Ford Racing Kansas race notes

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 35th) "It's really a shame. We had a top-15 or top-20 car, but right from the start I went from second (gear) to third and when I did that it felt like something in the transmission was broken.

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 35th)
"It's really a shame. We had a top-15 or top-20 car, but right from the start I went from second (gear) to third and when I did that it felt like something in the transmission was broken. We thought we could finish and decided to keep going, but it felt like maybe some metal or something got in the gears and it was getting ready to lock up. So, rather than taking a chance on wiping us out and taking out half the field, we figured we'd come on in and change it and go back out."

TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus (Finished 42nd)
"We went down into one. Ward had gotten under me. My car was a little too tight off and he got under me, so I was letting him go. We all kind of had to slow up a little bit because we were side-by-side, but whoever was behind Ward decided he wasn't gonna slow up and ran into Ward and Ward spun up in front of me. I think it was Jerry (Nadeau) behind him, but I'm not sure. It's a shame. The Kmart Blue Light Special was really good in happy hour yesterday. We thought we had a really good race car and, even though we weren't quite as good at the start of the race, we made an adjustment that made it a lot better. I think we could have been pretty decent by the end of the day, but this was one of our best race cars and we're gonna have to throw it away now."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 36th)
WHAT'S BEEN THE PROBLEM TODAY? "I wish I knew. It's been like that since we've been here. First of all, you can't bring a '98 model car that we brought here. This is a short-track car that has no business being here at Kansas. You can't come here and run with these guys like that. You've got to have the right stuff. Unforunately, I guess we didn't have a car ready so we had to bring this one. The 10 car (chassis number for the car) is one that shouldn't be here."

HOW MUCH OF IT IS A RESULT OF THE RACE TEAM VERSUS THE RACE TRACK? "The race track is great. It's an awesome facility here and they've done a really good job on it. These guys on the team work their butts off. I don't know. I don't think that's the problem, I think it's self-inflicted."

MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 32nd)
"We just blew a right-front tire, I'm not really exactly sure why. We had a flat earlier in the race and something didn't feel right after the restart. I don't know if I flat-spotted it skidding in the pits or something, I didn't think I locked the brakes up, but I had a little bit of vibration there and the car just didn't feel right and it lost the right front."

THE END OF THAT RIDE LOOKED PRETTY SCARY WITH ALL OF THE CARS COMING AT YOU. "I wasn't too worried about that because, actually, the first hit hurt enough. It probably looked bad, but that was hard enough so I just wanted to get stopped and get out of there."

THIS KIND OF SUMS UP YOUR SEASON, DOESN'T IT? "Yeah, we ran really well today. I think we had a top-five car when we were in the right position, but we just don't have any luck."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 4th)
"That was a good comeback, it was just frustrating to get a stop-and-go penalty. We led the race out of the pits all day long and, all of a sudden, that stuff happens. But we got back up to fourth and that was good."

DO YOU THINK IT WAS AN UNFAIR PENALTY? "I don't know. I don't have a stopwatch in my hand and I can't tell what's going on."

IT LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD TO SPEED UP TO GET OUT OF THE WAY OF SOMEONE. "Well, they don't see it that way. When it's over, it's over."

HOW WAS THE TRACK? "The track was great. I had a great car today and the track was super. I really liked it a lot."

A LITTLE MORE TIME COULD YOU HAVE CAUGHT THEM? "Yeah, if I would have had more time I could have. What killed me was the restart. I thought we were gonna get going and Mark tried to help me, but he just got stopped right there and I had to stop. I couldn't get any momentum going and that just killed me."

RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"I don't think we would have been able to catch him. We were about as close to him as we could get knowing that the aero-push was gonna get worse and worse as we got closer to him. But I had one shot there right after I passed Ricky. I got on the apron in one and two and that kind of cost me a little track position and I couldn't get a run on him like I wanted to."

WAS YOUR HEART RACING? "I was pretty calm and collected. With six laps to go it was just like being at home from the open-wheel stuff. Overall, it was a great weekend for us."

YOU SEEMED TO GET THROUGH EVERYTHING ON THE TRACK? "Maybe just for once a lot of patience and guidance from Roger (Penske) helped. Roger was up there spotting today and so many people have helped me -- Buddy Baker -- it was just a good day for us overall."

DID YOU GET DOWN AFTER THE PRACTICE INCIDENT? "I was definitely down before qualifying knowing that we didn't have any laps on a car we were getting ready to qualify and that's pretty risky. That was something we had to do, so it wasn't a risk. I'm just happy to get the finish we did this weekend."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 3rd)
"I couldn't get the front end to stick like I wanted to and we kept loosening the car up. We got it to where we still couldn't get the front to stick, but the back end was breaking loose, so we back tracked and went back to where we were. I hate to say we settled for third, but that's about all we had today."

WERE YOU JUST TRYING TO PROTECT ON THE LAST RESTART? "You've got to remember, we came in and just did a gas-and-go. We still had tires that had probably 30 or 40 more laps on them than the other guys. That one restart we jumped up front and it didn't seem to hurt us, but the constant cycling of the tires didn't do us any good. If we would have just gone green that one long spell, we would have probably been okay, but these tires I guess were just a little older."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Finished 6th)
"We weren't set up for all of those cautions at the end. We really had a top-three car there at the end for real, but it just took too long to come back around on the restarts and then that red flag just killed us. I was proud of our guys and I was proud of our car. We had a top-five car here today. It took all day to get there because of botching up qualifying, but we turned great lap times all day and once we got there, if we hadn't had cautions we could have stayed there."

DO YOU HAVE A THEORY FOR ALL THE CAUTIONS TODAY? "It's all wrong. The aero package is terribly wrong and the tires they've got us on is the opposite. We've got way too much downforce on these cars and way too hard of a tire to drive on. They need to make the cars the same speed, but take the bodies basically almost off of them. Then, give us a tire we can drive on and we won't push when you get behind other cars or spin out when you get in front of other cars. It's a horrible deal. I've been telling them for three years. You can't race because when you catch the car in front of you, you're dead if he doesn't pull over and let you go. That's not racing."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 7th)
YOU WERE NOT GOOD IN PRACTICE. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? "From where we were on Thursday, this is just incredible. These guys did a great job. We passed a lot of guys in the pits and they just kept working. Our car wasn't very good early on because we were so far in the back and caught all that dirty air, but the guys in the pits kept getting me up front and that was the key. The more they got me up front, the better we ran. Somehow, we finished in seventh place."

WHAT WAS YOUR FINAL PIT STRATEGY? "We just got gas and no tires like everybody else, but we came out about 14th. The car kept getting better and we were able to pass cars. Then when everyone started acting crazy at the end, we were able to take advantage."

WHAT ABOUT THE SHOOTOUT AT THE END? "The thing was, somebody missed a gear and that got everything bottle-necked. If I hadn't let off, somebody was gonna dump me off in the corner, so I went ahead and made it three-wide or whatever wide it was there. All I can say is my guys worked hard today and I'm proud of them."

WHY ALL THE CAUTIONS? "At Chicago we had a lot of grip, so you could do a lot of racing even though you knew there wasn't another groove. Here, the track was just so slick that there was nothing you could do. Whenever you put new tires on, the car would just jump around with you for about eight or 10 laps. That's why we didn't want any tires. We wanted to just stay on the hottest things we had."

ANDY HOUSTON Raybestos Rookie --96-- McDonald's Taurus (Finished 18th)
FOR THE LAST RACE WITH THIS TEAM, YOU MUST BE HAPPY WITH THE RESULT. "It's good to go out on a decent note. We wound up 18th today and we didn't have any mistakes. The car probably wasn't the best in the world, but we hung in there all day and outran a lot of cars that were better than us. That's not too bad of a day to be the last race. I can't say enough of these guys. I'm proud of their attitudes and the way everybody has really kept their heads up, knowing there was no future with me. There may be a future with the 96, I'm not sure quite yet, but everybody really worked like this was a team going for a championship. They worked that hard and that's something to be proud of."

DO YOU LOOK AT THINGS AND ASK, 'WHAT HAPPENED'? "No, not really. It's circumstantial. You just have weekends where things go wrong and you get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everybody makes mistakes. I've made my share this year and the team has made their share. That's what you have in a rookie season. Other rookies are going through the same thing -- maybe not Harvick because that's a little different situation. But you look at Kurt Busch, he's had his share of rookie troubles, along with Leffler and Hornaday and Atwood -- they've all struggled from time to time. Knowing it was a rookie team and a rookie driver, you have to give it more than a year to get everything together and we weren't dealt that hand. Basically, for me, it's time to move on to the next program and try to make that a success and I think we'll be able to do that."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 23rd)
"Something just broke in the motor or electrical or something. I'm not quite sure. It was just a long day. That's not what we expected. The car handled really good, but it ought to have driven good being that much down on horsepower. It was just one of those days. Something went wrong in the motor. We thought we broke a valve spring or something around lap 10 -- way too early for here. The Motorcraft Ford Taurus drove good, we just didn't have any horsepower."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 11th)
"The car really wasn't very good at the start of the race and we went to work to try and fix it. As the race went on, we got better. At the end, we weren't very good for some reason, I don't know why but we'll take 11th." WHAT ABOUT ALL THE CAUTIONS? "On the restarts, the biggest problem for us was trying to avoid the wrecks. Missing the wrecks was the big thing. The one groove race tracks are the perfect recipe for accidents. Anything can happen when we go green and today we kept getting all bunched up. You had to watch in front of you, but you also had to hope you weren't going to get run over from behind. It was just tough out there." WHAT ABOUT THE LAST 10 LAPS FOR YOU? "We changed four tires on our last stop where most of the guys in front of us didn't. I was hoping on the last restart to jump on the outside to make up some positions, but we ended up getting jumbled up. My teammate, Kurt Busch, was going to follow me but he was able to jump on the outside and did what I wanted to do. He gained more spots than I did, so it was a good idea. We just weren't able to make the move too."

-Ford Racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Buddy Baker