>From NASCAR Public Relations North Wilkesboro Speedway. First Union 400. Chevrolet notes, quotes TERRY LABONTE (No 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I knew I couldn't make any mistakes there. Our cars (Gordon's and ...
>From NASCAR Public Relations
North Wilkesboro Speedway. First Union 400. Chevrolet notes, quotes
TERRY LABONTE (No 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I knew I couldn't make any mistakes there. Our cars (Gordon's and Labonte's) were awful even. We beat him out of the pits and that was the difference. If he had beat us. he would have won the race. The guys did a great job. We had great pit stops all day. they did a great job with the car. It handled awful good for us. Rusty had us beat I felt like. I kind of used up my tires trying to get by him. I didn't know if I had anything for him or not. I thought when we got in traffic lie might have a tough time and that would be my only chance, but then you saw what happened. The car would go away after some long runs, It would wear out the right rear tire some and we would back up after that, but we kept adjusting. The guys kept getting it better for me all day long."
DARRELL Waltrip (No.. 17 Western Auto Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The car was pushing off the corners early in the race. We made some chassis adjustments during our early pit stops. and we went the wrong way with it. After correcting that, the car was running as fast as the leaders, but we had lost so much track position that we couldn't make up the ground. Martinsville is the next stop, the last of the short tracks for awhile, and I believe we can produce the results that this team has been working for."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "We weren't a second-place car yesterday. That just shows how hard this team keeps working. They put me out in great track position, and I just kept getting it. I was right behind Terry (on wreck prior to red flag). I saw a bunch of smoke up ahead of me. I was getting ready to put my nose underneath Terry to try to pass him. I saw that big wreck happening. I didn't know if Rusty was in it or not, but me and Terry just slammed on the brakes and went right through the middle of it. Somehow we got out of it. Sometimes luck plays a major role, too. I hated to see Rusty get caught up in it. It looked like it was going to be a great race right before that wreck happened, not that it wasn't a great race anyway. I could have put the bumper to somebody, but it doesn't pay to do that. I am not going to be doing anything somebody that they hadn't already done to me. I race 'em as hard as I can. Sometimes I get criticized for racing too clean. That's just the way I drive. I put the bumper to 'em just tapping 'em letting 'em know I'm there, but I didn't get 'em sideways. I worked as hard as I could getting to the inside of Terry. We gave 'em a heck of a run, and it was a lot of fun. It was a big day and a big weekend for Terry, and I want to congratulate him. I wasn't going to take him out by any means. I never had any plans to do that. I just wanted to get him fair and square, and I couldn't do it. We gained a lot of points. Terry was fifth, so I knew we weren't going to pass him. Right now, we're really happy. Our team deserves a lot of credit. You just can't thank those guys enough. I couldn't be up there without those guys '
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Monte Carlo) "I've got to hand it to David Smith and Bobby Hutchens and all the guys who worked on this car. They did a great job. We just messed up in qualifying and didn't get a good starting position. We just didn't have that first run edge. They had a little bit more speed when we first took Off. We sort of leveled out to 'em after about 15 or 20 laps. We adjusted air pressure, and I wanted to pull a rubber out of one spring, but we never could get it done. The car was getting hot, and the starter hung up and wouldn't crank. I had to turn it off. Then it vapored locked when we got going because it had been sitting there (under red flag) and the gas lines got hot. We got a third place out of it, and we keep gaining points. The bad thing is Gordon gained some points on us today. We'll get 'em back. We've got a lot of racing to go, so we'll just try to get 'em a little bit at a time. Our car just wasn't as good as it needed to be today. Congratulations to Terry. He tied the record and won the race at the same time. That's pretty neat."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 87 Burger- King Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "John Andretti got spun out there and we were ill Life clear and then somebody decided to go three wide underneath and pushed me up into him."
STERLING MARLIN (No . 4 Kodak Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The car was good on long runs, but we were tight on new tires. The front two or three could get away from us on new tires heat then we'd reel 'em back in. We took a gamble on that last stop trying to free up the car. It didn't work out on the new tires, and we wound up fifth with a car that could have probably won the race at the end of a long run. The car was perfect at first then it got tighter end tighter. We just couldn't run on new tires. We were just too tight. I got to Robert at the end, but we just ran out of laps. If it had gone green the last 80 laps, we might have been there. We had a good car at Bristol and had a piece break. This is the same car we ran at Bristol and now we're going to Martinsville with it. I hope we can get up there and have another good finish."
ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 33 Skoal Bandit Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Andy Petree had a harder job than I did today trying to keep me calmed down. I would light it up with the new tires, and he would come on the radio and tell me to take care of 'em. He really drove the car today. I was just turning it to the left. The track kept changing. Andy told me to drive it like I was driving on ice, but I haven't done a lot of driving on ice. The car was perfect the first 200 laps. The last 200, we were really loose. It was great running up front, but I'll be glad when they pave the track. We've had some good runs all year. We've run up front a bunch, but we just haven't had any good luck. That's our best finish ever, so maybe we're turning things around."
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We had a fifth to 15th-place car today, and our guys just made great pit stops. I drove it hard every lap, and we're just racing differently. We're racing with confidence. The car wasn't real good after lap 50. You take that over the course of the day, and that's where the other guys got a lap on us. That's three straight top 10s, and we could get selfish, but we're not going to. We're going to be thankful for what we've got. You can't buy confidence, and it's very important. We need to race with authority, and that's what we're closing in on. It's important to have guys around you that believe in you. The character of this team is incredible. It's fun. I honestly sat out there in the car this morning and couldn't wait to start the race. There have been times when I honestly couldn't say that. The attitude this year is that whatever we face we're going to face it head-on. Charles Pressley did a great job today. The first part of the race I spun the tires and didn't do a very good job. Charley worked on it and did a great job. We kept adjusting and kept getting better. When I was younger I used to race these races all night long after I got home and went to bed. I still do, but I'm happy with the way I've handled things. I'm happy with what we've got, but it's not overwhelming me. I want it, and I know if you get too excited and want it too bad, it's worse than not wanting it bad enough, I just want to stay focused and take a realistic approach."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 1 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Monte Carlo) "Everybody keeps asking me about tying the record, and I haven't had a good answer for it yet. This is the best team I've ever been with, and to come here this week with a chance to tie the record, I felt like we had a chance to be a real contender and win the race. Everything went our way all weekend. I didn't feel like we had the fastest car in practice. We made some changes on it and won the pole. I didn't feel like we had the quickest ear yesterday in practice, but we made some changes on it this morning, made some great pit stops and everything went our way Today. Our spotter is buying all the crew dinner tonight. He told them if they beat everybody out on the last pit stop he would buy. Those guys had a great pit stop. That made the differences. If Jeff would have beat us off pit road, he would be sitting up here and Dale would have been the same thing. It's so hard to pass, and the cars are so close together, and especially with just 15 laps to go and everybody had new tires. I knew I you there first. I knew I beat him by a foot.
"I was close (to wreck prior to red flag). I saw the smoke I knew there was a car sitting there. It was close. I knew it was going to come down between Jeff and I because he had caught us. Rusty and I had pulled away from everybody. Then we got in traffic and had used our tires up. Jeff caught us, and I knew he had got his car running better as the race went on. I knew it was going to be important for us to try to beat him off pit road." "We asked if pit road was going to be open the first time or second time or what (after the red flag). That was just an unfortunate mistake that happened at Bristol. A lot of times you make mistakes and learn from it. It was handled correctly today.
"We've got a different car next week at Martinsville. I was sitting there ready to qualify and Gary DeHart (crew chief), he's a great guy and probably the greatest crew chief I've ever been able to work with, he made some changes before qualifying. He told me he thought he helped the car and it should stick when it went down in the corners. He said if it didn't, I think the backup car is better than this one. The Martinsville car is the one we had on the truck this week. We raced it at Martinsville last year and finished second with it. It's a good car.
"I knew I couldn't give him (Gordon) an inch because he was going to take it if I did. I'm glad it was him behind me because I knew he was going to race me clean. I was going to keep my line. It took my car a little while to get going. We didn't make any adjustments on it for the short runs. We were kind of geared up for a 50 or 60-lap run. I was a little concerned there trying to hold him off. It was close
"I went as hard as I could, and the car handled good. I knew we could catch some people going into the corners. He (Rick Hendrick) said to be careful. I think he was telling Jeff to be careful, too.
We started out and pulled away good and then got in lapped traffic and the car went away and here comes the 33. Then the 2, 3, 4 and 24. We got where we could outrun the 4 late in the race and the 33, but there was someone to race all day."
RICK HENDRICK (Car Owner Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) "This was a special time for Terry. He's been so close this year. I think he think he could have won every race so far this year. Sentimentally, you wanted to see him do good today. I was just concerned there at the end that we might have another Martinsville where we totaled two cars. I told Terry to use his head and be careful, then I switched to Jeff and told him to use his head and be careful. Then I went down and stood in the 25 pit."
TOP FIVE SWEEP FOR CHEVY -- Chevrolet drivers combined for a royal flush Sunday in the First Union 400 at North Wilkesboro speedway. Monte Carlo drivers Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Robert Pressley and Sterling Marlin finished 1-5 at the .625-mile track. It was the first top five sweep by a manufacturer since Fords finished 1-5 in the 1965 spring race at North Wilkesboro. It was only the third time in the 35-year history of the track for a top five sweep. Fords also finished 1-5 in the 1963 fall race. Labonte's victory was the sixth straight for Chevrolet and gave the Bowtie Brigade a 60-45 lead over Ford in the manufacturers' championship standings after seven races.
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