Ford Racing Atlanta II post-race quotes

Following is a breakdown of which Ford teams did or did not wear helmets on pit road: All over the wall members wearing helmets: (3) -- 28, 32, 88 Only tire changers wearing helmets: (3) -- 2, 21, 99 No over the wall members wearing helmets,...

Following is a breakdown of which Ford teams did or did not wear helmets on pit road:
All over the wall members wearing helmets: (3) -- 28, 32, 88
Only tire changers wearing helmets: (3) -- 2, 21, 99
No over the wall members wearing helmets, except for gasman: (8) -- 6, 7, 11, 12, 17, 26, 66, 77

RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 38th)

YOU HAD A WINNING CAR. "Yeah, it's painful for the whole team. We tested here and they worked hard. We had our moment and we're gonna come back strong next week, but what I'm really looking forward to is next year with this Tide team. They're awesome."

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 8th)

"We made up a lot of ground. The car was really fast, but after about 30 laps I really started to slide the nose in the center. Whether that's a downforce issue or what, I'm not really sure. It may have been our shock combination, but we made up a lot of ground. I would just liked to have been able to challenge there at the end."

JEFF CLINCHED THE TITLE TODAY AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE. "Yeah, it's a great day for him and I'd like to congratulate him. They had a great year. They did their job and did the things they needed to do. They won races when they needed to and were consistent at other times, so you've got to take your hat off of to them. They've been the best this year. The rest of us got some work to do."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 35th)

YOU WERE JEFF'S CLOSEST PURSUER ALL YEAR LONG. "Yeah, we kind of figured that it was just a matter of time before he wrapped it up. We've been fading hard the last three weeks and I'm not really sure what's wrong. We've got to get back on the program a little bit. We didn't run good and then we had a flat tire and hit the fence. That just kind of finished us off and we gave up probably 20 positions when that happened."

YOU'RE FAVORING YOUR BACK, WAS THAT A RESULT OF HITTING THE WALL? "No, I guess I've got that Mark Martin syndrome. I've got to go get it worked on this winter, but it just hurts when you sit in that seat for a long time. It was just a disappointing day. We knew the championship was out of hand, but it looks like we're gonna give up second and maybe third if we're not careful."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 10th)

"We had some really bad luck there. We were running 10th or 11th and finally got some track position when Rudd got in the wall. Kenseth got in the wall just like that earlier and they didn't throw a caution, so I saw Rudd in the wall but I didn't think they were gonna throw a caution because they didn't throw one for Kenseth. So I came down pit road and they threw a caution. Then in the last 60 laps we came from 20th to 10th. The car was decent. I couldn't run with the top five or six cars, but I certainly thought I could run fifth through eighth, something like that."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 12th)

"I couldn't get up there like I wanted to. I thought I could several times when the car was flying, but as the day went on I just kept getting tighter and tighter and tighter and kept losing that left-front wheel. It kept pushing real bad, so I made a lot of changes to try and get it going. Finally at the very end I pulled a rubber out of the left-rear and all it did was make the car loose and didn't make it turn any better."

KEVIN LEPAGE --7-- NationsRent Taurus (Finished 19th)

"We were 10th taking the white flag and the car ran out of gas. We had a little miscue in the pits and just didn't get it filled. I hate it for the guys and the guys hate it for me because we had a great opportunity for a top-10 finish easily. The guys worked real hard. The NationsRent guys did a great job and my hat's off to Jim Smith for giving me this opportunity seven or eight weeks ago. I thought we had another top 10 for him, but it wasn't meant to be so we'll wait for New Hampshire."

DO YOU FEEL THIS KIND OF RUN HELPS YOU PERSONALLY AS FAR AS GETTING A RIDE NEXT YEAR? "I would hope so. I'm pretty disappointed because this is two years in a row I'm going into the off-season without a job. I've worked my butt off to get where I am today. We've had some great car owners, but, unfortunately, the deal that came to Jim Smith was too good to refuse, and I just need to find a package for next year that I can go racing."

MARK ARMSTRONG, Front Tire Changer --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus

HOW WAS IT WEARING A HELMET FOR THE FIRST TIME? "It didn't bother me too bad. I felt like Roush Racing gave us the opportunity to wear them. They told us they were there if we wanted them and I felt it would be foolish of me not to wear it, whether it hampers me or not. It's still a safety device for me and the team so I wore it. It didn't affect me at all today and I'd like to see NASCAR make a rule that everybody wears one."

MIKE SMITH, Front Tire Changer --21-- Motorcraft Taurus

HOW DID IT FEEL WEARING THE HELMET? "It was pretty cool. I mean on the first stop I went over the wall and when you've got all your adrenaline going, you don't even know you've got a helmet on. It's pretty cool."

WHAT KIND OF HELMET DID YOU HAVE? "It's a Simpson helmet that they said is used by a lot of motocross racers. It's pretty nice. The opening is big and I never saw the edges of the helmet, so it was good. I actually liked it better because you could hear the conversation between the crew chief and the driver better."

DARREN JOLLY, Front Tire Carrier --88-- UPS Taurus

HOW DID THE HELMET FEEL? "Actually, it felt good. We practiced with them last week and experimented with two different kinds of helmets, but these things are real light. I'm not kidding when I say that it actually felt more comfortable than a headset. Sometimes a headset, in my opinion, is so tight that it gives you a headache after a while, so these things were light and were comfortable. On top of that, it gave you a little sense of security too."

DID YOU WEAR A HOCKEY HELMET? "Exactly. We tried a hockey helmet and a skateboard helmet, but these are a little bit better on the ears and things like that. It's real comfortable."

WHEN YOU WENT OVER THE WALL AND STARTED DOING YOUR JOB, DID YOU REALIZE IT WAS ON? "No, not at all. Really, it almost feels more like wearing a cap, instead of having the headset on. The headset is a little tight, but we've worn the headset for years and you're just accustomed to wearing them. This right here, I'm sure we're gonna be wearing this or something comparable to this from now on."

AFTER A DAY LIKE TODAY DO YOU SAY, "I WISH I WOULD HAVE TRIED THIS SOONER? "Of course, I think we all would and maybe what happened last week wouldn't have been as severe. It's a step in the right direction. I'm glad to see that not just our teams were doing it, but some others as well. I think by the beginning of next year, you'll see just about everybody following suit."

-Ford Racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jim Smith , Mark Martin