Ford Racing Talladega Race Report

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DIEHARD 500, April 25, 1999 Talladega Superspeedway RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "I really don't know who caused the accident, but it was just a matter of...

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES DIEHARD 500, April 25, 1999 Talladega Superspeedway

RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "I really don't know who caused the accident, but it was just a matter of time. I was hoping NASCAR would throw a caution just to calm everybody down because they were just totally out of control." "Everybody was really getting out of control. I mean all of them, four and five wide. I really honestly thought NASCAR should have thrown a caution to calm everybody down but they didn't and you saw what happened there. I looked over and I saw just a ton of cars plowing through the grass trying to make it four and five wide. When you're racing like that you're gonna have a problem and that's what happened."

CHAD LITTLE -97- John Deere Taurus -- "We were running really well, but just got caught up in the accident. This is a fun place to race its just that you want to stay out of the wrecks. We've been lucky this year to miss a couple of wrecks that we probably should have been in, so I guess it was bound to catch up to us."

BRETT BODINE -11- Paychex Taurus -- WAS IT CRAZY FROM THE START? "I saw more of that up towards the front. I was in the middle to the back and I was just waiting for the first pit stop to come because then it singles out and you've gotta go race. I saw more four-wide and five-wide racing in the first four or five rows. Everybody wants to lead the race, no question about it, but not at the expense of tearing your equipment up and maybe hurting somebody." DO YOU DREAD COMING HERE? "No, I don't. I like Talladega. I like racing, but race car drivers can make mistakes at any race track." WHAT DID YOU SEE WHEN THE WRECK STARTED? "I saw some dust and smoke and that's the first sign you better slow down. We were checking up. All of us right there together we were in good shape, single-file right by the wall, and then I got hit real hard from the left side from somebody coming out of the infield. I don't even know who I hit or who hit me. It was just so smoky and you couldn't see at all. Mistakes, that's what causes accidents usually and someone made a mistake."

PRESS CONFERENCE DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "It's difficult, but Mark just didn't get there in time. I think that we could have worked to try and get by Earnhardt, but trying to pass Dale Earnhardt at one of these places with a lap or two to go is a pretty tall order. He makes the 3 car pretty wide. We had a great race. We tried to be patient and give ourselves a chance to be there at the end and get an opportunity to win and one of these days we're gonna take advantage of those opportunities of running in the top five and getting close and we're gonna get into victory lane. Right now we've got some consistency going that I like and I think our victories will come soon enough. It was a great race. A lot of guys showed a lot of patience, a lot of give and take. I don't know what the two guys were doing in the grass down the backstretch, but that seemed to be the only problem that we had."

IS IT FRUSTRATING TO FINISH SECOND AGAIN? "I was just glad to have the chance to even contend there at the end. You get through all day and give yourself that opportunity. Again, it would be nice. I mean, it seems like everytime I finish second here I get into second and the guys get side-by-side behind me and I don't ever get that help that I need to try to make that pass. I don't know if I could, but I'd like to at least have the opportunity, but it's not frustrating. We came here to win the race. I wanted to win at the end, but to come out of here with a second and a good race car still intact, that's OK."

IS EARNHARDT THE LAST GUY YOU'D LIKE TO HAVE IN FRONT OF YOU ON THE LAST LAP? "In front or behind. I don't care to have him either place, personally. Definitely, he's a hard man to pass. That 3 car, he knows where to put it. He's good at anticipating. As I peddled back to Mark a little bit to try to get me a little bit of a push, he peddled right back with me. He's smart and he knows what to do. We'd have had to have more help than me and Mark to get around him I think."

MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline Taurus -- "That was a great run for Jimmy Fennig and all the Valvoline/Cummins team. We had some great partners there at the end of the race in Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart -- great race car drivers and great cars. They were pushing me real fast and, if they hadn't gotten hung up on that last pass with Schrader, I think we would have been able to make it exciting." PRESS CONFERENCE "We got some great help from Tony Stewart at the end that was fantastic. It breaks my heart that he and Bobby (Labonte) got hung up on that last pass with Schrader. There was no question we were catching the leaders by a huge margin. They both had extremely fast race cars and I had an extremely fast race car and never got to use it because nobody ever seemed to want to run with us very long. I guess I was pretty apprehensive of all that three-wide racing that was going on. I want to thank the Cummins/Valvoline team for giving me a car that was fast enough to contend and at least I only spent two-thirds of the day three-wide instead of all day, so that was pretty nice. It was good to be there. It was fixing and shaping up to be extremely exciting there at the end, but I lost my pushers and wasn't able to help Dale (Jarrett) any by myself there at the end."

YOU AND JARRETT JUST DIDN'T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A RUN ON THE 3. "We would have been able to if I wouldn't have lost my partners back there. I didn't have anybody to push me, so I couldn't get it going."

IS EARNHARDT THE LAST GUY YOU'D LIKE TO HAVE IN FRONT OF YOU ON THE LAST LAP? "He's sort of the master at restrictor-plate racing. He's the best I've ever come up against." "I said our car was super-fast and we need some help. We had the help. That 20 car and the 18 car made my car, I'll bet we were running five miles an hour a lap faster than Dale (Jarrett) and the 3 car for a lap or so we were reeling them in fast. But when the 20 and 18 got hung up side-by-side back there on a pass, that left me by myself. I had a really fast car, I didn't have anybody that really wanted to run with me all day, so we didn't show much. But we did finish third."

JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "We're not too disappointed with this finish. We ran better than where we finished, but there was a car that was a lap down and he just insisted on running up there with the leaders. He went with another line other than going with me and he messed me up. I don't think a car a lap down oughta make you finish better or worse, he oughta get out of the way, but I guess it's everybody's race track. Everybody is entitled to the same race track, but he shouldn't affect the outcome of the race."

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE START OF THE RACE? "Fortunately what happened at the beginning of the race didn't affect us a whole lot. It must just be a pin-hole or something in one of the cylinder heads. As long as we had a good vacuum on the engine, it wouldn't leak oil. You've gotta have a little bit of luck. We're not too disappointed with this finish. We're not overly joyed because we thought we had a better car than 12th."

BILL ELLIOTT -94- McDonald's Taurus -- "I gave all I could with what I had. The car drove really well, but it just wouldn't run. Whenever the 3 and the 88 and several of them lined up there before the last caution, I mean they just boogied on. When it's like that you can't do a lot. I was just fortunate to be in the right place to end up where I ended up at the end of the day. I could have easily been last or what have you because there were so many cars racing around right there you just can't do anything."

IT MUST FEEL GOOD TO FINISH AFTER LAST YEAR'S ACCIDENT, RIGHT?  "From a
year ago to now I feel really good.  Talladega has been tough on me."

JERRY NADEAU -9- WCW Taurus -- "The guys did an awesome job. I'm pleased. We went from the back to the front to the back to the front more times today. It seemed once we got a car behind us the thing was awesome. I mean, it was awesome through the slip stream. The motor ran great all day and the guys did an awesome job on our pit stops. We picked up a lot of spots in the pits and I'm just happy for the guys, it's the first top 10 in a long time for these guys so it's good for all of us."

DO YOU FEEL YOU EARNED SOME RESPECT FROM THE VETERANS TODAY BECAUSE YOU GOT SHUFFLED OUT LATE? "That's part of the deal. They're still trying to get to know me and I made a lot of moves in the beginning of the race where I probably shouldn't have, but I knew I didn't have much help out there today. Later in the race it seemed like I was working with more guys and more guys were working with me, so we had a fast car. If Earnhardt was in that thing, he probably would have won with that too. It was a good enough car to win the race. I still consider myself a rookie because I'm still learning with these guys and these guys are still learning about me. I'm excited. This was a good run for these guys."

KEVIN LEPAGE -16- TV Guide/PRIMESTAR Taurus -- "What a great day.  We got
here with a lot of help from the John Deere team.  This is one of Chad's
cars from Daytona.  They helped us -- Pat Tryson, Jeff Hammond and all the
guys over there, I've gotta say thanks.  We came here and worked really
hard on the car.  Tommy Morgan helped us this week, this is his last week,
and we also had the help of Skip Eyler today in the pits.  I can't say
enough for the guys in Liberty.  Those guys are really working hard to get
these cars together.  This is what we needed."  

YOU GOT SHUFFLED LATE. DO YOU FEEL YOU EARNED SOME RESPECT? "I would say that we needed a little bit more help. I did a little bonehead move early on and could have caused something big, but fortunately it didn't happen. I've just gotta gain the respect from these guys. We had a good race car at Daytona, we finished 13th, and we finished 12th here. It's just a great effort by the whole Roush organization. We had three cars in the top 12, what more can I say?"

RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Taurus -- "I'm not satisfied with the number (where they finished), but I'm satisfied with the way we ran. We ran eighth for a long time. It looked like it was gonna go green for that long spell, we were eighth and were right in that little lead line. We ran third for a long time. Everything went good I just made some bad mistakes at the end of the race. I took the wrong line to get in and they about wrecked and I had to get on the brakes. The next thing I know I'm by myself at the end of the line late in the race and had no time to get back, but I'm please with the way the car ran."

YOU GOT CAUGHT UP IN A WRECK LAST YEAR AT THIS RACE. IS IT A RELIEF TO FINISH THIS YEAR? "It's been awhile since I finished one of these restrictor plate races without the car torn all to pieces. Like I say, I'm just happy the car ran well. I'm just disappointed in some of the choices I made for lines at the end of the race."

JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "We had a good car and we fought awfully hard to end up 15th. We got caught out there at the end and once everybody started scrambling, nobody was working with anybody. At least we got back on track today. We had a good car. We were patient, picked our spots and got to the front. We did about everything you can do at Talladega. We ran in the back, ran in the front and ran through the grass. To show you how good this car was, we picked up some front end damage on that deal with Skinner and Stewart and we were still able to run the car up front."

JIMMY SPENCER -23- Team Winston Taurus -- "It was a tough day today for everybody. I've never seen it so close in my life at Talladega and we were no different. We were a top 40 car. That's the only way to phrase it. We're gonna build a new car for Daytona, there's no question about it. This car doesn't have the straightaway speed that's necessary. I think a lot of teams are looking at building new cars. All in all, we missed the wreck. There wasn't a major wreck today, just a minor one, but I think we should have ran better than we did. You have to have help and every man is for himself there towards the end and going three-wide the last three or four laps, that's absolutely incredible. I know the fans enjoyed it."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart