DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON THE PASS FOR THE LEAD WITH FIVE LAPS TO GO "I can't even remember. There was so much happening there the last few laps, I can't even remember how I got the lead. There is so much ...
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON THE PASS FOR THE LEAD WITH FIVE LAPS TO GO "I can't even remember. There was so much happening there the last few laps, I can't even remember how I got the lead. There is so much going on in your mind. You're trying to watch who is running up on the top and who is running up on the bottom and you're trying to get help from those guys and get pushes. I just kind of listened to my spotter, Ty Norris. He did a great job spotting from up on the tower and helping us get the runs we needed. It wasn't really blocking. I was just kind of getting help from Kenny (Schrader) and the '24' on the bottom and we stayed out front.
"That was a tough win. I'm going to tell you - it was hard."
WERE YOU WORRIED WHEN YOU GOT SHUFFLED BACK? "Yeah, I was real worried. I was surprised Rusty didn't go with me. He'd been trying to give me pushes for a couple laps there and I really didn't think they were good enough to make a move and he gave me a good push. I don't know if he just saw me and the '97' make contact and got nerved up and went to the bottom. But, I wish he'd have went with me. I think we could have won the race. Of course, we ended up winning going around the top. He should have probably went with me and run second. But, me and him have been real competitive driving different race cars - one's red and one's blue - if you know what I mean. But, I'm real happy that we got the right car to victory lane."
HAVE YOU SENT A MESSAGE TO EVERYONE FOR NEXT WEEK? "Yeah. We come down here and we test and we run real hard. We normally don't qualify real well, but the car looks real good for tomorrow's qualifying. But, we never really do play with them. I've just always gone to the front. I want to be up front and a lot of these guys I race against would rather me probably help them out and work and be a little more calm in the draft, but I want to be the guy leading."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON MAKING SUCH A STRONG BID AT THE END AFTER APPEARING TO BE OUT OF IT "Once we finally caught the draft it worked out well for us. But, we all slid the tires getting to pit road so bad, I don't know why more people didn't take four. Those left side tires, they had to be vibrating and shaking. We flat-spotted them really bad, so that is why we went with four. We thought we were going to blow a left front if we didn't end up pitting. But, those guys made it, so we learned a little something there. Next time getting on to pit road I won't get on there as hard."
WAS THE PLAN FOR RIGHT SIDES UP UNTIL THEN? "Yeah, the plan was (for right sides) until then and Chad (Knaus) had the view on TV and saw how bad we had them locked up coming to pit road and called for four."
DID YOU THINK YOU OUT OF IT? "I didn't think there was any way we were going to run those guys back down and then we did. We only had a short amount of time to get any spots and we made up a little bit of ground."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING? "Yeah, we did. There are definitely some things that we won't do Thursday and there are some things that will probably try that will help us for Sunday."
WILL THE CAR RACE BETTER LATER THIS WEEK? "The car showed some muscle early on and I was proud of the way it ran. I was disappointed the way we lost the front about lap 15. All that means is that we have to adjust and we've got to tune to the new Pontiac. It's going to be a sporty race car. I'm going to enjoy it. But, it won't come for free. We're going to have to earn it and work on it."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We didn't really have that good a car. We just stayed in line and got in a position where the guys on the outside, somebody had to check up and it stalled that whole line down enough that we got by. But, we didn't drive up to fifth. Some guys came back to us."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Some wild racing out there tonight. I could suck up, push, pass and shove better than I have in a long time. I could've had a better run. I just didn't capitalize on some opportunities. I know we had a great car, that's for sure. I just never got myself in the right spot to go for it all. I thought towards the end I might be able to pull something off, but then I got stuck in the middle and lost it. I definitely learned some things tonight."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
DID YOU EXPECT THAT JUNIOR COULD HAVE MADE THAT KIND OF MOVE ON THE HIGH SIDE? "Anything is possible in this Bud Shootout. He's really strong here and they've got a great program and he certainly knows how to work the draft. But, I was in a great position, sitting out there in front. When we were single-file I really didn't think anybody could touch us. But, once I saw them start to break off into double-file behind me I just tried to keep my eyes open on what lane was moving. When Junior got up there, I still didn't think he had enough momentum to get all the way by me. I thought even if he got beside me, I thought as good as Kurt Busch was pushing me on the inside lane that maybe the inside lane was working a little bit better - that we could still battle them to the line. But, he got such a good push that he got out there in front of me. Then, everybody started battling for second and third and shuffling it up and getting crazy, so at that point, it was just 'get all you can get' and we got back to second.
"I couldn't be happier of the effort - all the laps we led coming from the back, a great pit stop, a fast race car, so we're very excited about next week."