Ford Racing Michigan race notes

STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus "Boy, I tell you what, I hate it for these guys with the Kodiak Melling Taurus. We had a good car today. We were sitting there riding and came in for a pit stop. We had a great pit stop, got ready...

STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus

"Boy, I tell you what, I hate it for these guys with the Kodiak Melling Taurus. We had a good car today. We were sitting there riding and came in for a pit stop. We had a great pit stop, got ready to leave and I guess we stripped a gear. Man, I hate that. We really needed a good run and it looked like we were on our way to one, but we'll put it back together and go out and ride around a little bit and be a lot better next time."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO THE CAR?

"We're just in a situation where we can't gain a whole lot and really can't lose a whole lot. We had a bad day and we're gonna use this to try something different."

WILL IT BECOME MORE LIKE A TEST NOW?

"We're gonna get a jump on things that we feel like we need to head in that direction. There's not much to lose here and probably not much to gain either. We're 38th and weren't many cars that were two laps down, so we're gonna make some changes."

IS THE CAR THE REASON WHY THE TEAM HAS STRUGGLED?

"We've been slow since we've been here, about three-quarters of a second a lap. We're not in a position to make any huge gains right now with the way things are. We don't get a chance to test much anymore. We've used three or our tests on restrictor-plate races this year and doesn't leave a whole lot. We didn't have a lot of testing scheduled and we had bad day and we're gonna use it to do something fun."

CAN YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT IT IS WITH THE CAR?

"I don't know what's wrong and neither does anybody else. We've just been off this week. This is a place where we always run good. I've raced here for 12 years twice a year and have never run bad, but we have not run anywhere even close to good since we've been here. We've tried a lot of things and today is almost over with, thank goodness."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus

"Something just broke, I'm not sure what it was, but it doesn't matter, we know who had the best car here again. It's just gonna be a matter of time. We're gonna get these things finishing races and we'll be up there every week doing that. I hate it for all the guys, but, hey, we'll be back next week. Pocono is our favorite place and we're gonna be good there too."

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE PIT STOP?

"It looks like we had a right-rear tire violation or something, I'm not sure what it was. It doesn't matter, we got our way back up there. We were coming, we just ran out of time."

YOU MUST HAVE HATED TO SEE THE RAIN COME.

"Yeah, but I don't want to win under rain. I've already lost two races at Darlington like that. I don't want to win like that, I want to win straight up -- beat 'em, get the checkered flag and be done with it, so I didn't want to win like that anyway."

IF THERE WAS NO RAIN WOULD YOU HAVE WON?

"We were up by seven, eight or nine seconds and when we went back to racing we gave them that back. That's racing and that's part of it. This team is good. It's almost better than winning in what we've accomplished these last four or five weeks."

DID THE ENGINE GIVE ANY INDICATION IT WAS GOING?

"No, not at all. There again, we've had hardly any problems at all since we've been running Penske Engines with Larry Wallace and all the guys. They did a great job. This thing, there wasn't a car out there that could touch it if we were straight up with 'em and that's all you can ask for. I mean, that's like winning a race right there knowing that this team is capable of doing what we did today. That's pretty amazing."

DO YOU THINK THE RAIN HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE TROUBLE?

"It may have. When you shut 'em off and they cool back down, I'm sure it doesn't help any -- and then I had run a little harder towards the end but it's tough. I mean, that's the way it is and we'll take it and keep our heads up and move on from here."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus

IT THIS CONTINUED WOULD YOU HAVE HAD A SHOT AT THEM?

"To be quite honest, no. I had my best shot there, before the rains came the first time we had gotten our car freed up. All we did was put on four tires and it went to plowing. We were fortunate the caution came out. The guys made a great pit stop and got me back out. It was a little freer, but it was still too tight to mix with those guys."

SO DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR THEM?

"No, I didn't have anything for 'em. Those guys were too strong for me and it seemed like after the rain we were way too tight. We got it freed up a little more there, but, still just too tight."

DID YOU MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS AFTER THE RAIN TO GET IT DIALED IN?

"We didn't change a thing, that's what so disturbed me. The car was freed up and fast and all we did was put on four tires and we were plowing, so it's just hard to make adjustments on the car. But everybody is in the same position and those guys did a little better job than we did."

ARE YOU HAPPY TO GET A FOURTH AND JUST MOVE ON DOWN THE ROAD?

"Oh yeah. That was a pretty good finish for us. We would have liked to done better, but we'll take that. Tony had the best car. He and Bobby had the best cars, so we'll take what we got here."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus

"We had a great, great car. This car was good all day. It was good here in qualifying. We got through one and two real good, but I just messed up in three and four and put us in the back. Ryan made some awesome calls today. Two tires early got us some track position and then we got up there and was right in sequence with everybody. We felt like we were a fifth or sixth-place car, but on the longer runs we were as quick as anybody late in the run, but we'll take a top-five because we're building. Now we'll get ready and go to Pocono."

YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED FOR THIS RAIN TO COME A BIT EARLIER, RIGHT?

"Man, I would have liked to have seen it about eight minutes earlier. The two tire stop got us up in the lead and that would have been something. We were gonna get four tires and right as I cut down pit road Ryan said, 'Two tires, two tires.' I never asked him why or what the reason was, but we came in and put on two tires and came out leading." WERE YOU PRAYING FOR RAIN INSIDE THE CAR? "Oh, I was telling everybody on the radio it's raining too hard to be out here and it was only sprinkling. But we'll take 'em anyway we can get 'em -- a top five, you can't beat it here."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "I don't know what to tell you, everything went wrong that could go wrong at the end of that race. They dropped the jack and the right-side window glass fell out. They fixed that and we came back in and we had a loose lugnut, so you name it and it went wrong at the end of that race. But we had a good car."

HAS ANYTHING LIKE THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU BEFORE?

"No, in twentysome years of racing I've never had that happen. It was a freak deal, I don't know what it was. They never took the window out during the rain delay, so it really shouldn't have ever fallen out, but it sure did. On the pit stop, when they dropped the jack, the window glass fell out of the right side."

AFTER THE RED FLAG DID YOU MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS?

"No, we tightened the car up just a tick. We figured we were gonna run third, we had third wrapped up and that's when everything went wrong."

FRANK STODDARD, Crew Chief --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus

DID YOU FEEL YOU HAD A CHANCE ONCE THE CAUTIONS STARTED MOUNTING?

"We didn't have a chance. I don't know whether we had a chance or not. Getting caught for speeding on pit road, I'm not sure how you do that from the seventh pit stall, but we did and we were basically out of it. I thought the Pontiacs were plenty stout and the Chevrolets were real stout, but the only car I saw was the 12 car that ran up there and he had a qualifying motor in there that blew up."

SCOTT PRUETT --32-- Tide Taurus

NOTE: This was the best finish of Pruett's NASCAR Winston Cup career (19th).

"We feel awesome. I was telling everybody that Dover and here and even Charlotte have been breakthroughs for me and for the team, but we weren't able to show it. Unfortunately, at Charlotte the track had changed so much, we started loose and unfortunately got ran in to. At Dover we got ran in to and taken out, even though we came back and ran real strong. Here, it was a real smooth weekend. The Tide Taurus ran good right out of the box and we just made it a little bit better. We qualified 16th and ran strong all day long today. The guys had awesome pit stops and we continued to work on the car. It was huge. It was huge for me and it was huge for the team."

IS THERE EVEN MORE CONFIDENCE CONSIDERING THERE WEREN'T MANY YELLOWS AT THE START -- YOU WERE GOOD ALL DAY.

"Because you have to run that long you have to have a good car. I mean, the car has to be close or you tear up the tires or whatever the case might be. We were right in the ballpark from the start. We were a little off, but right in the ballpark and continued to make it better."

BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus

NOTE: This was Elliott's sixth top-10 finish of the season after posting two in 1999.

"It could have been worse and it could have been better. It was pretty much of an up-and-down day for us. We got hurt early by getting out of sequence because of a loose rear wheel and that put us behind. But we got lucky when the first rain storm came because we were all set to come in for a pit stop. I didn't even know if we were going to have enough fuel on the first lap of the restart. The car ran strong at the end, but we had trouble on the final pit stop and that cost us a few spots. Then the battery started to lose power. A strange day, but we made it and we'll take eighth place, especially with all of the stuff that happened to us."

ROBBY GORDON --13-- Burger King/Turtle Wax Taurus

"We debated staying out that last caution before the rains came and decided to come in. That cost us quite a bit. Spencer and Terry (Labonte) gambled and won there. In the first half of the race we were hooked up. I think everyone on the team was having a good time at that point, but the car went tight on us and that hurt us. Overall, I'm happy about the weekend. We were pretty strong all three days and we definitely showed people we can race here."

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE ACCIDENT WITH BODINE?

"I don't know if he didn't see me or what, but he just moved up and there was nothing I could do."

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Series NASCAR Cup