Michigan Team Monte Carlo Sunday notes

KERRY EARNHARDT (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We got into turn three and there was a car underneath me and it took the air. We were real loose to start the race anyway. I thought I could hang on to it, but I spun out and hit...

KERRY EARNHARDT (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We got into turn three and there was a car underneath me and it took the air. We were real loose to start the race anyway. I thought I could hang on to it, but I spun out and hit the wall. The air got off the spoiler, and I spun around. We qualified for the race, and that’s the first step. We got through Happy Hour pretty good and just messed up in the race. I’ve got to thank Dave Marcis and Team Realtree for all their support. Being here with me all weekend has been a tremendous help. We’ve got a couple of ARCA races coming up we’re going to run, and we’ll take it from there. The Charlotte (ARCA) race was going to be the next one for this Monte Carlo. We’ll have it ready and try to go win the ARCA race at Charlotte. We’ll need a new rear clip definitely, and it’ll probably need a new front clip, too. It’s disappointing, but we’ve got to look at the whole weekend. We qualified for the race and had a pretty good Happy Hour. We just made a few changes in the wrong direction before the race. I went out there too loose and ended up loosing it, but we’re learning.”

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) “I saw him get sideways, and I was either going to hit him in the door or in the bumper. I think it tore my car up a little worse trying to go around him. He got loose and there wasn’t anywhere for us to go. It’s just unfortunate. We made a two-tire stop there and got the car up in good track position. It didn’t start out too good there. Those guys on new tires were pretty good, but then once we got going there a few laps my car was pretty good. I’m sure a lot of people were wondering what was going to happen with the 20 and 24, but that had nothing to do with this weekend at all. He was racing hard and it looked like he just got real loose. “I just saw the 20 car wiggle and it looked like it got real sideways. I thought he was going to save it, so I went up high and he came all the way around. There was nowhere to go. It’s not going to be a real fun day out there running around in that thing. It’s torn up really good. I feel for these guys. They’re working their tails off and we just don’t have things going our way right now. I thought I’d been praying a lot lately, but I’m going to start praying a lot more. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve just got to come back.”

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) “It was a good call by Kevin (crew chief Hamlin) and Richard (car owner Childress) to put four tires on on that green flag stop. That enabled us to run ‘em hard there at the end. I don’t think a Chevrolet would have been in the top 10 there at the end if we hadn’t done that. We’re just lacking nose downforce. We just push real bad. I didn’t see another Chevrolet that stayed up front with ‘em. We’ve got to do some more work. We’ve got to do a lot more work. After starting like I did today, it was a great run. I hated to see all the kids have trouble. Even the 1 car. They all ran good at times. Kerry got in a wreck I guess or wrecked himself. I’m not sure what happened. I’ll have to review the tape. It was a good day for us. Everybody came out of here alive and well, and Richard did a good job working on this Chevrolet. There’s a lot of racing to do yet, and we did gain on the 99 today. We did gain on somebody.”

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We had a fun day. We started out OK. We were really loose, but we thought the car would come around. It never did. It stayed loose for 190 laps until that last pit stop. We did everything. I’ve got to thank the guys for hanging in. I was ready to come in, but these guys kept plugging away, plugging away. We got our pit stops. We made a bunch of changes. We were 26th on that last restart and finished 12th. That tells you how good this team is. This team is good. We’re going to win races. If things go our way, when we win one, we’re going to dominate one. Today just wasn’t our day, but we put on a heck of a show for ourselves.”

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “I feel fine. Our car was pretty good, but we just weren’t very good on restarts. We’d lose so many spots on restarts and we’d make ‘em back up. I’ve never been to Michigan and seen so many caution flags. Most of the time it’s green all day, and if it had been that way today, we would have been fine. I felt good all day. I’m really glad to be back. We didn’t finish as good as we ran I didn’t think.”

GARY DEHART (Crew chief No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We can communicate a little bit better with Terry sitting beside me in the pits during the race like he has been doing, but Terry being here, sitting behind the wheel of that car and running all the laps means a lot. We had a pretty good car. We had a few little things wrong, but we’ve got our driver back and we’re going to put a big bumper on that Monte Carlo for Bristol next week.”

RICKY CRAVEN (No. 50 Midwest Transit Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We cut a right rear tire somehow. I was so up for this race. I felt so good about it, but nothing went right today. It bent the A-frame when it hit and messed it up pretty good. We really need to run every week to get good at this. We show strength, but it’s hard to put together an entire weekend.”

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We had a fast car today. I drove my butt off coming up through the field (Hamilton started 41st and finished 14th). The guys in the pits made good stops and kept us up front all day. I think we had some shock problems. The call to put two tires on at the end was good. We weren’t counting on the caution at the end, but that’s the way it goes. I think that might have cost us a top 10 finish. The program is coming together. I was happy with the day, but we had a top 10 car.”

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “Well, I just wish that race could’ve been about 20 laps longer. We fought handling problems for awhile but finally got the car pretty good. Too bad it took so long. We were wanting another top 10 here bad, but we’ll take what we got.”

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 01 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We had a battery problem that lost us some speed and some spots. We got that fixed, then were too loose. But it all came together finally. We lost the lap when the last caution came out because we couldn’t get around Rudd. But the car was so much better the last 20 laps. I could’ve done pretty good and passed some others if we hadn’t gone down a lap.”

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “It was a pretty tough day for us. We fought loose during Happy Hour and tightened it up a little bit. We loosened it back up this morning. The car took off there for about 10 laps. Something broke. I don’t know if a shock went bad or what happened. That was probably the most ill-handling car we’ve had all year. I don’t think we could get it to handle much worse. It was just a tough day for us. We’ll just have to go to Bristol and see if we can win.”

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “I saw him (Tony Stewart) out of the very corner of my eye. You don’t know how close that was. I saw him getting loose and I knew where his car was going to go, so I just had to drive it hard up the track. That was one of those moments when you feel like you’ve got eyes in the back of your head. You just react. That was close. That was wild. The car was good early on in the race. We led pretty easily it seemed, but then it just got tighter and tighter until it drove like a big ol’ truck. It felt like I’d wrecked it or damaged a fender. I just couldn’t drive it into the corner. It just skated. I couldn’t get on the gas as fast as everyone else. On the Robby Gordon deal, it was a freak deal. Our spotter was changing batteries on his radio. All of a sudden I couldn’t see anything in front of me, just smoke across the track. I went low and got onto the grass and just spun out. Even after that we passed all the lapped cars, but the engine just gave out. The temperatures and pressures looked OK, but it had no power at all.”

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We were looking good early in the race. I thought we might get another top five or at least a top 10 finish, but it wasn’t meant to be today. Winning one week and not finishing the next obviously isn’t the consistency we’re looking for. We’ll try it again next week at Bristol.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Robby Gordon , Dave Marcis , Michael Ho
Teams HART