Monte Carlo Bristol II race notes

Jeff Green, No. 30 AOL Chevrolet Monte Carlo (pole-sitter led for 71 laps before being sidelined on lap 86 due to wreck): "It (the accident) just busted the radiator. We're not running for points. We had a good car. We were just a little bit ...

Jeff Green, No. 30 AOL Chevrolet Monte Carlo (pole-sitter led for 71 laps before being sidelined on lap 86 due to wreck): "It (the accident) just busted the radiator. We're not running for points. We had a good car. We were just a little bit loose. We were just kind of taking it easy and were still out in front of those guys by a long shot. It makes me happy for what I've got in a race team with all those guys with RCR (Richard Childress Racing). I'm looking forward to what we've got going on here. I have no idea what happened. Them last cars are something else. They turn each other sideways and crash each other to keep from getting lapped. And then we get caught up in it. Somebody turned somebody sideways and I couldn't get stopped from running into the No. 33 car (Joe Nemechek). That's Bristol."

Mike Skinner, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Our Lowe's Chevy was awfully strong. This is Bristol. Like I told those guys, maybe I need a different color underwear or sox or something. I've never been superstitious, but I think I'm going to get that way. If anybody can do it, those guys will get this car back out there."

Note: The Lowe's team repaired the No. 31 Monte Carlo, but due to Skinner's fractured left ankle, Jeff Green resumed Skinner's driving duties on lap 212.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 3rd - now has an nonofficial 308 point lead over Ricky Rudd): "It was a great run for the Dupont Chevrolet team. We did everything we could. We got out front there and led a bunch of laps. That was the longest run we had all night long. We just got beat. We did everything we could to bring this thing home first. But we just can't seem to find out way to Victory Lane in this night race.

"It was a good night for us. We're not going to complain one bit with third place - especially here at Bristol with all the stuff going on here earlier tonight. The first half of the race was pretty crazy out there. So we're fortunate to stay clean. We were right in the middle of a couple of them but managed to stay clean. Congratulations to Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick. They both drove their butts off and had us beat."

"We just got beat. Those guys were better on the long runs. We were pretty good for most of the race. I felt really good about it. I think maybe we just needed more cautions because when we ran real long, my car got tight and those guys were really good. I ran extremely hard trying to stretch myself in front of Tony (Stewart). And once Tony got to me, I knew it was just a matter of time, we had so many laps left to go that I couldn't even really block him. He was just a lot better. He got on the inside of me. I let him go. And then I tried to see if I could stay ahead of Kevin (Harvick), but I couldn't. And I just tucked in behind him and finished third. It was a good night for us."

Did your car get tight on the long runs?

"Yeah, that's correct. We were fighting a push most of the night. We freed it up and I think we probably would have freed it up more had we gone that long earlier in the race. But we just never did. We had so many cautions that we freed it up a little bit but we didn't free it up enough."

Do you feel like you dodged a big bullet tonight?

"Absolutely -- a bunch of them - especially early on. We were right in the middle of a bunch of those wrecks that happened. I knocked the front end in and that might have had something to do with our push. But really, we were very fortunate tonight because there were some big accidents right in front of us and right behind us. I wanted to be able to come out of here with a top five and we certainly did what we needed to do as far as the points are concerned. This is one that you just never know what you're going to get when you come out of here."

Robbie Loomis, crew chief, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "The car tightened up on us during that last long run for some reason. It was a good night for us. We ran hard, led some laps, stayed up front, and did what we had to do. We didn't lose anything in the points chase, either. So, it wasn't a bad effort. Sure, you would like to win, but when you can't you take the best you can get."

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 2nd): "Kevin Hamlin and the guys made great calls in the pits tonight adjusting the car. I got us behind a little bit early and then we had a bad pit stop. The guys made up for it and I made up for it on my end, I hope. These guys stand by me 100 percent. The GM Goodwrench car came up one short tonight."

Did the body damage done in the early part of race hurt the car?

"It seemed like it went faster when we wrecked it. But I'm sure it didn't help. If we had everything straight, it might have been a little bit better through the corners. But it's still rolling and this is Bristol. So that's a good night for us."

"Tonight started off just about like last night. I wrecked the front on the car twice and we got behind and we had to go to the back. But we worked hard and made up for it in the pits and we came back up through the field so it was a good night for the GM Goodwrench car."

Did you use the car up trying to chase Tony Stewart down early, or was he just better than you?

"I had to use my car up a little bit, but I think he was just a little bit better than we were on the long runs. The run before, 50 or 60 laps into it, he came on pretty strong. I think he got by Jeff (Gordon) there, and it looked like he had a pretty good car the longer it went. I think our only chance there at the end was for him to get stacked up there behind the lapped cars. But it wasn't meant to be. It was still a great weekend for us all around."

What happened at the start of the race with the your frustration with the pit stops?

"Well, we just got behind and then had a bad pit stop and then they had two great pit stops there at the end of the race. But when I make mistakes they stand behind me, and when they make mistakes, I stand behind them. It's just such tight quarters and beating and banging and track position means so much that you just get a little bit frustrated sometimes. But they stand behind me all the way, and sometimes I forget that."

How many close calls were there out there tonight?

"I think just about every lap is a close call. You're just up on top of the steering wheel every lap. There's just such tight quarters. The lapped cars are tough to get around here so you just have to pick and choose your moves and sometimes the lapped cars get going pretty good so it makes it tough to pass."

Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 7th): "We had a really good car tonight. I'm happy. We let some laps, gained some points, so it wasn't bad. We were just at a disadvantage by pitting on the back. It cost us a lot of positions.

Paul Andrews, crew chief, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Considering where we came from, pitting on the back, it wasn't at all bad. We had a bad qualifying effort and that was our fault. Man, I love Bristol, but I sure wish they'd do something about these pits. It penalizes a lot of good cars. The thing was, we easily could have been a top-five car if it wasn't where we were pitting. Every time we'd gain something on the track, we'd lose it in the pits because of being on the back."

Terry Labonte, No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 10th - Note: This was Labonte's 500th Winston Cup race in a Chevrolet. This was his third top-10 finish of the season): "It really felt good, it really did. It's one of the best, if not the best, cars we've had all season. We were close, I'm happy with it. We just were not getting enough grip out there for some reason. Maybe this will turn things around for us and get us heading in the right direction. I certainly hope so. We need it."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Jeff Green , Kevin Hamlin , Robbie Loomis