RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 41st) -- "It's disappointing. We blew an engine and there's not much you can do about it. It sounded like we burned a piston. The car was perfect. I told 'em, 'At least we went out leading.'...
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 41st) -- "It's disappointing. We blew an engine and there's not much you can do about it. It sounded like we burned a piston. The car was perfect. I told 'em, 'At least we went out leading.' The thing was flying all day long. I couldn't do no wrong with it. It's just unfortunate. I'm glad to see the race running safe, I'm just sad to see us out of the race. I thought we had a great car, man. It was awesome."
WHEN DID IT GIVE AN INDICATION THAT SOMETHING WAS WRONG?
"About four laps after we came out of that green flag pit stop. After we came out of that stop it burned a piston in the engine and I don't know why. We left (pit road), pulled up, took the lead, was truckin' on, waitin' for the lead draft to catch us and the motor blew."
IS THE RACING HERE ANY DIFFERENT WITH THE NEW RULES?
"Not really. I thought it would be. I had such a fast car, along with some other guys, I was able to get away from some of those cats. They were three and four wide behind us, but my car was awesome, man, that's all I can say. It's just terrible that this has happened because we've had two killer weekends. Last week was awesome, we ran great. This week, I'm gonna say we didn't run worse than third all day long so it was good."
STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus (Finished 33rd) -- "I couldn't see. On restarts people get crazy. I mean, I hate it for the Kodiak Melling Taurus. We had a decent run going. I'm not sure what happened. I saw them go three wide and got to darting in and out and somebody went from the top all the way to the bottom and there were two more cars down there already, so I'm not sure what happened. It's a shame."
THE RACE TO THAT POINT SEEMED TO BE GOING SMOOTHLY.
"Well, it's Talladega and you know that if you have a caution people are gonna get a little bit crazy and it happened."
TED MUSGRAVE --15-- Fenley-Moore Motorsports Taurus (Finished 35th) -- "It's just a restart deal. I kind of made it through the middle, I thought I was almost gonna get lucky enough, but I didn't. Somebody came across from the inside. It's nobody's fault because they all get turned around, but, gosh, I hated it. We were having a pretty good run. The car was pretty good. We were just trying to bide our time. Our car was so good that I told the guys, 'I'm just gonna hang in here and when it gets down and dirty we're ready to go' because my car was really handling good. I didn't want to pressure the issue. I just stayed on the outside just biding my time. That car would have gone to the front, I know it. No joke, it would have been near the front at the end of the race."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 17th) -- "The whole day was about the fact we ran out of gas again. We can't keep doing that and expect to continue to have good breaks. I tried to help Mark as much as I could. I was gonna get out of the way when he asked me, but he wanted me there. That's all it was."
ROBBY GORDON --13-- Menards/Duracell Ultra Taurus (Finished 37th) -- "I think Scott (Pruett) thought he was clear or maybe he noticed I had a run and he was trying to get in line before being left out. Hey, it happened and now it's over. I'm more upset that we had a great car and were caught out in a pit stop. We made a mistake taking four tires instead of two and that pulled us out of the draft."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 5th) -- "I said before this race started that it was gonna be a heck of a race for the fans. I'm just sorry about what happened in that one accident there. I don't know, somebody got together with somebody else, but just a little failure on somebody's thinking I guess. Nobody got hurt, that's important. The Kmart car ran really good. We led for awhile and right there at the end we got shuffled on the outside and couldn't get back up there to lead. If you were leading the race with eight to 10 laps to go, I think you could hold on to win the race. Unfortunately, they had track position and stuff on us and they ended up beating the Kmart car."
YOU NEEDED SOME HELP DIDN'T YOU.
"Everybody needed help. One guy was trying to help somebody and the next guy was trying to help somebody. It was one of those deals that I think Terry (Labonte) was helping me and I was helping him. We were trying to help one another and then, you know, 'wait a minute I helped Burton' and then you'd help Mark and you just tried to help one another because you wanted to get better. It wasn't a matter that you were helping them to win the race, you were helping them saying, 'Alright, if I help this guy I can get better positioning.' That's all that was. For anybody to say, 'Man, I helped them to get where I got,' that's bullcrap. I mean, they just helped one another to get better than what they were."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOUR TALLADEGA SUCCESS?
"I really like this place. It all goes back to the days when I'd come down here with Buddy Baker. Believe it or not, I mean, the first time coming down here I said, 'Who would ever build a race track in the middle of Alabama down here like this.' And Buddy said, 'Wait 'til you see this place.' That was a big plus. That meant a lot and I've learned from the best. I learned from Bobby Allison and Junior Johnson, I won with Junior, Buddy Baker -- he was as good a drafter as there was out there -- and I love the draft. This is a good turnaround for us and the Kmart team."
SCOTT PRUETT --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 20th) -- WHAT HAPPENED IN THE ACCIDENT? DID YOU GET HIT FROM BEHIND?
"I got hit from behind. It lifted the car up, got it light and turned it, so I corrected it. That was that. It's a bad day. It's tough for everybody. We were just racing hard and I feel bad about all that."
SOME THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE A WRECK A LOT SOONER THAN THE ONE THAT HAPPENED.
"Yeah, especially when we ran out of gas with the Tide car coming in for our first stop unfortunately. We were hoping for a yellow so we could get our lap back and that didn't come. We had a good car and ran strong all day, but, unfortunately, we didn't get as much out of it as we could have."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus (Finished 6th) --
YOU WERE UP FRONT MOST OF THE DAY UNTIL THE END.
"Yeah, we had a real good run. I'm proud of this Eagle One bunch. We had that 2000 Taurus going good, it was the same car we ran Daytona real well with. The 12 car was awfully anxious to win another race. It's been a long time for them and he was real, real anxious. He may have made a move a little too quick and wound up costing me some finishing positions. He was awfully fast and he needed to go and it didn't work for him and it didn't work for us either, so we'll take it and go on."
WITH THIS TYPE OF RACING YOU SAID IT MIGHT GET WADDED UP AND IT DID, BUT YOU WEREN'T IN IT.
"Yeah, I don't think that was the big one that I expected or predicted. The drivers did an incredibly good job today. That's a terrible situation to have to race under -- in a pack like that just on and on and on -- and the drivers get high marks from me today for making it without wrecking."
YOU MANAGED TO GET UP FRONT THOUGH AND STAY AHEAD OF ALL THAT STUFF.
"Yeah, I've raced back in the back too and, boy, that was rough, but it was really pretty nice up front."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 14th) -- WITH SIX TO GO YOU WERE SECOND BEHIND MARTIN AND MADE YOUR MOVE. WHAT HAPPENED?
"Yeah, we were running second and I went in high on Martin and everybody hung me out. It was the same old deal. We couldn't recover and went to the back and finished 14th. It was a good day overall, though. We sat on the pole, ran good, finished the race and made a few points up."
AND YOUR MOMENTUM IS STILL MOVING FORWARD.
"Absolutely, how could it not? We had a great day. We ran up front and were competitive, it just wasn't my turn. (Jeff) Gordon got back there, he just didn't finish back there -- we did. My momentum is higher than it's ever been."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Finished 18th) -- "The new rules are a real equalizer. It's frustrating in a qualifying aspect because there's nothing you can do as a driver to fix it, there's nothing you can do chassis-wise, it's all aero and horsepower and there's nothing else you can do, so that part's frustrating. As far as the racing, I thought it was pretty good. Even though we didn't have a very fast car by itself, it was fast enough to be competitive in the draft. I had to back up to the end of the pack there before our first pit stop because we were having a heating problem again. We got in and out of the pits too slow and lost a lap, but other than that, we had a car that could stay with the lead draft."
DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE MOVES YOU ORDINARILY WOULDN'T MAKE HERE?
"They don't have any horsepower, so whenever you hit a wall of air the car just immediately stops. So, you get puffs of air, and, wherever you're at, all of a sudden it'll push you forward and it'll feel like five miles an hour faster than everyone. Everybody just tries to find a hole and keep as much momentum as you can because if you lose any of the momentum, you can lose the draft just like that. The way everything is you just have to hold it to the floor pretty much and you just try to pick your holes."
ED BERRIER --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 28th) -- "We knew it was going to happen. We were in the back and there was nothing we could do. We made as many adjustments and rode it out to finish 28th, but the car felt as bad as it looked after the accident."