Sunday, Oct. 17, 1999. Talladega Superspeedway. Winston 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Team Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We broke a shock bracket on the right rear up in the frame. We came in and the spot welded...
Sunday, Oct. 17, 1999. Talladega Superspeedway. Winston 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes.
DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Team Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We broke a shock bracket on the right rear up in the frame. We came in and the spot welded it, but it tore loose again. The shocks that we run here have got so much rebound force in 'em, apparently that thing is fatigued and weak from using it so much. We probably should have put a whole new shock tower in before we came to Talladega, but we didn't. It's our own fault. We just overlooked it. It's a shame because Richard Childress provided us with a super engine and all the folks at Realtree and Kawasaki have helped us, the guys are working hard and the car was working great. I could go right up front and run three wide in the middle. We had a great car. We probably could have had a good finish, but this just takes it away from us. That's kind of what happens when you have a small team and you've got to run the race cars too much."
DERRIKE COPE (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I think we got four wide or close to it. The center closed up on Bickle. Someone was below Bickle and somebody must have got into him. He turned sideways and went up into Benson and they both lost it in front of me. I tried to sneak through, but he slammed me in the fence. We proved that out there (going four wide), but you can't do it for very long. It gets pretty ugly. The cars move around quite a bit, but it's a pretty excited race. I had a good time today, but it's over now. We were pretty good. I would try some things to see what I could do. I felt like I was really good in the middle. I went to the bottom and nobody would work with me down there, so I had to go back to the high side and wait it out. It was going to be a tough little finish. It was a tough race today. It looks like I'll be here for a couple more races. I had a good time today. This is a good bunch of boys."
WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It looks like we lost the power steering pump. The guys did a great job today. We were real loose at the start and starting adjusting. We adjusted on it twice, and the car felt really good. We were riding and just biding our time. The steering started getting harder and harder. We lost the power steering, and the car started jumping around a lot. It's pretty tough to drive like that."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We put ourselves in great position. I'm not sure, but something in the motor or drive line or something broke. When I got to turn four it started laying down on me. We were leading. There was a good chance we weren't going to be leading before it was over. Every time you run good you forget about whether you've ever won or not. You're so excited. You start driving with that mirror and doing things that you see these guys do every week to win races. I know I can win, so it's not like the end of the world for me. I'm real happy with these guys' efforts. Everything looked good and everything was going good. So many things can cause what it did. It just started shaking a little bit, so I shut it down. I was just hoping I could stay... I knew I wouldn't continue to lead. Neither will whoever is leading now. It'll be a deal where you get shuffled around. One thing we could always do was get back to the front. That was my strong suit. We put ourselves in a great position, but I hate what happened. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but whatever it was was fairly important."
Chevrolet finishes with 27 plate wins in '90s
Dale Earnhardt drove his No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo to victory in Sunday's Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway to give Chevrolet its 27th plate victory in 40 restrictor-plate races (67.5 percent) in the 1990s. Earnhardt broke a tie between Richard Childress Racing and Morgan-McClure Motorsports. RCR and MMM entered Sunday's race tied with nine victories in the '90s in restrictor-plate points races. Earnhardt captured his 10th points victory of the '90s in a restrictor-plate points race and gave RCR bragging rights for the decade. Earnhardt's victory also allowed Team Monte Carlo to pick up three points on Ford in the season-long manufacturers championship standings. With four races remaining, Ford leads Chevy 204-194. Pontiac is third with 172 points. Team Monte Carlo drivers have won four of the last five races, including three straight, and made up 11 points on Ford in the manufacturers standings in those three races.
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"The Lowe's Chevy ran great all day. We didn't make a change to it all day other than an air pressure change on one of the pit stops. We didn't win, but we did a lot better than we did here back in April. We did the best job we could, and we'll go on to Rockingham. There wasn't a lot of give and take out there today. There was a lot of take, but there wasn't much give at all. Things at Talladega just happen so fast. I think we were second with three laps to go and we ended up 13th. We made a move on Dale and couldn't get anyone to come with us. We were three wide, and I was the meat in the sandwich with no one behind me. There's no friends at the end of this race."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak Max Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"You would like to finish better, and we had a car that was better than ninth. I felt like I did my job today, do. But one lap we were 20th, the next lap we were fifth and the last lap we were ninth. It just depends on how it shuffles out. Usually, there's not that many cars involved in that last lap deal. When it gets time to go, it's time to go, and you can't blame anybody for that. They're going to try to run good and get the best finish they can for their teams and sponsors. That's what everybody was doing. That should have made it an exciting race for the fans. We were really happy with the car. This is the same car I finished eighth with at Daytona in July. The guys at the shop have really been working hard, and that thing had a horse of a motor in it. I guess the other times they won all the races, it spoiled their reputation. Now nobody will run with it. I got where I could take the lead a couple of times and got hung out. I'll bet we came from the back twice. I'm really happy about the way the car drove. It's the first restrictor-plate car I could ever drive and run wide open all day. We're testing the 2000 Monte Carlo here Monday and Tuesday. It's a NASCAR test. We'll see what kind of speeds we can run and what the speeds will be like with them. We're going to take this and go on and test tomorrow and try to carry momentum into next year for all our sponsors and just see how well we can do. I wish we could have won this one today and gave Morgan-McClure bragging rights for plate victories in the '90s, but congratulations to Dale Earnhardt and his team. Those guys are really tough at these big tracks."
27 Chevrolet restrictor-plate victories in the '90s at Daytona and Talladega
Chevrolets have won 27 of 40 restrictor-plate points races (67.5 percent) at Daytona and Talladega in the '90s. Joe Gibbs Racing and Bob Whitcomb Racing have won one each. Hendrick Motorsports won six. Richard Childress Racing and Morgan-McClure Motorsports went into Sunday's Winston 500 tied with nine wins each, but Dale Earnhardt's victory gave RCR bragging rights for the decade.
Daytona 500 1990 -- Derrike Cope 1991 -- Ernie Irvan (MMM) 1993 -- Dale Jarrett 1994 -- Sterling Marlin (MMM) 1995 -- Sterling Marlin (MMM) 1997 -- Jeff Gordon 1998 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR) 1999 -- Jeff Gordon
Pepsi 400 1990 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR) 1992 -- Ernie Irvan (MMM) 1993 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR) 1995 -- Jeff Gordon 1996 -- Sterling Marlin (MMM) 1998 -- Jeff Gordon
DieHard 500 1990 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR) 1993 -- Ernie Irvan (MMM) 1994 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR) 1996 -- Sterling Marlin (MMM) 1999 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR)
Winston 500 1990 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR) 1991 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR) 1992 -- Ernie Irvan (MMM) 1993 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR) 1995 -- Sterling Marlin (MMM) 1996 -- Jeff Gordon 1997 -- Terry Labonte 1999 -- Dale Earnhardt (RCR)
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"Brian Whitesell has been here a long time, and he and I have a good relationship. Now we're working closer together and things couldn't be better. I'm excited about the calls he makes and the way he handles himself and the way he handles this team. We're having a ball right now.
"I was going for the win. I thought I had a move on Jarrett and they got to the outside of me. That's the risk you take if you try to take the lead, especially in the closing laps. I think you've got to be half crazy to want to run this race or this will make you crazy, one of the two.
"It was a madhouse out there. As long as we were single file and about five or 10 cars could pull away, everything was great. There at the end, everybody got so anxious, running three, four, five wide. I'm just thankful that we're all safe out there. It could have been disastrous again. It was just a fortunate day for us that we didn't get that big one. I'm not happy with 12th. I'm never happy with 12th. I was going for the win. I'm happy to come home safe. In a race like this, you just count your blessings when you walk away and the car's in one piece. Not that I expected to get a whole lot of help. Nobody is going to help me win. I'm not necessarily going to help anybody else win, either, but I'm going to do everything I can to try to win. Terry and I were working well together, and I hate it he had some problems. You need a teammate, you need someone to work with here at this track. I didn't have that today. I would like for it to come down that way. It would have been interesting.
"Earnhardt's the best there is and that's why he wins races. He knows how to position himself, how to use air, how to use the other cars and knows where to be at the right time at the right place. I don't know how he does it. I watch him in awe. I try to learn as much from him as I can. You saw the first half of the race, we were dominant. We were there. The second half of the race we lost a little we lost a little bit of track position and never could seem to get it back. That's where he's so awesome. If anybody's got an advantage, it's Earnhardt, because of him.
"I was trying to take the lead from Jarrett. It was probably a mistake on my part. I probably should have waited, but I felt much more comfortable out front. I knew I could hold them off if I could get out front. I was there in second, kind of a sitting duck. Those guys were coming pretty fast. I went to make a move on Jarrett, got to his left rear and then Lepage got to the outside of me and it was all over from there. I was just trying to get back to the top 10 after that.
"This is the toughest place to win a race. Anybody can win this race. It's not one of those tracks you go to and you say there's 40 guys that can win but you know there's only about five or six. Here, I promise you 30 or 40 guys can win. To come out of here in one piece, that's what I'm happy with.
"If I could have gotten up front, I think I had the car to beat. We were very fast, awesome motor, these guys went to work on the aero package and the chassis. I couldn't have asked for a better car. It handled perfect. I really just couldn't get the right moves to fall in place for me. That's how you win here. When the right things work for you, like I said, Earnhardt's the best at it. He's got the most experience, and he does a great job."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I'm going to win a race here soon. At least I'm not embarrassing myself now. That's two top fives in the last three races. I'm really amazed we didn't have any wrecks. We had plenty of opportunities to wreck. I just dedicated myself to the outside lane at the end. We finished fifth with it, and that's great.
"We're unveiling that Aerosmith car at Phoenix. That's my favorite group and they'll be on my quarterpanels. I want to win any time, but I really want to win at Phoenix. My most favorite thing about this is Winston Cup is all about stats, and when it comes Daytona time, I'm going to be in the No Bull man. I finished fifth.
"Where did we come from today? That's what I asked myself about Earnhardt. How in the hell can that guy run eighth or 10th all day long and all of a sudden take the checkered flag and win?
"I just dedicated myself to the outside lane. The bottom line is a sucker lane. You pass a lot of cars in the middle of the corner, but then you can't complete the pass off the corner, so I just said I'll die out here. I was getting a ton of momentum off turn two. Once I could lead the outside lane, that was the thing. I could just fly off turn two on the outside.
"It was a good race. I'm proud for Andy Petree Racing to fly the No Bull colors at Daytona. I'm sure that's huge, and it's a big lift for Square D. My saying here lately is if you build it they will come. If you run good, I'm fine, because you're at peace with yourself. I'm more happy for everyone else right now than I am myself. I know what I did."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"They left the lugnuts loose. The wheel was fixing to come off. We had a good car. It was awesome. I couldn't ask for a better piece. It ran good, the motor was good, it drove good. We'd get shuffled to the back and come back to the front. At the last restart, we got caught on pit road when the caution came out. We were in the back and pitted and they didn't get the nuts tight. I didn't feel it until we ran about three laps. It started shaking so bad, I was fixing to cause a big wreck and I had to get out of there."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We had a good car. We were in the top 10 or top five all day long. I'm still trying to get these guys to run with me. We really don't run good at these restrictor-plate tracks. These guys have memories like elephants. We had a good car today. We could have taken a lot of people to the front. We didn't get as much help as we would have liked and then at the end they did the famous split and split me down the middle. I lost about 10 spots and gained five of them back. How about the boss today? He did a good job. I wanted to run with him. Who better to learn from? We were running good with him. I was just trying to learn some stuff. Our car was about as good as his today. He just knows how to work his way to the front at the end. We couldn't really hang with those guys because nobody would work with us. They kept splitting us and not wanting to draft with us. We'll keep coming back and try to gain some respect from these guys and get our Chevrolet Monte Carlo closer to the front."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"Starting off, it was a pretty awesome day really. I was really disappointed about our qualifying deal on the first day. The guys worked hard and did great on the next day qualifying. We started off at at deficit there at 27th, but we were rolling along there and it got sort of two wide and then sort of opened up in the middle. I was sort of seeing some things there that I thought would work. I went for it and went through the middle. We worked our way up to the front. As we got to the front, we sort of got to the top five and really couldn't move any closer. We just sort or rode along there and worked with the draft. It was a ride around day, trying to hold on to what you had. You'd get pushed back. You'd get to racing guys and go back to 15th or 20th. You'd have to work your way back up to the front. We had pretty good pit stops all day. The guys did a great job in the pits. The car stayed consistent all day. We came down to the end, and I really wasn't sure I had a car I could win the race with. I felt like the 18 and the 88 and some of them guys were a little stronger than I was. As we worked to the end there, I sort of got hung to the outside and was trying to draft up the outside. We had help from the 31. The 18 car was back there with us. Finally we got out by Jarrett and cleared Jarrett and it was a side by side race behind me. We raced about a lap and a half there to the end and I was really amazed that I held Jarrett off. I thought he would make a run at me or muster a run at me and he couldn't. It just shows you you never give up on your race car and never give up on your race team, keep working and driving as hard as you can and it'll work out for you. It did for us. It was a real close day all day. The spotters worked hard. All the drivers looked like they did a great job racing today without getting into each other. There wasn't any major wrecks in the tri-oval like usual. There was a lot of three-wide racing and some four-wide racing. It was an exciting day for everybody, race fans and drivers, included. I think the drivers and spotters worked hardest today.
"I've got my good friend Randy Owen and his wife Kelly here, and Johnny Morris and his kid. I had a lot of support for the 3 Goodwrench team and Realtree and all the guys were here. We had a lot of great people helping us out today. I think that makes a difference when you're trying to win races."
RICHARD CHILDRESS (Car owner RCR Chevrolet Monte Carlos)
"I've really gotten kind of used to it now. I was nervous like everyone. Talladega makes everyone nervous, but both of these guys are professionals. I've got a lot of confidence in them. I looked at the back bumper and saw Mike hit him one time and knock him up through there. It was a good race. I hate they didn't end up no better, but Dale got shuffled back one time and Mike would get shuffled back. Like Dale said, you just never know. It's kind of where you end up. It was a good day for RCR."
KEVIN HAMLIN (Crew chief No. 3 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo)
"A couple more (wins) wouldn't hurt this year yet. Talladega is a great place, and I think the fans got to see a great race today like they always do. When they're racing in a pack of 30 or 40 cars, three or four abreast like Dale said, it's a little bit too much for the guys on the team and the spotters and the drivers sometimes, but the fans sure did get to see a heck of a show."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"We had been talking for the last couple of laps that we were going to pit with the 18 or 88. The 18 made a commitment to pit and we were, too. We started down pit road and the caution came out and I think Richard thinking the guys were going to race back around to the caution, he was wanting us to move through the pits. I was thinking they were going to back off. They were not going to race back. Which everybody has been pretty good about, so I took the chance of going ahead and stopping. We got our four tires and gas. It really worked for us because we didn't have to go back around and come back down pit road. We probably would have been in the back of the pack because we already had committed. It worked out really well for us. The guys slowed down and they didn't come around and catch up to us.
"There at the first of the race I was watching some things go on and I felt like I could move through the middle. Usually you can't. My car really worked good. I worked off the side of the inside cars more coming up through there in the middle of the draft than I did in the center of the draft. When I got up to a certain point, I had to get in line. We were just fortunate really. As far as seeing air. I know it's there. I've just got to play the hunches right and hope it's there when I need it.
"To keep drafting and keep working your way to get to that point was really tough. Jarrett was hanging tough on the bottom. I knew it was going to be tough to get by him. Skinner and the 18 car worked hard and helped me get there. Once I cleared the 88, I tried to pull Skinner with me and he got hung up with the 88. The 18 car got to racing and got by him. They get to going three wide. It was getting down to the last two laps and everybody was panicking. This is our last shot. They were making all the moves they could. It's a tough place to be, and being up front like Jarrett or out front like we were on the last lap, it's the place to be. You can place defense better than you can play offense from the back.
"I've gotten spun sideways here in the tri-oval two times by guys that were just racing. A little bump at a half mile, rattle your cage at a half mile, is a lot different than getting spun sideways at 200 mph. Everybody raced hard and raced a good race and gave each other room. It came down to the last there and we were able to pass Jarrett. Yeah, I was racing along there and I figured Jarrett was going to try to make a move and try to get back by me, but I really wasn't worried about him turning me sideways here.
"We worked hard at the first of the race. My view was to get it going and work to get better position to start with. I've wrecked here twice from the front, so it's not really safe anywhere you're at here if you get hit from the wrong place. The car really worked good, and I made some moves and made some judgment calls that really worked for us that could have put us further behind. But it worked out for us and we got up there and once I got there it got tougher because the 24 and some of them guys were running strong, the 88, some of them guys were stronger than I was. Once I got there, I just really played the game all day just to try to stay in the top five and be in contention for the end of the race, and that's what our goal was.
"There was more shuffling than usual. Guys would get hung out and push back and it was that kind of race all day long. You'd be racing somebody side by side and somebody would stick their nose under you and make it three wide and there you'd go. You'd go backwards. It was an up and down day so to speak or a back and forwards day."
"He finally got in behind me and I think he knew he couldn't win the race and maybe he thought he and I could get to the front. Once we got to the front, we'd race each other for the last lap. That would have been fine. That would have been OK with me if we had been down to the last lap and Skinner and I had raced each other, but he worked hard and helped us at that point, and that points what I think won the race for us, helping us get up there and get to Jarrett and race by Jarrett.
"I didn't think I had the car I had here in the spring. The car I had here in the spring could go to the front and stay in the front. This race, the car was there, but it just didn't have that extra I felt like you needed to be as dominant as I think there was some cars there that was in that position. I think the 18 was one of them. I just kept working with the car and made the right moves and I got the right breaks. It got down to the end, and once I got by Jarrett, the guys were racing side by side and it made it tougher to run back on me. If there had been more laps and they had been patient, they would have got lined up and drove back by me. It worked out again to the last two-lap deal, and they played it just right for me.
"It's tough to pick your partner at any point of that race. I would see guys that would be sitting in line racing and guys would pull out on you and run along on the bottom and you'd draft back by 'em. Guys would line up and you'd get back by 'em, and you'd look in the mirror and they'd be back in about 15th place. It was just a tough day. I did that one time and slipped back to about 12th. You just had to be careful on what moves you made and when you made 'em and who was around when you made 'em. I really honestly didn't think anybody was working with one certain person all day long to say I'm going to work with you all day long and try to win the race. I think it was just lap after lap and it mixed and mingled who was pushing and who was helping. It did look like Bobby and Terry Labonte worked together more than most anybody else did, but even Bobby pulled out on him a couple of times.
"It just shows you drivers are getting more experienced at this or more patient or we have better spotters or everybody is just getting smarter, really, probably. Racing side by side like that three wide and sometimes four wide and making two or three laps, four laps like that, is a pretty awesome way to race. It's pretty nerve-racking. Again, the spotters did a great job all day long of keeping you out of trouble and helping you out. If it hadn't been for them, I don't think the guys would have come through it as smooth as they did, but it was a good day.
"You have your ups and downs in your career, and I've had 'em over the years. 88 and 89 weren't good years for me. To have '96 and '97 droughts and '98 was a little bit of a tough year. We won Daytona in it, but to come back this year and the team is doing the right things and we're getting competitive to the point we can consistently run in the top five and top 10. If you do that you're going to win races. We've proved that. I felt like we should have won Martinsville. Circumstances change and you don't do it. We had a good car at Charlotte, we just over adjusted and started the race with a couple of things we shouldn't have done, but we just made a mistake there. The team, Kevin and I, are getting more in tune together with what we want and what we feel like the car needs and more comfortable for me to drive. I think we're doing a better and better job at it as we work together."