Dodge Chrlotte II race notes

JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T) "I was racing under the 93 and I pushed up into his left rear or he came down. I was trying to stay off of him. I spun out, and I got Ricky Craven. It was pretty early in the...

JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I was racing under the 93 and I pushed up into his left rear or he came down. I was trying to stay off of him. I spun out, and I got Ricky Craven. It was pretty early in the race. I had the pass, and I thought he was going to let me by there. It didn't happen. The car was real good. Blaney and Terry Labonte were running side by side, holding everybody up, but that's the way it goes. It's messed up pretty good. I don't think we'll be able to get back out."

DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 BP/Amoco Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Something happened to the left front tire. I felt it shaking at the flagstand. I got it slowed down a little bit, but I couldn't get it slowed down enough to save it. I knew it tore it up pretty bad. The track was real slippery at first. We were pretty loose. A lot of guys were. We got it closer after the first pit stop. I don't know what happened. The left rear went down, came apart, something happened. The 01 got underneath me earlier. I hope I gave him enough room. Maybe I didn't, but he got into me a little bit and turned himself around. It's another bad day here. I can't seem to do anything right here. I told the guys I'm not real comfortable here for some reason. I can't seem to help them with the car too much. It's not one of my better race tracks at the moment."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Marlin's Dodge Intrepid R/T, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates chassis No. 115, continues to shine. In five starts, it has two victories (Charlotte and Michigan), a second (Brickyard 400), third (Michigan) and fifth (Kansas). Marlin has finished 15th or worse in the last nine races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, since May 1997. He finished 31st in this race last year and 15th here in May. Marlin made career start No. 532 on Sunday.

"We had a great car today. We didn't do anything to it. All we needed was green flag laps. The car drove great, and I want to thank all the guys on the team for giving me a great car. Chip Ganassi and Felix are great owners. They put the money to it and the guys put it to good use. I'm having the time of my life. We've got a great bunch of people on this team. We put on four tires every stop today. Goodyear had a good tire. It was real consistent. Our car didn't fall off as much as the other guys. I knew yesterday evening that we had a good car. It's the best one I ever drove here in the last practice. I knew if we didn't have trouble today that we'd be tough. A couple of sets of tires were looser than the others, but we didn't change anything. You just have to wait it out sometimes here at Charlotte. It'll tighten up on you. You have to be patient. Tony (Stewart) came back to me. He ran a great race. I tried to catch him in the points, but I didn't make up any ground on him."

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: In Burton's last seven starts at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Burton has six top-10 finishes.
"We fought balance all day. The first set of tires, we were loose as a goose. We could have gone a lap down. It started tightening up. Then at the end of the race, we loosened back up. I don't know if it was tires or what, but we were all over the place with the nose pushing the back end, there wasn't a lot of grip and vice versa. We just couldn't get a handle on it today. The tire holds up good, but it's just so hard. The Caterpillar team did a great job and nobody ran over us for a change. We didn't run over anybody, either. "We adjusted on the car all day. We were loose at the start and end of the race and tight in the middle. We worked on it all day and got it as good as we could. I knew we didn't have anything for the 20 or 40. "We hit on it at Darlington better than anybody else. We were running real good last week. Today the 40 car hit on it, but it's really tough to be good on short runs and long runs with these tires. "My wife told me right before the race that we had just attacked Afghanistan. I wasn't sure how long it was going to be before we started the race, but I was thinking about the men over there fighting for our freedom and their families. Certainly they're uncertain about their future, putting their lives on the line for us. "I really wasn't thinking about the race until gentleman start your engines. After that, I think we've all conditioned ourselves to black out everything else. That's our job, and that's what we all have to do at this point. I've got some more thought about it, and I'm looking forward to getting on the networks and see exactly what's taking place. "We got the lead because there was only five or six laps on the tires and we just elected not to pit. It was pretty good until the 14 got under me, and then it got kind of hairy for me. It was a good car. We're never known for good gas mileage, and that concerned me, but it worked out good. "I've always loved this race track, but I've had teams that give me good race cars here. Maybe my team gets a little more pumped up when we come here."

CARL LONG (No. 85 Noopco Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Our goal was accomplished. We finished the race and we had the car competitive at the end. Maybe with just a little air pressure change and me learning just a little different line we could have had a better finish. I was running beside another car that was faster than me on the outside, and it must have taken the air off my spoiler. It got loose. I thought I had it, and it spun. The engine was great. It stayed there all day. It made 500 miles and all the practice and everything we did, we did it with the same engine. I had a lot of fun. I'm ready to do it again. I don't know if I made anybody notice me or not today, but at least some people are talking to me after the race."

TIM CULBERTSON (Program Manager, Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering)
"That's pretty exciting (three Dodge wins in last seven races). In the beginning of this program we were brand new rookies, and you can tell we've grown. The program is maturing rapidly. We're very proud. It's very interesting that this Dodge is the same one Sterling won with at Michigan. We're going to try to get our drivers to have more favorite cars. We've got some technology that we think we can use to analyze that car and analyze another car and hopefully try to make the next car the same. Almost all the drivers have their favorite cars. Probably that car (chassis 115) has a spring rate in the frame that's unique, and that's what we're going to try to capture. We started the season and worked very hard and we stuck our head out and went to Daytona and took the front row. We kept digging and digging and got our first victory. Now we've got our third within two months. The hard work has paid off, and it's a compliment to all the people at DaimlerChrysler. We're very proud."

BOB WILDBERGER (Senior Manager, NASCAR Operations, Dodge Motorsports)
"Wow! Every win gets better than the one before, and you never get tired of them. We need to work on the next one now. What a fantastic season. We've had the one team approach, and it takes basically two things to have a winning team. We'd like to refer to that as the big team -- resources and chemistry, and the Chip Ganassi Team with Felix Sabates has really found the ticket to the chemistry. You just watch those guys work, and they're smooth. They know how to build their stuff and get on the track. They've proven it again. The cream rises to the top, and they've done a phenomenal job for Dodge. They're electric. You never know until that checkered flag falls, but you could tell they were on their game from the beginning. Tony Stewart and Sterling were strong, but on the longer runs the 40 team really had their act together. They had the strategy down, the timing was right and the cautions fell in place. It was a great race with a lot of green flag laps."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
^SWe had a pretty rough day. We were real excited about the race yesterday. We were really good. I guess it was just the weather change. We didn^Rt have any sun yesterday and it was pretty cold. Our car was really good. We had sun on the track today and the temperature was up more than yesterday. We were just loose all day and we couldn^Rt get it fixed. I was pretty luck to hang on to 24th. We were loose from start to finish^T

LAST WIN AT CHARLOTTE FOR DODGE -- Richard Petty led the final 111 laps and won the National 500 at Charlotte on Oct. 5, 1975. Also, from its headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., Dodge announced the beginning of a 500-day countdown for its return to the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit after an absence of more than 15 years on Oct. 7, 1999 -- two years ago from today.

-Dodge Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ricky Craven , Richard Petty , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing