Martinsville Team Monte Carlo Sunday notes and quotes

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) “Our car was pretty good at times and we were off at times. We had a good race car. I’ve got to congratulate Tony Stewart. He drove his butt off. Me and Burton were having a...

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) “Our car was pretty good at times and we were off at times. We had a good race car. I’ve got to congratulate Tony Stewart. He drove his butt off. Me and Burton were having a pretty good show behind him there. We raced awful hard. He got into me one time, but he let me go. It was a good race. I gained some points on everybody, so that was good. We’ve got to get all we can get and finish as high as we can. “We had a pretty good today. The car was a little off from what it had been in the past here. We adjusted on the setup a little bit from what I ran here in the spring. It was a better setup, but it was still a little off from what I wanted it to be. I was a little slow in the center of the corners. It showed there on the last run trying to catch Tony. Then Burton got into me just a little bit in three and four. It was just a little bump. It wasn’t a big deal. Traffic was a bear all day. We raced hard and raced all day long. It was just a Martinsville, Va., race. “What changes did I make on the last lap? Just a half pound of air on the right front and right rear. We pulled one spring rubber out at the first of the race and other than that, it was just air pressure adjustments all day. “Did the last caution take the race away from me? I’m not sure. I don’t know that I could have held Burton off for 45 laps. The 10 laps were better for me. I’d already gotten by them guys, so that last caution didn’t hurt us. If anything, it helped us. It was a good race. It came down to a good race there at the end, and that’s what it’s all about here on the short tracks. Save your race car and save your brakes. That’s what we did and we ended up in pretty good shape. “Bobby’s got to keep finishing behind us. We’ve got to keep gaining. It’s going to take a whole lot of gaining and a whole lot of him finishing back there. I know we didn’t gain a whole lot on him today (36 points), but we gained and that’s what you look at. If you gain anything you keep gaining and try to overcome it. “If I could have got to him (Tony Stewart) it would have been good, but I just couldn’t get to him. I was slow in the center and Burton was working on me. I was doing all I could to catch Tony, but I came up short. Again, I think the last caution was good for us because it gave us a chance to hold Burton back. I think if Burton had 15 or 20 laps, he would have gotten by me. “Tony had the best pit position. Jeff and all of us pitting back trying to get around cars and getting in and out was a little tougher. Tony just had a straight shot out. I definitely think he had the best shot in the pits. You’ve got to be out front to get in that spot during the race. You get back in the pack and you’re still pitting up there it still doesn’t help you any. I do feel like it did help him there at the end. “It’s a tough race track to win on. It’s a tough race track to race on. He had a real good setup all day. It looked like him (Stewart) and Burton had the best cars. Rudd was in there. I felt like I was a fourth or fifth-place car. On that last stop, we got after it and did the best we could with it. I think we’re all getting better at this track. Second is not bad, but we’d like to have a win. Gaining points and gaining points is what we’re out to do. If we can have some good luck at Charlotte. I don’t wish anybody any bad luck, but somebody’s got to have some.” “This is a close quarters race track, but it’s a lot of fun. A lot of guys looked like they were having a lot of trouble that they didn’t need to be having. There’s a lot of inexperience out there. It’ll get better.”

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) “I’m real happy with the results. It was a great effort. We never gave up on it all day long. We didn’t have a great car. On long runs, we weren’t bad but we just didn’t have track position. Those guys made a great call in the pits to get two tires and get track position and it ended up bringing us home fifth. It was real tight, and we’re going to do our homework and come back here and make sure we’re not pushing in the corner so we can have something for those guys next time. The car didn’t handle quite as good (with just taking on two tires), but we pumped the pressures up and that helped it a little bit match up to the left sides. We weren’t fifth for most of the day if any of the day, so to come home fifth I think it was a big gain. “I’m very happy with it. I wasn’t happy with the way we ran today. I think we’re much better than that. Martinsville is one of our best tracks and one of Robbie’s best tracks. We just didn’t hit on it and couldn’t seem to get it better. We just struggled, but I think track position hurt us. I messes us up in the pits one time and we just couldn’t every get that position back. “It wasn’t an easy day, but none of them are at Martinsville. It wasn’t a bad day. We fought hard and never gave up and brought home a top five. We jumped to ninth in the points. I’d say that was a pretty good day compared to how bad we ran compared to the way we normally do here.”

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “I saw the leaders slowing up, and I thought we might have a chance to make up a lap. Sterling was right in the middle of the track, and I tried to stop to keep from hitting him. A lap car ran into me. It’s a great race track. It’s a lot of fun to get out there and beat and bang. This kind of stuff is going to happen. We pushed real bad at the start of the race. I wish we could have stayed out there all day and had a little more fun. “(On final mishap) “I saw a tire sticking out there with no fender on it and I climbed all over it and went up in the air. It was one hell of a hit, but I’m all right.”

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We stayed around 10th during the first part of the race. The car needed minor adjustments. We were just a little tight in the middle. Then we wrecked. I got run by somebody. I don’t know who it was. We were good, but you’ve got to finish. We came out 30 something after the wreck. I tried to be patient and worked back up through traffic. “Then the right front wheel feel off of it. I guess it broke some studs or something. I’ve never sheered five studs off of it. I think the wheel was tight. It never vibrated. All of a sudden it just broke off. It was just some bad studs I guess or something like that. We changed a spindle and went back out. the team didn’t need another DNF. We would have been up there running for the win. The car was good. It just seems we can’t catch a break.”

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “What a day. The tailpipes got knocked off when I whacked the wall with the right side. It really didn’t hurt the car, but it almost burned my feet up. We took a gamble on two tires at the end, but we shouldn’t have. We should have got four for sure. I knew I was a sitting duck on the restart. But I still don’t think we could have taken the 20 and the 99. We might have had something for the 3. We also lost some important spots on pit road, but it wasn’t the guys fault. We had a bad pit box. Guys would pull out in front of me at 90 degrees or I’d get rear-ended. We did have some good stops that put me out first, but it’s the ones that bit us that count. It’s about time we got a good finish. We’ve run in the top five or top 10 the last four weeks but something happens. Hopefully, we’ll end the season well.”

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We had a fairly decent car, a top 10 car, and we finished 12th. That’s not bad coming out of Martinsville. The car temperatures were really hot for some reason. She was a hot tamale. The other problem we had was the car was tight all day. It was tight ever since we got here. I don’t know why since we were so good here last time.”

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “The race car was really inconsistent today. At times were were the best machine on the track. At other times, we couldn’t pass a soul. I was racing as hard as I could. We just had one of the strangest days ever at Martinsville. Something was up with our shock package midway through the race because I was bouncing all over the place. The track just didn’t go in our favor today. We were a serious contender until we spun out (lap 189) early in the race. We lost the right rear tire and a lap as well. After that, we couldn’t turn anymore. I guess when I spun out, I ruined the race car. It was really pushing me up the track. It’s a shame because the car was running well before the incident. Jimmy (crew chief Elledge) was telling me that we were running top five times. We put a rubber in the right front tire (lap 282) and that seemed to loose us up. Then we were hit from behind and spun out again. The race car was never the same after that. We were all over the track. It’s really frustrating because we had a strong race car where we’ve had success in the past. It was just one of those days where it wasn’t meant to be.”

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “At the beginning I was a little worried because the car just wouldn’t turn. The guys kept working on it and making adjustments. We got it right and gained quite a few positions on the track later in the race. I’m just glad we got out of here with a pretty decent finish. The crew never gave up and now we’ve moved up one spot in the standings.”

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We just missed it on some readjustments. We’d make it tighter and we just lost all the forward bite. We might should have gone with our old setup. We went to a different setup. We tried to mirror a little closer what Dale Earnhardt has, and we just can’t run that setup. We’ll go back to our stuff next year, just let it be slow for the first 15 or 20 laps and then catch them on the long runs.”

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Michael Ho