TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Sidelined due to accident: "I don't think any of us are going to get Mulligans. That's probably going to take us out of the championship. That's part of it. We'll have another car for next...
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Sidelined due to accident:
"I don't think any of us are going to get Mulligans. That's probably going to take us out of the championship. That's part of it. We'll have another car for next weekend and we'll come out and try to get this Home Depot Monte Carlo up front."
(WITH 9 RACES TO GO, HOW FRUSTRATING IS WHAT HAPPENED TODAY?) "Well, it wasn't but two years ago that we left Daytona 43rd and came back and won. So, it can happen again this year. But to try to make up that amount of points in nine more races is virtually impossible. I can promise you one thing. This team has never given up and they're not going to give up now."
(WAS THERE SOME HARD RACING OUT THERE?) "Nah, I think if you watch the tape it's pretty self-explanatory."
(CAN YOU OVERCOME STUFF LIKE THIS?) "Yeah, but you can't do it with only nine more races to go. That's been my concern all along about this and it happened to us in the first race."
(WERE YOU AFRAID THAT SOMETHING LIKE THIS WOULD HAPPEN?) "You know it can happen. Its just part of racing. I don't know what everybody wants me to say right now. We're leaving here early because we've got a tore up race car that we got involved in somebody else's wreck. That's just part of our sport. It's what happens."
(DO YOU THINK THIS WILL HAPPEN TO THE OTHER TOP 10 DRIVERS?) "I don't know. It doesn't matter to me. I can't worry about what those other guys do. All I can do is go out and try to win the next nine race in a row."
GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(CAN YOU STILL FIGURE INTO THIS CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE?) "Talk to me after Homestead and I'll tell you if we can. It ain't over 'til it's over. It's just disappointing. We end up where we end up. But that's just the breaks. When you race with idiots, some things are going to happen. We're going to Dover to win. That's all."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We were just really too loose there at the end. I don't really understand why. We want to get back into the top 10 before we can expect to be in the top five and winning. So it was a good day today for us. I definitely wish we would have been a few spots higher."
(DID THE CAR JUST GET AWAY FROM YOU OR DID YOU HAVE TIRE PROBLEMS?) "Track position meant so much. If your cycle on pitting put you up toward the front and you are able to maintain good speeds and run up there and then when you're stuck in the back it's really tough to pass. I could get a few spots to get back in the top 10 but then you'd be out of tires and that's all you could do. It just didn't work out, but it was still a good day for us."
(A FEW OF THE TOP 10 COMPETITORS FELL OFF TODAY DURING THE RACE. DOES THAT GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO BUILD ON?) "Yeah, it's survival. Anything can happen. We have this track and Martinsville and Talladega and you've got to just be on your toes and take care of stuff. We didn't get a win today and we're not leading in the points right now but that doesn't matter. We just have to keep collecting points and keep going from there."
(WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON ANOTHER GUY HELPING OUT A COUPLE OF THE CONTENDERS EARLY ON IN THIS RACE - THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK?) "Oh really? I didn't have a clue what took place but you've got guys out there and everybody has their own agenda and everybody is trying hard. It's just no fun when somebody that isn't in the points battle makes a mistake and takes everybody out, but that's the risk you take. When all 42 other cars are still on the track and some guys are competing for a championship, that's just the risk that everybody is taking."
(IS THIS A MATTER OF KEEPING YOUR COOL WHEN THINGS GET LIKE THAT?) "We need to collect points. The whole mindset of all or nothing is out the window. We can't win a championship like that with just 10 races. So we just took care of our stuff and did what we could and tried to get as many points as possible."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We didn't have a very good run going today. We started out great, but it just went away from there. We never could really get a handle on it. We were very fortunate for that last caution and pulled out a 7th place finish. That's good. I'm happy with that, but I'm not happy with getting beat as bad as we did today. But I knew the No. 97 (Kurt Busch) and the No. 17 (Matt Kenseth) were going to be really strong today. So it's no surprise that they were where they were. We stayed close to them. This wasn't our best track and that's why we tested here. Now we're going to go to the next one and see what we can pull out of there."
(GIVEN THAT THREE OF THE TOP 10 DRIVERS HAD SEVERE PROBLEMS TODAY, WAS THIS THE SORT OF STEADY START YOU WERE LOOKING FOR?) "Exactly. When you look at those guys and their troubles and they have a long hard battle ahead of them. But for us, we needed a top 10 and to get up there and get a 7th in the end, I was very happy. I wasn't happy with our performance today, but I was happy with 7th at the end."
(HAVING SEEN ROBBY GORDON GET INVOLVED IN SEVERAL INCIDENTS TODAY, IS THAT MORE OF A CONCERN NOW THAT WE'VE SEEN HOW SOMEBODY OUTSIDE THE TOP 10 CAN REALLY DAMAGE SOMEONE'S POSITION IN THE TOP 10?) "All this stuff that's happening right now and the stuff that will happen in the next nine weeks is what NASCAR is going to have to look at to evaluate this system and whether or not it fares for everyone or how it works out. But it's just kind of something for us to wait and see."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 USG SHEETROCK/U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET - Finished 6th:
"Overall it was an excellent performance. The USG Sheetrock/U.S. Army Chevy was good all day and the guys did an awesome job with the pit stops, especially the last one when we really needed it. I was able to pass today and once I got to the front I stayed there. We needed long runs to make the car go and that's what we got. I hated to give up a top five at the end, but it's just a good feeling to get a little momentum on our side right now. When you come into a race without any practice time that makes for a very difficult situation. But we're learning -- we weren't good the first time we came here in July but we learned from that race. Ryan (crew chief Ryan Pemberton) made some great pre-race decisions. One of the key moments for us today came early when we did not pit during the second caution (lap 35).
"We gained a lot of spots by staying out (from 19th to seventh) and everybody knows that track position is so important at this track. The reason we didn't pit on that second caution was because the car was that good. And when you have a good car, you can afford to take some gambles. That was a perfect call by Ryan."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was a good day. We ran in the top five all day but wound up finishing 10th. But that last set of tires was just loose. We came in and put two tires on trying to win the race, but we were still just a little bit too loose there at the end. It was a good bounce back for the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet."
WARD BURTON, NO. 0 NETZERO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We started off really tight. The nose would chatter in the center on exit. It was pretty much what we've done the last few weeks. When we tried to fix that we'd just take the back of the car out of the track. I wish I could do a little bit better for Chevrolet right now, but we've just got to figure out where we're missing it."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was a good day. We didn't need that debris caution. We got two tires and so we were trying to fight our way home and gave up a couple of spots late because our tires wearing down on the left side. But the crew just did a great job calling the race. They got me out front and I led some laps. I'm just real proud of the NAPA team and the job they did today."