Daytona Duel: GM teams race 1 quotes

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS -- Sidelined with blown tire: "We just got really tight. We were really loose in practice most of the day and we made a change at the end of the last practice and made the car a lot tighter and a lot...

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS -- Sidelined with blown tire:

"We just got really tight. We were really loose in practice most of the day and we made a change at the end of the last practice and made the car a lot tighter and a lot more comfortable to drive; and we just didn't know how tight it was going to be. So we took off there real fast and got to the front pretty quickly, but as we went it started getting tighter and tighter and tighter and it was just more than the tire could stand. So I feel pretty good about where we are. The car drove great and I think we can take right there and apply something for what we need to be ready for tomorrow's practice and Saturday's practice. I really believe we're right on the edge of where we need to be with speed and where we need to be with handling. We'll just keep digging."



"Our car was okay. It wasn't quite as good as the car we had in the Shootout. But at the end it got a little bit better. They made good changes. We certainly have a little bit more work to do. The track conditions are so much different with the sun being out versus with what we had racing at night. The track was way slicker. Like not even close. It was way slicker for me. It's a different car but it was definitely a lot slicker. It was pretty calm for the first 45 lap and then when we put the two tires on at the end, then that was a pretty good time."


JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA -- Finished 10th -- Note: Will go to a back-up car for the Daytona 500 -

"Yeah, we had some teammates kinda gang up on us, which is pretty typical. We had a real good effort in the DuPont Chevrolet. I was very pleased. We made some big gains from practice and got ourselves in position but unfortunately got shuffled back there. And then we were just slowly but surely trying to make our way up through. We got a little bit loose that second half of the race and made an adjustment and freed the car up a little too much. I felt like we learned a lot. Unfortunately we tore the car up when Michael (Waltrip) and Regan (Smith) got together. We'll just see. We're going to make a decision here pretty soon whether we're going to get the back-up out and we'll start wherever we're going to start and work our way up through there. I thought the pit stops were good, the communication was good, the car was driving good and we had good speed."

IS THAT INDICATIVE OF WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE IN THE 500? "Oh, yeah. The cars are a handful to drive. The extra plate definitely carries a lot of speed off into the corner. We're still seeing a lot of bump-drafting and you've really got to use the tools that NASCAR's is giving us to make the cars handle good too, which means the drivers have got to drive the heck out of them. So that's what I was really happy with. We got shuffled back there at the beginning and we were able to drive back up into the top five and unfortunately we didn't save it. But oh yeah, there's going to be plenty more of that. Usually the 150's are pretty calm. So if that's what it's like, then the fans are in for a treat with the 500."



ON THE CONDITION OF THE CAR FOLLOWING THE DUEL #1: "The nose is pushed up and we sent our Shootout car that we wrecked on the last lap (Saturday night) home, and they've already repaired that, so that car is as good as new. So we're better off just bringing that car out. So the Shootout car has already been back to the shop and been repaired and come back down."

SO THE DECISION IS MADE TO GO TO THE BACK-UP? "Yeah, it's not worth it. You've worked all month long to try to win the Daytona 500 and we're not going to beat the side out and mud it and just try to go for 20 spots on the grid. If you can't win from 43rd but you could have won from 20th, you didn't have a chance anyway."



DID YOU LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW OUT THERE? "Yes. Our car was good. I made a couple of bad choices on lanes and got shuffled back. But, our car handled good. It is fast. This is going to be one of those anybody's race on Sunday. You just can't get an advantage. There was no car out there in the race that had an advantage. So it is just going to be like a crap shoot to win the 500."

HOW WILD WAS IT OUT THERE? "It wasn't real bad. It got a little bad there those last four laps and I was in the middle of it. The only way I wouldn't start on the pole of the Daytona 500 was to wad it up. So I conceded there was a lap and a half to go and I was too far back to win it. I just decided to start on the pole."



ONE-THOUSANDTHS OF A SECOND: IT WAS ALMOST TWO IN A ROW FOR YOU: "Well, I had the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and the No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) in front of me. I had the No. 33 pushing him to the start/finish line there. I felt the No. 18 kind of veer left so I went to left because I knew my car was better on the bottom and wound up being right behind the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson). The No. 18 came to me and I tried to block him I just didn't make enough zags to keep him behind me. But a good day for our Shell-Pennzoil Chevy. I didn't start off that great but Gil (Martin) and the guys made some good adjustments and we were right in the hunt again."

HOW DO THINGS GO THROUGH YOUR MIND THAT QUICKLY WHEN THINGS ARE THAT CLOSE? "Well, I won one here and I knew I was in trouble. I knew I was on the right side with Mark Martin and I knew I was in trouble on this one because I was ahead of him coming about half way through the short shoot with the side draft and got me to the tri-oval. Hey, you win some, you lose some, all you can ask for is a chance."



HOW DO YOU DO A THING LIKE THAT IN A BACKUP CAR WITH NO FRESH TIRES? "The photographers are bummed that I didn't do anything more but I don't have any of my crew guys to push it and I didn't feel like beating this thing up any more being a backup car and all.

"Just shows we don't build bad race cars. I am very proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. The Shootout car was very fast today. The call that Chad made to stay out on tires really paid off. It wasn't easy to drive the car that loose, those guys on new tires behind me had a lot of speed and a lot of energy, they pushed me. This Lowe's Chevrolet did it man."

DESCRIBE THE CALL AND THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS TO MAKE THE CALL: "If we were good on fuel, I was willing to take the chance. Track position was everything. I could find my way up to the top five or six, but I could get any further because the cars were so equal. So I was in favor of the call. When they dropped the green flag, I couldn't get going like I wanted to. I was a little concerned about how the next four laps were going to be. Things worked out well and I stayed committed to the bottom. Things worked out well. I stayed committed to the bottom. I got a lot of big pushes from behind and hung on to it. Man, this thing was so loose with old tires and those guys pushing from behind. Glad I hung on. Man, I thought I was going to end up in the fence at the finishline. I had a push from behind and the side drafting that was going on had the car sideways coming to the finish. Exciting stuff. Hope we put on a good show for the fans. Big thanks to Gatorade for supporting this event. One down and one big one to go on Sunday."

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THIS CAR OUT THERE? "It is really like what we expected from practice. We got the car to close up well. With all the extra speed that the cars have, it seems easier to stay in a big pack at the front. I think long green flag runs will allow good cars to come to the front. It makes it a little easier to stay together because the cars close up so well."



"The final lap was pretty interesting. Everyone was going for the win. I am proud of the Furniture Row Race Team. We've had a busy offseason--a lot of changes. It's just a Duel race but a good lead into the season. I'm real confident. We've had good speed on the car all week--we still have some work on our hands. A great start for us, I am real excited for this race team. Can't wait for the Daytona 500."



"I'm so proud of these guys. This is the best driver (Regan Smith) out there. He did a great job. Wouldn't want anyone else. We didn't have the greatest racecar, but we will make it right for him. The racecar has got speed. Michael (Waltrip) kind of just got shoved up the racetrack and Regan had nowhere to go, and he did a great job of not wrecking it."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Regan Smith , Clint Bowyer , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports