Daytona II: Burton/Rudd press conference

JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Finished 2nd) RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 3rd) JEFF BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY? "A lot of people didn't pit, but we pitted there. We came in and put on...

JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Finished 2nd)

RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 3rd)

JEFF BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY?

"A lot of people didn't pit, but we pitted there. We came in and put on four tires under the caution just before it and then that caution came out. I don't remember how it happened, but that caution came out and it looked like with enough caution laps, that would get us to the end. Unfortunately, we didn't get quite enough caution laps to be able to run hard, so when we came out of the pits, Paul immediately said, 'Hey listen, we're short. We can't go the whole way. If we don't get enough cautions, you've got to save fuel.' So we saved fuel for the first two-thirds of that last run and just kind of tried to stay with the lead pack, but at the end of it I was running half-throttle a tremendous amount of the time. Then when people started pitting, unfortunately, that put us in position where I was in the back of the line and people started peeling off and Greg and a bunch of those guys were way ahead of me and I couldn't get caught back up. But we did what we had to do. Saving fuel was the smart thing for us to do and that's what we had to do. We saved some fuel and came home second. I would have liked to have been there giving Greg a run at it, but we played the cards we had to play and we did what we needed to do."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GREG WINNING?

"Listen, I'm real excited for Greg, that's the truth. I'm a fan of Greg Biffle's. I really think the world of Randy Goss. Those guys are really good guys. They work extremely hard and they needed this. They came into Winston Cup racing this year, they've won championships in everything they've done before and this has been a struggle. They needed something really good to happen to them, of course, we do too, but it'll be good for their morale and it'll be good for them in the long run. This will really do a lot for them and I'm really proud of them."

WHAT WILL THIS DO FOR YOUR TEAM?

"Our team has been running a lot better. The last 10 races we've been running a lot better, but we haven't been putting finishes down. Last week I was sitting in a rocket ship and I got wrecked and then I wrecked myself. Last week was really disappointing. I hate screwing up and then having 13 days to wait before you race again. I just put it in the fence last week and cost us a lot of points and really felt bad about it. Our team is a good team and we just haven't been putting finishes together. This is good for us. We ran well tonight. We not only finished well, but we ran well. I thought we had a top 10 car all night. We ended up probably getting a little more than we deserved, but there have been a whole lot of races where we didn't get as much as we thought we deserved."

RICKY RUDD PRESS CONFERENCE

HOW DID YOUR STRATEGY WORK?

"I didn't have anything to do with that call, obviously. The driver doesn't have the whole picture, but Pat Tryson and Len Wood - all these guys - sat down and looked at fuel mileage. I think that decision was made somewhere in the lap 90 range when a caution came out. We came back in and topped off with fuel again. We finally got a little track position and then we elected to give it up just so we could know we could stretch the distance. It was hard at the time. The driver, he's saying, 'Man, we just finally got some track position and you're gonna give it away.' As it turns out, it was a real smart call."

THIS IS A GOOD THING.

"Yeah, it really is. The Wood Brothers are super people. Jon Wood won today and they're really ecstatic and on top of the world and they ought to be. That was just a tremendous effort for Jon today and I think both Roush trucks were 1-2 today and now Roush motors were 1-2-3 here at Daytona. It's just a good way to start the second half of the season. Our season has been a little bit like Jeff's. We started off really in the box. Our qualifying efforts have been stinking all year long and we still haven't figured that one out, but our race program has gotten better. We just can't seem to get to the end of the race without breaking something or wrecking. If we get to the end of the race, we're gonna be an eighth to 12th place car. We're not a winning car or a top five car yet, but we feel like we're eighth to 12th to 15th place car every week. We haven't had the finishing results to show for that and, therefore, we're way back in the points. These guys needed a shot in the arm and tonight is the kind of finish that will give it to them."

JEFF BURTON

WHAT ABOUT GOING WITH DOWNFORCE CARS?

"All of our cars are downforce cars because we make a lot of drag (laughing). Mark made a conscious decision to bring a car that was slower and he looked like he handled pretty well. We brought the slickest, low-drag car that we could get our hands on and we brought it and handled well, so I don't know. Biffle's car was a brand new car. Biffle, myself and the 97 all had brand new cars that were as low drag and as little downforce as we know how to make. The 6 and the 17 brought cars that had more downforce and, I don't know, I didn't really see where any of us had that big of an advantage of the other one. At anytime, one could be in front of the other."

YOU TESTED HERE. DID IT HELP?

"Our speedway program for the 99 team, this year in particular, has been really poor. Our qualifying effort has been really poor. We would have taken a provisional down here if we had to start on time. We finished fifth in the 125, so we started pretty decent. Then we did take a provisional at Talladega and even here - this is the fifth new car that we've built for superspeedway racing this year. We didn't take a provisional, but we were 36th so we were pretty damn close. We've got some improving to do. I mean, we can't say, 'Hey, we finished second and everything is great.' We still have to find some speed and make these things go better if we're gonna get up there and compete for wins like the DEI cars and the way it looks like Childress has got his stuff going. We've got to get better."

RICKY RUDD

HOW DOES EDDIE WOOD FEEL NOW?

"He's definitely on cloud nine right now. He was spotting for us on the backstretch and he did a real good job tonight on that. It was a tremendous effort. The whole family is just an unusual group and real unique. They're a very close family. I'm sure it tore Eddie up that he couldn't be out there with Jon and see his first victory. Eddie was Jon's, I guess you would call him his crew chief and everything when he ran his go-karts through his kid years. Eddie has been with him right there through thick and then. Jon was fortunate that the Roush camp picked him up for the Truck Series and Eddie is on top of the world, just like any father would be. Especially considering their sponsor pulled out two or three races ago, it might be a wake-up call that other people will notice that there's a winning truck out there without a sponsor on it."

JEFF BURTON

"Something a lot of people don't realize about those trucks, too, just to be clear, is they came down south this year and brought virtually nothing with them. They built everything brand new. They had new crew chiefs, new car chiefs, new body hangers. Three months ago if you would have walked in that shop you would have just shook your head and said, 'There's no way in hell these guys can do it.' They have done one hell of a job and Jon Wood, I tell you, they are really doing good. Both of those truck teams being underfunded. They started with absolutely nothing and they're doing a hell of a job."

RICKY RUDD

YOUR FIRST TOP FIVE SINCE BRISTOL.

"We're real happy. We haven't really been close to a top five and tonight we probably would have been a 12th-place car maybe with the way it all shook out - maybe 10th - so we'll take it any way we can get it right now. We're a little desperate. It's just great to see the checkered flag fall from close up. It's just really nice."

JEFF BURTON

IS THIS THE TYPE OF RACE NASCAR ENVISIONED WITH THE SMALLER FUEL CELL - BREAKING UP THE PACKS?

"I think it's not the finish they're looking for. I think they're looking for the 40-car pack at the finish. I mean, that's what I personally think, but they want the separation at some point during the race. This race is never as wild as the other races because handling is so much more important. You can see, if you make these cars handle poorly, you can still have good races. Tonight's race was a good race and tonight's race was an exciting race. You don't have to run 10 rows, three wide to have good races. You make these cars handle bad, like most cars handled tonight, and you can have great racing. Tonight is a great example of that. You don't have to run 10 rows deep, three-wide to have good racing. How the expectation for Daytona got to the point where you've got to have a race like that at Daytona, but you don't at Charlotte, I still don't understand that. Why the race at Charlotte is OK and the race at Bristol is OK and the race at Michigan is OK, but that kind of race at Daytona doesn't work. I don't understand that. We've set expectations that are just way too damn high. Tonight is a good example. You can have good racing without having to be three-wide every damn lap."

RICKY RUDD

"I'll add to that. We had to work on our car tonight. We couldn't hold it wide open in the corners. As slow as we're running, we couldn't hold it wide open. We had to work on it and we finally got it to where we could do that, but that was the difference in what separated the field tonight. The good handling cars worked their way to the front and the ones that didn't handle so good worked their way to the back."

WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE?

"You get to the point where something seems to go wrong almost every race. It seemed like for us at least 10 races in a row. You almost get to the point of , 'when is it gonna happen.' They had a big wreck on the backstretch and, luckily, Eddie Wood steered me through that. But I'm sitting there waiting as the smoke first goes up and thinking, 'Well, this is it.' That's a terrible attitude to have, but this is our luck tonight and we were able to drive through it. Hopefully, it turns around. We've got a long way to go. This season is pretty tough and pretty grueling. We're in a much bigger hole than we wanted to be, but we've still got a long ways to go. If we can go out and win a race anytime between now and the next 10-15 races, it will be a great season for us. We haven't given up. We're out here trying as hard as we can. We're not here just to tag along with the field. We want to be able to come up front and try to compete. We haven't been able to do that this year, but I don't think we'll be satisfied until we do. We've got a long way to go yet."

JEFF BURTON

"I agree with Ricky. We've been fortunate enough, and Ricky too, to have a lot of success in the recent past. When you have things continually happen to you, you get to the point where you just feel like you can't do anything right. Even when you're not doing it wrong, it still happens or something happens. It gets really frustrating. Ricky has won a lot of races and I've won my share, so it gets real frustrating."

WHAT ABOUT FUEL MILEAGE AT ROUSH?

"You can't start thinking about fuel mileage here. You had to start thinking about it a long time ago. Jack has been waiting for his opportunity to win a race on fuel mileage for a long time. He's worked extremely hard on making these things get better fuel mileage and Jack has been waiting to take advantage of that for about two years now. Tonight was the night. You've got to give those guys credit, but you also have to give Randy Goss credit too. The thing held enough fuel. He put fuel in it when he needed to and those things have to play in there too. It's a team deal and I'm real proud of every single person. That's what it takes."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Greg Biffle , Jon Wood