JEFF GORDON (Winner, ...
JEFF GORDON (Winner, #24 DuPont Automotive Chevrolet):
"I think I got a few new gray hairs after today. Wow, what an incredible day. I never dreamed it. At the beginning, we were way off. I think it was more being in traffic rather than being way off. We had one caution fall our way early, and whether we took two or gas-and-go at the end, and we took two, and it was perfect."
Who made that call on the last pit stop?
"Robbie makes all the calls. He talks with me. He talks with the guys. We make it together. We were between no tires and two tires. I thought we needed two. We needed it. I just want to thank God. This has been such an amazing week for me. This is a great way to celebrate my birthday. It's just been a phenomenal day. This has been amazing. It feels unbelievable. To have all of these people still here cheering us on, I got choked up. I love Indianapolis, I love the state of Indiana. They have been so good to me. I want to say hi to all of those folks in Pittsboro (Ind., Gordon's former home in Indiana)."
About significance of winning three Brickyard 400s
"You're right, I don't race for statistics. I race to win. If we win, the statistics will come after that. Three Brickyard 400's. Whoa! It's just amazing being a one-time winner of this event. I dreamed as a kid to be like A.J Foyt, Rick Mears, Bobby Unser and Al Unser. To be able to come here and compete is a thrill. I never dreamed it would be in a stock car, and I certainly never thought I would win the main event three times."
"It was our day. At the beginning, we didn't have a very good car. I know I was worrying the heck out of my crew chief because I was complaining an awful lot. On the final pit stop, we took just two tires. The car was just on rails after that. These are the greatest fans in the world. I love racing here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I hope you guys enjoyed this show. It was great from where I was sitting."
About final restart
"My car was really good on restarts. I made a few moves earlier in the day. I knocked the grill in because I was right on him (Marlin, on final restart). He blocked me on the inside, and I wasn't sure if I was going to make it, but I said hey, these are the moves you have to make to win the Brickyard 400. That was pretty key. I wanted to get by him quick. As good as he was all the way to the finish, I don't know if I could have passed him if I had stayed behind him. I got an amazing restart, and we had great power with the Hendrick engine, got up underneath him, and from there on we were set. I got a little loose the last few laps, and Sterling just hung right there. If I'd have made a mistake, he would have had me."
RUSTY WALLACE (Fourth place, #2 Miller Lite Ford):
"I knew we could get up to the front from where we qualified, I just didn't know if it would actually happen. This was a great run for us. I had the car dialed in and at one point got past the 10 and 18. Then the caution flag flew, and we fell back just a bit. I don't know if anyone else passed as many cars as I did. I'm not quite sure where everyone else finished, but I should have gained a lot of points. To come through the field the way I did kind of makes me feel like I won the race."
JOHNNY BENSON (Third place, #10 Valvoline Pontiac):
"It was a long day. I didn't think we would ever make it back to the front. We went from one extreme to the next. We made some major changes to the car that made it awesome at the end. This shows how dedicated our team is."
About James Dean on his car
"It was pretty cool being that James Dean was from Fairmont, Ind. The James Dean movie is awesome and you can see it on TNT. Valvoline set this deal up, and it has been really neat representing an Indiana hero."
STERLING MARLIN (Second place, #40 Coors Light Dodge):
"We've been close all year. That last yellow, we took a gamble by not pitting, and it worked out for us. Our car was pretty good. It was real good in clean air, but it had a push in traffic, and it wasn't very good on new tires. We've had a good car all year. We just gambled at the end, and it paid off for us."
About the last restart
"I don't know. The last restart I missed a gear. He (Gordon) just took off. Our cars have had trouble loading up on restart. We're working hard. We'll just have to work hard to get it fixed."
RYAN NEWMAN (#02 ALLTEL Ford):
"We had a great weekend all together, great practice, great qualifying. I think we had a really great race car at the start of the race. I had a slight bit of help from Jimmy (Spencer). I can't blame it all on him. We slightly touched and it sent me up to the wall. I just told the guys this is probably going to happen again next year, so let's stay in, get some laps, get some experience."
RICKY CRAVEN (#32 Tide Ford):
"At the end, we gambled on two tires. I used up everything I had and bounced up the wall. I could've laid back and gotten a top five, but I really wanted to win this for Tide. We battled back and got a top 10. I feel good about that."
JIMMY SPENCER (#26 Kmart Ford):
"My tires just pulled away from me. The car pushed all day. The longer we ran, the more our tires would slide. I was pretty happy to be on the pole, but we would rather have a win."
JOHN ANDRETTI (#43 Honey Nut Cheerios Dodge):
"We had to pit with several other guys and lost track position. And track position matters. We got back where we started. It's hard to pass anywhere. It's hard to pass at Indy. The competition is just so tough. At Daytona or Talladega, you can go two-wide, but even there it's tough to pass. We've made improvements, which is important. It was banging on all eight (cylinders) and had all the fenders on it at the end."
WARD BURTON (#22 Caterpillar Dodge):
"We're real excited about the run. The last four weeks the Caterpillar guys have worked real hard. We just haven't had any luck. Now we have something to show for it."
BOBBY LABONTE (#18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac):
"The car was pushing and loose all day. I just couldn't get a hold of the racetrack. Track position was everything. It just meant so much, like it always does."
STEVE PARK (#1 Pennzoil Chevrolet):
"Just a little disappointed. The Pennzoil Chevrolet ran great all day long today. Seems like when I would have such a big lead there is always a debris cautions, and for some reason the leader of the race never sees it. It is just disappointing. Track position is everything. My hat is off to Jeff Gordon and his team. They made the right call. They came into the pits. I think they took two tires and installed them and got him out first. Track position was key all day today. So the last pit stop got us a little behind, and like I said with only 20 laps to go and a bunch of cautions there was just not enough time to work our way back up front."
About two vs. four tires): "No, we don't second-guess after the race. It is easy to stand here now and look and say this is what we should have done. But, you know, we win races as a team, and we lose races as a team. We led a bunch of laps, and I feel like we are back in the top 10. We did what we need to do. It's gut-wrenching. What can I say? To be able to dominate the race and be able to do as well as we did in the last 30 laps is hard. You work all day to try to win and give it away at the end. Fortunately, I'm young, and I'll be able to race more of these races in the years to come."
BILL ELLIOTT (#9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge):
"We had a pretty good car today. The problem is that some of those guys got out of sync on their pit stops and got track position on me. We got shuffled back and had to fight our way back up through that mess. I wasn't great today. I wasn't bad. We had a decent car. There wasn't a huge difference with the rules change. It wasn't that much easier to pass. We've come a long way in the past few weeks, and that's what we've got to keep working on."