FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400 presented by Meijer August 22, 1999 Michigan Speedway TED MUSGRAVE --75-- Remington Arms Taurus (Finished 41st) - "If you were to look in a dictionary under the words...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400 presented by Meijer August 22, 1999 Michigan Speedway
TED MUSGRAVE --75-- Remington Arms Taurus (Finished 41st) - "If you were to look in a dictionary under the words bad luck it would have my name next to it. It looks like we broke a rocker arm. I'm really disappointed because we had a lot of people from Polaris and everybody here for this Remington deal. We qualified well, 11th, and right from the start the car started slowing down a little bit. We broke a rocker arm and we've been trying to hang on until a caution came out, but that doesn't look like that's gonna come in our favor either. We'll fix it. We'll be a lot of laps down, but at least we won't have a DNF."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 42nd) -- "I never thought the groove would get that high. We got up there and just tagged the wall with the right-rear and got in that loose stuff. I really hate it. We had this car going good. We had a tire go down on us there and had to go to the back. We were working our way back, but it was just one of them deals. We were running right there at the top of the race track and there ain't no room for error. We were within six inches of making it and six inches of doing what I did."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 4th) - "It was a lot better than I thought it was gonna be after yesterday. Obviously, we wanted to try to win, but at times I thought we were good enough and then the last set of tires just didn't seem to stick very good. I couldn't get it turned and couldn't get into the corner like I wanted and couldn't get off. The adjustments that we made there just weren't exactly right, but it was a good day. We finished ahead of Mark and, even though we lost a few points to Bobby, we still came out of here in pretty good shape." DID YOU HAVE FUN? "Yeah, a lot of the time it was fun. I wish I could have gotten up there when Gordon and Bobby and Dale were racing for the lead. I would have liked to have been a part of that, but I just couldn't quite get there then, but I had a lot of fun." HOW WAS YOUR DAY? "We were pretty good at the beginning and a little bit on the tight side, which was a relief to me because I wasn't sure we could get to that, but we did. Then it stayed tight and then we got it too loose again. It was awful fast, but it was real loose. Then the last set of tires did something that none of the others did, it just didn't stick quite as good. I don't know if it was a combination of the race track getting slicker and we just didn't make the right adjustments, but we did what we had to do. I'd like to congratulate Bobby Labonte. He had a great run and Tony Stewart did a great job, so we'll just keep battling." HOW WAS THE CAR AT THE END? "We ran a lot of oil temperature there at the end. I don't know if a lot of stuff got on the grill, so I saw I couldn't beat 'em and just kind of eased off a little bit. I didn't want anything to happen and I was just glad to make it to the end. We gained a few more points that way and that's what we have to keep doing. We've got one more race down and we'll keep battling." IT'S ANOTHER TOP FIVE. "When you've got a car that good you can just kind of bide your time and pick and choose your time to make passes, and when your car is that good you can race up front and it keeps you out of a lot of trouble. Those are the kinds of things we need to do. We'd like to win, but, more than anything, if we can finish in the top five, we know they'll have a difficult time catching us. It's one more race down and they know they've got one less race to be able to catch up. We did our job and everyone did a terrific job. Todd Parrott, this is what makes him so good. We just couldn't get a handle with this tire all weekend and finally last night we came on something and made those changes this morning. That's what makes that man so good."
KENNY IRWIN --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 34th) - "It was pretty good. I had a lot of fun today. The car was pretty good and we just kept working on it. We'd get good then bad, and then on that last deal we were kind of tight but we were fast. It wasn't a bad day the motor just blew up."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 37th) -- HOW DID YOU SEE THE INCIDENT WITH STEWART? "The 20 had a run on me and I went down low. I was trying to get by Spencer and I went down low to try to get a run and to get the 20 to push me. He was going faster than I thought, he turned under me and when he turned under me, then I started to turn back up the race track to give him room. He turned like this and I was going down and I realized he was going fast enough to pass me, so I turned back up. Before he got back in front of me, he turned back right like he thought he had me cleared and he caught me in the left-front fender and off I went. No question, I tried to go low because I thought he might push me past the 23 and he just misjudged it. When he came back across he misjudged it and caught me in the left-front. I was hanging on at that point. It's hard to get hit in the left-front and save it when you're going that fast. He caught me just right."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus (Finished 7th) - "We had a great car. That's just really a shame that we finished where we did. I guess I managed to mess most of it up. We lost a tire changer today to a kidney stone (Robert Benfield, front tire changer), so I tried to speed on pit road to make up for it and then I just had to settle for losing ground in the pits all the time. It just didn't work out for us. It's a shame because we really had a great car, but we had to compromise it in order to get track position and that was the compromise." SO THAT'S WHY YOU TOOK TWO TIRES INSTEAD OF FOUR? "Yeah, because we were slow in the pits and too far back because of that."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 16th) - "The new tire was a pain in trying to figure it out, I'll tell you that. It was so temperamental. We were loose and fell back at the start. We made some adjustments that made it much better under that first caution, but when we came up a pound on the next stop under green, it made the thing get tight. We went back the other direction on the next stop and it made it pretty good again. We got bogged down by another car there on pit row under one of the yellows. That slowed us down getting into the pits and cost us a bunch of spots at the time. We avoided disaster there by missing that crash with the 10 and 36, but we bent in the front air dam and had to come back in and fix it (from hitting the apron and getting into the grass). On that final green flag run, the guys who got tires during that last caution really had the upper hand on us and it was all I could do to hang on to what I could get."
JIMMY SPENCER --23-- Team Winston Taurus (Finished 8th) - "We came out eighth, but the two tire stop wasn't the answer, you needed four. It was an eventful day. We adjusted on it a couple of times through the race and right there at the end I thought we had it really good...we ran pretty consistent and were staying right there. The last pit stop we decided to put only two tires on it instead of four. Usually it always tightens you up and, man, it made it loose. I can't believe how loose it was, but thank God we hung on and finished eighth." YOU'VE REALLY RUN WELL THE LAST SEVEN OR EIGHT RACES. "We were running in ninth place last week when Mark and I got together. We finished fifth at Sonoma, but the last eight or 10 weeks we've really run strong as a race team, back where we were and I feel good about it. Donnie and I have worked hard and the crew has been working hard. We have to pick up our pit stops and get real consistent there and I think we will. The motor department has come a long way. The motors have run well the last couple of weeks. They didn't at the beginning of the year, but they have now. I tip my hat to them because everything I said in the beginning of the year they've taken it hard and they've gone and worked really hard to get the motors better."
CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus (Finished 6th) - "I couldn't be happier. It's one of my best runs ever and it's the best run Jeff and I have had in a long time, so it feels really good. We worked. We earned it. It wasn't given to us. That's a brand new car, more or less, and it showed it was a good car. Everyone at the shop worked really hard to get it done in time because we felt it was gonna be our best car, so it really feels good. Jeff and I worked really hard on getting it set up and we made some real calculated chassis decisions setting the car up and talked a lot with Mark and Burton and it just capped off a good weekend." WHAT WAS YOUR THINKING GOING INTO THE STOP WHERE SOME TEAMS TOOK TWO TIRES AND OTHERS FOUR? "I was kind of surprised so many people took two because there were still 45 laps left in the race. When they did I thought that kind of hurt us. Then we had a left rear wheel that was left loose for whatever reason, so we had to come back in which put us at the very end of the lead-lap cars. When we started out we were a little loose and when we caught that last caution I asked them to tighten it up a round, so we put a little bite in it and it was perfect. That was the last segment and the second segment were the two best and that's the way you need it."
HUT STRICKLIN --58-- CT Farm & Country Taurus (Finished 9th) - "I passed a lot of guys today like two at a time. I don't know, we'd just catch 'em right just right in the corner. It seemed like you'd have a run on 'em off the corner and when two guys got runnin' side by side, with the way the draft worked, you could just go right by 'em." IS THIS LIKE A VICTORY? "Yeah, it is...it really is. We've still got a ways to go, but we're slowly getting everybody in place and everything in place. We need that sponsor to really make our race team better and right now I'm just tickled to death with the whole group of guys. Mike Hillman and Mark Smith doing the engines, I just can't say enough about those guy...and Scott Barbour for giving a guy who couldn't drive a lick supposedly, one more chance at driving again. It's a pretty big opportunity for me."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Finished 14th) -- "It feels great, we had a good day. We had a lot of things go wrong. We lost our radios right away and I couldn't communicate at all with the crew, I could never hear what they said hardly ever. That was tough, but, other than that, everything went pretty good. I didn't know what was going on on the track much, I had to kind of just drive with mirror, but it was a good first day. We used our Busch team on pit road and they did a pretty good job. Ben (Leslie) and all the new guys we hired for the team did a really good job preparing this car and making it competitive. It took me a long time to get up to speed today and I probably cost us some spots, but once we got going there, we were pretty competitive speed-wise." WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL TODAY? "It's really hard to set goals if you don't have any idea what to expect and I didn't have any idea what to expect. My goal on the Busch side every week is to try to win and when I came over here my goal was, if I could finish in the top 15 I thought that would be good. That's the same thing I wanted to do with Bobby's (Labonte) car (when he subbed at Darlington earlier this year). I've been lucky because everytime I've run one of these races I've had a real good handling race car, so my inexperience probably cost us quite a few spots today. On the other hand, we ran a whole 400 miles and we learned a lot."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 18th) - "We gave it everything we had, we just came up short. We had a top 10 car, but had a problem on a pit stop. We had to come back in under green and lost a lap. We spent the last 80 laps trying to get that lap back. The good part is we made up some points on a couple of guys in front of us. The bad part is we din't make up as many as we were capable of."
RICKY RUDD --10-- Tide Taurus (Finished 38th) - "We were 10th when we wrecked and were probably gonna end up seventh or eighth. We made a chassis adjustment again and Trickle wouldn't get out of the way. It ended up he didn't start the wreck, I guess the 16 car started it, but if there's a wreck or something like that I'm gonna be right in the middle of it. I missed the one at the beginning of the race and I said, 'We're on our way now,' when Ward spun. I should have been in that one, but missed it. It's sort of disheartening. We should be sitting here right now with three top 10s in a row -- Indy, Watkins Glen and here. Like I say, we're not a threat to win right this minute, but we are a top 10 contender every week now. That's encouraging, but we'd like to at least see the same in the finishing results." WHAT DID YOU SEE WHEN THE ACCIDENT STARTED? "I just saw a car turn sideway, Trickle on the brakes and then I got on the brakes. Eventually, we all met."
MARK TUTOR, Crew Chief --98-- Universal Studios Taurus (Finished 12th) - "It was an up-and-down day. We started off slow, we had a problem with the air cleaner but we got in and took care of that. We were just a little bit tight and we kept adjusting on it until we got it better. We took on two tires on the last stop instead of four. With the caution coming out after we pitted, we probably should have had four on. Hindsight is always better than foresight, but it was a good day for us. We needed that, but we should have had a better finish than we did." HOW BADLY DID YOU NEED THIS? "We needed it real, real, real bad. All the guys at the shop and everywhere else have really worked so hard just to hold this thing together. This does a lot to boost morale, get everybody going and back fired up again."
MORE CHAD LITTLE (Finished 6th) -- "Our deal has been like a rollercoaster...to run this good for one race and then the last eight or nine races haven't been that swift. It feels good. It shows the team is capable of it. The hard part is being consistent. That's the difficult part to put together. I think everyone is competitive enough in this garage area that we can all on a given day have a good run, but the teams who do it consistently are the ones who are gonna finish in the top 10.
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus (Finished 11th) - "I'm just happy. I tell you what, we made big improvements from the first time here and we've got ourselves on a roll. We've got a lot of top 20's in a row...we're making point gains and we're just real happy."