TIM CULBERTSON (Program Manager, Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering) "It was really good to see Ward Burton and the Bill Davis Team win yesterday's Mountain Dew Southern 500. No other team worked harder to get ready for that race. After Ward's...
TIM CULBERTSON (Program Manager, Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering)
"It was really good to see Ward Burton and the Bill Davis Team win yesterday's Mountain Dew Southern 500. No other team worked harder to get ready for that race. After Ward's problems in turn one on the qualifying lap, the team went to work and obviously did a great job fixing the car. You've got to tip your hat to the Caterpillar crew.
"The Dodge teams seem to do OK when it rains, but it went the full distance before it rained yesterday, so we won it fair and square. I guess you could say that's our first full victory, and we're proud of that. Darlington is always a good Ford track, and those Fords were strong. I felt the Dodges would run well, and we ended up with two cars in the top five and could have easily had four in the top 10 without that last wreck.
"Sterling got involved in that last wreck, and that knocked him out of a top 10 finish but he still gained a position in the standings. We're real proud of that. To have a Dodge third in the standings with 11 races left in the season is a real tribute to that team. A lot of people wouldn't have thought that would have been possible at the beginning of the season.
"We've got two wins now (in last three races) with two different drivers. The competition just gets tougher and tougher, but we're holding our own right now. We didn't have a top 10 finish at Richmond in May, so hopefully we can have a better showing there Saturday night. Ward will be going for that million dollar bonus (Winston No Bull 5) at Richmond, so I'm sure there'll be a lot of excitement in the air Saturday night."
BURTON SCORES WIN NO. 162 FOR DODGE -- Ward Burton's victory in Sunday's Mountain Dew Southern 500 was his third career triumph and win No. 162 for Dodge in NASCAR Winston Cup competition. Prior to Sterling Marlin's victory at Michigan on Aug. 12, 2001, Dodge's last triumph was in 1977 with Neil Bonnett at Ontario, Calif. Lee Petty won the first race in a Dodge on Feb. 1, 1953 in West Palm Beach, Fla. Before its return to NASCAR Winston Cup competition this season, Dodge last competed in a NASCAR event in 1985 at Pocono. Phil Good finished 30th in that race. Buddy Baker scored the last win for Dodge at Darlington on May 2, 1971. Baker also captured the last win for Dodge in the 1970 Southern 500. Baker enjoyed plenty of success behind the wheel of a Dodge. He became the first NASCAR driver to break 200 mph when he was clocked at 200.447 mph at Talladega Superspeedway on March 24, 1970 in a Dodge Daytona.
VICTORY MOVES BURTON TO 17TH IN SERIES STANDINGS -- Ward Burton has back-to-back top 10 finishes in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings, and following Sunday's Mountain Dew Southern 500 victory he moved to 17th in the rankings. Burton has three top fives and six top 10s this season. He broke a 53-race winless streak Sunday, scoring his second career victory at the historic 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. Burton trails 10th-place Johnny Benson by 379 points with 11 races remaining in 2001. That's just a few more points than Jeff Gordon's 342-point cushion over second-place Ricky Rudd. Gordon has padded his advantage over second place by 297 points in the last six races, so there's plenty of time left to make a move.
ELLIOTT CONTINUES CLIMB -- Bill Elliott, one of only three drivers to post no DNFs this season, drove through the late-race melee at Darlington and scored his second top-five finish in the past three races and fourth top 10 in the past six starts. Elliott climbed to 14th in the standings, and has gained five positions in the last six races. A five-time Darlington winner, Elliott scored his best finish in his past seven starts at Darlington.