RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 37th) "I guess that's one of the penalties of running the high line. I ran high all day and I was fighting loose from the very beginning. The guys were doing a great job working on the Tide Ford, but...
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 37th)
"I guess that's one of the penalties of running the high line. I ran high all day and I was fighting loose from the very beginning. The guys were doing a great job working on the Tide Ford, but we couldn't get it tightened up getting into the corner. I spent most of the day running 200 miles an hour in the corner turning right, and I just couldn't catch it that last time. It got away from me, but we're really a good team. We don't always finish in the top 10, but it seems like we're always running in the top 10. It's really getting better and better."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 39th)
"It was a long day. We were way off in happy hour yesterday too. We made a bunch of changes, but we just couldn't fix the car. It's a brand new type of car and a brand new type of body -- something we had never run before and we just wanted to try it. Unfortunately, we just could not get a handle on it all day long. It was just a frustrating day. Four out of the last five races something has happened to us. We just can't get the monkey off our back right now. It's killing us."
WHAT PUT YOU OUT? "The motor locked up. That's the first motor problem we've had in a long time. Jack (Roush) always does a great job with his stuff, we must have just had a part failure or something like that today. It was a tough day."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Finished 5th)
"We had a problem today and got real lucky. We had to make a pit stop about 20 laps early and it wasn't gonna work out too good, but everybody cycled through and we got back on sequence. We had a great car and a good run. It's gonna take an outstanding car to win one of these things, but we're happy to run in the top five. We've got a little bit more to go, but I love these guys. These are some good cars. We've just got a little more work to do."
THE LEAD LAP CARS BATTLED ALL DAY. "It was a hard race. There was a lot of green-flag racing here and we ran good enough even though we started back and had problems. We still ran good enough to stay on the lead lap, so we really earned that one."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"We had an awesome piece. It was just unbelievable. The amount of people it takes to build a race car and a race team to out there and compete, there are so many individuals I need to mention but there's only one that counts and that's Jack Roush. It's unbelievable what he's given me and what he's done for this company. We all know what our job is and what our place is here. We can do it without him, but it's so nice to have him here. This is for Jack. I wish we could have won this thing, but we were a little short on the top end. We had them off the corner. We had a lot of torque in the motor and we had a lot of aerodynamics in this Ford Taurus and this Rubbermaid team -- we're awesome. We had a lead by 15 seconds. This is what it's all about. We're running for the championship."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR LAST STOP? "I made the call for two. Jimmy wanted to do four, but we got beat by guys that just took gas. It's sad on how these tires last forever and you can't get any grip with new tires, old tires. It's tough we lost it by pit strategy because we had the best car, but that's the way it is. We finished third last week, second this week, we're going for the win next week."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Havoline Taurus (Finished 3rd)
"We took on two tires on that last stop and our car just got pushing the front end. We couldn't get the front to turn. I wish we could have maybe made a little chassis adjustment to go with the tires because it was just pushing too much. Again, we had the track position and we were in the spot to do it, but we just got too tight."
CONSIDERING WHERE YOU STARTED THIS IS PRETTY GOOD. "Anytime you finish in the top five nowadays it's good. We could actually see the victory slip away from us a little bit. Our guys did a great job in the pits as did everybody on the Havoline Taurus team. They got us in a position to win -- two tires, which was the right thing to do -- but we came out on the race track and the car just wouldn't turn on those two tires. The car was too tight. I wish we had a chance to come back and re-do a little of that, but I'm just happy with the finish considering we started so far back."
WAS THAT FUN RACING AT THE END? "That was a blast. I tell you, I usually call in on the radio when I'm having a day like that and tell Robert, 'Hey, I'll drive for nothing when we have a car that runs like this.' Anytime you get up there and can mix it up like that and have a car that's that good it's a blast."
JOE NEMECHEK --26-- Haas Carter Motorsports Taurus (Finished 25th) -- "It's a shame. We were really hauling at the end. It was perfect. I'm not sure if we were having chassis or tire problems in the beginning because the car was just so sensitive when we made adjustments. I hate it for the guys because there at the end we were good. We just needed more laps."
GREG BIFFLE --16-- Roush Racing Taurus (Finished 13th)
YOU MUST BE THRILLED? "I am. I was so far off at the start of the race with my setup that it took me the whole entire race to get it where I wanted. We had long pit stops because I had the guys doing a whole bunch of stuff -- 'put wedge in, raise the track bar, take a rubber out there, rubber in there, disconnect the bar -- I had them doing 100 different things and you can't have fast pit stops when you're doing that, so we couldn't get ourselves up where we wanted to be. Towards the end there, we put two tires on it and made a small adjustment and it was pretty good -- I got myself some track position. Then at the end we figured 15 laps -- to come in and put tires on it -- I said, 'The car is handling really good, I'm running with Gordon, let's just stay out.' You could see, I could run with the leaders there at the end. If I had fresh tires like they did, I would have been able to run with them, but we just didn't get the break to get back on the lead lap. That's what we needed all day."
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN JOHNSON AND BUSCH AND RUDD WERE RIGHT BEHIND YOU AT THE END? "The main thing I was thinking was to not make any of those lead-lap guys mad at me. That's all I was trying to do, especially my teammates. I was trying to stay out of their way, but yet they've got to respect me because I've got to race my way back onto the lead lap. I was trying not to interfere with the outcome of the race and I don't believe I did. I was just trying to keep myself in position. I would instantly go and start running the top and all of them were running the bottom, so I went ahead and let them have their territory. I was better at the top anyway, so it worked out for both of us. I just needed a caution."
RYAN PEMBERTON, Crew Chief --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus -- YOUR STRATEGY LOOKED LIKE IT WAS GOING TO WORK. "Yeah. It was gonna be close, but, boy, I sure didn't want to see that last caution come out there. I really believed we could have made it and I don't think many of the other guys could. We were running really well right there, but we pitted because we had to -- you can't take a chance on it -- so we got right sides. You can look back at a lot of things I should have done different and probably should have done what the 48 did and not get any tires as good as the car was running, so I'll look back and kick myself in the butt for it, but we had a car that could lead the race and a car that could mix it up with those guys. I think that's all this team needs is to prove it to ourselves -- that we're capable of doing this and doing it more often than what we've seen here in the first 10 races. I think this is a good kick in the butt for this race team."
TODD PARROTT, Crew Chief --88-- UPS Taurus -- "We had a great race car. Pit stops were just incredible and the guys got us track position a lot of times out of the pits. We kept working on it. That one time we freed the car up, he was tight, and we probably got him a little bit too loose. We all had that yellow tape over our hats. That's a trick that my brother taught us a few years ago. We had yellow tape on our hats and on our shoes and everywhere because we needed a caution. We were gonna have to stop for gas, so evidently the good Lord upstairs saw all of that yellow tape on our guys and we got a caution. We came in and got two tires. The pit stop was off just a little bit but, all in all, it was a great day. The car was good and we had another solid top-10 finish." DID YOU THINK OF NO TIRES? "It's a crap shoot. It's like being in Las Vegas and rolling the dice. It's a chance you take. Jimmie had a great race car. Those guys are awfully strong over there. Chevy won themselves another race and the Fords were good too. We had a great race car and I'm tickled to death. Everything is starting to come around. We're running really well. We're running strong and that's what we've got to do. We've moved up to 13th in points, so we're getting back up there towards the top 10."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 6th)
"We couldn't make it, so we had to pit and we decided we might as well get some tires. We made a track bar adjustment the time before and that got me too loose. We probably should have left it alone with the two tires, but I was afraid it would still be loose with two tires and I might really go backwards. I was just too tight there at the end."
ANOTHER GOOD DAY THOUGH? "Yeah, that's encouraging that we can run up front all day and at least put ourselves in that position. Hopefully, we'll be able to capitalize on that before too long, but we've got to keep doing this. If we can do that, then we'll be in good shape. If we can keep getting top 10s, we'll be alright."
WERE YOU THINKING WIN? "I really thought we had a shot at the win. I think Kurt Busch had the best car all day, but I thought if we could get ourselves in position at the end there we'd have a chance."
DAVE BLANEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 9th)
"Until the last caution fell we were looking good. We were kind of riding in the draft with those guys and knew we could make it, but that's the way it goes. Maybe we should have stayed out on that last caution, but we thought two was the best bet and it didn't work out. Still, it was a good day. We were able to run right with them and we're real happy. I think we made some real progress today."
IT WASN'T JUST STRATEGY THOUGH. YOU GUYS WERE STRONG. "Oh yeah. That's what was going on with the top five to eight guys, you work to get yourself in position or get up front and you could last for a while before the best guys were gonna come after 20 laps. What are you gonna do? It was fun racing up there and, hopefully, we can do more of this. We needed a good smooth day for the whole team to get pumped up."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 14th)
"It was definitely one of those days. I think at points we had the fastest car on the race track, but at other points we weren't even close. We just had some inconsistency in tires. We had one equalize and things didn't fall exactly the way we wanted to -- sometimes in the pits and sometimes on the race track. Whenever I had a good car underneath me I drove to the front but, other than that, I just took what I had."
DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE MAJOR CHANGES DURING THE DAY? "We didn't make major changes, but it just seemed like nothing really happened. I don't know. We struggled, but when you have a fast car you try to realize why and we never could grasp the idea of when we were fast why we were fast."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 20th)
"It was a bad day and it just got worse. The car just handled terribly and we worked on it all day. We put a spring rubber in it, made track bar adjustments and air-pressure adjustments. Then I was so loose I hit the wall in one and two. I just could not go any faster. Today hurt us pretty bad. We just missed it."