Dodge Sears Point race notes

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "I went into turn seven and it threw all the belts off the engine. I ran the motor without oil pressure coming down the hill in the esses. I cut it off and came in. We got all the...

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I went into turn seven and it threw all the belts off the engine. I ran the motor without oil pressure coming down the hill in the esses. I cut it off and came in. We got all the belts put back on and I went back out and the motor blew up. I guess the main problem was the belts came off and I ran it too long after they came off. We hadn't had a problem all season (with motors). Last week (at Pocono) it was a freak deal. The motor just blew up. This week the belts came off, and they came off in qualifying, too, so I'm not sure what the problem is. We were struggling a little bit because the car was pretty loose. We came in and made a major change, but I didn't get to run it long enough to see if it was any better. It was a tough day for the Dodge Dealers Dodge, but we'll be back."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The car was not going into second, and I was missing a lot of shifts. Other than that, it wasn't a bad day. On that deal with the 87, when he came off the corner he was trying to drive straight and I was still too far under him. I was trying to get out of the way, and he just hit my right front and went into the wall. What do you do? We're going in the right direction. Ray (team owner Evernham) and the guys are doing a great job. We were a little concerned earlier this morning about what was going on, but we've just got to keep nipping at it. We keep gaining a little bit every week. We didn't think we had a car that could win the race, but we had a pretty good car. If we could have got a little better track position, we would have come out of here with a real good day. Any time you can keep it between the ditches here you feel pretty good about it. This is a tough road course. If we'd had a couple more laps we might could have passed the 99 for another spot, but that's the way it goes."

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Burton's sixth-place finish was his best ever at Sears Point Raceway. He finished 10th here in ^Ñ96 and ^Ñ97.
"We were pretty close. There were times we'd run laps close to the leader. I need to get better, and I need to help the team get the car better. I'll have my road course consultant with me at Watkins Glen, and he'll help me out there. I really couldn't talk to him for this race. He's getting married, and I really couldn't talk to him about the track because it's changed since he's been here. We didn't back into anything today. We ran in the top five and top 10 most of the day and made some competitive passes. We improved in areas where we needed to improve a little bit. I was glad to see the race end today. We've had so much bad stuff happen to us lately. With about 12 laps to go, I started wondering what was going to happen. I just blocked it out, but we've had so many times that we haven't been able to capitalize on because of a caution or wreck or whatever. I need to improve as a road course racer, but we saw at times today when we could run with the 24. I've just got to learn to give the team better information and get the car a a little better from the beginning. This is a tough track. It's been a few years since we've had a top-10 here, and this is our best finish ever here I think. It's a small track, too. You could take two of the best go-kart racers in the world and get ^Ñem to run around here side by side. They'd have a chore doing it."

STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"That was a decent finish, especially when you consider we got spun out on the last lap. The guys worked hard all day, and we gained on it from last year. It's just disappointing when you stay out of trouble all day and then get spun out on the last lap."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We were running 15th with about five laps to go and the wheel came loose and we had to pit. We had to play catch up all day. I missed a gear on the start and messed us up. I came back and got under Blaney and got to wheel hopping and spun us both. Then we got pretty good and the wheel got left loose. We should have finished in the top 15 and we ended up 28th. That really hurt us in the points deal."

GREG STEADMAN (Crew chief No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Driver John Andretti was running 11th after taking the white flag and ran out of gas going up the hill on the final lap. He finished 30th.
"We pitted on lap 73, and we knew it was going to be close on fuel. We were about three-quarters of a lap short. John drove his butt off today, but it didn't work out at the end. It was a fuel mileage race all day. We struggled a little bit here with a new car and a new engine. We could hold our own in 10th place. We were probably better than five of ^Ñem in front of us, but we couldn't get past them."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti