Pontiac Racing California notes

WARD BURTON, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (6TH): "I'll tell you what, the Caterpillar team, they didn't quit. I was complaining, moaning, groaning and crying. Finally I said, 'Tommy (Baldwin), I think you're going to have to take...


"I'll tell you what, the Caterpillar team, they didn't quit. I was complaining, moaning, groaning and crying. Finally I said, 'Tommy (Baldwin), I think you're going to have to take the rear steer out with the springs.' We came in and actually changed both rear springs. That started the car to where we could adjust it. Then we just made big changes every time. To come from where we started after 50 laps and finish sixth, I'm pretty happy with that. We had a good day. I would have liked to have been in the top five, but Ricky Rudd got by me. I never could run on cold tires. "This team has got a lot going for it. When I'm saying the car is junk and we finish sixth, that's saying a lot for this team. They just kept working. I'm really happy with the way things are going because we really weren't having a good day, and we salvaged a top 10 out of it."


"We were good, but if we had been up front we would have been real good. We got caught behind and I needed to use the whole racetrack. I needed to have my nose clean. If there were five cars in front of me I would burn up my front tires trying to get by them. But that's the way it goes. Some days are good and some days are bad. Today we had a good car. Everybody did a good job. Something just bit us."


"It was slick. We started off pretty good. We thought we were going to be pretty good, but we got off just a touch. It was one of those days when we made good adjustments, but just couldn't catch up with it in time. This track seems to be real sensitive to heat. It was pretty slick - just slippery all day."


"I love racing at California but we didn't have the day we hoped for or thought we would have. We did get really good fuel mileage today. It didn't pay off for us today, but that puts us in good shape for Charlotte." (ON KYLE PETTY'S CHARITY RIDE) "I'm leaving this afternoon for Kyle Petty's ride, which is a really awesome deal, so I'm ready for a few days on my motorcycle before Richmond."


"We fought handling the whole day. The car was tight in the first part of the race. Then it got real loose. We adjusted and adjusted, but never hit the right combination. At least we finished. The car doesn't have any wrinkles on it, and we learned a lot today."


(INITIAL THOUGHTS ON FINISHING SECOND) "The Interstate Pontiac had a great day today. We qualified 36th. We've struggled since we've been here. We really weren't very happy yesterday afternoon. It's just one of those deals. I kind of feel like we won in a way because of what our team did to come back from 36th. We don't usually do that so it's kind of hard for us to do that. We just had a tough weekend. It started off that way. Thank goodness all the guys did a great job and hung in there. We all worked hard, had good pit stops, the motor worked real good, the car worked real good, everything came around for us at the end. We finished second. We weren't quite as strong as Jeremy (Mayfield), though. Congratulations to him."

(ON MATT KENSETH) "Matt was the best car all day long. He had the set-up today. He hit it on the nose. That last caution flag (before the final caution) didn't do him any justice because he got caught up in some traffic and couldn't get some track position."


"Considering where Bobby (Labonte) and I both were (on Friday), I think we're both relatively happy. I think Bobby is happy with his day, but I'm a little disappointed with mine. The guys did a great job on pit stops to get me into a position where I could stay in the top five. I came in and missed the pit road that time and slipped in some oil, slid in the grass and had to come around again. That really hurt us on a green flag pit stop. It just worked out well that we had a perfect car on the run.

"It amazes me. Late in the race this is a track that you need high downforce to get around here. Those of us minus 200 pounds of downforce...Bobby must have had a perfect car because I wasn't very far off and I couldn't run with Fords and Chevrolets all day unless my car was perfect. When we had a perfect race car, then we could run with the. But we had to run every lap like it was the last lap the whole day just to run with everybody."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "It was a great run for the Interstate Pontiac. We definitely didn't qualify very good. We struggled to even make the field in 36th. We just had a good run all day. The worked good under race conditions. I just couldn't get comfortable with the race car the way the conditions were. We worked on our race set-up a little bit yesterday morning and improved it yesterday afternoon, and were still scared to death of it. We made some more changes this morning. We kind of had a hit-or-miss program today, and we hit on it. We kind of took a stab at it. The guys did a great job. They didn't get down-and-out. We're just real excited that we were able to take a bad start to a weekend and finish up good because you always have a doubt in your mind if you can do that or not. We feel like we have a great race team, but it's still always neat when you can qualify good and practice good and race good instead of doing nothing until the race." (ON THE LAST FOUR LAPS) "I was planning on going on the outside of him (Jeremy Mayfield). I thought maybe that would stick better -- for a half of lap anyway -- on the outside. I thought maybe I could make a run off of two on him. But I went in there and he kind of stopped on the outside. It kind of scared me a little bit because I thought I was going to run into the back of him. So I had to go low and it kind of messed my momentum up and messed my plan up. It's just one of those deals where I kind of had the pass but I really wasn't sure if I was clear and I didn't want to slide up in front of him. So I just needed to stay on the bottom and run off the bottom and see where I was at. I just didn't have enough. I kind of bogged the car down too much when I jumped on the brakes whenever he let off the gas. I thought he waved, but I don't think he did. After that is was just a matter of watching Matt Kenseth coming because he had a great car."

(ON HOW THE CAUTIONS AFFECTED THE RACE OVER THE FINAL STAGES OF THE RACE) "I think Matt Kenseth would have won and I might have finished second. We were looking OK there, I guess. We got to second and Jeff Burton was on me pretty hard there before the other caution came out there at the end, so I think it might have played in our favor because I'm not sure I could have caught Jeremy as much as Jeff Burton was catching me. I was having to push the car pretty hard and it wasn't going like I needed to to go that fast."

(ON JEREMY MAYFIELD'S STRENGTH AT THE END) "I saw him coming that one time there two-thirds of the way through the race, so it didn't surprise me. He always runs good here anyway, so it didn't really surprise me. I thought he had a good race car all day, too."

(ON HOW HE FEELS FINISHING SECOND TO A CAR THAT IS FACING A POSSIBLE NASCAR PENALTY FROM AN INFRACTION AT TALLADEGA) "I don't know. I don't sit in NASCAR's seat. They make the decisions and we'll just see what it is. Until then, we don't even know that they (Mayfield's team) had anything. They might have had a bottle of Gatorade or a can of Coke in there. You never know."


(ON THE DEPTH OF WINSTON CUP RACING) "It's neat. Ten different winners in 10 races is awful exciting. The cars are real even - sometimes they're even, and sometimes they aren't with the way the tires are sometimes and the way the situations are. Track conditions favor some guys, some other guys not. It's good. But it's hard to pass sometimes when you think you've got a pretty decent car and some guys that are a lap down can run as fast as you can if not faster."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth