SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 VALVOLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note - Was in multi-car wreck on lap 72: "We were making changes and the car was just getting better each time. We just can't seem to make it to the checkered flag. It was just the No. 2 car...
SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 VALVOLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note - Was in multi-car wreck on lap 72:
"We were making changes and the car was just getting better each time. We just can't seem to make it to the checkered flag. It was just the No. 2 car (Rusty Wallace). He got turned around and somebody got turned into him and he got turned up into the wall. I checked up a little bit and the No. 22 car got me from behind and spun around to the inside wall and then back up into the track and then here come some more cars that creamed into us. It's just the kind of luck we've been having here lately.
"We've been not qualifying where we want to for the past two weeks and we've worked our way up toward the front and made great adjustments. We stopped there a couple of times early in the race and made some serious adjustments. I know everybody says those were good. Every time they dropped the green flag, I was passing four our five cars. That was feeling pretty good to me. I wish we could have made it to the checkered flag."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note: Was in multi-car wreck on lap 72:
"We're done for the day. It's too bad. Our Chevy kept getting better and better. I hate for it to end this way."
WARD BURTON, NO. 0 NETZERO CHEVROLE T MONTE CARLO
Note: Was in multi-car wreck on lap 72: "I saw the No. 10 car at the very last moment. I thought the No. 15 had just pulled out and we were going to get a run. There was just too much momentum going and there was a wreck in front of me. It was a bad deal for the NetZero Chevrolet. We had an alternator cut out on me, but we were starting to get the car back in shape. It's just one of those things that takes it's toll."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note - Sidelined with engine failure:
"It just let go coming off of Turn 4. But that car was just so loose into the corners. I spun out once and had a few more good saves. But it's just one of those bad days that you have. Last week (winner at Pocono) we were good and today, we definitely weren't that. It's just unfortunate."
UNDER THIS NEW POINT SYSTEM, DOES THIS REALLY HURT? "You can look at it either way. We had a nice cushion that would have been nice to have with the old system. But we don't want to have failures period. We want to be out for every win. We're just disappointed. But it does cater to this whole points system, so we're okay."
DID YOU HAVE ANY INDICATION THE ENGINE WAS ABOUT TO GO? "No, none at all. The motor was running great. I think something in the bottom end failed on it. It's too bad. We were going to maybe salvage a top 15 and come out of here with some points. But unfortunately, the motor didn't want to go any further and it locked up tight. It was just kind of a bad day for us. We didn't have the car that we needed. I was real loose in and spun out on my own once. I almost had it turned around a couple of other times. I'm glad we didn't hurt the race car, but it's a bad deal that we're out of the race.
"We thought we had it sorted out yesterday in the final practice. Today the same loose condition we had in race practice yesterday came back up. We just couldn't get it adjusted. It was something really weird where we thought the chain was picking up the left rear and hurting it or a shock was popping out - something that wouldn't allow me to have any roll in the car getting into the turn. The motor broke before we could finish. I think we would have been in the top 15 or 20 and had a respectful day, but the motor let go there at the end and that was it."
DID YOU HAVE A SINKING FEELING WHEN IT HAPPENED? "I felt like once we found what was wrong with the race car that we would have been able to get back up to speed because there was something wrong, it seemed like to me. But then with the engine failing, it just all comes to a screeching halt."
DID YOU FEEL LIKE THIS WAS THE YEAR YOU COULD WIN HERE? AND IF SO, DOES THAT ADD TO YOUR FRUSTRATIONS? "I definitely felt like I could win here after having success at Pocono. It's too bad it didn't happen. It looks like Jeff (Gordon) is having a good day, so maybe the No. 24 can win it."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "We don't know exactly what it was. But with 15 pit stops and a spin and sitting on pit road making spring rubber adjustments and all that stuff, there's no telling what happened. You have to look at it and think if there was a day that you wanted this to happen, today's the day. We weren't running very competitively. We had to do a lot of adjusting to the car. The engine shop will tear it apart and tell us what happened. Those guys are pretty smart. They'll get it figured out and get it fixed in no time at all. They'll get it fixed this week before we ever get to Watkins Glen. But we spun out and made a lot of pit stops and made a lot of changes on pit road and that very easily could have been the problem."
DID YOU TRY SOMETHING RADICAL BECAUSE YOU'RE IN THE POINTS LEAD? "No, absolutely not. We actually came to Indianapolis with the goal of trying to win the race. We brought a car that we thought was capable of winning the event. We worked on it very hard in qualifying and obviously qualified very respectably with the draw that we had. And then when we got out there in race practice, we just never got the combination we needed. We tried everything from our Pocono set-up to our Loudon set-up. Loudon obviously didn't work; Pocono did. It was a new car with a new body we were working through. But it just didn't work out for us. Nothing ever really hit so we'll go home and on to Watkins Glen."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -Takes his fourth career victory at The Brickyard:
"I thought it was all over (when he hit the debris). I saw Martinsville flash in front of my eyes again. I thought we were done. I hated it for Matt Kenseth when he hit it because he had a strong car and he was coming. But I want to thank everybody for an amazing day. To win at this speedway - I can't even describe the emotions going on right now. To have the support of all these people here - I don't get the cheers very often and it's awesome to hear the cheers here at Indianapolis. It's a very, very special week and day for me and this entire team."
HAD THAT PIECE OF DEBRIS BEEN THERE FOR A WHILE? "As far as I was concerned it was there longer than it should have been because I hit it. I don't know what it was but it was big. I ran it over and I thought we were done. I thought it got the right front and the fender. And then I looked in my mirror and it looked like Matt (Kenseth) had gotten it too.
AJ FOYT, AL UNSER SR, RICK MEARS - THE FOUR TIME WINNERS - HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ONE OF THE ELITE? "It feels amazing. I don't know. I can't compare four times in a stock car to my heroes like Rick Mears and AJ Foyt and those guys did here. It's just a very special day for this entire team. What an amazing year these guys are having. I've just been having so much fun behind the wheel of this DuPont Chevrolet all year long. These guys make it so special. Hendrick Motorsports is on top of it right now. This one is for Papa Joe. I'll tell you what, it's been a tough month for the Hendrick family and days like today help. There's just no feeling in the world like winning at this speedway."
WERE YOU CONCERNED AT ANY POINT TODAY? "Well I was worried that the right front was going to stay up. I didn't know what kind of damage I had. I think I knocked the tow out. What happened to us at Martinsville earlier in the year that took us out of contention for a win, this is kind of a payback I think for that because that piece of debris out there was big and I hit it really fast. That car should have really never continued on. You saw what happened to Matt Kenseth. I hate that for him. He had a great run and a great car and he was certainly going to give me a heck of a run there at the end."
AFTER STRUGGLING IN THE FIRST HAPPY HOUR SESSION YESTERDAY AND MAKING SOME CHANGES, IT LOOKED LIKE THE CAR JUST TOOK OFF "Well we've seen this race team do that. We just never give up and we never stop fighting until that green flag drops. And once it does, we never stop fighting until that checkered flag waves. And that's exactly what it was like today all day long. If you were in the truck week in and week out and saw the look in my guys' eyes every time we went out there to run these races, you'd understand why we are able to do what we do because it just amazes me. I can't believe we've won this race four times now. Coming down this straightaway and looking at that race team down there getting ready to kiss these bricks is very special. We look forward to the challenges that are ahead for us the rest of the season and coming back here and trying to get more. But right now, we're going to enjoy the heck out of this one. This is a special moment. I'm just on top of the world and I know this team is too. We're going to have a lot of fun and really enjoy this one."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - NOTE - Cut a tire on the last lap and finished 27th:
"It's a hell of a heartbreak to have a tire cut down on the last lap. We had a real good run going, sitting there in sixth place and trying to make it to the end and leave here with a top-10. My car was the best it had been all day 20 laps earlier, but those last few laps it got real tight again, it was bottoming out in every corner, and I knew something bad was happening. I could just feel the car leaning on that left-front. It's tough, man, but it was a good run for us. I'm proud of the guys. This was a new chassis for us, and we did a lot of adjusting on it to make it fast. The motor was awesome. I've got to hand it to our motor department, because it was turning some high RPMs all day and just hauling ass. Even though it didn't end the way we would've liked, I hope (the good run) puts us back on the right track. We're going to leave here to go test at Michigan, see if we can figure some stuff out there, and then get ready for Watkins Glen next week."
DID YOUR BURNS AFFECT YOU TODAY? "No, I didn't have any problems with my burns. I was driving the car as hard as I could. I really wanted a top-10. I don't think I could've driven it any harder."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET - Finished 8th:
"We struggled with our car a little bit. We decided to pit there at the end and it really paid off for us and those last few re-starts and got ourselves back up to eighth. We never could get the balance quite right on the car. We never got great track position but we got up there to seventh or eighth. That was about as far as we could get. All in all it was a good day for the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET - Finished 22nd: "We moved up steadily. We had one bad pit stop that put us back to 20th again. We moved all the way up to third. With Kenseth having a problem, the car would have finished at least second. We really had something for Jeff (Gordon). On the real long runs we were really good. It seemed like we could catch him but he'd get away from me on short runs. It's disappointing. I thought we were going to get a Brickyard 400."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 5th:
ON THE RACE OVERALL : "It wasn't a fifth-place car, by any means. But the guys kept working and we just kept digging and got a fifth out of it. That's as good as a victory for the way this thing drove all day. But these guys worked their tails off all day yesterday. They worked really hard at the test after I crashed a car here. The car not driving well wasn't due to a lack of effort. I mean these guys changed everything they could change on it. It's just that we couldn't get it right.
"To come home fifth today and finish up after spinning early and not hitting anything and all the stuff we had to battle with today - stalling the motor on a pit stop. We never really had a car that ever had a good balance. The package was just the wrong package. Like I said, it wasn't due to a lack of effort. These guys changed everything. They did an awesome job."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WITH THE CRAZINESS ON THE LAST LAP? "Same as the craziness everywhere else we go. You just dodge the bullets there. We dodged them and got around."
WHAT HAPPENED EARLY IN THE RACE? "I just got down on the rumple strips and got loose. I was trying to keep the left front fender down under Jimmie (Johnson) to keep the thing in clear air. These things are so air dependent. We just got down there too much and got the left rear up on top of it enough that it made it loose traction and spun around."
CAN YOU TAKE SOME CREDIT FOR THAT? IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE HEADED FOR THE WALL? "I kept driving it though. That's the thing about guys that are real race drivers. They aren't going to quit driving no matter what position it's in. I knew it was going to the outside wall. I stayed on the gas. When I noticed that it was driving away from the wall, I locked it up to slow it down. Then I got off the brakes and got the nose drug around and stuck it back in gear and took off again. It wasn't a lucky deal by any means. It was an unfortunate deal. I wish I wouldn't have gotten myself in that position."
HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH A FIFTH PLACE FINISH GIVEN THE CONDITIONS TODAY AND YOUR CAR? "Considering as bad as the car was all day, I'm pretty happy with it. You're never going to be happy here unless you win this thing. For the way the car drove today, it really wasn't a well-balanced car. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) kept working on it. We were loose. We were tight. But we could never get it right. I don't think the package that we had spring and shock wise was a package that we could get it that good. Considering what we had I thought we had a pretty good day."
DID IT SEEM LIKE A LONG DAY OUT THERE? "It's a long day when your car doesn't drive. Trust me. I'm ready for a break."
WAS TODAY LIKE A FIGHT ALL DAY? "I just felt like it was a bad day. We just never could get the car right. After we went both sides, from being tight to loose and back and forth, once you go back and forth like that and you can't get it right, you know it's going to be a long day."
WHAT DID THAT SPIN FEEL LIKE? "It felt like a spin."
DID YOU SEE THE DEBRIS ON THE TRACK AFTER THEY HAD A RESTART? "I don't even want to talk about the restart. There's times when there's cautions when there's debris and there's times when they're cautions and there's no debris. There's times when we go back to restarts and there's more debris than there were three cautions earlier in the race. I don't talk about debris stuff."
HARVICK WAS SAYING THE CURB MIGHT HAVE BEEN CHIPPING AWAY AT THE TIRE. WHAT DO YOU THINK? "I don't know. I honestly don't think that was there. I honestly don't think it's fair to blame Goodyear in this case. If you look at the springs and shocks running in the rear of these cars to make those left fronts do what we're asking them to do. Goodyear didn't know that these guys were going to come up with that kind of spring and shock package. I don't think its Goodyear's fault in this case. Normally I'm pretty hard on Goodyear. I honestly believe this isn't a deal that was their doing. This is aerodynamics. This is what's going to hurt the sport in the long run by having cars that are so aerodynamically dependent that you do more with aero with springs than you do worry about mechanical grip."
WHAT DID YOU REALISTICIALLY THINK YOU COULD DO THE LAST TWO LAPS? "Nothing, just stay where I was at to be honest. We couldn't get a run on him before that so I didn't see us getting a run after that."