Ford Racing Loudon Race Notes

RICKY RUDD --10-- Tide Taurus -- "I'm not really sure. The trouble is it's a one-groove race track. I think we moved up to 17th and were sort of biding our time and being patient. It looked like two cars got together, I don't know if somebody...

RICKY RUDD --10-- Tide Taurus -- "I'm not really sure. The trouble is it's a one-groove race track. I think we moved up to 17th and were sort of biding our time and being patient. It looked like two cars got together, I don't know if somebody on the inside broke loose or what, but there wasn't a lot of racing room and that's what triggered it. We sort of caught the aftermath. We actually had it missed, dropped it in low gear and started accelerating, and I think the 45 car came directly from the bottom to the top right in front of us and I collected him. The biggest thing is I got ourselves in a hole qualifying. We had a good race car and we came up through the field pretty good. We came all the way up to 16th and had a car capable of a top 10. I had patience, but it doesn't take but one to lose their patience and cause a chain reaction."

DESPITE THIS INCIDENT, HAS IT BEEN A GOOD WEEK? "We don't want to be sitting here in the garage area right now, obviously, but I'm real excited about the plans for next year. I just couldn't say enough about what it's gonna be like to get in a Robert Yates car. We've got a good group of guys here, they're not giving up, and we've still got us a race to try to win here before the year is out. Next year is next year, it seems like a million miles away right now."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "We had a good car. We just had to make the green flag stop there. We were sitting in the pits when the caution came out. We only had right sides on it, and we decided to come back in and put left sides on it...pretty small pit boxes, the 20 car was already in his pit. I knew with the 4, I would have to give myself room to get out there and when I came in and turned back out to give myself some room, I guess I got the right-front tire back out of the box. I've seen guys all year have their front ends over and everything else, but we got caught for it and that's the rule. So, it's just unfortunate. It's a lap penalty instead of going to the back, so we made the most of it."

DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE CALL? "That's the rule if you're outside, but you need to call it all the time. I guess that's just the breaks. If the right-front was out it was out. It just happened whenever I turned back right to make sure that I could give myself room to get out, since I knew we were only changing two and knew the 4 car was changing four tires. It's just unfortunate."

IT LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WIN? "I had a good race car. Man, the thing was really good on the one set of tires, just incredible...took off and got ourselves a good lead there, but I congratulate Joe Nemechek. I'm really happy for Joe. For a while it looked like Joe may come over to the 28 car and I know he's looking for work and, hopefully, this will help him get a good job out there because he is a good race driver. But, it could have been a lot worse. We didn't lose too many points, so we'll be alright."

YOU RAN WELL ON OLD TIRES. "The car was really good and it seemed that one set of tires was really the best we had been all day, so we decided to stay out and it got us off sequence where we had to make a green-flag stop. I was just sitting there hoping the race would go green from there and then everything would have worked to our favor probably. But, of course, we were sitting in the pits and the caution comes out. We got right sides on it, we thought that we needed four tires. We may have been able to just take two, but the car had gotten a little loose off and we decided we needed four. We came back in to get the other two and I guess Tony Stewart was in there and I was trying to give myself room to get out and when I turned back out I guess I got the right-front outside the box. These are just really small areas and when you've already got cars in the pits it just makes it difficult. You'd like to think there would be a little leeway there, but rules are rules and I guess the right-front was out and there was a lap penalty."

SO WHEN YOU COCKED THE CAR BACK IS WHEN IT GOT OUT? "Yeah. I knew that I had it in at one time, but I just let the car roll to give me a shot to get out because I knew the 4 car was changing four tires and we were only gonna get two and then I could be gone before him. I just didn't realize I had gotten it that far out and it's just a mistake. I've seen guys have their front ends out and tires out this year that didn't get caught, but I guess it was just our time, unfortunately. It could have been a lot worse. It turned out OK."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "I just got way too tight there on that last run. Track position was everything and that got us behind and we never caught up after that. We had a winning car for the first third of the race. It was a little loose, but would really come in after 10 laps or so. The conditions of the track were terrible when they put that stay dry down. They've got to get a blower here because that sweeper they have just doesn't get the job done."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "It was a good run for us, unfortunately, I kept hittin' stuff. A couple of times there was stuff happening in front of me and I just couldn't miss it. It got the nose all knocked in pretty bad and when I'd get behind other cars it wouldn't turn. By itself it was pretty fast, but in traffic I just couldn't turn underneath anybody, but, nonetheless, a good day for the Exide Ford. We came a long way again. It's real neat to see Joe Nemechek win the race. That's pretty cool."

SOME SAY THE POINTS RACE IS OVER, BUT JARRETT HAD SOME PROBLEMS. CAN SOME OTHER GUYS GET BACK IN IT? "It's not hurtin'. I don't know, it certainly is closer now than it was before. There are eight races left, that's a lot of racin' left, so you just don't ever know."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- "It ran real good there at the end wrecked for a wrecked race car. It's wrecked bad. I got hit really, really hard. It's too hard. I don't think we would have run too bad today. I think we were running better than a lot of the cars that finished in the top seven, I looked at the scoreboard. The Valvoline team gets a lucky day by being able to finish 17th, but an unlucky day being caught up in all those wrecks."

RICK MAST --98-- Universal Studios Taurus -- "It was off and on. The car had a push exiting the corners and we never could get it out. We adjusted on it every stop, but all it ever did was make it loose in through the center, I never could fix it off the corner where the problem was. If we could have ever gotten it to where I could have gotten off the corners properly, we'd have been fine. But we never did anything to fix that, but we avoided all the wrecks and ended up with a top 10."

WHAT WAS THE KEY TO GETTING UP FRONT? "We had made a pit stop to adjust the car and got at the back. We knew we were gonna give up track position by doing that. We did that and lost all our track position, but we had a caution about eight or nine laps later and we stayed out while all the other guys in front of us pitted. That put us in front of everybody and that's kind of the way it stayed the rest of the day. The only problem with that particular run was that we were like 10 laps behind the other guys on tires, but we were still able to hold up in there."

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GET A TOP 10? "Just to finish here lately for us without a problem is like a major ordeal because we've had so many things go wrong. Really, this wasn't one of our best runs today, but we had one of our better finishes. We'll take this to Dover and try to capitalize."

KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- TV Guide Taurus -- "We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We had a good race car all day long. We got turned around early and worked our way back up. It screwed the car up when we got turned around, we didn't have the same car, but the guys did a great job getting me back up there. We came in one stop too late, we should have come in with the rest of the guys. We were so far back we should have come in and got tires. Instead, we waited until that last caution and got back up there and a car got turned around in front of me, I ran into him and there was nothing I could do...just cut a tire down. I'm disappointed because we had a good car all day long. It just shows what kind of depth we've got on this team. It's gonna be a strong running team."

YOU WERE COMPETITIVE ALL DAY. "I'm just disappointed as anyone would be running all day long in the top 10 and you get turned around and then work your way back up and get caught up in a late-race wreck. At worst we were gonna be a 14th-place car, but we had a top-10 car."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus -- "We just has some bad luck again. We just can't seem to get Lady Luck on our side. We ran good all day. We made some good adjustments at the beginning of the race to get us in position at the end of the race. We were running in the top 10, I just wanted to finish in the top 10. We were running eighth and I was getting an aero push bad behind Sterling and those guys. When the 26 got to me I let him go and I didn't know the 33 was...I had to slow up from hitting the 26 and I just checked up a little earlier than Kenny did and he got in the back of us and turned us around. At the end it just got wild and then I ran into Hut and knocked out Terry. It was just something I didn't really want to do. I just got right on the apron and got loose and it was just one of them deals. There was a lot of bad racing luck for us today, but we ended up with a pretty good finish."

YOU'VE GOT TO BE CONFIDENT WITH THE WAY YOU'VE RUN LATELY. "Yeah, we are. We're getting more confident every week. I'm getting a little more satisfied with the way I'm driving every week. We're getting the cars better each and every week and we're definitely going in the right direction. We just want to get in the top 25 in the points. If we keep running the way we're running, we're gonna have a good shot at doing that."

KENNY IRWIN --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "It was good. We were never a contender like I would like to be, but we weren't bad. We were there all day. I felt good that on restarts we could hold our own and pick up a few spots. I see us getting better every week...qualifying, even though we didn't qualify good this week we have a good qualifying package and, obviously, not too bad of a race package."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "We thought we had a rocket ship. The car was handling great. We picked up 10 spots almost right away and just about the time I thought it was going to be a great day, the water temperature started going up. The engine could feel it and I knew we were in trouble. I think it was a head gasket, but we lost a lot of time in the pits. We actually ran pretty well the rest of the day, but after you lost 14 or 15 laps nobody is going to notice but you."

TOMMY MORGAN, Crew Chief --26-- Cheerios Taurus -- "We had a good car when we got here. We unloaded good and we had a legitimate shot at the pole, I believe. We kind of goofed there a little bit, but the car was great in Happy Hour yesterday and we just kept playing with air all day long. That's all we did."

HOW MUCH DOES IT MEAN TO THIS TEAM TO HAVE A RUN LIKE THIS? "Hopefully, we can attract another driver and another sponsor to the team so we keep the 26 team in operation for next year with Jack Roush."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Joe Nemechek , Jack Roush , Robert Yates