August 12, 2001 Watkins Glen International JEFF BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE "Frank, first of all, did a good job with pit strategy. That got us track position. We had a good car yesterday and were real consistent. We were never really fast, but we...
August 12, 2001 Watkins Glen International
JEFF BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE
"Frank, first of all, did a good job with pit strategy. That got us track position. We had a good car yesterday and were real consistent. We were never really fast, but we were real consistent. We were pretty much the second-fastest car all day and we got beat by the fastest car, so that's okay. We started 22nd and to finish second and lead the race late and have a chance to win at the end is all you can ask for. He got by me, I got by him, he got by me, I got by him and then he got by me again, so it was a great race."
ON HIS SEASON TO DATE?
"We just have not been as competitive this year like we need to be. Jeremy and I both feel the same way. This is a hard sport. It's very gratifying when you do well, but you also have to remember that that doesn't mean you're gonna do well the next week. This is a humbling way to make a living. You can be the best one week and then you can be terrible the next. Coming into this year, I didn't know if we could win the championship. Nobody ever knows if they'll ever win the championship, but I was pretty damn sure we'd lead a bunch of laps and have a chance to win a bunch of races and that hasn't really happened for us. So, this is a tough sport. I have a lot of respect for how hard it is and we'll keep working and keep digging and fighting and clawing. This team has been incredible to work with. A lot of teams, when they have success and then don't have success, they don't handle it well. This team, Frank has done a great job providing leadership and Jack has done a great job of providing leadership. It's been a real rewarding experience even though it's been a bad experience.
"It's been rewarding to see how the guys have stepped it up and come to work with vigor and excitement every day. It's an honor to be a part of the team. That's why when all the rumors got started that I'd be leaving I thought they were ludicrous because why would you leave a team that tries so hard when you're doing so poorly. Anybody can try hard when you're doing well, but this team fights just as hard when we're not doing well. Actually, we've fought harder. We've been testing every week and everybody is exhausted and they keep coming back and it's an honor to be a part of it."
HOW DID YOU GET AROUND RON FELLOWS?
"I don't think either Ron or myself were running as hard as we could right then. We had a tremendous lead based on pit strategy and it was in our best interest to save our tires and our brakes and ride that out for a little while. He was willing to ride a little slower than I was and I wanted to lead some laps because I need points, so I ran a little bit harder than he ran. But I don't think it was because we were really all that much faster. I think he was saving his stuff. He certainly wasn't running as hard as he was and, if he was, he's too smooth. So, I don't think he was running as hard as he could and I wasn't running as hard as I could either. If you look at our lap times when I was leading those laps, they're probably a second-and-a-half off of what we ran when we were second to Gordon late in the race. That was the time of the race where you could save your brakes and save your tires and that's what I was trying to do and he was doing the same thing, so I don't think it was that we were racing all that hard."
WHAT ABOUT TRYING TO HOLD JEFF OFF?
"I had caught some guys that hadn't pitted yet and it's so hard to pass here, plus it was my teammate so I had to drive with some respect and I lost a lot of speed. He had run me down pretty quickly. I don't know, before that we were braking about even. He wasn't really catching me, I don't think. My spotter told me he wasn't catching me, but, nonetheless, we still had a chance to win late in the race. We got ourselves in a position to win and we didn't get it done."
WAS YOUR FIRST PIT STOP PLANNED THAT EARLY?
"A little earlier than we had planned. I thought it was too early. I thought we would make it on fuel. I was pretty skeptical that we could go the whole rest of the way, but when he told me to pit I didn't second-guess him. I came down pit road. That was a little bit earlier than we had talked about. It was like lap 17 or 18, that was about three or four laps before we wanted to, but it worked out."
JEREMY MAYFIELD PRESS CONFERENCE
"I'm just happy man, just to finish and come home third on a road course is really awesome for us. I was starting to look like I can drive one of these things. Everytime we run a road course something has happened, we broke or I tore a transmission up or something, so to come home in the top three, it's like a win to us. If we would have finished in the top 10 we would have been happy with it."
WHAT ABOUT THE LAST RESTART?
"We didn't have anything to lose. A lot of those guys if you run hard they'll run hard. We're pretty hungry right now to get a good finish and we'll kind of take more chances than what we normally would if we were up there in the points somewhere, so I was sitting there going forward and said I might as well try it too -- may the luckiest man come out of there alive. I downshifted in first and took off and was able to hold on from there."