Ford Racing Loudon race notes

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus -- IS THIS A RESULT OF THE PLATE? "It shouldn't be. We're not turning enough RPMs to have the problem that we had. We had a valve train problem and it's just a shame. We raced our way all the way...

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus -- IS THIS A RESULT OF THE PLATE? "It shouldn't be. We're not turning enough RPMs to have the problem that we had. We had a valve train problem and it's just a shame. We raced our way all the way up to 13th and had a really good race car. To drop out again with a motor problem is getting hard to take, but this race team is fast and we'll just get ready to go to Dover."

THERE WERE SOME CONCERNS ABOUT IT BEING HARD TO PASS. SOME CARS OUT THERE DON'T SEEM TO BE HAVING ANY TROUBLE. "If you've got a good handling race car you're gonna pass people. That's what it's about. You've still got to handle through the corner and we had that figured out. It's probably the last time we'll ever run under these circumstances, but we know we've got it if we ever have to do it again."

SCOTT PRUETT --32-- Tide Taurus -- "I just got tagged from behind. I'm not really sure who did it because there were just a mass of cars behind me. It's unfortunate. We had some sort of electrical problem at the start -- the engine kept cutting out. I switched over (ignition) boxes and some other stuff and got it running again. We managed to get that straightened out, but passing out here with a restrictor plate is almost impossible. I mean, you've got to have a lot better car and even when lapped cars are coming by us you kind of had to give them some room and be easy on them. It's unfortunate. We weren't looking forward to this. The guys just keep doing a good job and we'll just keep doing what we're doing." WHAT WORD WOULD BEST DESCRIBE WHAT IT'S LIKE DRIVING TODAY? "Frustrating would be a good word. It's disappointing. I think everybody is starting to get a little anxious and I just hate being the recipient of other drivers' inability to control themselves."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "I'm not sure. We were just all kind of stacked up going into one and when somebody gets on the brakes or something or gets hit it causes a chain-reaction. That's part of it, I just hate it for Mobil 1 and everybody involved here. We were trying to get back on the right track and it's tough. We've just gotta keep fighting back week-in and week-out and stay after it." WHAT WAS IT LIKE OUT THERE? "It's hard to tell. We weren't that good. I mean, the car wasn't that good in the beginning, pretty good at the end. I think you can see that the show speaks for itself. There's no passing, it's hard."

KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- FamilyClick.com Taurus -- "We just got caught up in a wreck and it must have put a hole in the radiator or something. The gauges were all right and all of a sudden it started to fluctuate, so I think it just took the water out right there at the end."

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE RACING TODAY? "I hope we don't have to come back here like this."

WALLY DALLENBACH --75-- RotoZip Taurus -- HOW WAS THE RACING TODAY? "It wasn't bad. It wasn't really any different than it was here without the restrictor plates. The guys who could work on the bottom and get their nose in there, that was the key. I didn't mind it that much. We were good for about 30 or 40 laps and then we just got too loose."

WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT WRECK? "I don't know, we were right in the middle of it. I mean, there was no where to go. Something is bent in the front and all whacked out and there's no sense in racing for thirtysomething."

BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus -- "It was just kind of one of them things." WHAT WAS THE RACING LIKE OUT THERE? "It's disgusting. I mean, you can't pass anybody, you can't race anybody. Pretty bad." HOW IS THE KNEE? "I don't know about the knee yet. I'll have to go back and get it x-rayed, but it was just one of them things. I guess Little E was farther under than I thought and the 31 slipped. I was gonna turn under him, but it's just aggravating."

CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus -- "I got turned sideways and I got turned right down into Steve's path. I was really trying to let the guys on the lead lap get ahead of me or that were two laps down but running a little quicker at the time and I ended up costing myself and getting myself in trouble by slowing down and letting the guys go ahead of me."

HOW DID YOU LIKE THE RACING TODAY? "It's great. It's a lot of fun with the restrictor plate. I think it works good."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "It was pretty good. We had a problem on a pit stop, it was my fault. I slid in too hot and my car stopped right on top of Billy Wilburn's air hose. We couldn't get the tire off and we lost like six positions and made it back up to fifth. Gordon had those new tires and was coming hard and, man, I wanted that thing to end because he was gonna get me if it didn't."

YOU HAD A COUPLE OF BATTLES TODAY, INCLUDING ONE WITH NADEAU. "Yeah, I just couldn't get rid of Nadeau. He did a really good job driving today and, man, everytime I looked up he was just all over me so I'm glad it's over with and I get to go home with the car in one piece."

OVERALL, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE RACING TODAY? "It sucked."

HOW WAS YOUR CAR? "We had a top-three car here today for sure. The track position was everything and when we lost all that ground on that pit stop it just killed us. The car was a little bit tight there in the beginning and we were getting it better. We'd slipped back to fifth before that stop, but we were faster than the 88 and 25 right then. But, I must have slid it in on the airhose and my guy lost the power on his gun."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "We had a good stab at him (Labonte) had we gotten strung out. Burton was a little bit too strong for us, but on that green and slippery track after the track rested, it got real slippery. It does that here for some reason."

WHAT HAPPENED TO GET BY JARRETT? "Jarrett got in there and got sliding up and I drove down and put two wheels on the apron. I was actually getting more traction out of my left side on the apron."

WERE YOU SURPRISED HOW BURTON PULLED AWAY ON EVERY RESTART? "He was good today. They've got a lot of experience on low horsepower and shorter tracks Busch racing -- he's kind of the king of that right now. After we got on those hot tires and the race stopped, the track got real slippery and I think it was anybody's race at that point because none of the cars were driving like they had been earlier."

WHAT ABOUT THE PLATES? "Really, I was expecting it to be harder to pass, but it was the same old deal -- if you had a good handling car you could pass race cars and that's what we did today. Mike McSwain and everybody on this Texaco Havoline Taurus team worked hard. We obviously were not very good when we got here the other day, but we worked on race setup and I think that helped us. The whole first day we worked on that instead of working on qualifying. That hurt us in qualifying, but it helped our race setup because we had a little extra practice time. The car was very good to come through the field like that. Mike McSwain, Raymond Fox, all these guys did a great job."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus -- "I'm glad I didn't pay 50 bucks to see that show."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus -- "We had a reasonable finish. We missed the setup and we salvaged the best finish we could."

WAS IT TOUGH DRIVING THE CAR TODAY? "We finished eighth, not 38th. We ran good and finished eighth." JEFF BURTON LED EVERY LAP. "Nobody could touch him. He was just hooked up all weekend. It was pretty darn hooked up last weekend too at Richmond and they've just got the chemistry going on. I know what kind of car he's got and I know what his setup is and our combination just didn't work. They've got all the little things working for him right now."

EARNHARDT WAS COMPLAINING THAT NASCAR SHOULD HAVE PUT YOU IN THE PENALTY BOX FOR THAT LATE RACE TURN. "That's a hoot. That's the funniest thing I've heard."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "It was interesting. Track position was very important. You could pass. I wasn't sure that we were gonna be able to do that, but Jeff Burton just had everybody covered. We had a good car. We adjusted on it and made it a lot better, it just wasn't good on restarts and that cost me a position there at the end."

WHAT ABOUT THE POINTS? "The points are just gonna come down to whether Bobby Labonte has any trouble or not. If he doesn't, then Burton and Earnhardt and myself are racing for second. We've got to race hard and try to win. Jeff Burton did his part, but Bobby Labonte ran a good race too. They're just gonna have to have some trouble if we're gonna get back in it."

HOW ABOUT ALL THE WORK THAT WENT INTO THIS RACE? "It went well. Everything that we worked on and that we did performed well. The engine performed great. There were a lot of unknowns there and we had very little time to get ready for it, so I was pleased with the way the car drove."

ONE OF THE CONCERNS WAS PASSING. "You could race side-by-side a little bit. This is just a tough track because nobody has ever been out there and you're not very willing to get out there and see what you could do."

HOW ABOUT TODAY? "I just wasn't very good on the restarts. I was awful loose getting in the corner and Ricky got by me at the end, so that was the only downside. I thought if I could hold him back for a minute and just give me a couple of laps I might make a run at Bobby and Jeff, but they were the better cars. Things went pretty well." JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW -- DID THE TEST AT MILWAUKEE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE? "Well, there's no question about it. We did a lot of work this week. When they announced the restrictor plate plan, we changed the car we were gonna bring. They drove an engine up to us on Saturday, we put that in Saturday. We went to Milwaukee and tested. Everybody in the company went to work to figure out how to make this better and these guys earned it. We didn't come here without testing, we didn't come here without doing a lot of stuff. The had an engine they nicknamed Godzilla and they brought it up to us. I think it was easy to see today why we won a restrictor-plate race at Daytona -- awesome horsepower and you could hook it up in the rear wheels. It's a great day for us." IS

THIS WIN AT NHIS A LOT DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHERS? "Yeah, it's a lot different because anytime there's a big change like that, if you can adapt to it and do well you take a lot of pride in it. Just like Daytona, this is truly a team effort. Everybody jumped in in a matter of a week and changed a lot of stuff. We changed everything from what we were coming up here with and it worked for us."

YOU HAD SOME TOUGH MOMENTS ON THE RESTARTS, INCLUDING ONE WITH EARNHARDT. "Well, I didn't want to be on the outside of him too much and I didn't want to be on the inside of him too much either. We needed him to go and get in front of me. I didn't think anybody could pass us as long as I could run the lap I wanted to run, so I just let him go and then went back and ran at him. I need to say thank you to Bobby Labonte. He drove me real clean there at the end. I pinched him off pretty bad. He could have spun me and easily said it was Burton's fault, but he didn't do it and I appreciate it."

WHAT ABOUT THE MOMENTUM IN THE POINTS? "Well, it's hard to catch him. You know, you lead every lap and you win the race and you look in your mirror and he finishes second. They've got an awesome team and they're doing a great job. We wanted a day like this. We haven't led a whole lot of laps this year and we made a lot of them up today. I think we're second in points right now, we're real proud of that but there's a lot of racing left. Bobby's gonna be hard to beat."

STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus -- NOTE: This marks Compton's best career NASCAR Winston Cup finish, in addition to being his first top-20 effort. "It got pretty interesting right there at the end, it got pretty exciting. That long green flag caught us pretty bad early on and ended up going down a lap then, but was able to come in. The guys on the Kodiak Melling team adjusted on the car and got it a lot better. By the end of the second run we were running times comparable with the top 10 cars and just kept digging and making adjustments. You know, 16th, it's not what we want but, boy, we'll sure take it. It's an awful competitive field and Ernie Elliott did a great job with the motors once they put the restrictor plates on and getting everything switched over. It was a good day for us."

DID YOU DO ANY TESTING WITH THE PLATE? "No, we talked about it and never did get a chance to go test. Ernie pretty much stayed in the dyno room all week trying to figure out what he needed to do and apparently he figured it out. We had a good car today and horsepower-wise I thought we were pretty good with everybody out there."

DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus -- "We did the same thing here in the spring. We started off not very good and got better as the day went on. We knocked the whole bottom of the grille open and I didn't know it. The thing was running 140 and running cold and wouldn't run a lick, but we got that fixed and that really helped. We just haven't really had a racey setup for here. The car is comfortable and with a restrictor plate that ain't fast. We need to work on making it faster."

RICKY RUDD PRESS CONFERENCE HOW WAS YOUR RACE? "Our race day sort of starts back in the beginning of the week when we first got here. I think a lot of people were concerned, especially all the Texaco folks that are in town. They looked at the speed chart and we were probably, if not last near dead last on Friday afternoon. But I think Mike McSwain made a smart move by electing to work on race setup since the restrictor plate changed the handling setups of these cars quite a bit. Really, our day started back on Friday. We elected to just basically give up on qualifying and work on race setup and I think it paid off today. We had an extra day of working on race setup and, as a result, we qualified 19th so we had to come up through the field and just use patience all day -- try to keep the fenders on it and finally be there at the end."

YOU WERE STRONG ON THE FINAL RESTARTS. "The track, when we stopped for that red-flag situation, I'm not really sure why this happens here at New Hampshire but the race track gets almost like a greasy film on it. It's very, very slippery and no different than the highway gets when all of a sudden it rains after a hot summer day and all the oils and stuff in the asphalt gets really slippery. All of the competitors knew it was gonna get slippery, so the only trick you can do is just try to buff the tires as hard as you can, get as much heat in them as you can before the restart. I worked really hard just sawing on the wheel trying to get as much heat in the tires as I could and I think it helped. It was slippery for us, but we weren't slipping and sliding quite as bad as the cars around us. We were able to get by Dale Jarrett pretty quickly. He went in turn three and slid up a little bit, we drove under him. I'm not sure if it was the next lap or the one after that, but I got all the way underneath Bobby Labonte going down the backstretch. I got a run at him coming off of two and got under him down the backstretch. I probably had my nose all the way up to his door going into three and it was very slippery on the bottom of three. Bobby really charged in there hot on the outside and I said, 'we'll catch him the next corner,' so I let him have the corner because I didn't need to wreck and then the caution came out so the race was over for us."

IS THAT WHAT IT TOOK TO CATCH BURTON -- A SHORT DASH? "There's no doubt on normal race runs he was the class of the field -- no one had anything for him. But it was, obviously, a completely different race after the cautions and especially after the race red-flagged.

"It was very slippery, so if you looked at the last couple of laps stopwatch speed, you'll see the speeds were very far off. We actually had a good shot at winning it had the thing gone green. That was our only chance. We didn't have anything for the 99, Jeff was pretty stout. Bobby was probably about as good as we were, maybe a tick better, but, again, the track conditions being so slippery at the end it sort of came to some cars better than others for some reason. I really can't explain that."

ANY TROUBLE COMING THROUGH THE FIELD? "Not really. Everyone was talking that with restrictor plate racing you wouldn't be able to pass anybody, but if your car handled well you could pass cars through the corner. We worked really hard, Mike McSwain, Raymond Fox, they worked really hard on that Texaco car to get it to run on the bottom of the race track. I noticed in practice yesterday in happy hour, I thought we were really good. I think we were ninth-fastest on the speed charts when everything was over, but we could run very fast and could run right on the bottom. As a matter of fact, I'd put my left-side tires down on the apron of the race track and get good traction down there, so we didn't seem to need as much racing room as a lot of other cars did and I think that's one reason we could move through traffic."

DO YOU LIKE RACING LIKE THIS AT THIS TRACK? "I think really once everything gets going, and they certainly feel real slow, but once you get going -- I wouldn't say it really changed the outcome of the race one way or the other. It seemed like the same teams. You look down the points battle and the same group of guys are up front that are normally up front, so I don't think it really changed anything. It did make things slower. I wouldn't say it definitely didn't make anything anymore exciting than the last time we were here. This race track is basically a groove race track and I think the restrictor plates would have looked better had it been a two-groove race track like Richmond, Virginia or somewhere like that where you can pass side-by-side. It's very slippery here and you hold your breath everytime you restart, but it did seem to make the restarts safer. Normally you see big pileups. You used to dread restarts here at New Hampshire, you still dread them just because you've gotta race the cars on the inside that are a lap down, but you didn't seem to have the wrecks like we normally have on a restart. I think that's just because we weren't going in the corner as fast."

WHERE YOU COULD HAVE FINISHED WITHOUT THE LAST CAUTION? "I think I could have gotten by Bobby, but could I have taken a run at Jeff? I don't know. He was slipping and sliding -- Bobby was all up under his back bumper. It was just a matter of time. Sooner or later the heat would have gotten back in the tires, things would have settled down, and Jeff could have checked out. But the race ended at the point where everyone was still slipping and sliding, so it's kind of a tough question to answer. Had it stayed like it did when the caution came out, we may have had a stab at them. We definitely didn't have anything for him on the longer runs."

JEFF BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE --HOW WAS YOUR RACE? "Obviously, I was sitting in a piece of equipment that was far superior to everybody else. It made my job a lot easier than it would have been if it didn't handle like that. The easiest day a race car driver has is when his stuff drives like that. It's just a real tribute to our team. When they announced the restrictor-plate thing Jack's eyes got about that big and he said, 'This is our chance. We can take advantage of that.' Frank had the same attitude and I had the same attitude. They built an engine for us and drove all night long, got it here Saturday, we put it in the car. The guys in the shop came in really early in the morning and left really late at night to change a car over that we didn't plan on running. When we did find out about the rule we decided to change our plans and bring a different car. We then went to Milwaukee and spent a whole day testing, so I feel this win is deserving of our effort. Nobody works any harder or tried any harder. I'm sure people tried as hard, but surely nobody tried any harder. When you work hard and you try hard and result come, it's the most gratifying win you'll ever have because you feel like you did your day's business and, in my opinion, the best way to ever win a race."

BURTON CONTINUED -- YOU HAD SOME BATTLES WITH EARNHARDT AND LABONTE. "The hardest part about racing at New Hampshire or qualifying at New Hampshire or anything you do here are the first four, five, six or seven laps on a restart. It must be two seconds slower the first lap. You can't get a grip to the race track and that was our weak point. We could not go good on restarts. I had to wait for the car to come. If I drove it too hard, it would be really loose so I had to drive it easy. Driving it easy was a little bit too easy because those guys didn't have to do that. Bobby, thanks to him, he was under me and I cut him off pretty bad coming off of two and he lifted. He could have not lifted and we would have spun around and that would have been the end of it, but he did lift and I appreciate that."

WAS IT IMPORTANT TO LEAD EVERY LAP AS THE RACE DEVELOPED? "There is tremendous pressure on our pit crew guys already anyway. It was very clear a few weeks ago that we weren't having the pit stops that we needed to have. They feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders because they've been working so hard and we haven't been having the results that they're capable of. Today we did and at Richmond we did, so, obviously, it's great to lead every lap but we don't go into a race thinking we need to lead every lap, we go into it thinking we need to lead the last lap. So, as it got toward the end of the race I started thinking about it under caution. I said, 'I wonder if we've led every lap here.' I thought maybe somebody under caution would have snuck one in there, but then it became, 'OK, we're gonna lead every lap,' and certainly we decided to lead every lap at that point because track position was real important and we didn't want to get behind the 18 car or anybody because once you got behind them it was gonna be real difficult to pass."

WHAT ABOUT THE SLICK TRACK ON THE RESTART? "The last restart we were out of control, that's for sure, but that's what a race track throws you and a driver's got to be able to adapt to it pretty quickly and I didn't the first lap -- Bobby drove under me. I was doing all I could do, but I actually drove in the corner a little bit too easy and then I needed to get the throttle quicker and I got it too quick. It was different for me, but every restart at New Hampshire is different as far as I'm concerned. You never know what's gonna come."

FRANK STODDARD , Crew Chief --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- WHAT ABOUT THE WORK LEADING UP TO THIS RACE? "It may have been a blessing in disguise, maybe, because after losing Richmond there with about 15 to go I got my mind off Richmond and I was able to focus on coming up here to Loudon. If the rules hadn't changed, I might have been thinking about Richmond all week. I'm real proud of the guys. The guys on pit road did a great job with pit stops. To come in leading twice and go out ahead of the 18 was a testament to how hard they've been working lately. The guys in the motor shop, as Jeff said, they did a fabulous job to work as hard as they have to do that, and I'm real proud of the guys back at the shop. Their effort was as much as what the motor guys did, to get cars ready to go to Milwaukee and fly all night and drive all night. The truck drivers didn't get much sleep and it's just a whole team effort. That's what's neat about this win. Somebody said, 'how do you lead 300 laps?' Well, to lead 300 laps everybody has to do the best job they could that day from pit road to motors to Jeff driving the car and I'm real proud of that." WHAT ABOUT LEADING EVERY LAP? "Obviously, if you're leading the race you want to go out first, but I didn't put any extra added pressure on the guys other than saying, 'have a nice stop and hit five' (lugnuts). The paramount thing for me was that we needed to come out of the pits first every time because track position was that important. I knew it would be that important to the 18 and the 88. If we would have had a bad pit stop and came out fifth, we might not be sitting here today. So, it's certainly important to maybe only lose one spot coming out of the pits and not having anything where three or fours got by us. That was really the reason we didn't pit at lap 243 or something when the caution came out."

JEFF BURTON -- WHAT ABOUT THE EARNHARDT BATTLE? "I knew when I caught Earnhardt I sat there and I said, 'Alright, to lap him and the caution comes out, he's gonna be the first car a lap down' and that's not always the best thing. He's so intense. To pass him for the lead is one thing, but when you lap him it's like caging a tiger -- he's not liking that. I needed to do what I needed to do. We're racing the 3 car for the championship and I saw an opportunity to get some more points, so we put him a lap down and didn't let him get his lap back. If the positions had been reversed, that's what he would have done to me. That's what you do. I did let a lot of people get their laps back today, but he wasn't gonna be one of them because of the position he's in in the points. I didn't take kindly to him hitting me under caution. I made one contact with one car all day long and it was him and it was three times. It wasn't gonna happen a whole lot longer because I wasn't gonna let the 3 car ruin the race for us. On the other hand, I don't blame him for racing to stay on the lead lap. I don't fault him one bit for that, that's what you're supposed to do. Had he stayed on the lead lap, he would have pitted, he would have come out with four new tires and instead of finishing 13th or wherever he finished, he would have finished seventh and that's why we put him a lap down and kept him a lap down. At Richmond last week he almost won the damn race and was never in the race. When you can get a guy like that a lap down, you better put him a lap down and keep him a lap down. As stupid as that sounds, that paying him a compliment. You need to hold him a lap down. I don't hold grudges and I'm not mad he hit me under caution, it's just what it is."

HOW MUCH BETTER WERE YOU? "I think it's a little misleading. We were really, really fast on long runs. We could decide how fast we wanted to run and run that fast. Early in the run I would run as hard as I possibly could to stay in front of them. Had we ever gotten behind them, it would have been hard to pass them. At the end, the gap kept closing and that's the fear when you have a car that's running in the front -- sometimes you're afraid to change it. Other people have nothing to lose by changing it and I think they made their cars better and we kept our car the same all day. We made one chassis adjustment is all we ever made."

WHAT ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE TO MAKING THIS WHOLE SITUATION WORK. "I felt we needed to do something. There was an obvious problem here and we needed to do something. I didn't want to come here and race with plates on anymore than anybody else did. At the same time, I felt that being that we couldn't design a better wall in a couple of months -- and I thought that was always unrealistic to think we could -- that we needed to do something. So, having said that, the minute they announced the restrictor plate thing I was standing there with Jack and another driver and car owner and driver came up and everybody was bitching and moaning and groaning and I was sitting there thinking, 'Man, what are we gonna do here.' It was more getting prepared. That's what the rule is. We can complain about it but they're not gonna change it and they shouldn't. They should do what they think they need to do and I think it just turned into a challenge. It turned into, 'OK, here's what we know about plates, here's what we know horsepower, here's what we know about our cars, here's how we think we're gonna have to drive it.' It was just a challenge. I take a lot of pride in winning this race because we adapted quicker than anybody else. I sat there and listened to Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte and some guys I really respect say, 'you need to be able to adapt to be a top-notch Winston Cup team, and I think we adapted real well to it. We didn't really spend a whole lot of time this talking about why we did the plate, except when I was asked by you guys. Other than that, we talked about what we needed to do because of the plate and I think that was the right approach, rather than worrying about why we were doing it, just pay attention to what we needed to do with it."

JACK ROUSH , Car Owner --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- WHAT ABOUT THE PLATES? "I'm not an advocate of plates. I think when we restrict the engines like this that it makes for potentially less exciting racing. There's less you can do from the driver's point of view with acceleration, it puts more margin in the tires, it puts more margin in all the parts that you would break -- the drive train parts and all -- and I like to race for the durability and strength and the tuning considerations in the performance side as well as watch Frankie and Jeff race the shocks and the bars and the springs. That, by and large, is out of it. You do your tweaks here for a couple of horsepower and all the engines are within five or 10 and that really takes that out of the equation. The fact we won here doesn't make me look any more positively toward the proliferation of restrictor-plate racing than I did at Richmond." DID YOU SEE THIS PLATE AS AN ADVANTAGE? "In spite of the fact that Jeff won the Firecracker 400 at Daytona and when Mark has won at Talladega, we haven't been known for our restrictor-plate engines or our restrictor-plate program. Having said that, we've reorganized an emphasis on our restrictor-plate cars for Daytona and Talladega and that bore fruit at Daytona. We reorganized the engine development program and that certainly wasn't the reason we won here. I think we could have won here with the same engine we had at Daytona, but we do have an improved engine based on the effort that's been made. It was a chance to come back and work with those piece to attempt to adapt. I too, like Jeff indicated that he'd gotten the impression from some of the guys he respects as drivers, I think that for me the challenge that I see against the other owners and the other folks who help spearhead development in their programs, accept enthusiastically the challenge. I said I don't look forward to having our racing restricted in any way beyond where it is. Another template or with a restriction to the engine or brakes or anything else that NASCAR might choose to restrict. I'd like to have room to develop and have an opportunity to fail and break a part because you're trying to hard. Having said that, I was extraordinarily challenged by the chance to come here and adapt quicker."

JEFF BURTON -- DO YOU SEE THIS AS THE FINAL ANSWER TO ANY PERCEIVED PROBLEMS REGARDING SAFETY? "This is not the final answer. Maybe slowing the cars down in some other form or fashion is part of the answer. We don't have to go as slow as we did today. We've got to build better walls. Now, that won't happen next week and that won't happen maybe next year. But there has to be a concerted effort to build better walls, to build better environments for the drivers to apply things like Jack did with his cutoff switch. We have to use the fatalities that we had here as a wake-up call. I'll say this one more time. It doesn't mean that we're wimps, it doesn't mean that we're scared, it means that we're smart and we need to be as safe as we can. Motorsports is inherently dangerous, but it doesn't have to be anymore dangerous than it has to be. So, I don't think restrictor plates are the fix. I think it was a last-second decision that was the right decision for the situation that we had, but it's not the fix. It's a band-aid and, like I said, we have to keep working to make things safer."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte