Team Monte Carlo Daytona race notes

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Terry spun out for some reason. Something had to break on his car. We were right behind him, and he spun out. I've never seen anything quite like it. We were just coming there...

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Terry spun out for some reason. Something had to break on his car. We were right behind him, and he spun out. I've never seen anything quite like it. We were just coming there and Terry spun out. This car is going to come back. I thought Terry had blown a tire, but I went over there and looked and all four Goodyears were up. He just turned around. I took the little NationsRent Chevy wide and I hoped I would make it through, but I didn't. We'll be back at Loudon. I'm a survivor, and I want to get on that show, too. That would be really cool. If that doesn't work out, I'm a little concerned about what I'm going to do in the future. My new car owner, Jimmy Smith, is doing everything with this team. I had it right behind two-time champion Terry Labonte going to the front. It was a great run for this team, but I ended up crashing. It wasn't bad. Talladega was a nightmare, but this place has a tendency to separate cars because of handling you need. Tons of people were pushing so they would run high. But it's slower on the bottom, so guys who were handling well couldn't complete the pass. It was more of a handling race, and that's what race car drivers want. They want the job in their hands. That's the way it was tonight."

GARY DEHART (Crew chief No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Evidently Terry was knocked out for a little while. They're going to take him over to Halifax and do a CAT scan on him. I think he's OK. They just want to do some precautionary stuff. It knocked him out for just a second. Probably some of the worst wrecks we've ever had in the sport have been similar to that. The good thing about it, the wall was kind of going in the right direction when he hit. If he had hit in the corner it would have been worse. We were tight a little bit tonight, but it wasn't bad."

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "Aerodynamically and speed wise, we couldn't go with them on the restarts. Handling wise after I'd get going, I could really work on 'em, especially down there off turn two. The car was turning good down there. We had a good setup in it. The guys did a good job. I think the Chevrolets are all about 15th-place cars. I was just lucky to come home in the top 10. Once we got going and ran awhile, we got 'em on hot tires. I think we could race 'em. It didn't give you a chance on that restart. They sort of sucked up on you and got around me. It's hard to block 'em all at one time. I was expecting no help from whoever. Everybody was wanting to better their position. You can't blame 'em. Everybody behind them was pulling out and it was just a chess match. Not a race, just a chess match. Lost 15 or 20 to the 88 didn't we? I want to beat them (18 and 88) both. We lost ground on that 88. He's behind us, but he's as much a factor as that 18 car."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "It's all right here (pointing to rear spoiler). That thing is just catching so much air. It's ridiculous how awesome those guys are. We did everything we could. I wish it had stayed green. We were out handling them. That's the one good thing about having this downforce. You can out handle them and we were. I never had to lift the gas once tonight. I'd get a restart and I had no prayer to stay in there. They'd just pull right out and go by me. I was getting ready to get the 22, and I think if I'd got by the 22 I could have got by the 28. That would have been real good for us. We got up front there, and I was real proud of these guys. They did an awesome job in the pits. We were making up like seven and eight spots in the pits, and that's pretty amazing. The car handled great. The longer we went green, the better we were. I'm thankful we got a top 10 out of this. Knowing what this team is capable of, it's just a little frustrating that you're not battling for a win up there."

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We hit him (Bill Elliott). I got hit in the side coming off the corner over there. Another car was leaking real bad, and it was hard to judge. It was really dark right there, and I just got into him. It was our fault. I expected to win, too, and Bill has wrecked us before. It was no way a payback. I get along real good with Bill Elliott. We race together every week. The only thing I can say is I'm terribly sorry. It was an accident. I didn't go in there and wreck Bill Elliott on purpose. I never have and never would. Deepest apologies. It's happened to us, and it's happened to him before. It's not the first day on the job. If you can't win, you take what you can get at these places. I feel really, really bad about what happened with Bill. Like I said, Bill has wrecked us before. It's happened to us. It's happened to him. I feel terrible. He had a good car. We obviously had a good car or we wouldn't have been up there passing him."

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We were overheating. It was running 260 by the 80th lap of the race. I was surprised to make it that long. We had a really good car, even while it was blowing up. We were way better than we were here in February. I passed 11 cars in one lap. I was pretty happy about that."

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "At least we finished. The guys worked hard. This is the same car we had here in February, and we ended up breaking a motor then. It's the same car we had at Talladega, and we wrecked it, so they just fixed it. We ran pretty good for not testing. I think our motor shop has got a little bit of work to do, but overall I'm happy. I'll take 11th. We used a provisional to start and got up there and ran with them quite a bit at the end. That's all I could do. That's all the drafting I had. We were running 13th before the last caution and ended up 11th. I actually thought it was going to hurt us, having that last restart. We weren't very good at restarts all night. As it turned out, we got better. Those Fords are tough. I know they're handling good, and I think they've got a good aero program, but it seems to me like they've got an awful lot of motor. I'm ready to go back to New Hampshire. I'm pretty psyched about that. We've run good all year, but we haven't had the finishes. Something always happens. If we can just keep our momentum up, we'll be styling."

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I thought the night went fairly well. We started up front and went to the back. We had a problem with our window. Our side window fell out and fell inside the car. That really put us in the back, and it's hard to fight your way back up to the front. We were dead last when we had to do that window deal. There was a wreck on the frontstretch and we missed that, but we got a little damage to the right side of the car. We had to fix that. I thought the guys did an awesome job. The motor ran great. We got a decent finish out of it, and that's what we wanted. We just need to be more consistent as a team, and I think it shows lately. We've just been doing a lot better. The reliability of everything on the cars is better. I know I'm getting better every week, and the guys are getting better. We're just trying to get over this hump we're in."

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Between trying to make the race and get qualified, the car just pushed horrible. I had to let off the gas, so to finish 19th, we're not content, but we're pleased we came out of it. There was plenty of times for me to hit the wall down there in one and two. We overcame a situation where we showed up at the race track this week and had 30 minutes to get ready for the race. We were just so tight it was unreal. We overcame an awful lot. I wish we could have been fighting for the lead, but we're still working on these Andy Petree cars. The Fords have got their noses working and turning strong. The problem with the Chevrolets is we're all pushing. We've got to look at our chassis package and get that nose turning better."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Terry Labonte , Andy Petree , Michael Ho
Teams HART