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.
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I think the aero package is safer than last year. It's separated the cars a little bit. We weren't running three wide the whole time. That stuff happens every year. Everything was going good all day. I didn't see what happened in that incident. I was about three-quarters of the way back in the field. I never saw anything. The track smoked up, and I never saw anything. I just drove into somebody. The car wasn't too bad. We took two tires on that last pit stop and we couldn't make up any ground. We were able to get through the pack pretty much all day and thought we were going to have a pretty good run."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I don't know if we burned a piston or dropped a valve, but whatever it was put us out."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I saw all the smoke and went into the smoke and started hitting things and getting hit from behind. It's unfortunate. There's still plenty of laps to run. They're going to try to fix the car, but obviously it's not going to be anywhere near what it's supposed to be. We had an awfully good car and we did some pit stop strategy that got us back. We came back to the front, and I thought our car was handling well. It was only a matter of time before we got in the group we needed to be in. We kept getting backed up by cars that were struggling."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I got a run on Jeff (Gordon) and if I had been in his shoes I would have tried to do the same thing. I got below the line and he kept coming down and we hooked. I spun him out. It was just hard racing. It just depended on who lined up with you. We led a long time. They got lined up and went by us and we went back to sixth or seventh. We came to third or fourth. It was just whoever went with who. It was a whole lot better than last year.
"This is the Daytona 500 and you're going to try to win the thing. I tried to get a run on Jeff, and as soon as I got across the line I hooked left and got up in this quarterpanel. It was his deal. He was going to try to block, and if I was in his shoes I would try to block, too. We were hooked together and hooked bumpers and he spun out and I went on. I got my fender on the tire. We tried to get it pulled off, but NASCAR didn't like it.
"I saw Earnhardt do it at Richmond one time in '87. He got out and cleaned off his windshield, so I thought it was OK. I don't guess it was. It's a little disappointing. We had a good car. We raced hard. We'll come back next week.
"Everybody got to knocking on D.J. with a couple of laps to go. It just depends on who lined up with you. It was a good race I thought. I like this package a lot. The handling comes back into play after 30 or 40 laps. The good cars come to the top like they should. I like it.
"I got the fender on the tire. We were going to pull it off and try to get it clear. I guess NASCAR didn't like it. I saw Dale do it at Richmond one time. I figured I could still get out and do it, but they must have changed the rule in between.
"You just try to lay back and try to get a good run on somebody. Jeff did what he should have done. He should block. I had a run on him and got up on his quarterpanel. I knew it was going to be close. I thought he would pull back up and let me go by. We hooked bumpers, and it turned him around and it messed up my car. Hindsight is 20-20. I might not have done it. I had a good shot to pass him. It's the Daytona 500, and you've got to do everything you can to win it.
"It was a good sunny day. It was have been nice if we could have won it. Our car handled good on long runs. It drove good. The only chance we had was to make our car drive good. We just ran wide open all day. I'd like to thank all the guys on the Coors Light Dodge team.
"It pays a million, three to win, so you'd do a lot of things for a million three. If it had finished under caution, I thought we might have it, but I've got a lot against stopping the race with five to go. You get a lot of cars tore up. It happened at Darlington last year. It tore up Dale Jarrett, and I liked to have turned over down there. Let's finish the race. It gets cars tore up when we do it.
"There's no hard feelings with Jeff Gordon. We were just racing hard trying to win. It was pretty wild at the end. We got a top 10 finish out of it, but I really thought we had a good chance to win it. We started out last season with three top 10 finishes and led the standings after Las Vegas. Maybe we can have a good run next week at Rockingham and led 'em after two races this year."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTES: Burton won Sunday's race in the same car that led the most laps in last year's Daytona 500. He led nine times for 53 laps but finished 35th last year after being involved in an accident late in the race. In fact, Burton's winning chassis competed in all four plate races in 2001. Burton won last year's Mountain Dew Southern 500 and finished 14th in the 2001 NWCS. He scored six top five and 10 top 10 finishes for car owner Bill Davis. A 40-year-old driver from South Boston, Va., Burton has 251 career starts. Sunday's victory was his fourth career triumph.
"We appreciate the support from all our sponsors. We can't do it without them. It's a lot of fun to have all these red shirts here with Dodge, too."
BILL DAVIS (Car owner No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"What a wild race. It looked like Martinsville. Our car got real good at the end, and Ward drove a heck of a race. I'm sure he didn't like that red flag delay, but he drove like a champion today. The team did a great job, and after all the problems last year, maybe this will finally get the monkey off our back."
ANDY GRAVES (Team Manager Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
"We had a good run and got a top 10 finish out of it. That was a good way to start the year. I think we had a damn good car. The fender was rubbing just bad enough that he was probably going to cut down the tire. We couldn't take that chance. We were going to have to come in one way or the other. I think we had a good car. We were up there all day long. Really, the 22 wasn't up there until the last third of the race. We had a good car, but a lot of it you have to attribute it to Sterling. He's one of the smarter speedway racers out there. He's primarily the reason our car stayed up there."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T)
"The car drove good. It just wouldn't run. I'd say the fans got their money's worth today. I couldn't get to the front. It never ran a lick all day long. We started out pretty tight, but that wasn't the problem. It just wouldn't go and I don't know why. I just got lucky getting through all that smoke. Overall, it wasn't a bad finish, but we were hoping for a better run today."