MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Finished 42nd) "We broke something in the engine. We broke a connecting rod or something like that. It's kind of uncommon at a plate race. Unfortunately, it's the second one we've lost this week, so I...
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Finished 42nd)
"We broke something in the engine. We broke a connecting rod or something like that. It's kind of uncommon at a plate race. Unfortunately, it's the second one we've lost this week, so I don't know. Our motor program is awesome, but we just seem to have some bad luck right now. We blew a couple at the end of last year and blew a couple to start off this season, so I'm definitely disappointed. It's the best car I've ever had for the Daytona 500 and I really thought we could have been a contender."
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO BE OUT SO EARLY? "I'm kind of disappointed, but you realize that this type of thing can happen. We've had a lot of good times, too, but there are gonna be days when things go bad and this is just one of those days."
JOHN ANDRETTI - No. 14 VB/APlus at Sunoco Taurus (Finished 31st)
"The first time somebody turned down on me. I was in the middle of three and four and turned down and I got spun around. Then I got hit in the side. On this last one, I was trying to keep up because we had a torn-up race car and I wanted to keep up with the pack for the last few laps. Something happened in front of us. They were yelling at me, 'Go low. Go low.' So I kept turning down. I had somebody to the left of me so I couldn't go any lower and Mike (Skinner) rolled down and I hit him head on. It was a pretty hard blow for both of us, but I just want to thank VB and APlus at Sunoco and all the people at Ford. We had a good race. We need to make it the rest of the way."
WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE CAR OVERALL? "Yeah, at times we had a pretty good handling car. I really felt like we got the car handling pretty good and then we got spun around down there. We had to fix the car and were just hoping to have a decent finish and, unfortunately, that last incident happened and ended our day."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Finished 25th)
"It was an alright day. We got the car running pretty good, which is positive. It was gonna be a good day and we were probably gonna get a top 5 or top 6 maybe, but we got wrecked. I don't know what happened. I'm really, honestly gonna have to watch the tape because I don't even know what started it or what ended it. I've got no idea. Sometimes when you're scuffling for a position like that, but my spotter thinks somebody got me in the left-rear quarter panel or got me in the back, so I'm not real sure."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 11th)
"We struggled with the handling a little bit and then coming from the rear dodging wrecks. It was a good day. We really wanted a top 10, but we'll take 11th. I'm happy with my guys. They did a great job."
YOU WERE ONE OF 11 GUYS CAUGHT SPEEDING ON PIT ROAD. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THAT? "I'm gonna have to go back and look at that. I don't know if I was speeding or not, but with this new system we have to adjust the way we get on pit road a lot. We'll work on that in the future."
HOW WAS IT AT THE END OF THE RACE? "It was pretty hectic at the end because the cars were sliding around so much. It was cool. The guys were being real aggressive, especially there at the end. The car is unscathed. We might have to fix the bumper a little bit, but we can do that."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Office Depot Taurus (Finished 12th)
"With all the run-ins we had with different people, it was awesome to end up 12th. I mean, I thought we'd end up on the two truck, so that was pretty neat."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE WRECK? "Mark Martin was waving his hand and I thought, 'He wants me to slow down,' so I slowed down a little bit and he just stopped. I ran into him and somebody ran into me and I almost hit the flag stand. The car actually ran faster with the front end narrowed up, so I think that helped us a little bit. I think maybe without that we would have been close to the top 5, but even with it I expected we could have been in the top 5 if the cards would have fallen a little differently."
YOU FINISHED 12TH. "That's a blast. There are 31 other guys who would trade positions with me right now and that's saying a lot in Nextel Cup."
IT SEEMED LIKE A WAR OF ATTRITION. "It was today. We came out limping around there, the last car that wanted to race and they said, 'You're 18th.' I thought, 'That's cool. We'll race 17 guys for a win, so it was fun."
YOUR EXPERIENCE IN YOUR FIRST DAYTONA 500. "It's a blast. You're racing out there for a million-and-a-half dollars to win and you're racing the nicest race cars in the world in front of 200,000 people live. My crew worked really hard and we overcame some really bad luck. I just had a good time. I really enjoyed it."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 15th)
"We pulled the wrong gear. They were running over me. Junior knocked me off the race track early in the race because it wouldn't run at the end of the straightaway. We finally got it to where I could drive, but it was just so frustrating because it wouldn't go. On restarts and stuff they would just run over me. They worked their tails off to get us where we got to and we came out with a reasonable finish. It could have been a lot worse. We could have been in the middle of those wrecks."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Finished 24th)
"We didn't even get a chance to get going. I don't know. We cut a tire, blew a tire, a tire came apart and I'm not really sure what happened to it, but it happened all of a sudden. It just went and when it went I did a 360 in front of everybody. I think we were about 15th when it happened, so it could have been a lot worse."
WHAT ABOUT THE LAST PART OF THE RACE? "It was amazing. We were in the thirties for a long, long time just trying to survive and get some points out of it. At one time we were three laps down and the way the lucky dog thing worked out, we ended up being one lap down. I never would have believed we could have come out of it with the finish we did. It's a shame. We had a really good car here, but what are you gonna do? You're down here for nearly two weeks and you've got all the testing that goes into it massaging the car, but I've been in these deals where I got swept up in somebody elses wreck. Unfortunately, we were the guy that wrecked today and took some guys out. We didn't have much to do with it. The tire came apart, but, still I was looking forward to a good finish like everybody here and it just didn't work out."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"Unbelievable day. Just a ton of team effort, just to be able to work on this car to get it capable enough to finish in the top five. To finish second, I wanted to take Gordon on the outside going into three, but nobody would've went with us, we didn't have the momentum to carry it through so I had to follow in and there's only so much you can do if you don't have anybody behind you. Congratulations to Jeff Gordon. Today we finished second but it's a great way to start off our year defending our title." WAS IT FRUSTRATING OUT THERE NOT GETTING ANYONE TO GO, TOO? "You have to protect the bottom and our Sharpie Ford was going to stayed glued to that yellow line, and of course with the way the Goodyear tires were handling we did the best we could with what we had, and I felt like we did an awesome job to build this great race car and then to work on it in the pits, and then I did my best job driving. So, I had a lot of fun, and I hope the fans did as well."
ON THE END. "We had a great run. To come from fourth to second on the green-white-checkered, we had to run with the 10 car, we had to block him, that pushed us past the 48 and the 8. A great day. The Sharpie Ford was off a little bit early and we had to adjust on it and that's what the key was. Jimmie Johnson and I got caught speeding on pit road with their new device, so I'll have to double-check how that all works, but we had a great day to catch back up from that."
EVERYONE PAIRED OFF, IT SEEMED, BUT YOU. DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE ON AN ISLAND? "It seemed like that Ford was all by itself, and I had to use different pushes from people, different side drafts from others, and we did a great job as a team to build that great car to put us in position to get us that second-place finish. I had a run on the 24 but I couldn't clear him."
ON THE KEY. "The key to success was today was really whoever got off the yellow line I filled that hole."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 6th)
"It was pretty wild. We had an awesome car there. I shouldn't have let Gordon get up on the inside of me there on that one restart. I was sitting there thinking we might have a shot to contend for this thing, and we did right down to the end. But I just didn't have myself in the right position at the right time."
YOU WERE STRONG ALL DAY, FROM LAP ONE TO LAP 200. "Pretty strong. Credit the Viagra team here, this Taurus' big engines, great effort. This guys have big hearts, and all of 'em."
THE DECISION TO FIX THE CAR WAS THE CORRECT ONE, WASN'T IT? "Oh, it was the right one, all right. And they did it right, too."
THERE WAS A TIME WHEN YOU AND RUSTY WALLACE WERE RUNNING TOGETHER. "Rusty and I had a pact. We've been racing 30 years. We had a little problem at Talladega a year ago where he said he was going to go with me and didn't, and I didn't think that was going to happen today. Rusty and I knew this was our last shot and I would've helped at the end and he would help me. I figured that was probably the most loyal friend I had on the race track at the end of the race."
DID IT MEAN EXTRA TO BE OUT THERE AT THE END WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN RACING AS LONG AS YOU? "I love Rusty. I've raced with him for 30 years, and we fought for the same turf for 30 years and we never once had a problem, and that says a lot."
YOU CERTAINLY MUST BE PROUD? "I'm proud of this race team, Pat Tryson, this Viagra team. These huge engines we've got under the hood are incredible and this Taurus worked good, and these guys fixed back right, better than right. It was an awesome run for us. I had a great car, I had a car that could contend and so did a lot of other guys. We fought our way back from the back a few times, and we did what we did. It was a good outing for us. I would've liked to have won the race, but we didn't have it hand and let it slip away."
ON NOT WINNING. "It ain't no big deal right now, I'm telling you. I don't have any major love for this place. Check with me at Charlotte. I'll have a tear in my eye there."
DID YOU EVER FEEL YOU HAD A CAR STRONG ENOUGH TO MAKE A MOVE? "Well, I thought we were sitting pretty good when we were second and third, I really, really did. I should've never let Jeff get on the inside of me there. It happened so quick, I couldn't do anything about it. It was my mistake. Had I been up there, no telling what would've happened. Stewart was a shoo-in to win and didn't, so what are you going to do? I mean, you just got to do the best you can and we got a great team, fought our way back twice and everything else."
WITH THE IROC VICTORY AND TODAY'S SIXTH-PLACE FINISH, IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD WEEKEND. "It's a better start than 43rd last year. This is a good car and I could've had a chance to maybe do a little bit better, but I sure could've done a lot worse."