Ford Racing Charlotte race notes

RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 43rd) "It's was just inexperience and impatience, I guess. I got a little loose and got up into the fence. I thought I almost had it save there for a little bit, but then I ran out of race...

RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 43rd)
"It's was just inexperience and impatience, I guess. I got a little loose and got up into the fence. I thought I almost had it save there for a little bit, but then I ran out of race track."

WHAT WAS IT LIKE SEEING ALL OF THOSE CARS ZOOM PAST YOU?
"You hate to put anybody else in that type of situation, but I'm just glad it didn't happen later in the race."

WAS GORDON TAPPING YOU AT ALL?
"No, I didn't feel anything. He was close and he might have taken the air off (of the spoiler) a little bit, but it was nothing more than racing. I don't think Jeff would have done that first of all and second of all I didn't feel anything. It's not his fault at all."

HOW DID IT EXACTLY HAPPEN?
"I just got loose and spun the car. I probably should have had a little more patience and taken the time to let the sun go down. Like I said, my hope for this year was to learn and this is something I'll learn from."

ANDY HOUSTON --96-- McDonald's Taurus (Finished 41st)
"It just wasn't a good night for the McDonald's Ford. We had a pretty good car. We started out and gave some spots up early in the race. I was a little too loose at the start of the race and then it started coming around. We ran that pack down and passed some of the guys who had passed me earlier. I thought we were gonna be in pretty good shape, but I looked up and it was pushing water out. Evidently, a piece of debris or a rubber or something got up and kicked the water pump belt off. It knocked all the belts off of it and it ran the motor hot. We fixed it and went back out there. They fixed it in twentysome laps and did a great job fixing the thing. We went back out and, evidently, it's broken something in the valve train. I don't know what it is, but it's put us out for the night."

YOU'RE QUALIFYING WELL NOW, BUT IT SEEMS SOMETHING ALWAYS HAPPENS IN THE RACE.
"It is frustrating and the thing about it is if you get down on yourself or get down on the guys it's just gonna make it worse and make it more of a struggle. Right now, the best thing we can do is just really work hard and really pull together."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 38th)
"We were just kind of sitting there riding. We've had some good race cars this year and it just seems there's always something that gets us. You don't ever see anybody blow up motors anymore and if they do, they usually smoke a little bit but they don't lose a lot of oil. Man, I guess the 27 blew up and knocked the whole bottom out of the bottom end. I got in the oil and there was nothing we could do."

THIS IS ANOTHER BAD BREAK FOR YOU AND THIS TEAM.
"I don't know. It's kind of like we're snakebit or something. We've got good race cars out here every week and we're running in the top 10 or top 12. We've advanced from last year, but you cannot finish in the top 10 sitting in here (the garage) like this."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Finished 4th)
"Congratulations to Frankie and Jeff. Man, they did it and won this thing. We had a good run with the Viagra Taurus. It wasn't near good enough, but better than we have been doing."

IT WAS A GOOD DAY FOR ROUSH BECAUSE BUSCH FINISHED WELL TOO.
"Yeah. Kurt just continues to amaze me. What an incredible talent."

WHAT ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY TO STAY OUT AND NOT PIT ON THE FINAL CAUTION?
"Well, you have to remember there was a lot of attrition tonight. We wouldn't have finished fourth if a bunch of cars hadn't had trouble."

BUT STRATEGY IS PART OF THE EQUATION.
"Yeah. We had a reasonable car. It was good enough to stay ahead of most of 'em, but not good enough to quite run with some of 'em. We've got to do better if we want to win. We've got to do a little better, but at least we could see the front today."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 7th)

IT SEEMED LIKE YOU AND WARD BURTON WORKED WELL TODAY?
"He was on a mission and so was I. When we caught cars we didn't mess around, we had to pass 'em. We had to rub a little bit, but we just did what we had to do to get through there. We didn't have time to play around. He was in the same boat that I was, we were both on the same mission to get that lap back."

YOU PROBABLY PASSED MORE CARS THAN ANYONE.
"I saw a lot of cars. I got a good chance to see it from the back to the front several times."

THE RACE IS SO LONG YOU JUST KEEP DIGGING, RIGHT?
"At the start of the race -- 15 to 20 laps into the race -- we have flat tire. We're the only car out there that runs over that debris and we just cut a tire. That's just kind of how our luck was. I don't think we were a winning car, but we were top three. If we would have had track position, we might have been able to win it -- who knows? Track position meant a lot and we didn't have it at the end. We were lucky to get our lap back and then we got our lap back and there just wasn't enough time to race back to the front. We had to come through all those cars and there were a lot of cars on the lead lap."

YOU KIND OF TOOK TWO STEPS FORWARD AND THREE STEPS BACK AT TIMES TONIGHT.
"It kind of reminds me, I've run a couple of endurance races -- a couple of those 24 hours of Daytona -- and that's sort of what it was like. You've just got to keep your head up and not get down. It's a long, long race. We had a good enough car that could run up towards the front, but the only trouble was there weren't many cautions. We'd get up front and wait, but the caution would never come out. Several times we were in position that if a caution had just come out, but I couldn't believe everybody raced so long without a caution. I thought surely we'd get one and that was my motivation was to run long enough, run with your tongue hanging out and just run like that all night because sooner or later a caution has got to come out. It did, but it happened 80 percent of the way through the race."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 14th)
"We took her up there into the lead early in the race and the thing got really loose on me. I thought we had a right-front going flat. When they said nothing was wrong with the tire I thought a shock had gone bad or something was wrong with the sway bar. We were fortunate to have stayed up there in the lead lap. I couldn't believe how incredibly loose it got when the temperatures started changing. We adjusted and then got it too tight and had to back off all the changes we made earlier. We came back in under a yellow about halfway to make sure all the shocks and bars and everything were okay and it all checked out okay. There on that final stop we had some lugs come off and had to come back down pit road. It was a strange day here today for sure. We stayed after it and kept chasing it. I know the 88 was up there at the finish, but with the 24 having problems, it might not have been too bad of a day for us as far the big picture goes."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 10th)
"We gave it all we had. Just about anything you can do in a race we did. It was a good car. I was patient. We took our time and by halfway we were in a position to win the race. A left front tire got loose around lap 300. I think that came when I got hit in the rear end going into three. We lost two laps there but got them back on the (Bobby) Labonte spin. The car was almost right that last run. We came from 15th to fifth and we would have finished there. I believe I was doing everything I could to hold off Bobby (Labonte) for fifth. We ran out of gas coming out of (turn) two. Man, a small enough amount of gas you could probably drink without a problem was the difference in fifth and 10th for us. Another mile and we had another top five."

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Taurus (Finished 17th)
"We had a good car, but we just could not figure the tires out. We'd put one set on and it would go like crazy and we'd put another set on and go dead last. It's something we're doing, obviously, that we can't get consistency out of our sets of tires. We never really adjusted the car all day because we didn't know what to do to it. We didn't know what we were gonna get the next time, but it was a good solid run. We finished on the lead lap and, at times, we looked like heroes out there. This is something to build on. I'm happy for our new sponsors -- Wells Fargo Financial and Rush Hour Two with New Line Cinemas -- so it was important for them. We had a good week and now, hopefully, we can go to Dover and have a better week."

TO FINISH ON THE LEAD LAP IS BIG FOR THIS TEAM.
"Absolutely. We haven't done that very much in the past. We felt like we should have, but we just haven't executed well on race day. We executed fairly today, but we just seem to be missing something with these tires. I don't think we're the only ones that feel that way right now, so we'll work at it. We'll go back and look at our notes and study 'em and we'll just try to be better prepared for Dover."

KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 12th) --
"We were better in the daytime than we were at night. When it got dark we just struggled with track conditions, so we know what to do in the future."

AFTER THAT LITTLE INCIDENT WITH STEWART YOU WERE ON YOUR WAY.
"That was so long ago that it's hard to remember that. I thought I gave him enough room, but I ran into a veteran out there. He's probably upset with it, but that's 600 miles of racing. All in all we had a great car. We just need to focus on qualifying a bit better so we can start toward the front."

YOU KEEP LEARNING AT THIS PLACE DON'T YOU.
"Yeah. The last time I was here was the 500 in the fall when we started 42nd and finished 13th. Here we are starting 42nd and finishing 12th, so we've had two carbon copy finishes. We need to figure something out differently."

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 16th)

ARE PHILIPPE LOPEZ AND BOBBY KING THE NEW DYNAMIC DUO?
"I'm gonna tell you right now, it's both of them together. Two heads are better than one. It just gives each one of 'em someone to bounce things off of and it really makes my job easy."

WHAT WAS THE KEY TONIGHT?
"We started the race and were pretty good, but we stayed tight pretty much most of the run. We loosened it up and got too loose one time and couldn't go anywhere. We got one set of tires that were just terrible and kind of went back and forth. What we had was about a 16th place car and that was all we were gonna get. We would either be too tight or too loose, but we could never get it to be the same all the way through the whole run. It was a great start for us. We'd like to be a lot better, but at least we were on the lead lap. When you look at a 600 mile race and you finish on the lead lap, that says a lot for the whole team."

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

DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WEREN'T GOING TO MAKE IT TO THE END?
"I thought I could make it the whole time. My biggest problem was that we'd kind of deadened where it had hurt yesterday and had been hurting, but about 100 laps in, for some reason, the pain shot over more toward the middle, and I had to adjust myself. It just got worse. You know we went faster as the track cooled off, and that made it more difficult for me because it really sat me down in the seat and that's when it would start hurting. We got ourselves in a (good) position there and on that last restart, things got jammed up and the -29- (KEVIN HARVICK) came by me on the right. He cut back over and caught my right front, and I think it just messed up the toe. The car never drove the same then. That's what I hate. I was alright there. I was good to go. I was hurtin' and I was tired, but I felt like I could at least keep us in the top five, if not run up there in second or third.

WITH ABOUT 70 OR 80 TO GO, YOU WERE RUNNING IN THE TOP THREE. DID YOU HAVE TO BALANCE YOUR SPEED WITH THE PAIN?
"At that time, I just kind of put (THE PAIN) out of my mind that 'Okay, now's the time that we have to go fast.' You just have to withstand the pain at that point. I was able to get myself situated in the seat to where, when it did put me down in, the pain wasn't as great. You know, I knew we didn't have that far to go. The faster I went, the sooner I was going to get there.

YOU PICKED UP 61 POINTS TONIGHT. AFTER STARTING 37TH AND FEELING THE WAY YOU DID, THINGS TURNED OUT PRETTY WELL.
"Well, we made something of the night. I certainly would have liked to have stayed in the top five and go for the No Bull again. The main thing, after the problems that we've had, to come out of here with a top ten, is good. To gain points, is just a bonus. We'll try to get healed up this week, and get ready for them at Dover."

MATT KENSETH -17-DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 18th)
"That was a good run. The car was good we just had a loose tire and had to pit under green. These guys on my team got me so many positions tonight. They're my heroes. Everyone did an awesome job right down to the spotter. From here we go to Dover, which is one of my favorite tracks."

-Ford Racing

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Series NASCAR Cup