Ford Las Vegas race notes and quotes

March 4, 2001 Las Vegas Motor Speedway JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 39th) WHAT HAPPENED? "I really don't know. I went into the corner. It's the first couple of laps and I was going real easy. ...

March 4, 2001 Las Vegas Motor Speedway

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 39th)
WHAT HAPPENED?
"I really don't know. I went into the corner. It's the first couple of laps and I was going real easy. I got toward the middle of the corner and I wasn't on the gas or anything and it started coming around. I never could pull it back. We were going slow and was in a big pack. I do not have a clue what happened."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 43rd)
"We were just gettin' going there. The car was running great. I think I made it up to sixth or seventh and was real happy with the way it was running. I went into turn one and Jeremy was underneath me and he just lost it. When he lost it he slid up into me and I got into the fence."

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Taurus (Finished 38th)
"It's very unfortunate. That took out a couple good race cars. NASCAR should have thrown the yellow flag when they saw the 32 having his problem. From the driver's seat, you can't see that oil on the race track. I guess if I wouldn't have had such a good car I wouldn't have gotten wrecked because I was passing cars on the outside and that's where the oil was. I went straight into the fence once I hit that. I hate it for all the guys who have worked very hard, but unfortunately that's called racing."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 42nd)
"The car is torn up pretty bad. I hate it for Rusty and the guys over there. I didn't know there was oil on the race track. I wasn't even trying to run hard. He and the 14 got together in three and four and that left me no choice but to pull up beside of him. We ran down the straightaway and then I heard, 'Oil on the race track,' but by that time it was too late. I got into him and I hate it for them. This Mobil 1 team had a good car and I thought we had a chance to win, but our day's been cut short. It's the same as usual, we'll just have to keep coming back."

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 40th)
"I don't really know what happened for sure. I went down into three and the right-front tire blew. I don't know if I ran over and cut something or what, but it just blew. That's the first time I really got to check out my HANS device and I was pretty impressed by it. I hated to have to have a wreck to check it out, but I was pretty impressed. I went down into three and the tire let go. I knew I was gonna hit the fence pretty hard and you just try to hold on the best you can. Any other time an impact like that you would feel your back and neck stretch, but I tell you, I'm impressed. That's a pretty big deal. Sometimes when you hit it feels like your head goes out the windshield and comes back, but I just hit the inside of my helmet pretty hard. That's all padded, so I really didn't hurt anything. I tell you, I'm really impressed."

TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus (Finished 5th)
THAT'S A PRETTY GOOD WEEKEND.
"Yeah. We had a good setup with both cars. Both cars ran good, but the Cup car just got a little too tight about 20 laps into a run. We kept adjusting it, but we never caught up to it. It kept getting tighter as the race went and that last run was the best it was, but we needed to go a little more. We had a decent car and got a good finish. We did what we had to do."

DOES THIS SHOW THE POTENTIAL OF THIS TEAM?
"Yeah, it really does. That just shows what this team can do. We've got a lot growing pains to go through and we're gonna have our downs as well as our ups. Travis and Carl give us everything we need, it's just up to us to go out and do it and do it like we did today."

DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE PROVING SOMETHING TO SOME OTHER PEOPLE?
"I don't know if I've got a lot to prove. I've kind of proven it over and over. Maybe some of the people needed an attitude adjustment, but I've done this in a lot of different cars and in a lot of different situations. Hopefully, people are taking notice." YOU MUST BE HAPPY. "The Kmart Taurus was pretty good. We missed it a little bit. The car would get tight after about 20 laps and we never quite caught up to it. The last run was the best it was, but with track position we were about half-a-track back and we couldn't do anything with it. But it was a good run. To finish first and fifth, that's nothing to sneeze at."

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 2nd)
HOW WAS THE RACING?
"The racing was good. We were fortunate to be up front most of the day, so we kind of ran our own race. The racing was good. This is a good race track and a great place to race."

IS THIS TEAM INCHING FORWARD TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE?
"Yeah, we're gaining on it. We're getting these tires figured out better, but I got one set today that just spooked me. My car had been just about perfect all day and then, all of a sudden, I'm sideways. I don't know if it was that set of tires or if the track was changing, so we adjusted on the car and never got it freed up enough. It was a good run and we're getting closer to where we need to be."

HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE FIRST THREE RACES?
"We've gotten better each race, so we're looking forward to next week at Atlanta."

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE LAST RUN?
"I had just been tight. We were really good at the first of the race and then I got a set of tires that really spooked me. I was sideways doing everything to try to keep it from wrecking every lap. I wasn't sure if it was that set of tires or if the track was changing, so we made and adjustment and got it too tight. Then it looked like we got more cloud cover, it tightened up and I just couldn't get it freed up enough. They did a great job. The pit stops were incredible, great engine, we just came up a little shy."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Finished 6th)
"We've got a little bit more work to do, but that really felt good -- to sit out front and not see anybody coming. It was kind of shades of the old days and I think we're getting closer."

WHAT ABOUT THE RACING EARLY ON. WAS IT KIND OF CRAZY OUT THERE?
"I think what they were saying was they weren't using really good, sound judgement early in the race. It looked a little bit wild. After everybody settled down, the race settled down and it was fine."

YOU SAID THE OTHER DAY YOU NEEDED SOME GOOD LUCK.
"Yeah, we didn't have any bad luck. I don't know if we had good luck or not, I don't know if we were lucky, but we certainly didn't have anything go against us. We had a fast car today -- maybe not fast enough to win, but fast enough to make a race out of it. When we got to the front we could stay there without a major problem, but we've still got a little bit more work to do with our team. If we can get things just a little bit sharper, then we can knock on their door. Today, the car was almost good enough, but we've got some other things we need to work on to really knock on the door."

KURT BUSCH --97-- Roush Racing Taurus (Finished 11th)
"Really, this was just about getting a finish here. We struggled to finish the first two races, but this gets us back on track."

WERE THERE BUTTERFLIES TODAY?
"About halfway through the race when we were digging hard and running fifth a little bit came over me and I knocked it off and just kept digging. It was great to run in front of the home crowd and just have the family here. Just being familiar with everybody was great and I'm glad we were able to put on a show."

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR MUST BE A GOAL.
"Oh for sure. We had a tough day as far as rookies went because two finished in front of us and we finished 11th. This track lends itself to rookies and this really helps us out."

I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU DIDN'T HAVE MANY LAPS ON THIS TRACK?
"We were good. We just had a stretch there at the end before the last pit stop where we got tight and fell back. We didn't lose any positions, but just time on the track. That put us too far behind when we came in for the last stop. We went out 15th and got up to 11th and almost had ninth."

YOU ALMOST CAUGHT SPENCER AT THE LINE FOR 10TH.
"I was hoping that Harvick would stick around a while and ruffle up Hornaday and Spencer so I could catch him, but he was just too quick. That's a tough deal to go down to two rookies and we finished 11th. This is gonna be a strong rookie class this year."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus (Finished 10th)
"I like Las Vegas. We were off a little bit. We got it pushing, but nobody had a perfect car. This was the first time in a long time we adjusted on it and got it better and better and we ended up with a top-10 car. I feel pretty good about that. About 100 laps into the race I wouldn't have thought we had a top-10 car with the way we were running, but we never gave up and just kept getting after it."

BOTH HAAS-CARTER TEAMS FINISHED IN THE TOP 10 FOR THE FIRST TIME.
"I think that's important. We went out and tested Atlanta last week and Todd came out here and tested. No driver uses the identical setup, but we used a lot of the stuff Todd tested and I'm sure he can use a lot of the stuff we tested at Atlanta. I'm real proud with all the guys. I said last year they had a good race team. They've got to work on their pit stops a little bit, but they'll get 'em better. When you run good and run in the top 10, that's gonna force the pit crew to work a little bit harder and figure out how to make better pit stops."

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR START AFTER THREE RACES?
"I don't know where we are in the points. We were involved in an accident at Rockingham and broke a gear at Daytona, but we're further ahead than where we were last year. It's critical to build momentum and a day like today really builds a lot of momentum without question. I tell you, though, what a great tire. I'm looking forward to every race this year with the new tires Goodyear has come out with. You can run your ass off. You can just punish 'em and it's just awesome. I'm glad they came out with it."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 16th)
"We missed the top 15 by one, but that's another good run for us. We were a little bit tight yesterday and I talked Ryan into putting in a little bigger bar and I think that's what hurt us today. I think we would have been alright if the race would have gone green a lot longer, but the cautions really hurt us."

MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 17th)
"This DEWALT team had awesome pit stops today. I gained major track position from our pit stops. The car was just not handling right because first we were tight and after we made some adjustments we were loose. I don't know. We'll just focus on Atlanta. We're taking the car we won with at Charlotte, but, again, I can't say how good we were in the pits. It's something we worked on all winter long."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 20th)
"We knew from yesterday in happy hour we weren't gonna have a real good race car. We made a lot of changes, but it just didn't help it. We made a good call staying out that one time. Then we gambled at the end. We were scared to pit and get a lap down. We were trying to decide whether to pit early and try to make up some spots or just stay out there and we decided to stay out there in case the caution came out. It was a points day. We got 108 points and that's what we wanted to do. We wanted to get at least 100 and try to stay in the top 20 before we go to Atlanta. We ran bad, but we got some points and that's the main thing."

TRAVIS CARTER, Car Owner --26 and 66 Kmart/Route 66 Tauruses
WHAT'S NEXT FOR THIS TEAM?
"We just keep working and racing hard every week. That's the name of the business."

THIS IS WHAT YOU ENVISIONED WHEN YOU STARTED THIS TWO TEAM EFFORT ISN'T IT?
"Yeah, yeah. We want to try to get working a little better and having better communication with the teams. It would be ideal if you could run the cars more the same, but drivers typically don't run the same stuff. That aspect still has to be somewhat individual for each respective driver, but I think we're making progress. I think we're doing a lot of good things and, hopefully, we can start turning the corner a little bit."

WHAT DID YOU SEE IN TODD BODINE?
"I tell you what I saw that's good in him he's a hard-driving little guy. I -- think he's knowledgeable about the cars. He's almost to the point of being stubborn, but not in a bad way. He knows what he wants to do with the car and how he wants to feel and if the right combination of people can work with him and get that, he'll run pretty strong in a lot of races."

-FRT

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Series NASCAR Cup