Sunday, Oct. 24, 1999. North Carolina Speedway. Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400. DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "I came up off the corner and he (28) started up on me. He hooked me with his right rear,...
Sunday, Oct. 24, 1999. North Carolina Speedway. Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400.
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"I came up off the corner and he (28) started up on me. He hooked me with his right rear, and I think the pipe in the bumper stuck in the nose of my car because I couldn't turn. It just pushed me right in the wall. I knocked the heck out of the wall and tore my right side tires off of it. It's just a damn deal.
"This might knock us out of it (bid for fifth-place in points). It depends on how the guys do that are in front of us. We just wanted to finish today. I don't know how many laps down we were, and it doesn't matter. We just needed to finish at least."
WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"The 28 and the 3 got into it and I backed off. The 3 got in the wall and I backed out of it. The day wouldn't be complete unless that 36 has got to run into somebody. The car was good really all day. We were going to make something out of it. I don't know what the 36 was looking at. He ran right over us."
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 50 MidWest Transit Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We need to get better on our pit stops. Every pit stop you need to get a little bit better, and we just couldn't. We even got a little worse at times, but that will come with experience and all of us working together. When we started the race, we were about as good as we were all day. The 88 and 22 and those guys just kept getting better. The gap kind of got a little broader, but I'm still proud of these guys to run the way we did early on. That's just proof that the potential is there. It tore something up when we got into the wall, and that put us out. It's hard not to finish the job, but you have to look at the big picture. This will be a big boost for everybody, qualifying in the top 10 and running well."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"It wasn't a great day for Chevrolets, but we have ourselves to blame for getting a lap down. We were good enough to be in the top five. We missed it early on. I was loose and the first pit stop we probably should have tightened it up a little bit more, actually a lot more, and got it on the tight side. Once we got on the tight side and started backing up, man, we were actually pretty good. I had to run the 99 so hard getting my lap back there that I used up quite a bit of my tires. Considering all the things that happened to us today, I'm pretty happy with our effort.
"We went green for so long and the guys that were way off went way backwards. I don't want to complain about Fords and Pontiacs. Like I said, at the end I was capable of getting a top five, but it seems like if you're a little bit off in the Chevrolet, it seems like you're much further off than the Fords and Pontiacs. They seem to hit it right anyway there at the beginning. A lot of the Chevrolets were going backwards at the beginning, expect Terry (Labonte). Terry seemed to be going pretty good at the beginning.
"I'm going to do anything (next weekend). I'm just going to relax and enjoy it and get ready for Phoenix.
"They're (88 team) doing exactly what they need to do. They're building cars and they've got a race team capable of winning races. They're going out there and trying to win races but keeping their nose clean and getting the points. As far as I'm concerned it's all but done, but they've still got three more to go. You can't fall out. You can't have problems.
"We all talked about it (changes on first pit stop). We wanted to make some adjustments. I was actually on the next set of tires than I was on the first set. That's kind of what threw us off. We didn't want to go a ton. We didn't think we needed a whole lot. Obviously we needed more than we thought. Right now it's a group effort on this race team. Whether we're making calls in here in the garage area in practice or qualifying for the race or on pit road, it's a group effort. Brian (crew chief Whitesell) doesn't do anything without talking to me, and I don't do anything or say anything or make a decision without talking to him first. We do it together. If I say this is what I need, I'll leave it up to you. He tells me and we usually agree. It's not (different from the way it was in the past)."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It was a typical day at Rockingham, slip and slide. Having a Chevrolet was like bringing a 22 and the rest of them has got 9 millimeters. It seems like the Pontiacs and Fords have got so much downforce they can overcome it, and we've got to be perfect. Next year might be a different story. Maybe Chevrolet will be on a level playing field next year. We weren't bad today. It was good and bad, good and bad. We were better on the long runs. They drove away from me on the starts. We were a lot better on the long runs. It was typical Rockingham. We've had a good car lately. We were terrible at Charlotte. Other than that, since Bristol, we've had a top 10 or top five car about every week. We looked like a bunch of drunks going to get more liquor at Charlotte. We were terrible. We've been good before at Rockingham. It's been a good track for me, but it just wasn't good enough for more than we got out of it today. We'll take the week off and get ready for Phoenix. Maybe we can win one of these last three."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak Max Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It drove good until the last two stops and we made an air pressure adjustment. It was such a minute adjustment, I can't believe it made it do what it did. We thought it might have been a set of tires and put another set of tires on it and left the air pressure like that and moved the track bar. It must have been the air pressure we had wrong and we should have stuck with it on the last run. That's two top-10 finishes in a row, and that's only the second time this year we've done that. We'll try to win one of these last three. We've won at Phoenix before, so maybe we can go out there and do it again."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I thought we had a good day. Obviously in Winston Cup, you're always looking for a better day, but it looked like we were going to finish about 13th there. With four laps to go I thought I had a tire going down, but I must have driven the car so hard it wore down the tires to the cord. That's the first time it happened all day. Forty-three cars started and we finished 16th. We've overcome a lot and I'm not thrilled to death, but we'll go to Phoenix and try again."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"If it had been a 200-lapper, we would have been pretty good. The track got tighter and we couldn't get our car to quit pushing. We got tight the last half of the race. We weren't bad to start with and then it kind of went downhill."
STEVE HMIEL (Team Manager No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It felt great. It drove right to the front and evidently we didn't keep up with the race track as good as we should have. If it wasn't running good to start, the guys didn't have anything to lose by making big changes. We were real good to start, so we made small changes. We were just too tight at the end. It's a matter of communication between the team and driver. It's a lot of things you learn as you go along. We had a good day. It's hard to come from 39th and do much better than 15th. We were up to ninth, so we were a little shaky about making huge changes. We should have made a big change there with about 100 to go. We didn't, and we paid the price for it. It's a joke. Pontiacs, Fords, when you look up at a slick race track with a hard tire, them guys are going to be outrunning you every time. Sterling ran real good, but even then he didn't end up like he needed to. In my opinion, right now, Chevrolets are way down on downforce to both the other manufacturers. My biggest concern is how good is that damn Dodge going to be."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We had trouble with the setup today. The car was either a little too loose or too tight most of the day. But it definitely wasn't bad because we moved up from 38th starting position. I have to hand it to my pit crew today. They've been practicing hard and it's showing. We gained some spots on pit road today. Our finish isn't what we wanted, nor as good as the February race, but this team has always struggled at the Rock and it's getting much better here."