Dover Pontiac Racing Post-Race Quotes

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (INITIAL THOUGHTS: WHEN DID HIS CAR REALLY COME IN?) "It was good the whole day. Greg Zipadelli and all the guys on this Home Depot team did a great job. We just had an unbelievable car. ...


(INITIAL THOUGHTS: WHEN DID HIS CAR REALLY COME IN?) "It was good the whole day. Greg Zipadelli and all the guys on this Home Depot team did a great job. We just had an unbelievable car. We never had to change anything but air pressure today. When the clouds came we had to go up on the right rear a little bit, but the car was really balanced all day long."

(ON STARTING 16TH) "This place doesn't have a tunnel so everybody has to drive across the track and it was really dirty early in the race, and we just kind of took our time. The car felt free, and I think everybody's did until we got some rubber back on the track. Everybody kind of took their time early in the race. We knew it was 400 laps. That's a long day here, so we didn't have to get in a big hurry, but at the same time we needed to make sure we took real good care of our race car."

(COULD HE HAVE GONE THE DISTANCE ON FUEL?) "We were going to have to stop. But I think that's why we pulled ahead so far from everybody else. Everybody was trying to beat us on fuel. We knew we had a car that was driving good enough to beat everybody. We just needed to take advantage of that. We were gaining almost a half a second a lap on some of those guys. We were trying to build as big of a cushion as we could to make sure that when we did come and make that pit stop that we could get in and try to get out before they got around."

(WHAT DOES THE WIN MEAN?) "We've had some down times here lately, the last couple weeks. I've always been known to speak my mind and everybody has always praised me for it, but a couple of media guys kind of threw me under the bus and put some things that weren't necessary true in some papers, and it really turned a lot of fans against us. That's probably hurt me more than having a bad race car on any given day. Fans mean a lot to us. To see them cheering when we won this thing, that means a lot to us, and finally for these people to know the truth, that means even more to us."


(INITIAL THOUGHTS: DID HE THINK HE HAD ANYTHING FOR MATT KENSETH OR TONY STEWART?) "No. not really. I just didn't think we had enough for them really. We just gave it our best shot. The Interstate Pontiac ran great today with MBNA on the hood. This is their home track and are really glad that we come with a top five. We love coming to Dover. We really couldn't get as good a feel for it as we usually do, but still it was a good run. Tony (Stewart) did a good job, kept his cool and everything, and that was good."


"It was one of those deals. The Team Conseco car was good. We've worked hard to try to turn this thing around, and we have turned it around. A lot of the people in the garage area commented to me this week about the difference; the way we ran at Charlotte and here at Dover. In 'Happy Hour' and all the practices the car was good. When the race started I was trying to be patient because you know how Dover is, and that damn yellow car (No. 1 Chevrolet) that wrecks every other week got me this week. But I'm just frustrated right now. I don't mean to be going off on the yellow car, but it seems like he is in a wreck every other week, and I'm just very frustrated now because we had such a good car.

"But you know what? It's Dover and these things are going to happen. We'll go on to Michigan and try better."


"We were fighting the rear of the car, but we fixed that.  Then we got the
nose to pushing.  But they did a good job.  They kept digging.  They changed
what I wanted to get changed.  We just didn't have enough time right there
at the end to get the nose to turn.  But we'll take a top 10 at Dover."


"That came out pretty good. He (Kyle Petty) did real good. We just got a little bit behind on a couple of those runs there. If we had kept him up there in the middle of the day we probably had a good shot of finishing in the top five with him. He just drives this place real well. It's good to see him go out and run real good like that after everything he's been through.

"This was a good job. There are a lot of smiles today."


"I'm ecstatic for Kyle (Petty) and ecstatic for the '43.' I couldn't drive - not 100 percent - and Kyle is really, really good, especially here at Dover. This was a big boost for everybody."


(ON THE FINAL RESTART)  "I had a good run on him there and he came down a
little bit.  We touched a little bit, but no big deal."
(ON FUEL MILEAGE BATTLES AT DOVER)  "Last year it worked that we had that
fuel mileage deal.  This year it didn't.  It's just a gamble that we took
and it really looked good.  We were the only ones that were going to be able
to make it.  The people in front of us were all going to have to stop.  It
was a great car.  It just didn't work out, caution-wise."


"We're pretty pleased with how the car ran. We got that one flat tire there right near the end that I think hurt us by about five spots. That was too bad. But the guys did a great job on the Lycos Pontiac trying to get it ready. We weren't sure where we were at. Man, we changed the world on it going into the race -- still probably not far enough but good enough to get us through the day. I think we had a top 10 finish until we cut that tire with like 15 laps to go, and that hurt us. So ending up 15th, we're happy about this one. It's not like Charlotte where we were mad. We're pretty happy about this one coming from where we did."


(ON HAVING A SOLID POINTS DAY) "I usually finish like fifth here at Dover, so it was a great run for us. We just couldn't go on short runs like the '20' and even the '17' there at the end and some other guys. But all in all, we had a good competitive car all day. The guys did great pit stops. The car was just flawless all day. We just stayed out of trouble. I just tried to run us some fast, even laps there as long as we could, and ended up third, so it was a great day for us."

(ANY TIRE TROUBLE TODAY?) "No, none at all. Just me not being really comfortable with it is the big thing. I just don't feel quite comfortable like we did last year with the tires they had then. This is just going to take us a little while to get used to, I guess."

(ON HIS DAY OVERALL) "We had a good run. We started ninth and we just kind of held our own in the top five or top seven most of the day. It was just one of those deals where we didn't have the fastest car at times. We had a good car all day long, but we just didn't have the fastest car like the '12' and the '20.' We were just always back there in probably third or fourth place all day. The guys did a great job in the pits. They picked some spots for me a few times. Actually it was a pretty good day. It was just very fortunate that we finished third. Everything worked out good."

(ON FUEL MILEAGE) "We were looking really good. We came in with about 108 laps to go, and got fuel. We could have gone the rest of the way on gas without really any problem. Then they had a yellow there with about 16 or 17 to go, and that kind of foiled that deal. But, hey, sometimes you have to gamble a little bit. It was a good call. We just didn't quite get the lucky break."

(WHERE DID HE THINK HE COULD FINISH AT THE TIME OF THE LAST RESTART?) "Finishing third probably. There was no way I could go fast on a quick run. I couldn't all day, and I didn't see where it was going to change there at the end. I was very fortunate that we were able to hold off Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd there at the end. I couldn't quite get by Matt (Kenseth), and Tony was gone because they had a great pit stop and they got tires. They were fast on the get-go and pretty much for the long run. They were pretty much a rocket all day."

(ON THE POINT STANDINGS) "We had a good day. You always have to be thankful for the good days because the bad one might be the next one right around the corner. We're real fortunate that we had a good day today. We missed a couple of things (wrecks) that were close today out there. We just were solid. We weren't fast and we weren't quite as comfortable as we needed to be, as we have been in the past here before when we had a little bit better car. But yet we had a lot better car than a lot of them, so evidently we weren't as bad as we thought."

(ON THE TRACK) "It was good. It was pretty good off of turn two. Off of turn four, it seemed like some rubber build-up got there more than normal, and you had to change your line a little bit if you ran low. For the most part, you could run up high, too. It was a little bit like a two-groove racetrack, so it wasn't bad - just about like normal."


"I think we knew in the morning session yesterday that we had a pretty good race car. We just tried to fine-tune in the afternoon in 'Happy Hour.' We looked at our notes from last year and after the first half of 'Happy Hour' I wanted to change everything on the car practically. I don't know what happens after the Busch race, but you can pretty much throw away the first half of 'Happy Hour' and then the last half, kind of get your car back where you want it to be.

'At the start of the race the track was really dirty. It took a while to kind of get it cleaned off to where we could get back to running the same lines, same times we were running earlier. About 20 laps into it, it really started to come back in. Once the track cleaned back off we pretty much had the same car that we had in the morning yesterday and in 'Happy Hour' at the end of the session. With the exception of the clouds coming in and the car getting a little tight, the guys made adjustments and got it freed back up. Greg (Zipadelli) and all the guys kept up with the track conditions all day. We had a great car all day long, just like we had at Richmond last year."

(ON DOVER) "This place, if it's right it's right, if it's off it seems like it's way off. With as big as the corners are here there is a lot of momentum to be gained or lost. If you have to get out of the gas it shows up and multiplies. When I knew I could stay in the gas I knew we had a pretty good car. It was just a matter of not knowing how long each segment was going to last and making sure we were taking care of the tires. Greg (Zipadelli) was on the radio all day making sure that I was being patient. When we got to cars that were fast that took us time to get around, they were telling me to be patient and just making sure I took care of my equipment. They did a good job in the pits keeping me calm all day, too."

(DID HE THINK MATT KENSETH COULD GET BY HIM ON THE LAST RESTART?) "I knew he had a good run. Our car was best after probably 20 or 25 laps. The guys made an adjustment to try to make it a little better since we had such a short run left to try to make it come in a little quicker. I think Matt's car was a little better right off the get-go. But once we get about three or four laps on those tires it seemed like it evened out and we started pulling away again. I expected for him to make a run on us, and I expected for Bobby (Labonte) to make a run. We didn't have the best car in a short run, but we had a good car from 20 laps on. That's where if it would have gone green to the end, that's where it was really going to pay off. They made the right adjustments at the end to make it just fast enough that I could hold him off."

(ON THE RELIEF OF WINNING) "Knowing that we had a car that should have won Richmond probably - it was just racing luck that took us out of that - this was a nice way to come back and get that win back under our belt. We had a good car there, and it was disappointing when we hadn't had the season that we had thought that we would have up to that point, and to have it end that way was disappointing. But at the same time, to come here today and win, and get the thing finally done, and not have to say, 'Well, why aren't we winning again?' We can win again. There's no doubt, and there's never been any doubt in the team's mind or my mind whether we could win. It's just that we needed to get some of that luck back on our side, and we had luck on our side again today. Everybody has got the skill that it takes to win these races. It's just sometimes you need a little extra and sometimes that where the luck comes into it."

(ON RACING WELL AT DOVER) "I like it the way that it ended up. I like it being whoever is driving the fastest car at the end and running the best lap times wins the race. That's the way it should be in my eyes. I don't sit there with a calculator in the car and figure out fuel mileage. I hate fuel mileage games. I hate getting beat by fuel mileage. I got beat here last year because of that. We had the best car. There were four of us that had a shot at winning, and I think we were just enough better that we could have won the race if it was down to a shoot-out. But, unfortunately we didn't get to that situation. Bobby beat us on fuel and we ended up with a top four finish. To knock that variable out of the equation and know that the fastest car won today was gratifying, not only for myself but for the guys on the team."

(WHAT DOES HE LIKE ABOUT DOVER?) "I don't know what it is about it. I guess it kind of brings back memories of Winchester (Ind.) and Salem (Ind.) when I ran sprint cars back in Indiana. With the size, it's a big momentum racetrack. I don't know why I like it. I don't know what about my driving style likes this place. But Greg and the guys have put a great set-up under this car every time we've been here and it's made me comfortable. That's half the battle right there, being able to go out there and run on the spot on the racetrack that I want to run. It typically works out to where not too many people can stay where I want to run on the racetrack, so it kind of opens up a lane for me. That helps out. It's a challenging and tough racetrack and physically demanding. Those are the types of tracks that we really seem to do well at. They are tracks that you really have to work hard all day and stay focused. Having a crew chief like Greg and all the guys, they help me stay focused all day and they stay focused all day. That's what it takes to win here."

(DID AERODYNAMICS GIVE HIM AN ADVANTAGE TODAY?) "This was not an aero track. We beat guys because we could run on a spot on the racetrack that nobody else could. The other Pontiacs couldn't run where we ran and it's because Greg knows the set-up that works well here and let's me run on the racetrack where I want to run. Every time that I had to run directly behind somebody I had a big aero push, just like everybody else did - probably more of an aero push with a Pontiac than what other guys had. In my opinion, this is a track where mechanical balance is important. All the concrete tracks are - Bristol and here both. The surface is so unique and so different from everywhere else that we go. There are so many bumps that you've got to work on your spring and shock package and really make the car work. With the corners as big as they are you've got to make the tires work. That's not aero. That's mechanical balance and that's what we did better than everybody else today."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Kyle Petty