RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Mobil 1 Extended Performance/ALLTEL Dodge Charger) -- Finished 9th "We just lost it at the end. It seemed like everybody else got better and we got worse. The track seemed like it got a little greasier. We had a great car. We...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Mobil 1 Extended Performance/ALLTEL Dodge Charger) -- Finished 9th
"We just lost it at the end. It seemed like everybody else got better and we got worse. The track seemed like it got a little greasier. We had a great car. We had a winning car. At times we were great on the long runs and not so good on the short runs. It ended up being a pretty long run at the end. We weren't in the end to take advantage. It looked pretty good for awhile, but I think the 48 was fighting through traffic. The 17 had to fight back from two laps down. The 16 was fighting loose all day and the 97 was loose and tight. We were kind of the same way as far as balance, but we just lost the overall grip there at the end."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH JEFF GORDON? "He ran me up off turn two, ran me up close to the wall and made me check up and he did it on purpose. I went into turn three on the outside of him and had a good run and came off turn four and went down into one trying to take the air off him and did. He got loose and checked up and that's when I hit him afterwards. He's pretty proud of himself still. I don't have a problem with him. We were racing hard. He changed the way he drove the racecar when he was up next to me, so I changed the way I drove the racecar when I was up next to him. That's the way he wants to race, so that's the way I'll race him."
ANY REASON WHY? "I don't know. I'm not a former Nextel Cup champion. You can't ask me that question."
COMMENT ON GORDON HITTING YOU IN THE REAR "He hit me hard enough to jack the rear end up off the ground and spin the rear tires. Obviously he had more horsepower than he could handle."
WAS THAT A NEW VERSION OF THE BUMP DRAFT? "No, I think that was an ego draft. I think that's what you call that."
WILL YOU TALK TO GORDON? "We'll talk. It's not a big deal. It's just racing. We were racing hard and we weren't the only ones out there doing it. Casey Mears and I had a good race at the end. We took the air off each other and swapped back and forth. He didn't seem to mind it too much."
WAS THE FINISH DISAPPOINTING? "Yes, it's a disappointing finish after having a car that ran up front and was capable of winning. I think we learned some things today. Obviously the Hendrick and the Roush boys with their Yates power got their stuff together. I don't think we're far behind. I just don't think we've got everything together yet on a given day."
TRAVIS KVAPIL (No. 77 Mobil Clean 5000/Kodak/Jasper Dodge Charger) -- Finished 26th
"We had a great racecar for three-quarters of the race. We just started losing the handle. We kept making adjustments and they ended up backfiring on us and making the car worse and worse. It's a big disappointment. The last pit stop is what really hurt the racecar. We were still in the top 10 at that point. It was all I could do that last run to keep the car going straight and keep from wrecking. It's good and bad. We know we can run with these guys and lead laps. We've just got to make sure we're doing the right things on pit road and not screw the car up because we had a car that was capable of a top five. We've got to rebound. We've got to put it behind us. I'm going to be sick about this for a few days, but we're coming off a great test at Atlanta. I think we can go there and do the same thing we did today, hopefully with a better result.
"I don't know what happened to Ryan's car. He faded from a top one or two to ninth or 10th. We faded from top car to 25th. It's hard to have that good of a day going all day and throw it away at the end, but we'll have plenty of good runs before long. This is the best car I've had in my Nextel Cup career. We were just a couple of adjustments off from having a top10 car. We did that to ourselves, so we've got to learn from it."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) Finished 15th
"We were just too loose. We made a trackbar change at the end, and it didn't make any difference. The right front looked funny, but we went up and down all day. When we made that two tire change, it just got so loose I couldn't drive it."
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Finished 12th
"I fought it all day long. It was tight-loose, tight-loose. We finally got it pretty close. It wasn't a bad day. I suppose 12th is pretty good considering what I was up against. I couldn't shake the 32 there at the end and that got me bogged down. We just missed the setup, but I won't have to worry about the setup here anymore."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 20th
"We started out really good, but developed handling problems. I guess track conditions changed. It got really slick out there, and we just had to hang on. We're getting a better handle on making adjustments to this Dodge Charger, but we've got some work to do. We'll have a good car for Atlanta and hopefully have a good weekend."
CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target/Energizer Dodge Charger) -- Finished 7th
"It felt good to finally have a good run. We were there all day. We had a little trouble with our first couple of pit stops and we fought back all day. We got back up there and had some good stops and it really feels good. We had good cars at Daytona and California and I was worried about this one. We didn't have a good test here, and Happy Hour was horrible, but we made some changes and Jimmy (crew chief Elledge) did a good job. He made some good calls and we got up front. I feel real good about it. It's the one race that Engerizer runs all year, so I feel good we ran good for them.
"That guy (Ryan Newman) has a car that's about 10 feet wide. It's wider than anything else. Anywhere you go, he goes to block. He's one of those hard guys to pass. I was really good at the top in one and two and I was really good in both ends. He was decent in one and two. Coming out of three and four I could always get underneath him, but I needed the top of one and two and he always had it. I finally got a good run off two and got inside him and cleared him before he got to the center of three and four.
"I'm always optimistic. You enter a race with a clean slate. You have to do that or else you'll make the wrong decisions, but I felt really good. I didn't think things were going to end up like this today, but I'm glad they did. I think that shows how strong our team is now to come back from a horrible Happy Hour. We had some bad pit stops, but the guys got it back up front We're a top 10 team easy, top five on a good day. If you're top five, you're a contender to win, so we're right there. We've just got to get some luck on our side."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Charger) -- Finished 35th
"I'm OK, but the car isn't. I don't know what that 11 driver was thinking. He just stopped on the track and didn't give a hand signal or anything. I guess he was trying to pit, but he's got to let the cars behind him know what he's doing. He stopped and Schrader got into him and then I got into Schrader. There just wasn't anywhere to go. Now we're sitting here in the garage trying to get back out there. This just ain't the way it's supposed to be."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 38th
"I'm upset with myself for crashing the car, but I was running two seconds off the pace and still couldn't hang on to it. It was tough to drive. We were trying to fix it. We came in to make some changes to make it better, but we didn't make it any better. It's not a good weekend to do that with UAW and Dodge sponsoring the race. We weren't anywhere close to the front and that's not a good thing. The track is the same all the way around. I just lost it. It was just too loose to drive."