Team Monte Carlo Martinsville II race notes

Robby Gordon, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I was trying to get past Johnny Benson e were riding around on the lead lap. The guys did a real good job on our pit stops. I got underneath Johnny Benson and got a little bit loose and he just...

Robby Gordon, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I was trying to get past Johnny Benson e were riding around on the lead lap. The guys did a real good job on our pit stops. I got underneath Johnny Benson and got a little bit loose and he just didn't give me enough room. I'm not blaming it on him, it's just that we were trying to get by him and I got sideways.

"The Lowe's Chevy was great all day. It just needed a couple of adjustments. It was just cruising until I got loose under the No. 10 car and didn't have any room to save it. I used to not like Martinsville, but I think its kind of fun now."

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo (From your point of view, what took place in the incident with Bobby Hamilton?) "Mark Martin didn't give us a whole lot of room and we gambled and stayed on the bottom of the racetrack and did what we thought was right. We kept it glued to the curve as much as we could we're just trying to get good runs up off the corner. Bobby Hamilton got into us a little bit and we just kind of returned the favor. I guess that's not what they (NASCAR) wanted to see. So you know, we'll just live and breathe with their calls and those kinds of calls aren't what's going to fill the grandstands."

(Isn't that an unwritten rule between drivers?) "Yeah, I've watched several guys go out there today and spin people out; and I think it might have something to do with the rookie stripes on the back of the car. But hey, it's their call and they do what they want to do. They didn't feel it was right, but I didn't feel that it was right that Bobby Hamilton knocked us out of the lead. It's an eye for an eye, and that's the way we race."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (With Ricky Rudd's problems today, what do you think about the nice lead you have in the points?) "That scares me because it can turn around any time. This team is doing a phenomenal job right now making sure we get to the end of the race. It's so important not to make any mistakes right now. We made a few and we weren't able to capitalize on our car. We were but we weren't. I thought we had a better car than 9th (place finish), but we weren't able to capitalize on it and get it better there at the end. We'll go to Talladega and try to survive there, and go to the next race and try to survive there. Right now, that's what it's all about if we're going to win this championship."

(How happy are you for your former teammate, Ricky Craven, getting his first Winston Cup win?) "I'm so happy and proud of Ricky and that entire team. It's neat to see a story like that - a guy who thought may his career was over in Winston Cup racing but never lost that desire to get back in the car. He took his time getting with a good team, and they really click together. I think everybody is really happy for him. I know I am."

(When Ricky Rudd and Tony Stewart had problems, did that play a part in how you ran your race?) "It probably changed a little bit. I was getting a little frustrated because the car just didn't seem to be as good as I wanted it to be. I saw how good Rudd and Jarrett both were - they were real strong. It's unfortunate for Ricky that he had that trouble because he probably had the best car out there. But if you don't get to the end, you don't get the points. That's one of the things we've done so well this year is not have any mechanical problems. Even though it wasn't the type of performance we were hoping for today, we got a pretty decent finish out of it."

(Do you feel like you have a little breathing room now?) "To me, it's just a nail-biter until this thing is over with anyway. What happened to Ricky Rudd today can happen to me next week or the week after that. You just never know. We've got to fight hard and just keep doing what we're doing until we get to the finish.

(Do you have some good tracks coming up?) "Well, Talladega is just one of those crap shoot tracks. Who knows where anybody is going to finish there. We just want to get out of there in one piece."

(Did you get all you had out of your car today?) "At the end. But we just didn't have the track position. We came home 9th and we'll take it. We felt like we had a better car. We were leading at times today and running up front. It just seemed like the second half of the race things just didn't go our way."

Bobby Hamilton, No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I'm real proud of the race team. This thing's been on an uphill swing for weeks now and today we had a shot at winning but it didn't come for us. Everybody knows we had a good racecar and that shows that the team is doing what they need to do and I have a good buggy to ride."

(What happened when you and Kevin Harvick got together?) "Well, he lost momentum off of (turn) two and I accidentally got into him. I even let off the gas to let him get straightened up and the No. 32 got up under us. He wrecked me, but I hadn't hit him yet and I wasn't going to because I knew he had old tires. He done something. I don't know if he touched the curve and it bobbled or what, because I'd even done that two or three times today and touched the curve and the car jumped around. But, he's just trying to be (Dale) Earnhardt. And Earnhardt knows how to do it, he don't."

(Do you think he ever will?) "Somebody will black them eyes for him before he does because Earnhardt had earned a lot of respect for everybody. It's just different now, it really is. The kid's got a ton of talent and he's going to do a lot for NASCAR. We're all mad right now and we'll have to race against each other later on. But I'm madder than hell right now. If he came over here and said something, me and him would have a fight right about now."

(Can we expect to see the cars beating and banging when we come to places like Martinsville and Bristol?) "We don't want to expect it, but that's what happens. And that's what sells. I guess the best thing for me and Harvick to do is to get on that front straightaway and fight. I think the race fans need something like that right now, but the sponsors don't. But we're starting to see a few empty seats around here and this kind of thing brings them (the fans) back."

(Has it gotten to a point where the rookies don't know their place?) "Well, you get into a really good racecar and you win a couple of races and all of a sudden you think that everything's yours. There's a lot of 40 year-old guys around here that still win a lot of races. Unfortunately I'm not one of them. I usually win my one or two a year. But what's going to happen is that they're not going to take that stuff. When the rookies get into other people, it's usually younger people. I think it'll gradually go up. And then when it gets up to us (older) guys, it'll probably stop right there."

(Is it Kevin Harvick's style of driving?) "Well, he gets paid to drive hard. That's what Richard Childress wanted and that's what he's got. It'll fix itself, it really will. And he'll still be a great star for NASCAR. And we need him, but I don't have to like it."

(Do you think that part of it is the car he's driving and that he thinks he's got something to live up to?) "I hope he don't think that because he can't do it. He's not good enough to do it. You just don't go hiring other Dale Earnhardts. I think he needs to do what he's capable of doing and that's it. He'll still be fine, but he'll never be what Earnhardt was."

-Team Monte Carlo-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Robby Gordon , Johnny Benson , Ricky Craven , Mark Martin