JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "It was a typical day for us. I have to give my UAW-Delphi guys a lot of credit. We lost an engine earlier, and the car wasn't handling very good. Today, we started out fighting a really...
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was a typical day for us. I have to give my UAW-Delphi guys a lot of credit. We lost an engine earlier, and the car wasn't handling very good. Today, we started out fighting a really loose race car. We couldn't get it tight enough for the first 20 laps of a run. That last run we made some big, big changes to get it tighter, and it felt good. But it did a big snap loose and I couldn't keep up with it. It snapped so far sideways, it just slid up the track--it was a tough day."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: NOTE: Craven cut a tire and spun down the backstretch, doing heavy damage to his Pontiac.
"It was just a rotten day, one you'd like to forget. It was just a bad day."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We put a set of tires on during that first green-flag stop and that made the car way loose. I lost it [on lap 69] That messed us up. I think something rubbed a hole in the tire there at the end or I drove over something and just cut the tire. I spun out and it ended our day."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: NOTE: Benson ran as high as fourth in the late stages until contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on a caution flag caused him to pit for repairs. He was working his way back through the field when he hit the wall on the frontstretch, ending his day.
WHAT HAPPENED? "I'm not sure. I was just riding down the frontstretch and the next thing I know I got turned around. I'm not sure who was behind me, but they ran into us. It's the first time I've wrecked on the straightaway, which is kind of odd. The Valvoline Pontiac was running pretty good and I thought we were going to have a pretty good run, but we got the fender knocked off by Junior doing that lucky dog deal and that put us behind. It's our fault for getting ourselves in that position."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 4th, his third straight top-five finish.
"It was a pretty good day for the Home Depot Monte Carlo. We got decent track position, but we never got good track position. This is a pretty good run considering you get back in the Kansas tornado back there, from about 8th or 10th on back, and I couldn't do anything. Fun parade in Kansas today."
TYPICAL TRACK POSITION RACE TODAY? "Yeah, and a guy wins it on fuel mileage again. I hate to say anything, because
Michael Waltrip loves to bash me if I talk about fuel-mileage races, but some guys would rather win than just finish fourth. We have a lot to be proud of, because we had one of the best cars today. We drove away from Ryan Newman all day, so track position means everything. This just proves it."
HOW WAS YOUR DAY? "We had a couple of really good pit stops and we passed a lot of cars to get some track position. It was amazing how good the car drove once we got in the top five and we could get in relatively clean air. I'm pretty happy for this race team."
DID THE CAR CHANGE MUCH ON YOU TODAY? "No. It drove like crap in the back of the pack and drove good in the front of the pack, so it's amazing what air does."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DuPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 5th, his third straight top-five finish.
"We made quite a few changes today. At the start of the race, we were really good. I was pretty happy with it. It just got tighter and tighter and tighter as the day went on. We were pretty good on new tires for a couple of laps, and then it would get real tight. We needed clean air, needed that track position and we really couldn't get it. Luckily we were able to fight our way back up there at the end to fifth. I got into it a little bit with Jamie McMurray and I hated that. He had a run on the outside and I slid up in front of him. That probably cost him a couple of spots, so sorry to Jamie, but we were fighting hard for that top-five."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 6th, gaining 95 points on point leader Matt Kenseth, who finished 36th.
"We're digging, and they [the 17 car] are having trouble, but if we keep knocking it off 80 or 100 points at a time, we're going to be in good shape in a couple of weeks."
ARE YOU GETTING HUNGRY DOWN THE STRETCH FOR THE POINT RACE? "You have to. You just go out and do everything you can every week. We have to keep doing what we're doing week in and week out, and the biggest thing is that you race a little harder when you have something that big to shoot for."
WERE YOU CONSERVATIVE TODAY WITH THE NEW TIRES? "No. we were pretty much gung-ho the whole day, and the groove spread out so nice that you could really race and that made it a lot more fun than it usually is. I'm just pissed off that the 15th-place car wins the race and can go 15 laps farther on fuel than the rest of us. If he can do that with his foot, then he's a magician, and I'll kiss his butt if he's doing it with his foot."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 18th:
"We were tight all day long. We would be good for a few laps on new tires, and I could pass, but no matter what we did, after a few laps I just couldn't turn it."
JASON LEFFLER, NO. 0 NETZERO HISPEED PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Finished 30th after starting 6th and led twice for 5 laps:
"We had a good car today. I don't know exactly what happened there when we ran out of fuel, but it got us two laps down, and with the new rules it was impossible to get them back even though we could race up there with the leaders on the restarts. I'm sure some day it will work in our favor, but today it was frustrating."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 7th after winning the pole in track-record fashion. A crash in Saturday's Happy Hour practice session forced him to a backup car and he started 43rd, last. He led three times for 20 laps in Sunday's race.
WERE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR RUN TODAY? "What do you think? We were leading and hauling butt, so yeah. The guys did awesome. The car wasn't that good when we unloaded and they had to do a lot of work to it. they did a great job. The strategy at the end bit us, but, heck, we overcame so much we can't even look at that strategy being a problem. I'm so proud of my guys. It was just a great day. To overcome everything we did is amazing. The guys could have gotten down and they didn't. They stepped it up, didn't let it get them down. It was just an awesome, awesome day. I'm so proud of my team."