JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 36th) -- "We were just being patient. We had a great car all day and it's the best car I've ever had here and I felt like we had a shot to win. Jimmy Spencer hit Nemechek, the 33 car, and he got...
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 36th) -- "We were just being patient. We had a great car all day and it's the best car I've ever had here and I felt like we had a shot to win. Jimmy Spencer hit Nemechek, the 33 car, and he got into us. We got in the loose stuff and smacked the wall, but we'll be back. We've got a good team here, we'll fix it and do the best we can. We're running for points and going to finish this season in the top 10."
ROBBY GORDON --13-- Menards/Duracell Ultra Taurus (Finished 37th) -- "I'm gonna say a right-front tire cut. We were a little bit tight, the car was pushing. We were trying to get our lap back and we had caught back up to Rusty. The car just pushed real hard, pushed hard and it finally blew the right-front tire. I think we can get it back out, but it's kind of a bummer because we've got Burger King here and all of our sponsors. We've had a good run here all weekend and it's unfortunate to end the race like this."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 35th) -- "This place is miserable to me. I mean, we were just sitting there riding, just trying to stay out of trouble. We're pulling a little bit different gear than anybody else, we just wanted to ride and take it easy. Evidently, a brake caliper came off going into three. I lost the brakes, went down in there, and it just dismounted the tire."
ISN'T THIS THE PLACE WHERE YOU HURT YOUR SHOULDER A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO? "Yeah, about the same place I broke my shoulder. We're trying, but we just can't seem to get ahead."
CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus (Finished 39th) -- "When I braced myself for the wall I just banged my wrist a little bit. You know how doctors are, they said to put ice on it but I'm fine. It's just a bad deal for the John Deere car. We were running fairly good, it could have been a fairly decent night. There was no warning at all, but the irony is it's the same exact spot as the fall race. Going into turn one there the tire let loose and it went straight into the wall. There was nothing I could do. I was driving down into turn one and the tire popped. I don't know why. We thought it was brake related last year. It's the same spot it happened in the fall race last year and it's really a strange thing because you don't use a lot of brake here, so I don't know if there's something going on with what we're doing or if it's just an ironic situation."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus (Finished 32nd) -- WHAT HAPPENED? "The right-front tire blew out. We'd been taking it easy all night trying to take it easy. It was time to go, I had my foot on the gas but she didn't hold up. It's disappointment. I think we had a really good car, but we didn't get to quite use it tonight."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 5th) -- "There was like 13 cars that pitted on the back end of that run and I knew when we pitted that all 13 of those guys were gonna be up front and I really thought about just staying out and we made the decision again to pit and we pitted and came out way in the back. I think we probably would have been better off just to take our chances with what we had on the tires and keep our track position. I got back in all that wind and just couldn't get the front end to turn and it just killed me. I thought I had a car that could have won the race, it's just a bad deal."
WHAT DID YOU THINK AFTER YOU PITTED? "I went from first to 20th and I said, 'Man, it's over now.' And just kept wheeling it, wheeling it, wheeling it and a couple circumstances happened that we got up to fifth, but it's just a crying shame because, man, the car was bad fast all day long. That happened again. This pit strategy crap is killing us. We've got real good hot-rods all day long and then right there at the end something goes goofy."
IS IT SOMETHING YOU CAN LOOK AT? "I don't know, maybe we should have stayed out. Maybe we shouldn't have pitted, you know, and just pedaled the thing along until the next pit stop. Looking back on it now I would have stayed out, I wouldn't have pitted. I probably would have lost some positions, but it would have been better coming back out third than 20th like we did. But the guys had great pit stops all day long and, like I say, we're all in this together. Me and Robin made the call and it killed us again."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 4th) -- "We were there all day. The front end was pushing a little bit and that cost us some speed on the track. We never could get it out of the car like we wanted to. We just misjudged it in practice. We were about right today in the heat, but under the lights it was too tight."
TRACK POSITION WAS OBVIOUSLY KEY. "We just got running better. We kept making the changes on the tires and changing the wedge a little bit and the car got running better. We didn't really have track position as much as we had to race up through there, but it was important."
WHERE WERE YOU BEST? "We were a lot better about the middle stages of the race, we were pretty racey, but couldn't get any track position. In the later stages we finally started getting some track position. The guys really cranked out some good, fast stops and we were close all night."
WERE YOU SUPRISED AT HOW HARD IT WAS TO PASS? "Usually at Richmond you have an inside groove and an outside groove and it seemed like tonight we just had an outside groove, especially on the hot tires. I think a lot of those reasons, they did not reseal the race track which is unusual. Normally after each race they'll reseal it, they chose not to reseal it and the inside-outside thing didn't work out like it had in the past. You had to go to the top of the race track and that took a little excitement away from it and took some of the guys setups away from them."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 7th) -- "I got the car in the wall in practice and it was totally my fault. These guys got to work on it and we had a good race car. We struggled in the pits a little bit and we didn't have a great race car. We were good, but not great. We never seemed to get track position like we needed it. Then there at the end I hated to see Mark have trouble. He's ahead of me in points and the 18 is in front of us in points and I saw both of them have trouble and I said, 'Man, I ain't making a mistake,' and I was real calm and smooth and made sure I didn't make a mistake. We came home with a top 10 and sometimes that's good enough."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 3rd) -- "The guys made a great pit stop, but they kept working on the car. We adjusted on it every stop, but it wasn't until late that we put a spring rubber in the right-rear that really got me going. I was too tight in the center and had to wait too long, I would lose too much time on new tires. Once we got that I could go and that's what we needed. We started racing hard then, doing a lot of short-track racing, a lot of fun."
YOU SEEMED TO BE ABLE TO GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THE TRACK WHILE OTHERS COULDN'T. "I could. The car was really hooked up there. I tried to save it until about 10 or 12 to go there, to get back to the bottom, and thought I might catch them. Dale, Jr. did a great job. What a driver this kid is, unbelievable. Congratulations to that team. I thought I might sneak up on him on the bottom, but just didn't have quite enough, but still a good run for us and this is the kind of run that we needed to get things started back."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Finished 15th) -- "I'm pretty happy with that actually. We didn't make the race qualifying because I messed up and the car handled absolutely horrible all day, but the guys kept working on it and got it better. At least we could sort of drive it there at the end. Like I said before the race started, if we could finish 15th or better I'd be pretty happy, so I guess I'll be satisfied with that."
STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus (Finished 22nd) -- NOTE: This was Compton's best finish of his NWC career.
YOU MUST BE PRETTY HAPPY. "I tell you, to finish on the lead lap is great. These guys on this Kodiak Melling Taurus are the reason we finished where we did...great pit calls by the crew chief and engineer and great pit stops by the guys in the pits. I mean, they dug the whole day and we dug to stay on the lead lap. It worked out for us. I never thought I'd be happier with a 22nd-place finish, but, man, I tell you what, to come into this series and run like these guys run and finish on the lead lap with these guys at a short track, we're pretty happy with it."
BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus (Finished 9th) -- "We never could capitalize on anything. We had some pit errors and a lot of little stuff. We had a great night. I mean, all in all, as good as we've run. To come out of here and run as good as we did, I'm very pleased. I hated to see that last caution come out. I believe on a real long run the 5 wasn't that good. I believe I could have run him back down, but on short runs when you get in the back you can't do that."
YOU STAYED OUT ON THE ONE CAUTION AND MOVED UP INTO THE TOP FIVE. DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT AT THAT POINT? "Well, I knew I couldn't beat the 20 car, but at least have maybe a top five or top six finish because I got by Burton and got to fourth. I was able to hold my own there, but then the caution came out."
WALLY DALLENBACH --75-- Red Cell Batteries Taurus (Finished 16th) -- NOTE: Dallenbach's 16th-place finish matches his season-high from Talladega. "We're gaining on it. We weren't far off. The car was good, but we chased it all night long. We learned a lot about the car with some things we tried this weekend and I'm real happy. Considering where we've been, I'm real happy if we can just keep doing this. This is the kind of race team we are. We need to get better, of course, but I knew we had it in us. It was just getting the right people and right chemistry together. We stayed on the lead lap and that gave us time to make changes."
DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE
"That was a lot of fun. We didn't get our car adjusted very good at the beginning -- for about the first 220 or 230 laps. We kept making a lot of adjustments, just none of them were changing the problem. We finally got a spring rubber in the right-rear and that set the car to sailing and I could get a little bit aggressive and have a little bit of fun like the rest of them were."
YOU HAD A FEW THRILLING MOMENTS YOU DIDN'T PLAN ON. "Oh, certainly. It was tough to pass. I had a good car and a couple time I got myself in a position that was kind of hard to get out of, but that's just racing and that's part of it. We came out of it OK. How about Dale, Jr.? Who would have ever thought he'd be the first two-time winner on the circuit? But he does a great job, a lot of talent and they do a good job. Terry (Labonte) did a great job tonight and we had good race there. I thought we might come across there three-wide."
HOW GOOD DID YOU FEEL YOUR CAR WAS AT THE END? "It was good, but for that period of time it was no better than Terry's or Junior's was. If we could have had 60 or 65 laps (I would have liked to see) what it might have done. It seemed my car was really good on the longer runs, but maybe theirs would have been to. I would have liked to have seen what that would have done."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH GORDON AND BOBBY LABONTE? "I went in. I got a run on Gordon and I beat him into the corner down there and I think he drove a little further to try to keep me from, and I slid up and he got into the right-rear of me. When he did it turned me up into the marbles and I came back down and he got into me again. Then, I was just trying to get out of the way, sort of, and I guess Bobby was trying to go to the low side and he came by and clipped me in the front. I'm sure he just saw a hole and tried to go for it and it just didn't work out for him. It was just racing, it wasn't anything anybody did, we were all just trying to get another spot."
DO YOU FEEL YOUR TEAM IS IN BETTER SHAPE THIS YEAR AT THIS POINT THAN LAST YEAR? "Yeah, I actually feel like that we've run better and that hasn't even been great, but it's been better than we did last year. We just don't have some of the finishes to show it. This is what we have to keep doing. We don't need to struggle at the beginning, but we need to have these type finishes and if we can just continue to do that, we'll be OK in the points because things will even out as people have problems. Again, I feel like we're in better shape. Going to Charlotte in a couple of weeks, it's been a good track for us and, hopefully, we can continue this."
WHAT ABOUT THE TRACK? "You had to drive the race track differently, I think, because it was slick and you didn't have that grip. You had to make the car turn in another way and I think that's what we thought. Most everybody that I saw that was struggling was just tight in the center. You didn't have that sealer there to make the front grip as good as it normally does, so you just had to make some adjustments throughout the night."
WHY THE RIGHT-FRONT TIRE PROBLEMS? "The tire was a good tire and that's about the only thing. Unless you run over something, the only other thing is if you're using your brakes to much and it just melts that bead and it just blows it out."