Dodge Martinsville II race notes

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We busted a radiator down there in that little altercation in one and two. It blew all the water out and the next thing I knew it was hot. It cooked the motor. I hate it for the guys. They've...

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We busted a radiator down there in that little altercation in one and two. It blew all the water out and the next thing I knew it was hot. It cooked the motor. I hate it for the guys. They've worked so hard on this race car week in and week out. It's just a tough situation. Martinsville is such a bull ring. It's kind of one of them bad days. You could have done it three or four more times and everything would have been OK. On this particular day, it knocked a hole in the radiator and all the water came out of it."

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Our car actually handled better by taking two right-side tires instead of four. That got us some track position quite a few times. We're proud of the progress we've made since the spring race here. "If they weren't going to get together and create a big hole for me, I was hoping that Ricky was going to win it. Ricky has been through a lot. He got injured when he was driving for Hendrick, and he has battled back. It's always nice to see a first-time winner. I was playing. That was just as close as I could get to 'em. "Nobody has knocked the hell out of me (last two weeks with back-to-back third-place finishes). That's the turnaround. "I didn't really think it was that bad out there today. One of the incidence that happened up front I thought was unnecessary, but most of the rest of them I didn't have around me, so I was thankful that I didn't have to dodge a lot of bullets. This is such a tough race track for these heavy cars. There's not a lot of room and it takes longer to get heat in these Goodyear tires to grip than it used to. "It was a great day for us. I'm really happy with the effort by the team, particularly Terry Elledge back at the motor shop. The last time here, the engine combination we had here just wouldn't work no matter what we did to the car. It just shows a lot of hard work on their part to come back here and have a car that almost qualified in the top 10 and finished in the top five. Those guys have worked extremely hard all summer to figure out the Dodge powerplant. "The car handled pretty good on two tires. I couldn't ever get it rotated right in the center, as good as the best cars anyway, without getting too loose off. I've got to stop stopping the car in the center. I've got to keep it rotating in the center without the back end coming around. It's the first top five for me (at Martinsville, prior best finish was seventh on Sept. 29, 1997.) Obviously, it's not the best place in the world for me, but I think when I get a car as close as we were today, I can get the job done. I need to make some progress here, and I need to get the car where I can hustle it around. "That was my fault (bumping Todd Bodine on pit road). I was yelling at my spotter and everybody said, go, go, go. I'm going out and Todd is pulling in and all I saw was a blue car. They should have told me the 66 was pulling in. It's a typical short track, particularly as tight as these pits are, but I felt really bad about that. Todd and I had been running a couple hundred laps in front and behind each other with no incidence at all. I need somebody to communicate to me. At the same time, I'm the one who hit him. I'm sorry that happened. It happened so quickly when I was coming out of the pits. I didn't know he was there. "My guys saw it. Somebody should have said the 66 is pulling in. It's the same thing we see happen at places like Talladega, too. When you have a caution, and everybody doesn't get bunched up and people coming in have torn the nose off the car and gotten hit like that. I've got to get trained better, and the guys that talk to me have to get trained better." "Todd is a friend of mine. I know how it is to get hit. I've been hit a bunch this year. He did recover. Every time I was pulling out, I was getting closer and closer to him. "We had fun racing together. Dale drove Ricky clean there at the end. Ricky kind of closed it up there a little bit. The leader as the prerogative to do that. I'm happy with my team. We've made a lot of progress from the spring to the fall race here. "I couldn't run with the 32 and 88. I could run with anybody else except those two. I had a third-place car. The 29 was in the wrong. He was blocking the track. He bottle necked it and spun out the 55. Bobby Hamilton is always good here. "Our short track program has really improved. We kept believing in each other, and we've shown a lot of teamwork. We've made a lot of progress in just a few months."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We were running fifth before that last caution and we had the best car. We were running all of them guys down. The caution killed us. If we put on two tires, we couldn't get out of the pits because we had so many cars on the lead lap. We put four on and that hurt us. We gained some points and moved up to third in the standings. "It was pretty rough out there today. The 12 car ran us down into the curb. I've let him go. Every time he drives a Cup car he's always chopping and hacking somebody. I told him the deal is over. He's going on a Missouri boat ride next time he does it. Have you seen that Clint Eastwood movie? The Outlaw Josie Wells. That's a Missouri boat ride. You go down the river. "We should have run in the top five today. We had a terrible car early and kept adjusting on it and got it better. It was terrible. It pushed real bad. "We'll keep plugging away and see if we can't catch Ricky for second. Gordon's probably got it wrapped up, but there's six races left and you never know what might happen."

STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We had some great calls in the pits today, and had some great pit stops. We raced all day. We had the car to race. We started 43rd and came home 16th. That's what this team is capable of. We've got to have a little luck to go along with it, and we haven't had that lately. It was a good solid run for us. Starting that far back at Martinsville and not losing a lap... Chad (crew chief Knaus) made a great call. We didn't stop on that first stop. We stayed out on old tires, and the car was good enough that we could at least hang in front of them. We probably gained 10 or 12 spots by doing that when it all cycled out. Those 10 or 12 spots probably kept us on the lead lap. We kept adjusting all day and came home with a good finish. We had a lot of close calls. A lot of people were spinning. You get a good run, and I got up on the curb one time and got into the side of Kenseth. I hate that, but this is Martinsville short track racing and it looked like everybody was doing it today. Congratulations to Ricky Craven. They've been running good all year. Cal Wells has had it tough closing down one team. I've been optimistic all year, and that's not going to change. This team is capable of running in the top 20 every week, but we've got to have some luck to go along with it. We should have had six or seven top 20s in a row, but we just can't buy any luck. Today, we had a little bit of luck."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We got it pretty decent and got back on the lead lap. On the pit stop, the car just quit. I don't know what happened. I was revving it up and it just stopped. It was just a bad day."

-Dodge Motorsport-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Todd Bodine , Ricky Craven