Daytona Pontiac Drivers Comment on Race

Daytona 500 Daytona International Speedway February 14, 1999 TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "I've brought all my IRL luck over here now. Anytime I tear up anything it seems like I tear up a motor. The wind was pretty...

Daytona 500 Daytona International Speedway February 14, 1999

TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "I've brought all my IRL luck over here now. Anytime I tear up anything it seems like I tear up a motor. The wind was pretty tough out there. A lot of us were having trouble in turn two with the cars pushing. These guys did a great job. We kept making adjustments and the car kept getting better. We just couldn't get the motor to run. The wind was pretty strong. After you got about eight or 10 laps on the tires it would make the car push off turn two. Whatever happened to Bobby's car happened to ours, too. It's something inside the motor."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "I was real patient with it and didn't want to get in any trouble. I knew if I kept the fenders on it we'd be there at the end. Running two by two you can't do anything. Rather than try to force the issue, like I did a couple of times, I just said forget it and thought I'd wait until it got single file and I'd start moving up then. We didn't get that far. There's not really a whole lot you can do back there when you start that far back. You have to be patient. We were going to let it come to us."

Note: Today's sixth-place finish is Pontiac Grand Prix driver Kyle Petty's best since a sixth-place run at Watkins Glen last year. It's his best-ever finish in a Winston Cup race at Daytona.

KYLE PETTY (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix): "I think the call Doug (Hewitt) made in the pits as far as four tires, as far as two tires, gave us track position and got us what we needed. The crowd, with Keith Almond coming over and working with Rick Mann on the motors amazes me. Our motors are a lot better. Our bodies are a lot better. Our pit stops were incredible all day long. We never lost any positions in the pits. We picked up spots in the pits whether we took on two, four, it didn't make any difference. We just had a good, good day."

"This is the same thing as winning for us. I'm not so sure this isn't the best I've ever run down here. I finished 10th one year in Eddie Bierschwale's car and if you look at the rundown it will list him as the driver because he started the car. That's about as good as I've ever run in the 500. To be able to run in competitive style was the deal. No matter where we finished, if we finished 15th or 16th, we were competitive today. We weren't competitive with the first three or four, but I think it shows as a group, Petty Enterprises has turned its speedway program around this year. The last part of last year we struggled on the speedway stuff. It was a great weekend for the Pettys.

"I could have ended up anywhere at the end because I kept making holes. I kept thinking, 'Man, nobody's going with me.' Poor ol' Skinner, he's going to have to go around and give out thousand dollar bills. Nobody will go with him. I felt sorry for him. I got in line behind him and I couldn't help him much. Finally, I had to start going three-wide with me in the middle and trying to suck around and hope that people would let off and let me back in line. When you race with good guys like that, they save your butt more than you save your butt. I think the good Lord was just looking out for us today because if you go back and look at that one wreck I'm stopped on the apron and they're crashing in front of me and crashing behind me. We just had a really good day. "Everybody likes to talk to me about Rockingham, but that's been about 10 years ago. But I think I'm going back a little more focused, a little more rejuvenated and I think this team will do it. Robbie (Loomis) and John (Andretti) had a really good test down there and they came back and we talked about our stuff. Hopefully, we can go back down there and do the same thing."

ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix): "We had a really good Pontiac. It was doing everything it needed to do, and then I got the right-front fender caved in and it didn't drive very good after that. Chad Little was blocking me down the back straight away and just ran over the right-front fender. There were a lot of people doing a lot of banging out there. That's just part of it. It's the nature of the beast. We kind of knew what our problem was Thursday. This team has always had a good restrictor plate program with Hendrick Motors. They just won the race and we can't complain about that."

Note: After a slow leak in a tire forced him to lose a lap at the quarter-point of the race, Cope stormed back to come within two cars of regaining his lap. He finished 18th.

DERRIKE COPE (No. 30 Jimmy Dean Pontiac Grand Prix): "This Pontiac was pretty good. We still just couldn't run with nobody behind us and that was the tough part. But when it had somebody pushing on it the car really drove good and I could hang onto it. We marched back up there and showed everyone we could run up there. I was hoping I could get my lap back and I just didn't have quite enough to get my lap back. At the end I tried to get out of everyone's way and let them race. It was a slow leak in the tire. It started getting tighter and I thought maybe it was just tight. It kept getting worse and I started to feel that thing lay over and bounce and I said, 'We've got a slow leak going.' Sure enough it went down and luckily I didn't end up in the wall. It was a tough race. There was a lot of close competition. It was a great race. I just wish I could have been in the thick of it at the end with a chance of winning this thing while running up front."

CHUCK RIDER, car owner (No. 30 Jimmy Dean Pontiac Grand Prix): "It was an outstanding effort. When you have a tire go down like that and it blows and you still keep it on the track and survive, that's good. The team kept their composure and Derrike drove a helluva race. We're happy with a top-20 finish. We knew where we were position-wise near the end and a lap down, so we didn't want to mix it up and destroy a car or hurt someone else. We backed off of it a little and that was a smart move on our part. Derrike brought the car home and now we can get it ready for Talladega."

BILL DAVIS, car owner (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "We had a real good car. We tried to pit with the 6 car there at the first and blubbered on gas coming down pit road. That kind of got us behind. We recovered from that with a two-tire stop and got back to the front again. We were really rolling along on our way to a good race and got caught in the big wreck. The guys did a great job putting the car back together and wouldn't have lost a lap, but had a flat and lost a bunch of spots. We had a good car and we've got most of it to take home, so we're OK."

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We were really strong early on and were able to take the lead and get our five bonus points out of the way quick. That was good. But it developed a miss pretty early and I kept falling slowly back. We still don't really know what it was. Tony had a similar-type miss, too. It's disappointing because we showed from the start we were one of the cars to beat."

TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "We accomplished one of our goals. We brought the car home in one piece. We've got a real good Pontiac for Talladega. It will fly. We learned a lot, but would have liked to finish better. It's a pretty good race car. We haven't been able to pinpoint the problem. We'll know when we get back to the shop."

RICH BICKLE (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "All I saw was the 88 car go down on the apron. I shot down to the apron and I thought I wa s going to get down into the grass and get away from it. I almost got clear and the 6 car came off the fence. It was fun while it lasted. I made some mistakes in the race and I learned some stuff. It was just one of those things that happens. When you're racing 40 cars side by side, it's going to happen. All I can say is that we got this Pontiac back up to the front. We had a good shot at a top-15 which we were looking for today. It's too bad. The car is destroyed. There isn't a roof on it, there isn't anything. It's wiped out pretty bad. I've got a great team and we'll go back and put another speedway car together and next time at Talladega we'll be better than we were here."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Chad Little