Andy Petree, Owner of Andy Petree Racing: "This has been great. I'm so glad we got a win for the Oakwood Homes Chevrolet. This means a lot to our whole team. We're looking for a sponsor right now and Joe Nemechek is leaving (the team), but he...
Andy Petree, Owner of Andy Petree Racing: "This has been great. I'm so glad we got a win for the Oakwood Homes Chevrolet. This means a lot to our whole team. We're looking for a sponsor right now and Joe Nemechek is leaving (the team), but he hasn't let up any.
How big is this win for you? "This one is huge. We needed this so bad right now. This is great. Both cars have won a race this year (No. 55 & No. 33) and I'm the happiest car owner in Winston Cup."
Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo (winner) "This just means so much. First of all, I've got to thank Oakwood Homes. They've been with us for two years and they're going to be gone at the end of the year so it's great that they can get a taste of Victory Lane. Chevrolet Monte Carlo has really stuck with us and they've been with me for my whole racing career. It's just kind of unfortunate that things are going to be changing next year as far as myself going a different place. Chris Carrier (crew chief), Andy Petree and all the guys in the motor shop and all the guys that work on this racecar did an awesome job."
At what point in the race did you think you had the car to beat? "We took the lead before the first pit stop and I knew we were going to have a great day all day long. You've just got to be there all day. We've struggled here at Rockingham before. We've had some good runs and finished in the top 10 before. But today, the car was just so balanced that I could go to the top the bottom - wherever I wanted to go. That was the difference."
On putting a whipping on the field in the last 15 to 20 laps "Toward the end of the runs is when we seemed like we could make up more of our time. Early in the runs I couldn't run quite as quick as the other cars, but I was just trying to conserve tires early. This is a place where if you spin the tires early in the run, you pay for it later. Believe me, I've had that lesson taught to me a few times. Just for me to make it through here today is just awesome."
Was it hard to concentrate toward the end of the race? "Not really. I was in my own world there. I was on track. I was in my game today and had my game face on. You know, we've been trying all year and we've come close and New Hampshire and Talladega we've had some good runs. But to win here at Rockingham is awesome."
Kenny Wallace, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 2nd): "If finishing second is as bad as I've done all weekend, that's a pretty incredible weekend. I want to congratulate Andy Petree and Joe Nemechek. I'll tell you what. He came out of nowhere. We had no idea he'd be the guy to beat today. This Pennzoil Chevrolet ran extremely strong all day. We just got beat. I want to thank Teresa Earnhardt and all the guys for all their work and preparation in this Chevrolet. I'm thrilled to death."
You didn't make many changes. Was the car pretty smooth? "We made one change and I didn't like it and we moved back to the other deal. Somehow Joe got eight seconds on one of those deals there. We had great pit stops all day long. My guys were real good, real consistent. But hey - Herm the Worm Weaver, the "Herminator" they call me - I'm back by popular demand"
"I could just smell that win. It was so close, but so far away. Joe Nemechek had an incredible racecar and great pit stop and he just flat beat all of us. He got so far out there that I just didn't think he would check out on us like that. At the end of the race it was just more about seeing if we could get lucky and get him in traffic. I started pushing and getting a little too tight trying to drive to hard and I just lost contact with him. But it was a great week. I told everybody that I'm back by popular demand."
When did you realize you couldn't win this race? "The biggest concern we had all day long was that we ran green so long. Every time everybody starting pitting, I just held my breath. We made sure that we were one of the last to pit so that we wouldn't get caught a lap down on one of those pit sequences. I definitely felt I could win all day. But his car was phenomenal all day. I pretty much thought that I couldn't win with about 20 laps to go."
Jerry Nadeau, No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 5th) "I'm pleased with the run. The guys did a good job. We needed this for UAW-Delphi. We slide into the pits on one pit stop and it cost us about 10 seconds. It was pretty much tight, loose, tight, loose all day long. It was hard to get a hold of the race rack. But it was a lot of fun with no yellows. It was a good run. We needed this. The motor ran good all day. The guys made some good stops."
Even though you had slipped in that pit stop, you really fought back "I drove so hard when I had new tires that I think I made up a lot of time and made up my mistake. But right toward the end of the race I had no tires."
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 25th) "Somehow we got extremely loose and we could never get it back. When you have no cautions - we had one caution and we worked on it - but we just couldn't get it any better. I don't know what happened. I tell you, we're scratching our heads. That was a pretty bad run for us and we're very embarrassed by it. We tested at Homestead and I feel very good about what we have there, so hopefully we can go there and not have a day like we had today."
You weren't exactly just driving around out there, were you? "The reason I wasn't just driving around is that I was driving as hard as I could, but the car just did not allow me to carry the speed I wanted in the corners. It just wanted to spin out. When you have a car like that, you're actually working doubly hard. Joe Nemechek's car was hooked so good that he was probably riding around a whole lot more than the rest of us. That thing was on a rail. My congratulations to him.
"I keep telling you guys. It doesn't matter what kind of point lead we have. We can have trouble and it can happen in a lot of different ways. It can be a lousy day like we had today. We just have to go on to Homestead and give it everything we've got and get a better finish than we had today, that's for sure.
"I lost points today, but the good thing is that there are only three races to go. It wasn't the kind of day we wanted. We struggled with it all day long. We're not happy with it at all. That's not the type of races we like to run - especially here at Rockingham. We had a shot at it earlier in the year and we've won this race several times. It was pretty embarrassing for the Dupont Chevrolet team today. Without having any cautions to make it better, we made every adjustment we could but it just didn't get better. We were just real loose."
How hard was it to run cautiously today? "I was just trying not to wreck. When the car is that sideways you're just trying to hang on and drive it as fast as you can but keep the car going straight and stay out of other guys' way that are coming through there. I haven't seen us run that bad in a long time. It happens. Sometimes you go for it. That type of set-up that was underneath that car was not the type of set-up that you run to be conservative. That's the type of set-up that you hope will get you a top five. But that's what we did and it got us in trouble today."
Is the bigger picture in your mind? "That's why we just hung out there and got our 25th place finish. With only three races to go, we've still got a decent point lead. But we can't run like that. We hope to go to Homestead and have a much better finish than we had today."