FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pocono 500, June 20, 1999 Pocono Raceway 99 JEFF BURTON - Exide Batteries Taurus -- "The 25 car, I was coming off the tunnel turn, I was under him and I guess he got tight and he had...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pocono 500, June 20, 1999 Pocono Raceway
99 JEFF BURTON - Exide Batteries Taurus -- "The 25 car, I was coming off the tunnel turn, I was under him and I guess he got tight and he had to get out of the gas and when he did I just didn't get slowed down enough. I was right up under him and I wasn't anticipating him having to get out of the gas. It's my fault. It's not the guy in the front, it's the guy in the backs fault. I just wasn't anticipating him having to get out of the gas and I ran into him, so I apologize to them and everybody else involved."
2 RUSTY WALLACE - Miller Lite Taurus - "I was coming down the front straightaway going into one and the right-front tire just blew out and when it blew, man, it just sailed in the wall. I was running at least 200 mph going into that corner when it happened, so it was a bad wreck. I can't even believe the car is even fixable. They're trying to get it back in right now, but I don't know." WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT YOU AND BURTON WOULD BOTH HAVE TROUBLE THIS EARLY? "Yeah, I can't believe it because when they had their wreck, I got past it and I said maybe it's gonna be my day because that was a tough one to get through. When I got through it I thought we were OK, and then I came down the front straightaway, shifted into overdrive, and at just about that time it blew. That was it." "I'm OK. I had just gone into overdrive and was turning off into one and the right-front tire blew and that was about it. There was no warning. We had a concern that I might have had a little bit of a flat spot after getting on the brakes so hard trying to avoid that crash with Burton and the 25, but I don't know if that had anything to do with it. On the restart I had no vibration and everything was fine, and then all of a sudden the tire blew out, so who knows."
77 ROBERT PRESSLEY - Jasper Engines Taurus -- "I think something blew up there and busted our transmission cooler and going around through there we just blew it up. It's just one of them deals." WHAT HAPPENED TO MAKE YOU HIT THE WALL? DID YOU GET HIT FROM BEHIND? "No, I think it just locked up on us." WHAT PUT YOU OUT OF THE RACE? "Something flew up there after Dave (Marcis) hit the wall over there in the back and we ran over it and it cut our transmission cooler in half. We lost oil out of it and I think eventually we burned it up. Not even these Jasper transmissions can run without oil."
66 DARRELL WALTRIP - Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus - "I don't know if he's a rookie anymore or not. You'd think somebody I helped as much as I did Park that he wouldn't run into the back of me, but he just went into the corner and lifted me off the ground and spun me around. It's the end of my day. It's frustrating. I was kind of minding my manner and stayed out of trouble all day. We had the fuel mileage thing figured out and we weren't gonna have to stop again, but sometimes people with fast cars don't do too good." "Park ran into the back of me down there and got me in the air and lifted me off the ground...turned me around backwards and hit the wall. It's too bad. The Big Kmart car was running good. We were gonna make it on fuel. That was our plan and I think we would have had a decent finish, but young guys get impatient sometimes."
26 JOHNNY BENSON - Cheerios Taurus - "I went into the corner, a normal deal, and I saw some smoke come out of the 40 car, he was right in front of me. The next thing I know I was swapping ends. I don't know. I had been good through that corner all day long, so it just felt like there was fluid on the track. There again, I don't know. The car just took off backwards on me. I was OK, then, Ward came by and hit me. I was just spinning and he really had no where to go."
6 MARK MARTIN - Valvoline/Cummins Taurus - "I hated to see those cautions come out there at the end. We weren't very good on restarts for a few laps. We couldn't be Bobby (Labonte). Man, I tell you who would have won that race -- Jimmy Spencer. If there hadn't have been oil in that corner, he could have won that race and I would have been cheering for him. If I could have gotten by him when I made my run at him, we might have had a chance to win it, but then you had all the cautions and everything went out the window anyway. Old Jimmy did a great job. Man, he was so fast in the corners and then somebody put some oil down and he hit it and lost the lead."
23 JIMMY SPENCER - Team Winston Taurus - "We had a loose lugnut that cost us a lap, but we got it back. Then when we were leading the race the car was really good by itself. Anybody that was leading the race was in good shape. You needed to be in the lead because of the aerodynamics. We hit oil in the tunnel turn and fell back to third. I was pretty hard on my tires too. They had three or four laps less on their tires than I did, but I was happy with that. I feel like we had an opportunity to win." "I realized I had some of the best drivers in the world to beat, they were right behind me. They all raced me good. It was a good clean race for me on that end. I just came up short with Team Winston, but we've always got next week at Sears Point." DO YOU THINK YOU HAD A CHANCE IF YOU DIDN'T HIT THE OIL? "That's what you consider racing. I think I had a chance. I can't give up on it by any means. Man, they had some strong cars down the straightaway. They could really beat me bad there at the end of the straightaway, so it would have been tough to hold. I wanted no cautions the rest of the way. That was the advantage to me, but when we kept getting those cautions it was taking the advantage away. We weren't a factor in this race all day and to get back in that situation that we were, I don't know where we finished, it just felt good to lead the race with 15 laps to go and be a contender. That really pumps my crew up. I think that's important and that's what we need to do right now is get the confidence level back of everyone on this team." WOULD YOU TAKE A MORAL VICTORY AT THIS POINT? "This is definitely a moral victory. The guys did good. The pit stops were good, the calls were real good, the car performed well. All in all, everything went really good for the day. We didn't finish where we wanted, but we finished pretty decent." WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE TODAY? "I don't know. We were just getting down on ourselves. We're really pounding on one another more than we need to. We want to do the best we can and maybe we're putting too much pressure on ourselves, I don't know. The guys are working really hard and we're working as hard as anybody in this garage area. We're working as hard as the guy trying to win the race, we're no different they are, so it's one of those situations where I think it helped a whole lot for every guy on this team, including me." HOW DID IT FEEL TO BE LEADING AND HEARING THE CHEERS FROM THE CROWD? "It was really special. When I came by my spotter said, 'You oughta see this crowd, they're going crazy.' That makes you feel good that they know you're out there and that you're from Pennsylvania. I couldn't believe it. I said to myself, 'There are only 15 laps to go and we're leading this race.' We hit some oil over there in the tunnel turn, but I still don't think we were good enough to win the race, but we were gonna give it our all."
94 BILL ELLIOTT - McDonald's Taurus - WHAT HAPPENED? "I don't know. It just started running bad and then it blew up. It was just one of those days. We weren't bad. We were real tight and kept fooling around with the car, but we got way back. It was just a bad day."
75 TED MUSGRAVE - Remington Arms Taurus - "We made a lot of adjustments during the day, but the weather changed a lot today. I was glad it was over because we couldn't keep up with the weather change. We'd take two steps forward and then have to go three steps back because the weather got cooler and cooler and the car got tighter. Our car was really good in the beginning. I got involved in that little incident right away with everybody. I went through the grass and missed Jeff Burton and got track position taken away, but as we went on we were as fast as the leaders at a point. Then, the weather started cooling down and my car's handling kind of went away a little bit. We'll take this. We need to keep going. If this is a bad day for us I'd be happy." YOU AVOIDED ANOTHER WRECK TOO LATER ON. "It's kind of amazing Pocono got that wild. What I think it is is the competition is just so close right now that everybody is just getting closer and tighter together and things happen. Like I said, I've never seen Pocono this wild. I did have to spin once to miss running in the back of Bill Elliott and try to miss Michael Waltrip spinning up there. I clipped him just a little bit and spun on the infield with no damage really to the car. There were a lot of close calls, but I'm glad we brought it home."
28 KENNY IRWIN - Texaco Havoline Taurus - "It was a long day. The race actually kept coming back to us with all the yellows and cautions. For a while there I thought we were gonna finish 11th or 12th and then there was another wreck with about five or six to go over the tunnel turn and I had to go through the grass. The messed up the front-end valance and that's how we ended up 18th." DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE AT MARTINSVILLE OR BRISTOL TODAY? "I'm telling you. One week you think everybody gives and takes, and, today, everybody was done giving and everybody was just taking."
10 RICKY RUDD - Tide Taurus - "We ended up 15th and I felt like should have ended up 10th to 12th. A couple of slow pit stops didn't help us. We had a problem on the rear tire, I'm not sure exactly what happened. Right there at the end, I'm not really sure. They got bottle-necked and had that wreck and all that. It seemed like we ran out of time at the end." WHAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY DOWN THE STRETCH? "We kept fighting a push and then we'd loosen it up and then get it too loose. Every set of tires we kept missing it one way or the other. We never did get it hooked up like we needed to be. We just survived all day and hung in there, it wasn't anything fancy. This is our second-best finish of the year, so I guess in that respect it's good." WHAT WAS GOING ON OUT THERE? "I think the track kind of lures you to sleep. You don't realize you're running that fast, especially over the tunnel. It seems like you're going at Martinsville speed and you're quite a bit quicker than that."
12 JEREMY MAYFIELD - Mobil 1 Taurus - "Once the nose got punched in it really changed the handling. The car really tightened up. We got some tape over the front end, but we couldn't keep the tape down, so we kept trying to loosen it up. I seemed to be OK until I got into a lot of traffic or right behind somebody. We had a pretty good car, except for that. Even though it was aero tight, Peter (Sospenzo, crew chief) and the guys made some good calls in the pits and we had some good stops. They got the car as good as they could get it under the circumstances and, at one time, it looked like we were headed for a really good finish. We're back in the top 10 of the points now, and we've been running pretty consistent."
88 DALE JARRETT - Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus - "We had a good car. Things went well, but all of the cautions at the different times got everything fouled up as far as pitting. Those guys went a long way on fuel. We couldn't go that far, so that's why we stayed out there the one time. I thought we were gonna be in better shape tire-wise, but my car really got to pushing as it clouded up and got a little bit cooler, but it was a good race." THERE WAS A LOT OF THREE-WIDE RACING. "It was exciting. The fans should have liked this race. This is a good race track to race on." WHAT WAS YOUR PIT STRATEGY ON THE LAST STOP? "We had to come in for gas, so we went ahead and got tires because we thought it was gonna be to our advantage, but we couldn't go as far as those guys." DID YOU THINK YOU COULD GET THIRD? "I wasn't sure. Certainly, whenever those guys all stayed out I didn't think I would have time, but as things shook out I thought I was in really good shape. But, then we picked up a real push as it got cloudy and cooler. It was a pretty good day. We would have liked to have won, but we'll take third." IT SEEMED LIKE YOU HAD THE BEST CAR EARLY. "We were good and, at different times, we would get to pushing and we just had to chase the race track a little bit. We just got too tight there at the end. The right-front just wouldn't hold like I wanted it to, so it didn't allow me to get up there. Bobby Labonte had a good car also, so congratulations to him."
DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE YOU WERE STRONG IN THE BEGINNING AND THEN EVERYONE CAUGHT YOU. WHAT HAPPENED? "Yeah, that was when the sun was out. My car was a little bit better then. We just got too tight at the end and I probably contributed to that a little bit. I knew we were way back after those guys pitted. We had to stay out the one time because we couldn't make it. We discussed it, but we could not make it so we stayed out and then we had to come in the next time. I don't know how far back we were, but there were a lot of cars in front. The car was awful good at the beginning and I probably ran it a little too hard and used a little too much brake. I heated the right-front up at times and when it got down to the end I just didn't have enough left for them. If it would have been sunny at the end, it may have been a little different story but I just didn't have enough to get off the corner with those guys." YOU CAME OUT 16TH AFTER THE PIT STOP AND GOT TO THIRD. IF IT HAD STAYED GREEN COULD YOU HAVE GOTTEN THE LEAD? "It probably would have worked a little more to our advantage if it had stayed green because we had four fresher tires than those guys, but the tire was so good. It wasn't falling off that much if you had a pretty good car and with it cooling off it probably wasn't gonna hurt them quite as bad as what it maybe would have earlier in the day. It's hard to say. When I came back out and was way back there I said, 'This is not gonna be a good day.' But, as it turned out, it was pretty good." WITH BURTON GOING OUT EARLY, DID THAT AFFECT HOW YOU DROVE? "It maybe should have, but, no. I got myself in positions that I thought I shouldn't have a few times. I was three-wide more here today than I ever remember and wanted to be, but it was just how the racing was. The 18 car still concerns me a lot. I mean, he's winning races and he's led almost every race we've had. I think they're pretty dangerous themselves, so we had to continue to race them and do what we could, so it really didn't change anything. We're still way too early to start letting that stuff affect us. The guy sitting over here to my left (Jeff Gordon) is still in this championship battle and if we start getting conservative or something, who knows what could happen, but it's not even close to that time. I don't even know how you do that because we've never been in a position to do that. We're just racing to win." THIS YEAR GUYS ARE CHASING YOU. HOW DOES THAT FEEL? IS IT MORE COMFORTABLE? "I like the scenario better that he goes home and cusses me instead of me going home and cussing him. That sounds a lot better. I mean, we've known what it's like the last few years to really run good and not gain any points. That's the same thing that's happening now. We're on a good roll right now and, hopefully, we can continue that. We'll enjoy it while we can. I don't know how long it will last."
21 ELLIOTT SADLER - Citgo Taurus - "I think it's a pretty good day because we finished in the top 20. I hit the wall and kind of messed up the car a little bit, but other than that, we had a real good day. I'm just happy we came away with the car in one piece and I learned a lot here in my first trip to Pocono. I think we'll be a whole lot better when we come back."