MIKE WALLACE, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: NOTE: Wallace was involved in the lap-74 crash off Turn 2 which caught up several cars. He finished 42nd. "I don't really know what happened for sure. The 97 (Kurt Busch), something started with...
MIKE WALLACE, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
NOTE: Wallace was involved in the lap-74 crash off Turn 2 which caught up several cars. He finished 42nd.
"I don't really know what happened for sure. The 97 (Kurt Busch), something started with the 97. He got turned down on the apron or whatever and that's the last I could really see. I just kind of whoaed up, got off the gas and all the smoke... It was just one of those wrecks. Everything happened right quick in front of you. You think you can dodge it, then you watch it on television and you say you should, but it didn't happen."
STEVE PARK, NO. 30 AMERICA ONLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: The polesitter was also involved in the lap-74 crash off Turn 2. He wound up 39th.
"I'm fine. The 97 car spun, and he almost wrecked the lap before. I don't know if he had a tire going down or what. But he spun to the bottom and caused that big restrictor-plate crash. Unfortunately the AOL Chevrolet got involved in it. We had it missed, but the 01 and the 31 got up into us and pinched us between them and the wall. It's a shame. Half the race isn't even over and guys are running like it's the last lap. Restrictor plates don't cause crashes; race-car drivers do. I'm tired of hearing people say that restrictor-plate racing causes all these crashes. It didn't cause that wreck, I guarantee you."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
NOTE: Craven was also involved in the lap-74 crash which began when Kurt Busch spun in Turn 2. He finished 43rd.
"We were a victim. It's not that unusual. Four times a year we race on these restrictor-plate tracks, and you have to expect it when you least expect it, and that was the case here. I really didn't expect that to happen on new tires among the leaders. It's usually in the middle of the pack, three-wide, something like that. I don't know. I didn't see what happened, so I don't know what caused it. I'm not blaming anybody because it is what it is. It's just that type of racing."
WHAT DID YOU SEE? "Just a bunch of smoke, and at that point you're along for the ride. The cars take a while to get going and they take quite a while to get slowed down. The tires are hard and you really just can't slow down for something like that. You just have to hope you find a clear avenue and the Tide Pontiac didn't. We got crunched up."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"What a team. They gave me a car I could have won with. But the race kind of got on different agendas. Those cats who were running in the big pack and outrunning us on gas mileage didn't have to stay in the pit as long, so they got ahead of us. Some of them that pitted got ahead of us because they didn't have to pit for as much gas as we did. Some of them made it all the way. It's disappointing, but it's not surprising. We've been so fortunate. I just thank God that we've been able to have had the success we've had. I had such a great car today, made a solid move for the lead and just had a really good night going. We just got messed up on that fuel mileage.
THE DEI WINNING STREAK IS OVER, BUT YOU'VE HAD DOMINANT CARS HERE. "I wouldn't say they're dominant, but they were competitive."
SLUGGER LABBE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was easy for the 16, 18, 99, 21 and the 5 to pit because they were running 25th when they pitted. We were running second and we'd have been a lap short. If we were running 20th, being a lap short would have been OK, but the decision for them was really easy. The 8 was five laps short, and we were a lap short. You win some and you lose some that way."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
Finished 5th despite running out of fuel on the final lap.
YOU WERE REALLY MAKING STRIDES ON GREG BIFFLE. DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE THAT CLOSE ON FUEL? "No. I don't know how many laps we ran the time before, but I knew we were probably pretty close. I didn't realize we were going to run out of gas either. We had to go for it. I wasn't conserving fuel, but I wasn't using any extra either. The guys did a great job on the Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, and we gave it all we had. It's about the first race I've finished here in three or four years without getting wrecked or turned upside down or having someone turn upside down on me. I feel pretty good about that, and we did come home with a top five. We ran out of gas going into Turn 1 and coasted back around, so I can't complain about whole lot. It's still a great finish for us. Again, this probably isn't our best race track as far as restrictor-plate racing goes. Fatback did a great job making that call to pit and everything went right for us."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Gordon finished 40th after getting caught up in an accident on Lap 75 when Kurt Busch spun in front of him.
"I'm OK, just a little disappointed. We had a pretty good race car and just killed it. The most disappointing thing about the whole evening is the amount of points we're going to lose. I was just trying different things out there. A couple times I could've stayed in line, but I've got to know where I can pass people. I learned as much as I could early in the race so we could capitalize on it late in the race, and I think we had a pretty good game plan. We just happened to get tangled up. It's easy to be a victim of circumstances in these restrictor-plate races. Kurt Busch lost it in front of me and I had it saved, and I could be wrong, but I think the 01 ran in the back of me and he clobbered me. A few laps before the wreck Richard (Childress) had come on the radio and told me to stick with Harvick, that we were the strongest two cars together and that was the only way we were going to beat the 8 and 15. I stuck with him, and now maybe it looks like I shouldn't have. If I would've moved out, maybe I wouldn't have gotten wrecked, but I was doing my best to hold with him and now we'll just have to get them next time. We're just going to have to build a new one for Talladega, but we've got a great group of guys here on this Cingular team, a great race team."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/GOT MILK? CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Our car really wasn't all that fast. It was hard to get track position, so we tried to do it on pit strategy a little bit, just getting two tires, stuff like that. We were getting good enough mileage that we tried and played the mileage game and topped off there on that one caution flag so we could stretch it and just make one stop, and some of the guys had to make two. The guys in the pits did a great job. That's what got us a fourth-place finish. We had to get two tires -- I was wishing we could get four. Our car didn't handle to good on two tires there, but it was a good run for us. We're going to take it. We've had some really good runs. We've got a really strong team. These guys on this Kellogg's team are doing a great job. They're bringing good cars to the racetrack every week, that's what it takes."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was a good night for us. We had a good points night and had a fast car all night long. We probably had the best car, but we couldn't afford to take a chance on fuel those guys in the back did. We did the best we could tonight. There was no way we were going to run out of gas. We took a gamble and stayed out after the big wreck. I think a bunch of guys were hoping for a caution there at the end to cycle us back through, but it didn't happen. The car was loose during that first run. It was tight off of (turn) 2 before that last run. I figured out early the best way to win was going to be breaking up the 8 and 15. We did that, in a way, but the circumstances didn't work out. I want to thank the GM Goodwrench guys because they kept us in this race tonight. We'll take another good run here and move on to Chicago."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was a decent race for us, we just got beat on fuel mileage.
ANY CLOSE CALLS OUT THERE? "Always, but that's just how it is in (restrictor) plate racing."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
HAD YOU NOT HAD THE FUEL STRATEGY SITUATION, COULD YOU HAVE WON THE RACE? "We would have been up there and had a chance to win it. I think Kevin Harvick had the best car. Congratulations first to Greg Biffle. Man, what a great place to get your first victory. He must really be enjoying himself, and I'm sure he will tomorrow anyway. We did all we could, but we came up a little short. We couldn't take the chance that something would happen to us on fuel mileage. We got what we could. I was driving as hard as I could, picking off as many cars as we could just trying to get back to Matt [Kenseth] and do what I could for our points. We got second [in the points] back, but we lost a couple of points to Matt. It was all we could do."
YOU SAID HARVICK HAD A GOOD CAR. WAS HE BETTER THAN YOU WERE? "It's possible he was. It looked like when I was leading, he could pass a little bit more frequently than I could. I don't know whether my car wasn't any good or I didn't have any friends out there. The car was fine; the driver has just got to be able to suck it up and make the best of a bad situation. I tried to do the best I could, and I wound up with another top-10. That's good enough."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"That was a pretty frustrating night for us. The Valvoline Pontiac was sliding pretty good at the start of the race and we went backward. But James [crew chief James Ince] and the guys worked and worked on it. Toward the end of the race we seemed to be a bit better but we were so far back that we could never catch up to the lead pack. You know, we said our goal tonight was just to survive and walk out with a decent finish and we kind of did that. I think this is the first time since 2000 that we made it out of this race without getting wrecked. We aren't happy, but it beats spending the night in the hospital like we had to do here last year"