Michigan Pontiac Racing post-race quotes

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON WHAT HAPPENED) "I just lost it down there. We were just racing hard out there. It was my fault. I just got down into one and I don't know why I got loose. I hadn't been loose down...


(ON WHAT HAPPENED) "I just lost it down there. We were just racing hard out there. It was my fault. I just got down into one and I don't know why I got loose. I hadn't been loose down there all day. For some reason it just got loose that one lap down there and I crashed a bunch of people I didn't mean to crash. It was my fault. I just flat lost it."

(DID IT CATCH HIM BY SURPRISE?) "Yeah. It's pretty surprising when you haven't been loose all day and all of sudden it jumps sideways. The guys on this Home Depot team...this was the best car I've had here at Michigan, so I was looking forward to the rest of the day."

(HOW GOOD WAS THE CAR UP TO THAT POINT?) "We could have won the race today."

(COULD THERE HAVE BEEN OIL ON THE TRACK?) "I don't know. Like I said, I hadn't been loose in that spot all day, so it was a big surprise to me when it got loose there."


"I just complained and moaned and groaned all day long. We could not find a happy medium with the race car. Either the nose shoved or the rear was out of track. To come back from where we at and finish top 10 with that vehicle today, I'm awful proud of my race team because we were, by far, about a 15th place race team. In fact that last caution, when we were 15th on the grid I said, 'Man, if we can stay there we'll be in good shape.' But I got Mark and Jeff (Burton) right there at the end battling them and that was good for us."

 (ON TWO-TIRE VERSUS FOUR-TIRE STRATEGY)  "We never really had the car good
enough to put on two.  Tommy (Baldwin) is a gambler and it paid off for us
today.  But we could just never find a balance between the front and the
rear.  We'll just keep on working and we'll get her next week."


(ON STRUGGLING THIS WEEKEND) "I'm just glad to be getting out of Michigan. There were times that I thought we were pretty good, but we couldn't run with anybody. I mean we could run with them, but we couldn't race with them. We just weren't there."


"We struggled really on Saturday. We just couldn't find anything I liked with the car. At times today early we were way tight, and I was afraid we were going to be because I was loose the other day and we kind of made sure I wasn't loose at the start. There were some portions there where we weren't bad at all. Then the last set of tires didn't go very good. But hey, we ran all day and we're learning."

(IS IT TOUGH TO HANDLE WELL IN TRAFFIC AT MICHIGAN?) "Yeah, unless your car is really, really good on one portion of the racetrack, and you can go there and pass people. But it's tough. If you've got to work against the draft a little bit it's tough. But the guys that have got the good cars, they can do it."


"We were just too tight all day. We made a lot - and I mean a lot - of changes. Then I got too loose so we went back the other way. We just searched all day."


(ON THE CHOICE TO GIVE UP TRACK POSITION DURING THE LAST CAUTION TO REMOVE A SPRING RUBBER) "With about 75 laps to go we definitely felt like we could run about fourth. We don't come to these things to run fourth. We want to win. Maybe we're getting a little bit greedy, but we decided to give up about 15 spots on the racetrack to fix the race car. While a bunch of people were bolting on two tires and other things, we took a rubber out of the right front and tried to fix the car. I think it paid off for us. Maybe a little more green flag racing there would have been better for us as a team because we were sitting there with four tires and a lot of guys took two.

"We're not afraid to gamble when we've got a good race car. We want to win on of these."

(HOW BAD COULD A TOP FIVE CAR HAVE BEEN?) "I guess a lot of people think we're getting pretty greedy doing that. But we've had consistency all year long. We've had cars that have been in position to win the race. I don't think we're ready to win consistently, yet, but I do believe that we're getting there. The days that we have an opportunity we're going to do anything to win the race. We're not happy with running fifth. I would rather run 10th and take the chance to win the race as opposed to sitting there to run fifth."

(WHAT IS THE TEAM CAPABLE OF NEXT WEEK AT BRISTOL AFTER FINISHING SECOND THERE IN THE SPRING?) "I don't know. The crew chief struggles there on Fridays. If I can figure out how to get us in the show, I plan on winning a race next Saturday night."


(ON HIS RUN) "I had hoped we were going to qualify a little better than we did. We didn't, but we had a good run. The Aaron's Pontiac was good all day long. We had just been tight, tight, a little tight, got a little better, and then at the end, kind of bad loose. It was bad loose at the end. But we needed to take a swing at it. We weren't going to win that way and we weren't going to win that loose, but I'm not going to complain. These guys on the Aaron's Pontiac did a good job."

(ON HIS ROLLER COASTER SEASON) "I think we've got a great race team. And now that Aaron's has stepped on board and allowed us to get through the year and MB2 getting us, I'm really looking forward to 2001 with the commitment Valvoline has made, coming in and buying the team and being the owner. I think that is something to really look forward to."

(ON THE RACE OVERALL) "There was a lot of great racing. I thought this race has probably been the best race it's been in a couple years."

(ON THE DECISION TO GIVE UP TRACK POSITION ON THE FINAL CAUTION FLAG PIT STOP) "We really felt that fifth was the best we were going to be, and we tried, and we tried and we tried, and did everything we could. In hindsight we look back, knowing we were going to lose some spots, but we didn't know we were going to lose quite that many. We knew we were going to lose some and we took the gamble. I told them, 'Go for it, because we ain't gonna win like this and that's what we're here for.'

"Actually that change was really good. Then the last change under green James (Ince) was getting a little tired of me saying I was tight, so he made sure it was loose, and we just went a little bit too far. The car still was good. If it had gone a full run we would have been in good shape. But it didn't and we were just a little too free, and that was fine."

(WHAT CAN HE DO AT BRISTOL NEXT WEEK?) "Hopefully one spot better than last time."


(ON HIS RUN) "We had a great car all day. It wasn't quite as good as the '2' (Rusty Wallace) and the '28' (Ricky Rudd) for most of the day, and it showed up there at the end. We were able to hold on to third, and I didn't think we would be able to do that. The car was extremely loose, but yet tight. We just kind of fought that all day. But all in all it was still a great day. We led some laps early. It was a good finish and there's not a scratch on it, so we'll take her to the next race.

"I just really couldn't get comfortable on the surface today. It just didn't seem like I could get a very good feel. I didn't know what I wanted. I had a few things that were the same from last race and a few things different. But it was close and a good run for us. We finished third which gets us another top five and we're happy about that."

(WAS IT A FUN RACE?) "It was great. We had a big time out there. Early in the race we were running real hard and all the way to the last lap. I tried to pass Ricky Rudd with my heart out there at the end - driving it hard, not driving it hard - all kinds of stuff. One thing about it: this place here makes for good racing. You've got good angles. You can run all over the racetrack. I ran low, I ran low, below the yellow line, up against the wall, so it was a good day - a lot of fun."

(ON RUSTY WALLACE AT THE END OF THE RACE) "He got four tires on that last stop. I thought we had him there. He might have caught us there at the end, sure. But then the yellow came out, bunched us all up, he had four tires and we had two, which was probably a little bit better than us, and he was better than us all day.

"I gave Rusty a big thumbs up. I know at Indy we kind of spoiled his day there. But he had a great day today. He had a great car. When that caution came out, it kind of helped him out. But heck, who knows? He might have beat us anyway."

(ON THE POINTS) "They're a factor everywhere. I didn't really worry about and didn't drive like I was worried about it, I guess. I tried to pass Ricky there at the end just for second place, and tried everything I could. All in all, we just raced today."

(HOW DO YOU KNOW WHETHER TWO TIRES OR FOUR TIRES IS THE RIGHT CHOICE?) "You never know. Right there at the end, it was the right one. We came out with the '28' and were going to run one and two. He was going to win and I was going to finish second. But the yellow came out and Rusty caught back up. Now he wasn't that far behind - a couple seconds - and he may have caught up in that length of time anyway because he had four tires. But track position is what we had and the yellow came out and kind of spoiled it. But we chose two tires and we're going to stick with it."

(WHAT DID HE THINK WHEN THAT YELLOW CAME OUT?) "I thought that we might lose a position there. I thought we might lose it before the yellow came out if he had come on real strong. He definitely was fast. I don't know if he could have caught us, but maybe. I felt pretty sure I wasn't going to pass Ricky, so I thought I was going to finish second until the yellow came out and then I thought, 'Well, maybe I'll finish third.'"

(HAVE THE NEW GENERATION TIRES HELPED IMPROVE THE RACING AT MICHIGAN?) "Last year the first race here was run with now caution flags and everybody said it was a boring race. The second race there were just a handful of caution flags - maybe less than five - and it was a different tire, and it wasn't the new generation tire, and they said it was the best race all year. So I don't think you can determine what the tire did from this race to the last race to the next race to the next race. It's just whatever circumstance is sometimes. Nobody plans it that way, tire or no tire. This tire is definitely grippier. It might be easier for some guys to get a hold of it, which might make the racing a little better, but at the same time, it's kind of hard to get a hold of sometimes, too. It's hard to figure out. I don't think it's dictated by the tire."

(HOW DOES HE VIEW A DAY LIKE THIS IN THE POINTS BATTLE?) "The way I look at it is that it's a good day when we do finish in front of them (Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett) because as good as they are, they are going to finish in front of you probably more times than not if you're not careful, so I still think we had a good day.

"Any day you finish anywhere in the top five is a great day, usually in the top 10 is a good day. Top 15 is still a pretty good day a lot of times because it could be easy that you could be 15th if you miss the set-up a little bit. Today we missed the set-up, we feel like, a pretty good bit and still finished third, so that's pretty good."

(ON THE TONY STEWART ACCIDENT) "It looked like the '20' car (Stewart) was really good down low and it looked a little bit loose. The '8' car (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) kind of hung down there with him just a little bit and probably took a little air off his spoiler. It was one of those deals where he might have been a little free and got some air off his spoiler, got loose and then kind of corrected. I don't know if he hit the '8' car. He might have been right behind him, but then got up into the '24' car (Jeff Gordon). Luckily I had already committed to the bottom, so I went by it. I couldn't see much after that other than I knew it was going to be big."

(IS IT A BIG RELIEF TO HAVE THE POINTS LEAD AFTER EACH RACE?) "Not until the last one. I ain't worried about it really. We go to every weekend not worrying about it. We worry more about that race each weekend. We don't bring it up at the shop or around my house until we get to the racetrack, and everybody around us brings it up. We just race every race like it is the next one. We're glad that we finished third today and we're glad that we accomplished a lot of stuff, and did the best we could. One bad day is going to make it bad for us, so we can't think about it like that. We just think about trying to make every race as good as possible. It's not at the point that we get down to '13, 12, 11, 10' (races to go). It's going to get down to '3, 2, 1' and maybe the last one, so we're just concentrating on each weekend and looking forward to every race. We know if we have those great days and finish in the top five, we should be OK. We should be doing the right thing. If we don't, then we lost a little bit. But hey, that's the way it goes. Today we gained. We might lose tomorrow. But right now we've got a lot of races to go and we could still do a lot of different things, so we just want to keep plugging along."

(ON THE PRESSURE OF HEADING INTO BRISTOL WITH THE POINTS LEAD) "It really doesn't bother me a lot because I've gotten knocked around there a lot there anyway, so I'm kind of expecting it. If it happens it happens. If it don't, it's just another bonus the way my luck has been there anyway."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Rusty Wallace