Ford Racing Martinsville notes

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 42nd) -- "I went down into one and my brake pedal faded really bad about the time I was way down in the corner and I said, 'Maybe the brakes are just getting hot.' Normally that's kind of what...

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 42nd) -- "I went down into one and my brake pedal faded really bad about the time I was way down in the corner and I said, 'Maybe the brakes are just getting hot.' Normally that's kind of what happens here and I went down into three and just put my foot on the brake thinking I would have to pump 'em because they're getting hot and I started pumping 'em and I couldn't get anything there. It's like it busted a brake line or something and, man, whatever happened happened all at one time because there was no warning at all really. I hate it for Rick Mast and all those guys on A.J.'s team because I took them out and whoever else. Luckily for me he was there because he did slow me down a lot, but it was bad for him that I was there. At least it didn't hurt anything on me, but the car is torn up pretty bad."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 33rd) -- "Somebody got loose up there and everybody started checking up. I got slowed down and the 4 car stopped real hard and I just went underneath him and just knocked the top off of the radiator. It's just one of them deals. You want to try to be up front and miss all of this stuff, but we seem to always be right there. We're not all the way quite up front, but we're right there in the mess."

STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus (Finished 39th) -- WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT FIRST CAUTION THAT CAUSED YOUR PROBLEMS? "I'm not sure. Kenny Schrader got in there and, I don't know. I got a little bump from behind and that started the day bad. From there it went downhill. A couple of cars got backed up on pit road. We stopped, the car wouldn't start. I mean, it was just one of those days all day long. We were still OK. We were racing to get our lap back and it looked like somebody turned Junior in front of us and we just ran over him."

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus (Finished 41st) -- "We had a car that could run in the top 15, but it was just one of those deals that when they got all jacked up over there I couldn't get stopped and then I got run into from behind. That pushed me into the back of Bill Elliott and put a hole in the radiator. That's what happens here at Martinsville. You have to miss all of that stuff to have a good day."

WALLY DALLENBACH --75-- RotoZip Taurus (Finished 40th) -- WAS IT A CASE OF BRAKE FAILURE? "Yeah, but we had something wrong. It wasn't that we were just abusing the brakes, we were sucking air or something because we kept losing pressure."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 38th) -- "We got some of the crush panels knocked in and the fumes got pretty bad in there. It's from the exhaust."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 3rd) -- "It's a real disappointing third-place finish. We had a great car. We had great pit stops. A couple of people put on two tires. The 24 put on two and he pulled out of his pit and I had to slow down to keep from hitting him, so the 20 beat us out. Then, to try to win, I had to try to make a move on Sterling and he ran up the race track and got into us. Then Earnhardt got by me and it was over."

DID YOU FEEL YOU HAD THE BEST CAR TODAY? "From lap 200 on we definitely had the best car. We didn't have track position there at the end, but the best car doesn't always win."

THE 18 HAD SOME BAD LUCK TODAY, BUT IT WASN'T DEVASTATING. "No and we're not having any good luck. We have a great race team and we've shown that we're championship caliber, but we're not having very good luck."

DO YOU FEEL THIS IS ONE THAT GOT AWAY? "Yeah, but hat's off to the 20 car, they did a great job. My guys did a great job in the pits today. The 24 took on two tires and the 40 took on two tires and that was real instrumental in the outcome of the race. I had to slow down on pit road to keep from making contact with the 24, so the 20 beat us out of the pits. Then I got outside of the 40 and he was on old tires and he couldn't keep it on the bottom. We got together and I got up in all the rubber and stuff coming off turn four and Earnhardt got by me and the race was over."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 4th) -- "It's frustrating. Whatever happened on the last stop, the race was over."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 7th) -- "We had a good car yesterday and we really felt like we had a top 10 car and then as the day went on we adjusted on it and really felt like we had an opportunity for a top five there. Right there at the end the lapped cars really hurt us a lot. We probably didn't have the car just where it needed to be, but the guys have worked so hard. We've run in the top 10 for a bunch of races and just haven't finished there. I think that's important. Over the last six to eight races our cars should have finished a lot better like today and they didn't. But today it was a good day for us and we're looking forward to Charlotte."

DID YOU THINK ABOUT TWO TIRES ON THE LAST CAUTION? "Our pit stops were incredible today. We just put four tires on it. We thought if we put two on we'd go backwards and we knew with four tires on we were still gonna maintain a top 10. Of the one, two or three guys who maybe did do it we could beat and we beat one of them. We didn't beat the other one, but the biggest problem was the lapped cars, but they were racing for position just like we were. All in all, we had a good day."

KURT BUSCH --97-- John Deere Taurus (Finished 37th) -- DID YOU FEEL LIKE A PINBALL OUT THERE AT TIMES? "That's to be expected. I made a few mistakes. We came in the pits and didn't make the right call, then I ran into a guy trying to get by him when I'm three laps down. That's something I should be doing. We learned what we needed to do and just got caught up in another accident that poked a hole in the radiator and that's something we don't need to do, and we were able to make some laps at the end."

WHAT DO YOU TAKE OUT OF THIS RACE? "We gained track experience, that was a lot to do with it. We kept gaining speed all weekend, from the first practice to the end of the race. I knew it was gonna be a bump-and-run type deal. I was generous to the leaders and to the other drivers, I just have to make sure I get up on the brake pedal hard enough next time."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 23rd) -- We just missed it big time chassis-wise. Next time we're gonna have to go with a lot softer springs in the rear and soften the thing up. It was just all up top on the race track all day long. We tried about everything -- plugged the right-front shock, tried to adjust with wedge, air pressures, everything. Nothing could make it much better with those springs we had. It was just looser than loose, then when we plugged the shock, it got way too tight."

BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus (Finished 15th) -- "It wasn't that good and it wasn't that bad. We survived the day and did what we needed to do. I just couldn't run on cold tires. I was making up some territory right there before the caution came out with 30 to go. I know I was about to get lapped, but I gained a bunch of spots. A lot of those guys were backing up to me, but I couldn't run on cold tires."

DID YOU HAVE ANY TROUBLE TODAY? "I hit Dale Jarrett in the back real hard and knocked the front end in and it ran real hot at the end of the race."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 6th) -- YOU WENT FROM 31ST TO 6TH. "Yeah, we would like to think we could get in better than that, but it's a long way back and we had to fight and fight. We just had to work on the car all day and got it pretty decent. It's not a bad day."

YOU NEED BOBBY TO HAVE SOME BAD LUCK AND HE HAD A LITTLE BUT NOT DEVASTATING. "It wasn't that much, so we just have to keep working. We just have to get ours better is the main thing."

DO YOU FEEL YOU DODGED A BULLET STARTING WHERE YOU DID? "No, if you've got a good car you can get up through there. We just should have been a little better than that."

DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 27th) -- "I tried as hard as I could. That was as hard as I could drive."

YOU WERE ON THE LEAD LAP THROUGH THE FIRST 397 LAPS. "When I knew I was getting behind there and I was a loose, I just worked my car too hard and I used up the car and me. Then when we went so long on that particular run, that was the worst I had been and it just bit us. I can see us being one lap down, maybe, so I'm pleased with the weekend. We qualified 18th and we were respectable for three-fourths of the day."


IS IT A HEARTBREAKER TO LOSE ONE LIKE THIS? "Yeah, it really is. We did a great job on the race car. We weren't that good in practice yesterday. We made some changes this morning and they were the right changes. We kept working on the car and working on it. As you could see, if the thing went green the race was pretty much over but it didn't go green. When we get beat on pit road because we have a bad pit stop, that's not as disappointing as when you get beat on pit road and you didn't have a bad pit stop. We had a good pit stop, it was just a situation where people were putting on two tires. They didn't have a chance in the world of winning, and I'm not blaming them, I'm just saying they didn't have a chance of winning so they put on two to get the best finish they could get and that hurt our finish our a lot. I'm not saying they shouldn't have done that, that's just the way it worked. That is disappointing because you don't get a lot of chances to win these things and this is a really tough race track. We've run poorly here the last couple of races and we really ran well today, so I'm real proud of that. It is a tough loss though, it's one of the toughest losses I remember."

IS THIS A BAD DAY FOR THE BURTONS? "I guess when you finish third and it's a bad day, that's a damn good sign. Obviously, Ward falling out early wasn't what we wanted to see. We didn't want to see that. In about 30 minutes I'll be OK, it's just when you lead, lead, lead and the race is over -- and when the caution came out I thought that was great because we had run so long I couldn't imagine anybody was gonna put on two tires. We had run forever and people put on two. I knew if everybody put on four with as good a pit stops as we were having, we would be fine. We'd come out in the lead, my car was fast, and off we'd go but it just didn't work out that way, so it's disappointing because circumstances beat us. I'm not disappointed in my team. I'm not disappointed in our effort. We put in a wonderful effort today, we just didn't get the result we wanted. We got better results than 39 other people and I'm real proud of that. We have proven to be very, very competitive in the last four months, we really have, we just have not had a few things go our way. This loss after last week makes it a pretty hard couple of weeks."

THAT FIRST PIT STALL SEEMED ADVANTAGEOUS FOR STEWART. "I think it was important, but they sat on the pole and they deserved it. I don't feel like we got beat because they had the first spot and that's unfair. The way our system works is if you qualify first you get the first spot and here that's really important, so they did a good job of completing everything they needed to do to win the race and I'm not gonna take anything away from them. They did a good job qualifying, they did a great job in the race. Tony did a good job driving. They got behind there and they didn't panic. They had a good pit stop at the end and they did everything great. They did a great job and I'm not trying to take away from them. Obviously, the first pit position is where you want to be."

WHAT CAR IS THIS? "This one was brand new at the beginning of this year. It's been the short-track car -- we ran it at Richmond and here. We don't have favorite cars. If we have them in our shop, we run them. If we don't have them, we don't run them and if we don't want to run it, we take it out and put it somewhere else. We don't look at our fleet and say we're gonna run that car because it's our favorite car, we just run what's next in line."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PIT ROAD BEING TIGHT? "It is tight, there's no question about it. This is a small race track and there's no other way to do it. I am in favor of one pit road. Obviously, if it could be wider and longer and all those things it would be better, but there's just no way to do that here. The only other way to do that is to open up the back pits also and then make you run on the apron or something and use both pit roads and run pit road speed on the apron. That might free things up, but then you would be on pit road forever, so I don't know. It is tight, but I do think it's the right thing to do. With this race track it is what it is. You can't move pit wall in because that actually makes matter worse because then the radius of your pit box becomes shorter and that makes things worse. The only other thing we could do is move pit wall out into the race track and we'd wear it out, so I think it is what it is and I think it needs to stay like this, though."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE BOBBY LABONTE DODGED A BULLET TODAY? "I think the biggest bullet he dodged was last week in not becoming a bullet like the rest of us did. They have been a steady race team all year. That's what Dale Jarrett did last year. They'd look like they were gonna finish 18th and somehow or another they'd finish sixth and that's what Bobby Labonte and his guys are doing this year. They're doing a hell of a job. You won't catch them unless something happens to them. They know that. Bobby has been doing this a long time and has been in racing a long time and he's seen his brother win championships. Jimmy Makar has been doing this a long time. They're not gonna make a mistake, I don't think. Right now they could even make a mistake and we still wouldn't catch him. It would take a series of races. They've built themselves a pretty nice lead."

DID YOU FEEL EVERYTHING WAS GOING YOUR WAY AT THE LAST CAUTION? "You never know what's gonna happen, but we could run quicker than the 20 car about any time we needed to at that time. I was looking in the mirror watching the 20. When I was just passing the start-finish line I could look in the mirror and I could see his door number and that's how I just tried to keep it. I ran as slow or as hard as I needed to do that. I thought the race was over, but as we saw it wasn't over and that's what happens. Anything can happen at any time and you've got to be ready for it. We had enough tire and the car was driving good. All those things were fine, it just wasn't meant to be."

HOW DID YOU FEEL ON THE RESTART? "I didn't think we were in good shape on the restart because we were fourth. Stewart was fast and it was hard to pass. You had to be a whole lot faster than somebody to pass them and I didn't think we were a whole lot faster than Stewart. I thought we were as fast as he was and I also knew that track position was really important. I had to clear the 40 car. I had to get by him quick if I had any chance at all to win the race. I made a real aggressive move and I was on the outside of him. We got together. I don't know if I got into him or he got into me, it just happened in three and four, and we both had to check up and I got way up near the wall coming off of four and Earnhardt got by me. The race was over for me at that point as far as winning."

WOULD YOUR THINKING HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT IF THE BUMPING YOU AND EARNHARDT DID WAS WITH STEWART FOR THE WIN? "No, it wouldn't. If I can pass a guy, I'll pass him. If I can't pass him, I'm not gonna knock him out of the way to pass him. Had I caught Stewart and hit him just like I did Earnhardt, I would have done the same thing, I would have checked up and let him get himself gathered back up and we'll go back racing. I just don't race like that. I don't want to be raced like that, so I don't race other people like that. Some people don't like that. Some people don't think I'm as rough as I need to be, but Bobby Labonte is winning a championship and Dale Jarrett won a championship and Jeff Gordon won all his championships by not knocking people out of the way. I don't think you need to knock people out of the way. Today is so competitive and everybody can run with everybody. When you start knocking people out of the way, they're gonna knock you out of the way because that's just the way it is now. Nobody intimidates anybody. This isn't like it was in '85 when a few people knocked everybody away and for some reason everybody took it. People don't take any crap anymore, so if you're gonna give it, you're gonna have to take it and I don't want to take it. That's why I don't do it, it's not the right thing to do."

IF YOU HAD BEEN RIGHT BEHIND TONY WOULD YOUR CHANCES BEEN BETTER? "The chances would have been a lot better, but, again, I don't think I was that much faster than Tony. I would have really had to been a lot faster and track position was so important. My only chance that I was gonna have was to pop up on the outside of him. I had a lot of brake left. I could drive in the corner as hard as I wanted to and that's what I was gonna do. I was gonna drive in the corner as deep as I could and get on the outside of him and see what happened, but I never got that opportunity. When we came out fourth with 17 or 18 laps to go, it wasn't looking too good."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte