JOHN ANDRETTI, NO. 0 NETZERO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: NOTE: Andretti,, making his first start for Haas CNC Racing, was involved in a crash on the eighth lap with Jimmy Spencer. The Pontiac sustained severe damage to the rear and left side. "It drives...
JOHN ANDRETTI, NO. 0 NETZERO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
NOTE: Andretti,, making his first start for Haas CNC Racing, was involved in a crash on the eighth lap with Jimmy Spencer. The Pontiac sustained severe damage to the rear and left side. "It drives me nuts to think that another guy would do that. He hit me three or four times down here [in Turn 3 and 4] and I thought, 'well, he just got in deep.' I made a mistake trying to get around Dale Jarrett and got sideways, so he got a run on me. But I was still on the outside of him. When we went down into Turn 1, he hit me once and then a second time and got me all the way around. The last time he hit me, it was like it was to get me out of the way. It's really disappointing. He's got a full-time job. He's not making life any easier for me, I'll tell you that. I'm really, really disappointed for the team, disappointed for me, disappointed on the day. We had a good car and we got taken out for no reason. It's not right. When you're on the outside, you're the helpless guy, and it's going to happen more today. The way I feel, I think it was real intentional."
MIKE WALLACE, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
NOTE: Wallace hit the wall off Turn 2 after contact from Ward Burton. "I was racing with the 22 [Burton] and I guess he decided he needed the position worse than I did off 2 and he turned me around out there. I tried to keep the car spun around to keep it off the wall, but it actually caught and got into the wall. So that part is my fault, but I guess you can't race with the 22. Sorry."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 6th:
"We were real happy about that. It didn't look like we were going to get that spot there. Halfway through the race we really started losing the handle on the car. Then we got fortunate with our track position. We had some great pit strategy to help us out at the end. We stayed out, then we took two tires. We ran about 100 laps on the rights and 170 or 175 on the lefts. It was a nice job on paving the track. I applaud Bob and the family for what they're doing here, keep on keeping on and making it better."
IT LOOKED LIKE YOU AND RUSTY GOT TOGETHER?
"Rusty checked up or something and I ran over him. It was my fault, but I don't know what I could have done anything else different. I know he's real mad, he's a pretty hot-tempered guy. He's known us for a long time, so I hope he knows it wasn't intentional."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DuPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 24th:
"I am really, really disappointed. We weren't going to win the race no matter what. Our strategy...the cautions didn't fall right for us. I made a call on pit road to put four tires on when I saw everybody was staying out because I knew we weren't going to win. I just wanted to give us the best chance to give us as many positions as possible. It was a late call and those tires had the pressures up on them a little bit. I don't know if the tires just killed it or something broke. I really don't know what happened. I'm completely in shock right now. It was probably one of the best cars I've ever driven. At the end, I was just holding on to stay on the lead lap."
IN THE MIDDLE YOU COULD LEAD AT WILL, IT SEEMED.
"When you get a car that's that good out front, you're going to drive away. But even in traffic, we were really good. We were able to pass and drive by guys. It was an amazing car. I don't know what happened there. It just went away."
IS YOUR FRUSTRATION TEMPERED IN ANY WAY BY THE FACT THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON WON THE RACE?
"I'm happy for Jimmie, but I'm just so devastated in our own performance right now. I'll celebrate and talk with him later. But right now I'm just completely drained from the devastation. It's not the points, it's not that. It's just that we had the car to either win or finish in the top five. I just wanted to put pressure on these guys, I wanted to put the heat on them. I want to lead laps, I want to battle for wins. We were doing that today and it all went to hell."
STEVE PARK, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 8th:
'The AOL guys did a great job calculating the fuel mileage and we got our last set of tires and we could make it on gas. Mike Beam said, 'have a good time, I'll see you after the race is over.' That was with about 110 to go. The track is in really good shape, the best I've seen it in a very long time. That bottom line opens up and it teases people to put a wheel underneath guys. If they can't hold it, they end up sliding up into guys. That's what I saw today. There weren't too many accidents by attrition. It was guys trying to advance. Track position was so hard to keep, and guys were being aggressive on restarts. They were doing whatever they could to try to gain positions. It was really hard to pass. The track had plenty of room, but these cars are so damn equal...you get frustrated when you feel like your car is maybe a tick better but you can't get around a guy. I'm really thankful to Richard Childress, AOL and all the people who have just stuck by me. I lost my ride and got picked up by RCR, and you couldn't ask for a better situation. I'm very thankful. We're kind of building this team up to where it needs to be. This just raises your confidence. I was running third once when the caution came out and I called Richard on the radio. I told him this was the first time I've been able to see the pace car in about a year and half. Three RCR cars finished in the top 10, and that's great. We made wholesale changes in happy hour. We changed four shocks, four springs, rear sway bar, truck arms...it put it better. Everybody put their heads together and gave us a great car compared to what we had yesterday. It would have been a really tough day if the car was like it was yesterday."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 30th:
"We changed some stuff since yesterday's practice and we thought we made it better, but it made it a lot tighter and we never could overcome that. At this track, track position is everything. You're only as fast as who you're around. We got up front, but we never got a really good chance to get our lap back. All in all, we learned a lot today, but we just didn't run very good. It's a lot better than we've been and I'm excited about that."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET: Finished 5th, the second of three Richard Childress Racing cars in the top eight.
"My hat's off to everyone at RCR -- to Kevin Hamlin (crew chief) for making that call. We probably had about a 10th-place car but we snuck a 5th-place finish out of it. We're real pleased with the results and gained some points and we'll move on to the next one.
"We will keep taking every weekend with us and keep moving forward. We thought we would be strong here but for some reason we just struggled all day. We couldn't get off the corner very hard. That was a problem all day. We couldn't get into the corner or get of all day. We will work on that for next time. The track is different from when I was here. We have a bit of work to do."
YOU LOST A GEAR EARLY ON -- HOW DIFFICULT WAS THAT?
"It was really hard on the restarts because I didn't have second gear. So I was restarting in third. It's a decent run for us and I'm happy for the whole team and I'm happy for Kevin Harvick to finish second as well."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Finished 21st:
"It's unfortunate that the pit strategies worked out the way they did. I think we had a car capable of finishing in the top-five, but we just weren't getting the fuel mileage some of these other guys were getting. We thought a lot of those cars in front of us would run out of fuel or have to stop again, but it just didn't work out that way. We're very disappointed with the result, especially when we were running so strong earlier in the race."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Finished 26th:
"You know we were good on one set of tires and then bad on the next set. Sometimes we had track position and then sometimes we didn't. It was real hard to pass. I think we had a good car and there at the end we ran out of brakes and just kind of brought it home."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Winning on a flat track? I never thought it would happen."
"It was a great day for us. I can't believe that when fuel strategy came into a win, we were able to capitalize on it. Everybody knows it takes horsepower, but it takes the fuel mileage to go with it. I'm excited we were able to do what we did. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) made the great call to get us out and kind of cycled through and wait it out. It worked. The race was really with the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) and I was able to get that done and then get by the No. 12 (Ryan Newman) and here we are."
ON THE EXCITEMENT OF SIDE-BY-SIDE RACING AT NHIS WITH KEVIN HARVICK
"The race track is in much better shape. The thing that's hard is that the bottom groove is a little off camber. So when you go down there it pushes you out into the outside car. The track stayed together. You could run multiple lanes and we had a great race. I'm just excited for the whole Lowe's team. We needed this today. It's obviously going to help us with the points and we're ready for the rest of the year."