Team Monte Carlo Texas Race Notes

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Everybody just bunched up. It's so hard to pass here. It's really a one-groove race track. We all bunched up going into turn one, and I just barely touched the 93 car. It was...

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"Everybody just bunched up. It's so hard to pass here. It's really a one-groove race track. We all bunched up going into turn one, and I just barely touched the 93 car. It was just a bad break. Our car wasn't right. We were a little bit tight. We were going to make some adjustment, and we had a top 10 or top 15 car easy. Everybody just bunched up going into turn one. I got on the binders and just got into the 93 car a little bit. Then I got hit by Jeff (Gordon), which it wasn't his fault. We got bunched up and I got turned around. It's too bad for these guys. We've got a lot of people here from Michael We'll get 'em next week. What are you going to do? This is part of NASCAR racing. Stuff like this happens. It was an awesome race car. We were a little tight. We got in the back of Ward Burton early in the race because of a yellow flag. I didn't see the yellow. We were going to make some adjustments, but the car was easily a top 15 car. It's too bad. We didn't get a chance to do anything."

TONY FURR (Crew chief No. 25 Michael Monte Carlo)

"It's pretty bad. It bent the center cross member in the car. It took a pretty good lick. Jerry is OK, and we've got 14 more cars back at the shop. We ran this car at Atlanta, and we had it hooked up down there. I've got another one just like it back at the shop. This car's next race was going to be at Michigan. Some of the lapped cars probably shouldn't have been up there, but they've got a right, I reckon. We've just got to be a little more patient around them or get faster and go on around them.

"Everyone of us was going back to the motel last night. This guy was running about 40 mph and we were right behind him. He put on the brakes real quick and was going to turn left. When he did we power drove him and tore up the front end of our van. They charged him because the police were there and saw every bit of it and said it was his fault. John Hendrick (President of Hendrick Motorsports) saw our race car and then the van drove up (in garage as crew worked on the race car). He shook his head and said he was going home. I don't think I'll be too far behind him."

ADAM PETTY (No. 45 Sprint PCS Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"It's just my luck. We blew a motor. Last night in the Busch race I had a car capable of finishing in the top five. A car blew up in front of me and I got in a wreck. Today we were just riding along and blew a motor. Those things happen. We'll come back at Charlotte. At least I didn't tear it up, and we learned a lot. I had just figured out what my line was and how to get back in my rhythm. I had a good time, and we'll go get 'em next time.

"I thought we could finish in the top 25. The car was real comfortable for me to drive. It was working real good. We didn't have a Happy Hour yesterday (because of rain), so we used ours yesterday morning. The guys on the team did an excellent job. We had a good day going, but unfortunately the motor let go.

"We had a car capable of finishing in the top 25 and came up a little short. I was learning the feel of a Winston Cup car. When the race started, I didn't know my maximum limits. Tony Stewart took the air off me a couple of times, and Earnhardt took the air off me a couple of times. I realized my limits then, and I realized how to race those guys. This is totally different than the Busch Series. I would loved to have run a little bit better in my Busch car. Luckily, today wasn't my fault. I didn't go out there and take out the field.

"I think in 160 or 180 laps, I don't even know how many I ran, I think I became a 10-times better race car driver than before I started this race. Those guys out there are the best in the business, and whenever they get to you, they teach you something. I was just starting to figure it out. I thought my dream was going to come true there for a minute (racing father who was scheduled to relief drive the 21 car). It would have been fun to be out there with him."

GARY BRADBERRY (No. 41 Big Daddy's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We had a pretty good car, but we got a couple of laps down with some problems. We were just trying to stay out of trouble. We were loose in the corners all day and got a car up under us. It got out from under me. It was one of those aero deals. I love Texas. I ran here in '98 and really enjoyed it. I was having a good time today. It was just a shame. This is my first race this season with this team, and I really don't know where we're going from here. Hopefully, we'll know something in a couple of weeks."

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"It started out there pretty good. We went up and led a lap. I just decided to slow down and keep the tires on the car. I didn't want to be the leader. I wanted to let somebody else set the pace on the tire deal. We've had a lot of tire problems here before. We just decided that it was better for us to follow instead of lead. We stayed right there in the top five. We pitted, and it was just like Bristol. It started pushing, and it pushed all day from the center out of the corner. One time we had it real loose getting in, but it still pushed coming off. We just never got it adjusted out. It's a shame for the Lowe's car. This team is good enough to win a race. Doggone it, when the car's right, I seem to be able to put it up there in contention. We just can't keep it right all day. I'd like to see that luck change. I think we finished 14th a couple of races ago and 13th last week and 12th this week. Eleven more races, we might win one."

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We just didn't drive good. We ran out of gas that one time. The caution flew and I didn't come down pit road. I just tried to keep enough speed up, and it was sputtering. That helped us. The ignition box went out. I almost said to myself that I didn't want to pit when they told me to pit that time the 27 wrecked. If we hadn't done that, we would have been in good shape. We've just got to get driving better. Everything else is good."

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"These drivers aren't using their heads. They're out there racing as hard as they can race you and won't give you an edge. It's very unfortunate for this whole team. We ran in the top 10 all day, and you get out there racing these lapped cars and they won't give you a break. I'll remember when it gets their time. It's just common courtesy. They pinched me down on the apron and my car started wiggling. I couldn't save it. It's a fast pace today. I'm just sorry for all my guys. We ran good today, but it's just unfortunate we ended up wrecking."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"Something broke in the engine. It wasn't bad early. We were a little tight and made an adjustment to get it freed up. We had to restart and I don't know what happened up there. Somebody jammed on the brakes, and I had to swerve to keep from hitting Rick Mast. I barely clipped him and then I got into the 21. I wound up stuck in the grass. I don't know why they can't have a smooth restart. They jam their brakes on and lock 'em up. I don't know what's going on. We were a little bit loose on new tires. It took awhile for them to come in. The track is so fast you really can't run side by side here. You just kind of aim it and hope the car goes where you aim it. The Coors Light Monte Carlo was pretty good. We came up to about 20th early in the race and the car got tight. It really wasn't a good day. I got stuck in the grass and then the motor blew up. You've got to free the car up so much for a long run. If you're real good early you get tight early. You've got to start so loose so you can be good at the end. If somebody gets up under you your car will turn sideways. If they slowed 'em down about 10 or 15 mph, you could put on a heck of a race here. It just ain't my call. We're done for the day, so we'll just pack up and go to the house and try again next week."

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)

"That was awesome wasn't it. Unbelievable. He (Dale Jr.) had a great race car. Several things happened to us today. We kept working on it, but we had a good day. It's another top 10 finish, and we moved up a spot in the points even though we ended up losing points to the leader. Our car was loose in and tight coming off the corners. This is where he (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) won his first Busch Grand National race. He got the first Winston Cup win for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., today, and Steve Park got our first Winston Cup pole last week at Bristol, so things are looking up."

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We were off today. Our car was just not fast. It handled good. We didn't get to run this engine yesterday, and if we had, we would have changed it. It was off a little bit. We couldn't get going like we needed to, but we got a top 10 (fourth straight at Texas Motor Speedway). That's OK. We'll go on from here. Earlier in the race I ran some with Dale Jr., but I couldn't ever get close enough to him at the end. He did a great job. Traffic was bad today. I raced lapped cars all day long. Once you get clear of them, you're OK. I saw some guys have some problems. I don't know why. The track was in pretty good shape. We could run high or low and pass people on the outside. We've never really been able to do that here before. It was pretty much two grooves. The pavement is a little bit older, and it kind of lets you have two lines. If you're running in 10th place, you start 20th on the restart with all the lapped cars on the inside. We held our own in the points today, so if you can't gain some, that's what you've got to do. I knew yesterday morning we weren't as good as we needed to be. We made some changes on it. We just didn't hit it quite right. It just didn't run as good as we thought it would. I ran this same engine before and it ran great, so I wanted it for here. I guess I messed up. At least we won a pole. I haven't won a pole since '96. That's good. It was a good weekend for it. When you're running for the points, it's not a bad day if you can get a top 10."

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"Something in the engine broke. I don't know if it was a rocker arm or a piston, but it was something like that. We had stayed on the lead lap and had battled. I was just doing my normal thing, keeping the car intact and trying to give some information to the team so they could work on it and make it better. We were running in the top 15 or top 20 all day long, hoping to improve it and make a run on 'em at the end. It just broke. It's hard to drive this track. The cars are kind of loose in. If you get excited at all or get in a hurry at all without having anything up under you, they'll get out from underneath you. Dale Jr. is out there running qualifying speeds winning the race. Evidently his stuff is running pretty good."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)

"I was tight at the beginning. I had a good car. I just couldn't pass. You'd get up behind 'em and lose the air off the nose. I just couldn't do anything. We were waiting to get some track position, and I hated I got into the back of Jerry (Nadeau). That's a shame. It tore his car up and it tore mine up. If you can't pass, you're going to have a lot of wrecks, and that's what happened today."

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We lost a motor. There's not much to say. I told them on the radio, the streak (top 10 finish and blown engine the next race) continues. I'm so disappointed. You can't win races and finish races if your stuff don't stay together. It's not a streak you want to be a part of, I can tell you that.

"Junior was real fast all day long. Him and the 18 and 99 seemed to be the class of the field. We were sitting there in fourth with a strong run going and the motor started losing power. We dropped a spot or two and we were just praying it would make it to the end. Then it lost a cylinder and started smoking. They wanted to make sure we didn't start leaking oil.

"Our Pennzoil Chevy was pretty good most of the day. We needed a little more grip front and rear. The guys did a good job, but I think not having Happy Hour yesterday probably had something to do with it. This is a fast place. When you're going that fast, it doesn't take much to lose control of one of these cars. Our tires looked good all day long. In fact, you saw a lot of two-tire pit stops. His (Earnhardt Jr.'s) car was faster on four tires, and ours seemed like it was faster on two.

"We're taking a brand new car to Martinsville. We're going to Greenville-Pickens Speedway (S.C.) and shake it down a little bit. Our confidence his high. This waivers you and takes the wind out of you a little bit. It could be worse. We could be running like crap and blowing up. It seems like when you run like that your stuff lasts. I'm trying to keep a good perspective about it. We've got a good race team here. I love Paul (crew chief Andrews) and the guys to death. We're fast on the race track, and we still feel like we're on the verge of our first win. We're running in the top five, but we've got to keep our stuff from breaking down and get to the end of these races and get top fives and try to get a win. Junior seemed like he was the class of the field today. He's obviously a talented race car driver. He's won two Busch championships. We're excited about him winning. That puts a smile on my face. We feel good about that with him being a part of the two-car team. We're all going to benefit from that. With the lack of Happy Hour yesterday, I think everybody was off a little bit today. They (8 car) hit it. They were the class of the field."

TONY GLOVER (Crew chief No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We just weren't good today. We were good the first hundred laps and then something happened. We never could find it back. We lost the handle on it and never could get it back. It's a high-speed race track. Everybody is going fast and everybody is racing hard. Kenny (driver Irwin) stayed out of the fence all day. We've had two wrecks two weeks in a row, so we needed to get a decent finish and kind of protect our points a little bit and get back up in the standings. We did that. Unfortunately, we didn't run anywhere near our expectations, and we've got to do a better job of that. We've got to find a way to get Kenny more comfortable in the car. That's the bottom line. I have all the faith in the world that he's a tremendously talented race car driver. We just need to get our cars comfortable for him to drive like he's capable of driving.

"If my memory serves me correct, I think his (Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s) father won around the first of April in 1979 in his rookie year. The same thing happened again, 21 years later."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ward Burton , Tony Stewart , Steve Park , Rick Mast , Michael Ho
Teams Hendrick Motorsports