FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pennsylvania 500 July 25, 1999 Pocono Raceway 28 KENNY IRWIN - Texaco Havoline Taurus - NOTE: Irwin banged up his right knee and right heel when he hit the wall in turn three. "I'm OK. ...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pennsylvania 500 July 25, 1999 Pocono Raceway
28 KENNY IRWIN - Texaco Havoline Taurus - NOTE: Irwin banged up his right knee and right heel when he hit the wall in turn three. "I'm OK. I don't know, I guess I didn't give the 23 enough room and he wrecked me in turn three. That's how I see it. I'm sure he may see it some other way, but I felt like I gave him some room and he used more than what he had." "I guess me and the 23 got into it in turn three and I ended up in the wall and he didn't. I didn't think we were side-by-side, but I need to see the tape I guess. It's a bad deal. It's terrible."
75 TED MUSGRAVE - Remington Arms Taurus - "We had a gauge to thread the temperature up to the gauge for the transmission because here at Pocono you shift and use a little bit of an overdrive. That creates a little bit of heat, so we had a gauge in there to make sure it didn't get hot. Well, I didn't need the gauge because it broke off and dropped all the oil off. We would have been better off with no gauge, but that's the way it's been all year long for me."
94 BILL ELLIOTT - McDonald's Taurus - "I feel fine. My feelings are hurt worse than I am. It's just kind of one of those days. You struggle all day long and you get pretty decent there at the end and, man, I don't know, you race these cars that are a lap down harder than you do the leaders and it just ain't worth it." YOU WERE THIRD AT THE TIME, THOUGH, SO IS THAT A GOOD SIGN? "I hope so. At least it's a trend in the right direction. We fought all day long from the back and finally had something going good. The car was pretty decent. When it got overcast my car just got better and better."
9 JERRY NADEAU - TBS Superstation Taurus - "We tore up two cars this weekend that's not a good thing. I don't know what happened. All I know is I went in there three-wide and I got together with Bodine. It looked like he came down on me pretty hard. It's really hard to say what happened, but I hit the wall pretty hard." WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT WITH ELLIOTT? "I was on the inside of him and I was trying to stay on the inside when it looked like he started coming down. He just caught my right-front quarter-panel. I feel bad about what happened. I thought he saw me on the inside. I apologize for that."
99 JEFF BURTON - Exide Batteries Taurus -- "Part of the shaft broke off the transmission. It's a real shame because we had a fast race car. We've spent a lot of effort and time on our transmission and rear-end program and we know it's a lot better than it was. We'll have to get this home and see why it happened, but part of the shaft broke off the transmission. It's kind of hard to figure why that would happen." WAS BOBBY CATCHABLE? "He was catchable. I'm not saying we would have caught him, but our car was better on the long runs. We felt like he would move away from us and that if it would have stayed the same as it had been all day we would have run him back down at the end of the long run." WHAT ABOUT THE POINTS? "We took a big hit today that's for sure, but what can you do? You just go out and run the best you can run. When things happen things happen. We're working as hard as we know how to work and we feel like we're working smart. Our car is running in the front, so you can't worry about it. You do the best you can do. My guys are working hard. Everybody's working hard. We've got a great program, but sometimes things don't go well. When they don't go well, you just go home and try to fix it and make it better. That's all you can do.
6 MARK MARTIN - Valvoline/Cummins Taurus - "It was a hot one today. The Valvoline/Cummins team did a great job today. We had a good car, but it wasn't good enough to be about four of them out there, but they did a good job to get me in second. Then Jeff Burton broke and I just wanted to finish, so I backed off. I might have been able to beat Jarrett, but I doubt it. I just needed to make it to the end. I'm pretty proud of this race team. We dug in and held our ground through all of this and we'll emerge, hopefully, winning some races starting at Indy."
23 JIMMY SPENCER - Team Winston Taurus - YOU GOT A LAP BACK, AGAIN. "Yeah, but we don't want to have to get any laps back. If the battery didn't go bad I don't believe we would have lost a lap, we would have been contending for the top 10 all day. It's a good car. When you lose two laps you sort of know your day is over, but we still fought back and got one of them back and gained probably 15 or 16 spots. You have to do what you can because we're in the top 25 in points and, naturally, we want to try to be in the top 20 and then on to the top 15." THIS ISN'T A MOMENTUM KILLER IS IT? "No, I don't think it was a momentum killer at all. We ran really well and we know we had a top 10 car and that's all we can do. What happened to the alternator, I'm sure the motor guy put a good alternator on it and it's just one of those bad luck things." WHAT HAPPENED WITH IRWIN EARLY IN THE RACE. "I was all the way to his door and he just kept coming down. I was on my brakes all I could be. I tried to stop and he just cut across and caught the right-front corner of the car. I feel bad for it, but I was plenty far enough along side of him and he knew I was there. He made a mistake. I tried not to make it happen. I tried everything in my power. I slammed my brakes on, locked my wheels up and everything, but it was just too bad."
26 JOHNNY BENSON - Cheerios Taurus - "I'm not feeling too good. About halfway through the race I got some sort of stomach deal. We're not gonna complain too bad because we did struggle most of the day. We got lucky there staying on the lead lap and the guys did a good job in the pits and got the car right. Once it got a little bit better, it was still a pretty tough day, but it got better as we went. We were really good on long runs, but we haven't been good in the short run. We need to probably look at that, except for the places that go a lot of greens, but the longer the race goes the better off we are. It seemed we had a bunch of short deals there and they were just killing us. On the restarts I would get passed and then I'd have to go and pass them again. We're just missing something right there a little bit."
58 HUT STRICKLIN - Turbine Solutions Taurus - "I've really got a good feeling about this race team. We've got a really good group of people here. It's just a whole group of guys striving for the same common goal. They want to do good and run up front. Everyone's working together and they're really just doing what it takes to do well. We need to keep that going. We've got a lot of areas we still need to make gains on, but I'm pretty tickled with the run we had today." YOU HAD A CLOSE CALL OR TWO. "We got inside of Dale Jarrett on that one wreck when somebody got together with Elliott in turn three. I got to see every wreck, but it was one of those deals where you had plenty of time when you got to see them to kind of pick a hole. On that one, though, I was right there on it and I was underneath Dale when that happened. He turned down to miss somebody that was spinning up high and turned right in my door. I went down in the grass and kept going from there." ANY KEY TO YOUR RACE? "We had good pit stops all day and that's always a key. The motor ran good. The car was tight all day. We never could get it loosened up. We could get it loosened up at the beginning of a run, but we never could keep it good the whole run. We just have to go back and build on it and hopefully improve on this.":
10 RICKY RUDD - Tide Taurus - "We were starting to shape up decent. We were on the lead lap and had been working on the car some all day. We were getting it in shape and thought at halfway it was gonna be decent and then Kyle slipped coming on the front straightaway and when he slipped it took my whole front end off. It knocked my front end all out of whack. It smashed the left-front and knocked the swaybar off of it. It did a lot of damage. We tried to patch it up and ride it out at the end, but we couldn't go very fast." WHY DOES SOMETHING ALWAYS SEEM TO HAPPEN WHEN YOU'RE RUNNING DECENT? "We obviously weren't gonna win the race, but we were probably around 15th, 16th or 17th, something like then. But all of a sudden we start getting things going our way and the next thing you know, Kyle slipped and that's the end of my day."
2 RUSTY WALLACE - Miller Lite Taurus - "The car just pushed all day long. We finally got it racing the best it did all day, then got the deal with newer lefts than rights (tires). If we had to do it over again, we'd come in there witih 30 to go for four tires. As it turned out, the car pushed the worst it did all day long there in the last 20 laps. It was pushing so bad you could barely steer the thing. That's why we pitted there at the end, it was pushing so bad and we didn't have anything to lose." NOTE: Wallace pitted with six laps to go.
12 JEREMY MAYFIELD - Mobil 1 Taurus - "We lost third gear early in the race, so that put us in trouble early. The extra stress, I guess, took a toll on the transmission and we had to change that. It sure makes for a lost day. It was a good handling car. We just didn't have any transmission to fight them with."
90 STANTON BARRETT -- Hills Bros. Coffee Taurus -- "I got some laps and ran most of the day. Outside of the blown motor, it wasn't a bad day. We were the fastest in second-round qualifying and I'm pretty proud of that. We ran OK today and almost ran all day. We had a good test at Indy and we're pretty excited about getting there. Right now things are headed in a positive direction."
NOTES: Brian Clark, rear tire carrier for the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus, suffered a broken left big toe during a pit stop near the midway part of the race. The exhaust pipes from the car came down on Clark's toe when it was dropped off the jack. He was transported to Penn State Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital for further evaluation. Kevin Hall, rear tire carrier for the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Taurus team, replaced Clark for the remainder of the race.
POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE 88 DALE JARRETT - Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus - WERE YOU THE FASTEST CAR TODAY? "That's hard to say. We had an awful fast car. Bobby Labonte, they have a total package and that's hard to beat. They get good fuel mileage, their cars handle well, the Pontiac has a really good aero package that not only gives them good downforce, but not a lot of drag on the straightaway. That's a hard combination to beat. I'm not sure he wasn't playing with us there two-thirds of the way through the race or when I was leading. We had a clutch problem and that put us out of any real chance because we lost so many positions in the pits. You get a car and a driver like Bobby out front, he's gonna make up a lot of time. He was running the fastest laps of the race there and, even though I was running faster than I had been, I had to contend with traffic. It's hard to say. I had an awful good car, but the guy who won is the guy who probably should have." WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE CLUTCH? "I don't know. I went out of the pits after the last green-flag pit stop we made, which was somewhere just shy of lap 120, I believe. I noticed then when I went out it worked in first gear, but when I went to second gear it went to the floor. I don't know if it busted the master cylinder or something there, but I had no clutch there. That wasn't a problem other than pitting and created a little bit of a problem on restarts, but not much. I had been starting in first gear, but to start in first gear I wanted to use the clutch to go to second, so I just started taking off in second then. What really hurt was whenever was had to make a pit stop, I tried to keep the car running and jam it in first gear and that didn't work. I didn't think it would, but I thought I'd try it before I shut it off and did that, so then we had to shut the car off and put it in gear and try to take off. We just lost too many spots. Those other guys had good pit stops and they got eight or 10 cars in front of us and that created a problem for us." TO FINISH SECOND, THOUGH, SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE LUCK YOU'VE HAD, RIGHT? "We've been pretty lucky. We've had a lot of good fortune. I mean, we've had a weekend that would have brought a lot of teams down. We created a problem ourselves yesterday with the rear-end gear and in having that problem we decided after practice was over to change the engine and the transmission. Then we made some changes with the chassis a little bit, but I couldn't have asked for a better driving race car. Everything they did, it was just a lot of work this morning when these guys came in here. Then today to have the clutch problem, again, we lost a tire carrier (Brian Clark). He got hurt on one of the pit stops and probably broke his toe and so we had to get somebody else in there that had never worked with our guys before (Kevin Hall). So we had a lot of things going against us and to still come out second says we've got a really good race team." YOU ALSO FINISHED AHEAD OF MOST OF THE GUYS TRYING TO CATCH YOU IN THE POINTS RACE. "In looking at the points, Bobby is the only one that gained anything on us, so those are the kind of days we need to have. That's what we have to continue to do, but we've still got so far to go. If we can do that, it's definitely gonna make it difficult for them, but we've got to keep doing that." AS STRONG AS THE 18 WAS, THIS WAS A GOOD SHOWING FOR YOU. "Yeah, definitely. Bobby's team has a really good package and they showed us here the first race that when it comes time to go they can go. It was a good day for us. We only lost five or maybe 10 points to Bobby, but we gained a few more points as far as our lead goes and we overcame some obstacles that we had, so it was a good weekend for us." DID THE CAUTIONS PLAY WITH YOUR MIND AT ALL? "It made it tough to decide what we wanted to do. Todd and I were back and forth as to when we should pit and when we shouldn't and what should we do. That makes it difficult. It didn't look like the rain was gonna be here to stay, but you don't know that. We kept changing our strategy and make sure we made the most of the day and that's what we did." DOES IT TAKE TIME TO GET USED TO POCONO? "I think that's probably a little bit of it. Certainly, it's a race car that requires a good rhythm and Bobby is a smooth race driver. I think probably as much as anything is that they've worked on their car and their setup and found something that's really worked. They've run good everywhere, so this just falls into that. With Bobby's talent it all works together. They've got a good race team. Without a few unfortunate bad breaks for them, they could very well be leading the points, too."
6 MARK MARTIN -- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- HOW DID YOU INJURIES BOTHER YOU TODAY? "The thing that bothered me the most today was my butt. I thought it was gonna catch on fire. I don't know why the bottom of the seat was so hot, but that was the worst thing. Then, we did so much warming up of the tires, weaving back and forth, I aggravated my ACL injury ligament. It's hurting real bad." DID THE TIRE ROLLING ACROSS PIT ROAD HAVE ANY AFFECT WITH GOING TO THE BACK? "It didn't affect the finish. I had a pretty good lead on Dale and I saw Jeff Burton lose what looked like an engine. A few laps later I heard mine start sounding funny on one cylinder and I decided to try and limp it home in third. I don't think there was anything wrong with it, but maybe the exhaust pipe broke or something like that. I slowed it up and started short-shifting and just kind of rode it out to make it third. The difference between second and third wasn't a big deal today. The difference between third and 30th would have been a big deal, so with 10 to go I just went into a mode of 'let's ride this thing out and give up the five points and take what we can get here today.'" IS THIS A MORAL VICTORY CONSIDERING EVERYTHING? "It was a good run. We're gonna have to pick up the pace just a tick to win these things. There are three or four cars every race that can outrun us right now presently. You typically don't win when there's that many. When there's one or two you can get wins once in a while. We're working real hard on that to try to pick it up. It was a good weekend, a good qualifying run and a good, solid run. I passed more cars from the back of the pack than I ever have here. I still didn't have a car that could win the race, but I've had cars that I couldn't have come through the pack like that, so I had a great car. I made a lot of passes and I'm very proud of the effort of the whole Valvoline team."