Dodge Michigan II race notes

TONY GLOVER (Team Manager Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) "It's been a long time coming. I'm tickled to death for all these guys. I'm proud of the Chip Ganassi Racing Team with Felix Sabates, Andy Graves, Lee McCall and all the ...

TONY GLOVER (Team Manager Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
"It's been a long time coming. I'm tickled to death for all these guys. I'm proud of the Chip Ganassi Racing Team with Felix Sabates, Andy Graves, Lee McCall and all the guys. They did a hell of a good job today."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Marlin led three times for 28 laps in the Kmart 400 in June at Michigan International Speedway. The 44-year-old driver from Columbia, Tenn., led laps 175-193 of the 200-lap race until a caution flag robbed him of a shot at his first win at Michigan and Dodge's first victory of the season. Marlin ended up third behind Jeff Gordon and Ricky Rudd. Marlin came close again with the same Dodge Intrepid R/T on Aug. 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Marlin led laps 132-135 before another caution flag flew and allowed Gordon to once again pass for the win. Marlin has led the way for Dodge all season. He has one win, seven top fives and 12 top 10s with only two DNFs. He's the only driver who's been ranked in the top 10 in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings all season.

"It means a whole lot. I felt in my heart I could still drive a race car as good as anybody. Dodge came along and Coors Light came back. Chip and Felix put their heads together and hired some great people and it's all worked out. My hat's off to all the guys."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
The 45-year-old 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup champion from Dawsonville, Ga., has won seven races and six poles at Michigan International Speedway. In 48 starts at the two-mile oval in the Irish Hills of Michigan, Elliott has 17 top fives and 29 top 10s. He swept both events at Michigan in '85 and '86 and won six of eight from 1984-87. Elliott started sixth and finished ninth at Michigan in June in his first start at the two-mile track behind the wheel of the Evernham Motorsports No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T. He's scored top-10 finishes in four of the last six races and ranks 16th in the series standings after a third-place finish Sunday at MIS.

"We had a good car today, but obviously not when it counted. We got two tires on that last pit stop and it got too tight at the end. I just couldn't keep it down in the middle. You can't do that here."

STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We had a much better car than we had finish today. This Kodiak Dodge was strong, but we got caught by that caution about the halfway point. That put us a lap down and we just had to make the best of it. I'm proud of the Melling Team. It's a good start. Hopefully we can turn this thing around, starting today. Congratulations to Sterling and Dodge. I wish it was us, but ya' know what, they deserve it. It was only a matter of time as strong as they've been running all year. I'm happy for everybody at Dodge and the 40 car. They deserve to be there in victory lane."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Atwood finished 10th and was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year.

"I'm pleased, but I'm disappointed, too. We had a top five car all day long. That last restart killed us. I got caught in behind some lapped cars and got passed. I didn't have enough time to make it up. I think I could have if the race had gone the distance. We just didn't have enough time. Dodge has made a big improvement throughout the year. I don't know how much the change helped us. All the Dodges were real strong today. Bill's car was strong, and Dodge won it, so it was a good day.

"I finished 10th, and I thought if I finished 10th I'd be happy, but for how good we ran today.... We were in the top five all day today, too. Some people took two tires on that last pit stop and we took four. It kind of put me back further in the line than I wanted to be. When we got back to green, lapped cars were all over the place and I bogged my car down trying to get under a couple of them. Some people got on the outside of me and just put us back a little bit. I was hoping it would go green. I think we could have climbed back up a little bit, but all-in-all it was a good day for us.

"I wanted our team to do it (get Dodge's first win), but it feels good. It's been a long time coming. They've been getting stronger, and I had a good feeling about them today. We had a few up front all day. Who knows how it would have played out if it had gone green, but I'm happy for them.

"I wore the HANS the first couple races of the season. The HANS was hurting my collar bone real bad, so I went to the Hutchinson Device for a few races. Then HANS came out with a newer version and it was small. It doesn't bother me, so I've been wearing it."

DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Blaney's sixth-place finish matched his career best.
"We kind of did all the right stuff to get to the front. We were ninth or 10th and took two tires and got up to fourth. We backed up a little bit. I got too tight on those two tires. I wish we could have made a pit stop and kept on racing. We would have got our car better, but from where we started, that's not bad here (his second top-10 of the season at Michigan). It's hard to make up ground here, and that was a pretty good day. We were coming the whole time. During that red flag, I think some guys had pitted a little earlier than us, so they had to pit. I think we restarted 11th or 12th. We just kept moving forward all day. I wish it was me over there in victory lane, but Sterling deserved it. He's had the best Dodge all year."

BILL DAVIS (Car owner Bill Davis Racing with drivers Ward Burton and Dave Blaney)
"I think everybody did a great job. Dave started 41st and finished sixth, so that's not too shabby. I was hoping he could get his first top five finish, but it'll come. Blaney drove the wheels off the car today. It was a great day for 'em to start that far back. Dave Blaney deserves a sponsor and deserves to get to race in this series. It's great that Dodge won today. Certainly those guys deserve to be the first Dodge to win. They've set the standard all year. Sterling Marlin deserved to win that race."

BOB WILDBERGER (Senior Manager, NASCAR Operations -- Dodge Motorsports)
"So far, I'm still somewhere up in the clouds. I won't have any sleep tonight. The adrenaline will be going until at least noon tomorrow. What a great time for it. We had our dealers here today. We had the president of our company. We had a great number of our employees and the engineering staff, the outstate dealer organization brought 500 of their employees. It's hometown, backyard, first win. With the factory effort involved, it's been more than two decades since a win. The team absolutely earned it. Every one of the teams worked hard today. Sterling has worked hard all year long for this. Our hearts go out for that. They looked strong, and we were hoping for a 1-2 Dodge finish. Bill Elliott is wonderful for us, and he ran strong all day today. We had four finish in the top 10. That's a great effort. I was listening in and Dave Blaney's team was doing some serious adjusting all day long. They got it dialed in very well. Casey Atwood did a great job for a rookie. We're very proud of him.

"We were praying for sunshine during that red flag. We were seeking shelter and kept looking at radar screens and praying for sunshine. I was listening to the NASCAR channel, and we were just hoping we'd get this thing in. We knew we had teams that could do it if we just got back out on the track and kept racing. Rain was OK when Sterling got out front.

"We go after that second victory now, and we've got a lot of work to do. These wins do not come easy. It's our first one, and the second one won't come easy. We know we've got some things to work on yet. We're going to continue to do it. I hate to use the words racing luck, but you make your own luck, but I think the 40 team has done a great job of making their own luck this year. It's going to take some of that to close the gap. There's enough time to do it.

"We're already celebrating. We've got a couple of the suites at the track here. We've got food coming. We've got the team coming over. Our dealers have stayed. It's already started, and I think it'll go well into the night."

-Dodge Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Sterling Marlin , Casey Atwood , Chip Ganassi , Dave Blaney , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Bill Davis Racing