RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Finished 13th in 706th and final career start. Finished eighth in series standings. "Larry Carter kept me competitive for two years. He's taught me a lot. He just walked up and said thank you...
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Finished 13th in 706th and final career start. Finished eighth in series standings.
"Larry Carter kept me competitive for two years. He's taught me a lot. He just walked up and said thank you for teaching me so much. That's a two-way street. He's one of the best crew chiefs I've ever had, and I've had some good ones. He'll be an asset to this team and this sport for sure.
"I'm real proud of where the sport has come, and I don't want anybody screwing it up. We worked hard to build and fan base and make this a popular sport, and I just want all those drivers, young and old, to make sure they know this is a privilege driving these cars. I respect these fans, sponsors and everybody, and these guys are all good. They'll be fine.
"Fans want me to run another year. I'm not going to do that. I'm finished, and I'm comfortable with my decision. I'm going to spend some time with my family and my wife now. I've been neglecting her for a long, long time. I'll hang out in different stuff -- the TV stuff, my kids, my car dealerships. I probably need to go to bed and wake up with clear thoughts and see what happens. It feels good to go out on top of my game. I feel like that's what I've done. I was able to make the top 10 and we finished eighth. We ran strong all night long. We finished 13th, and I wish that could have at least been 12th. My brother Mike finished 12th in my Busch car last night, so I at least wanted to do that.
"It was a fabulous day. I think the fans enjoyed that run. My last race was pretty normal, full of emotion, full of me wondering what I was going to feel like after it was over and wondering what was going to happen. You're talking 21 years of this stuff and close to 40 years of racing. I knew it was time to stop. There's a lot of competition out there, and I went out on top. I was proud to do it this way.
"When I got in the car today there was a lot of emotion going into it, but once I hit the switch, it was all about performance, get a good run, make the right calls, stay out of
trouble, finish good. That's what I thought about until I came down pit road and gave 'em my steering wheel and my gloves and my HANS. My son Greg is keeping all that stuff and we're going to give it away to some of our friends. All of our team came up teary eyed and thanking me and all that. It was pretty tough. This is my core business. I've done this my whole life. Now I've got to change what I do. I'll have to relearn things.
"I'm emotioned out. I cried a thousand tears. I tried not to. I'm a pretty tough old boy I think, but when this is your main deal.... I hope that world I'm about to embark on is not a cruel one. I hope I enjoy it as much as I did racing.
"I'm going to miss my team, but I'm not going to miss worrying about shocks and springs and loose and tight and aero push and all this crazy stuff half the people in the stands don't understand. I'm going to have to learn things normal people go through and things normal people have to put up with. My life has been racing, and it's going to be different now.
"The sport of racing has given me a lot of fans, a lot of popularity, it's made me a lot of money. It's taught me a lot about life. It's taught me a lot of things. I've been able to meet people that I never thought I'd meet in my life -- presidents, dignitaries, you name it and I've met 'em. Without racing, I wouldn't have met 'em. I've learned you've got to be one of the best ambassadors for the sport you possibly can. We worked really hard to grow this incredible steam rolling NASCAR machine we've got right now. I'd hate to have some young kid or somebody else come up and screw it up after all the work we've done, but I don't think that'll happen.
"I'm on top. In my mind, I'm on top, and I hope the fans think that. I think I went out with style and grace, and I think I went out on top, too. It was a great year. I'm just glad this race is over and there was no controversy and I went out clean.
"The last few laps I was just trying to get all the positions I could. We did two tires and came back in and put two more on. I didn't estimate how traffic was going to be on the bottom. I've dealt with that lapped car problem the last six or eight races. It's got me out of the title, but they're racing for points, and they're racing to win, too. I understand, but it's just frustrating. The last part of it I was just trying to get back up to the top 10. I could see 'em and I was on the way there, but I just couldn't get around the lapped cars.
"When the checkered flag fell, I said, 'well, Larry where did I finish?' He said 13th, and I wish it would have been 12th. That would have sounded better, but I'm a real happy person. I'm a real blessed person and I'm ready to go home and take a shower and relax a little right now."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 10th, ninth in series standings
"I feel real good about it. I felt good about it when Ray told me what we were going to do. I didn't know how this week was going to go, the first time together and all, but we came out of here with a top 10 is great. I'm proud of these guys. They worked great together, and I'm excited about next year. My car was good the whole race, and that's all you can ask for. I can't wait for next year. This is the first time we've been together, so I think we're going to be real good next year."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) -- Finished seventh, sixth in series standings
"That's the best run we've had on a mile and a half track this year. We overcame adversity to do it. We ran better than seventh most of the day. We're looking forward for a chance to improve, and we're looking forward to 2006. The car drove good. Kasey Kahne will probably say the same thing. Casey Mears had a great car all day, but he has shown signs of that all year. Sometimes they run good at mile and a half tracks and sometimes they run horrible. Tony Stewart and his entire team did a great job making all the right calls and leading laps and getting bonus points and all those things. It was a great effort by the 20 team. We know why we struggled this year, and we're going to try to have the right tools to do what we need to do next season."
CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger) -- Ran out front four times for 94 laps to take lap leader honors for the race. Finished fifth to lead the way for Dodge. Mears scored top 10 finishes in five of the last nine races and recorded top five finishes in two of the last three.
"The caution happened at the end again. That's the second time, Texas and here where we've had a dominant car late in the run, and I guess there was something on the track. It was the second time I couldn't see it, but I guess they do certain things to make a good show out of it a little bit more. That made a better show of it, but we got robbed a few races. I've never won and they handed one more to Roush again. I can't be too disappointed. I'm real proud of everybody.
"It's been a long three years with this Target team, and everybody has done a good job. I can't help but feel a little robbed, but I guess if we had the best car we would have taken two tires with those guys and won the race. The Roush cars are so good from the beginning to the end of the run. We've had to do some things to compensate to just compete, and to compensate for that we can't be good at the beginning of the run. We do the best with what we've got. All-in-all it was a good day, and I couldn't be more happy that we ran so well the last race with Jimmy Elledge and these guys. They did a good job for me.
"Whether we took two tires or four tires wouldn't have made any difference at the end. The caution just killed us. We couldn't go at the beginning of the run. We were just too tight. I don't know if you guys saw the debris in four, but I didn't and nobody could tell it what it was.
"After 15 or 20 laps we had the strongest car. We were better at the beginning of the run than we were at Texas, but I just feel robbed. It's been such a long three years and to get to this point and to be so dominant in some of these races like Texas and here..... I guess cautions fall like they have to, but it doesn't make sense to me. I'm very excited about next season. I'm disappointed we couldn't end the season with a win in the Target Dodge for all the guys on the team. We'll get a good off season, get some rest, have a good Christmas and come back with a good attitude and try to win some races next season."