Ford Racing Pocono event notes

WALLY DALLENBACH -75 - TBS Dinner & A Movie Taurus (finished 39th) - "It felt like something was wrong, like a tire was going down or something. The next thing I knew, I was going backwards. I have no idea what he ( ...

WALLY DALLENBACH -75 - TBS Dinner & A Movie Taurus (finished 39th) -

"It felt like something was wrong, like a tire was going down or something. The next thing I knew, I was going backwards. I have no idea what he (#40 Sterling Marlin) was doing."

STACY COMPTON - 9 - Kodiak/Cougar Taurus (finished 37th ) -

"These guys worked awful hard. The Kodiak/Melling Taurus was pretty good. We were coming up through the pack good, and broke the transmission. We had a little problem with it first time out, and it got us. We're gonna change it and get back out. We got a good car. It's a shame for these guys, a shame for Kodiak. We'll get 'em next week."

HOW WERE YOU RUNNING BEFORE THAT?

"We were actually running pretty good - the chassis was good. We were coming up through there. We come up, I think, 15 positions and kept getting hung between third and fourth, I'd lose some ground and gain it back up. First thing you know, it got hung up in second in that restart and it was game over."

BILL ELLIOTT - 94 - McDonald's Taurus (finished 38th) -

"The motor let go on the back straightaway there. It's just one them days. It's just disappointing. This month has been one of them months. We've had a decent race car, but we have had absolutely no luck whatsoever."

MATT KENSETH - 17 - DeWalt Taurus (finished 14th) -

"It was an uphill struggle all day. We were way too tight on our set-up and me being a rookie around here trying to learn where I'm going, so...

YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY WITH YOUR FINISH.

"Top 15, that was my goal when I came here to finish 15th or better and we did that so I guess I gotta be happy with that."

MORE ON HIS FINISH.

"We were pulling there for a top 10 there at the end and we got shoved up in the marbles there and I got too loose our last set of tires and couldn't get going. We just fought tight so bad all day we just made sure we adjusted out there at the end, and we got it too loose."

RICKY RUDD - 28 - Texaco/Havoline Taurus (finished 3rd) -

"Yeah, it really was a shame. We had a really good race car, and lapping some cars and they decided to wreck - I don't mind a wreck, I hate to see anybody wreck, but I don't want to see 'em wreck in front of me, and it knocked the nose all in, and we never were quite the same. We gave up a lot of track position, battled back and finished third, and these guys did a good job to get us back up front." YOU MUST BE HAPPY WITH THE CAR. YOU OVERCAME PLENTY TODAY. "Yeah. I felt like at the very end we had the best car, we just couldn't seem to get to the front. There in the middle stages we were chasing Rusty, and he jumped out there and got a big lead and we ran him down and was second, and we were lapping, I think the 26 and the 42 wrecked together right in front of me when I was lapping them. It's a shame it tore the front end up. Our guys really did a great job of coming back and putting the nose back together. You just can't give up track position anywhere. We're lucky to come back and finish third." YOU HAVE TO BE DUE FOR A GOOD BREAK. "We've had our share of breaks and they've been the wrong way. The performance is there, we just need some luck."

Dale Jarrett - 88 - Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus: (finished 2nd)

"The credit goes to Todd Parrott and this pit crew. They did a great job. We didn't have a car we could get up front with at the beginning. On the last stop we just put on two and it was a little bit tight. If we could have taken a little bite out of them I might could have got with them. But congratulations to Jeremy. They had a great race up there and gained a few points finally."

HOW WILD WAS THAT LAST LAP?

"It looked like Dale was just trying to protect his position. It looked like Jeremy got a good run off the tunnel and got close to him and it looked like Dale just wanted to make sure he stayed on the bottom getting into three. And Jeremy got in there just a little bit under him and took the spot."

HOW CRITICAL WAS THE DECISION TO ONLY TAKE TWO TIRES ON THE LAST PIT STOP?

"Well if you take four, you get way back.  And we got two. We hadn't done it all day,
but it worked for us and it gave us an opportunity to be up front.  We'd worked on the
car and got it a lot better.  When we took the two tires there at the end it just got
too tight there.  I thought I'd blown a tire there when I got up to third and went down
into one.  It was lucky we didn't wreck.  But it was it a good day for us."
 

Dale Jarrett - 88 - Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus: -

POST RACE - MEDIA CENTER - THE TRACK WAS WET, DRIED OFF, WET, ETC. HOW DID THAT AFFECT THE CAR?

"I was really surprised that the track at the beginning of the race was as good as it was. Goodyear had a great tire here that seemed to be very consistent. It allowed to you adjust on your car. And the track, after the first 50 or 60 laps I don't think the track changed very much. But that was good so we could make adjustments, and you could get the line that you wanted and make your car work there. Everything worked out great. It was a shame that we couldn't have gotten it in yesterday for all the race fans that were here, but NASCAR did a great job in getting the track prepared and getting us ready to go this morning."

WERE YOU AND RICKY WORKING TOGETHER AT THE END?

No, I was trying to outrun him, doing every thing I could to stay in front of him just in case those guys in front of me got side by side it would have given me an opportunity to get up there to them. Ricky caught me pretty quick, but my car freed up a little bit from the first few laps. That's when he caught me, but then I found something that allowed my car to run a little bit freer. We weren't really working. I'm sure he wanted to get up to those guys as much as I did. We had a really good battle and another good day for Robert Yates Racing."

WHAT ABOUT BOBBY LABONTE AND THE POINTS BATTLE?

"If you can't win that's the next thing you've got to do is to ensure that some how you finish in front of that 18 which has been difficult to do. Over the last few weeks you'd have had to win the race in order to finish in front of him. I don't know where he finished today, but it didn't look like it was one of his better days. Finally we did gain a few points. He has been five and ten and 15 pointing us to death here. Of course we know the feeling because that's kind of what we did to them last year. But these are the kind of days we have to take advantage of. When we get the chance to finish up there and he's having an off day, we've got to gain as much as we can so it was a good day points-wise.

DID YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED WITH JEREMY AND EARNHARDT? DID YOU THINK YOU COULD GET BY?

"If Earnhardt could have got enough grip I'm pretty sure he would have got back down against the 12, and that's what I was looking to happen where they would get to banging each other. But I wasn't sure what Jeremy did. A lot of times when you get together and get the air taken off the front of your car like he did there, a lot of times that car will slide up too. And I thought that might happen and I could really get a run, so I tried to set myself in position to get a run off of there. I was just a little too far back. For that split second I thought I might have a chance."

DID YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED?

"I saw him get a really good run off the tunnel turn, and I said this might get interesting. I wasn't sure if he might try him on the outside or something like that to get Dale's car slowed down. But I'm sure he did what he thought he had to do there. I could tell something was going to happen so I was trying to get myself in position."

HOW IS YOUR BACK AFTER 500 MILES IN THE CAR?

"Sitting there in the heat was really good for it all day. My back felt good getting out of the car. I'm starting to stiffen up a little right now, but I'm 80 percent better than I was Saturday morning. I can say that. Thanks to the people here at the racetrack and a lady that travels the circuit to work on some of the guys. She worked on me continuously. I hate if for the race fans that we didn't race yesterday. I was going to be fine to race yesterday, but it gave me another opportunity to get a little bit better so I was feeling pretty good this morning. I feel good about this. Maybe I can get to a chiropractor when I get back and make that tee time at Pebble Beach Thursday. That's the next thing on the agenda right now."

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO JEREMY TO HAVE RACED EARNHARDT THE WAY HE DID?

"I think it means a lot to Jeremy. It shows that he is a hard racer. The best driver in this business and he has been for a long time - Dale Earnhardt. You go up against him and you come out on top. You've got to take advantage of those chances, and those opportunities because more times than not you're going to come out on the other side of that. So I think Jeremy probably feels good. His team, what they've done, they've run awfully well. They've had a few mechanical problems, but he's got to be feeling pretty good about what they're doing right now."

RUSTY WALLACE - 2 - Miller Lite Ford (finished 10th) - "We made the wrong call, we put four tires on and we shouldn't have done it. It was a stupid call. We've made a lot of bad calls this year, we gotta figure out how to make 'em right. I'm upset about it. Fourteen cars take on two tires and we take on four. I don't understand it. I don't. It's just upsetting, to lead the most laps and have a great car. But my car kept getting tighter and tighter and tighter as the day went on so I knew something was going wrong, and I don't know what it was."

JEREMY MAYFIELD - 12 - Mobil 1 Taurus (finished 1st)

POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - WHAT HAPPENED ON THE LAST LAP?

"I don't know, man. We'd get about two or three car lengths to him and that was about it. I'd gain on him and back off because my car was tight behind him. I had one last shot at him. We come off two and I had a good run going and we went into turn two and it looked like he pushed off a little bit, or tunnel turn first, and he pushed up a little bit and slowed down and that really let us gain on him and get our momentum going. And, went into three and he really backed off. I guess he didn't see the run I had going on him. When he backed off we had a good run going in and he got a little loose and slid up. The same thing happened to a lot of people today. It happened to me several times. If you remember the race, watch me go into turn one leading and, you know, Rusty got me one time and the 20 car got me another - just everybody got loose when somebody got behind 'em, and the same thing happened to him. I never intentionally tried to wreck him or nothing, we just wanted to rattle his cage a little bit and that was it."

WAS THERE CONTACT?

"I don't think so. I didn't see any paint on my car. If it was it was because he got a little loose and backed off, but never intentionally tried doing that. Not that I now of. I just went in and got a little loose and all I thought about was getting off that corner quick and getting away from him.

AGAIN, RESPONDING TO THE CONTACT QUESTION.

"Not that I know of. If there was, there wasn't enough to do anything - it wasn't enough to turn him, anyway."

WHICH PERSON ON THE CREW TOLD YOU TO GET UP CLOSE TO DALE AND RATTLE HIS CAGE A BIT?

"I think it was my jackman. If you've ever seen my jackman, he'll, uh, he's gonna take care of me from here on out so I don't have anything to worry about (laughter). I think it was him or my crew chief, I'm not sure."

SPEAKING OFF THE CREW CHIEF - NOW THAT'S HE'S BACK FROM THE SUSPENSION, ARE YOU BACK IN WINNING FORM NOW?

"We've been that way a little bit, but last week, you know, that was the first week Peter came back and we pretty much had him covered there we felt like at Michigan, and come up a little bit short. Man, we've done that the last three or four weeks, and then all of sudden, we come here and we said, okay, we're gonna work hard on making out car bullet-proof, where nothing breaks, let's back off a little bit. We've been everything around the edge. But for Peter, it was definitely a statement that he made last week and this week that, yeah, he is back and we're back as a team and whole. Just can't say enough about the race team, how strong it's really been through all the ups and downs. Mobil 1, our sponsor has been behind us all the way. Just a pretty strong race team right now and I think our record speaks for itself there."

JEREMY MAYFIELD - 12 - Mobil 1 Taurus - PRESS CONFERENCE continued...

A TWO-PART QUESTION - NOT TOO MANY DRIVERS, APPARENTLY, TOOK UP FOR DALE EARNHARDT AFTER THE RACE, AND DID DALE GIVE YOU THE THUMBS-UP OR NUMBER ONE SIGN AFTERWARD?

"I didn't see anything. I mean, he pulled over beside of me and I really didn't see nothing, really wasn't looking for it. I was concerned about what we did. We won the race and we're excited about that. You know, you're talking about a lot of other drivers out there wasn't really taking up for him - if you watched enough Winston Cup races you can see why. It's happened to me like eight or ten times - happened to me today, every time we got around him he got me loose, you know, moved up and that was it. I'm smart enough to know now that if you pass him over in turn one you still have a whole lap to go - or get him loose, he's gonna get you loose back. Been around a long time, or long enough time, to know that. So, if you watch at races, he does that a lot. It just happened to him, that's probably why the drivers weren't taking up for him."

ON THE COOL WEATHER, AND THE TRACK CONDITIONS THIS MORNING.

"I though the race track was in great shape. We made some changes yesterday, morning before the race that was supposed to happen yesterday didn't happen. We made some changes in our car and I think we missed it a little bit. We weren't as good as we were Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon - certainly good enough to stay up front all day. I thought the race track was in excellent condition and, if anything, it was a little bit tighter than what it was Saturday afternoon's practice, anyway."

ON TEAMMATES JEREMY AND RUSTY WALLACE WORKING TOGETHER, EVEN ON PIT STOPS.

"Yeah, we had a good day together. When I was behind him one time - we didn't even try to race each other, we just kept trying to pull away and pull away. I feel bad because the last stop we made, we was coming in and we were talking on the radio and he said, 'Are you gonna take two or four?' - at that time I figured I was gonna take four. We knew our car didn't work that well on just two. I told him 'four' on my radio, I think he decided he was gonna take four and, all of a sudden, we're coming up pit road and I'm thinking, 'Man, all those guys behind us are gonna take two, they're gonna gamble, there's not that many laps left here,' and kind of made the decision to take two and right at the last minute, and it might've cost him a little bit. But, we had to make that decision on our own. You gotta be teammates but you also gotta make your own last-minute decisions - that's what we did. I know he put on four and I think he fell back a little bit. Other than that, the day went great for us, for both of us."

SOMEONE SAID, 'NICE MOVE,' TO YOU ON THE WAY INTO THE PRESS CONFERENCE. DID ANY DRIVERS MENTION THAT TO YOU AS WELL?

"I haven't seen or talked to a lot of other drivers yet, but I got a lot of thumbs-up out around the backstretch from a lot of the drivers. I heard from a lot of race fans, I'll tell you that - from out there to in here - about the move, or whatever. You call it a move or whatever, but it's just hard-nose racing. A lot of people talk about Dale Earnhardt, he came up the hard way and drives that way, and so did I. I just hadn't been in that situation to do that yet. I'm just as a hard-nose racer as he is, and you gotta do what you gotta do to win, and certainly didn't try anything, but if you call that a move, that's a move, but it's just hard-nosed racing to me."

IT'S YOUR SECOND CAREER WIN AT POCONO RACEWAY. THE TRACK'S BEEN GOOD TO YOU. WHY DO RUN SO GOOD HERE?

"It has. I really don't know why. Just always seemed to like it. Every time we come here we know we're going to run good and have a fast car. If you go back, I've never qualified good here. So, it's obvious I don't know how to get around the race track very well, for some reason, because I always qualify in the back. We always race good here. I think, for one thing, I just have a feel for this place. It's kind of like a short track, but yet like a speedway, and we're able to get our car good. And I know you gotta have a good race car to run fast here."

EARLY ON IN JEREMY'S CAREER, HE AND DALE EARNHARDT HAD A LITTLE CONTACT. TODAY, THE TALE HAS BEEN REVERSED.

"Yeah, it's been early on and it's even before that - since I've been racing. But that was one incident and then it's happened to me several times. I've always come back and, you know, let him know I wasn't gonna take it. You gotta do what you gotta do to win, and I'm not gonna let - you know, just because Dale Earnhardt, just because people think and says he's the Intimidator, I'm not intimidated by Dale Earnhardt and never will be. I gotta do what I gotta do for my race team and Mobil 1 and everybody involved, and that's come here to win the race. When I'm in that race car, it's like there's nobody out there any different, you know? And you don't look at anybody any different. I race him or Rusty or anybody as hard as anybody. But, you're right, you know, that's happened to me several times and I don't think he can say anything about what happened today, and if he comes back and gets me again, then we'll come right back and get him again, I can tell you that right up front."

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE SECOND END OF A PENSKE DOUBLE, FOLLOWING HELIO CASTRONEVES' WIN SUNDAY IN DETROIT?

"I think that's awesome. I'm really happy for Roger and the whole Penske Motorsports organization. They've worked hard on their Indy-car team, especially this year. It's made a big turnaround and for them to win, that's two races over the weekend won by the Penske team. That's pretty awesome and I'm just glad to be a part of that. Just really proud of their Indy-car team turning that deal around."

"Not really. They know how Dale races and Dale knows how he races, and I'm good friends with Richard and know Kevin real well. That happens. If he hadn't of pushed off turn two over there, that never would've happened and Dale Earnhardt would've won the race and we'd have finished second. It's just all about what happens. He knows what happened. He knows, he lost momentum and went in the turn slower than he'd been going, and he knows that inside, and that's probably why. I tell you what, that'd be very professional if he doesn't say anything because all the times he's done other people and they never said nothing, especially me. You never heard me say nothing about the times he's got me. If he didn't say nothing, that's the way he should be."

(ANOTHER QUESTION NOT RECORDED) "Yeah, and really that's exactly what it looked like. If you go into turn two and you're a little bit too high - I mean, if you're a foot too high on your groove - you'll slide way up. I know the last two corners - because in California I couldn't run slow enough the in last turn to hold on the bottom on the last lap, and I know that's what he did. He wanted to make he could stay on the bottom, and he knew if I got to him I was gonna push anyway. I think when he did that it lost his momentum and he really slowed down to to get off turn three and that's exactly what happened right there. You said Dale Jarrett said that - he had a good view of it so I'm sure that's what happened."

WERE YOU SET TO MAKE A RUN ON DALE EARLIER, OR JUST WANTED TO LET HIM KNOW YOU WERE THERE?

"Well, I was kinda letting him know I was there. Like I said earlier, I'm smart enough to know that if I would've tried it anything - we had 13 laps left, more than likely had 50 laps on the run, and if went in one and two on lap, you know, or say with five to go, and got underneath of him, he's just gonna do the same thing I did to him in three to me. I knew that. That's the way you gotta do it. You gotta wait and you gotta plan your deal. I'm gonna say a year ago, two years ago, I would've ran in there, 13 to go, on his back bumper and slid up and I would got under and got him loose and he'd a got me again, and I'd been sitting about eighth right now, saying, 'That Earnhardt, you know, he got me again.' I've already done that three or four times, I'm not gonna do that again."

(ANOTHER QUESTION NOT RECORDED)

"I'm not sure if there's any difference. If that was Rusty Wallace up front, he's gonna run you hard, as hard as anybody. You kind of at, there's a group there that you know is gonna race you as hard as they can race you, and I can sit here and count 'em all down - that's probably 12 or 15 guys that could've been leading that race today that's gonna race you as hard as hard as anybody. This is a tough sport. It's hard to really emphasis how hard we do race out there. We're on the edge on every lap - just running on the edge. You run hard to do that, and you do whatever you can do to win. I see Mark Martin and Rusty and Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte - anybody in that situation, they're gonna run you hard. I don't really see 'em any different than as Earnhardt because he doesn't really race you, like, dirty, like he used to wreck you all the time - wreck a lot of other guys - but he doesn't do that anymore, he just races hard, and the same thing I do."

COULD YOU CLARIFY WHAT DID HAPPEN AT THE END?

"I don't really know. My adrenaline was up there somewhere - I don't know where it was at. When I went into three, I just remember him getting loose and when he did that he backed off, because he knew if he stood in there, he's gonna really get loose. I never hit him first, he got loose first, before. If I did touch him it was after he got loose. I didn't go in, just hit him or nothing. He was definitely loose before I'd hit him, if I even did."

(ANOTHER QUESTION UNRECORDED)

"Yeah, when you get your nose underneath their left rear, coming down under 'em, there's no air on the left-rear spoiler, and when that happens, picks up and makes him loose and that's what happened going in. When you do that you have no choice but back off or end up fuel-cell deep in the wall there."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Sterling Marlin , Robert Yates , Mark Martin
Teams Yates Racing