Sunday, June 27, 1999. Sears Point Raceway. Save Mart/Kragen 350. Chevrolet notes and quotes. STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "It must have cut a tire down or something. Coming down the straightaway going into...
Sunday, June 27, 1999. Sears Point Raceway. Save Mart/Kragen 350. Chevrolet notes and quotes.
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "It must have cut a tire down or something. Coming down the straightaway going into turn one the car just took off like we either knocked the tire off the rim or cut a tire down. The car was good in the beginning of the race and started to go away. I don't know if it was starting to go flat and finally rolled off the rim or what. It was a heck of a shot. They said it was a pretty good flip. I haven't seen it on TV yet. I don't know if I want to. "The car was getting loose in both the left and right-hand corners. It picked up a little vibration. I don't know if the tire was going down or what. It's an unusual place to crash. It's almost like crashing on a straightaway. The car just drove straight off the track."
WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We were OK. We were just out there biding our time. The car was handling pretty good. We just left too much tape on the brake ducts and didn't get enough air to the brakes and just cooked 'em."
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I got the right rear in the slick stuff and came around up in the marbles. The car came around. It just got a little bit too high. I knew there wasn't going to be any gathering it up. I knew it wasn't going to be pretty."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "I raced all day long and didn't get anywhere. I drove hard all day and we came from the back to the top 10. We started 23rd and finished ninth. That's another top 10 finish, so maybe we can pick it up a little bit next week at Daytona."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We had to redo the transmission this morning. When it got put back together, it wouldn't quite shift like it did yesterday. I came in and we checked it over and the guys told me we'd just have to live with it. We lost all our track position. "I ran out of gas once, and Kyle Petty gave me a hand. I thought we could have run 10 more laps, but we were out of gas. Nobody said a word. That was another deal where we had raced from the back and passed a lot of cars and got up to about 20th and ran out of gas. Kyle pushed us in and I dropped back to 35th. "Then here we go again. I went through there, and I thought I was going pretty good. Then somebody ran over a bunch of tires over there in the esses and I ran over one of them and flat-spotted my tires and knocked my fenders all in. The caution came out, and I said I had to pit. They told me we could make it on gas, but I had to pit. That was probably the key today. We came in and got four tires and there was 12 or 15 laps to go. We went from 28th to the top 10. "I think we had a good car. I think we could have run in the top 10 with no problems. Then we had a bunch of problems and we used good pit strategy by the crew, making good decisions to overcome the trouble. The transmission was my call to adjust it. When we put it back together and something wasn't exactly to my liking and we struggled all day long. The good thing was when we went to the back, I was running by myself and it allowed me to figure out how to shift it. I got a shot at the again, and then I ran out of gas. "I got more gas and more tires and got a shot again and I run over some tires and flat-spot my tires. I came in with 14 laps to go running 25th and got to the top 10."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I got run over from behind. I'll definitely, definitely remember it. I came back and got the white flag, and I guess I dropped from sixth to 25th. I don't believe I'll be forgetting that."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I knocked the bolts out of the A arms in the front of the car. I hit a tire. I don't know where the tire came from. I was trying to pass Jimmy Spencer. I don't know if Spencer hit it or what. It jerked the steering wheel out of my hand, and I just about it that wall over there. We adjusted the tow, but it was still off. We were good on long runs. We didn't need all those cautions. We probably had a third-place car if it had gone green." Sunday, June 27, 1999. Sears Point Raceway. Save Mart/Kragen 350. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 3.
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The car ran right in the top five or six all day. We were fourth, and I knew Bobby Labonte was coming. I said, 'hey, if you want to pass me, pass me on the outside.' I motioned that way on the back, and I shot to the inside and got down on the line where the tires were and you can't go inside of that. All of a sudden, he was up in the apron. Then he just drilled the tires. It's a tough break for us. I think we had something for Rusty there at the end because he had worn out his tires. We got together when all the tires were flying and the rear end was swinging around and kept on going. I still can't believe it. But we showed we're back in there again. That was a brand new car. We didn't run it last year. It'll be all right. They'll put a brand new body on it and we'll let it eat at Watkins Glen."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "It was a solid day for us. We flat-spotted a tire and had a bad vibration. Could've finished about eighth I felt like, but we ended up 14th -- lucky to survive. We had a great car. I'm happy my buddy Kenny's OK. I about wrecked before that and then his was violent. It was a horrible race track. You had to take desperate moves to make moves. That's about all there was to it."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The Lowe's Chevy ran pretty good all day. It turned better to the right than it did to the left in the beginning of the race, but the guys worked on it a little at a time and we were pretty equal at the end. We lost some time on the top half of the track but were able to get it back through the esses and the rest of the bottom half. We could have used a little more horsepower, though. "I hated to have to make that late pit stop (lap 104), but the right front tire got flat-spotted after trying to get out of the way of somebody else's mess a few laps before. We were hoping the leaders would come in after the No. 33 crashed but nobody did, so we had to stay out to keep track position. We lost a few spots and then decided to pit when another caution came out. We lost some positions but there was no way I was going to stay competitive to the end with the tire the way it was. The red flag that late in the race ruined our chances of getting back up there, but we picked up a few spots we probably would have lost if we didn't pit."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) NOTE: Jeff Gordon's circuit-leading fourth victory of the season and his fourth straight road course triumph pulled Team Monte Carlo within nine points of Ford in the season-long manufacturers standings. Ford has seven wins to six for Team Monte Carlo. Pontiac has three wins. Ford leads Team Monte Carlo 111-102 in the manufacturers standings. Pontiac is third with 91 points. Gordon gained 35 points on series leader Dale Jarrett and now trails Jarrett by 314 points.
"You wouldn't believe the things that happened to me out there today. The things you saw were only half of it. Right before that first pit stop, my seatbelts came undone. I went off the track. I was missing gears. I made a lot of mistakes today and a lot of it was just because I wasn't feeling good. I don't like to use that as an excuse, but I was really beat. Mark Martin ran me hard. I really thought he had us there. The guys on this DuPont Chevrolet were awesome today. I want to thank Ray Evernham and all these Rainbow Warriors. I like to say hello to Rick (car owner Hendrick) at home. "It started to kick in after we ran quite a few green-flag laps. It was more than laryngitis because I was real dehydrated and real hot. I wasn't hitting my marks. I could tell I was just getting kind of worn out and I wasn't quite as sharp as I was. I started making mistakes and that's when Mark started catching us. Thank goodness the cautions came when they did because they saved us. "It was hot out there. It was nice to finally get some water. You don't want to see a red or a caution any time. I just wanted to see it go green. I didn't want my tires to sit any longer than they had to. It was a great day for us. "This is great momentum. We've been knocking on the door the last three weeks finishing second. This will be a big motivator for us. When we sat on the pole I felt really good about that. Then this sore throat thing came along and I knew it was going to be a tough day for us. Things worked out right for us. We got track position when we needed it, and we were strong on new tires. Mark was a little bit better on old tires, but it's so hard to pass out there. The track was coming up, so it made it even tougher. "I knew going in I wasn't 100 percent. I didn't want to let these guys down because they gave me such a great car. It was even better thanI thought it was. The car was just awesome. It did everything I wanted it to. As the track and tires started to go away and get slicker, I felt myself starting to deteriorate. I started making mistakes. I had a lot of things happened to me today, but right before the first caution my seat belts came completely undone. Luckily, the caution came out. We were very fortunate today. We had a lot of crazy things happen, but we were very fortunate the cautions came when they did. That red flag didn't hurt at all. The tires kind of went away there at the end for everybody, but I was able to get refreshed and make a good effort those last three laps and hold off a great competitor like Mark Martin. I'm really proud of this team. There for awhile I didn't think I was going to be able to finish the race, let alone win it. "I drove right off the corner. The track was coming apart unbelievably down in turn seven. There wasn't a clear spot from the curb to the outside of the race track that you didn't get in the marbles, so we had to start driving all four tires off the curb." "It was also important to get a real wide entry and turn straight across that curb. I came across David Green, a lapped car, and I was hoping he saw me. I thought maybe if I got a good shot off that corner I could get by him before we got off the esses. Lapped cars are very important to get by at the right time. At that moment I was starting to make some mistakes and Mark was starting to close on me. I wanted to get every bit of an advantage that I could. So when I drove in there I turned in a little too late and the left front just never grabbed it and went straight off. The last thing I wanted to do was be stuck out there in that sand pit, so I had to drive through it. I tore the air dam up on the car. We struggled a little bit thereafter. Because I damaged that air dam, it pushed pretty bad, especially behind other cars. I really needed to be out front. My car wouldn't do much behind other cars because of that. "I never considered that option (relief driver). I was more hoping for a caution than I was anything else. Once I cooled myself down and they gave me some bottled water, something to drink and something to pour on me, that I could go. Plus, the car was just so good. That helped me want to stay in the car and helped motivate me. If we had gone green much longer than we did there at the beginning of the race or whatever the longest segment of green was, it might have been... I know Ray got tired of me asking how many laps to go because I don't normally say that and that's a pretty good sign that I'm not doing so good. I just said I'm going to have to suck it up and hope we get some more cautions and we did. "Definitely home fans. I've got more fans that pull for me out here and family and friends. It's great to come out here. I never really raced around this area but I raced around Sacramento and the Bay Area and stuff. It's refreshing to come out here. A lot of places we go there's mixed emotions. We come out here and a whole lot of people are pulling for you and that makes you want to do it even more for 'em and show 'em you're home town proud. "He (Ray Evernham) just does that so I don't think about how I'm feeling. the important part I took out of that was just trying to remember to be smooth and not make mistakes. That's kind of what hurt us at the beginning, me making mistakes. It did take my mind off the fact that I wasn't feeling great. If I had had more voice, I would have said some things, but that's what makes us a great combination. I respect him and there are times, especially like today, you've got to suck it up and you need someone to coach you and motivate you at times like that. There were places where Mark was beating me, and he was telling me about it. I knew Mark was beating me in those areas, but I didn't know how. I was doing everything I could in those areas, but I just wanted to make sure I was protecting the spot."