HERMIE SADLER - No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus (Finished 25th) "It's pretty devastating, obviously. We put ourselves in a bad spot. Once the race starts you not only have to worry about you do, but what other people do, as well. Your destiny is in...
HERMIE SADLER - No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus (Finished 25th)
"It's pretty devastating, obviously. We put ourselves in a bad spot. Once the race starts you not only have to worry about you do, but what other people do, as well. Your destiny is in too many people's hands. We figured there was going to be some wrecks, but we were just hoping we wouldn't be in one of 'em. But we got taken out pretty early, so then we just tried to stay up there and stay on the race track and see if anything else happened, but we were basically done at lap six. It's very disappointing, but we'll have to try to rebound at Fontana at get our season kick-started there."
ALTHOUGH YOUR DAY ENDED EARLY, DID YOU GET ANY SENSE OF WHAT KIND OF CAR YOU HAD TODAY? "Much better than practice. I was real pleased with it, driving a lot better. We made some changes. My brother helped me a little bit. Who knows what you would've had. I mean, six laps is not long enough to really tell, but it certainly was driving a lot better than what we had in practice. But, we'll never know. We shouldn't have been back there to start off with. To have a better-than-average chance we needed to qualify a little bit better, and start a little bit towards the front. We changed the transmission, we had to start in the back, we had to go all the way to the rear, and it ended up biting us. It just hasn't been our week. We'll keep our heads up and try again next week."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Finished 5th)
"We'll take it. This car is just a little bit tight. We got a little bit of work to do before the 500. If we get the front end to stick a little bit better, we got something for 'em on Sunday."
YOU HAVE TO HAVE PLENTY OF CONFIDENCE GOING INTO SUNDAY'S RACE. "It was a pretty interesting Twin. It got real busy in there, two-wide, three-wide, four-wide one time, and the car's real stable. Like I said, if we can just fix a little bit of a problem, we'll be all right. I'm really looking forward to the 500."
ON HIS TEAM'S GOOD START TO 2005. "What that is is a good tune-up for race day. We saw what we needed to work on. This car here is a brand-new car, it never saw competition before. So, we know what to do to it. It was telling us what it wanted in practice, and they made it better, but it still's a little bit too tight. We just got to free it up a little bit without getting it too free. It's do-able, so we'll see. We were right there with 'em, and it got pretty interesting there at the end."
ON WORKING HIS WAY TO THE FRONT MORE THAN ONCE. "We had a pretty good starting position; we started fifth and ended up fifth. I wish it was that simple. The guys did a great job. The Motorcraft Taurus was just a little bit too tight. It would get to pushing a little bit late in the run. They kept tweaking on it, tweaking on it. It's not quite there, yet, but it was pretty racy there at the end, I just need a little bit more." HOW WERE THE TIRES? "We've been really pleased with these Goodyear tires. We haven't seen any trouble, knock on wood, we haven't had any problems. I think Goodyear's on top of it. I don't think we saw that much today. So, luckily it's been happening in practice, and hopefully they've got a handle on it. Goodyear's pretty smart about it. Again, we haven't seen any trouble. And, I'd just like to say Happy Birthday to my dad, he's 80 years old, back home today, listening in, and my son, Landon, is on his way home from a field trip."
IT HAS BEEN A GOOD YEAR FOR THIS TEAM, SO FAR, STARTING WITH TESTING, AND YOU KEEP BUILDING ON IT. "It has been a good year, and like I say, we're just getting started. It was a good winter. The car's driving good, running good. They built a new car. We had a car that capable of possibly winning the pole for the 500, it was three-tenths of a second quicker than this car all the time in testing, but we elected to bring this car because it drove better, and I'm real excited about it."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 26th)
"I had to put it in reverse to get out of the way of the 49 car. When I put it in reverse and then back to first gear it just kind of hung in between gears and I broke the transmission. It's a tough break. I had a pretty decent car. I got hung out right there with Jamie one time and had to go to the back. I was kind of working my way back up, but it was just a rookie mistake by a non-rookie. It was just a stupid mistake on my part. I should have let my guys push me back. I just got trapped in the pits and tried to rush out too quick. It was my fault."
HOW BIG OF A SETBACK IS THIS? "It's big because you don't want to be around all that stuff in the 500 starting in the back, but I put myself in that position and I'll have to try to get out of it Sunday."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 21st)
"We've got a lot of work to do. I've been concerned about that. Anytime lately we've brought a fast race car here, it hasn't really been the best thing for in the draft. This is a handling race and you have to stay wide open in the gas, so we're gonna have to do some work between now and Sunday."
WAS THE GOAL TO GO OUT AND KEEP THE NOSE CLEAN AND KEEP IT IN ONE PIECE? "No, the goal was to win the race. When we got out there and couldn't run any better, then it was to work on it and see if we could make it any better. At the end it was just time to give up and keep the car. We know it's fast, we just need to make it drive a little better."
THE SAME ISSUE AS SATURDAY NIGHT - TIGHT? "Yeah. We go back and forth. We start out really, really tight and make adjustments and then get sideways. It's more of a downforce issue than it is anything."
WHAT ABOUT THE COMPETITION? "I'm not worried about the competition right now. I'm worried about my race car. As soon as we get it better, then I'll worry about who we've got to outrun."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Finished 13th)
"I'm not real happy yet. The car has a lot of speed, but we've just got to work on the handling a little bit. I know it'll be a little bit better in the race. We've got another happy hour to work on it. We've got some ideas and we'll try some stuff. We'll see what we can do."
IS THIS A CASE OF GETTING ALL THE BAD LUCK OUT OF THE WAY TODAY? YOU SLID THROUGH THE PITS EARLY ON. "Yeah, I think the car had way too much front brake. It just didn't have any stopping power coming in there and I just slid the front tires, so before the next pit stop I put a bunch of rear brake in it and it stopped a lot better."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts Taurus (Finished 15th)
DID YOU SEE THE POTENTIAL FOR THAT WRECK NEAR THE END? "Yeah, we came off of turn two the lap before that and the 9 car and the 4 car - they were four wide and packed in. I thought, 'Well, if they don't crash here they'll be alright.' And nobody crashed there and then they started bumping - a couple of cars. I don't know which cars were bumping into each other just a little bit going down into one. I was hoping they'd save it. Those guys are amazing. I saw more great saves right there than I've seen in my whole life. It's gonna be fun. The Scotts car had a really, really tough front bumper because I thought it was destroyed. It looks great. I think that's good. I hope when we peel the Scotts stuff off it doesn't make it any weaker. I'm looking forward to running our Office Depot car in the 500. It's gonna be a fun race. It's gonna be all about being at the front and not having bad pit stops. That's gonna be the key."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH RANDY LAJOIE? "I was just trying to go in between him and Kyle Petty and I didn't realize Kyle was gonna leave me as much room, so I was favoring staying towards Randy because I could see him. He definitely turned more than I thought he was going to and I slid up a little more. I think it was just one of those deals where we both moved the wrong way."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus (Finished 6th)
JEFF GORDON HAD SOME POINTED COMMENTS TOWARD YOU AFTER THE RACE. WHAT HAPPENED WITH ABOUT 10 TO GO? "There are all kinds of times when you run into different guys. If he wants to direct why he didn't win at me, that's funny. We really had a great thing going early on in the race. I stayed behind him to push him and we were doing the thing that we needed to do. There was a late-race caution with 20 to go or so, it bunches up the pack and it's every man for himself."
WAS THERE CONTACT? "That's when we were three-wide down the front straightaway. I think there was somebody on his outside that came over. He was in the middle and pushed into us. I mean, what are you gonna do? We're racing around. We're all trying to survive, but yet we're trying to get a spot for the 500 so it shouldn't be too disturbing."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FOR SUNDAY? "You've got to make your car turn. It's really a sacrifice of speed to gain the car's cornering ability. You've got to be able to turn and turn underneath people coming out of the corner exit."
KIRK SHELMERDINE - No. 27 Taurus (Finished 27th)
"Everybody works hard to be here, and for us, we don't have a lot to work with, and it's kind of in everybody's off-days and spare change and everything else to get it to work, and for somebody else to goof and take us out - we had a pretty decent car, I think - we'll never know now."
WHAT HAPPENED? "I don't know. I saw the 13 come sideways in front of us, and I was getting hit before I even saw anybody, so I don't really know what happened. Considering those involved, it happens a lot."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 22nd)
"I couldn't see anything but the back end of the 29. I'd be better off not interviewing. We don't have another race car like that. I believe I could win the Daytona 500 with that car, but I don't know if they can fix that. It's wrecked."
BUMP DRAFTING HAS BEEN TALKED ABOUT A LOT THIS WEEK. IS IT BECOMING AN ISSUE? "I don't know. I didn't see anything but the back end of the 29. That's all you can see when you're that close. I don't know what happened. Pat says he's gonna fix that car. If we want to win and they can fix it right, we can certainly win from the back with that thing. But we don't have another car here or any other car that we could borrow I think I can win in. That's the one."
JOHN ANDRETTI - No. 14 VB/APlus at Sunoco Taurus (Finished 11th)
"I think we had a pretty good car. For some reason it was bogging down a lot in the corner, I don't even know why, so we made some changes last night and probably those changes hurt it, so we'll just go in and see if we get it in the Daytona 500. We made some big changes to the car during the race and it really helped it. Felt like I got a pretty decent handling car, but then you help one guy and three of 'em pass you and it's frustrating because the field is so small that without somebody behind you, I mean, at the beginning I could've fell in line but I didn't want to do that, I want to race and try to get up front. I think we had a shot at getting up there, we just couldn't get any help to get there." WERE YOU CLOSE ENOUGH TO THAT WRECK AT THE END FOR IT TO BE A CONCERN? "They're always a concern because when they wreck they tear stuff off and they leave it all over the race track. We weren't a threat to get taken out in it, no."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Taurus (Finished 6th)
"Stuff changes so fast that it's hard to get hooked up with anybody. Tony was so good to me the whole race. I tried my best to stay with him and on that restart I got pushing him really hard and I thought he would have went outside of the 22 and the 31, but he decided to stay to the bottom. I went to the outside and I was the only one left out there, so I kind of messed up there. I should have stayed off of him a little bit, instead of trying to push him so hard. But I tried to push him to get to the outside and I kind of messed myself up there."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR CAR? "I'm really happy with my car. It's by far the best car we've ever had down here at Daytona. It's our best car for the 500. I feel good about it. It handled almost perfect. I thought we handled as good or better than anybody and I thought we had as much speed as anybody. I just didn't do the best job of putting the car in a winning position. I think we had a car that could have won, if I would have put it in the right spot and I probably didn't do the best job of that. We were right with Tony the whole time and he won the race. I didn't think we were necessarily faster than him, but I think if we would have been in front of him, we would have been about the same. I'm happy with my car. It's handling good and everything is working good."