Richmond II: Dodge teams race quotes

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO 42 HAVOLINE/TEXACO DODGE CHARGER I could see Ryan ahead of me all night and they kept telling me I had to beat him. We just couldn't get there. I told my guys that we could not beat him the way we are. It's so hard to pass.


I could see Ryan ahead of me all night and they kept telling me I had to beat him. We just couldn't get there. I told my guys that we could not beat him the way we are. It's so hard to pass. I said at least put two tires on and let's see if that's going to help us. Late in the race tires make a bigger difference than they do at the beginning, so we decided to put two on. We adjusted alright and honestly we ran 13th and that's about as well as we've run in a while. "

"You want to win so bad. We've got all the tools, we just haven't been able to put it together this year. There's a lot worse things going on now in this world than not making the Chase and everybody needs to think about those people.

"I don't know what happened. The No. 37 ran into me after the caution came out. There's a reason that guy doesn't have a ride and I guess he showed us tonight. We fought all night and I could see Ryan four or five cars ahead of me most of the time. I had to hope that someone shoved him up out of the groove or something on one of the restarts. We just couldn't get there. We ran four or five spots behind him all night and that's as well as we've run in a while and that was 13th and that's not good, but it's better than we've had in a while.

"You have 25 other races to make it into this deal. There are people who are a lot worse off than we are right now with Hurricane Katrina.

"I'm not really sure what happened to me. I guess the No. 37 ran into me after the caution came out. I don't know. He was in the way all night. He just couldn't get out of the way. He tried, but I don't know what he was racing for or how many laps he down he even was. I was desperate trying to make moves at the end, trying to get to Ryan. I caused the wreck, no doubt it was my fault, but it's kind of crazy for a lapped car to stay in your way."


"It feels good to get back in the Chase. I don't know what to tell you other than that. I'm really proud of these guys. They gave me good stuff all year. We just keep getting better and better. I'm just real proud of them and real happy and glad to be back in the Chase two years in a row. I wish we could have won but we did what we had to do and we're looking at the big picture.

"That two-tire stop early in the race was key.  We knew we needed to lead
a lap to get the points and get our team locked in.  That's why we did
it.  That was important.  Getting locked in that early in the race really
took the pressure off.  It really did.  I guess we weren't official until
the end.  But, I'm just happy and happy for this team.

"We were here last year and we're here again this year. Slugger has been a great asset for this team. We've got a lot of great people, he came in and contributed a lot to the team. He and Kenny both made a lot of gutsy calls this year that contributed to getting us in here and I think that's pretty cool. He came in and fit right in."


"That was a pretty good run for us. I had a good solid car. Track position was real important. We decided to stay out with 70 to go and that worked out good for us. We had a good handling car all night long and that was it.

"It feels good to run like that for our last race at Richmond. I'm real happy. That was a good solid run. I had a fifth at Bristol at my favorite track and a fifth here so we've been top five and top 10'ing them to death all year long. And that's what got us in the Chase. I feel good that I'm in the Chase and ready to run for the next 10 races."


"Well, it's great to put that behind us. Just because of the position we ended up doesn't mean we're happy. We'd rather be first. But, having another Dodge in the top 10 is a good deal. We just look forward to putting the alltel Dodge in the best position we can every week and hopefully have no DNFs, a few wins, some good results and hopefully a shot at it going into Homestead.

"Matt and I spent a lot of time talking about strategy. It's tough. You work on the best strategy to get the car in the best position, and you really can't do anything besides that. You just have to be conscious of what's going on with the other cars and tonight it worked out to our favor with the No. 42 getting in an accident. But, I'm just happy to be where we're at but not necessarily our place as 10th place in the top 10.

"The pit calls were pretty instrumental but at the same time it seems like it wasn't a situation where it was going to be gas and go there at the end or two tires with 30 laps to go. It seemed like it worked out pretty good. It was all based on what the leaders where doing as far as staying out and that helped a lot.

"We dodged a bullet there at the end. There were a couple of close calls. The 20 getting loose in front of us, the 29, quite a few close calls. The 22 spinning out there off of turn two and chasing him all the way spinning down the back stretch, that was close. But, we've had more close calls this year than just that.


"We had a pretty good car. It was the fastest at times in the middle of certain runs. But, there at the end we were just too tight. We were sliding the nose and sliding the back late exit. All around, another top 10 and that's one of the things we're working on. We're working on being consistently in the top 10, top 12 and getting ready for next year's Chase. We need the make the Chase and one way we need to do it is to be consistent and starting running in the top 12. That's what we've been doing the last few weeks."


"We had a good run and a pretty good night. The third or halfway part of the race we got off on the balance a little bit and we changed it. Then, all of a sudden, we hit the right adjustments and we started to take off again. It's all about track position. I wish we had another 100 laps to go 'cause we were really starting to come up through there pretty good. I'm glad, obviously, that Rusty is in the Chase and Ryan is in the Chase. That's cool that we've got two Penske cars in there. We just had a good weekend. It's been a frustrating year a lot of times and to come and do what we did this weekend -- qualify good and have a decent run -- it feels good.

"I think we learned a whole lot for next week at Loudon. We actually took Rusty's Loudon setup and applied it here so I'm looking forward to that. We just did a good job this weekend. We came with a game plan from what we learned in the spring race. We knew we were really tight at nighttime and loose in the daytime practice. That's what we had here and we stuck to our game plan and it paid off for us here tonight."


"That's pretty cool (making Chase for second straight season). I've got to thank everybody at Penske Racing. It wasn't the performance we wanted, but we got part of the main goal solved today. I look forward to these last 10 races. We'll keep working on this Dodge and see how we can do.

"That was the most conscious I've been driving the car since this race last year, but most importantly I've got to wish my mother Happy Birthday. She's back home in South Bend with all the family. I knew Roger (Penske) was hyped up because he was echoing everything the spotter was saying. He doesn't usually do that, but it's an honor to be in my position. Thankfully we're in the top 10. I wish we were first instead of 10th, but maybe we can do that after 10 races. It's going to be important to get a win (in last 10 races), but it's going to be more important not to get any DNF's as we saw last year. We'll see if we can accomplish that, too."


"I'm just real happy for my team. They worked hard all year long. We were able to come into Richmond and make it a relatively smooth night. We didn't win the race but we did come out of here with a top 10.

"It means everything to be in this Chase two years in a row. It certainly says a lot for our race team. Everybody at Evernham Motorsports has worked so hard to get us where we needed to be. They've just worked their tails off this year. We've had good, consistent race cars, we don't break motors, we don't tear stuff up, and that's what it takes to be in the Chase. It says a lot about this race team.

"I feel really good about where we are right now. We're getting better and better, week in and week out and showing that. If you look back at the last few finishes, the last few races have been pretty good. We've got to continue on with that and we've got a shot at the Championship."

"We have a lot of momentum, we've got a lot of confidence and we believe in ourselves. All the guys are pumped up. We feel like we can win the championship. We're going into it again probably as the underdog but, hey, that's part of it. If you're the underdog, the only way you can go is up. You can't lose having that edge.

"We wanted to run hard tonight and try to win, but we had to look at the big picture, too. That's be calm, be cool all night. Let's look at trying to win the championship and not the race. We still had a top-10 finish even though we were a little bit tight all night. But, yeah, the main goal tonight was just to be careful, stay out of trouble and hopefully get in the Chase.

What tracks are key to the championship? "The next 10 races, you'll have to run good in all of them to have a shot at the Championship. You go to places like Talladega where anything can happen, to Martinsville where anything can happen. It's going to be tough. That's what it's all about. That's what Nextel Cup racing is all about. That's what the Chase is all about."

How do you approach Loudon? "We'll have to go into Loudon hard. We went in the top 10 there last year in the first race and got taken out by (R.) Gordon and Biffle. We feel like our Dodges are running good on the flat tracks and the short tracks like this. We've got a good shot of going to Loudon and having a good run and trying to win the race if we can. Do what we did tonight and bring home a top 10."

Roush has five cars in the Chase, what does that do to your chances? "We don't look at it like that. It's still team for team. They're all teammates and they want to win, too. That could hurt them, because they're all one group."


"From a Dodge perspective, we're really proud to have three guys in the Chase. We're really proud of Rusty and Jeremy and the strong performances they turned in. When it came down to the last guy in, it was between Ryan and Jamie. Ryan had a strong race and a good finish. Jamie had a good race, too, and it was unfortunate that he got caught in a late race incident. We would have liked to have had both of them in there. Overall, we're glad to have three in the Chase and we're looking forward to the next 10 races."


"It was a great night for us. I've got to thank all the Dodge Dealers out there and everybody who has worked so hard all year for us. This is pretty cool. Our Dodge was really good, but we got tight as the night went on and never could get it loosened back up. Overall it was a good night for us. We did what we had to do. Looking at the big picture we're in the top 10 and that's what it's all about. We've got to keep on doing what we're doing. We've got our consistency down. We've just got to keep getting better week after week. That's what we've been doing. We've got to keep finishing in the top 10, top five every week and hopefully we can get a couple of wins. We'll be in good shape.

"I certainly feel our chances are better than they were last year (to win the championship). We've got another year behind us and got a lot of experience and we're ready to go. It was pretty cool to win there (Michigan) like that. We've lost a lot of races on gas mileage and to come back like that and win at Michigan and get the win behind us, that really sealed the deal for the Chase. You've got to win anywhere, but the main thing is to get through Talladega. I think that's going to be a key race. We've got a lot of tough tracks coming up and there's not really one that sticks out and says we've got to win there, but there are some you've got to run consistent so you can be in position to win the championship."


"I was real happy that Mark (Martin) made it. He's a good friend of mine. I came up and told him he ran great tonight. He got a lap down, but he was flying out there. He told me he watched me all night and I was flying. He said, 'you can win this championship the way you're running.'

"I'm approaching every single race like it's the last race. I'm not looking two or three races down the road. To me Loudon, N.H., is going to be everything in my life. Then when we go to the next race, it's going to be everything. I've been taking that approach all year long and it's been paying dividends. Larry Carter, I think he's probably one of the strongest crew chiefs in the garage area right now. He doesn't claim to be technical savvy with all the trick stuff, but you talk about a leader. This guy can rally everyone around him and makes them believe in Rusty. He makes it work and they get along good. I think that's the reason we've run so well this year. We got ourselves back in championship form like we used to be."

"You don't have to win a race to win the championship. In 1993 I won 10 races and finished second to Earnhardt by 12 points and I drove my brains out. He was consistent and I had a lot of DNFs and he deserved to win. You don't have to win, but I do want to win. When I'm all done, I want my fans to have that image that I'm a winner. I'm at the top of my game right now. Every athlete wants to go out at the top of their game, and it feels so good right now. We moved into third in the points tonight, and that was a really neat run. I'm loving life right now. I'm going to miss the sport, there's no doubt about that, but it's one race at a time right now.

"Homestead, Fla. I want to go out a winner. I want to win the thing and walk off. I love all these tracks, but sometimes the first impression is the lasting impression. All these fans that leave Homestead would have this lasting impression. I want them to see that I drove the wheels off until the last lap, and that's what I'm doing right now."

How did you expect to finish this season? "I had all the confidence in the world I'd be in the Chase, but if you look at the couple of years and the bad luck I've had, you wouldn't have thought that. But I knew I could because 16 straight years we were no worse than sixth or seventh in the points, and now my crew chief, Larry Carter, and I are really gelling. We've got everything rolling pretty good together and that's the reason we're third in the points standings now. Once this race was over, we moved up another spot tonight. That was a good run for us tonight, a top five. That makes 21 top fives. I'm leaving here with a great finish. The Governor named this Rusty Wallace Day today, that was pretty cool. So I'm real confident going into the championship run. I think I can win this just as well as anyone else."

Is there any kind of destiny involved here?

"The destiny that I've told everybody is that I want to go out on the top of my game and I want to leave a positive influence on all my fans. I want the fans saying, when I'm all said and done, that cat rocked and rolled, they're going to miss me. I don't want to run bad and have them say he's out of here, he's over. I want to leave a positive influence on all of my fans. Nobody can argue that we're on the top of our game when we retire and quit."

Any track in the final 10 that might be a problem for you? "The only track that might be a problem for anybody might be Talladega, because nobody knows what's going to happen there. We've got Loudon next week, Charlotte, NC, Kansas City. I've got one test left and I'll use that at Homestead, FL. That's the very last race of my career and I want to go out really looking good so I'm going to go down there and test and make sure everything is right and have a good show for the fans."

How big is the momentum thing? "We've got some momentum here. What do we have, 21 top fives so far here at Richmond. That's pretty strong. We've led more laps than anybody in the history of Richmond, and that feels good. There were 4,000 laps we were leading and that's a neat deal. We didn't lead anything tonight, but still had a good show so that was good."

How did you feel about your last race at this track? "We had a good, comfortable smooth run. I didn't have any hair-raising moments. I got dead sideways one time off of turn four and lost about three positions, but gathered it back up and got up there. I'll leave with a big smile on my face. I feel good tonight."


Can Roush Racing be beaten in the Chase?  "They're definitely the team to
beat, all of them, they're all running good.  We'll just do the best we
can.  We're going to focus on what we've got to do as a team.

Why are they the team to beat? "They've just got it going on right now. They're running good, their engine package is good, their aero package, they've got it all going on right now. But we're gaining on them. Everyone at Evernham Motorsports is working hard on our Dodges and hopefully we'll be there pretty soon."

How will you do things differently this time around? "Hopefully we'll stay away from Robby Gordon and Greg Biffle, if they get into it. They knocked us out of the first race. And if Harvick blows another motor, we'll stay away from him. We'll be in good shape. If we can do that, we're going to run good. The next 10 races are all at our type of racetracks. We've run good at all of them. Who knows, it would be cool to win the championship."

How is your mile-and-a-half program? "Well, like Charlotte we ran good at, places like that. We struggled a little bit at Michigan, but Kasey ran good. We've got it going on. It's just a matter of us getting better as a race team and not stall out and say this is as far as we're going. We know we need to get better as a race team and that's the main thing.

Were you paying attention to where everyone was during the race? "Not really. I didn't even ask. I thought when we led our first lap that we were in for sure, pretty much had it then if we finished 43rd. It was late in the race when they said we were officially in. I thought we should have been in before that, but it's pretty cool."

How big is this next race for you? "It's big, but it's not going to make it or break it. Kurt Busch was consistent last year all year, but he really didn't run that good afterward, he just stayed in the top 10 every week and that's what you've got to do."

With all the Roush cars in there, is it going to be tough to be them? "On yeah, but we had to race them every week anyway. If it's not Roush, it'd be Hendrick. If it's not Hendrick, it'd be us. So it will be one of us."

Will Evernham team up with Penske to help with the Dodge program? "I doubt it. We're doing our own deal. We've got our on thing going on. We're a good race team. We got in solid here and we're just going to continue doing what we're doing. I doubt there is going to be any teamwork going on."

Can you talk about Texas and what it will be like? "That's a good thing. You'll know right off the bat who is going to have a shot at it and who is not. But one thing about it is that there are 10 drivers and all that's really going to be a part of it. No matter what happens, we're all going to be a part of it and we'll just do the best we can."

Are you amazed you were able to make it in for the second year in a row? "Not really, not if you've seen the race team I've got. I've got a great race team and I think I've amazed a lot of other people, but I'm not amazed at ourselves. We've got a good race team and I think it's cool that everybody wrote us off and said we weren't' going to make it and here we are again. That's pretty cool."


How about a quick synopsis of your night? "We were average for most of the night, for quite a while that was good enough. I was a little worried with the 42 having two tires there at the end with only being five cars behind us, but that really 10 cars with the lapped cars. His misfortune was our fortune tonight and we're happy to be in the top 10. Obviously, we're not happy about being 10th but we have 10 races to prove ourselves as a championship team and we're just going to put our best effort forward.

How much were you focusing on the race vs. what you were hearing about Jamie? "I was focused about 95 percent on the race and about 5 percent on what was going on. We couldn't have any influence on what was going on but we had to take time to think about it, just because that's what you do when you worry. Jamie's situation, like I said, was unfortunate for him but fortunate for us. After that last restart when he was out we could play it a little bit safer and that's when we fell back from about seventh or eighth to about 12th. I just wanted to be safe. The cars behind me, I just let them go. I felt like that was the best way to approach the last 31 laps or whatever it was."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch
Teams Team Penske