Robin Pemberton, crew chief for the No. 2 Miller Lite Taurus driven by Rusty Wallace, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time earlier today in the garage area before the race. Pemberton was inadvertently hit in the left eye with...
Robin Pemberton, crew chief for the No. 2 Miller Lite Taurus driven by Rusty Wallace, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time earlier today in the garage area before the race. Pemberton was inadvertently hit in the left eye with a ball of tape (about the size of a baseball) that was thrown by a member of another race team. Pemberton suffered a cut on the cornea and had a patch put over the eye by the infield care center staff to protect it during the race. Plans call for Pemberton to have the eye examined further after returning home to Charlotte later this evening.
ROBIN PEMBERTON, Crew Chief --2-- Miller Lite Taurus
"It's just a cut. I guess the only good thing about it is that it's the best part of the eye to cut. That's what happens sometimes with fun and games."
TODD BODINE --66-- Blue Light Special/Kmart Taurus (Finished 40th)
"The transmission went out. On that last restart third gear went out and after the yellow came out I shifted into second and second and first went out. The Blue Light Special is hurting a little bit. The chassis isn't real good either. We've struggled all weekend. We struggled here in the spring, but we can't figure out what we're doing wrong. We've tried just about everything we know and nothing was working. We just changed four shocks and we'll see what that does."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 39th)
"The alternator went dead, so I had to shut off all the switches. When I shut off the brake switch, the brakes failed and I went into the fence and knocked the toe-out out. It was just a matter of getting tires back on it, but the toe-out was so bad we blew another right-front and went into the fence again."
YOU HAD A STRONG RUN TODAY.
"Yeah, it was just a matter of something happening. I hate that it did and it's real unfortunate. The Sharpie/Rubbermaid team did a wonderful job. They got me out in the lead a couple of times and we showed that we could do alright. It's just a matter of finishing."
YOU SHOWED SOME PEOPLE THAT EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T HAVE A LOT OF
EXPERIENCE ON THIS TRACK THAT YOU CAN RUN WELL.
"Yeah, DW (Darrell Waltrip) made me look pretty stupid in the spring when we struggled here so we had to come back strong, and I learned a bit. We learned a lot from following Gordon. We got a chance to lead again with the crew getting me out there, but it's unfortunate the battery went dead and I flipped the switches off and the brakes failed. That's how we got in the fence."
YOUR PIT CREW WAS STRONG ALL DAY.
"They did a great job. I'm real proud of them. To come in third and beat Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett out, that's a wonderful job. We had a great pit selection. That's what it takes -- qualifying well, running well and finishing but we just couldn't do that part of it today."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus (Finished 31st)
"I'm alright, it just hit really hard. I'm really pissed off because NASCAR said I was speeding on pit road and I wasn't. They put me at the rear of the field and all of those guys had new tires on and the guys up in the front didn't. We were coming and trying to get up through there and somebody just plowed in the back quarterpanel. It's just a racing deal here at Darlington. It's just a shame that you run four hundred-and-some-odd miles at the Southern 500 and get it clouded like that. There's no reason for it. I don't know who it was. I'm sure they'll tell me they're sorry, but what the hell good is it?"
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 13th)
"We went for it. It's like I just told Peter (Sospenzo), we've got to run like that every week to win races and we haven't been doing that lately. Today we did. You aren't gonna win when you haven't been running well, so we gave it all we had and that's it."
WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS?
"I don't know. I just went in and got underneath (Bobby) Labonte and went into three and slid up and got into the wall. That's it."
YOU WERE UP FRONT ALL DAY.
"I'm happy, I really am. It's just disappointing. We ran that hard all day and we ended up 13th. We had a top run going."
DID THE RED FLAG HURT?
"Yeah, probably. The track got oiled down and itgot big."
MICHAEL MCSWAIN, Crew Chief --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Rudd finished
"Look at the kind of day we had to start with. I don't know, we were 35th or 38th or something at the beginning of the race and to come all the way back and really finish in the top five. We didn't, but we ran in the top five. That says a lot for this team and a lot for that driver and this whole deal."
WHAT ABOUT THE LATE-RACE STRATEGY?
"It just played in our hands. We got in that little wreck there and they made us come in. Then they left a tire on the other side of the deal when they came to the left side, so we had to come back in. So we restarted all the way at the back. This is Darlington. I mean, I don't have to tell you about fighting all that lap traffic and all the lead lap traffic, so to come out of here with a top 10, I'm tickled to death."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 29th)
DID THE RIGHT REAR TIRE THAT WENT DOWN ON LAP 39 PRETTY MUCH SET THE
TONE FOR YOU TODAY?
"Yeah, I mean three flat tires. It just was not our day at Darlington. At the beginning of the race we were a little tight and then all of a sudden, I think everybody must've got loose or something -- we got good, and I started reeling 'em off left and right. We took the 88 and the 26 and the 99 -- all those guys, the guys who usually run good here. All of a sudden, the tire was going down, I guess, I couldn't tell. I just knew we were very loose. The tire went down, and then we had two more tires go down, and going into turn three we were lucky we didn't tear it all to pieces."
STILL, YOU WERE PICKING UP POINTS AT THE END.
"This is one of the tracks I thought we could get us a top-10 at and we had a top-10 car until the flat tire put us behind and a lap down. We had a really good race car. It was a shame."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 6th)
"We ran really bad to start. I couldn't believe we ran so bad. We were so good yesterday, but we were just awful the first half of the race. I probably hit the wall five times and we kept coming in and fixing it. We weren't very good. Those guys didn't pit and we did pit and got our lap back and we just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Everybody started stopping and spinning and wrecking and I hit the apron and stabbed the throttle and went from 20th to sixth on the last lap."
WAS IT LIKE THE RED SEA PARTING?
"Yeah, as I was going through it I said, 'We can't be this lucky,' and we were."
MIKE WALLACE --7-- NationsRent Taurus (Finished 12th)
"I think it was a great day. We raced really, really hard. We had the break of a caution flag when Gordon was about ready to lap us. We raced really hard to stay on the lead lap and then we got through the accident at the end with some guys having some mishaps, but that was our good fortune. We finished 12th and for the struggles that we've had, anytime you can come from 39th and finish 12th, especially at the Southern 500, that's a pretty big deal."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GOING THROUGH THAT WRECK AT THE END?
"My spotter did a great job. Red Dog (Buddy Barnes) was up there and I couldn't see anything. He was saying, 'Go low, go low,' and then I could finally see the smoke clear. I was racing everybody back to the caution that I could. I was a little cautious with a couple guys. In hindsight, I could have probably run 11th or maybe 10th, but (Ken) Schrader is my buddy and you don't do that on a caution."
MORE JEREMY MAYFIELD
"It was pretty wild. I think everybody went for it. A lot of cars stacked up there at the end and, luckily, it wasn't worse than what it was. We had a good day all in all. We came home 13th and even though we tore it up a little bit, we'll re-build it and go racing."
TO HAVE A STRONG FINISH SAYS A LOT.
"The potential is here and we know it. We can't seem to get it all turned loose, that's the main thing. We'll keep working and doing the best we can. We'll fight back and one day, you know."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Finished 20th)
"It was a pretty humiliating day, but I knew it was coming before the race even started. The thing that made it pass as well is that everyone gave their all through the whole week and that's all we had."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 22nd)
"It's a mystery to me how this thing could have been so good here yesterday after happy hour and so off here at the start of the race today. We kept changing it all day long -- air pressure, track bar, putting rubbers in and taking rubbers out. We ran pretty good in spurts, but I really think we were way too weak in the front sway bar. We just couldn't get the left-front laying on the ground like it needed to be."