JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "I would've like to race better. I struggled at the beginning of the race trying to get up through there. The outside groove just was not moving and I got stuck going to the back, and so it took...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I would've like to race better. I struggled at the beginning of the race trying to get up through there. The outside groove just was not moving and I got stuck going to the back, and so it took me a little while to get back up front. With five to go, I had a heck of a run. I'm going to try to get as far forward as I can and try to win the race, but a lot of guys just wanted to stay in line. Sometimes you play the conservative way and it works out for you and sometimes you've got to be a little more aggressive. I got lucky. Spencer got into my left rear and about wrecked me. We got lucky, straightened it out and kept going. I got another run on Joe [Nemechek]. I wanted to push him up
to the front, but he didn't want to get out of line and I did. That's just what happens when you're teammates, working together, and you're not thinking on the same wavelength. Once the cars started getting single file and the handling started going away, I was able to work my way up through there - but we've got to get the handling a little bit better and then maybe find some drafting partners."
DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT SUNDAY? Absolutely. We've got a great car, we've got a fast car. We've just got to get a little bit better handling race car. We were capable of getting up front there, I just didn't have anybody that wanted to work with me which is typical. I thought Joe and I could do it, and once we got up to fourth and fifth I think he just wanted to stay in line. I hurt myself at the end because I thought I'd get somebody to go with me. Biffle did try to go with me, but nobody else. I'm just not going to sit there in fifth. I like to win. I probably lost a couple positions because of it, but I'd rather know what my car's going to do, who's going to work with me and who's not going to work with me."
WOULD YOU HAVE RATHER SEE GUYS TRY HARDER TO WIN THIS RACE? "Absolutely. That's what I'm trying to do. I want to win the race. I want to see what my car has. I don't want to just see those guys ride around there all day long and win the race. I want to get up there and battle with them. Unfortunately, we couldn't get up there a little sooner."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO GET OFF TO A FAST START THIS YEAR? "I'd love to get off to a good start, but we've also found out in the past that you don't have to win the Daytona 500 to win the championship. This is a big race and we all came here to win, and we're going to work hard and hope we get some momentum to start the year off right. We were good last year, but we weren't great, and I think we've made some improvements this year to be great."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
HOW WAS IT? "Typical - typical Daytona. What's bad is that the guys that got in the outside lane went back. Normally, the outside lane is pretty decent, but it wasn't that way today. If you got in that outside lane you were going to the back. Earlier in the run I tried to help Terry [Labonte]. Man, as soon as we got out there - it was like it just killed our car. We just had to stay on the bottom. It was hard to pass. It's even - very even. We had a top four and where we finished I think kind of stinks. We had a really good car and Jeff (Gordon) tried to go on the outside there at the end and it cost me a lot of spots. I don't think he gained any, it just cost me a lot of spots getting hung out. But we learned a few things, it's just hard to pass. They wanted equal cars, and by gosh they've got 'em. My car drove great all day, my Chevy was good, we just ended up seventh when we should've been third or fourth."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
FROM VICTORY LANE "We (Jeff Green and Robby) decided we were going to work together from the beginning. Obviously, he was going to get the jump at the start, so I jumped in behind him and then it was pretty much going to be who got out of the pits first. I was fortunate enough that the Cingular Wireless crew gave me a great pit stop. I got in pretty deep to the braking zones, so we were able to get him coming out of pit lane. Jeff worked with us the whole time, too (at the end), so I want to thank everybody over on the AOL team. It looks like they did a great job."
HOW SIMILAR ARE THE SETUPS OF THESE TWO CARS? "I believe they are very similar. That's one thing - even if you look back last year and where we finished in points - you can see that we all work together because we were all right back there together. Hopefully, this year it will be different with the new Monte Carlo. We're learning this new body."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
WHAT HAPPENED ON PIT ROAD? "We made a routine pit stop there. It was a good stop and I killed the motor. I know why it died. I still don't know why it wouldn't start. It just wouldn't start."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
HOW WAS IT? "It was really, really tight. It was the debut for the new Pontiac and I was really encouraged the first five laps. By lap 10 I started to tighten up. I really think I was a little too patient behind the '42' car. Jamie's a good racer, but he wasn't very aggressive. He was pretty casual there and I really should have gotten after it early. But, the way the balance was, it probably wouldn't have mattered because the car got miserably tight. But, we know what we've got to do for Sunday, so I'm encouraged that we have a direction."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
IS THIS GIVING YOU A LOT OF CONFIDENCE GOING INTO THE 500? "Mike Beam and all my AOL guys have given me a lot of confidence, since we came down here in January. Our car is really, really fast. We had the car to win the race. We just got blocked in on pit road. The one pit stall that we didn't need, we got and I think Mike is kicking himself right now for picking that one. But, that is racing. We learned a lot. I learned a lot on the racetrack today about where to be and where not to be, where I can be to help the people I need to help and not the other guys I need to help. I'd like to congratulate Robby. He's got as fast a race car as I've got. We're starting one and three in the Daytona 500 and I'm hoping we can do the same thing Sunday."
JACK SPRAGUE, NO. 0 NETZERO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"Our pit stop was awesome. The guys did a great job. I passed a lot of cars coming into the pits - not by design. I was just smoking all four tires, but I didn't tell Dennis [Connor] because I didn't want them to change all four. I just wanted them to change the outside ones and hoped the left-side ones lasted. We gained a lot of it there. It seemed like the farther it went on, other cars were losing the handle worse than I was. I was just tight off, but I think we'll have a good car for the '500.'
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I felt like we had one of the strongest cars. But, without having a teammate out there it wasn't helping us any. I thought we struck a deal and was going to work with some guys when we got up to the front. We got there and everybody was fending for themselves and I was still under the impression we were going to try to win the race, so we fell back to sixth. But, the car was really good."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
HOW WAS YOUR RACE? "That was fun. That's the way I like it. The cars were sliding all over the place and it was fun. The biggest thing was just make sure we didn't get ourselves in trouble, and I got in the middle once to see what I had there, then ran on the top for awhile and then the bottom."
WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES FOR SUNDAY? "If I knew the answer to that question, I'd be a bookie in Las Vegas. But when you've got 43 players here at the poker table, it's a little harder. But I'm pretty happy. If I could've gotten up to the 8 car and the 15 car, it would've been pretty interesting to see how fast we could've run together, but this Home Depot Chevrolet's pretty strong right now."
HOW WAS THE CAR? "The car was good. I just wanted to try and be patient there at the end. I wanted to make sure we didn't put ourselves in too many positions where we were compromised and keep that thing in one piece. Once we got through our pit stop and got that thing strung out a little bit that helped. I need to work on my chassis, that's for sure, that's probably the biggest thing we need to do. But the car was pretty sporty at times."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Sure not the way we wanted to finish the day. We had a great car from the start and I was content to run 2nd there behind Junior with Michael behind. He got out of line and I just felt good enough to run out front."
WHAT HAPPENED ON PIT ROAD? "I don't know what happened. I think Busch came in at about 500 mph and couldn't stop himself. I didn't even see him come across me until it was too late. It pushed our right front fender in and our day was done. He was driving way over his head, and it ended up costing us big, but it'll be okay. We've got a lot of guys from the fab shop here who will make this car better than it was. Now you get to watch us race from 31st to 1st."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
DO YOU SEE AN RCR, DEI FACE-OFF ON SUNDAY? "I'm sure that's what I'll read in the paper. Not really. It's just a hell of a race up front. I'm not going to say that first and second are just going to sit there and ride out front, and then you're going to race hard from there on back. But, that is what is going to happen for the majority of the race and that is what happened for the majority of these two races. What I think you'll find very interesting are the pit stops and how it strings the field out. It really does string it out - not so much at Talladega. You really strung everybody out and it seems like they stayed there for the most part. The packs would close back up, but wouldn't get side by side and whatnot. So, I think in the race if we get some long green flag runs you're going to see guys all over the racetrack. It was funny when we came off pit road and were way out in front of Michael, I was thinking to myself that it was kind of bringing up memories of watching old highlights from races here in the '70s and '80s when guys would just drive away. Kind of crazy.
"It was exciting to win the 125. It's just tough because we're doing so well. I didn't expect to come down here and do this well. This is really good."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON TEAMWORK AND TEAMMATES "Teamwork is necessary to be successful here and it doesn't have to come from a teammate. Todd got pushed right up to the front because he was able to get a big bunch of help from Jimmie Johnson. A lot of times people misunderstand working together because they think that because someone helps you they like you. But what it is is that you help someone because you're trying to help yourself. That's the difference between teamwork and teammate. Because with the teammate that I have, we understand the importance of the three cars sticking together no matter what. And short of getting late in the race and causing ourselves a chance to win, we're not going to bale out on each other. There was a point in the race today that I gave Jr a push and it knocked him sideways and he got up out of the groove. I could have drove under him but I wouldn't do that to him for a 125. So teammates is a lot different than teamwork."