Pontiac Racing Bristol Race Report

Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway April 11, 1999 Note: With John Andretti's fourth-place finish, Pontiac earned second-place manufacturer points for the fourth time this season. It was Andretti's first top-five finish of the season. JOHN...

Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway April 11, 1999

Note: With John Andretti's fourth-place finish, Pontiac earned second-place manufacturer points for the fourth time this season. It was Andretti's first top-five finish of the season.

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "I still hate Bristol, but I love the finish. I'm really proud of the team. We ran good all day. It was just tough to overcome pitting on the back straightaway and the track position. There at the end they made a great call with two tires. I was loose and I stayed loose with the two tires. It hurt us in the sense I wish I could have gone up there and battled with them, but I'm not going to complain about the finish, especially at Bristol. I'm just glad it's got a hood on it.

"They lead cars were setting a blistering pace today. We felt like we were one of the best cars at the end of a run. The last 50 laps of a run I think we were about the fastest car. I couldn't get going as quick and then through the middle I thought I was a little bit off, but at the end of a run I always thought I was good. I didn't want them to have a caution, but it worked out in our favor. I guess that's how much I know.

"We're going into Martinsville which is a great race track for us. We like to think we can win there. Bristol is a horrible race track for me. Coming out of here fourth is like a win. We'll see if we can get the win at Martinsville.

"I've got a great team and they gave me a great car. I've never had a car except for one time that felt good at Bristol. That's so long ago I about forgot how it felt. Now, I know how it feels again. I learned a lot about how to drive this place. I can't say I look forward to coming back to Bristol, but I won't dread it as much.

"I think we'll be right there up at the front at Martinsville. I'm real optimistic about Martinsville. I always feel good about Martinsville. I got the Goody's Headache Award at Martinsville in both races last year, maybe we deserve a little bit better."

KYLE PETTY (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix): "We had a real good weekend. The first part of the race we jumped up there and ran fifth or sixth for a long time. We kept making adjustments. It started out just a little snug and it stayed snug the whole time. We never could get it out. That one time we pitted and put on tires, we ran four or five laps under caution and I came in and got them off because they were tight.

"We weren't surprised we ran well. You've got to remember, I've missed two races this year so I've been rested up for Bristol. I think that's the way I look at it. These guys worked so hard to get ready for this race. We came up here and qualified well. We had good pit stops and didn't lose anything there. Doug (Hewitt, crew chief) made some good calls in the pits. We came home eighth and this is great for John Andretti and Petty Enterprises. The guys in the shop work on bonus and they get a double bonus tomorrow because we both finished in the top-10.

"I think going into Martinsville coming off a short track running strong is good for us. This week we're going to Talladega to test and we ran good at Daytona. If we come out of Talladega with a decent test we'll feel confident there. We didn't make Texas and you never could tell these guys were down. We came here and ran well and that shows what kind of guys we have on this team and what kind of organization Petty Enterprises is.

"Martinsville has been a track where I've run well in the past.  I was up
there watching John Andretti run the other day.  I sat in the grandstands
so it wouldn't count as a test against me.  He was getting around there
good.  I told Robbie (Loomis) when I got home that I called Vegas and put
my money on John for the win.  That could be a big weekend for all of us."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix):  "I had a fever all
day long.  The team did an awesome job for me.  My spotter did a great job
getting me in the right groove.  The motor was awesome.  We actually had
probably too much motor off the corner.  Everything is just clicking.
Everybody's working well together and the morale is great.  The teamwork
philosophy definitely applies to this team.  Tommy (Baldwin, crew chief)
really wanted to lead a lap.  I'd never led a lap at Bristol in Winston
Cup.  Martinsville is another tough one.  You've got to go there excited,
but at the same time apprehensive.  It's so easy to be bad there and hard
to be good.  I'm excited to go anywhere with this group."

Note: Pontiac Grand Prix driver Tony Stewart led 55 laps today and was running second before getting collected in a crash on lap 341. He still finished 15th and moved up to 12th in the Winston Cup point standings.

TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "The guys gave me a great race car today. The thing I think that hurts the team as a hole is that I don't know what I need my car to feel like in happy hour to be good for the race and the way the track changes. We stopped about 15 minutes early in happy hour yesterday and we felt like we had a good car. I honestly didn't know what to tell them to change. I was pretty confident our Grand Prix was going to be good at least for the beginning of the race. It was just flawless all day. It stayed right on the bottom. The guy that caused half the yellows today finally took us out. He was bound and determined he was going to crash some good cars and he did. By the time I saw everything, and it's hard when you're behind other cars, all I saw was the 9 car sideways I think for the third time during the day. I checked up and tried not to get into Rusty and I don't think I got into him. If I did, I don't think I got into him hard. Whoever was behind me turned me. That's Bristol and that's short track racing. We had some close calls that we did dodge during the day and I was happy about that. To come out of here with the front and rear clip all right on the car, we really can't complain. We had a good day and learned a lot. I think we've got a really good Pontiac to bring back here in August. The nice thing about it was that I was able to run with the guys that run up front every week. Hopefully, we're gaining their respect and I enjoyed racing with them. Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Bobby and Rusty, those guys all raced me clean. They actually gave me room to make mistakes. They were really patient with me today and I appreciated that."

"I feel like Martinsville is going to be a living nightmare actually. >From what I hear from everybody else, everyone feels that way. I've got my homework to do. That's the one track where I really struggled at in testing. I guess in a way I'm looking forward to it because I need to gain knowledge and I need to learn how to be better there. We'll see what happens.

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We were just a victim of circumstance. It seems like every time we come to Bristol we have something like that happen to us. We were running good. I was trying to make laps and just stay in the hunt. It was a bad deal. The 77 spun and hit the wall and came back across and there was no where to go. That's short track racing and that's Bristol for us."

BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 00 Crown Fiber Pontiac Grand Prix): "I really don't know what happened. It was one of those racing deals. It could have been my fault. It could have been someone else's fault. I don't know."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Mark Martin