NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400 Daytona International Speedway July 3, 1999 Note: After 17 races, the "WideTrack Attack" has posted 22 top-five and 48 top-10 finishes. At the same point last season, Grand Prix drivers had seven top-five and 19 ...
NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400 Daytona International Speedway July 3, 1999
Note: After 17 races, the "WideTrack Attack" has posted 22 top-five and 48 top-10 finishes. At the same point last season, Grand Prix drivers had seven top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. Pontiac had four drivers earn top-10 finishes tonight -- Bobby Labonte (fifth), Tony Stewart (sixth), Ward Burton (seventh) and Ernie Irvan (ninth).
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "I like it without the yellow flags myself. Sometimes they happen. It was pretty good. The car was a little too tight off of turn four and we couldn't get a good enough run off them over there. The guys did a great job and we got another top-five finish. We were looking decent there for a while. The 3 car had tires on and he got me loose a couple of times and I tried to hold on and he and the 99 got by and then the last lap the 31 got by after the yellow. It was just one of those deals. It was a decent race car. We didn't have the best race car we needed. We'll have to work on it and get it better next time. All in all it was a good night for us and we came home with a good race car. That says a lot for here. We had a great run tonight. We weren't fast enough to be in the top three or four but we had a fifth- place car and finished fifth. The guys did a great job in the pits. It's a good little race car, we just needed to work on it a little more. Yesterday I was pushing a little off turn two and I thought I had it fixed, but I didn't do it."
Note: After 17 races, Tony Stewart has four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Those are the same marks Jeff Gordon had at the same point in his rookie season. However, Stewart has only one DNF and Gordon had five. Stewart is also sixth in the point standings. Gordon wasn't ranked in the top-10.
TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "I don't know if that was the key point in the race (contact with Rusty Wallace). We got a couple of spots there at the end. We got a real good run on him and would have went by him and he knew it and kept coming. He did what he had to do and we did what we had to do. You can't blame the guy for it. That destroyed my momentum at that point. That parked us. Everybody does what they have to do and that's what he had to do to try and protect some spots. I got a run and I sure as heck was going to take advantage of it if I could, too. We're doing our jobs. It was a good way to come out of this race. I'm pretty happy with the result considering the way we were sitting in happy hour about 30 minutes into it. I called Bobby on the radio and told him I'd go wherever he went.
"That's what our plan was. We got separated on the restart and he ended up on the bottom and I ended up on the top, so we just kind of had to go our own way at that point."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "The last two weeks we've been running seventh, eighth. We just had problems we couldn't avoid. We finished tonight where we should. Tommy (Baldwin) said we'd have won if the race had stayed green. I know we'd have gotten in the top-five. It's hard to say. People start blocking at the end and everything and you don't want to wreck anybody. We had a shot at it. If we would have had another four or five laps we might have won it. I'm real happy for everybody. If we keep being consistent the win will come for us. That was close (with Earnhardt). The 3 car must have just gotten loose down low and touched me. I know it wasn't anything intentional. That was the moment where the big one would have happened. That was a scary place right there.
"Tommy told me to come in and wait for his cue before I left. I left too early, so on the last caution with 11 or 12 to go they decided it wasn't worth the gamble. They weren't sure if we had enough. The strategy came in with the new tires and I just had some holes open up and everybody else had older tires. Man, the car was a rocketship then compared to the rest of the guys."
Note: Ernie Irvan collected his third top-10 in the last four races.
ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&M's Crispy Pontiac Grand Prix): "It wasn't bad. The guys gave me some really good pit stops and we used some good pit strategy. We did exactly what we're capable of doing every week. You've got to finish like we did tonight before you can start improving. I think we had a decent run. We showed we can run with them, but we weren't handling well enough to be up in the front of it. We've just got to get our handling better and I think we can run better."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "The car was real good. I don't know if it was capable of winning, but it was capable of being right at the front. Unfortunately, one guy has got to hit everybody and he took me out. It's frustrating. Anything more I say I'll just get in trouble for it."