ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 42nd) "It's very disappointing. We had high hopes coming here, we always want to run well. We were actually just getting the car good to where we were really running some good times, and I was ...
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 42nd)
"It's very disappointing. We had high hopes coming here, we always want to run well. We were actually just getting the car good to where we were really running some good times, and I was probably one of the fastest cars on the track - I know we were running faster than the leader was. Raymond made some great adjustments. It just wasn't meant to be. We've had some terrible luck here at Indy, and I'll try to do something different when I come back."
DID THIS HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE PROBLEMS THE CAR WAS HAVING BEFORE THE RACE STARTED?
"I don't think so. That's probably something you need to ask Doug or Robert. I'm not a motor guy, but I don't think it does. I think it's just when I started it, just pushed something back through the breather. That's happened before, so I don't think so."
YOU SAID YOU WERE RUNNING WELL JUST BEFORE THIS HAPPENED...
"Man, it was great at the end. I just wish I could've got that caution and maybe stayed out and seen if I had something for them boys. We were running some really fast laps. So, it's just one of them days."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 9th)
"We maybe had a better car than that. We found ourselves in the back all the time. We lost a lap on an unlucky caution and then the team did a great job in the pits and in calling the race. We turned up with a ninth-place finish and that's good to get a top 10. We maybe had a better car than that."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 39th)
THAT HAD TO BE A SCARY MOMENT WHEN YOU HIT JOHN.
"This is probably the worst day of my life. It's the most devastating thing I've ever been associated with and it was just stupidity on my part. There's nothing else I can say about it."
HAVING THAT FIRST PIT BOX WAS IT A CASE OF COMING IN TOO HOT?
"Yeah. I saw it yesterday in practice. I tried it and I knew which pit box we had and I thought I saw how much I could get in, but I just got in too far today."
WAS IT HARD TO CONCENTRATE ON THE RACE AFTER THAT HAPPENED?
"I didn't even care about the rest of the race. I had to finish it for the guys because they worked hard, but I could have cared less. My thoughts were just, 'God, take care of John Bryan.'"
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 7th)
"It was just a real eventful day. In happy hour our car was loose and we made one little adjustment and it was extremely tight all day. We finally got a halfway decent handle on it as soon as they said halfway and we crawled our way back up into the top 10. It was just one little thing wrong here, one little thing wrong in the back of the car. We've been chasing the race track for some reason lately. Normally we're good in happy hour and we're able to start the race where we need to start it and, for some reason, we had been chasing it until halfway. After that, though, that's when the car started coming back."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Finished 27th)
"Today was a struggle. We don't really know what happened. We think we had a spring fail or something because yesterday we weren't hitting the fenders at all with the tires and today both fenders are burned off of it. So we had something break or something go wrong and it was just a big struggle all day. We just never could put our fingers on it."
KEVIN LEPAGE - No. 57 CLR Taurus (Finished 30th)
YOUR GOAL WAS TO FINISH THE RACE AND YOU DID.
"Yeah, that's what we wanted to do. My hat's off to the whole CLR team. They did a great job getting us to this point where we were able to qualify 21st. We came in a little bit early and got caught underneath the yellow and put us down our second lap. We worked the bugs out between the crew chief and driver and the team today. They haven't been racing for a while and I haven't been racing for a while. We started off pretty decent, we were a little loose. We came in and got it real tight and it just took us too long to get it out. The last 50 laps we got the car real comfortable and were pretty good, but we were two laps down. We decided just to run and learn some things and learn each other. We wanted to bring the car home and we did."
ROBERT "BOOTIE" BARKER, Crew Chief - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Blaney finished 28th)
"We had a problem on a pit stop and didn't get all the fuel in it, but we got a break and got a yellow. But we needed to take four then to get the fuel in it and we didn't have a good stop, so that kind of put us behind the eight ball. That's when our track position went away. Then we came in and got hung on that last deal. If that hadn't have happened, we still would have finished in the top 20."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 38th)
"I didn't see a lot, I just saw a lot of smoke. I saw the 5 car turn sideways. It was two lanes of racing and I was on the outside lane. The 5 turned sideways, somebody got into him. I couldn't tell who triggered it, but it was just the wrong place at the wrong time I guess." A STRUGGLE TODAY? "Yeah, we struggled. We made a lot of chassis adjustments today and we just couldn't get this Motorcraft/Rent-A-Center/Air Force Ford turned around. It was just a frustrating day, but it really ended up being frustrating at the end. We had a shot. There were 21 cars down a lap and we were in that group, so we could have finished as high as 20th or 21st if we could have hung in there to the end and raced up there a little bit. It's frustrating not to come here to the Brickyard and run good, but there are other races."
COULD YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE WRECK?
"I really couldn't tell why or what caused it, but I noticed everybody's tires looked like they had picked up the loose rubber on the race track and everybody was slipping and sliding a little bit for a couple of laps. Generally when that happens everybody sort of keeps their cool and gets their tires cleaned off and then go racing after that. Evidently, it was near the end of the race and nobody has patience I guess."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 Smirnoff Triple Ice Black/DeWalt Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"It was a real great finish for us. The guys had terrific stops. Robbie made the right calls. So, it was a great day, we had good car and I got a good finish for us. It feels really good."
HOW GOOD WAS THE CAR?
"I thought we had a good car, but when that first deal worked out where we had to pit when the pits were closed to get gas and stuff, I wasn't sure it was going to happen, but we had a good enough car." MORE ON HIS FINISH. "It was great day for Smirnoff Ice Triple Black car, they did a good job pitting the car, made good calls in the pits and had a real competitive car all day. It seemed like we came from behind a lot, but our car was really handling good, and we could really pass good, so they did a good job at working at that really hard yesterday so we could pass other cars."
WHAT ABOUT THE END? COULD YOU RUN WITH THE 29?
"By the time I got clear of the 42 for second, Harvick had a short shoot on me and I knew I wasn't going to make that up without something happening to him, but I felt we had a god car at the end. Just that one re-start where everything got jumbled up, and Robby got around me and Jamie kind of messed us up and we couldn't overcome that, but if we had a shot at him, maybe bumper to bumper, maybe we could've caught, but maybe we couldn't have. It was a god day for us."
AND YOU MUST FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE POINTS...
"Yeah, I feel good about our day. I feel good whenever you can finish races and gain points, but you feel good when you finish and race run good enough to win. That's what we're here for."
YOU CONTINUE TO BE VERY CONSISTENT...
"Our stuff's been consistent and we've had good cars, and today we made good pit stops and did everything right, so it feels good to have a car that consistent that'll run that good up front."
IF YOU WOULD'VE HAD MORE TIME COULD YOU HAVE CAUGHT THE 29?
"I don't know. I was running as hard as could, I'm sure he was, too. I did the best I could."
ROBBIE REISER - crew chief, No. 17 Smirnoff Triple Ice Black/DeWalt Taurus
"There's no question that Matt Kenseth is a great driver, and he showed it today. He does a real good job, this is a great team, and hey got it all together right now."
ON THE SECOND-PLACE FINISH.
"We ran good, you know. Just worked their way up and got in that position right before that last caution. We thought we had a gas and go from having a shot at it, and just got that caution and we had to start all over again. With no single-file re-start there at the end, it's just the way it was."
JACK ROUSH - Roush Racing
"I think flat tracks are more challenging in a lot of ways. There's fewer constants. The guys have more trouble relating the thins that they feel to the race track, I believe. We're hit and miss on flat tracks. We only come here once a year. It's a big race, it's an important race. It's probably more like Pocono than any place we go to, but yet it's not Pocono. It's like four 90-degree turns, not 120- or 180-degree turns, but four 90-degree turns, and that's the only place we have a race track like that. So, it's really unique onto itself, in spite of the fact that it's flat like Pocono."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT MATT KENSETH'S CONTINUED CONSISTENCY?
"I've got my fingers crossed, and holding my breath, just trying to focus on the things that had caused us to fail and not be able to finish, and hoping it holds out. We haven't had any bad luck this year, and a lot of it is luck. We haven't had bad luck, other people had bad luck. We will have bad races for reasons that we can't plan for that can't be avoided, and it's out there for us. But it didn't happen today."
MATT KENSETH PRESS CONFERENCE --
IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WEREN'T JUST RACING FOR POINTS.
"I've maintained all year, I mean, we're out here to try to win races and we did everything we could to try to win the race. At the end we came up a little bit short. If it would have gone green, I think Robbie definitely had the strategy to win and I think we would have been in good shape there. But when we put tires on our car, it was really, really fast in traffic. We worked on that really hard yesterday and I thought we had a good car. It just seemed like we had to come from behind an awful lot today, but to come out of here finishing second is a great effort. I would have loved to have had a little more time to catch Kevin because I know we had a little better tires than he did, but he got away to such a big lead when we were jockeying around with the 31 car trying to get around him."
DID YOU THINK THE 31 WAS TRYING TO BLOCK YOU?
"Well, he blocked Jamie really bad, but I don't think it had anything to do with his teammate being in the lead. I think he would have done the same thing no matter who was leading to try to finish second at Indy. I think he was doing everything he could to protect his position and we were doing everything we could to try to take it. He didn't do anything dirty or overstepping his bounds or anything like that. You just knew it was gonna be tough to get around him with 10 to go as it would be with anybody."
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE RESTART WHEN YOU AND JAMIE FELL BACK?
"We didn't really fall back. I think the second-to-last start, everybody had old tires and there was a whole bunch of cars on the tail-end of the lead lap because we stayed out and they pitted. So they lined up four of them on the inside and four of them on the outside and the 77 got a bad start. He went into turn one and his car wouldn't turn and got real high. We all kind of checked up to give everybody a little breathing room and the 31 came blasting through there three-wide. We thought there was gonna be a wreck, so I had to get out of it. Him and the 41 slammed together about three or four times and the 31 just kind of muscled his way in there. It was a tense moment because everybody was restarting on old tires and I was trying to take it a little bit easy through there. The 31 just bounced on it wide open to get whatever he could."
WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF JAMIE?
"Yesterday after all the practices, I knew last night going to bed in the motorhome that he was the guy to beat today unless something happened. Looking at everybody's time and looking over the time sheets that the computers keep for all of us, he was by far the fastest car in the final practice yesterday. He had a great car all day. I was surprised we could even run with him. At the end we had a little better tire and could get around him, but he had a great car today. Tony had a really great car today, I thought pretty equal to ours. The 42 on even ground with no pit strategies, just going out and see who could go the fastest, I thought he had the best car."
WAS THERE A REASON YOU WERE BEHIND EARLY IN THE DAY?
"Yeah, what really happened was on the first run we made, a lot of people pitted early under green. The fuel thing and all the pit strategy things have been so wacky lately that we wanted to make sure we could run to at least lap 37. If we could do that, we could make the race on three stops in case it went green the whole race, so we were trying really hard to do that. We were still out there when whatever happened on pit road happened. We ran under caution for a long time running second and felt we were gonna run out of gas, so we had to pit when the pits were closed and because we did that we had to start at the tail-end of the lead lap and that got a lot of us quite a ways behind early."
YOU GAINED POINTS ON JEFF AND DALE, JR. ARE YOU STARTING TO FEEL LIKE YOU'RE IN A ZONE?
"I don't really feel in a zone, but I do feel fortunate that we've made it to the end of all these races. I feel really great coming out of here today second. Some people have been saying the last few weeks our finishes haven't been as good as maybe they have been previously because we've been finishing 12th and 13th and 9th and 7th and stuff like that. So I was happy to be a front runner today. I think Jamie had the car to beat all day long, but I felt like we had at least a third-place car all day and ran competitively. We called the race in a competitive manner and I think we drove it as hard as we could drive it. That's how we've been approaching it all year. We're just going out and doing the best we can. I'm real thankful for the finishes we have, but we still do have a lot of racing to do and we've got to keep it up."
IS THERE FRUSTRATION BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT WINNING?
"Yeah, I mean there's somewhat of a frustration of not winning. I feel like today we did everything we could. Even though we got ahead of Jamie at the end, I don't think we had the car to win today. There's been a few times this year where I felt like we had the car to beat and we didn't get it done and we didn't win the race. That's part of it. I really want to get back to victory lane soon, but, on the other hand, I'm very thankful for how we've been running. Only two years ago we couldn't run in the top 20 hardly to save our life in 2001. I'm real thankful for the year we had last year and the year we've been having this year. We've been sitting in competitive equipment each and every week and, if we do all the right things, we're gonna have our opportunities to win races."
WITH SO MANY CARS IT SEEMED EVERYBODY WAS ON A DIFFERENT STRATEGY. WAS IT HARD TODAY?
"I don't know. I probably just need to shut up and drive the car, really. The last few weeks have been so frustrating, actually the last month and a half, because the racing has just been so different than what it usually is. It used to be you'd come in and run until you need gas, you'd come in and get four tires and go race. Now it's just people stopping under green and you can't figure out why they're doing it - getting gas to go to the end in case there's a caution. I didn't understand the strategy at all at the end of the race. I was trying to figure it out. After Jamie pitted, we were leading and the 12 and all those guys came and got a gas-and-go to get track position but they were a lap down, so I had to figure if a caution came out they were a lap down. After Jamie pitted, then I was nervous because I knew if the caution came out he was gonna be on the lead lap, I was gonna have to pit and he was gonna be in front of me. Just trying to figure out all the scenarios and this track is big enough where you can kind of think about that, so I've been driving Robbie crazy the last month because I've been second-guessing everything he's been doing and making sure we're doing the right thing. It didn't seem like things have been working out the last few weeks, but he had it under control even if it worked out. Even if we got the caution, we still had decent track position. If we didn't get the caution, I think we were really in good shape because we were just gonna try to get gas at the end. We were actually running about the same times as what Jamie was running after he pitted and got the two tires just because we were in front of the whole field, so Robbie knew what he was doing there and he did a great job calling the race."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT PIT STRATEGY THE LAST MONTH OR SO?
"There's a few reasons for it and, to me, it's a little frustrating as a driver. When you're running good and you have a good handling car, it's not frustrating for the guys who get to take chances and get out front and maybe win a race when they don't have the best car, but the way it is, a lot of times the best car won't necessarily win. There are several reasons for it. NASCAR has these cars so incredibly close. The 43 cars are just so close to the same speed and that makes it difficult to pass and it makes it better if you're out front. It's not like we've got the aero rules all screwed up and you can't pass, that's not the reason. The reason is because the competition is so tight. Another reason for that is Goodyear does such a great job on the tires that the times hardly drop off. Today, it maybe dropped off a second at the most. If you had a tire that dropped off three seconds or two seconds, everybody would get four tires every single time. If somebody didn't they would be a sitting duck. You'd drive by them like they were tied to a tree, so the rules are so close and all the cars are running real close to the same speed and the tire is such a good tire that getting four isn't as big of an advantage as it has been. Three years ago if you didn't get four tires, you were gonna get killed. Those are the reasons for it. If you're out front, it's just the place to be at the end."