JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Leffler finished 15th and for the second time this season captured Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors. He also led all rookies at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July. "I...
JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Leffler finished 15th and for the second time this season captured Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors. He also led all rookies at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July.
"I couldn't tell you what started it (last lap accident). The first thing I saw was the 18 going sideways. Everything just broke loose. You have it saved and somebody runs into the back of you. That's the way it goes. You knew it was going to happen the way those guys were driving. That's just what you've got to do at these types of tracks. We would have ended up really good, but that's the way it goes. You just had to bide your time and be careful. I moved around all day trying to figure out the best lane, and at the end, I think we had the best lane. We weren't going to win, but we might have ended up in the top five or top 10 easily, but that's the way it goes. I was right in the middle of that wreck on the last lap. I spun around and hit the wall. I hit hard enough to give me a headache, so that's pretty hard."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It ain't the drivers. It's NASCAR. You run it all day, you're going to wreck. Every driver has been telling 'em in the NASCAR trailer that it's going to happen. They wanted it to happen. Somebody hit somebody.
"They've got to fix it. They had it fixed if they had done the rules they tried down here in the test. Eighty percent of us wanted it and 20 percent didn't so they went with the 20 percent. I guess they wanted to see us wreck.
"It just depended on where you got today. If you got boxed in there wasn't much you could do about it. When you wasn't, you couldn't lead. Those Dodges knocked too big of a hole in the air and they drafted right by you. I was clear on that last lap and somebody ran into the back of me."
MARLIN WENT TO THE NASCAR HAULER IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE RACE
"I don't know exactly what I was going to tell 'em, but there wasn't anybody there to tell anything. I guess it worked out better that way."
BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We had another good run going, but I'm not sure what happened on that last lap. You couldn't see what happened. All you saw was smoke. I was holding on and got tagged from behind, got tagged on the side, got tagged on the front ends. It was just one of them deals. That last lap, I don't know what happened. You can't say anyone did anything wrong. I couldn't see. We didn't have as good of a car as we needed to. We didn't have it as good as we did here earlier this year, but it was still pretty decent. I was going to be happy with a top 15, but we ended up tearing up the car pretty good instead."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"They (NASCAR) got what they wanted. That's all I've got to say."
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"You saw it coming for 30 laps. Since that last caution you saw it coming. It was just a matter of time. It happened. We all knew it was going to. We can't seem to finish one of these things without one of these big wrecks. Everybody got to beating and banging and making holes where there were no holes. Here we are.
"If you're going to do it, I guess the last lap is the best time to do it. It happened three or four times before that, but nobody wrecked. It was just a matter of time. Everybody was on the edge of their seat waiting for it to happen and it did.
"We had a good car all day. We just couldn't get anybody to work with us. We couldn't get any teammates to work with us. We couldn't get anybody to work with us. We were running 10th or 11th when the melee started. I checked up and we lost one position. We ran top 15 or top 20 all day and made a run there at the end. We got up on the outside and got up to eight, and then I saw it all happening.
"Everybody was just trying to make holes. You try to get down and you try to get up and there's just no hole there. Somebody just turns right or left and tries to make a hole. Fortunately the drivers out here are good enough and sometimes you survive it. This last run, somebody tried to make a hole and there wasn't one.
"We were racing as hard as we could all day. If it happens, it happens. You get caught up in it and it's just one of them deals.
"The fans got their money's worth. I just hope and pray everybody on the backstretch is OK. It's a shame that we run like this all day and something like this happens and takes out 10 or 12 cars. I thought we had a better car than 11th. We just could never get any help. We hoped and tried and moved to the outside and moved to the inside. We tried running with everybody out there. I give credit where credit is due. Terry Labonte probably worked with me better than anybody out there. I went by a minute ago and thanked him for working with me. It's a shame you can't get someone to work with you when we had as good of a car as we did."
BILL DAVIS (Car owner Bill Davis Racing Dodge Intrepid R/Ts)
"It's the same as it's always been. It's ridiculous. I think we ought to refuse to do it. There's something that can be done so the drivers don't have to put themselves at that kind of risk. That's what they've got to do on the last laps. They can't sit there. I don't have any respect for those guys that stayed in the back all day and then drove up there to the front at the end. That stinks. There's no way this is right. We worked real hard down here at the test in August trying to make something happen. If they can't fix it then fix the race track. We don't race at North Wilkesboro or Nashville anymore. Let's fix the race track. It needs repaving anyway. Daytona needs repaving. Cut the banking and make a big Charlotte out of it. We've spent so much money on restrictor plate cars and motors and wind tunnel time, the owners have handled all that expense all these years. Fix the race tracks."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I hope they're proud of themselves. We came down here and tested. A lot of us learned something, but they didn't learn anything. They must have been at a different test than we were at. If this is racing, they can have it and I think everybody in the garage will say that. It's ridiculous. If they want us to run that race, make the track twice as wide. Then maybe we'd have a place to pass. There's nowhere to go. When it's three wide, there's nowhere to go. I knew we'd never make it to the start/finish line with two to go. With what was going on in front of me, I knew it wasn't going to happen. What do I do? I can't back off. What do I do? I just sit there and see if I get through it or not. If they take a ride in my seat and they'd find a way to fix this kind of racing."
TIM CULBERTSON (Program Manager, Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering)
"With some of the rule changes NASCAR incorporated for this race, they definitely improved the Pontiac and the Ford. They're definitely a lot better and it seems to be to the detriment of the Dodge. Before the big wreck, we were pretty much stuck in the back. We're not too pleased about that, but I know NASCAR is going to be looking at their whole aero package over the winter. Hopefully we can get a little better parity than we saw today."