BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "We might have dropped a valve first. We thought we broke a valve spring, but when we took the cover off the valve spring wasn't broken. It ended up that we broke a piston. It ...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We might have dropped a valve first. We thought we broke a valve spring, but when we took the cover off the valve spring wasn't broken. It ended up that we broke a piston. It wasn't meant to be. Our car was pretty good today. We got tangled up there one time, had to stop to miss a wreck and lost a lot of track position. It was back and forth, back and forth. The car was pretty good and the guys did a good job. We just had another motor failure. Something happened in the top end and went down to the bottom and broke the piston. It locked up. We need to fix this problem if we're going to be a contender, and I'm sure they will back at the shop."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/got milk? CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 6th:
"It was a good run for us today. The car ran well all day and the guys had great pit stops. At least we got us another top-10. I was going for a top-five there. We came close. It was a good day in points for us. We're in quite a battle for 10th place back there. The points are a lot closer back there than they are up front/"
YOU WERE SAYING THAT IT WAS DIFFICULT TO PASS TODAY. "It's really hard to pass. It's real slick down in the bottom groove and you can't get ahold of the track very good. Ryan and I were running the same line. I couldn't pass him. I couldn't get him on the outside and I couldn't get him on the inside. I just had to follow him and hope he slipped, but he didn't."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We just missed it on the nose weight today. I've won here three times, I guess, in late models and trucks, and I've led here and run well in Winston Cup cars, and I've always run a lot higher percentage of nose weight. We had to put it back because usually that makes the car turn better, but we really missed it. WE left the fuel out of the car on that last run, got our lap back and we were in really good shape, but our official never told Ryan that I couldn't pit. I got stuck out there at the tail end with all the traffic and no tires. I hate it for these guys. I really wanted to get out of here with a real good top-five finish. The engine ran well, the car was good, nothing fell off of it and the crew did an awesome job. I'm going to really miss this MB2 Motorsports team and this Army car. I'm going to miss driving this Pontiac. I've been in that family since 1995, and I sure would like to pick up a couple more rides for the end of the year."
STEVE PARK, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"From where we started to where we finished, it was a really long day. I'm real happy for AOL and the whole team. The pit stops were great and I got track position. The car kind of got beat up, and I think I used up everything to get a 12th-place finish. I'm about worn out."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 2nd:
"Man, I can't believe this, to finish second today, a 1-2 for Hendrick Motorsports. I know that Rick Hendrick and everybody at DuPont and Lowe's were hoping they'd see this one day and to do it here is pretty amazing. I thought it would happen on a 1.5-mile or something, because I struggle here. To be able to pull it together today--it was a great team effort and I am so proud of this whole Lowe's team. This is one of the weaker tracks we had left on the schedule this year and to come out of here with a second today, it really looks good for us in the points battle."
HOW DID YOU GET THROUGH THE FIELD AFTER STARTING 26TH? "I started 26th, got spun out, had a bunch of wild stuff going on. It boiled down to being patient and going when you could and good pit stops. It was a total team effort."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 4th:
"My car was real good. The last couple sets of tires weren't quite the best sets for the day. Congratulations to Jeff [Gordon]. Man, I'm just tired. It was a long day. I love this race track, it's fun as hell, but damn, it'll wear you out."
DO YOU HAVE TO EARN THIS TRACK'S RESPECT? "Yeah, you've got to respect it. We have four top-fives in a row now. I'm just real tired, I want to go home."
TONY STEWART, NO, 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 3rd, his fifth straight top-five finish.
"That was pretty good, compared to where we were yesterday morning with the Home Depot Monte Carlo. Yesterday, I was praying that the throttle would hang up and we could stick it in the fence and get the backup car out. Zippy and all the guys did a great job of making adjustments and we just used two sessions yesterday and the car was even better today. I told Zippy that he and Jason Shapiro get the stars for the day, Zippy with the setup and Jason, our brake specialist, has been working on our brake packages and he just keeps making it better and better. Man, I've never had brakes last that long in a day. They were just awesome today."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DuPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 1st, his second victory of the season and 63rd of his career. It also broke a four-race streak of 5th-place finishes.
"I tell you what, I wish we could race at Martinsville every weekend. What a great day for us, a great weekend. This team is on top of their short-track game so well, and really all together are on top of their game the last five races. I really hate that we had that August and part of September like we did. I'd love to be up there battling for that championship, but that kind of took us back a little bit. We're just fighting back as hard as we can to win races and finish the season on a positive note, and this will certainly help do that."
WHAT CHANGES DID YOU MAKE? "We just needed to be out front. In clean air, it was a rocketship. It would just take off. We were out front the first part of the day, and we came in and took two tires. It wasn't so much the two tires, I got knocked up into the marbles between Turns 3 and 4 and lost about three or four positions and never could get them back. We stuck with it, though. That's what makes a great team is to fight hard through those moments in the race. We did. They put four tires on, made adjustments, made great stops the rest of the day. I was able to drive by some guys on new tires and once I got into the lead there was no giving it up. I didn't know if that strategy was going to pay off or not, but I sure am glad we stayed out. I felt like I needed about 60 or 70 laps with about five or six cars ahead of me because we were so good on new tires if I was going to come in and get four tires. Robbie said, 'if Junior comes in, follow him.' I looked in the mirror and saw he was coming, but I saw there weren't many others that were. I said, 'I'm sorry, I can't do it. Not enough guys coming.' He said, 'OK, it's all up to you. You have to take those tires all the way to the end. We have plenty of fuel.' I just tried to be smooth as I could and keep that lead. It was awesome. I need to thank DuPont, Quaker State, Pepsi, Fritos, Haas, GMAC and everybody else who helps make this Chevrolet what it is."