JIMMY SPENCER (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T) "Something happened up there in the front of us. I got hit from behind and got in the accident. I knew I was in trouble then. I knew I had a tire going down. This is the Daytona 500, so you've got...
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Something happened up there in the front of us. I got hit from behind and got in the accident. I knew I was in trouble then. I knew I had a tire going down. This is the Daytona 500, so you've got to keep going. I got back into the top 15 with a bent up car. The team never gave up, and I figured I wouldn't. Finally the tire blew out. It was just a piece of metal rubbing.
"I wouldn't switch the team even missing the Daytona 500. I'm excited about Rockingham next week. That's the only thing I can look forward to now. This team will be strong. We're strong now. We didn't have the car we needed coming into Speedweeks. Next year we won't be in the same shape.
"There's nothing you can do. This is part of the sport. I've been up and down. Some cars will make the Daytona 500 that probably don't deserve to make it, but that's the rules are made and that's the way these races are setup. It's tough. I feel like we put everything we could into the effort at the time. It's obvious that we didn't do enough.
"The Team Target Dodge is going to have to go home and figure out our speedway program. I know we're going to be a lot better at Rockingham and Vegas.
"I don't know what happened in that accident. It looked like the 4 car lost power. Somebody swerved dead right and when they did they caught up another car. I had it all missed, just like the accidents with those Bodines the day before. I got hit from behind. Ricky Rudd wasn't following me this time. Big difference when there's a veteran driver following you and somebody who doesn't know what the hell they're doing.
"Sterling's car isn't as good as it needs to be, and the Dodges period aren't real good right now. Hopefully we can get everything adjusted here and NASCAR will look at the rules situation and maybe it'll be fixed for Talladega.
"The Daytona 500 is the only race in my opinion. I don't have the words to describe how I feel right now.
"I knew the race was going to come to us because it was handling so well. Some guys made some questionable moves, and they made the race and we didn't. That's all right. It's a long year. I knew coming in we could go home for the 500, but it's one of them deals. Our car wasn't fast enough to go on speed. Our next option was going to Thursday's race. I knew we had to have a top 15. When you have two accidents like this, it's not like Days of Thunder. We knew our car wasn't going to be fast enough to make it in second-round qualifying, so we kept working on our race setup. There's just nothing you can do when you get hit from behind. It's water under the bridge, and I still think we can be in the top 10 in the points. I'll probably hit the golf ball Sunday. I won't watch the race."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"That was pretty wild. I was the guy right behind the 20 and 19 and it really messed me up. When they dropped to the apron I had to lift, and it cost me several spots. I thought I had Jeremy, and he squeezed down like he was supposed to. I almost took him out. It was a wild race, a lot of banging and bumping. I've got a lot of tire marks for Daytona. It looked like the 20 and 19 got hooked together. I think the 19 was going to try to make a move on the 20, and the 20 was going to try to block him. They got hooked together and couldn't get apart and ended up down on the apron. I was just glad they kept going straight. Otherwise, it was going to be another ugly one. The car is going to be fine to race. I don't know that a Dodge or Ford can win this thing, and that's not the way it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be everybody's got a chance to win. I know NASCAR will do everything they can, and all they ever get is blamed. We need as much as the Ford's got. We're similar. The Chevrolet spoiler isn't as long. I don't know the answer. All I know is the problem."
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"That's a stressful race when you know you've got to finish in the top 15. We thought we had it in good shape. We had a nine-car breakaway there and we were looking good but a caution came out."
ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 92 Brand Source Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We don't know if it was electrical or the motor yet. From the start, we couldn't get up to speed. It just about quit on us. Thank goodness we had a good qualifying run and a good little race car. This ain't what you want in these races. We've got 500 miles to get to the front Sunday."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T)
"That's my first race with this team, and I thought it went well. We were handling good. We weren't the fastest car by any teams, but we were really handling good. That's what we've got to have.
"I was underneath the 20, and he just kept coming down on me. If the 25 hadn't got in the back of me, I would have been all right. I just got a little sideways and went across the apron, but he (Tony Stewart) ain't going to push me around like he does everybody else. I was clearly underneath him and he came down on me, but that's racin'. We'll be all right. This car is fast, and it handled real good. I'm real happy with that. If we can handle like that all day, we'll be in good shape on Sunday. We didn't come up there until the end when the tires got old. That's when we were up there. How many Chevrolets were up there. Everybody says you blew by Dale Jr., but there wasn't but one Dodge up there all day long. I couldn't even count all the Chevrolets."
BOB WILDBERGER (Senior Manager, NASCAR Operations -- Dodge Motorsports)
"Our concerns continue, and I think the results of the Gatorade 125s bear out the fact that the Dodges are trying very hard. There's no question that the Dodge race car in its basic form is an outstanding race car. When you look at similar competitors in the field, we're looking for the same type of spoiler they have. We have the unfortunate circumstance that we lost a few of the Dodges for the Daytona 500. A couple of those were because of accidents, but the fact is the accidents were at the back of the field and the reason there was a disproportionant number of Dodges there was because we were having difficulties of being able to handle the draft and outside the draft. That goes back to the spoiler rules. We continue to be optimistic that that level playing field will be in place for Sunday. We want the Dodges to be competitive.
"Jeremy looked pretty good for a bit, but if we lose that draft a little bit and lose the advantage, straight to the back. That's another significant side effect if you have a spoiler that's a little bit too tall.
"About lap 30, Jeremy was running sixth and that was about all he could do. As long as he stayed in and had everyone's help, he could stay up there, but if he lost a little bit of the draft, that's an Achilles' heel right now. The Dodge race car is a great race car, but we need the same kind of spoiler advantage that our competitors have.
"We've been trying hard all week. You're not going to lay back in the 125s. These guys are going to go all out to make the Daytona 500. Take a look at the first time Hut Stricklin went into a piece of Bill Davis equipment. He qualified 11th and finished 11th (last year in the Atlanta fall race). The guy's got talent. There's no question about Jimmy Spencer. That guy should really be solid at a track like this. He's won here. It's kind of what we were afraid of. Until things change, we know we had the risk of some good Dodge teams going home. That's exactly what happened.
"(For a Dodge to win Sunday under the present spoiler rules) They'd have to be real lucky. Once they try to make a move and they break out of the pack into another pack, there's going to be some real aero issues, and I think it's a real disadvantage right now. Maybe two Dodges would work better in the draft together, but we've got to get 'em there first."