Long Pond II: Winning team press conference quotes

Bill Elliott's victory Sunday in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway culminated a grand slam weekend for Dodge Motorsports. Elliott's No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T scored Dodge's fifth victory of the season on the NASCAR Winston...

Bill Elliott's victory Sunday in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway culminated a grand slam weekend for Dodge Motorsports. Elliott's No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T scored Dodge's fifth victory of the season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Circuit. It was also Dodge's first back-to-back victories since returning to the circuit in 2001. Ward Burton won in the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T last week at New Hampshire.

MIKE FORD (Crew chief No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"We were better than Sterling on the short runs, but I didn't know Bill could drive around him on the outside. I knew we had a shot at it. The last time this Dodge was on the pole was at Homestead and the last time it was on the pole it won the race, so it's two for two."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"On a restart it seemed like I could gain a little on him (Marlin) and then it would kind of level off. He'd gain on me and it would kind of go back and forth. I felt like my car was better when it cooled off. The track got a little cooler. I felt like my car got hooked up a little better. I was really good down in one, and I was able to beat him into turn one and hold my line up off and get the momentum. He was still pretty good, but if you could ever make that pass and get the clean air out front it would be something different. Kurt Busch raced him and I put a little more distance on him. I knew Kurt had a good car and would be another one to be reckoned with as the laps wound down. I felt my car was getting better and better as the track got cooler. When it was hot, I was struggling. It was decent. It wasn't bad at all, but as the track got cooler, we got better.

"That seemed to be where I was the best (turn one). I felt like my best chance was on cool, fresher tires. It seemed like the longer you went, the harder it was to pass regardless of where you were in the pack. The longer you ran, the more you started slipping and sliding and the more the car in front of you affected you, the harder it was to pass.

"It affected me today. I ain't getting no younger. Every second was counting in my clock. It just makes for a long afternoon. You're in the car. You're ready to go, then the red flag came out because Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrecked. You get back going and then the rain came. You get kind of wound down, and then you've got to get wound back up. You're running around and getting nervous and wondering if they're going to finish the race or if you're going to have to stay here tomorrow. It's a lot of emotions. Once we kind of got back in and got things kinda settled down and got back into the rhythm of the race, you worry about the race car.

"It don't get no better than this. Like I said here in the media center the other day when Ray asked me to drive the race car a few years ago, I'm sure a lot of people thought he was a little crazy and I thought he was a little schizo at that point in time. These guys have put a lot of life back in me, a lot of desire. They've given me awful good equipment and Ray has been a 100 percent supporter. Mike Ford has been with me since the first of 2000. We've grown better and better together each and every week. It seems like the more we communicate and get all the guys working together, we just keep getting better. Our communication has been so good. I've been able to tell them what they need on the car side. They've been able to give me what I needed. That's hard to find this day and time. We struggled today to be able to beat the 40 car. At the key point in time we were able to put it together and beat him when it counted. That's what it's all about. I'm proud of Ray. I'm proud of all these guys. They work so hard and put so much effort into this season. I understand it's going to be the car owner's last driver several years ago. Now I'm just sitting back watching these guys perform week in and week out.

"It's been since the '80s since I won here. I was good in the '80s, not so good in the '90s. We had some awful good races here in the '90s, but I never could put it all together. I told Mike the last time we were here that I didn't even know how long it had been since we even finished a race here. I either had some motor problems or some little something that prevented us from finishing the race. The last race we didn't make it to the end. Too bad that race wasn't 175 laps. I think I broke on lap 180. All in all, it's very satisfying. It's a great victory, not only for me but for these guys. Without these guys behind me I wouldn't be here.

"The Brickyard has been a good race for me anyway. We had a good test at Indy after Chicago. I think we ran 125 laps on Monday and 150 laps on Tuesday. Surely we learned something in those two days. I think we learned some things we brought back here, along with a lot of other guys. Maybe we can expand on that and make our Indy stuff a little better and hopefully even better yet when we go to Michigan. All these race tracks we take a little bit of the same thing. Hopefully we can go there (Indy) and do what we did today, but there's a lot of good competition. Track position, timing and everything else is going to be the key parts.

RAY EVERNHAM (Car owner Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid R/Ts)

"As a car owner now to win once and now to win twice, it means an awful lot. You hate to see it. It was a long day for the guys. I'm concerned about engines and things like that. We lost two engines here, hats off to my engine shop because we lost two motors here last time. The guys have dug in hard and they brought some pretty good stuff. They figured out their problems.

"Hopefully we can carry that as a team. The Brickyard is special. I've won it as a crew chief, and we'd love to add that jewel as a car owner. We'd love to see Bill and Mike and the 9 guys pull off a victory there. It would mean a great deal to Dodge. You look at Daytona and Indy, Charlotte, Michigan - a lot of places like that are real special to the manufacturers and since the manufacturer is our sponsor it would certainly be important to them. It could be important to Bill, too. We've got a little bet. If Bill wins that, I've got to buy his airplane, so he's got a little extra incentive. We'll have some incentive in there for Mike, too."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"I think you guys have made more of a battle out of it than us. It's just another competitor. Whether he's 21 or 51 it doesn't matter. These guys are here because they're good at what they do. You put a good car under any of these guys, they're going to be in victory lane. That's the way I look at it. I feel like I can be a part of that and a force to be reckoned with week in and week out now. That's the kind of confidence we need as a team and Ray needs as a car owner. That's what we've got to keep chipping on and working for until the end of the season. The points are going to take care of themselves. Now we just need to concentrate on running the best we can in each event until the end of the season.

"I learned that from Rudd. His right front fender always scrapes. I was just trying different lines, seeing what was going to work. I thought the high line might be a little quicker. My car was a little free earlier in the race. I would go up there to keep it rolling and not slowing down. I would get a good run off of one, but I decided as I got a little better grip I was able to move back to the bottom and make that work for me also.

"I learned that he (Marlin) was fast and I had my work cut out for me to pass him. I think the race track as it cooled off hurt him and helped us. I believe that. Making that crucial move over there early in the run when I still had fresh tires, I felt like that was the only chance I had. I rolled it down in there pretty hard, and it stuck.

"I was trying to pass Sterling as hard as I could earlier because I wanted to lead the race. I couldn't get to him to make the pass. As the track cooled down, I was able to set him up."

RAY EVERNHAM (Car owner Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid R/Ts)

"Bill and I were friends a little bit. We used to talk a lot at the race track, and I used to watch Bill. There were times I saw when he went very, very fast with his cars. Jeff Gordon and I actually talked about Bill Elliott quite a bit. Jeff Gordon said that guy's pretty good. You need to get him. You get to race against people in your career, and I had worked with Bill in IROC and I knew that if we could get him in the right equipment and I could get the right situation that he still had plenty to offer. He does a great job driving the car, but he also does a great job helping get it set up and he keeps me fairly straight on the business side. He's a good guy to have around. He spent eight or nine years as a car owner, so he tells me when I'm about to make a mistake. In the beginning I didn't listen to him, but I listen to him a lot now."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Kurt Busch