JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "We worked extremely, extremely hard today. The Valvoline Pontiac was pretty good to start with and then we got in that middle segment and we couldn't hit a thing. We were all over the place....
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We worked extremely, extremely hard today. The Valvoline Pontiac was pretty good to start with and then we got in that middle segment and we couldn't hit a thing. We were all over the place. We got a lap down and James (Ince) said 'Man, let's make some big changes,' so we did and got our lap back. Then we managed to get up to the front and we led a little bit. I wasn't that strong - I mean, we were a top-five race car and we ended up fifth. I think I could've had fourth, but Bill (Elliott) got by me and then I a run on him and ran out of gas on the last lap. Plus we didn't pit with everybody else so we were on old tires, and everybody else came in and got tires, so I knew they were going to be a little bit better. It's one of those deals where we got a top five and we'll take it."
JAMES INCE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
YOU HAD A GOOD CAR, BUT PIT STRATEGY SEEMED TO PLAY A PART IN YOUR STRONG FINISH.
"All of that's part of the program, whether it's Johnny out there doing a good job driving the car, the pit stops being good or us being able to capitalize with something on pit road. We're pretty upset, actually, a little bit. We finally came in and put spring rubbers back in the front of this thing, and it came to life. Maybe we can get some of that rule back because there's no way we can run with these guys."
BARRY DODSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 27 DUKE'S MAYONNAISE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It's obvious we've got something to work with with the talent Rick has. We've finished in that vicinity this year with no problems at all, and today something happened to the motor internally before the halfway point and we just had to limp home. But we had moved up and progressed as the race went on, so I felt like we had something to work with. It was just one of those days where something went bad and we won't know what it was until we get back to the shop. Overall, we're really pleased with Rick. We're pleased to have him."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
TWO CONSECUTIVE TOP-FIVE FINISHES - WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR MOMENTUM FOR YOU AND THE TEAM?
"It's great. We've struggled with our motor program and this is a place that's big on horsepower. They're making gains. I missed two shifts today and ran the thing up the first time to 9500 (rpms), and the second time I ran it all the way up to 10,000 (rpms) and it lived. It's a testament to how hard those guys have been working and it's showing we're starting to get some of our momentum back. We're starting to get a handle on it."
HOW DOES RUNNING WELL HERE DO FOR YOU GOING TO THE BRICKYARD 400 NEXT WEEK?
"It's harder to pass at the Brickyard than it is to run here. In (Turn) 1 it gets pretty wide, you can run two-wide there and you can two-wide in (Turn) 3 at the beginning of the run. It's pretty tough to run two-wide at the Brickyard. A good run here shows your flat-track program is pretty good so it's encouraging, but at the same time it's no guarantee you're going to run well next week also."
DOES THE CHANGE YOUR VIEW OF WHERE YOU STAND IN THE POINTS?
"Not unless the guys in front of me have two more days like this and we have two more days like we had today. I'm not even going to look at the points anymore. I'm tired of thinking about it and tired of people talking about it, to be honest. I'm going to try to go out and worry about trying to win races, and if you win enough races, the points take care of themselves."
DID THE TWO CAUTIONS THAT CAME OUT WITH ABOUT 50-60 LAPS TO GO HELP YOU?
"It didn't really matter to me when the cautions came out. It was tight for us on fuel just like it was everyone else. On both of those yellows they told me to conserve as much fuel as possible. That was the only thing about those two cautions that was anything different than any other point in the race, just a matter of trying to save fuel. The rest was business as usual."
YOU AND TEAMMATE BOBBY LABONTE SEEM TO HAVE GOOD 'END-OF-THE-RACE' CARS LATELY
"We knew the weather was going to be bad today, knew it was going to be overcast and cooler than yesterday. I know at least on our car, we planned for the racetrack being a little tighter than it was yesterday. We got too tight at the end still - we still didn't free it up enough. We just kept working all day. I'm starting to be a little more patient inside the car, and I don't get frustrated the second the race car doesn't drive right. Greg and I are probably communicating more on the radio than we ever have, as far as changes. He's letting me kind of pick changes that I want to do now. I'm not saying he's not doing it, he's just taught me enough that I feel like I have the confidence of knowing if we have one problem and there's three different solutions, which one's the one that I really think is going to make the car better instead of putting it all in Greg's hands and having him have to guess to pick which one's going to be right. I think our communication's getting better - we just keep working together making it better."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
TALK ABOUT THE PASS FOR THE LEAD OVER DALE JR.
"I got on the outside of him I guess in (Turn) 3, went down into (Turn) 1 and he got by me. I swung back to the inside, went into the corner, made it stick into the Tunnel Turn. I tried to hold it at the bottom as long as I could and got back on the gas, and the spotter said, 'You got three car lengths on him.' That's what I needed to hear. I think leading up to that, our car was really good on long runs, and earlier in the day his was giving up a little bit on runs. Didn't know if that was going to happen again for him or me both, but it seemed like I was just catching him a little bit at a time. It was perfect when I was running eighth, and it was perfect when I was running fifth, and it was perfect when I got behind him. Our car didn't give up any, that's what led up to the pass is our car just never gave up any grip. The car was just good and balanced all day long. When we had good clean air all afternoon, towards the end of the race that's what helped us stay up front."
JIMMY MAKAR, CREW CHIEF, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
YOUR STRATEGY ON THE LAST PIT STOP
"We pretty much planned to just get gas that last time. We hadn't run but a few green-flag laps. We knew what our gas window was - we had to go to Lap 159 to make it to the end on gas. When it got close to that point we had a couple of quick cautions in a row and we didn't run but four or five laps on our tires, so we knew tires weren't going to be an issue. Track position was going to be the big thing. There was 21 cars on the lead lap and we needed to get out in the top four to six cars to not get caught up in traffic and the racing that goes on back there. It's so tough to make any headway back in traffic late in the race like that. Jeff (Gordon) took four tires and never really could make his way back out of the midpack there.