STUART KIRBY-57-CLR Taurus (finished 43rd) "The transmission started slipping out of gear going down the race track. We weren't super-fast; we didn't get to get Happy Hour yesterday, so we started off on a clean slate, and the car was very, very...
STUART KIRBY-57-CLR Taurus (finished 43rd)
"The transmission started slipping out of gear going down the race track. We weren't super-fast; we didn't get to get Happy Hour yesterday, so we started off on a clean slate, and the car was very, very loose at the start. Couldn't get on it, you know, on the gas, couldn't get in the corner. We tightened it up, it got better. We just threw a bunch of stuff at it, and the car just wasn't comfortable. Just bad luck, the transmission does that. But, we'll get 'em. We at least made the race. And, if hadn't have been for Happy Hour, I think we would've had a pretty good race car. That's just part of it. We're going to go to the Brickyard on Monday and Tuesday and test, and be able to test the car for race setups and qualifying setups, so that'll help us out a bunch."
WAS THIS A GOOD WEEK FOR YOU IN TERMS OF GAINING EXPERIENCE? "Yeah, you know, qualifying and stuff, that's all we worked on when we came here and tested, and didn't ever work on race setups, so when we didn't get to get Happy Hour, those two hour sessions, that just killed us on race setup, and we just had to throw a whole bunch of stuff at it. You know, just way off. But, I'm proud of these guys for getting this car in the race. We tried getting it better, we just needed some different springs and some shocks, and I think we would've been a whole lot better." [NOTE: The team missed Happy Hour on Saturday because it was busy changing the engine in the car.]
JEFF BURTON-99-Citgo Taurus (finished 39th)
MORE BAD LUCK? "The last month, it's just been terrible for us. We've run well. Today, we struggled early and we got the car to where it ran pretty well there at the end, but you got to finish races to achieve what it is we're trying to achieve. It's just disappointing. I know the engine guys are working really hard, you know? Stuff's gonna happen. I'm proud of the engine guys. They've made big improvements through the year, I proud of them and I won't get down on them because of a broken engine."
RUSTY WALLACE-2-Miller Lite Taurus (finished 25th)
"We were just way too tight at the start and with that first long green-flag stretch, we got a lap down. We adjusted, adjusted and adjusted, and finally got it handling pretty good. Just when we got in a position to make it up, we dropped a cylinder while running up there with the 8 car. That pretty much took all our steam out and we just had to hang on for all we could get at the end."
MATT KENSETH-17-DeWalt Power Tools Taurus (finished 14th)
"We had a great car to begin with and decent stops in the pits. I think a bad (tight) set of tires messed me up. I just went backwards. It might've been something with the spring. We are going to check and see what happened. We also broke a header. Just disappointing."
RICKY RUDD-28-Havoline Taurus (finished 19th)
"We had a bad pit stop early in the race. Unfortunately, it was a green-flag stop and that put us way behind. The car was inconsistent from then on. We had a car capable of getting a lap back. We were way behind the leader. When we were up with the leaders, the car wasn't that good."
ELLIOTT SADLER-21-Motorcraft Taurus (finished 21st)
"They gave me an awesome race car today. Right from the very beginning. It was just a little bit too loose for me that one run. I mean, it was fast, but just wasn't able to hold on to it, and in trying to stay in the top 10, to keep track position, and just spun it out. Then we got a new set of tires and we knew that it was going to be good and that we were going to go to the end, so we still had a chance at a top-five, and then the 23 didn't know I was there and came down on us and it just wasn't meant to be. But I was happy with the way we ran. To struggle like we did yesterday, and make a bunch of changes, I'm proud of my guys." WHAT HAPPENED TO START THAT? "It looked like me and the 00 were going to go under him, and he didn't know we were there. He just hung a left and hit us. I mean, he didn't know. I guess his spotter didn't tell him."
RYAN NEWMAN-12-ALLTEL Taurus (finished 5th)
"It was a good run. We cut that tire and that pretty much just squashed our day, but it was a good run for the ALLTEL/Mobil 1 Ford. The guys did a good job. With our first pit stop, we lost a jack and we came back from that and were running good, got the lead back, and it was just unfortunate to blow a tire."
ON RUNNING AT THE FRONT AND THEN MAKING UP A NUMBER OF POSITIONS AT THE END. "It was tough. When you got a good race car you can do that. It's unfortunate we cut that right front tire there. Don't know what happened."
NO WARNING? "It just went down."
DID YOU THINK AT THE VERY END, WHEN YOU HAD FRESHER TIRES, THAT HELPED YOU COME UP THROUGH THE PACK? "A little bit. We ran away from everybody when we were out front, but, I mean, we were still, definitely, the guys to beat. You know, it's all about track position. Goodyear brought a good tire, but I guess sometimes it might be too good."
DALE JARRETT-88-UPS Taurus (finished 11th)
"We'd been having some type of electrical problem, and we were trying to figure out exactly what it was, and the car was cutting out at the end of the straightaway. We couldn't tell if it was fuel-related or ignition-related - couldn't tell exactly what it was. Actually what happened was I was reaching down trying to find the switch to switch the box, and I got into the wall coming off turn two and that messed the toe-in up a little bit, and messed the front fenders up a little bit. So, the car pushed the rest of the day. We finally figured out it was the box that went bad, and put it to the other box and we just didn't have the power that we had been having. It just didn't work exactly right. We came out okay."
KURT BUSCH-97-Rubbermaid Taurus (finished 6th)
"It was surprising to have the engine stay together and for us to make the full, complete session. It was satisfying to know we could run up front. We just didn't get enough laps to practice the front springs that we needed in the race car, which made us a little bit tight. But, we had a fast race car, we showed our potential, and it's tough not to take advantage of a good race tracks like this because I know we go to Loudon next, and Pocono and on into Indianapolis. To finish sixth, it was a hard-fought battle. It just seems like it's easy for the other guys to win and it's so hard for us to win."
MORE ON THE RUN. "We wore a hole in our nose duct work, up front, so we started to overheat and the car started severely because the car wasn't closed off."
WHY WAS THIS TRACK SO HARD ON ENGINES? "I don't know what other people had; I know what our program was as far as the way we've been developing horsepower and trying to get up on the top-end of the curve. We know we're so far behind, we've got to stretch and do things out of the ordinary, and they just didn't work. The past two engines, I'm glad I took the brunt of it and the other Roush cars had success." GOOD ENDING TO THE WEEKEND. "It is. I wish that we could've led some laps, and I hope that we can build on this, and take the momentum and roll into some of the short tracks that we might struggle on. To know that we can finish sixth after a hard-fought day like this and know we wore a hole in our nose, so to speak, it took away the turning ability at the end for us to be shooting for the win. And to finish sixth, it was a hard day, but we'll take it."
YOU WERE EMPHATIC YESTERDAY ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT IT WAS TO GO FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT ON THIS RACE TRACK. WHAT HAPPENED TODAY THAT YOU DIDN'T EXPECT FOR YOU TO MOVE TO THE FRONT? "The development of the low line, where everybody just stayed in it. You would see a re-start, we'd be 12th on a re-start, well, then, there's 12 cars on the inside lane, so therefore we're 24th on the re-start. And what that is, again, is just starting the race over. You got all that air blowing around. Everybody's on the inside lane, everybody could run 30.4s, and can't maneuver around when you've got some horses that can't get you down the straightaway. So you've got to maneuver as best you can through the corners, but if everybody's on the bottom lane, you can't go anywhere."
THIS HAS TO BE A GREAT FINISH FOR YOU. "It is a good finish, just not good enough for what I thought what we could get out of the day. To come into Chicago, we need to take advantage of race tracks like this, the flat mile-and-a-halfs, where we know we're good at, because it's tough to do that it at Loudon and Pocono. So, we just got to step up the bar at the other race tracks, too, and not take it so hard. I mean, sixth place is good, and we'll roll with it."
JIMMY FENNIG, crew chief-97-Rubbermaid Taurus
WERE YOU ONE OF THE TEAMS THAT PITTED VERY EARLY (LAP 18)? "I stayed out. I wanted track position early on. I wanted to move up a bit early, so we elected to stay out."
SO THAT WAS PART OF KURT'S RUN FROM THE BACK TOWARD THE FRONT? "Yeah. Everything worked out in our favor on that situation. When it all played out, it was all okay."