Pontiac Racing Loudon race notes

RICK MAST , NO. 14 CONSEO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON WHAT HAPPENED IN HIS INCIDENT) "I don't know. Somebody got together with Jerry Nadeau and he turned. I made a move and went up the racetrack. He was sideways sliding, caught my left front and ...

RICK MAST , NO. 14 CONSEO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON WHAT HAPPENED IN HIS INCIDENT) "I don't know. Somebody got together with Jerry Nadeau and he turned. I made a move and went up the racetrack. He was sideways sliding, caught my left front and turned my car straight up into the wall. I'm not sure who he got together with."

(HOW WAS THE RACING?) "Typical restrictor plate racing. Let's put it that way."

JOHNNY BENSON , NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON FINISHING 11TH DESPITE A PENALTY AND A WRECK) "We're really not happy with that because we had a better race car than that. You just couldn't pass anybody. We started 27th, then fell back to almost 30th because of the start deal and then got to seventh or eighth, and then they had that big wreck over there in turn two. I think everybody was trying to race through the wreck there to get every spot that they could because nobody could pass anybody."

(DO YOU WANT TO RUN RESTRICTOR PLATES WHEN WE COME BACK HERE NEXT YEAR?) "No way."

(ON GAINING SOME POINTS TODAY) "I'm glad it worked out that way with everything we went through. We could have given up a bunch today. A couple guys behind us beat us, but a couple guys in front of us had bad days, so it worked out OK."

KEN SCHRADER , NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "We hovered around 13th or 14th and then we had a tough break right there at the end. But I'll take it. We're making gains."

(WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END?) "We got up to seventh, but on that last restart I thought we had a flat because the thing was just laying down on the right rear. It wasn't flat, but that deal cost us some spots."

(WAS THE RACING TOUGH TODAY?) "Yeah, but this place is tough anyway. I don't see where it was a lot different."

TONY STEWART , NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER RUNNING RESTRICTOR PLATES TODAY? "I'm just looking forward to going to Dover next week."

(WAS IT TOUGHER TO PASS HERE TODAY THAN IT NORMALLY IS?) "Yeah, it was. It was real hard to pass. It was impossible to pass today. That's why I'm looking forward to going to Dover next weekend."

(HOW HARD WAS IT TO RACE TODAY?) "It was real hard for everybody. When one guy leads every lap of the race that should be a good indication of what today was like."

JOHN ANDRETTI , NO. 43 CHEERIOS/STP PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "It was a good run, but I'm a little disappointed. We couldn't run on 'new' greens right after the caution. We needed long runs. On the really long runs, unfortunately Jeff (Burton) and those guys would just get too far away. You could start running them down, but you just couldn't run them down fast enough to catch them. The only thing that was better about those long runs is that we couldn't get shuffled back.

"I knew we had a good car after 'Happy Hour' - a great car. It was just a matter of keeping all the fenders and stuff on it and fortunately we did that today, so it makes for a good finish. We've been working with this car a lot and it is really responding. Hopefully we can continue to work with it. I want to race it every weekend now. We've only got one of them right now, but we're building another one."

MIKE BLISS , NO. 27 VIAGRA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "We weren't very good at the start, but the guys kept working on it until it was pretty good at the end. We lost a lap to the leaders but were holding our own. Then we pitted under green and the caution came out on the next lap. That hurt.

"We just couldn't get out of the traffic all day, but we'll take a 19th. That's not too bad." [19th - BEST CAREER FINISH FOR ROOKIE MIKE BLISS]

BOBBY LABONTE , NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON THE RACE) "It just seemed like I followed the '99' car a lot today. I wasn't close enough a lot of times to catch him (Jeff Burton) and other times I got beside him. I think I even nosed ahead a couple times, but just never at the start/finish line. We just had a good day in the pits. He beat us out a couple times by inches. We never led a lap and I guess he led all of them. We just weren't quite as good as he was there on the restarts at the end. As you know, at New Hampshire, once you have one restart you're going to have a lot of restarts. It seemed like I got up beside him. But then also at the same time I got beside him earlier in the day with he and the '3' car. I got three-wide and I went down into (turn) three and said, 'Nah, ain't nobody gonna win here.' We made it through there. "We got side-by-side there at end. The '28' car was after us pretty hard and catching us pretty fast, so we couldn't run side-by-side very long or we were going to get passed worrying about each other. We had to get back single-file and as it turned out we finished second and beat the '28' back."

(ON NOT GETTING INTO JEFF BURTON NEAR THE END WHEN THEY RAN SIDE-BY-SIDE) "The only thing that I could see was me spinning out more than him, just by the position we were in. It wasn't like anybody pinched anybody off really any more than what the racetrack was giving you. You race hard, but you race clean, too. I don't believe I could have gained anything by sticking my nose in there any further - not in the position I was in. I was already a little bit loose right there, so chances are I would have spun out instead of him, so I didn't need to put my nose in there." (continued, p. 3)

(DID HE THINK HE HAD A SHOT WHEN DALE EARNHARDT RAN BURTON SO HARD ON A RESTRART?) "Yeah, I kind of thought that. As it turned out, Earnhardt was a lap down and he was trying real hard to get his lap back. He was fast for a few laps and he was in front of the '99' for a few laps. You just always look at it like you never know what is going to happen. The restarts here are always pretty treacherous, as far as, you don't have any grip for about five or six laps until you get going, so anything can happen whether it be him or anybody else. But I was thinking that there is always a chance somewhere."

(HOW MUCH BETTER WAS JEFF BURTON TODAY?) "Obviously he had a better car. He was between a half a tenth (of a second) and a tenth (of a second) better than I was sometimes. We'd break even a lot of times, and I'd beat him a little bit some laps in a long run. It didn't take much. He was just a little bit better from the center of the corner off than I was. He has definitely won more races here than I probably ever will, so I feel like he probably has it figured out better than I do, as far as set-up wise. But he was just better through the corners and up off. I can't really explain why. Like I said, it was a half of a tenth about all day. When we had lap times, they would tell me what he was running and what I was running, and it was like a half of a tenth to a tenth, and I'd beat him a half of a tenth to a tenth, and he'd beat me a half of a tenth to a tenth, for the most part. A couple times he was beating me a little bit more, but that was early on when it really wasn't a big factor at that time."

(DID THE RESTRICTOR PLATE KEEP FROM GIVING YOU A CHANCE TO PASS HIM?) "It was hard to pass anyway. If you had to let off a little bit for somebody in the corner it really bogged you down a lot, just like when we ran side-by-side and the '28' was coming after us like a freight train. It's almost a little bit like Daytona or Talladega. When you get side-by-side with a guy, somebody else picks up a little draft. It wasn't really like that, but it was just a momentum thing today."

(WHAT WAS IT LIKE ENTERING AND EXITING THE CORNERS WITH A RESTRICTOR PLATE?) "You were way down in the corner when you let off the gas, so you were already turning, so that made for a little different set-up that you had to have in the car. So you're diving way down in the corner and then you had to try to let the car roll through the center as fast as you can because if you didn't get back on the gas real quick the momentum was going to be lost. Coming up off the corner, I never lost any forward bite all day, if that's what you want to know, because we had 250 less horsepower, so you can't spin the tires very much. We tried a few times, but it was hard to do."

(WHAT DID HE THINK WHEN BURTON PASSED HIM ON THE FIRST LAP?) "Really nothing. The first lap didn't really mean anything to me as far as what the outcome of the race was going to be. That was not going to set the outcome. It did, but I didn't think it was at the time."

(HOW DOES HE FEEL ABOUT BEING UP ALMOST 170 POINTS?) "Sounds good to me. Better 170 up than 170 down."

(ON THE STRENGTH OF HIS TEAM) "There is no 'I' in team and that's the way it is with our bunch. It's been a lot of dedication and hard work on their parts. The past three weeks have been trying for us, as far as a lot of things go. Two weeks ago at Darlington, the '20' car (Tony Stewart) had tested there and we used their set-up for practice Saturday morning because our car was destroyed Friday. They helped us getting our stuff ready Friday. Then to come back with our team on pit stops Sunday during the race and winning the race was just phenomenal. We still had a top five car, but we weren't going to win the race. Still we were going to finish in the top five, which is still a great team effort. Everybody has worked real hard at it. Then last weekend we had a problem and we finished 15th. But nobody ga ve up. Everybody worked real hard this week and came up here with high hopes and high attitudes to run good, and we sat on the pole and finished second. You really can't ask for much more than that.

"We've been real fortunate. We've got a great bunch of guys. Pit stops have been awesome. Our teamwork is great. Jimmy Makar leads a great team. I just feel like I'm real fortunate that I'm with a group of guys that can put the driver in a position to win races. Anybody out there that is driving this car could be in the same boat. It's just a lot of fun. You've to have a group of guys like that to be successful and that's what we've got right now."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Tony Stewart , Jerry Nadeau