MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 5th) A FIFTH-PLACE FINISH IS A GOOD WAY TO START. "I don't deserve that, but I want to tell you something, Ben Leslie and this Viagra team deserve that kind of result. They work for it. Everybody...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 5th)
A FIFTH-PLACE FINISH IS A GOOD WAY TO START. "I don't deserve that, but I want to tell you something, Ben Leslie and this Viagra team deserve that kind of result. They work for it. Everybody works hard in this sport, but I want that for them so bad and I'm so happy for them because, gosh, man, they'll do anything. They'll do anything for me and anything that they can to do good and they deserve that."
A GOOD PERFORMANCE FOR YOUR BACKUP CAR. "Yeah, I really hated this car in the Bud Shootout, but we actually learned some things throughout the week that made our cars a little bit better. We were not competitive with those five Chevys. We didn't have a chance, period. So to run fifth is pretty darn good. I know what our limitations are and our guys just didn't give up. It's pretty sweet."
YOU'D LIKE TO WIN, BUT THIS GIVES YOU SOME MOMENTUM TO START. "Let me tell you something, for me winning with that car I'd have had to have a gun and a mask. That wouldn't have been right, so to run fifth was really awesome. All of the Fords have an enormous amount of work to do to even get in the hunt. I don't even know if a Ford led a lap today. I would be surprised if they did. There was no one that had a chance to win with a Ford, so that means we have to go to work. We've got to find something new that we didn't know was out there to be able to take a step and contend."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 20th)
YOU STAYED OUT ON THE LAP 97 CAUTION AND COULD HAVE HAD A FOURTH-PLACE FINISH IF IT HAD RAINED. "We were getting better fuel mileage than most, so we could have run to about lap 104. The caution came out on lap 97 for that crash and we were just hoping to stay out and that it would rain and we'd be able to get a better finish out of it. We were running 19th and there were only 30 cars on the lead lap, so I figured it was a gamble worth taking. It didn't really work out because we got back to 20th, but it was worth a try."
HOW WERE YOU OVERALL? "I was real happy with my car. It drove really good. I'm disappointed our results this week weren't better than what they were. We ran good in the Bud Shootout and ran good in the Busch race and felt like we had a real competitive car, but we just didn't get the results out of it."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 15th)
"We got a big hole in the front end of the car in the lower duct work and we had to come in. It happened right at the start of the race. We must have run over something or somebody kicked something off the race track. Anyway, it poked a big hole in the lower duct work and we had to come in. That put us almost back to last and then when we got a chance to come in under yellow, we had to make a patch for it. We elected to take one or two laps to fix it, but since it was under yellow we didn't lose a lap. We had to come from dead last back up through the field, so I guess we were pretty lucky to come back up to 15th."
YOU STAYED OUT ON LAP 97. "It looked like the rain we finally got was gonna come a little bit earlier. We had to get ready for the restart and had to come in. I guess we could have possibly stayed on the race track, but that would have been risky because we would have been way out of everybody's pit window. It's one of those things where you're darned if you do and darned if you don't. When we saw they were gonna go back racing, we had to get right on the fuel but that sent us back again. It would have been different if our car was really handling well, but this was the worst it handled all week. We'd been really good all week long and then we couldn't keep the push out of the front end. We'd go in low and end up at the top of the race track. It's kind of hard to move forward and pass cars when it's doing that. I guess all things considered we'll take 15th and move on."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Finished 21st)
"It was a real exciting day for me. The Grainger Ford ran real well and the guys did great pit stops. We got great fuel mileage, engine ran good, I can't complain. I got hung out there a little bit at the start. I was running fourth after the last rain delay. I kind of got hung out, went back to 22nd, but that'll happen. I couldn't get in line and got back there a ways. I think we got a good car."
WHAT WAS THE TEAM STRATEGY HEADING TOWARD THE 100TH LAP, WHICH WAS THE MIDWAY POINT? PLENTY HAPPENED JUST BEFORE THAT. "Yeah, it did. Instead of pitting, we stayed out and tried to get the rain. A few minutes before, we were just second. And then it didn't rain. It started to, but it didn't, so we came down pit road, throw the green, and two laps later it rains. So, we tried to stay out and get a good finish if it rains out, didn't happen. Come down pit road and then it rains. You can never, ever bank on the rain. The way I like to do it is just do what you're supposed to do, don't worry about the weather just do - unless, of course, it's just monsoon raining, and you're out there, don't come in. But it wasn't raining at that point. We knew it was coming. Don't try and bank on it. It's bit us every time."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Finished 11th)
"We lost some track position when we had a penalty. That got us set back some. And then we kept fighting and fighting and fighting, and got ourselves back to 11th. The car drove okay. It didn't drive perfect by any means. I'm real happy with out effort. We've had a long 10 days, and certainly, things haven't gone the way that we wanted them to, but we made some pretty good stuff happen with what we had."
DID THE WEATHER AFFECT THE TEAM'S STRATEGY RIGHT AROUND THE 95-TO-105 LAP WINDOW? "That was a really big window. We had to play it like it was going to rain. There was no other choice. Some guys stayed out, took a chance that it was going to rain right then. Our spotter made the call on the tower. He said, 'Guys, it's not going to rain in the next five minutes. It might rain in 10 minutes, but it's not going to rain in five minutes.' So, we did pit, and the guys that did pit, they got hurt. It just bunched it all up."
WERE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR CAR TODAY? "No. It definitely wasn't perfect by any means. Our speedway program's behind some, and then on top of that, take the advantage that the Chevys have and that makes it that much worse. We've got to work harder on our speedway program to make it better. And, on top of that, some teams work real hard at it and they also happen to have the best make, too. So, we've got to be over-achievers in this kind of racing. We're trying hard at it, but we got a little more committed to it and make it as high of a priority as our downforce cars. Once we start doing that - and we will do that - I think that will help our efforts."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 10th)
"We had just been in recently. We needed right-side tires and to make an adjustment, but we needed to get back out as quick as we could. From that time, we worked out way up through a couple of times, made a few passes. But, you, just keep us out there as far as we could just in case the rain did come."
DO YOU TRY NOT TO LET THE WEATHER AFFECT YOUR STRATEGY OR WAS THE RAIN TODAY TOO BIG OF A FACTOR? "In a situation like this, it has to be a factor. I'll leave that to the guys to decide. They know what's coming and looking at all of that and knowing what we kind of need to do, but I pretty much leave that to them and go with their call."
HOW WAS THE RIDE TODAY? "It was a lot better than it was at the beginning; it was absolutely terrible at the beginning. We worked on it and we made it some better, where I could race with them and drive the car in traffic, and I couldn't do that before."
THIS WAS THE FIRST POINTS RACE WITH A NEW CREW CHIEF. HOW HAS THAT BEEN GOING? "Everything's been good. They're working well together, and Brad's [Parrott] done a good job in calling the race. We just got to get better from the start. We struggled the entire time down here. Other than we ran reasonably fast in qualifying, but just haven't been very good in the race."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 23rd)
"We got an awesome race car, and definitely one of the fastest cars here. I mean, we came straight from 16th to second, and did by passing, not on pit road anything, we did it by passing cars. It's just a shame. We just had a box failure, and ignition box went out on us, and put us behind the 8 ball. We never got to run any laps there at the end, because of so many cautions. We'll just take this 23rd-place finish, we're not happy with it, but we'll take it and go to Rockingham."
ON HIS TEAM'S STRATEGY HEADING INTO LAP 100. "We were playing the weather some, but we really thought it was going to hold of a few more laps, so we came in, got four tires and filled the car up, and got us behind on track position, but we thought we were going to be able to run a few more laps than we did, or not have the caution laps that we did. We were going to be in good shape, but the way the cards were dealt to us, it's just one of those deals. So, we just got to take it, bury it, and go on to Rockingham."
FIRST POINTS RACE WITH YOUR NEW TEAM. "It's going great. I can't ask for anything to be any better than it is right now. The guys are all working good together. We've had really fast cars everywhere we've been. We've been fast in here all week. Just got behind the 8 ball wrecking the car on Tuesday, and it's just been a long, long week for us. I'm so proud of our guys. If we wouldn't had an ignition box failre, we really would've had something for these guys. But, that's just the way the ball bounces sometimes. But, they haven't hung their heads, they're really working hard, and we'll just go on from here to Rockingham and see if we can make up some points there."
TODD BODINE - No. 54 Army National Guard Taurus (Finished 18th)
YOU STAYED OUT ON THE CAUTION AND HAD THE LEAD AT LAP 97, BUT THE RAIN CAME TOO LATE. "Yeah, we took a shot. You've got to gamble when you're in that position in the Daytona 500. You've got to gamble and we did, but it didn't pay off. We had to come back in with the one to go to change tires and fuel it up, and that put us back in the pack. We were fighting our way back through, but we needed more time. We had a better car than 18th and we felt like we could get a top 10."
HOW WAS YOUR CAR? "Before the first rain the car was absolutely perfect. Going back green after the first delay it got really, really tight. We made one stop there and freed it up, but it was still too tight when it started to rain again."
DID YOU HAVE SOMEBODY AT THE RADAR SCREEN? "Yeah, we had everybody telling us what was happening. Travis (Carter) was standing by the radar, the spotter was up there trying to be the weather man and we rolled the dice. It didn't work out, but it was something we had to do."
DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 24th)
"We didn't qualify good and we couldn't run good by ourselves, but in the pack we got better and better all week and got the handling better. There were a few runs today where we were really good handling, but it was just a matter of inching forward. No matter what happens all week, you still try to salvage a good finish out of today. You have to stay out of wrecks to do it and have good pit stops and we did that today. The ignition stuff knocked us back a little bit, but you have to take what you can get."
YOU JUST MISSED THE WRECK WITH RYAN. WHAT DID YOU SEE? "I missed about every one of them. I saw them all. Every wreck happened right in front of me, but I couldn't tell. The 22 and the 49 got together somehow and they swung around and collected Ryan. I saw them all coming across the track, so I kind of got as far left as I could and hoped I could scoot by there. I just missed them and then I looked up in the mirror and saw Ryan's car going upside-down."
YOU HAD IGNITION BOX PROBLEMS? "The first time it quit, it happened quite a bit before the rain and then after the rain delay it started missing and cutting out. It felt like it was slowly dying, so I'm not sure we would have made it had the race started again."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"It's bittersweet. We're happy with the finish and, yet, we're a bit disappointed because we didn't get to continue the Great American Race like it should. It should be run for its full distance, but, yet, we're happy because our Ford finished second today and we had a lot of great competition with the Chevys running. This is a good solid points start for us. I'm real excited. We finished fourth last year and second this year, so we're having a great time."
DID MOMENTUM FROM LAST YEAR CARRY OVER? "It feels good. It's real solidifying to know that the group is solid and that they can put down great pit stops right away. To have the momentum building these cars through the off season. Those guys came into work everyday just as sharp because they know they can win. The 97 team is a team that can win and they've proved themselves so we just want to continue moving forward."
WHAT HAPPENED COMING OUT OF THE PITS WITH THE 29 CAR? "I don't think anybody knows what's going on there. We've got three cars running three positions apart right there next to each other. The 01 pulls in, I've got to come around the 01. Then the 29 has to come around him. So we've got three cars. We're going 55 to 0 in a space where you can't park anything. We're all trying to do two tires or fuel only or four tires and it's the most congested pit area with those three cars pulling in that way. I'm in the middle, so I'm making guys mad behind me and in front of me, so what am I supposed to do?"
IT SEEMS LIKE THE FORDS HAVE STRUGGLED THIS WEEK. HOW DO YOU FEEL AS A FORD DRIVER RIGHT NOW? "I feel competitive. The way the DEI cars qualify and race is one thing and now RCR has figured something out. That's two teams and now Hendrick is starting to figure it out a little bit, so there are a lot of Chevy teams that are figuring it out, so whatever they're doing we need to figure something else out and try to give them a better shot. Right now, though, we've got a pretty quick Ford."