JEFF GREEN, NO. 66 BEST BUY MONTE CARLO SS - Sidelined in multi-car crash: "I had a great car. I think I had one of the best cars out there. It has been a long, long time since I have been to Daytona with a car this good. The bad thing about it...
JEFF GREEN, NO. 66 BEST BUY MONTE CARLO SS - Sidelined in multi-car crash:
"I had a great car. I think I had one of the best cars out there. It has been a long, long time since I have been to Daytona with a car this good. The bad thing about it is no one could stay on the bottom there with me. Kyle Petty was the only one who could work with me down there and we were hooked up just working our way back up through (turn) three. We had a flat tire the very first lap. I think I passed every car on this race track at least once. I am so proud of my Best Buy Monte Carlo SS guys. The car they gave me was awesome. Unfortunately, we aren't going to be able to show it.
"Dale Jarrett hooked me in the right rear. You can blame a lot of things on rookies but he isn't a rookie. I don't understand what happened there. I was on the inside of Terry Labonte passing him. I know I gave him plenty of room because I didn't crowd Terry. It is tough to swallow. When a rookie does something that you can blame him for, you can still swallow it. But when a veteran does some stupid move like that, it is tough to swallow."
J.J. YELEY, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERY MONTE CARLO SS - Sidelined in multi-car crash
"Someone hooked the 66 down the back straight away and got him spinning there in the grass. I was following Kyle Petty there and we both checked up to see what the 66 was going to do. I was slowed down and just had to wait for the 66 to stop spinning. But someone who was around me couldn't get checked up enough and drove in to the back of me and I drove in to the back of the 66. Just very unfortunate for our Interstate Batteries Monte Carlo SS. We were just going to cruise around and take it easy there. Everything was fine, the car was pretty free on exit so we were just going to ride around until we could fix it and then make our way back toward the front. It is a long race. But I got tore up. It got the radiator and oil cooler and tore up quite a bit in the front end. The back end is fine, but the laps it is going to take to fix it is going to hurt us."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 14th
NOTE: Because his carburetor was sticking, the crew changed it on a pit stop. As Harvick was leaving pit road, NASCAR said the exit pit road light was red. Although Harvick disputed that call, he was summoned to pit road for a drive-through penalty, which put him a lap down.
"It was a good day. We made a great recovery. We had to change the carburetor there. We came back there at the end and finished 14th. We probably should have finished a little bit better than that. I had the 20 pushing in and the 5 came down on him. I about spun him out and I lost about 15 spots. If it wasn't for that we'd be somewhere in the top 10 but still a great day and a great recovery for the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO - Finished 26th
"It was a long day for the Dupont Monte Carlo SS team. We fought back all we could. Unfortunately we got caught up in that last deal with Kurt Busch. That really got us behind. I think we had a shot at a top-10 with that tore up race car.
ABOUT EARLY INCIDENT WITH TONY STEWART EARLY IN THE RACE - "I am going to take part blame for that, I think Tony should take part of it as well. We went in to turn one and two and had been real tight. We slid up the race track, left the middle wide open. I thought that I could clear him, and just about the time he got to my right rear, my car just took off pushing. There wasn't anything I could do. It was a deal where he could have lifted but I maybe shouldn't have jumped in there as quick as I did. I think it could have been avoided by both of us. It was an unfortunate incident that hurt us both a lot.
ABOUT AGGRESSIVE DRIVING TODAY - "I saw a lot of guys out there driving aggressive today. If you are bumping someone from behind, either on a straight away or a corner, something is going to eventually happen. Guys just started getting anxious out there, I mean, I was a little bit anxious out there. I feel our deal could have been avoided, a lot of them could have been avoided. I saw a lot of things out there that were just out of control. What are you going to do? It is restrictor plate racing, you can't bump in the corners so you are going to have some thing else somewhere."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS
"I didn't have much help out there today except for my brother Kurt (Busch), whoops, in fact he was my only help.
ON THE INCIDENT FOR WHICH HE WAS PENALIZED. "That was a judgment call by NASCAR and that was their call to make. We just have to go on. We finished where we finished. There is nothing we can do about it now. I got a little bit loose off of turn two, I think it was from the 20 car pushing me a little bit. He got underneath me and was able to get along side. I tried getting back down in front of him but it was too late. I ran him below the yellow line I guess, but I moved back up and gave him room. I think he was almost by me and I think someone hit him from behind and sent him back on the apron. I don't know how that doesn't work out and whatnot."
HAS NASCAR LOOKED EXTRA CLOSE AT YOU THIS ENTIRE WEEK. "No, I don't think so. There were judgment calls to be made and they did.
"Yesterday in the Busch race, Denny Hamlin got penalized for what they thought was aggressive driving and we did today."
WERE THERE EXCESSIVE PENALTIES TODAY? "I couldn't tell you. I don't know who else got penalties except myself so it is not that they were overly aggressive with them, it isn't not that there weren't some that were or were not necessary. It is just that they are judgment calls that may or may not need to be made and they made them."
WAS IT ROUGH OUT THERE IN THE BUMP DRAFTING LIKE IT WAS EARLIER IN THE WEEK? "Yes, there at the end it was getting pretty hairy at the end when my brother got wrecked there. That was when it was really starting to go down like the Bud Shootout was."
STERLING MARLIN, NO. 14 WASTE MANAGEMENT MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 34th:
"The Waste Management Chevrolet was pretty good all day long. I don't think we had the best car out there but a top-ten finish was in reach for us. We gambled there at the end of the race and took two tires and it didn't work out as well as we'd hoped. We still stayed in the lead draft but weren't able to make much of a charge to the front. "It looked like we were going to have a solid top-ten finish in our Waste Management Chevy and then something happened to the No. 2 car (Kurt Busch). I don't know if he got into the wall or if someone turned him into the fence but he came down in front of us and hit us and knocked the nose off the car, so our day was done."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 7 JIM BEAM MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 12th
"With 70 to go, we were running seventh and I got a right front flat tire and stuck the thing in the fence.
"To come back and finish 12th after sticking it in the fence, the guys did an awesome job getting the tow set back straight, getting the rear end straight, melting all the rubs away from the tires. I'm really, really proud of my guys and everybody that worked on the Jim Beam Chevrolet. Not only the guys here at the race track but all the guys that worked the last three months getting ready for Daytona."
YOU WERE COMING ON LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN. DID YOU WISH THERE WERE 20 MORE LAPS IN THE RACE? "Yeah, we were pretty good. We probably would have been a little better. I see Mark, he's still behind us. He hit me in the corner going into turn three in the last turn. That moved me up the race track. That put me in position to get by the 21 and the 9. But they resorted back the last lap because the 9 and 21 are still in front of us."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 7th
"It was a good day. I was real proud of all the guys. We had a good car. We led a lot. We didn't take tires there at the end."
ON THE CALL TO NOT TAKE TIRES AND BEING A FACTOR "You can look at it either way. Not taking tires got us up front and kept us out of the wrecks. It was a big plus but it hurt us there at the end for sure. But we knew that at the end. I still think it was a good call Lance (McGrew, crew chief) made. The guys had good pit stops all day. I just couldn't keep it on the bottom there at the end. It just got loose and we started to get high and Ryan got under us."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 32nd
"We just didn't handle very well today. I was afraid of that going into the race. There at the end I tried to make something happen I shouldn't been trying to make happen. I wrecked some people and feel bad about that and just made a mistake."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS -- Finished 8th
Quote of the day: "The motor is like an old man; it will wake up and run for awhile and then fall back asleep."
OVERALL TODAY, YOU RAN STRONG AND HARD IN THAT NO. 8 CAR "Yeah, fought a push the whole time we've been down here. Even on that last lap I went to the outside of the No. 38 and got a real big push in the center off of (Turn) 2 and had to back up and ruined Kasey Kahne's run that he had and we were just kind of stuck. And then I don't know what happened on the front straightaway. We passed a bunch of them back and they was beating on each other. I'm so proud of my team and DEI. They gave me a great car. We came down here and ran great. That's all I wanted to do and I'm real proud of everybody back at the shop and all my guys down here that have been working on this car for the last week. It's been a long week. We're real happy to be able to come out of here. A lot of guys weren't so fortunate. We're real happy with a top 10.
Great job by the Bud guys getting me in and out of the pits all day. just awesome pit stops. We had a great race car, built by all the technology and resources at DEI. I'm just real proud of the effort they brought down here. It was a pleasure driving the Busch car and Cup car all weekend. Good Speedweeks. I think we had a good race today. I think it was exciting for the fans, and I look forward to California."
ON LEADING A RACE-HIGH 32 LAPS: "We've been fighting a push in the car the whole time down we've been down here, but we were able to work on it, and it was pretty good when we got it out front. At the end we just didn't have enough to get back up there, but it was fun leading laps and getting that Budweiser Chevy out front."
ON HIS DECISION TO MAKE A MOVE ON THE FINAL LAP: "I was in fifth place, and I knew nobody would go with me on the outside, but it was the only chance we had to win, so I decided to go for it. I'm not here to run fifth or eighth or whatever we finished. I can live with myself knowing I at least tried to win rather than stay in line. On the last lap I went to the outside of the 38, but I had to back up when I got a real bad push off (turn) two. I pretty much ruined Kasey Kahne's run that he had, and we were just kind of stuck. Then I don't know what happened on the front straightaway, we passed a bunch of cars while they were beating on each other. They ruled me eighth, so I'll take it and go to California."
ON ENDING SPEEDWEEKS WITH THREE TOP-10 FINISHES IN THREE CUP RACES (BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT, Twin-150, and Daytona 500) "I'm just proud of my team. They gave me a good car. We came down here and ran great. That's what we wanted to do. I'm real proud of everybody back at the shop, and all my guys down here that have been working on this car all week, it's been a long week. We're real happy to come out of here with a top-10. A lot of guys weren't so fortunate."
ON BUMP-DRAFTING: "No different than it's always been. Sometimes it's a little rough, but it doesn't bother me too bad. You hold the wheel straight, and you usually keep control of it when they push you. It was no different than what I'm used to or what I'm accustomed to since I've been driving in the Cup Series. There is always little tiffs drivers have between each other, but I didn't see anything I didn't expect. It was a lot of fun. I was a little nervous about how rough the race might get at the end, but we're out there with a bunch of professionals. There was some beating and banging going on, but it was a pretty clean race. Cars don't drive around the race track like they should. A lot of guys lose grip on this old track. I'd like to see them pave it. It would be nice if they would think about paving it, because it would make for better racing."
TRAVIS KVAPIL, NO. 32 TIDE MONTE CARLO SS -- Finished 27th:
"We had a pretty good run going there in our Tide Monte Carlo SS. We were a little tight but we were making it better as the day went along and had worked our way into the top-20. We had the tire go down and made contact with the wall. The crew worked to make as many repairs as they could but the car just didn't handle at all after that. We hung on to finish but it is a shame for this team and the crew that our finish doesn't reflect how well we ran today. I really think we could have had a top-15 finish. But we finished and head out to California."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 96 DLP® HDTV MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 17th: "We honestly didn't have the car to get up to the front where we wanted to be. We ran all day and the guys had really awesome pit stops. For the first time out, they should be pretty happy with that. We adjusted the car during the race trying to get better. We just couldn't get it where we needed it. It handled pretty good, but we just didn't have the speed down the straightaways that we needed. I'm not sure if it was the shock or the spring or what.
We played with it in practice, but we never really got the handle that we needed. I kept hoping that it would go green, because it handled good on the long runs. I kept thinking that if it kept green and we had to make green-flag pit stops, we could make up some ground on these guys. I was hoping to get a top-15, that was sort of my goal, but we'll take it. It was a good day, a good day for the team to get some points.
PHILIPPE LOPEZ (Crew Chief), NO. 96 MONTE CARLO SS:
"Naturally everybody wants to win, but for the first time out of the box, new pit crew, new everything, we got a top 20 and that's pretty respectable with this field and the caliber of competition we're up against. For a bunch of guys who have been together three months: Job well done. Now we go to a racetrack (California Speedway), where there are not so many variables and things out of our control. We'll see what we can really do at California." (About the pit crew): "They were awesome. They just picked up spots every single time."
ROGER STAUBACH, OWNER, NO. 96 HALL OF FAME RACING
"It was a good day for Hall of Fame Racing and DLP. Terry, Philippe and the crew did a great job and for our first race, I think the guys did well. The pit crew had some great stops, Terry worked his way to the end of the race, and we finished. Obviously, you always want to win, but you have to be realistic and we're pretty happy that the car is in one piece and that we had a respectable finish. Hopefully, everybody builds on this going into California and the rest of the season."
DARIAN GRUBB, SUBSTITUTE CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Race winner:
"I have no idea what to say. I've just got to thank Chad Knaus for building this team the way he built it, and Mr. Hendrick and everybody for giving me the opportunity. And all the tools they put in place. This has just been a super easy day, but we won the Daytona 500."
IS THIS THE KIND OF STORY YOU CAN TELL YOUR GRANDKIDS SOME DAY? "I'll tell everybody this for the rest of my life."
KIRK SHELMERDINE, NO. 27 MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 20th
"We couldn't keep up with the other cars, but I guess we beat all the wrecked ones. But it was a good finish for us and everybody is pretty happy. I'll be glad to go home and rest. It's been a heck of a week.
"Way back in the back was pretty lonely. I got hungry once, but there wasn't much racing for me to do. I missed the big stuff. From here, I try to make my plane and I don't even know if I can do that.
"People helped get us here. Friends and contributors all helped. Without a big corporate deal, it was hard to pull off. People jumped in and helped like the Lopez family. They wanted to help and they got us all our tires. It was substantial. They paid our whole tire bill, but I don't think they want us to talk about that. They are some very devoted Dale Sr. fans. And Richard Childress helped us. We were trying to get my son a plane ride down here so he could come watch the race. He's never been to Daytona before. Richard said he'd give him a spot on their plane. And he said if we didn't get a sponsor by this morning, we could put the Childress Vineyard on the car. And so we did. It was a really nice gesture from him and maybe even a little nostalgia for the fans.
"If it weren't for family and friends, I'd still be home watching it on TV and wishing I hadn't eaten so much pizza right now. That's the kind of thing that's gotten us here the whole time. That's something you can't sustain for a long time. We've got to get some sponsorship going. But we've really had a fun weekend."
ON HIS ODDS FOR MAKING THE RACE: "There were 58 cars here, so I guess our odds were one in 58. But really, it was a lot taller. We have substantially less than one-tenth the budget than all these other cars for this race only. You know, you don't have a prayer. We got lucky on the qualifying thing and how those races shook out on Thursday that put us in the race. We had a decent lap. It was a combination of everything that did it for us.
"I'm in the black right now. And for all of 2005, I wasn't. So that's a good feeling. But as far as racing some more, we'd like to have some more decent cars like this one to at least make some respectable showings and it takes a lot of money."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 5th:
MATT KENSETH SAID THAT HE FELT YOUR CONTACT WAS VERY MUCH INTENTIONAL. WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THAT? "Matt always thinks that. I guess Matt didn't think anything when he got me sideways over in (turn) two either. He should have thought about that first. But I got penalized but they didn't penalize him for getting me sideways. He should have been smart enough to know not to be tuckin down our doors in the first 20 laps of a 200-lap race at Daytona. He has no room complain. He started the whole thing and I finished it."
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO COME BACK THROUGH THE FIELD WITH A DAMAGED RACE CAR TO FINISH 8TH TODAY? "(It was) just the pit crew. They did a great job in the pits. They did a great job fixing it. We just kept digging to find the right holes. We got ourselves in position there at the end. We couldn't race for the win but to get a top five is pretty awesome."
ON COMING BACK THROUGH THE FIELD "It was a wild day here. We raced hard. We got back to the top five and that was awesome for this Home Depot team. It was a little bit wilder than the qualifiers were which we all expected that. Just a lot guys out there being impatient too early in the race. The thing with Jeff, I don't think it was his fault. I think he just got a spot up there where it was wet and he pushed, got into me and we both pushed into the wall. I wasn't complaining about that by any means. It was a wild day for sure. We had to come from the back about four different times."
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU SLID THROUGH THE RACE TRACK AND GOT INTO MATT (KENSETH) AND BOTH OF YOU GOT THE PENALTY FROM NASCAR? "He thinks I just ran over him. I thought I was clear and just moving down in front of him. He's screaming about it like he always does. Never mind the fact that he had me sideways in turn two. It's just amazing. Guys want to race a certain way then when something happens to them, they're the first ones to point fingers somewhere else."
OFF OF TURN TWO, IT LOOKED LIKE A FLASHBACK TO YOUR DIRT TRACK DAYS. YOU HAD THIS THING SIDEWAYS AND SAVED IT. TALK ABOUT THAT "I was off the race track twice. Kyle Busch, he's the one guy that's probably going to hurt somebody out here. He's all over the place. He's what we like to call a bird with no feathers. He just doesn't know where he's going. He had a fast car. He just needs to learn how to drive the thing. He's got talent. That's why he got here in the first place. He'll do a good job. With more times he gets a chance to run at certain race tracks the better he'll get."
ON THE RACE "It was like a battle box with 30 400-pound cars. It was a wild day but the conditions didn't favor good racing. It was hard because there were times when the track was wet and we're still racing out there and we're trying to at least get half way for everybody. I think that's what happened when Jeff got into us. I'm not blaming for that. I slid around when I got up there. He slid too and we both ended up in the wall. I'm really proud of the Home Depot team. We got everything fixed back. We ended up going to the back about five different times and came back to the front. I'm pretty happy to get a top five."
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO GET UP THERE? "Find the right holes at the right time. Same thing we do every time we come to a restrictor plate race. It was just one of those wild days."
ON THE TRACK CONDITIONS "It was quite slick if you got off the bottom. A bunch of guys were single file and it let it accumulate on the top. It was just one of those wild days. It was a wild 500 for sure."
ON COMING BACK AND FINISHING IN THE TOP FIVE "It just shows the determination of the team. It's a great group of guys. They never quit. This is step one of accomplishing our goals."
ON WHAT HAPPENED WITH MATT KENSETH "I don't know. I guess I clipped him in the right front when I was coming across. I thought I was clear of him. I almost wrecked too. I don't know why he's complaining so bad because it's not like I'd have done that to myself either. It guess I clipped in the nose going by but that's what's happening when we're racing that close. I had my Busch Series car run me down in the grass. I had Kyle Busch run me down in the grass. I had all kinds of people running me all over the race track. I don't think anybody was doing anything intentional. It's just the way it was out there today."
ON BEING FRIENDS WITH MATT KENSETH "Matt's a top notch guy. I'm just tired to listening to him complain when something doesn't go his way especially after he had me sideways going into two."
ON SURVIVING THIS RACE "It was a rough day. The conditions didn't help much either. It made it really hard and the track was really slippery because of the rain. There was some mist on the track."