JARRETT GIVES FORD FIRST WIN OF 2003 * Dale Jarrett registered his 31st career NASCAR Winston Cup victory today. * Jarrett's win means he has now won at least one race each of the last 11 seasons, the longest streak among active drivers. *...
JARRETT GIVES FORD FIRST WIN OF 2003
* Dale Jarrett registered his 31st career NASCAR Winston Cup victory today.
* Jarrett's win means he has now won at least one race each of the last 11 seasons, the longest streak among active drivers.
* Jarrett moved into a fourth-place tie with David Pearson on the all-time Ford win list with 29. His father, Ned, is the all-time Ford leader with 43.
* Jarrett ranks first on the Ford charts with 16 Taurus wins.
* The win was Ford's 538th all-time triumph in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the 68th for Taurus.
* The last time Ford swept the top three spots in a NASCAR Winston Cup race was at Michigan in the Sirius Satellite 400 when Matt Kenseth, Dale Jarrett and Ryan Newman fininshed 1-2-3, respectively.
TODD BODINE - No. 54 Army National Guard Taurus (Finished 42nd)
"We had a flat tire. That's the second Rockingham race in a row we've had a flat right-front. It's a shame because we had a good race car. We worked our way up to about 25th and got in a good spot, so I just started riding. Kenny caught me from behind and I started to get a little tight. I started bouncing around and thought I had a broken shock, but we went for 10 laps like that."
DID YOU NOTICE ANY TIRE PROBLEMS AFTER THE CAUTION ON LAP 46? "No, the tire wear was great. We were real happy with it and we were real happy with the car. It was a little bit loose, but we only put only a pound in the right-front, so we must have just run something over."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 2nd)
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE AT THE END? "It feels like this is the second verse same as the first. We had an awesome run. This Taurus was rolling pretty good. I'm real proud of the way that Dale Jarrett and I raced. That was a lot of fun. If that doesn't get you pumped up, I don't know what does. We were just a little bit too aggressive on the rear tires. We burned them off at the end and we did that last fall. We're just missing a little something to get to victory lane here the Rock, but we're still very happy with finishing second."
DID YOU ADJUST ON THE CAR A LOT? "Yeah, we made a few adjustments early on, but this is a testament to how good this team can be with building this car, with no practice, with throwing a setup underneath it with four different springs. I mean, there is just a lot that went into this team effort today. I'm real proud of my team and our sponsor, Rubbermaid, just for getting this Ford up front. We had a great time."
WAS IT FUN AT THE END? "It was awesome. It's tough to come out on this end of it. We had a dogfight with Johnny Benson and Mark Martin last fall. This is a great race track that puts on great races. I'm gonna hate to see it lose a date, if it does, I'm just disappointed we came home in second."
YOU STAYED IN CONTROL THE WHOLE WAY. "The downforce, with the way it's pushing down on these cars, it's an old school feel. I was real informative to the crew chief on what I thought I needed today because it had an old school feel to it. The older guys had a good feel and the veterans took charge, I just wish that we could have beat them today."
WHAT ABOUT LAP TRAFFIC AT THE END? "Lap traffic helped us and it hurt us. You've got to dodge it, you've got to position yourself so that you get through it as quick as you can. I just burned the rear tires off and I couldn't get any bite off. That's where we were the best today was off the corners, but I couldn't do it at the end."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 7th)
Both Kurt and I had cars that were good on the short run, especially ours. Our strong suit was short runs. I thought we were set up with two 50-lap runs there at the end, which would have given us a top-three, no doubt about it, but we weren't set for a 90-lapper. We fell off real bad after about 50-60 laps, but we were really strong the first 50 and I was happy for that. That was my weakness last year, which was getting to go. We could sure get going today, but we couldn't quite stay long enough. We didn't hit the setup just right."
IS THIS A DAY WHERE YOU WERE BETTER THAN THE FINISH? "Oh we were definitely better than the finish, but I'm proud of this team. They did a great job, had a great car and it was a good run."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 3rd)
"It was a great day for us. We performed really well since we got here. I'm really proud of the guys and the effort they put into the car. We just came up a little short. We had a good car, we just needed to be up front."
WHAT ABOUT THE STRATEGY AT THE END? "Everybody pitted except for three or four cars, so we couldn't have made it unless we pitted. We've gotten burned here on tires before and Robbie and I kind of have a five-lap rule, if we run five laps we're gonna get tires, so I think we ran six laps and we decided to get four tires and brought it in. It worked out for us."
DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 10th)
"We were just loose all day. On one run we were exceptionally good and then a couple we just kind of hung on. Then on the last two runs we got way loose again and just maintained instead of going forward."
YOU TOOK TWO TIRES ONLY LATE IN THE RACE. WAS THAT YOUR CALL OR BOOTIE'S AND DID IT HELP OR HURT? "It was Bootie's and, overall, it probably didn't hurt us. We just needed to adjust the car a little bit."
HAPPY WITH THE WEEKEND? "Yeah. Anytime we can get a top 10 we're gonna be halfway satisfied. We had more in the car, but we just could never adjust. We got it once, but then we couldn't find it again."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus
VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW: WHAT ABOUT BOTH PASSES FOR THE LEAD? "I didn't know the 97 had come back. I knew there were cars there with new tires, I just didn't know who I was passing. I was just trying to keep my car going straight. These guys did a great job of working on this car and adjusting on it today. The 38 guys - Elliott Sadler and Raymond (Fox) and Shawn (Parker) - all came down here and tested. If it wouldn't have been for that and them giving us something to start with, I don't know where we would have been. We had to adjust on the car quite a bit all day. We were loose most of the day. We got in and adjusted it and that's the best that it was at the end and that's what you always want. It was a heck of a race. You know what kind of competitor Kurt Busch is. He's not one to give up the lead and then when he came back by me, like I said, I didn't even know it was him coming by. It was a great race and just a great job. I want to thank UPS, Coca-Cola, Ford Credit and that will be a little bit more money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Finished 12th)
YOU STAYED OUT ON THE LAST CAUTION. "Yeah, we couldn't keep up with the car today. We took off and it was pretty good, but we just couldn't seem to be able to keep up with it. The first run we drove way up the field and then it just kind of got away from us. These are brand new cars, brand new bodies, different chassis, all kinds of stuff and it's gonna take us a little while to get used to working with them. Twelfth isn't how we want to run, but I'm not totally discouraged with that. We didn't work on race stuff on Friday. Paul and I are really concentrating on making our qualifying better. We didn't work on race stuff and I think that hurt us some today, but that's OK."
WHAT'S THE FEELING WHEN THE LEADERS ARE RIGHT ON YOUR TAIL AT THE END OF THE RACE? "You want to get the hell out of the way, but you're also racing for yourself too. You've got to race for yourself, but you also don't want to have a negative impact on the race. I was trying to get out of the way, but I was trying to race the 10 car too."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 11th)
"We were just a little off on the handling all day. They made some adjustments, but we could never get it hooked up like we'd like to, so we just went out and made the best of it and came home 11th. I thought we were gonna have a top 10, but it just didn't work out."
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RIGHT-REAR OF THE CAR? "John Andretti tapped me real early in the race, but I don't think it affected anything."