Phoenix Ford Clinches Manufacturer's Championship

Ford Motor Company claimed its 13th all-time manufacturer's championship by virtue of Mark Martin's second-place finish in today's Checker Auto Parts/DuraLube 500K at Phoenix International Raceway. In claiming this years ...

Ford Motor Company claimed its 13th all-time manufacturer's championship by virtue of Mark Martin's second-place finish in today's Checker Auto Parts/DuraLube 500K at Phoenix International Raceway. In claiming this years manufacturer's title, six different drivers scored points for Ford, led by NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Dale Jarrett. The driver of the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus has been Ford's top finisher 11 times in 32 races, which included four victories. Roush Racing teammates Jeff Burton and Mark Martin also played key roles in Ford's triumph as Burton scored points in nine races while Martin was next on the list with seven. Rusty Wallace had three races where he was the top finishing Ford while Jimmy Spencer (Bristol) and Kenny Irwin (Daytona) scored once each. The championship is the fourth of the NASCAR Winston Cup modern era for Ford (1972-present) with all of those coming in this decade. Ford's first title came in 1992 when Geoffrey Bodine clinched at North Wilkesboro after winning the Holly Farms 400. Rusty Wallace scored the clinching points at Martinsville in 1994 when he won the Goody's 500 and Jeff Burton did the same three years later at the half-mile short track after winning the Hanes 500. "This has been a great year for us at Ford," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "We won our first manufacturer's championship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season and this kind of completes our version of the daily double. We couldn't be prouder of all the teams who represent us each and every week, and we can't thank them enough for making us the best manufacturer in 1999." Ford won it's first manufacturer's championship in 1956 and followed that up with its second in 1957 before running off a string of seven straight titles from 1963-69. Ford's Previous Manufacturer Championships (Modern Era Only) 1992 -- Clinched at North Wilkesboro by Geoffrey Bodine (won Holly Farms 400) 1994 -- Clinched at Martinsville by Rusty Wallace (won Goody's 500) 1997 -- Clinched at Martinsville by Jeff Burton (won Hanes 500) 1999 -- Clinched at Phoenix by Mark Martin (finished second in Checker Auto Parts/DuraLube 500K)

Ford drivers who have scored manufacturer's points this season: Dale Jarrett (11 times); Jeff Burton (9 times); Mark Martin (7 times); Rusty Wallace (3 times), Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Irwin (once each).

Ford's Manufacturer Championship Seasons (13): 1956, 1957, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1992, 1994, 1997 and 1999.

BRETT BODINE --11-- Paychex Taurus -- "We cut a tire down. We ran over something on the race track with the right-front, cut it down and went up and smacked the wall. After the first pit stop we made some adjustments and, man, the car was really good. I was running right there with the third and fourth-place car and I was actually a little quicker than them, so we made the right adjustments. The Paychex Ford was handling real well. We probably could have had a good race today, but that happened."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- NOTE: MAYFIELD WAS RUNNING 8TH WHEN HE DEVELOPED TROUBLE WITH 50 LAPS TO GO. "What can you say? A rubber or something got up in the oil pump and one of the belts had come off and knocked the water hose off. I went into turn three and it just happened. I don't know how, it just happened."

YOU HAD A GREAT CAR UP UNTIL THEN. "We had an awesome car. I'm just proud of this team. We've been through hell this year and we're coming back. We know we can do it and everybody knows we can do it, and we're gonna be there."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "We started off real pushy in the center and loose off. We adjusted on it during the first green stop and it started to really come around. We were running them down and the first caution came out. Leaving the pits, I didn't see the 1 car and got sandwiched between him and the 60 car. That was my fault. But, we crunched in the front end and screwed up the tow-in. It beat the fenders all into the front tires. We got it fixed as good as we could under that second yellow and short-pitted and continued to work on it during the last stop. It was just a matter of getting all we could out of the day after the problem we had there hitting the other cars on pit road. It made for a long day, I'll tell you that."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Eagle One Taurus -- "It was an awesome run for this Eagle One team. Matt (Mark's son) won his race Friday night so he's got one on me, but this Roush team gave me a good run."

DID YOU HAVE IGNITION BOX PROBLEMS? "Yeah, I had the ignition go out once on the restart." YOU HAD SOME GOOD PIT STOPS TODAY AND GOT OUT IN FRONT ONCE OR TWICE. "We had a great effort. If the 20 would have had trouble, we'd have been the car to beat but they didn't. They were the car to beat. You've gotta have days like that. Some days it's us and most days it's somebody else."

IT WASN'T A BAD DAY WAS IT. "It was real good. I'm thrilled with the performance, I'm thrilled with the team and everything ran good. We just got beat. I'm not crying about that. I mean, I thought it was a spectacular performance for the whole Roush team. It was a great run. If the 20 car would have had trouble today we would have clobbered. We were really working well, but he clobbered us. Those guys were really hooked up."

WHAT DID IT APPEAR HIS CAR WAS DOING THAT YOURS WOULDN'T? "It would just go through the corners faster, it would turn better and it didn't get loose when it turned. Mine turned good, it got loose. If it didn't get loose it didn't turn good, but it was pretty good."

WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT BEING TOO AGGRESSIVE ON THE RIGHT-FRONT? "You can't win if you blow a right-front out and hit the wall, so to some degree. We're not countin' points anymore, but we still can't win if we blow a tire out. We had our eye on it, but the tires worked beautifully."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "It was a good day. We weren't good enough to win this thing, we fought all day. We went from being too tight to too loose to being too tight and too loose. We just never quite got the balance we needed, but not a bad day for us. You can't win every one of these things. I'd like to have led some laps and had a little better chance, but at the same time that's what we had to give ' em and that's what we gave 'em."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "We had a great race car. It was just one of those things that I've been talking about, you never know what'll happen. I was sittin' there leading the race and the car's in great shape and have a flat tire. You lose a lap and then it's a struggle from there. The guys did a fantastic job in the pits gaining us some positions. We had a good race car, the car just got a little tight there. It looks like it got a little cloudy and got a little tight at the end, but it's another top 10 so that's pretty good."

ARE YOU PLEASED WITH WHERE YOU ARE AFTER THIS RACE? "Definitely. I guess Bobby gained a few points on us, but not too many. We go to Homestead next week and do our job and if we finish in the top 10 that should pretty much do it for us."

DO YOU KNOW HOW YOU CUT THE TIRE? SOME GUYS ON THE TEAM THOUGHT YOU RAN OVER SOMETHING. "I guess, yeah, I'm not sure. I just know everything was fine and I went off into turn one and it wouldn't turn. I tried to make a couple laps to make sure of what it was and it was a right-front, so I guess I just ran over something. It's just one of those breaks that you have, but, like this team has done all year, they kept fighting back. They never give up and they got us a top 10." WHAT HAPPENED LATE? "It looked like when the cloud came over we got a little bit tighter and probably didn't go quite far enough on the adjustment. I thought we were gonna be OK, but I ran it pretty hard there and heated up the right-front trying to catch those guys. We didn't work with the car much, it was pretty good from the start."

A TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE? "It's just one of those things. Those are the type of things you have to do and have to fight through and our guys have done that all year."

IS IT HARD TO KEEP RACING MENTALLY AFTER A BREAK LIKE THAT? "No, I think you chalk that up to something that's gonna happen and things that you have to overcome. That's what good teams are made of and these guys knew we had to have some pretty good pit stops there to get us back into the top 10 and they performed that and that's what wins you championships."

HOW HARD DID YOU HAVE TO RUN TO GET BACK UP THERE? "Pretty hard. The set of tires before this last set wasn't as good as I would have like to have had. If I could have had a pretty good set right then...it just didn't match up well for me, so I was a little slower then than I wanted to be. I drove the car pretty hard. We knew we needed to get back somewhere close to the 18."

CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus -- "Not a bad day at all, we're pleased. We've still got some work to do, obviously. There's no consistency with us, I guess that's the biggest problem, but starting where we did we got up to 10th at one time, so it was decent. The pit stops were OK all day long. I didn't get in and out very good on the last stop, which hurt us a little bit but, nonetheless, it was a good day for the John Deere Ford."

DID YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES PRIOR TO THE RACE BECAUSE YOU STARTED THE RACE OFF VERY STRONG? "No, I just couldn't get qualified mainly. I couldn't find what I needed for one lap, but as soon as we went out for that morning practice we were decent."

MICHAEL MCSWAIN, Crew Chief --10-- Tide Taurus -- "We didn't win. We were running third on that last pit stop and had a lugnut hang on the right-front, so we lost. Instead of a 16 or 17 second stop we had a 21-second stop. I don't know if we could have caught the 20 or not, but that cost us our shot."

DID YOU HAVE THE CAR SETUP FOR LONG RUNS? "We were better on long runs. We were close, but we just weren't good enough."

DID YOU THINK MIDWAY THROUGH THE RACE THAT YOU COULD WIN? "Oh yeah. I mean, we ran in the top five or top seven all day long and with Ricky that's good because he usually doesn't turn it on until the end. We're not happy but we are happy."

JIMMY SPENCER --23-- Team Winston Taurus -- "It wasn't the day we needed. We made some adjustments on the car and it's tough. That put us to the rear of the field both times and there were no cautions really today to amount to anything. It's a rarity here for Phoenix, but we had a lot better car than 17th. I really feel we had a solid top 10 car. We led the race for awhile. We were getting good gas mileage and we were just hoping that a caution came out. You've gotta take those chances and I agree with what they did. We probably could have still stayed out another eight or 10 laps. That might have cost us a few positions, but if a caution did come out it would have really put us solidly in the top 10 and possibly the top five."

DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus -- "It was a building-block sort of day. We had a car that was pretty good 90 percent of the time. We got too far behind at the start of the first run, but we kept making little adjustments and they all helped."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett , Rusty Wallace , Geoffrey Bodine , Jimmy Spencer , Mark Martin