, and that was it."
TIM CULBERTSON (Program Manager, Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering)
"I want to congratulate all of engineering for their contributions here. It's a real team effort. They're all to be very proud. They've won the Daytona 500. Also, I'd like to congratulate Bill and Gail Davis, two of the nicest people you'll ever meet in the sport. It's just a pleasure to have them on our team. It's just great. What a great start to the PVO (Performance Vehicle Operations). We started right off with the Daytona 500, so that's not too bad. We'll move from here and continue to work. That's our style. It's a blue collar, UAW-type of thing. We're just going to keep working and working and working. Tonight we will celebrate and then we'll get ready for Rockingham. There's one minor rule change there, but we're fine. Ward Burton actually had the strongest car there in the fall. He should have won that race, but because he was brought in one lap earlier than he'd planned, he got a lap down. We should be real strong at Rockingham and can't wait to get there."