MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 43rd) WHAT HAPPENED ONCE THE ENGINE WENT? "I couldn't see a thing. The spotter kept telling me to stay up, but I didn't know what up was. I thought I was gonna hit the wall any minute. It's like having...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 43rd)
WHAT HAPPENED ONCE THE ENGINE WENT? "I couldn't see a thing. The spotter kept telling me to stay up, but I didn't know what up was. I thought I was gonna hit the wall any minute. It's like having a blindfold on. Somehow or another I feel cheated. We had a car that I believed all week could contend - one of the few times in my 20 times down here - and I didn't even get a chance. I feel bad for my team. They work for this so hard and they deserved to have a chance."
WHAT HAPPENED? "I don't really know. We broke something in the engine and I just feel bad for this Viagra team. They work so hard for this opportunity and I felt all week that we had a chance to win this thing. I don't know, I just kind of feel cheated or something. It doesn't seem real. Maybe we could have a do-over here or something, I don't know."
DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING? "It went pretty fast. It started to go and then I had cars behind me that I couldn't just stop or get down because I was on the outside. I was stuck, so before I could get the engine to stop turning it was making all kinds of smoke and I couldn't see a thing."
WERE THERE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT RELIABILTY WITH THIS NEW ENGINE ALLIANCE? "No. With the Ford power we could have a few little glitches here or there trying to merge two systems together. I don't know what happened here. I thought all week we had a chance to win this thing and I'm not gonna get many more chances."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 NBA All-Star Game on TNT Taurus (Finished 42nd) - "I got nervous when I saw Mark have his problem, and were riding along fine, you know, running sixth, seventh, eighth, just taking our time, and something happened and happened pretty quickly. It's unfortunate. These guys have worked really, really hard on this engine program. This is a setback, but it's a temporary setback."
YOU WERE RUNNING SO WELL... "Yeah, we have and it's very disappointing, but I don't know what to do. They're working as hard as they know how to work, they're doing all they know how to do, and we've had some failures. But, we'll keep our heads up and go to Rockingham."
WITH THE HYBRID MOTOR, HOW AWARE WERE YOU OF THE POSSIBILITY OF THIS HAPPENING? "We didn't believe there was any. There wasn't any conversation at all about engine problems. Yesterday with Greg was the first time we saw any indication of anything at all. Then, we had two today. It's frustrating for sure."
IS IT BEING PUSHED A LITTLE TOO FAR? "I don't know. Obviously, we did something we shouldn't have done, but that doesn't mean we're pushing too hard. We need to figure out what happened before we make assumptions or try to figure out what's going on, we'd really need all the facts."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Jackson Hewitt/National Guard Taurus (Finished 12th)
ON MISSING THE WRECK ON THE BACK STRAIGHTAWAY. "The 30 car slammed into the 25 and the 25 pinned the 15 against the wall. Then they were trying to get off each other and hit each other again. I was on the brakes as much as I could. I didn't want to slow down too fast. I looked in the mirror and I saw 'em gaining on me, so I let up on the brakes a little bit, and I was about a foot from the wreck. But, I knew they weren't going to slow down any faster than they were, so I was riding the brake, just slowing down with them. I was hoping nobody would hit me from behind and shove me into that wreck. Then when they started getting sideways, they started slowing up fast, and I got on the brakes really hard, but then they moved down the race track. It's just one of them deals. I mean, I could've been in easy, but was able to not use the brakes too hard, spin myself out, and just ease down in there. It wasn't a bad deal."
THE BACKUP ENGINE WAS PRETTY GOOD, TOO. "It was plenty good to get me back. Tony Stewart, that was a helluva block going down the frontstretch. It's been a while since I saw a block like that. That's restrictor-plate racing and you got to do that. It's unfortunate. Maybe if we would've been out there we might not have had the problem getting in the pits."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH GETTING INTO THE PITS? "I actually decided to stop a little bit earlier than I did the lap before, and the tires locked up. I let up on the brake, and once you lock 'em up you're kinda doomed because you gotta get 'em rolling again and then start easing them back down, you got a flat spot, so that's double trouble. But, I just couldn't get it quite stopped. And I was speeding just a little bit when I crossed the line, maybe for about two car lengths is all, and got pit-road speed and got right back in line where I needed to be, but NASCAR felt that I was going a little bit too fast coming in right there, I guess."
BEFORE THAT, THOUGH, YOU MOVED FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. "Yeah. I was cautious about it, just took my time and didn't want to hurt the National Guard car getting it up toward the front. The guys worked really hard on the chassis. They got it really good there. We were contending for the win when Tony blocked us going down the front and we got shuffled out of line, back in line, back up there, so it was a good day for us. It's just unfortunate about getting in the pits there. I felt we could get a top-five finish and I kinda threw it away for the team."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Tools Taurus (Finished 9th)
"I'm happy with the final result. Some of our teammates had problems real early and that concerned us, and then I got banged up real early just a little bit. So to come back and finish ninth was good. There wasn't much going on there at the end. I messed up the last pit stop and overshot the pit or else we might have had a little better chance, but, overall, it was a good day."
WITH SO MUCH TALK ABOUT THE TIRES THIS WEEK. HOW WAS THE RACING FOR YOU? "I thought it was really fun for a driver because it rewarded you if you had a good setup and it penalized you if you had a bad setup. That's why you would see cars like the 24, it would be real fast on new tires and real slow on old ones. For a driver it was fun, but it just got so strung out at the end that it wasn't as much fun to race because we were all in small packs. Overall, I thought the race was better even though the last part of the race was probably boring to watch."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON JUNIOR WINNING TODAY? "It's cool to see him with the 500. I'm sure it's probably a race he's always wanted to win. He always comes down here and has the fastest car and all week he's been saying he was gonna win, so it's not really a big surprise."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 7th)
DID YOU MAKE A LOT OF CHANGES FROM THURSDAY TO TODAY? "We made a few changes to the car and the track was a little tighter than what we expected it to do, so we were just tight the whole day. We're not the only ones, I think everybody was but, thank the good Lord, we missed the big wreck. I hope everybody is OK from it. I hope Michael is OK, but, all in all it was a great day. I'm so proud of my guys for this great week and a half. I've had a ball here at Daytona and I'm looking forward to going to Rockingham."
WHAT DID YOU SEE DURING THE BIG WRECK? "I saw Johnny Sauter, it looked like to me, all out of control. I told them about two laps before then that the 30 car was gonna wreck and I think that's what happened. I'm not sure. I haven't looked at the replay, but he was the first one I saw out of shape. Just thank God we missed it. It's so easy to get in the middle of the wreck, but the way we missed it was great. I was two cars behind him when I saw him get out of shape."
WAS IT FRUSTRATING NOT TO GET A CAUTION AND HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN AT THE END? "You can look at it a couple of different ways. We didn't have a car to contend with those guys because I was a little bit too tight. We kept working on it and the motor ran great. Right there at the end of the race was the best our car was, but those guys had gotten away from us by then. It's not frustrating. Cautions get everybody jumbled back up together and they say cautions breed cautions, so we're definitely happy with seventh."
THOUGHTS ON JUNIOR WINNING? "I'm happy for him. He deserves it. He's a heckuva race car driver - probably the best there is right now in restrictor plate racing and those guys deserve it. They won everything down here last year but the 500 and DEI is still the team to beat. We know that. We feel like we got closer to them this week, but they're still very strong. We know when we go to Talladega that they're the folks we've got to beat again."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 10th)
"After the big wreck we got a set of tires that were just sideways. I was doing everything but wrecking. It was all I could do just to hang on and I actually thought I had a flat tire. I ran the last eight or nine laps just out of control with that. We adjusted on the car a little bit and made it a lot better, but we could never get back to those guys. We had good pit stops, but in one of them I stalled the car and you can't do things like that and expect to catch up because things are so equal on the track. All in all it was a good day. We missed the wrecks. We could have been in a couple of those and missed them, so it was a pretty decent day."
WAS IT NICE NOT TO BE IN A 43-CAR TRAIN ALL DAY? "It was pretty good racing. I hate that those guys got in a big wreck, but I'm glad everybody is OK. It did make things nice to race just 20 cars after that instead of everybody. I thought maybe we could get ourselves positioned to get a top five, but those other guys were awful strong."
STILL A PRETTY GOOD WEEK. "Yeah, it was a pretty good week. We came here with a lot of new people and totally reorganized here. I think the guys did an excellent job of getting us prepared. We came away with one victory in the Shootout and a top 10 here. Elliott had a victory in the 125 and a top 10, so, all in all, it was a pretty good week."
DOUG YATES, Engine Builder
WAS IT PRETTY STRESSFUL TO SEE TWO ENGINES GO SO EARLY? "It's been a great Speedweeks for us, but we didn't finish it off very good today. To have two problems like that early on was disappointing. We made some changes this morning and anytime you change some things at a race track you take a chance of having problems, so, hopefully, it wasn't self-inflicted. But you know what, if we didn't make the changes and had problems, we would be kicking ourselves. So we'll get back home and evaluate it. I feel bad for Mark and Jeff. They had a lot of high hopes for this race, but this is a marathon. We've got a long ways to go, so we'll go back and figure out what happened and get our act together."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 18th)
"We got caught at the beginning of the race. We were the ones who stayed out when that first caution came out. We should've come in. We got caught out of sync on a pit stop and that got us a lap down and cost us about four or five spots, we should've ended up 12th, or something like that, and we ended up 17th."
CAN YOU SUM UP YOUR DAY? "We tried to play catch-up all day. We got behind on that first stop. We had to pit, the caution came out, and from then on it was catch-up, never did quite get it."