JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Involved in multi-car crash on lap 100: A LOT OF WRECKED CARS AND FLARED TEMPERS..WHAT HAPPENED? "I don't know! We finally got our U.S. Army Chevy handling halfway decent and on that ...
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Involved in multi-car crash on lap 100:
A LOT OF WRECKED CARS AND FLARED TEMPERS..WHAT HAPPENED? "I don't know! We finally got our U.S. Army Chevy handling halfway decent and on that particular run, it felt like a right front tire was going down on my car because it just wouldn't turn. I had a lot of steering wheel input and it just wouldn't turn. And I was up, halfway kind of high, and something happened right in front of me. I mean It happened in the worst spot because the sun is glaring there and you can't hardly see anything. All of a sudden everybody was wrecking. I was on the brakes, on the brakes and I don't know if the No. 38 (Elliott Sadler) went on the outside -- he went pretty hard. I had it cleared and then all of a sudden he shot out of there sideways. He bounced off of somebody and I drove him right in the door. It's just unfortunate. It's a long ways to come to have a day like this. We struggled a little bit in qualifying. You've just got to run all day and you've just got to keep working on it, you know? That's the bottom line to this. The guys are going to try to get us back out there."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 7 JIM BEAM MONTE CARLO SS: - Sidelined with engine failure:
"I am not sure, but she ran hot the whole time. The first pit stop we pulled tape and it was at 245-250 degrees but it didn't make any difference and we finally blew the motor up. We just haven't had a good weekend. We qualified 25th, we were better than this last time. We don't know why it ran hot. We had less tape than we had when we ran in the sun. This is going to set us back in the points really big. It is a long season so we will just try to rebound and get ourselves heading in the right direction.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 7th, falls to 2nd in the point standings:
"We ran out of gas early but we made it to pit road. But we lost some track position after that. But then we were just too tight. The car was really pushing and chattering the front tires and I lost a bunch of spots unfortunately. And then halfway through that long run at the end, the car just got tight. I think something just went wrong with the car because we were seven-tenths of a second off a lap from where we were the run before. So we'll get home and pull it apart and see that happened. But we had a great run. It was a big improvement for the Lowe's team on these flat miles (tracks) and I'm looking forward to Richmond and New Hampshire. I think we're really hitting on some things."
ON DROPPING TO SECOND PLACE -- 9 POINTS BEHIND MATT KENSETH IN THE STANDINGS: "Oh, it's fine. It's still way early. Matt (Kenseth) has had a solid year. The goal is to make it to the top 10 and then transfer. So as long as we keep that going, we'll be fine."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S / CARQUEST CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS:
"I'm devasted. We had a pole-winning car and were three times faster than everyone else in the field. We were penalized for speeding on pit road. But last year we came back from two laps down to win the race, so we were confident we were going to get back up there. These guys on the Kellogg's / Carquest team really worked hard and gave me a great car and solid pit stops. I'm harder on myself than anyone. I'm a competitor and I take this seriously. It was just a devastating day."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS: "We started off so well - the car was fast and it felt like we were one adjustment away from making it really, really great. But, then it just went away and then it just plowed, plowed, plowed after the shade came over the track. We were never able to get the car back to where we started.
"I made a big mistake, and made a bad car worse - lost a chance for another top-10 - and it hurt a few other cars as well. I hate it for Kyle (Petty), man, and the other guys that were caught up in it. I have a lot of respect for Kyle, and I want him and all the other drivers to have respect for me as well, and that ain't the way to get it. It makes me sick to have something like that happen. It bent up the car enough that it was just wicked after the crash.
"I was just hangin' on, trying not to crash in every turn and trying to stay out of the way of the lead lap cars and not put 'er into the wall. That's not a fun way to end the night."
TONY RAINES, NO. 96 DLP HDTV MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 17th:
"We had a good car today. We struggled a little bit in the pits today, but those things happen. We had a fast car at the end and raced well with the top cars. I was pleased we were able to get back into the top 20 after some of the problems in the pits we had. Nobody gave up and we're continuing to make progress. I know the communication between Philippe (Lopez, crew chief) and I is getting better and better. Especially in the last week and a half after the test at Richmond and then this weekend. We didn't qualify like we wanted to, and we didn't finish as well as we wanted to, but the we're making progress and our communication is getting better and better."
STERLING MARLIN, NO. 14 WASTE MANAGEMENT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 12th
"This was a pretty good day for the Waste Management team. We had a decent qualifying effort (16th) and managed to run in the top 15 for the majority of the race. There was a point there where the Waste Management Chevy got really tight and we fell back a little bit but the team rallied, my crew chief Doug Randolph made the appropriate changes in the pits, and we were able to drive back to a respectable finish.
"Consistency is the key in this sport and today's performance is the kind this team needs right now. We came to Phoenix looking for a good result and now we can head to Talladega with a little momentum."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 10th:
"I am real happy with a top-10. We were way off. I just can't say enough for the DuPont Chevrolet team. If it weren't for the effort of the team and never giving up, we would have been way way back. We got lucky that one time racing Jeff Burton so Mark Martin wasn't able to lap us. We stayed on the lead lap and fought for everything we could and got a top-10. I don't know how we didn't because we certainly didn't have the car to do it tonight.
"We were pretty good there at one point but we were just hit or miss, hit or miss. We needed track position like everybody else. Right there at the end, we just wore the right sides off and I was just limping it home and the fuel mileage helped us."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Race winner:
"This is pretty awesome for our GM Goodwrench Chevrolet team. We just never gave up. We didn't have the best car today. But we had the best car when it counted.
"At one point the engine guys thought we were about a lap short but there at the end, everybody fell off so much I was the only one running fast pace laps at the end.
"All I know is that since Richard has been gone (Childress, team owner, on safari in Africa) we are undefeated, I don't know what that means. (smiles and chuckles). I just want to give credit to the whole race team. Everybody has worked hard and turning everything around. We are still building. We lead the right lap tonight." (press conference transcript to follow)
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 9th:
"The pit stops were the high point of the race tonight for us. When you qualify as bad as we did, that is just unacceptable in itself. It is great that all three RCR cars finished in the top-10. We are heading in the right direction. The other two ran better than we did tonight but I am real proud to have the three cars in the top-10. We will keep diggin and try to get even better. It has been a long day, but we will go get on the airplane and get home and 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning and play with the kids tomorrow, not a lot of sleep but will be nice to have Sunday at home.