DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 18th) -- "That's not racing. That's just the luck of the draw. We had a good car today because Todd and the guys made sure of that. It's too bad there wasn't more of a reward for their effort, but...
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 18th) --
"That's not racing. That's just the luck of the draw. We had a good car today because Todd and the guys made sure of that. It's too bad there wasn't more of a reward for their effort, but those are the rules we have to play by at the superspeedways. We'll take the points and move on to California."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Finished 10th) --
"We got a little shuffled out there at the end. Unfortunately, that's the way it worked out. We've got to be happy with a top 10 whenever we come here. We'll take it and head to California. The pit stops were awesome today. I couldn't ask them to do a better job."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Finished 4th) --
"That's the best job I've seen race car drivers do in a long time. I was afraid we'd just wait until the end and wreck, but it helps being up close to the front."
YOUR STRATEGY APPEARED TO STAY UP FRONT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
"I was just gonna wreck with all the rest of the hard heads. I had my HANS on, so."
SOME GUYS APPEARED TO LAY BACK, THOUGH.
"I decided I would wreck with the hard heads because I've been in the back before and wrecked too and that really makes you mad. I kept my foot in it all day."
IS THIS A RELIEF?
"The drivers just deserve a gold medal. The job they did was incredible." DID THE GUYS LAYING BACK HELP?
"That helped a lot. That kept the pack down a little bit and that probably saved an accident."
"It was a good run for the whole team. We had a fast car here this weekend and that makes all the difference in the world. I'm proud of this team. They gave me fast pit stops and a good car and the drivers deserve a gold medal."
WERE YOU NOT IN THE RIGHT PLACE THE LAST FEW LAPS TO MAKE A MOVE?
"I really got in the right spot right at the end with a huge run, but I just didn't have cooperation. Everybody was going for it, not just me, because I came from about ninth to fourth and I'm proud of that. I'm just happy to have that good of a finish. We had an awesome run. If we would have had a big line behind us (that would have helped), but they were all trying the same thing as me -- find somewhere where nobody was and go that way."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 3rd) --
"It was a wonderful run. It was a great job by the whole team and the whole effort that was put together -- the R&D department back home, the testing we've done. This is what it's all about -- putting a team together and running hard."
WHAT ABOUT THE FINAL STRETCH?
"I didn't expect the 55 and the 33 to come up that quick. I had a plan for the 20. The 10 might have fallen into my plan, but those two guys on the outside ruined everything. Hey, what can you ask for from this Sharpie/Rubbermaid team -- a third-place finish."
WHAT WAS YOUR PLAN FOR THE 20?
"That's a secret. It might work at Daytona and it might not, so we'll just leave it as is."
WERE YOU CONCERNED BEING A ROOKIE THAT IF YOU PULLED OUT THE GUYS BEHIND YOU WOULDN'T FOLLOW?
"Everybody's got their own plan at the end of the race and I think the yellow-backed bumpers come off -- maybe. There were two Pontiacs surrounding me and I had a plan to try to work around it, but running second I didn't want it to end that way and those two guys came up on us on the outside." THE OBJECT IS TO WIN AFTERALL. "They were trying to do the same thing I was doing and we just put a good effort forth with this Ford and just have a great relationship with Sharpie/Rubbermaid already."
WERE YOU CALM OUT THERE OR DID ANYTHING RUN THROUGH YOUR MIND?
"With about five to go I remember a couple of words Tony Stewart said about me and I said, 'Well, I hope I can hang with you and I hope I can help you out, and then I hope I can burn you at the end.' But the 55 and the 33 were a great team."
WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND IN THE DRIVER'S MEETING? DID YOU PLAY IT SAFE?
"No. With Mike Helton getting up there and saying that we needed to take it cool and not get underneath that yellow line, I took it for real." YOU WERE ABLE TO GET TO THE FRONT. "It was the lucky draw that the inside lane went when I picked it."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus (Finished 36th) --
"We had a decent car but we just rode around the back of the pack all day. We just rode, rode, rode and then we cut a left-rear tire down with about 10 or 12 to go. Were we a top-10 car? I don't think so. We just didn't have a good day. I love Daytona and Talladega and that's two superspeedways that we have not run well at and we've got two to go, so we're gonna have to probably look at our program and see what we can do to fix it."
WHAT ABOUT THE RULES. THERE WERE NO ACCIDENTS TODAY.
"That's not racing. I don't know. It's racing, but it's not racing the way we were taught to race. We were taught to beat one another and not be lifting off the throttle all day long. There's no strategy, nothing really, just give. You let them go, let them go and keep lifting off the gas. There were a couple cars that could lead the race and I guess that was critical for 'em, but we could never do that."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 19th) --
DID YOU HAVE A STRATEGY TODAY?
"The only strategy really was not to wreck. For a while there we had a pretty good car and we could stay up front pretty good with the leaders, but everybody could. Everybody was pretty even. There were a few cars that were a little bit slower than the rest and there were a few guys that were a little wilder than the rest, but other than that -- it's not racing at all. We rode around. When you get to the front, the top three cars can run wide-open and everybody else is back there quarter-throttle. It's hard to pass on the way outside, so everybody stacks right next to each other on the bottom and the second-to-bottom groove all the way around the whole race track and there's nowhere to pass. You're just at the mercy of the guy in front of you."
WHAT ABOUT THE FACT THERE WAS NO BIG WRECK?
"Last fall it was a good race here too. Talladega is nothing like Daytona at all. The cars are real stable here. There were a few close ones out there where some people cut other people off, but, basically, everybody was just really courteous today and tried to check twice before they made moves. If somebody did cut you off, everybody let off the gas and let 'em get in their hole, so it's good there was no wreck and it's good it went green all the way. It was good nobody got hurt, but other than that, for me, it's not much of a race. It's a good race for the fans to watch, but we're not really racing out there. We're just kind of riding around."
--96-- McDonald's Taurus (Finished 21st) --
IS THE FEELING, 'I'M GLAD IT'S OVER?
' -- "A little bit, not really. It's a little bit nerve-wracking getting ready to race and knowing how it's gonna be, but once you get out there and get running, it's not too bad. Everybody did a really good job today. Everybody stayed straight. Nobody was out on the apron. I mean, it was really pretty good. Yeah, I'm happy to get through it. We finished 21st, but we ran higher than that during the course of the day and felt like we could have been better, but you can't complain. Your car is in one piece and you're standing here talking, so that's not too bad."
WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THE TALK BEFORE THE RACE ABOUT A BIG WRECK?
"The thing about it is, nine out of 10 times there usually is. I think what happens is they go a year or they go two years and they don't have a big wreck and I think everybody lets their guard down a little bit and everybody gets to racing hard again and forgets about what can happen. It's hard for me to sit here and say that because this was only my second Winston Cup restrictor plate race, but that's my theory and how I feel. I think everybody was really, really wanting to get through this one. I don't think anybody was wanting to see anybody get in any kind of wreck or anything and I think people drove that way. I saw a lot of give-and-take out there. I saw a lot of guys make pretty daring moves and a guy backed up for him. Maybe four or five months ago, they wouldn't have backed up for him, but that says a lot for the guys you race against. It lets you know that I think these guys really do care about each other whether they let on about it or not. When it comes down to the white flag or two or three to go, then everybody was pretty much going for what they could get. You saw some fender rubbing and some pretty tight racing there, but, all in all, a pretty uneventful day."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 14th) --
"Today the racing was all about getting the right track position. I got up to seventh and thought we might be in good shape. I wasn't quite good enough to get up in the outside row and I got trapped down on the bottom. It's frustrating when you just can't go anywhere. I was stuck there and that was it."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 39th) --
"We had a real good race car. I was just kind of riding around in the back taking it easy. When we wanted to push it to go to the front we did, but the last time I went to push it we ran over something and just cut a hole in the Goodyear. I knew I had a vibration. I was trying to ride it out, but it just didn't last long enough for us. It's just one of those days. That's gonna kill us in the points, but we just have to come back at California and Richmond and making some of it up."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO CALIFORNIA?
"I'm looking forward to getting out of here."