Rockingham quotes

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations Quotes from selected drivers after the GM Goodwrench Service 400 at North Carolina Motor Speedway at Rockingham, N.C. JEFF GORDON No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte...

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

Quotes from selected drivers after the GM Goodwrench Service 400 at North Carolina Motor Speedway at Rockingham, N.C.

JEFF GORDON No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo

"We came in on that last pit stop and got a little bit tighter and I found my outside groove again and started to come on. Dale Jarrett had us all day long. He was so strong, but we- just kept working on it. Refuse to lose. That's the motto of this team, and it sure worked today. I'm always afraid to be the fastest guy in practice (on Saturday) because that's usually what happens. You can get too confident because of the way practice went. The track changes and things change out there. We certainly didn't have the fastest car today when they dropped the green. It had me a little bit worried, but Ray and the team did an excellent job. We fine-tuned just a little bit and we communicated and stuck together as a team. Pit stops kept us in the top five all day. This DuPont Chevrolet came on strong there at the end."

"It may have looked like we had it planned like that (coming on at the end), but trust me, we didn't. I was fighting every lap trying to get to Dale and see what I had for him. He was out there leading all those laps, and finally at the end, my groove came in or something happened. We really just made minor changes all day long. Goodyear had a good tire, and I was able to find the groove. Unbelievable. God is certainly looking over this whole team right now. I just talked to Rick Hendrick on the phone, and he's gleaming again. That's our goal this whole year, put smiles on his face, whether it's me or Terry or Ricky. That's what we want to do and we accomplished that goal today."

RAY EVERNHAM Crew chief No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo

"I don't know what to say. Jeff just amazes me every Sunday. I didn't think we could do it today, but evidently Jeff Gordon did."

DALE JARRETT No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford Thunderbird

Jeff and his guys, they did a great job at the end, getting their car tight. We thought we were in good shape, so we didn't really make any adjustments. I felt the car was pretty awesome, but Jeff got the high line to working, and that's not where my car worked. Mine was on the bottom, but he made that work. It's unfortunate. These guys did an awesome job in the pits and Todd (Parrott) did a great job with the chassis. I'm second again. That's three in a row in Winston Cup and two times in a row in the Busch car. We've got second covered. We just can't get to Victory Lane.

"We had everything, everything but there at the end. I really didn't think the high line was going to come in. I saw him start to work it some before the last caution and it concerned me a little bit, but I thought I was still good enough, especially over 50 laps, that I could stay good on the bottom. But he was good.

"It's a pretty good sign that we're disappointed when we finish second. It is a little disappointing to run that well all day long and think that we had the car to do it even at the end. They just made the right adjustments and got the right groove working for them at the end for them.

JEFF BURTON No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford Thunderbird

"We ran real good all day. We were better than everybody but those two cars. Those two cars were in a class by themselves. But I'm happy. To come here and finish third, you sure can't be disappointed with that. We want to win, and we want to win real bad, but you've got to keep putting yourself in this spot right here if you are going to win. It just got real loose on those last 50 laps. It had been tight all day. But we didn't change a thing and it just got loose. I don't know what it was. I can't believe the track will change that quick. We just can't guess right at the end. But that's OK. We finished third, and there's nothing wrong with that.

"We had an awfully good car, and we had even better pit stops. The pit stops kept giving us good position. They did a helluva job. They had the best pit stops of anybody in this garage area, there's no question about that. We were good all day. I got real loose there at the end, but the two cars that finished first and second were in a class by themselves. We'll come back here in the fall though, and we'll try to get 'em.

RICKY RUDD No. 1O Tide Ford Thunderbird

"We would have preferred for them to keep the tire they had here the last race. But they decided to change it, and we've got to do what they do. We had to search. Some guys ran good on it. We just never did get the combination on it, until right there at the very end, when we were a lot better. (Crew chief) Jim Long and the guys on this team kept playing with the car a little all day. We were pretty good in a real long run. It just took us so long to get there, so they played with the pressure and they played with the wedge a little bit on each stop. We finally got something there. If we had had one more stop, we probably could have learned which direction to go. But it's going to take us a little bit longer for the new crew chief and the driver to gel. We got it going, but it was a little late in the race. I couldn't be happier right now. There's a whole bunch of new guys on this team. We've got a new crew chief and a new engineer, and for it to work, together, it takes a little time. But it's coming together pretty quick."

RICKY CRAVEN No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo

"I was pretty happy with the way everything went. The car got better and better and toward the end, we just couldn't improve on it. It was a great finish for the team. The Bud guys worked so hard. It was a great car, a great engine and a great start. I'm relieved we've had this kind of start. It's very, very important. We have a lot of talented people, and I'm reaping the benefits right now. We're on a mission to win our first race, and if it's not next week, maybe it'll be the week after.

"I thought I would have wheel spin coming up off the corner on that last lap. Rusty was getting pretty loose too. He was wheeling his stuff and I was wheeling mine. I guess I just had a little more momentum. I hoped we would be high in the points after the first two races, and I had hoped we could win a race early, too. I'm not getting unreasonable. This is a great start, a third-and fifth. Two-top fives ain't too shabby. That's exactly why I wanted to be here. After we got beat us last year at Talladega, it seemed like our performance dropped.

Along with the change and new faces, there's some new excitement and we're back. One thing about running up front, the restarts play to your advantage. If you get behind third place on a restart, you usually have to fight the lapped cars. I've been there. They're working as hard as we are. It's difficult, especially at a place like 'The Rock,' where you're slipping and sliding. It's so easy to spin the tires out. Today, the outside groove came in and we had some great racing. I love it when there's a choice. The alternative today was to run high. If you were a little bit loose getting in, you could run high. If you needed a little bite getting off, you could run high. We took whatever we had and used it to our advantage.

RUSTY WALLACE No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Thunderbird

"It ran pretty good all day long. It's just too bad that we lost those positions right there on the last two laps. It was unbelievable. We had a fourth going on right there, and the car just got too loose on me. It was pretty good all day long. I was tight and loose at different times. But, all in all, it was a good day. I lost a few positions right there at the end because the car was way too loose. Those guys just had a little better tires."

TERRY LABONTE No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo

"We were too loose on that last set of tires. We were a lot better before that last caution flag. We didn't need that, but I still thought we were going to be fifth. I just wore the tires out trying to race them guys. The tires were about like I thought they'd be. This place eats up tires. We've got a lot better start in the first two races than we had last year. We thought we were better than seventh today. We should have finished better. It happens that way sometimes. We were there late in the race to have a top five and it slipped out of our hands."

GEOFF BODINE No. 7 QVC Ford Thunderbird

"It feels good to have a little good luck for a change. It meant a lot to the team to get a lap back like we did today. It says a lot for this team to come back like that. We had great pit stops that put us at the front of the line. That let me get out in front of Jarrett and then a caution came out and we got our lap back. I really didn't think we were going to do that. It says a lot for the team. Nobody ever gave up. When we got a lap down everybody kept going. It was a good finish and a good run. It gives us a whole lot to be build off for next week and the week after and the rest of the year. We had just as good, or probably a better car at Daytona, and didn't have this kind of run, because we had some bad luck. So it feels good to have some good luck."

ERNIE IRVAN No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford Thunderbird

"We don't have a lot to show for it but we had a good car. It was a good, competitive car. It just killed us pitting on the back straightaway, because they slowed the pace car down. We kept trying to loosen it. We would tighten it then we would loosen it. We probably went just a little bit too far at the end. But we couldn't win like we had it so I figured, 'What the heck. Let's try something.' But pitting on the back really hurt us. I passed the same guys all day. I never got to get to DJ (Dale Jarrett) or (Jeff) Gordon. I don't know if I was fast enough to race with them but we were close."

MORGAN SHEPHERD No. 1 Delco Remy Pontiac Grand Prix

"It was a great run for us. We're still working on some sponsorship, and that's the one thing that's hurting us right now. We're not able to hire the personnel. We're short-handed. These guys have just done a great job with the race car. That's the best race car I've had here since 1988. I definitely wasn't a tenth-place car, just with the circumstances we ended up that way. We had the handling down. That Pontiac was flat handling. We had a super motor. It would come up off the corner like you wouldn't believe. We just really hit the chassis good, and the engine was really good up off the corner. There wasn't a Ford, no Robert Yates motor, that could pull us-down a straightaway. The way it looks I don't think we need to test anywhere. Everything came together good here, and hopefully, we can take notes and go out and be quick at Richmond. Hopefully, we'll have a good qualifying effort and get dialed in for the race. I'm excited about the short-rack races with this team. I know my short-rack program was bad until the last race at Martinsville last year when I finished sixth. Rick Mast ran fourth in this car and I was real tickled to know that I was going in that car because they've got their short track program together so good. I'm looking forward to all the races with this team."

DALE EARNHARDT No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Monte Carlo

"We had a tight front end all day. We adjusted for it trying to make it better. We could make the car real loose, but it still shoved the front end in the middle of the corner. We fought push all day. We never had a good race car really at any time where I felt like we could go to the front with it. We finished 11th and that's just about what we had, a tenth or 11th-place car. It aggravated the tires more and more and caused me to push more and more. I tried to be easy on the tires, but there at the end when you're racing with 50 to go, you're doing all you can do. It's a tough track to race on here. It's wore out and the tires are going to eat up. I think they should come back with a real hard compound."

BOBBY LABONTE No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix

"We made an adjustment on the second stop that didn't work. I think it was a combination of tires and chassis. We tried everything we could think of but nothing worked."

JEREMY MAYFIELD No. 37 Kmart/RC Cola Ford Thunderbird

"Paul Andrews and all of the guys on this team really worked hard, and it showed there at the end. We were pretty bad loose at the start but everybody kept working at it, and that paid off for us. We're out here with a halfway decent finish and feel like we learned a lot too. And we're out of here with the car in one piece and headed to a track (Richmond) where this team has been pretty successful in the past."

STERLING MARLIN No. 4 Kodak Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo

"We just got our butt kicked today. We caught a caution at the wrong time once. A car blew up and the oil was on the bottom of the track, but they threw a caution anyway. That hurt us. We just had got lapped and a bunch of 'em didn't get lapped because of that caution. We just couldn't ever hit on much. Loose, tight, loose, tight, slide. I told Brewer we needed to bring a different car back next time."

WARD BURTON No. 22 MBNA Pontiac Grand Prix

"I thought we were going to be good and we were terrible. We were junk. I don't know what happened. I thought we were pretty good Saturday. The car was absolutely junk. The 9 car checked up real quick on the backstretch and I couldn't slow down quick enough and hit him. That happened pretty early."

STEVE GRISSOM No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo

"We had a good car today, but our handling was off just a tick. We tried to make an adjustment on the first pit stop, but we lost track position and from then on it was uphill all day."

MIKE SKINNER No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo

"I don't know what was wrong with the 8 car today. I didn't come close to him when he spun out. He just got too high and lost it. Overall, the second half of the race was pretty good. We had all kind of trouble the first part of the race. The car was too lose, and we got penalized for a tire going across pit road. All-in-all, it wasn't a bad day. We beat the other two rookies, so that was a plus."

JOHNNY BENSON No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac Grand Prix

"I'm not sure what happened, but we were just way too tight. We couldn't seem to get rid of it. I'm sure we'll find it. We were pretty good here in the spring last year, so we're not exactly sure why we weren't as good this time. I'm looking forward to going to Richmond. We should have a good run there because we ran good there last time, but we ran good here last time. It's hard to say what's going to happen, but I think we'll have a good setup for Richmond."

BOBBY HAMILTON No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix

"I can't say we weren't fast. There at the end we were faster than the leader, but it was too late in the race. I slowed down to keep from running over (Dale) Earnhardt. The radio went out early in the race, but we got that back. We had a terrible air push in traffic. We had to loosen it up, and then we were too loose. We just weren't good. We're going back to Richmond with the same kind of chassis we ran last year, and the chassis we ran today we'd never run before. That probably hurt us a little bit. We've got to get better so we don't get too far behind in points. It seems like when every Pontiac struggles, there's one that does decent, and that's not good. It makes me want to get somebody to wreck them so we can all finish three laps down (laughing). What can you say then? Morgan really wasn't a factor, but he ran decent all day. That car always runs good here if you remember Rick Mast. Gordon just plays with you.

KYLE PETTY No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix

"Something broke after about 200 laps. We we're a little bit loose when we first started the race, and then something broke after about 200 laps. I don't know if the ignition went out, or the carburetor messed up, or the battery went dead, something."

DERRIKE COPE No. 36 Skittles Pontiac Grand Prix

"We just weren't handling. The car kind of fooled us a little bit. It fooled me in practice. We just missed it. It hasn't had any grip since we've been here. We've just got to reassess it. We finished, and that was the first thing we needed to do. We needed to get a long run under our belt and try to figure some things out. We tried to kind of use it as a test session. We obviously have a lot to learn. We'll go on to Richmond. We finished, gained a few points and learned some about the Pontiac. We missed it bad early, and then we got it sorted out where I could race with people. We could just stay right there. We really couldn't do much. We were just trying to survive. It was just one of those days. A tough day at 'The Rock.' We had a pretty good test at Richmond, so we'll go up there, and hopefully, have a better run up there."

ROBERT PRESSLEY No. 29 Cartoon Network Chevrolet Monte Carlo

"There was another car there, and he wasn't paying attention. They made it three wide and you just can't do it. That was the same car and it was the fourth time he's done it. We're going to have a talk after the race."

DAVID GREEN No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet Monte Carlo

"On the caution before, something had happened to the steering on it, like the power steering went out. I guess we were going to wait until the next caution to take a look at it. We went into the corner and I'm not sure what happened but it went straight into the wall. It had something to do with the steering. It wasn't good right before that, but something did break on it. My neck is going to be sore. It hit the wall a ton, but everything did its job I guess."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Rick Mast , Robert Yates