CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger) -- Finished fourth, second fourth-place finish of the season at TMS, matches career best. "The guys had an outstanding day in the pits and gained a lot of spots for us. I'm really proud of them. We ...
CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger) -- Finished fourth, second fourth-place finish of the season at TMS, matches career best.
"The guys had an outstanding day in the pits and gained a lot of spots for us. I'm really proud of them. We couldn't get going for about 15 laps, but we had one of the best cars out there on a long green-flag run. I don't know what that last caution was for, but we didn't need it. All-in-all it was a good day for us, and we'll take it.
"It felt good leading the race. We needed it. We had an awesome car at the end of a run. After about 20 or 25 laps there wasn't a car that could touch us, but they got so far away from us on the starts and restarts. We just couldn't go for 15 or 20 laps, but once it started coming in we were really strong. To get out front and lead like that was a big deal for this race team. I feel pretty good about it. I couldn't believe that last caution. I didn't see any debris, but I guess they've got to make it exciting. It cost us the race because I thought we'd go by those guys if it had stayed green.
"I was leaning toward staying out when Jimmy (crew chief Elledge) told me to stay out. We could have come in and bumped up the pressures, and put on new tires, but we had been so bad on new tires that I think it would have been a bigger gamble to put on new tires.
"This is a good place for us. Everybody did an excellent job. We had a car just like this at Atlanta and nobody got to see it because we had a couple of tire issues. I think we had a car that could have competed with the 99 for the win today, and it was even better at Atlanta. We're coming on strong. We've found a niche on these mile and a half tracks. We had a great run at Phoenix and we've got Homestead. That's another good track for us, so we feel good about these last two races."
ANDY GRAVES (Team Manager Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
"It looks like Casey Mears has this place figured out. The last 10-12 weeks he's been coming on strong. He's been doing a great job. Our car was really good on long runs, but it was terrible for the first 15 laps. That's the same way it was at Atlanta last week. We've just got to figure out how to make it fast from the start and not lose any speed at the end."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) -- Finished 25th, 7th in standings
"That qualifying deal really killed us track position wise. There were so many green flag runs we were never had to two-tire our way up to the front like we wanted to. We just struggled in dirty air. Once we got out front, we were the fastest car there at the end of the race. Matt (crew chief Borland) said Edwards was two hundredths of a second faster than us on the last lap. We took a good shot to the little toe today. It was unfortunate, but we were the underdogs coming in. I don't think we're mathematically out of it, but things are looking good. We're looking forward to Phoenix. I knew I was taking the air off the 41, but that's racing. I wanted my lap back. My car did not touch any other car from my end of it all day, so I don't think anybody has any right to be mad at me."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- finished 35th, 10th in standings
"We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. We're missing something. We were in the pits and lost a lap and we just never were able to get it back."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Finished 42nd
"The alternator belt came off, but we weren't having much of a run as it was. I thought we might be able to fix it, but I think it hurt more than just the belt. It's disappointing because we usually run well here at Texas. We've got two more chances this season, and I like both of the tracks coming up, so we'll give it all we've got and see what happens."
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Finished 22nd, ninth in standings
"We didn't make a pit stop there at the end. We just screwed up. We should have pitted. Larry wanted to stay out, and that was it. I don't know what I wanted to do. You want sticker tires, but do you want to give up track position to get them? You just never know for sure. When I saw 'em all coming down pit road, I should have followed 'em, but hindsight is 20-20. We easily had a top-10 car today, but that's the way it's been going lately."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 41 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) -- Finished 11th, 11th in standings
"We had good pit strategy at the end. We put two tires on and it worked for us. You could pass today, but track position was still very important. It was the same car we had here in April and finished second with it, but we never got a handle on it today. It was good on old tires, but it just wouldn't go on new tires. Casey (teammate Mears) had a good car all day. They've run well at a lot of tracks. They just haven't been able to finish, so it was great to see him get another good finish today."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 91 Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper Dodge Charger) -- Finished 32nd
"We were way too tight. We were free in the middle and free off. We kept working around it. On a long run near the end of the run we could hold our own, but we lost so much off the bat. I'd have to wait to get the throttle. It killed us. That's the same thing we fought here the whole time. We thought we could work it out, but when it got into the cool of the night it just got worse."