CARL LONG (No. 85 Bill Boruff Chrysler/Specialized Film Storage Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We're not going back out. It bent the front clip. The car was pretty decent. I was going to pass the 11 car, and the 18 got his nose under me and took the...
CARL LONG (No. 85 Bill Boruff Chrysler/Specialized Film Storage Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We're not going back out. It bent the front clip. The car was pretty decent. I was going to pass the 11 car, and the 18 got his nose under me and took the air off the spoiler and the car came around. I just wanted to finish the race. That was my only goal today. If we could have finished on the lead lap, that would have been even better. We were running competitive, and I think we had a competitive car. I gave up a few spots at the start just to keep things clean, but I guess someone got impatient. I'm not sure about next season yet. Right now, I've still got my thumb out, trying to hitchhike a ride."
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: In the March race at Atlanta, Blaney led 70 laps and dominated much of the event in his No. 93 Amoco Dodge Intrepid R/T before being hobbled after two lug nuts were left loose on a tire during a pit stop late in the event, causing the wheel to fall off and placing him two laps down after pitting for repairs. In seven career NASCAR starts at Atlanta (five Winston Cup and two Busch), Blaney has never qualified out of the top-10. "An oil line came off of it or rubbed a whole in it or something. I made a mistake trying to get to pit road and had to go around another lap, and that put us behind. We were still in good shape. We didn't think the motor was going to go the whole way, so we decided to quit. There was no sense wrecking this car and having something bad happen. I knew when we got here Friday that we'd have a car that could contend for the win. This is the coolest place to race. I knew it yesterday and I knew it today. I knew if we could go mistake free we had a shot to win, but we didn't. I don't know about next week, but it was a big disappointment today. I knew this was our shot to win one. I knew it all weekend. We'll put this behind us and go wide open next weekend. Hopefully we'll learn something from today. A race is a race. When we get there next weekend, we won't be thinking about anything but the race. I felt we could have easily contended for it today. We messed up at the start and didn't pit when everybody else did. It hurt us and we knew it did, but no big deal."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Marlin's runner-up finish Sunday with chassis No. 115 was his seventh straight top five finish with the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates chassis. Chassis 115 won at Michigan and Charlotte, finished third at Michigan in the first race, second in the Brickyard 400, fifth at Kansas and Homestead and second Sunday. "This is a great car. I've never had one like this. We're going to clone a bunch of them for next year. The guys did a great job, and we had a good car in practice yesterday in the last practice. It ran good all day. Nadeau looked like he had it won and ran out of gas. I know it breaks his heart. That's another top five for us, so we'll take it. "We were reeling Bobby Labonte in about a tenth a lap, but the 29 was catching me about a tenth a lap. We got real tight for some reason. "We had a pretty good car all day. We came up from 28th to the top 10 pretty quick. We hung around from third to seventh all day. Our car was good on the long run. It got a little tight for some reason but all-in-all it was a good day for us. We'll take it. "I know it had to be a heartbreaker for Nadeau. He really runs good at this track. He should have won the spring race. He had a good car in the spring race and got knocking around and got loose or something. I know it breaks his heart. It would mine, to run good all day and then run out of gas. That's part of racing. "I think we were in real good shape on fuel. We didn't put enough gear in the car, and I think we could have gone several more laps. We didn't turn many rpm's today. We just kind of idled through the corners. "It's been a good year for us. I think that's 11 top fives for us and two wins and a pole. It's been a great year and it's something to build on for next year. We've got a great group of guys at the shop and a great sponsor, so we'll just gear up for next year. I guess after New Hampshire we'll start testing the short tracks and get ready. "Jeff is a great driver, but he stepped right into one of the top rides when he came in. He had Ray Evernham with him. When you surround yourself with good people, look at us the past couple of years. We had a 15th or 20th-place car. You get good equipment, you can go. "We were in the middle of three and four and I heard (Tony) Glover screaming. When we came off four, I saw Nadeau wiggle his car. I guess we beat him four or five car lengths. I hadn't really run out on the last lap, but I ran out on the pace lap one time. They forgot to put fuel in. That was my first race in Nashville, my first year. I thought the crew had done it and they thought I had done it. We were on the pace lap and ran out of gas."
LEE McCALL (Crew chief No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We had a good day today. We weren't very good on short runs. We were really good on long runs. We had great pit stops, and 115 came through with another top five. We were really good at the end. We were catching everybody but the 25. We did what we had to do. We made up some points on the 20 and 88 and 28 and the 8, so we had a good day. You always think you have a chance for the win. We just wanted it to go green all the way. It turned out that we finished second. We're taking 105 to Loudon. We ran it real early in the year. We ran it here the first race, and it's been our backup throughout the year."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We gained on it all day and we put on one set of tires at the end and they didn't work. We're pretty happy with it. I just wish the last set of tires had been as good as the previous two sets, but that's the way it goes. We've gained on it all year. We've worked hard to get the Dodge where it needs to be. I'm real proud of Dodge and Caterpillar. Jeff Gordon's the man. Congratulations to that team. I hope we'll have something for him next year. I know we've been more consistent in a lot of ways these last 10-12 races. We would have been top 10 this year without the magnet in our bumper. You've got to take your licks. We've taken ours, so maybe we can have some luck next year. We feel real good about ending this year like this and getting started for next year. We're a top 10 team, and we'll prove it next year."
BILL DAVIS (Car owner BDR Dodge Intrepid R/Ts) "That was a great start for Hut and Philippe (11th). That should be a great confidence builder. It was a little bit of a pickup deal, and they'll have a stronger team next year. I think they'll surprise a lot of people. As always, once again the team beat Blaney. This was a race he could have won. So many times in the last two years, he hasn't had the team he's needed. The guys made a mistake and left the oil line too low and it drug on the race track. I hate it for Blaney. It was a good, solid top five for the 22. We'll be good next year. The 22 will win some races. We'll have a good off season after we go throw some snowballs next week."
HUT STRICKLIN (No. 23 Hills Bros Coffee Dodge Intrepid R/T) "I'm excited about next year. We just couldn't ever seem to get track position today, but we had a killer race car. It was fast. The motor was fast. It drove good all day. Everybody did a great job. It was a new position for basically everybody on here. To leave here with that good a finish, I'm real happy. I wish we could have got in the top 10, but we'll take 11th. I wanted one more, but that's the way it goes. It seemed like the lapped cars raced me awful hard all day. Hopefully next year we'll get to running better and they'll be more apt to work with me. The Dodge felt good. I probably spend the first half of the race learning it around traffic and stuff. It took me half the race to figure out what I could do and couldn't do. Once figured it out and where I was really strong, I was able to utilize everything. I'm just so pumped. Going next year with Bill and Gail Davis. They've got a good group of guys over here, and it's the more organized race team I've ever been affiliated with. I thought this week might have been a little chaotic, but it ran like a well-oiled machine all week."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We got screwed up there, lost track position and the car got tight. That was it. It was a good day all-in-all. We just need to nip at it a little bit more. You can't win every week. We moved up a spot in the standings, and that's always good. We'll go race at New Hampshire next week and try to hold on to 15th place. Then we'll go home and forget about it for a couple of weeks."
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Levi Garrett Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We had some great pit stops, got a lap down, fought our way back. Michael ran into us over there on the backstretch and broke a fender brace. Our day was pretty much done after that. We got tight and kept adjusting, but we just kept getting tighter. I wish we hadn't broken that fender brace. We didn't know what happened, but we just found out that's what it was. We finished on the leap lap and raced our way back on the lead lap. It was a decent run for us. I wish we hadn't got tight that last run, but we're not going to complain with a top 20 finish. We're working as hard as we can on getting a sponsor for next season. We might be a little closer than we were three weeks ago, but I don't know if we're close enough. We're going to keep trying. I'm ready to go play in New Hampshire and see what happens up there."