Monte Carlo Talladega II race notes

Ron Hornaday, No. 14 Conseco Chevrolet Monte Carlo What put you behind the wall? "My stupidity, I guess. We had a real good car. We needed to make it up I in the pits but I just drove it in and overshot the pit putting on the brakes. I had to...

Ron Hornaday, No. 14 Conseco Chevrolet Monte Carlo

What put you behind the wall?
"My stupidity, I guess. We had a real good car. We needed to make it up I in the pits but I just drove it in and overshot the pit putting on the brakes. I had to put it in reverse and I jumped off the clutch and it snapped something in the transmission. It's my fault. These guys worked their guts out on this Conseco Chevrolet. I'm proud of them. They put this car together in four weeks. It was a real good racecar. The thing could get to the front and actually stay here. So I'm happy. If I hadn't made a stupid mistake, we wouldn't be here. But, I'm excited. I've got to thank GM and what they've done and what they've let us do here. I'm excited to even come out here and run as well as we did." (The No. 14 team was able to repair the Chevrolet and Hornaday returned to the race).

Jerry Nadeau, No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Broke a right front shock on lap 80, repaired and returned to the track 4 laps down. On lap 149, broke left rear brake line and retired the car.

Michael Waltrip, No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Sidelined with engine-related problem
"It overheated I guess. I don't know if there's something in the radiator or what. I got high, and got out of the pack as best as I could. It just ran too hot for too long and this NAPA Chevy just finally blew up. I sure was looking forward to giving it a try and was really looking forward to being there to do it (win)."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Do you feel like you dodged a bullet?
"It was out of the drivers' control. I'm happy to get through here with a top 10 finish. The thing I don't like is that we don't have any control here, so anything can happen. I don't know why Bobby (Labonte) got loose like that, but somehow I got through it. And now we go on to Phoenix."

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate

On his day at Talladega
"It was pretty bad. I pulled in the pits and I spun it out. I got behind all day from there and just waited for the wreck.

Aside from your problem on pit road, how was your car here and the racing here?
"My car was so fast that it was hard not to race. We could just go through the middle of the pack and go right to the front. It was pretty simple for us to race, but we just got behind and never could do anything with it."

Bobby Hamilton, No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo

On the last lap situation?
"Well, I actually spun the No. 18 (Bobby Labonte). I went high and he went way high to block me. I had still a good enough run and I turned left and got up under him. Well he turned left to block me from getting out. He didn't know I was there and it turned him. It was pretty hairy. We got through there and I looked in the mirror and seen all kinds of hell breaking loose. I came back around to the checkered flag and checked on Bobby and he was okay. It scared the hell out of me when I looked in the mirror because he was up in the mirror pretty good. You know, I could have let off. Bobby could have not blocked. But it wasn't like we were doing anything stupid; we were just all going for it. I think everybody still drove a great race today. We were just going for a win on the last lap. Me and Dale Jr. both were potential winners and that's just part of it. We were all going for it. But I thought everybody did an excellent job."

Did you think you had the car to beat?
"We had a car that could have won the race. If I could have gotten by Bobby (Labonte) right there without having to lift, we had a good enough run to get by Dale Jr. too. But it just didn't work out for us."

You seemed to be the only car out there today that could run with Dale Jr.
"The RAD program (a cooperative effort between Richard Childress Racing, Andy Petree Racing, and Dale Earnhardt Inc.) has won all these restrictor plate races since they (NASCAR) made these rule changes and I'm real proud of them - the body guys and our motor guys in the shop.

"I had a blast. I think it's good racing right now. A lot of guys disagree and they want to go back to the old rules where you can't afford to let off the gas and everything. But the cars drive good - even when they're handling bad they drive good. I think it's still the best thing we've got going."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Note: He wins the race, and wins the Winston No Bull 5 million dollar bonus for himself and fan, Carrie Richter from Conneaut, Ohio

Tell us about the pass for the lead and win?
"Which one? We were beating and banging and carrying on. If I saw anybody trying to pass me, I swerved up in front of them and tried not to take myself out.

"But it was a rough race. I wanted to win this race real bad. It's the same race my father won last year and he won a million dollars too. We kind of backed it up and did it just about like he did. His race was maybe a little more exciting than mine, but maybe not. I don't know. We got to beating and banging there at the end. I had to run into the side of the No. 18 (Bobby Labonte) and the No. 20 (Tony Stewart), but they would have done the same thing I feel like. And we're sitting in Winner's Circle, so it don't matter."

Were you concerned when you had to pit for fuel and it put you back?
"I was a little bit concerned. It's harder to pass here than it is at Daytona. But we got a run from somewhere on that front straightaway and passed about half of them and got ourselves in position for the win. They kept on coming and coming and trying to pass us and working the inside and working the outside. Bobby Hamilton had the strongest car here today and I had a chance to get up in front of him and he pushed me. And then Tony Stewart pushed me. The No. 18 car took a shot at me on the back straightaway to get by and I blocked him. And then the No. 99 of Jeff Burton come up and pushed us. I guess I owe about half of this million dollars to Jeff Burton. I appreciate the help he gave me.

"My teammates - we were all working good today. Michael (Waltrip) had a little motor problem. It looked like he might be up there for the win. It was a great run for Kenny Wallace. He was up front all day long and I'm sure he really enjoyed himself.

"But we really needed this and we needed the points and everything else that's going to come along with it. We won a fan a million dollars (Carrie Richter) and she's got to be excited."

A lot of people stayed back and then came on in the end. Do you feel like you needed to be up there all day?
"I didn't want to take any chances on laying back and not being able to get back to the front. We laid back in the spring here and ended up trying to make a challenge at the end of the race. We finished sixth. I just knew I had a car that was fast enough to stay up there toward the front. We just tried to keep it up there all day long.

"It was kind of nerve-wracking - watching the mirror and driving in front of you - but we had to do it. We had to be on a mission."

Congratulations on winning the Winston No Bull 5 million dollars
"I appreciate it. I want to thank Winston for everything they do for this sport. They are a major cornerstone for the future of this sport. We really appreciate everything they've done."

-TMC-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Kenny Wallace , Jerry Nadeau , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Andy Petree
Teams Richard Childress Racing