DALE EARNHARDT JR, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (finished 5th) "Our day wasn't too bad. After a run like this, it makes the plane ride back a lot easier next time and something to look forward to. I was pretty happy with the car. We ran...
DALE EARNHARDT JR, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (finished 5th)
"Our day wasn't too bad. After a run like this, it makes the plane ride back a lot easier next time and something to look forward to. I was pretty happy with the car. We ran out of gas. That was tough. It was real hard to handle. But after last week (finished 34th at Rockingham), we wanted to come here and fight hard.
"I'm real proud of my guys. I'm real proud of Tony (Eury) Jr. and Tony (Eury) Sr. and the car they gave me. That was such a good car compared to what we've had here in the past. I'm very proud of the Bud team. We're looking forward to Homestead."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (top finishing rookie in 15th)
"We had a good race car. We started in the back. I made a mistake in qualifying. We worked our way up through there and Chad (Knaus, crew chief) made a good early for two tires. We had a fast race car and drove all the way up to ninth before that first pit stop.
"When we came in for that pit stop, disaster hit us. We ran out of gas. We got in the stall trying to get the thing to start up. On top of that, we dropped the jack before the left rear (tire) was on it and we had to get it picked back up and fix the fender and put a tire on it and drive off and that just killed us. That was the start of a bad day on pit road. By just being so far back, we couldn't catch up to the cars that we were pitting with to have a chance to make up spots on pit road and we just had a little bit of trouble on pit road today and it hurt us track-position-wise. There might be a second groove down in (turns) one and two and that's it. It's just really hard to fight back from that."
ON THE TIGHT BATTLE BETWEEN KURT BUSCH, RUSTY WALLACE, AND JEFF GORDON FOR THIRD PLACE IN THE FINAL POINT STANDINGS: "I didn't realize that much had happened or could have happened in this race. I was disappointed to have that happen. In the last three weeks, come crazy stuff has been going on and it's just really hurt us. I just hope that we can get things rallied back and come back to Homestead and be back on our game and get max points."
DO THESE THINGS THAT TRADITIONALLY HAPPEN TO ROOKIES BRING YOU DOWN? "No. I guess the end result - the finish - is something that you would expect to typically see, but the circumstances that have gone on have been some off the wall stuff (like) getting crashed by Mark (Martin) before we even took the green (flag) at one race and last week a hub problem. It's just been one thing after another that's just been off the wall. You wouldn't expect this kind of stuff to happen with being with such a big race team. I think the results might show it. But, as a team, we're looking at it knowing we need to get back on our game."