FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES TWIN 125 -- RACE 1 February 11, 1999 Daytona International Speedway JEFF GREEN -15- Bud Moore Engineering Taurus -- "The 25, I think he thought he was gonna win on the first lap.
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES TWIN 125 -- RACE 1 February 11, 1999 Daytona International Speedway
JEFF GREEN -15- Bud Moore Engineering Taurus -- "The 25, I think he thought he was gonna win on the first lap. He went on the apron and turned Kenny Wallace sideways and that's what started everything. I just tried to get on the apron and I thought I had it cleared, but somebody hit me in the back end and then got me into Kenny. There's no sense doing that on the first lap. These guys are supposed to be experienced race car drivers, but that wasn't a very experienced move."
YOU CAME HERE WITH BUD MOORE TO TRY AND MAKE THE RACE. IT MUST BE DISAPPOINTING. "I came down here, not to get Jeff Green in the 500, I came down here to get Bud Moore in the 500. It's just very disappointing. I think we had a car that we could get in the top 15 with, but when an experienced guy like Wally Dallenbach pulls a move like that, that's pretty upsetting. He oughta have his head screwed on a little bit harder than that. I mean, the very first lap to put it on the apron and try to pass somebody, you can't do that."
JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- "We had a really good car. It handled tremendous all day but we've gotta work to get a little more speed out of it, but the handling was great. I don't know where we finished, but we got up there and drafted really well and everytime I wanted to go with someone they'd go the opposite way. That's typical, so I think everybody is for himself trying to get the best starting spot you can for the 500 and we're in there. We've got a shot at two million on Sunday and we're gonna do everything we can to try and win it."
RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Taurus -- YOU GOT THE LAST TRANSFER SPOT. "Yeah, it wasn't pretty but we're in the race. We've been fighting it down here all week and it seems like a typical Daytona for us and we've got a little work to do." A WILD START WASN'T IT? "Well, it looked like something broke on Kenny Wallace's car. I couldn't tell what it was but we weren't even up to speed yet and he jumped sideways. I'm glad I was in the outside line, that's the only thing that saved us because when he turned sideways he took out a bunch of them on the inside. That's one of those unfortunate things. Part of this Daytona stuff is you lighten the drive-train as much as you can and I believe he broke a gear or something in the back end."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE RELIEF OF BEING IN THE 500? "I always look for what we have to do. We've got problems to straighten out, but I guess we should be thankful we're in the race first. I was thinking we lost the draft and were hovering around the tail end of that lead draft and I had to have somebody on my back bumper. I had basically a fairly slow car trying to keep it up in there. When I lost somebody on my back bumper I was done."
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN DALLENBACH AND ELLIOTT DROPPED BACK TO HELP GET YOU IN? "I didn't really think about it. I knew I was right there in the middle of that back. Some cars were going backwards and some forward. I really wasn't comfortable with it, I just knew I had to get as many spots as we could. At the time we moved forward a little bit and then made our slide to the back. I was more concerned about the car picking up a push and how bad it was gonna get than anything."
JOHNNY BENSON -26- Cheerios Taurus -- "What do you do, we had the wreck in front of us there and I got off the track and bent the front end up pretty good -- towed it out -- killed the right front. Then one car let all of the oil out of his car and, man, I couldn't even see him, so I eventually had to come in and get out of everybody's way." NOW YOU'VE GOTTA TRY TO MAKE IT ON A PROVISIONAL? "I guess otherwise we go home again. That's two years in a row. We've always run good here."
MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline Taurus -- "It went okay. We're pretty much ready for the 500. We've got to make just a couple of little adjustments, make the car a little better and try to make sure we're in a better position the last five laps than we were. We were in good position. We got ourselves shuffled back, and just didn't get back in position like we needed to. We'll try to make it a little stronger for the 500."
JERRY NADEAU -9- Cartoon Network Taurus -- "We're in the race. We're pretty excited. I don't know what happened there at the start. It looked like Kenny came down on Wally and they got together and wrecked. I just barely missed it. I guess that started the day off on a bad note, but then it ended up on a good note. The car ran awesome. The car handled really good. It looked like a lot of guys were braking and lifting in the turns, but our car ran flat out on the bottom. It was working really good. It was just hard because I was in the back all the time, so I really didn't have much help from behind. So I just hung on. I realized where I was at, and the deal in this race is to finish in the top 14, and that's what we did."
ROBERT PRESSLEY -77- Jasper Engines Taurus -- "I tell you what -- these boys are working their butt off. This team is going to turn around. We're just real proud of them. We've got a bunch of guys in here who are all gelling. We're doing nothing no different or anything as far as the whole deal. It's just that everybody is headed in the same direction. It's a good team, an in depth team." H
OW DID YOU COME UP THROUGH THE PACK? "We were just real patient. Once we got up there in 12th I didn't want to go no further, but the car just strolling, strolling, strolling. We didn't have much of a provisional or a time to stand back on, but this old car is awfully fast, by itself, behind Chevrolets, behind Fords. I'm proud of it."
MIKE WALLACE -90- Dunlavey Racing Taurus -- "We just have to hope a couple more guys in the second 125 that are ahead of Junie on points don't make it. It's a tough race because we couldn't get caught up. In our situation we needed some drafting help. As soon as the second restart came, I ran wide open from the time the green flag flew until the time the checkered flag fell. We just didn't get hooked with a good enough draft of cars. That's just the way it goes. We'll see how it all shakes out. We might get in. We might not."
RICK MAST -98- Yarborough-Burdette Taurus -- "The last few days of practice the car wasn't that good, and we kept flogging, and flogging and flogging. We got it a ton better today. That's the good part. The bad part is that I didn't finish as well as I wanted to. The good part is is it's better, plus I pin pointed some things today during this race that I think will help us Sunday. The car was handling perfectly all day, well basically. Whenever Bobby (Labonte) made his move I went with him. I thought I had my car strong enough to do that. This car has a couple little tendencies about it that I wasn't used to, so when I made my move with Bobby another car hung me up a little bit on the right side that normally wouldn't slow a car down here in the draft, but this car it did. That's how the guys got by me. We just kind of fell in line and drove the last part. The car got a little tight the last seven or eight laps, but there are two or three things we learned about this car today that I think will help us immensely on Sunday."
DARRELL WALTRIP -66- Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus -- "I didn't get up in line there one time when I should have and I lost the end of that lead pack I was running with. I was as good as any of those cars, but that's all it takes. This is the first time I've even spoken to my spotter on the radio was this morning when we ran this race. He just got here. I'm not making any excuses, but we've got some work to do, we know we do. We can be much more aggressive with the car. It drove great, I could run it wide open, but we've gotta suck it down a little bit more than it is so we can race a little better, but, overall, it ran great. We didn't get a great finish, but we had a car capable of hanging in there with that pack, so that makes me feel good. We've just got work to do and we've only got a little bit of time to get it done."
JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "I'm awfully proud of the Exide team and the Valvoline team. We worked together all winter long and during testing and all week this week on things and it's made both teams better. We're just excited that we could get in there and mix it up. Last year we couldn't even run with them and today both of us ran with them and we're proud of that."
DID YOU LEARN WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN THE 500 WITH THE PACK OF CARS YOU WERE WITH? "We were with some awfully good cars. There are some other good cars coming up in this other race too, but I'm happy with what I saw. We've gotta get a little bit better in some areas, but I'm awfully happy with what we did in that race. You learn more in this race than you do all week and all of testing, so we're gonna start the Daytona 500 probably closer than we ever had, providing we don't have any trouble between now and then, and we're excited about that."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE UNDER THE HOOD? "As a race car driver you never have enough under the hood, but from where we were last year I feel like we won this 125 because in the night race last year, if we hadn't gotten that caution late I would have been a lap down because I lost the draft. The car drove well, it handled well I just lost the draft, I couldn't keep up. So at least today we were able to keep up and able to pass and when I had somebody to work with me I could pass somebody and when I didn't I couldn't just like everybody else, so I didn't feel like we had a huge handicap. I made some mistakes today based on the fact that it's been a while since I had a car that would run that fast. I did some things that I thought you should do and you shouldn't." "We need to find a little bit of speed if we're gonna win the Daytona 500. The handling package is pretty close, it needs a little bit of tweaking so we're gonna go over there and try to find a little bit of speed and keep the handling at least where it is."
TED MUSGRAVE -75- Remington Arms Taurus -- "I squeezed in there by luck. It really wasn't a 14th-place car, but strategy and luck played into our side and we got in the race. We've got a lot of work to do yet on the car. I believe the car is really good. The guys are working hard on it, they know what to do, we just got behind. Everything's been behind with new everything and this car was built and never tested here at Daytona. It's got a little bit different balance in the front and back than the other cars. We're gonna be okay, it's just that now we've got a little time to dial it in. We were behind the eight ball, I'll admit that."
HOW LUCKY DID YOU FEEL WHEN DALLENBACH AND ELLIOTT HAD PROBLEMS? "I've gotta be the luckiest guy in Daytona. It was very unfortunate for the guys in the first lap. I mean, I could not be luckier than I am today and I don't know what I did right, but for some reason somebody's smiling on me today. I'm just so happy to be in the 500 because we will be strong in the 500. I'll guarantee you. I'm not satisfied, I'm not happy with the way the car ran, which nobody is, but we're in the race and now we can concentrate on getting the thing quicker. We cleared the first hurdle, but it was all by luck."
RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "I think we had a good car. It's a long race. I think Jeremy and I are going to hook up again and have a good day." THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT DEALS ON THE RADIO. DID YOU HAVE ANY? "I don't know about what deals were going on there. We had a good run today. Jeremy and I worked together. Earnhardt got me at the start again. He went right to the bottom of the track again and blocked me. I tried to block him off, but I didn't want to run him through the grass and have a big wreck. But it turned out good. We're fourth. We're solid, and that's a good start for the 500. We had great handling car today."
JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- YOUR CREW WANTED YOU TO RUN HIGH, AND YOU DIDN'T GO. WHY? "I tried a couple times, and I didn't have anybody to go up there with me. Rusty's car worked real good on the bottom, and I couldn't go up there by myself. I tried a couple of times, and I thought I was going to lose my spot. We came home second. It was a great car. It was the best car I've ever had here. Usually you have to work on it in the 125's. This thing is ready to go right now. It's a lot better than what we had last year. I'm real excited about the 500. We've had a good week so far. The car has been strong every practice, and it came home today pretty strong."
DALE WANTED YOU TO HELP HIM, AND SAID YOU DIDN'T GO WITH HIM. "I couldn't go up there. Rusty couldn't go up. He was stuck on the bottom. If I'd went high Rusty was going to get me. I had to do what I had to do there."
DICK TRICKLE -13- NationsRent Taurus -- "The 30 car got pushed out in front of me off four, and then had to let up and collect it up. I got down under him. I didn't mean to get underneath him, but I ended up underneath him. I got out of line. Going into one, I tried to creep up and get back in line and we scraped together, and I lost it. I got together with the car outside of me and turned around. The car drove good. I think we could have been in the top 15. I just got caught in the wrong situation."
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- WE HEARD THERE WERE DEALS BEING MADE. WERE YOU AWARE OF A DEAL? "Obviously not. The last couple of laps I tried to lay back to get a run hoping Jeremy would give me a little bit of a push to get up along side of Dale, but I guess he wanted to finish second. We've got a good race car. That's the main thing. There are no deals out here. If you believe there are deals, you're in trouble."
CHAD LITTLE -97- John Deere Taurus -- "We made it. That's what's important. The car really ran well for the first two thirds, and then got tight for the last third, which I know is going to be a problem for a lot of people out there. I heard a lot of comments about that. We learned a lot, and we'll make some adjustments. The last 10 or 12 laps were pretty intense for sure."
DID YOU FIND ANY DRAFTING PARTNERS? "I don't think there is any such thing as partners any more. People want to stay in line as long as there's a pack behind them running double wide, but when you get a run on someone, you're going to try to pass them."
KEVIN LEPAGE -16- PRIMESTAR Taurus -- "My hat's off to James Ince and the whole Roush organization. They all went to work over the winter time to get us some great power and, I tell you, these guys worked hard the last few days after a disappointing qualifying effort. But to bring the PRIMESTAR Taurus home in eighth, we got snookered out there with a Pontiac and a Chevrolet. My teammates were in front of me, they were all Fords, but we're in the big show that's the biggest thing. We came from the back in this 125 and now we'll just get it ready for Sunday."
HOW WAS THE RACE? "The car was really good. We've got one minor adjustment to do to free the car up just a little bit more on the end of a long run."
RICKY CRAVEN -58- Hollywood Video Taurus -- HOW WORRIED WERE YOU? "I was scared to death. I've been scared to death since Monday because I knew we were gonna have to race our way in and there's no security in that. There's mechanical issues, there's the accidents, but everybody here passed the test. The thing ran great. It got a little messy there at the end, but, again, we had six of us fighting for one spot."
THIS IS A GOOD START ISN'T IT? "It's pretty emotional when you consider we weren't nearly fast enough to get in the Daytona 500 and we knew we'd have to race our way in. We caught a few breaks today and some good decisions in the pit, so it worked out for us, we're in the 500. I'm gonna have a very, very, very good time tonight."
HOW IS IT KNOWING YOU HAVE TO RACE TO GET IN? "Oh God, I don't think it gets any worse than that. The Daytona 500 is my favorite race, it's the biggest race and we can't afford to start out with a hiccup. We've got that behind us, we need to have a great day Sunday and then three more great races."
WHAT WAS THE PIT STRATEGY THAT PAID OFF? "We took on two tires instead of four, which was a really good move and it gave us some track position. We were also lined up with the right guys, I was getting some good help. Rich Bickle was pushing me and I was pushing Derrike and it went on for five, six, seven laps. I can't think of a short track race, heat race or otherwise, that was more difficult than that. We were sideways more than once."
KENNY IRWIN -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- THOSE LAST THREE OR FOUR LAPS WERE PRETTY INTENSE WEREN'T THEY? "It was. All they kept telling me was what place we were in and where we needed to get to. I was on the bottom and we just didn't have enough to pull my line up and we could just barely stay even. I mean, it was very nerve-wracking. I honestly thought something was gonna happen the last couple of laps. Guys were kind of running into each other in the center of the corner and I didn't think that we were gonna get out of that race without somebody having a big wreck."
HOW HARD IS IT TO WAIT AND SEE IF YOU MAKE THE RACE OR NOT? "My guts are inside-out. That's all I can say. The guys and everybody gave it as much as we had and we ran 16th. I don't know if there was anything else I'd change right now."
BRETT BODINE -11- Paychex Taurus -- "That's why you race so hard to finish in the top 25 the previous season, to use a provisional for the Daytona 500 if you need it. To me, we're in the Daytona 500 because of what we did last year. We worked hard to stay in that top 25 in points and, obviously, it's paying off here to start the season. I've got a car that will go, if someone will just stay with me. But, as we saw at the beginning of that race, Kenny Irwin and I went right to the front and as soon as he got out from behind me I was dead in the water. We've gotta work on trying to make the car so it will run better without so much help, but if someone would just have the patience to stay with us we could have done really, really good today. But we're in the show, we've got two days of practice and we'll work on it and try to get this thing just as fast as we can make it."
JUNIE DONLAVEY, Car Owner -90- Donlavey Racing Taurus -- YOU'VE GOT TO BE PRETTY HAPPY TO GET THE LAST PROVISIONAL SPOT FOR SUNDAY. "You wouldn't believe how happy we are. The only thing I'm waiting on is to make sure it's official."
IT'S BEEN A TOUGH WEEK, CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT IT'S BEEN LIKE TO GET TO THIS POINT? "We have been through a whole lot this week with the sponsor and the driver change and all of that, and it's hard on you because if you're a little bit off down here you're dead in the water. But Mike (Wallace) did a real good job for us and I think, if we can get things running a little bit better, maybe we'll be able to do something if we get in the race. We're mighty happy."
YOU'VE BEEN IN THIS SPORT 50 YEARS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO MAKE ANOTHER DAYTONA 500? "Well, after you've been through it as many times as I have, you kind of accept the fact that whichever way it goes that's the way it goes. When they make a rule here, you abide by it and whatever they say, you go along with it. I've understood that down through the years, so if we hadn't have made it, it would have been something we would have accepted."
ELLIOTT SADLER -21- Citgo Taurus -- HOW WAS IT OUT THERE WITH THE CUP GUYS FOR THE FIRST TIME? "It's pretty tough. These guys take up a lot of race track and they know how to move their air around a lot. We just couldn't get anyone to work with us yet, but we kind of expected that being a rookie. I've gotta pay my dues and get in there and show these guys I'm not gonna do anything stupid. That's what we wanted to do today. We were gonna make it by racing and then we got shoved up a little high in the wall and had to slam on the brakes and turn the car up. That caused us to take a provisional, but as far as Elliott Sadler, I've learned a lot today. I think we've got a great race car. I don't think we're gonna make any changes for the 500, just go out and log 500 miles and go from there."
WAS THERE ONE THING OUT THERE THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE READY FOR BUT STILL SURPRISED YOU? "Yeah, those guys will put it anywhere. Three wide, four wide, they're not scared of anything. The one thing I learned today is those guys are pretty aggressive at 190 miles an hour. That's something I learned today and I'm kind of glad I learned it today so I can go home and do a little studying and get ready for Sunday."
PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF JARRETT AND MAYFIELD POST RACE INTERVIEWS.
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "When you get within the last 100 miles of the 500 you have to be very calculating in the moves that you make. You have to know that you can make the pass. Unless it's a five or six car break-away you can't take the chance of going back to 15th place. Today I could take that chance. Earnhardt was strong. We just never really got the opportunity to make a run. Jeremy was trying to help, but Rusty was trying to protect his spot which wasn't really helping Jeremy."
WOULD YOU MAKE THE SAME KIND OF RUN TO TRY TO GET AROUND HIM IN THE 500? "Yeah, to win the race. I don't care what race it is. If we're out here racing go-carts I'm going to try to win the race. He was just a little better. I was a little better in the center of the corner and get away, but that didn't get me the run that I wanted to off the corner. It that would have been this coming Sunday and we were sitting there trying to do the say thing, I'm going to pull out and try to make a pass."
THE IN-CAR CAMERA MADE IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE GETTING BEATEN UP. IS THAT JUST THE WAY THE CAR IS SET UP? OR IS THE TRACK ROUGH? "It's not deceiving. My back'll hurt all day tomorrow. The track is rough. The track is rough partly because of the way that we put these cars down. We drag and make the dips in the race track. It's probably as much because of the shocks. We're going as far as we possibly can with these shocks to where we can drive it from pit stop to pit stop. It's rough."
WILL YOU TRY TO SOFTEN THAT FOR SUNDAY? "No. That right there was almost a pit stop. We can run just a little bit further than that. I saw no problem with my tires going away or anything. It's just a matter that you have to be ready to sit there and bounce around for 500 miles."
WILL THE EXPECTED TEMPERATURE CHANGE ON SUNDAY CHANGE YOUR SET UP? "I don't think it's going to change the set up. I think the thing we're going to have to be careful of is that the engine guys are really going to have to be on top of things. Hopefully, it will change for Saturday to where we'll get a plug check to see how it's going to affect the engines. If not, we're going to have to guess because it's been 80 degrees since we've been here, and if all of a sudden it's going to change 15 or 20 degrees they're going to have to be on top of the game. These restrictor plate engines are real sensitive, and you can burn one down in a hurry."
CAN YOU COMPARE EARNHARDT'S STREAK OF WINNING 10 OF THESE TO ANYTHING? "I've never won 10 in a row of anything. So I don't know what that would be like. It would be phenomenal to think somebody could come here and win these 10 times in a row. Somebody always helps him get to the front because you know that he's going there so he is a good partner to help you get there, but then trying to pass him after that is pretty difficult. He knows how to make the track wide, and he has a fast race car all the time and he makes it difficult. I think he has to feel pretty good about his chances on Sunday because he was able to hold us off, knowing that we were trying. I was trying from about lap 35 on to get a run because I didn't want to wait to the last lap. I knew that wasn't going to be good."
YOU NEVER GOT A RUN? "Not a good one. A couple times I had him, but at lap 35 or 38 you wanted to make sure you weren't going to take yourself out of a chance to get the win. If I was going to make a run I wanted to make sure somebody was going with me. A couple of times I ran all the way to his bumper ready to pull out, and I knew I didn't have that push from behind. I was afraid I'd create a traffic jam, and that wasn't going to be any good."
ARE THE FORD SPEEDWAY CARS WHERE THEY NEED TO BE? "Yeah, I think we've shown that, obviously winning at Talladega last year, and I was running second the Jeff here when we cut a tire in October. I think they've figured these things out a lot more. Lining up to make that pass is still difficult, but it's difficult for anybody. It's not just us. So we've come a long way in a year's time."
HOW MANY GENERATIONS OF BODIES HAVE YOU HAD TO GO THROUGH TO GET HERE? "We spent a lot of hours in the wind tunnel. Most of its been in the wind tunnel, and cutting bodies off. Last year after Talladega, and after the fires here at Daytona, we went back and built another car from the one we were going to race here in July. And we cut the body off of it after being in the wind tunnel and rebuilt it again. I know it's been well over 100 hours in the wind tunnel, and that's hard hours to come by to get in the wind tunnel just with our speedway stuff. So it's been a lot of hours there, and a lot of hours in our fab shop with Todd and the guys, trying to ensure we've got something we can race with."
HOW ARE YOU FEELING HEALTH-WISE? "I feel great, feel great. I'm looking forward to 500 miles Sunday."
HOW DOES IT LOOK SUNDAY FOR YOU? "I think we're in good shape. We had a good race car there. The car was still driving good at the end of those 50 laps. In a few more laps we would have been at a pit stop for Sunday. I think we've definitely seen that the tires are going to be in good shape for that period of time. Our car drives well for that period of time. We'll use tomorrow to tweak on it just a little bit. But if it rained for the next two days, we'll be in good shape."
JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- HOW DOES THIS HOT WEATHER AFFECT YOU IN THE CAR? "I really pay attention to what I eat, and getting all my fluids in me. I've never felt better. This year I've been trying to eat right and do all the right things physically. Mentally I feel good, and I'm ready for the season to start."
A LOT OF CONDITIONING IN THE OFF-SEASON? "Just living better and paying attention to what I'm eating."