Ford Racing Michigan II race notes

KURT BUSCH -97-Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (finished 43rd) "We started to tighten up about two laps ago, and it went on the back straightaway. I don't know what the circumstances were or why it failed, but we thought we had a good day going with the...

KURT BUSCH -97-Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (finished 43rd)
"We started to tighten up about two laps ago, and it went on the back straightaway. I don't know what the circumstances were or why it failed, but we thought we had a good day going with the Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus, it just wasn't meant to be today."

THERE HAVE BEEN SOME FRUSTRATING CIRCUMSTANCES RECENTLY.

"It sure has. One week it's this, one week it's that. We don't have a rookie team here. We've got a bunch of great guys. We've been together - they have - for five, six years. It was just a matter of plugging me in and going. And it just seems like we've had too many rookie mistakes as of late with just oddball-type things - but could be just bad luck. I hope it turns around."

The following comments were made following the rain delay on lap 100:

RICKY RUDD -28-Texaco/Havoline Taurus
"I'm not really sure. I'm wishful that it's just a plug wire, but they kind of peaked under there a while ago when we stopped and all the wires look like they're on. So, lost a couple of cylinders - not really sure, but, man, this Texaco/Havoline Taurus, it was flying today. It was fun out there. It's just unfortunate that something broke in the motor. We don't have that happen too often, and it's a shame it happened when we were out front, but that's racing."

RICKY CRAVEN -32-Tide Taurus
"It's running good. It's really a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to the last 10 laps. The team's doing a great job for me and we got the Tide Ford up front all day. We're just going to put ourselves in position to win at the end, and then it's going to be fun."

YOUR CAR LOOKED PRETTY STABLE.

"Yeah, I think my car was the strongest at the end of each run. Something happened to Ricky [Rudd], I think he was probably the guy to beat, but something happened to him, and then Rusty showed some muscle before the rain came. So, it looks like Rusty and Bill are the guys to go race. I don't know who's behind us, but I'm sure it's going to get real interesting at the end of the race."

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BACK UP THE POLE WITH A STRONG RUN?

"It's good, I think for the team and I, we run the first 100 miles like we owned it, and we're just going to do a little more of the same when we get back to racing."

THIS SUCCESS HAS BEEN BUILDING.

"It really has. It's gotten better and better."

MARK MARTIN -6-Pfizer Taurus
"We're just trying to win a race. We always get good gas mileage, and stretched it out there."

DOES THE RAIN DELAY BREAK YOUR MOMENTUM, OR DOESN'T THAT MATTER?

"If it rains it out, we win."

RUSTY WALLACE -2-Miller Lite Taurus
"It's going great right now. We led a little bit. We got a really fast race car. I'd like to go back racing so I get that thing up front. We made a tire-pressure adjustment and a wedge adjustment and that made it fly. I think it's one of the quickest, if not the quickest car on the track right now."

DID THE CAR RUN WELL IN ALL OF THE DIFFERENT CONDITIONS?

"Yeah, that just goes to show you how good the chassis is right now. Whenever it eats up hot, cold and all that, it means you got a good chassis and it's been running great."

The following comments were made following the re-start:

RICKY RUDD -28-Texaco/Havoline Taurus (finished 42nd)

THAT WASN'T TOTALLY UNEXPECTED, WAS IT?

"Well, it was on six cylinders and there was no signs of smoke and all the gauges looked good. We thought we were going to be able to ride it out, we didn't expect it to go blow up like it did. I guess it burned a whole in the piston, knocked a whole in the piston." ON HIS CAR. "We had a very fast race car today, led the most laps up until the rain delay. Something went south in the motor, you know, which is very rare for a Yates engine. They usually make a lot of power and they go all day. Something freak, I'm sure, broke inside the motor."

YOU HAD ONE OF THE BEST CARS.

"I guess when it's your day it's going to work out and when it's not, like today, there's nothing you can do about it. A lot of preparation goes into these race cars, the guys work awfully hard on them and I know they take it really hard."

ANOTHER HIT IN THE POINTS RACE. WHAT CAN YOU DO TO CHANGE YOUR LUCK?

"I don't know. I guess it's not meant to be. Not a whole lot you do, not a whole lot you can do but worry about it, but it's good that we had a really fast race car, but unfortunately we haven't been able to make it to the end, with the exception of Pocono, when we had a really good race car. These things never break, or you have mechanical problems it doesn't seem like on days when you're running poorly, where you wish something would go wrong, a day like today we obviously were running good, we didn't want to see any trouble."

ON GOING BACK OUT AFTER THE RAIN DELAY.

"We had nothing to lose. We were hoping they wouldn't re-start the race, that the rain would stay there. If that would've been the case we'd have come out of here in pretty good shape, 14th place on the grid. As it turns out, we'll be near the end, which really, really is a big disappointment."

MARK MARTIN -6-Pfizer Taurus (finished eighth)
"That's the best since we've been here with that last run. So, in a way, I'm happy. I'm real proud of these guys to put up in a position to win a race with the Viagara Taurus, and we were in position to do that. And, then I was shocked how fast we ran, re-started in about 18th and drove up to seventh there. We didn't run great, but that kind of felt like the old days, the car felt like a real race car, that last run and it was kinda fun."

DID THE TEAM HAVE TO DO A LOT OF GUESSING ON THE SET-UP BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER?

"The track came to us. We made a big adjustment and the track came to us both."

JEREMY MAYFIELD -12-Mobil 1 Taurus (finished 13th)
"We did everything short of washing the car to get the rain to fall at the right time for us. We were eighth when the red flag came out at halfway. Considering we were a lap down right behind the leader about 10 laps earlier we would've taken that in a heartbeat. But, we went back out, pitted and went to 21st. Everybody pits for the caution a few laps later, we stay out and we're in second. Next thing you know, we're leading the race on the re-start. I got a few drops on my windshield then and though, 'Man, we've got us one,' but we just couldn't get it to rain. So, all we could do was scratch and claw for what we could get. We had been working on the car from the start, doing everything we could to get it where we wanted it. The guys did a great job in the pits. Peter [Sospenzo, crew chief] made some good calls in the pits. One break on the weather and a Pegasus would've been sitting in victory lane."

RICKY CRAVEN -32-Tide Taurus (finished second)
"I'm really happy for the team because we just keeping backing it up. I should be really excited because we finished second, my best ever, but I could smell victory, I could see it coming, and we just ran out of time." YOU WERE GAINING. "We were gaining, we weren't gaining a lot, but we gained a little bit every lap, and I think we were within five laps of really going toe-to-toe. And, it would've been pretty exciting, but you just can't argue with the results we've been getting and the effort, and it's gonna happen."

MATT KENSETH -17-DeWalt Power Tools Taurus (finished fourth)
"The last run I wish we could've run another 10 laps or so. It seemed like them guys were starting to back up toward us a little bit. All in all it was a great day from starting way back there."

DID YOU GET ALL YOU COULD OUT OF THE CAR?

"I think if we raced a little longer maybe we would've had a shot to get up there and run with them guys."

ON BEING IN SUCH A GOOD POSITION AT THE END.

"The DeWalt Taurus was really good all day, really. Our second set of tires we made some adjustments on it and it was real. We knew we could run as good if we could get up there. It was big morale booster for everybody to be able to run good here today. We haven't had the greatest year, by no means, but it was good to come here and run up front, and if we could've had a little longer maybe we could've gotten up there."

WHAT CHANGES WERE MADE AT THE END?

"The last change, I didn't change anything, but we were a little tight, starting the race and we just freed the car just a little bit on the first stop and after that it was about right. I was a little too loose for about 15 or 20 laps and after that it would be pretty neutral and run real fast then."

JIMMY SPENCER -26-Kmart Taurus (finished 11th)-
"We could never get the grip in the rear tires that we needed today. We just missed it a little bit. We probably had a top-10 car right there at the end, and the car just got really pretty loose. We really are missing those top-10s, that really hurts."

RUSTY WALLACE -2-Miller Lite Taurus (finished 17th)
"We had a heck of a car today. It was a rocket, but when the race re-started, we blew up. I don't know if it was a cylinder or a valve spring, but something gave."

JEFF BURTON -99-Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (finished 16th)
"Weather threw a wrench into our deal today. When the first rain delay occurred, I felt we had to come in and pit because I thought we had a tire going down. We lucked out by having the race to go back to green, but on the re-start we realized we had radio problems. I could hear Frank [Stoddard, crew chief], but I couldn't talk to him so we had to use hand signals. That pretty much sums up our day. In the past we benefited from rain, today was certainly not the case."

ROBERT PRESSLEY -77-Jasper Engines & Transmissions Taurus (finished 14th)
"We were just loose, that's all it was today. We started out the race loose and stayed loose the whole race and could just not get it back, so we were lucky to get what we did today."

ELLIOTT SADLER -21-Motorcraft Taurus (finished 15th)
"We were just real loose all day, just couldn't get it underneath of me. We turned a bad day into a good day, as far as points are concerned. It was way too loose to run with anybody."

HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE DID THE RAIN MAKE?

"I don't know, I was kind of hoping it would rain out the first time. It made the track the same, I don't think changed all that much in four, five laps the track was back slick again, so rain didn't really have much to do with our car. We were just loose whether it was cloudy, sunshine or whatever. So, it didn't really matter to us."

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO BRISTOL?

"Oh, yeah. I always look forward to going to Bristol."

DALE JARRETT -88-UPS Taurus (finished 36th)-
"Unfortunately, that's part of it. As good as things were going for us at one time, they're going just that bad right now. It's just one of those unfortunate bad sides of sports, but that's the way it goes."

YOUR HISTORY IS THAT YOU CAN COME BACK FROM THINGS LIKE THIS. WITH 13 RACES LEFT, DO YOU FEEL THAT'S FEASIBLE AGAIN?

"We just got to go try to run good and win races, and see what plays out from there. We got to back to where we have a smooth day. We haven't had that in a while."

HOW CLOSE WAS THE CAR FROM GOING COMPLETELY AROUND?

"It [left rear tire] blew out going into three and I thought I had saved and I was just trying to get out of guys' ways and it just started to turn around and went back into the wall. I just did all that I could to keep it off the wall, but couldn't do that."

-Ford Racing

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Series NASCAR Cup