Homestead Evernham race notes

RAY EVERNHAM (Car owner Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid R/Ts) "It's certainly important, but it's not the most important thing. The important thing is we did it. We did it as a team. The Dodge Dealers across America have to be pretty...

RAY EVERNHAM (Car owner Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid R/Ts) "It's certainly important, but it's not the most important thing. The important thing is we did it. We did it as a team. The Dodge Dealers across America have to be pretty excited watching the last 10 laps of that race. Jeff Gordon is not a bad guy to share a stage with. I shared a stage with him a time or two, but now I get to share the stage with these guys. Our goal when we started this thing was to take one step at a time and some day maybe we'll get to share the big stage. We're willing to share this with a lot of people. "It was a pretty awesome day. It was a great feeling. Friday when they were pole and outside pole and had the whole front row, quite honestly I couldn't have asked for more than that. That was a major step. I honestly said Thank God we got that far and if we never got anything else that was a great feeling to know the team had that much depth. To be a part of a deal that brought Bill back to victory lane and gave Mike Ford his first win as a crew chief, it's really exciting in a lot of ways. It was different than when I was a crew chief. I don't work on the cars. I do a lot of the business stuff, and it was a different feeling. I felt like I had two kids out there playing a baseball game and I didn't know which one to cheer for. I was just hoping they weren't going to wreck. "We wanted to get ours, but also in this business, you know your place. We weren't ready that day. We had a shot at winning (at Michigan), but it would have been because of the rain. If we had our car right, we would have won. We had to build this team Dec. 10. We had two Dodges sitting in the shop we had just taken over from Bill Elliott. We weren't ready at that point. I was happy for Dodge because they were ready to win. I knew they had a good product and Chip (Ganassi) was ready to win, but our guys have been getting more and more ready to win. Today they were ready. They had a good engine. They brought two good race cars and they had good pit stops all day. If we can do that consistently, we'll win our share of races. "I was on the radio trying to keep Casey calm, reading him his lap times. I'm on Casey's box because that crew is a little less experienced. Mike and his guys have more experience and Mike smacks me when I sit next to him if he doesn't like what I have to say. I didn't switch over to Bill's channel. What I did was just shut up. I got to the point where... I had both of my drivers running first and second, so I let Sammy and the spotter take over, and like I said, I was just praying they wouldn't get in to one another. "I didn't get impatient. It's a different feeling. I feel worse for the team now when they don't win. I can see their improvement every week, and I knew they were getting closer and closer to being able to win and when they don't win, I feel for them more because I see the effort in the shop. I've got people in there who have worked for several months with lots and lots of hours and lots and lots of sacrifice. I wasn't getting impatient. Some days you get frustrated when you miss it pretty bad. We've missed it pretty bad at a couple of race tracks this year but I can see the progress and I kept telling myself that some day everything was going to come together and this weekend has been one of those weekends." "I didn't say it was out of the realm. I said a lot of things had to go right. It takes more than a fast car to win, and it really does. Today it took good strategy and good pit stops and an awesome driver. What happened in 24 hours, everything lined up for us and we got in the right position at the right time. Today, they got the breaks to go their way and they got it done. "Casey did a great job as did Sammy Johns (crew chief) and those guys on that team. We really do work together as one group of people. They work on each other's cars. They prepare the cars at the same shop. They're really one team that races two cars. Sure, the guys on the 19 team wanted to win, but they were extremely happy to see Bill win. It's just a strategy thing. We've played it with Casey's car, a little bit different on tire pressure than Mike did. Mike out snookered his old boss here today. We wanted to get Casey out front and get him in clean air. Yeah, had the caution not come out, Bill would have run him down and it would have been close, but the caution did come out and Mike's strategy ended up being better than the 19. If strategy ends up being the only thing that separates where the two cars finish, those guys are really doing a good job working together as a team. Mike and Sammy, when they came down here, the 19 car ran a .47 and the 9 car ran a .48. There was a hundredth of a second separating the two cars in practice, and that truly makes me happy. They work together great as a team."

MIKE FORD (Crew chief No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "Obviously being down in the 9 pit, we're extremely happy for the 19 guys when they were up there and they had a three-second lead. The odds on us winning the race were not very good. We were extremely happy for those guys. When the caution came out and we got caught back up to the 19, we were standing in the 9 pit and we were going for the win. That's what it's all about. You'd rather race your teammate for the win than somebody else's teammate. We ended up winning the race, and Casey had a good finish, third, so we're real happy. "There were 100 laps to go and we were running fifth or sixth, somewhere in that area. The caution came out, and we knew a lot of guys were going to take two tires. We just felt that was a little bit too early to take two because the next stop they would have had to get four, and that's when we were going to do two. That's exactly how it worked out. The strategy on that end played out the way we wanted it to, both for the 9 and 19. Two tires with 40 laps to go and be able to get track position and stay up front. "The first time this weekend we'd gone to two tires was on the last pit stop. The 19 had tried it yesterday in Happy Hour and let us know the outcome of that and how air pressure wise they went about changing the two tires. We had that information and made a little change on that and the only time we had two tires on this weekend was on the last lap."

-Dodge Motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon