KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) -- Second straight fifth-place finish, top rookie NOTE: This is Kahne's 12th top-five finish of the season, moving him ahead of Dale Earnhardt Sr., for most top fives by a Cup Series rookie. Kahne is...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) -- Second straight fifth-place finish, top rookie
NOTE: This is Kahne's 12th top-five finish of the season, moving him ahead of Dale Earnhardt Sr., for most top fives by a Cup Series rookie. Kahne is chasing NASCAR's modern-era record for top-five finishes by a rookie (Kasey Kahne --12, T. Stewart -- 12, Ryan Newman -- 14).
"That was pretty exciting. There was a lot of beating and banging at the end. It was a pretty good run for us. I don't know what happened (with Kevin Harvick). Yesterday we were kind of bumping around out there. He was laughing and we were all having fun with it. It was kind of the same thing today. He pushed me all over the track. I didn't ever get close to him. I don't know why he was mad.
On Harvick incident: "It wasn't quite as big of a deal as it turned out to be at the end, for sure. We were on sticker tires and we were trying to pass up through there. We were the first car on stickers, so that was working really well for us. I was on the outside of him, and he pushed me up a couple times down in turns three and four. And then the race was over, and he finished fourth and I finished fifth and it was over. When we went down in turn one I rubbed him a little bit, and just gave him peace or whatever -- just a normal after-the-race thing and he just started blasting me. He was just a little high strung. That was the last time I ran into him, other than when we ran into him over here (on pit road).
Yesterday we were all kind of bumping around out there. He was laughing, and we were all having fun with it. I don't know. It was kind of the same thing today. He pushed me all over the track. I didn't even ever get close to him, pushing him around. So, I don't know why he was so mad."
How do you assess your chances of winning at the next two races? "I think we're going to run good at both of them. To win, that's tough. Obviously, it's not easy to win these races, for sure. Hopefully, we'll be able to run up front and put ourselves in the position to have a shot at winning one of them."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
"We ran good all day, but things just didn't go our way. We were out of sync on pit stops all day and couldn't make it up. Then we got that flat, but overall I'm proud of the guys. Everybody worked hard today and we made great improvements. I can't wait for Darlington. That's my favorite track. I can't wait to get there. We couldn't get a break today, but we made a lot of gains and got a lot better today. I used a lot of luck up at Richmond, but we're going to Darlington and we should do well there."
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
"The car wasn't real great to start with. I thought I'd have a great one. It was so tight it was unreal. We made a lot of big adjustments, track bar up an inch, five rounds of wedge, stuff like that. It took off and we got up to fifth and then we fell back. All those caution flags that came out kind of killed us. I couldn't set sail. It was a good top 10 finish. We won one like this here a few years ago. I guess it never rains in Arizona until we get here."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL/Mobil 1 Dodge)
"Our Dodge was running really well, but Junior got out in front of us and I think that's what made the difference. He pulled away from us, but coulda, woulda, shoulda. We'll go home with second. The team did a great job. We had a great racecar. We just came up short. We've got it going on, just a little late. The team did a great job fighting back. We look forward to the next two races, especially Darlington. We had a great racecar. We just needed track position and we had to get it first and Junior got it first. We're happy to come home with second, not as happy as we would to come home with first, but happier than third.
"I think we had a tire going down (early) and we decided to be safe and come in and pit. It cost us a lap, but the guys did a good job fighting back. It takes a great racecar to be able to do that. I didn't care about the weather. As long as we get to the end, that's all that matters."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
"It was a long day. I got under the 88 and he got into me. I was loose and when he got into me I spun out. He hit my right front with his door. I never let off the gas, but I knew I was still going to hit the wall. We didn't have a top 10 car, but we were headed to a top 10 finish. I thought we were going to get luck, but our luck ran out."
CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge)
"I told Jimmy (crew chief Elledge) I had a flat and he didn't want to believe me. I wanted to try to hold on and get a top five or top 10. I wasn't worried about wrecking. We went for it. I wrecked, and I hate it for Target. We had a good car. This isn't our year, but hopefully we can come back and get 'em next year.
"We had a left rear go down. The 8 got into the back of me right before he passed me. I don't know if that cut the left rear or we just ran over something. I didn't really notice it until we were going into one and two to restart the race. All the other cars were lined up on the inside. There really wasn't a good opportunity to get in the pits. We probably could have, but we're 22nd in points and had a lot of bad luck this year. I just wanted to bring the Target Dodge home in the top five. We tried to hang on and we ended up wrecking. I hate it because it was a good car, but I had fun today. We ran real well. I think this is showing what's going to come in the future.
"We started running faster after the 8 hit me. He ran into my left rear and carried me on my left rear for a long time. We pulled away for awhile, and the 8 came back and got by. I think the tire had a slow leak. I started weaving to get the tires scrubbed in to go, and it felt like there was a flat. I'd rather wreck than finish 30th. We tried and we wrecked. This track is tight and a lot of guys get into each other. I saw a lot of guys getting into other guys. There was just a lot of contact today."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL/TXT2Win MVP Sweepstakes Dodge)
On Darlington "There will be sparks flying, I can tell you that even though the lights will be on. But, the bottom line is that you've still got to race the racetrack. And no matter what the competition is, whether it's for points or not, you can only do so much at a track like Darlington. In a situation where it's so much give and take, you have to give and take to be able to get yourself to the end of the race."
Why did NASCAR throw the red flag? "I'm guessing it was probably more the gas thing than anything else. I don't think it really mattered one way or the other. Every car sitting out there on the back straightaway is just as equal of conditions of sliding around and potentially getting a hole in our tire. Probably the safest bet was doing what they did, as far as red-flagging us on the backstretch."