Sears Point Post Race Quotes

Sears Point Post Race Quotes by Dave Rodman & Kyle McDoniel SONOMA, Calif. (June 28, 1998) Notes and quotes following Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350 at Sears Point Raceway: Ken Schrader battled the lingering effects of bumps and bruises...

Sears Point Post Race Quotes by Dave Rodman & Kyle McDoniel

SONOMA, Calif. (June 28, 1998) Notes and quotes following Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350 at Sears Point Raceway:

Ken Schrader battled the lingering effects of bumps and bruises he suffered in a heavy driver's side impact the previous week at the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.

"They're there, some sore spots for sure, but we got to race," Schrader said before the Sears Point test. Schrader said he had received a phone call the night after the race from Dale Earnhardt, who had called his crew on the radio after the incident and asked that an apology be delivered to Schrader's team for the contact that precipitated the accident.

Schrader said he tried to return the call but didn't actually speak to Earnhardt until they were in California.

"Our conversation was about what I expected," Schrader said of the short exchange.

Jeff Gordon's Sears Point NASCAR Winston Cup record purse of 160,675 was bolstered by a pair of bonus awards: the $10,000 Winston Leader Bonus and the $38,500 76 Challenge Bonus he garnered by winning the race from the Bud Pole.

Kyle Petty was busting with pride in the Sears Point garage area on Sunday morning after his son Adam won his first American Speed Association race on Saturday night at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo. He called Kyle from Victory Lane last night with the news.

"He called me about 9:30, 10, something like that," Kyle Petty said. "He called me, and I said, 'Where are you at?' He said he was at the race track. And I said, 'Where are you calling from?' He said, 'I'm in Victory Lane,' and I said, 'Well, you finally cracked the top-three.'

"'Daddy,' he said, 'I won the race.' I said, 'No you didn't.' He said, 'I swear I did.' He was just pumped man. He was just screaming on the phone. He had made up a couple of laps and he passed them with about 15 or 20 to go I guess. If he can beat those guys it shows he has the potential to do something. I guess he has more potential than what I thought he had (laughing). He did a tremendous job and I think we're all pretty excited about it."

Kyle Petty said he was weighing the possibility of running Adam in some NASCAR events in the fall, since the 22-race ASA schedule ends in September.

"I'm tickled to death." Kyle said. "I told him as bad as I've been doing in this thing (the Hot Wheels Pontiac), he was going to have to change my luck or he may get my Winston Cup ride from me. He's definitely the next one in line for it, I will say that."

Dennis Setzer, 1998's "pinch hitter of the year," said he would not be in Daytona for the Pepsi 400 as Elliott Racing was in the process of converting the Thunderbird he made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut with earlier this season to a Taurus. However, he won't be idle, or spotting for Bill Elliott.

"I'm testing Bob Keselowski's truck this week at Owosso Speedway in Michigan," he said of the 3/8-mile oval, which he'll use to prepare for the upcoming DieHard 200, "Then I'm running it at Milwaukee on July 4th."

Keselowski has been nagged by back trouble, so he's opting to put Setzer into the No. 29 Mopar Performance Dodge.

Tony Furr, crew chief of the Budweiser Chevrolet, proved to be a prophet of doom when he said on Sunday morning, "We've changed everything and we don't know exactly what the problem is. The car's just flopping all over the place." Dallenbach never really extricated himself from his 37th starting spot and finished 27th.

Rich Bickle said he would continue in Cale Yarborough's Thorn Apple Valley Ford for at least one more week, in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, which leads to an interesting scenario.

"I'm putting Scott Hansen in my truck for Milwaukee," he said of the July 4 DieHard 200 at The Milwaukee Mile. "Oshkosh Truck will be the sponsor. They build dump trucks and cement mixers.

"It's going to be kind of weird. It'll be the first time I'm a driver and a truck owner in two different places on the same weekend. I'll be watching on TV while we're in Daytona, you can bet on that."

After leading 14 laps late in the race, Ricky Rudd was knocked out of second after he tangled with Geoff Bodine in Turn 11. The drivers were fighting for second and third positions at the time and both spun far down the order, with Rudd's No. 10 Tide Ford in 28th and Bodine's No. 7 Philips Communications Ford in 35th.

"The rear brakes locked up and I ran into Ricky," Bodine said. "I'm sorry. It was my fault."

"I got Bodined I guess," Rudd said less diplomatically. "I don't know where he was going. It was gonna work out real good, a good top-five finish. I hate to predict a win because we had eight more laps on our tires, but our car ran pretty good on old tires."

Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Jerry Nadeau -- who created a stir when he qualified on the front row but then made a rookie mistake by overrunning turn 2 on the first lap -- was examined and released from Sonoma Valley Hospital in Sonoma after being transported by ambulance following his lap 14 detour into a dirt embankment on the outside of Turn 8.

Nadeau may have been temporarily knocked unconscious in the accident and complained of neck pain.

In a day where pit strategy played a big role, John Andretti and crew chief Robbie Loomis were able to keep fuel in the tank and put the No. 43 STP Pontiac with the frontrunners at the end of the race for a third-place finish.

"Robbie Loomis made some great pit calls," Andretti said. "It's a pay back for Martinsville, because at Martinsville we should have run out of gas and we came close today. We had a really good car and had to work to put ourselves in some positions. That last pit call was what put us in position for our finish."

Andretti's third-place finish is his best in five starts at Sears Point. His previous bests were 11ths in 1995 and 1996.

After using last week to celebrate his first NASCAR Winston Cup win, Jeremy Mayfield will be using this week to figure out how to get the No. 12 Mobil 1 Ford back on top of the point standings. Jeff Gordon's win put him in the series lead with 2357 points. Mayfield, who finished 18th Sunday, trails Gordon by 40 points and leads Mark Martin by only 12 points heading into next weekend's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Kenny Irwin overcame some adversity to finish ninth in his first career road course start. It was his second straight leading rookie performance.

"We spun out twice and were lucky to overcome it," said Richard "Slugger" Labbe, crew chief of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford. "We had some good pit strategy and got lucky and made a good call.

"Kenny, he's a driver, man. Those tires were wore off that car at the end of the race, but he's gonna be someone to contend with."

Steve Grissom said passing on road courses is a matter of timing, and he had his coordination all right at Sears Point as he led his first laps of the season Sunday in the Kodiak Chevrolet, after using his 11th provisional start of the season to get into the race.

"I've tried to watch Terry (Labonte), Ricky (Rudd) and Rusty (Wallace) to see how they negotiate some of those turns," Grissom said. "They've been road racing a lot longer than I have and they always seem to be in the chase. Patience is really the key on the road courses. There are places on the track where you can attempt to make a pass, but you've got to pick the right time. There are also times when you know you just have to wait."

Luckily Grissom, who led eight laps and finished 10th, didn't watch Labonte and Rudd too closely, as they were both involved in accidents in the event.

Bill Elliott's charge from 43rd starting position to 12th -- a gain of 31 spots -- is a Sears Point NASCAR Winston Cup record. The greatest previous improvement was 26 spots by Bobby Hillin in 1990 and Hut Stricklin in 1993.

Elliott accomplished that while pitting in the equivalent of the "backstretch pits" at other tracks. In fact, Elliott dubbed his No. 94 McDonald's Ford the "SS Minnow" before the race, since he was pitting on the infamous "island" located between the main pits and the entrance to the turn 11 hairpin.

Bobby Hamilton downplayed his road racing ability before the Save Mart/Kragen 350 but he proved he was the real thing in the race with a hard fought second place finish.

"I just ran the tires right into the ground," Hamilton said. "I knew the No. 24 car was going to be the car to beat when he was clear back in eighth place. I gave it all I could. I drove the tires and the car right into the ground."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Rich Bickle , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Jeremy Mayfield , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jerry Nadeau , Dennis Setzer , Steve Grissom , Robbie Loomis , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin , Scott Hansen