The Winston Chevrolet Racing Notes

Saturday, May 22, 1999. Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Winston. Chevrolet notes and quotes. JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont/Superman Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We probably should have taken four tires. The car wouldn't turn in the corners at...

Saturday, May 22, 1999. Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Winston. Chevrolet notes and quotes.

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont/Superman Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We probably should have taken four tires. The car wouldn't turn in the corners at all. It really, really shoved the nose. We've won this thing on four tires before and this time we got beat by somebody who took four. "I didn't want to start on the pole there. The inside going into turn one was definitely a disadvantage all night long. That's why I tried to get as much of an advantage as I could on the restart. Even when I got down into one, I knew I was in trouble even when Tony got by me my car just didn't stick. Those right-side tires weren't helping out a whole lot. I feel like we made the right call at the time. The 20 car took two and we felt like we were racing him and a couple of other guys. The 5 car did the right thing. I didn't realize he had even taken four tires until he drove by me on the outside. I said, 'that thing's hooked up or he took four tires.' Our car was really, really strong tonight on four tires. I needed to be out front. When I got behind cars it took me a long time to work on 'em. There at the end we just got beat. "That's why this is The Winston. Any time you throw a 10-lap segment in there at the end, it's anybody's game. When it comes down to what you're going to do on tires, we were going to take four tires. We came down pit road going to take four tires. When we heard the 20 car took two, we took two. Hindsight, we probably should have taken four because I didn't want to be on the pole anyway. That's just the way it goes. It's a little disappointing. We had a good car. It's a good test for us for next weekend. These tires are wearing out really, really fast. It's going to be so critical to get the right balance on the car. I didn't feel like we had it. Even though we looked really dominant, the cars we're going to have to beat on the long runs next weekend, even though the 20 car was strong and Terry killed us there at the end, the 18, the 6, those were the guys that were really, really strong there in the first segment. "We were going to take four. We pulled in our pit and we were going to take four. He's all the way at the beginning of pit road. It's like us already knowing what they're doing. It's a total guessing game anyway when you come down pit road. If you think you're racing that guy, because I felt like Tony had the strongest car out there toward the end of that second segment, then you feel like if you're on equal ground with him or he beats you out of the pits, you might be in a little bit of trouble and have to deal with him and it might get tough, so it's not the last time I'll be looking at the bumper of that 20 car. He's very, very good. That team is very good. I look forward to many more battles. Tonight, we got beat by four tires. "There's a positive and negative to double-file restarts. That's the negative. Everybody is bunched up. If somebody has a problem it takes half the field out. In that particular incident, it's no different than being at Daytona or Talladega when everybody is bunched up really close and somebody makes a little mistake. I don't know what happened there. I do know there was oil on the race track coming off of two and that certainly didn't help. They dumped a ton of fluids down over there off two and I came on the radio and said they didn't have it cleaned up. They need to do some more. We went green anyway, but I don't know if that had anything to do with it. Earnhardt passed me on the outside going right through the stuff. I think Bobby might have had a problem and was slowing down and that bunched 'em up. That was definitely disappointing for the race. It took a lot of good contenders out." Saturday, May 22, 1999. Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Winston. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 2.

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench/Wrangler Monte Carlo) "We were too tight in that first segment and too loose in the second segment. We just didn't adjust the right way. We went overboard and went too much. I was under Jeff and Sterling got into me a little bit and got me real loose and let Jeff get away from me. I had to rebound from that and I couldn't catch him. I was just too loose. "We went from tight getting in three in the first 30-lapper to loose getting off the corners in the second 30-lapper. I figured that 10-lap run we'd just go for it. Sterling got into the left rear when I got under Gordon and about wrecked us. It was just one of them racing things. We were just a little too loose to go after them, but I sure would have liked to been there with Terry. "Any time any body got side by side it would cause the cars behind us to catch up. It was just one of them deals. You could run good by yourself. My car after we made that adjustment from the first 30-lapper, I was too much on the edge loose-wise for a car to get in behind me too much. The last 10 laps the car was OK, but we got loose with Sterling and sort of got the car messed up. We needed a little bit more of a comfort zone. I think four tires was the right call. It sure was the right call for Terry Labonte. Congratulations to him. "It feels good driving Richard Childress' Goodwrench Chevrolet. The Wrangler folks made a great promotion. It was a lot of fun racing side by side with Gordon and being able to race him a little bit. We've got an idea of what we're going to do when we come back to the 600. We're going to adjust from there and see what we can do. We're going to bring a better car."

GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The transmission broke. I just had high gear. Toward the end of the second 30 laps it broke. Elliott got by me and then I got back going past him and Jeremy, but on the restart (for final 10 laps) we knew we were in trouble, so we lagged way back. I'm glad we had a second restart because the first one I was a dead duck. The left me. The second one I got a pretty good run and was able to stay with them. We salvaged a pretty good finish even though we had a little problem."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light/Brooks & Dunn Monte Carlo) "We've got to come back with a different transmission for the restarts. The last restart killed us. The 94 jumped in front of us and he was on old tires and got us hung on the outside. Two or three got by and I got bound up and got hung up again. We had a top-three car. We just didn't get to show it at the end. We were a little tight at the start and got a little loose on the other set. We were pretty good but we couldn't go anywhere on the last deal. We just got hung up in traffic. How we dodged that wreck at the beginning I don't know. We went right through the middle of it. This is a new car and we ran respectable. We were a lot better than we have been."

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Klaussner/Sealy Monte Carlo) "It was frustrating tonight. I kind of went from one side to the other. I was pushing and then I was loose. Then I had 'em work on it and I feel like I'm responsible for telling them what to do. I'm the only one driving it and we ping-ponged back and forth. That's disappointing. You should be able to make a judgment on what to do to it and then make it better. We never did make it better. That's disappointing. We talked about that and talked about what we're going to do next week. I think we've decided to bring a different car back. We didn't feel like we were as good as we needed to be. We've got a brand new car at the shop so we'll give it a whirl. The car was the best at the end of the second segment. The next segment we loosened it up and it was just too much. The first 15 laps, every time I hit the gas it just about went sideways on me. I had to fight that. We were pretty good the last 10 laps. I'm disappointed in myself for not giving them better information. I'm happy with the guys for all the adjustments they made on the car. They did a super job all night, and I feel like I left a little bit out there."

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We ran out of gas. I think they'll probably find a fuel pickup problem. This car hasn't been run since the spring of last year here. It might be a fuel pickup problem, but all the caution laps probably bit us, too. We didn't learn anything on this car for next week, but we learned we've got a good gear ration, a good engine combination. All that stuff is running real good. The other car we're going to run here next week, we tested real good with it. It's the car we finished fourth with here in the fall, so we're pretty pumped about that."

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 K-Sentials Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I think this is really a surprise for us. We really didn't qualify that well and didn't practice that well this afternoon in practice. We kind of just sat down in the truck and looked at some old notes and made some changes on it -- not that big of changes, but just some changes. We made some more changes during the race and made another adjustment in that last segment. It was a great night for us. We were lucky to miss that wreck back there. We got tore up in it. Those guys had to work on the car on pit road. We were lucky right there. Some of the guys just got two tires and we got four and gave up some track position but it paid off for us. "I was right in the middle of it (early wreck). I got hit in the back and hit on both sides. I was trying to stop and Mark was spinning and Rusty and I kept trying to miss those guys. The 22 came in and hit me in the right front and somebody hit me on the left side. I don't know who it was. "It's a whole different ball game (at Richmond last week). That caught everybody off guard there. It was the same tire we had run there before and we hadn't had any problems. The sealer I guess just had a little more grip and the tires had a little more temperature. It was kind of an unusual deal last week. "We were pretty excited (in victory lane). It was a big surprise for us to win. We were excited about it. These guys worked hard all week for this one. "We made some big gains on it with some of the changes we made before the race even started. We've got a good direction to go in now. We've got a good baseline. I don't think it's good enough tonight to win the 600 next weekend, but I think we're a lot better than we were last night and today. We've got a good starting spot when we start working on our race setup and we've got some pretty good directions to go in. I feel a whole lot better about it now than I did earlier today. "He (Rick Hendrick) was just excited for us and our team and excited to be here with us for this win. It's so exciting to have him back at the race tracks. He's so much a big part of this race team and always has been. We always look forward to him coming to the races. It was really neat to be able to see the smile on his face in victory lane again. "A lot of times what works at 6 o'clock won't work at 10 o'clock, so you've got to have some adjustments in your car. You're going to have to adjust it along the way. This track changes about as much as any track we go to from the hot, middle of the day until the afternoon when it starts cooling off. It's no secret. Everybody has that in the back of their mind and tries to have adjustments built in their car. "We kept going out and coming back and finally the NASCAR guy said, 'hey, you can sit here and work on your car. You're not going to lose a lap.' So we did. We were practicing for next week. "We got kind of close down there in one and two and he (Tony Stewart) kept getting higher and higher and I was on the outside. I'd been there and done that before in the same race. I kept giving him as much room as I could and he kept coming up there. Finally we got around the corner and my car was really good and I got a good bite off the corner and got away from him. He was really impressive in that Winston Open. He had a good run tonight. I hope he wins the Indy 500 and comes back down here to Charlotte. He's a good competitor. He's got a great team and he's doing a great job, obviously." "Why would I be mad at him (Stewart)? I beat him. If he had run me in the wall, I might have been mad at him. No, he's a good competitor. He's a good guy. "I know the 22 hit me in the right front because he kind of came out of nowhere from behind me there. I thought I had everybody missed and somebody hit me in the back. Somebody came down the left side and got me in the left front. I flat-spotted the tires trying to get stopped trying to miss it, so we were lucky. "I think the last time we (Rick Hendrick and Labonte) got to go to victory lane was '96 when we won the championship in Atlanta."

ANDY GRAVES (Crew chief No. 5 K-Sentials Monte Carlo) "It (wreck) pushed both front fenders in pretty bad and also pushed in the right rear quarterpanel a little bit. So we had to straighten that out. Terry thought it had knocked the tow out a little bit, but he had flat-spotted the tires and that's what he was feeling. When we came in and put new tires on, that's when the official came and said we didn't have to work quite so hard. You can sit here for a couple of laps. We went ahead and checked the tow and it was fine. It was just some minor body damage. We banged that all out and it seemed to work actually a little better after we banged it out.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Terry Labonte