KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 4th, 4th in points "We had a good finish in Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger. We'll take it and go on to Las Vegas. We have more work to do on the Dodge Charger. This car handled ...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 4th, 4th in points
"We had a good finish in Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger. We'll take it and go on to Las Vegas. We have more work to do on the Dodge Charger. This car handled identical to the one we had here last year, so we know we're not where we want to be with the Charger. We're making progress and will continue to make it better. The finish wasn't a surprise. We had good pit stops and Kenny (Francis, the team director) and the crew made good adjustments on the car. The car was loose on entry, and we didn't let it get away from us. That's the important thing. We had a handle on the car throughout the race and know what the car needed on the next stop to make it better. We had a good finish, a good points' day.
"That's the best we've run in awhile for a complete race, counting the last half of last year. I feel pretty good about it. We had great pit stops and the engine ran awesome. It was just a matter of getting a good restart and trying to pass Jimmie there on the last lap. Carl passed me. That's racin' but it was fun. Everything went pretty good. We usually run pretty decent at California Speedway. We'll work on some more things and try to make it more comfortable to drive. In two weeks we're heading to Las Vegas. These are real temperamental cars, so we'll just have to keep working on the Dodge Charger.
"We got up there about halfway through and kept working on it from there. A couple of good cars fell out and we got a top five out of it. It was a good effort. The guys did a good job in the pits all day. We were way off at the start of the race. Two or three cars were a lot better than we were, and other than that it was close. It feels good to finally get a good finish. I wish we could have won, but we had a top five and that's pretty good right now."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 22nd, 29th in points
"The car was loose at the start of the race, but Chris (Andrews, team director) and the crew made adjustments on each pit stop and we were running in the top 15 just past the halfway mark. We were set for a green-flag pit stop on lap 183. Just as I started down pit road, a car spun into the grass on the front straight. Chris told me to pass on through, expecting the caution to come up. It didn't so I had to make another lap and then come in for a green flag stop. We had a top 15 car, and the way the guys were making adjustments, we could very well have been a top 10 car. It's disappointing when you know you have a car capable of a better finish. We'll take the week off, regroup and head to Las Vegas where we had a good test."
CASEY MEARS (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) -- Finished 7th, 2nd in points
"We had a couple problems in the pits in the Busch race yesterday, and the guys really rebounded well. Every stop today was good. Every stop today was clean, no issues. We fought the car a little bit. We weren't as good as we've been in the past. There at the end with the green-white-checkered we had enough car, enough tire to make something happen and get a couple of guys there at the end. It wasn't easy to run inside the top 10. We've got to work at it and see where we can improve, but it's a great finish for us and kept us good in the points."
COMMENT ON THE MOVE WHEN YOU WENT LOW AND MADE IT FOUR WIDE "People hate it when you do that. Jeff Burton was just raising hell. We was waving his hand, but I had such a huge run. If I would have backed off and pulled behind those guys I would have lost 10 spots. It was a risky move, but I was committed and I was pretty sure the other guys were going to back out and it worked out for me. I didn't want to squeeze Jeff by any means or put people at risk, but the run was so big. We didn't have good enough car just to race 'em. We had to take some chances there at the end."
WAS THIS CHARGER AS GOOD AS THE ONE YOU HAD AT HOMESTEAD LAST YEAR? "No, we've got a lot of work to do to get it as good as that. It just didn't handle as well. It didn't turn as well and didn't have the forward bite off the corner. It felt like I was lacking total grip. We'll work on it. The guys did a great job and we had a great finish regardless. We've just got to keep working at it and get better. I really didn't think we'd come home with a top 10. You never quit working on it. You keep going. I thought a top 10 might be a little bit out of reach, but the guys kept going."
IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'VE GOT YOUR ACT TOGETHER "It's not going to be easy, but no one said it was going to be easy. It's never easy. I think we've come a long way. I think I've come a long way as a driver. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I just know how much I've learned. I feel like I'm with a great team that makes good decisions and builds good racecars. We've definitely got some work to do with those guys running up front. It's one thing to be running inside the top 10, but it's half a second to get with those guys running in the top three. We've got to go to work and put our heads together to figure out what we're going to do to beat those guys."
DO YOU FEEL MORE CONFIDENT? "I feel a lot more confident. I guess it's comfortable more than confident, knowing what I'm getting into week in and week out and knowing what to expect, just more knowledgeable rather than more confident."
COMMENT ON POSITION IN POINTS "This is what we needed. Our goal was to come out of here with a top five. We got a top 10, so we've got to be happy with that."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Mobil 1/Alltel Dodge) -- Finished 20th, 7th in points
"We made a lot of changes overnight, and we finally got the car good at the end. It was just too little, too late. That's pretty much it. We were way too tight the whole race until basically the last three runs. By that time we were a lap down. We passed seventh and eighth there at the end there, so we had about a sixth or seventh-place car. It's just unfortunate we got behind. We made a lot of changes overnight. We look forward to Vegas after today."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) -- Started on pole, finished 16th, 25th in points
"I think we're fine. We learned as a team what we need to do. We've definitely got cars that can go fast when the track is fresh and green just like Newman has shown before. We just need to build a little more downforce into it and keep the front valence on the car. We went way too soft with the springs, and that really hurt our chances. We were really good for one lap. I was with their program and wanted to do what I thought was best for our program and team. It just hurt us in the long run. We had a good car on short runs and a bad car on long runs."
COMMENT ON BUMP FROM BEHIND "We had to go three wide and everybody was trying for position at the end of the race. I heard three wide and I just slid up a little bit and tried not to crowd anybody. Somebody pushed up and hit the middle car and the middle car came in and hit us. We were lucky we didn't get hit as we spun down the racetrack. We made it through, but that's the way it goes some days. You have a fast car in the beginning and it struggles once the track gets rubbered up."
COMMENT ON THE DODGE "We just missed our setup, no real big difference between the cars. We were so fast in practice. We sat on the pole, and it was hard to change the car. We learned quite a bit. It's rough to have two races so far and get hit from behind twice and have two spins, but hopefully we won't make the stat list for wrecking all the time. It wasn't his (J.J. Yeley's) fault. We were just racing hard. Last week it was somebody just driving over their head. No problem with Yeley. You expect things with guys from yellow back bumpers to learn, and I think he learned from that."
COMMENT ON TRACK "I think the track is fine. We've got setups in these cars and if you hit it just right, and Roush Racing has it, I know what they've got and they're going to go fast. Some of the other teams haven't quite (got) it as smooth. The competition is so fierce. We haven't had a big rule mix up yet. Next year will be a big rule mix up."