JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS Sidelined with engine failure on lap 92: "We just broke something in the engine. Certainly we didn't come here knowing we were going to have a problem., We felt secured with our engine package, it just didn't...
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS
Sidelined with engine failure on lap 92: "We just broke something in the engine. Certainly we didn't come here knowing we were going to have a problem., We felt secured with our engine package, it just didn't work out for us. We certainly don't need to break parts and pieces but we are in unchartered territory turning this many r.p.ms for this amount of time is something we have never done and it bit us. It is our job to do better than that and we will.
"It was a little boring out there for us to. Just going around that top lane single file is not what any of us want. The drivers don't want that, the fans do want that and I don't think we are going to see a whole lot more of that. What we just learned on that stop there is that is enough people went to the bottom, the bottom will work. You can't do it with two or three cars, you have got to have a line of cards. I think enough people got enticed by what they just saw to go try and make something happen. I think from this point forward we are going to see a lot of racing.
"I suspect this is just too much for us to overcome regarding the championship. We will go and fight, do all we can and get all we can. But it is two finishes in the high 30s or high 40s isn't going to get it done.
"We didn't suspect any problems. I think a lot of unknowns turning 8,500 all day long, which is something we typically don't do. So we learned something today hopefully. I am extremely disappointed but I am not disappointed with our effort. Our engine guys and our car guys, everybody has put in a tremendous effort out here.
"Obviously this about wraps it up for us for the championship, we will keep fighting. We will go next week and strap our boots on and go fight and see what we can make out of it.
ON ENGINE PACKAGE TEAMMATES ARE RUNNING TODAY: "I don't know that we are the exact same package, nobody is experimenting. We don't have anything in anybody's car that we were worried about but there are a few little differences, but no valve train stuff, that is probably what we broke. I certainly hope they don't have a problem. I think our car was fast enough to get some business done to get in the right line at the right time and miss the inevitable thing that is going to happen.
"Everybody is getting bored out there and it was starting to get wild out there again which is what Talladega is all about. Again, disappointing for us, but I am not disappointed with our effort.
"We were good on all of our water and oil temps. I am proud of my guys, we had a fast race car, fast enough to get our business done. Great pit stops, we had a solid day. Just meant to be for us right now. We just seem to put one foot forward and two feet back. We won't quit working." "It's a tough break. Everybody has worked really hard. We just broke something. When it blew up, it blew up big. At least it wasn't small. What are you going to do? We worked hard. Everybody put a lot of effort into it. We had a fast race car. I was real proud of the speed. I thought we had enough speed to get our business done. And it just wasn't meant to be for us."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS / TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS
Sidelined with engine failure on Lap 113: "I'm not sure what happened. But the motor was running good. The car was really good. We got in a little altercation there one time and lost some track position. We were getting back towards the front and the car was really, really fast. I was really happy with it. It's just frustrating. The last three weeks we've had great cars capable of winning every race and we just can't seem to find any luck. We'll just keep going and try to win races from here on out and just do the best we can. We're way back in the points and that's not looking good. But we can still win a bunch of races. So we'll just go have some fun."
YOU HAD A STRONG CAR TODAY. WHAT HAPPENED? "It's just unfortunate. These guys have been doing a great job with the engines. We had some awesome power today and we had a car capable of easily winning that race. We were just riding around biding our time and trying to get to the end. I'm real proud of them, but it's just unfortunate. The last three weeks we've had nothing but bad luck and cars that could have won all three races. So it's just frustrating. It's tough to swallow. But we'll go on to Charlotte and try to turn it around."
ON RACING HERE WITH THE COT? "It wasn't any different at all. I thought it was more fun to be honest with you."
HOW WAS THE RACING OUT THERE? "The racing was great. Guys were being real smart and being patient. We were having a lot of fun out there. It was hard to lead the race unless you're on the high side and guys kept trying to go to the bottom and get runs. But it was a lot of fun to race up top. The cars were great. I didn't see any issues at all. A lot of guys were using their heads and being real patient. It was going to get exciting toward the end. But I guess we'll just have to sit back and watch it now."
IS IT WHAT YOU EXPECTED WITH THE COT? "Yeah, it is. It's a lot like the Busch cars were. You'd get really huge runs. It really sucked up well. You'd pull out and think you could drive by three or four cars, but you'd just stop. So you've got to have help. It's a lot of fun."
ON HIS CHANCES FOR THE TITLE "Well, without any freaky luck for anyone else, we're pretty much out of it. It's a shame. I hate it for these guys because we've been so good. Our cars have been awesome. We've been doing exactly what we needed to the last three weeks. We've been so fast and our cars have been really good. We can't get anything to go right for us and if you can't have good luck, there is now chance for a championship. So, we'll just go on and do what we can and try to win some races."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER IMPALA SS - Sidelined with engine failure on Lap 136
"We had a good car. We had a good motor. But we have some sort of a gremlin. As you can see the No. 31 (Burton) and the No. 1 (Truex Jr.) and myself have failures. So we have a gremlin in there. At the test here I saw a low of working back and forth between DEI and RCR. I want to thank everybody on both sides for all the effort trying to come in here and give us all a good opportunity. We had good power. We all had good cars. And I'm sad for Martin (Truex Jr.) more than anything. That team just has so much pride. We'll be all right. Tony Jr. is going to be unemployed for about four hours. I'm looking forward to the next five weeks with Tony. We worked well together earlier this season and I'm looking forward to that. But, it was a tough day today. It's real emotional."
HOW DISAPPOINTED ARE YOU THAT YOU COULDN'T GET A WIN FOR THE FANS? "Well there are 42 other guys out there. You know the odds. But I had a good enough car. I love leading laps and they like that too. I'd look in the stands as I'd go by and they'd be cheering. I get excited about that. I just try to keep it up front as much as I can because that's what they come to see - as least my fans so (laughs). So we're trying really hard. We just had a failure there on the motor."
DOES THE FRUSTRATION GET MORE AND MORE WITH EVERY BLOWN ENGINE? "No. You don't blow motors that often. You can go a year or two without blowing one. The first one you blow is really the shocker. But we've fought a lot of different curve balls with the fuel change and everything else. Changing our engine package with our new Chevy motor and just a lot of curve balls this year, I can totally see and understand how we are in the situation we're in."
YOU ARE STILL MANAGING TO SMILE "Oh, it ain't that bad if this is the worst thing that could happen. We had a good day and we're all in one piece. We had a string of motors fail today but they build good stuff. We tested down here. We all work really hard together and try to bring a good package. We're really proud of all that effort and how our car ran today. I'm proud of my team. We had a good car. We led some. We got the people on their feet. I was hoping to win it. I thought I could win it. But we just had some tough luck. I'm a little more concerned and feel really, really bad for Martin (Truex Jr) because they've got a great team. It hurt worse actually seeing his motor break. But we'll be all right."
ON RICHIE GILMORE "He's probably glad he's not here today. I genuinely consider him a good friend of mine and I just hope he takes care of his health. I'm sure that everything is going to be fine. I'm just glad that it wasn't any worse than it was."
ON THE EMOTION OF THE DAY "Just blowing up. I want to be out there running and working and everybody is really emotional about that. These guys are going to give me a good effort the rest of the year and I'm going to work hard.
STEVE HMIEL, DEI COMPETITION DIRECTOR ON THE ENGINE FAILURES:
"When you open the hood, now you know what to look for. We had two, now we have three. The hole is in the same place in the oil pan. It's breaking something inside and it's breaking it in all three engines.
COULD IT HAPPEN TO THE OTHER CARS WITH RCR/DEI ENGINES? "Oh sure. Richard and Ritchie built the engines and they are doing all they can. They are all the same, so you have to be nervous about the others. The No. 15 was in a wreck. The hole is coming from the rod breaking. All three have had the same failure and the rod is out the oil pan.
"You don't want to have anything go wrong but you hope that your program is consistent enough where you say if one breaks, there's a good chance we'll break them all. You're not happy about it but it shows everybody is getting the same stuff."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS, Involved in a 11 car multi-car incident on lap 145
"Just a product of restrictor plate racing. Everybody bunched up in to a pack. I guess Bobby (Labonte) lost a tire or something like that. Nothing of his doing, just came right across the race track. We were the first one that hit him. It is a shame, not only for us and the Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS but all the other guys that got involved in the wreck as well. Unfortunate for our Chase changes, but we knew that Talladega was going to be our Mulligan. We circled it on the calendar that this was the one we were going to wreck in because We were hoping that last week wouldn't happen but it did. Now this week again. We will just go on to Charlotte and the go on to places where we don't run too good and do the best we can. We will just keep going, that is all we can do.
"The team wants to be optimistic and they want me to be optimistic, but I am sorry, it is just the realism of what has happened that sets in and you try to realize you are so far back, it is going to take a lot to get back in this deal. Especially when you have great racers like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart who are up front in the points and havne3't had much bad luck in this Chase deal."
ON HOW CHASE HAS PLAYED OUT SO FAR: "It is just a product of racing, if we knew what was going to happen we wouldn't be here. It would already be written on the wall.
"It is just so frustrating, but part of the deal."
ARIC ALMIROLA, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS (retired from race on Lap 156 due to an engine issue)
"Obviously some of our other teammates with the same motor package had some issues. I am not really sure why. But I am sure all the guys in the (DEI) engine department will do their homework and figure out what happened. I felt like we had good strategy going -- hopefully to get fuel only at the end and trying to get ourselves in position to get a good finish. I am disappointed, but it's not because of a lack of effort. These guys on this Army team worked really hard all day and had great pit stops."
Continued in part 2