Todd Parrott, crew chief of the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus, spoke about his brother Brad taking over as crew chief for Scott Pruett and the No. 32 Tide Taurus beginning next week at Loudon. Cal Wells and Buddy...
Todd Parrott, crew chief of the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus, spoke about his brother Brad taking over as crew chief for Scott Pruett and the No. 32 Tide Taurus beginning next week at Loudon. Cal Wells and Buddy Parrott also gave their feelings.
TODD PARROTT, Crew Chief --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus --
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BRAD?
"I'm very proud. I know that it's something five years ago I had an opportunity to do something. I wasn't ready, I wasn't sure. I asked my dad a lot of questions, I asked my brother, I asked God a lot of questions. Am I ready for this? Once you take that step you have to suck up a lot if you go back the other way, so I had to make sure I was ready. I went after it and I went and did it, so Brad has been working with me now for four years. He's learned a lot and done a lot for our race team and I think it's time. He's wanting to make calls. He's wanting to make decisions in the pits. I'm in a position where I can't let him do that on our race team. I believe everybody would understand that and appreciate that. If he makes a call or a decision and it's a wrong one, it's gonna come back on my shoulders and everyone on the team will ask me why did you do that? I'm excited for him. He's ready. He had a great opportunity with PPI and Cal Wells. Brad and Scott Pruett have known each other since they were kids, so you've gotta have a good communication line and I think that will be great for him because Scott knows that he's a very smart individual. If the blood in him (Brad) is anything like the blood in me, then I better look out in Loudon."
DO YOU FEEL THIS IS THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY FOR BRAD?
"How would you say the opportunity I took was the right opportunity? What had Dale Jarrett really done in 1995? He had won a race and was with a great team that had won a lot of races, but he hadn't won a lot of races. So, just the things that I'd learned in racing and the way to work with people I was able to carry it over to here and won the biggest race of the year in my very first race. I believe Scott has some track time in Loudon with Indy cars, so maybe, like I said, if he goes over there and they run well -- which I'm praying and hoping that happens -- then it'll be easy for him. It was easier for me because we came out the first race and were successful. There was no pressure after that because I had just won the biggest pressure-packed race of the year and the rest of it really came easy."
DID BRAD TALK TO YOU A LOT? "He talked to me a little bit, not a whole lot because it was a tough decision for him. He was torn. He wasn't sure. He was the same way I was, so I knew exactly how he felt. I think I helped make the decision for him because I saw that he was getting to the point where it was starting to bother him. He wasn't sure what to do, so I told him starting Monday it would be a real good time for him to start his new job. I think it'll be good for him. They're ready, he's ready and I'm really looking forward to it."
WHO WILL ASSUME BRAD'S DUTIES WITH THE 88 TEAM?
"I'm not real sure. I'm gonna have a meeting Monday and talk to all the guys. It's a little bit of a letdown to me, but to the rest of the guys it's all part of their jobs. Everybody has a job to do and everybody's job is important, especially on a championship caliber team so anytime you lose somebody it affects you. I just want to talk to them and explain why. I think they all understand why, but I haven't really talked to any of them about it. I guess they've read it through the papers, but I have a goal down here in Daytona and I don't want to upset anything on the team. I could have let him go yesterday when I heard about the announcement, but I told him yesterday that I wanted him to stay with us through tonight and let's get a job done. We came down here and accomplished one of them by sitting on the pole and we can accomplish our other goal by winning the race. Then on Monday we'll go on and do our own thing."
WHAT KIND OF ADVICE TO YOU HAVE FOR HIM?
"He better have a tough gut (laughter). Some people think that crew chief is a high profile job and it's easy, but it's tough. You have a lot of different jobs to do. My number one goal is to make sure the race car performs well on the race track, that all the people are happy and stuff like that. He's got to be a real good people person and I hope that he learns those skills Sunday out on the lake sometime (joking)."
WHAT'S YOUR FEELING ABOUT BRAD'S NEW OPPORTUNITY?
"At this point in time of my career I'm glad to see that Brad is going to be able to show some things that he's learned and worked with. Ever since he was old enough to scoot under the fence at Daytona, when Bill Gasaway would try to catch him and throw him back out of the garage area, he's put a lot of time and effort in getting to where he is and where he's able to have a chance to showcase what he can do. The opportunity of where he's going is unlimited, I think. The Cal Wells team is well financed and not only that, they've got smart people over there and it takes real smart people to make sure that your team excels out here. You've got to have an engineering staff. I heard some snickers and things from people when we went to Daytona and Talladega to test and they had about five engineers sitting there taking data and all that, but I sure as hell didn't laugh about it because that's what it's coming to. Each car is gonna have at least one or two engineers assigned to it. That's the way the technology is going. The technology has passed way by me, but Brad is smart and he's able to keep up with that so I wish him well."
DID HE STRUGGLE WITH THIS DECISION AND WHAT KIND OF ADVICE DID YOU GIVE HIM?
"I think everybody struggles with a situation of going and making that next step. When I made my big step it wasn't a very big step back then. I left Harry Hyde as a tire technician and I remember I told him one day I said, 'Well Harry, I'm leaving you.' He said, 'OK, I'll see you tomorrow,' and I said, 'No, you don't understand I'm leaving to go be a crew chief,' and he laughed. He said, 'Sure you are. What do you know about being a crew chief?' And I looked at him and said, 'Exactly what you've taught me and from what I've watched and observed and learned,' and he said, "Well, I hope that's enough.' And that's what I say to Brad. I hope the things he learned from me, the things he learned from the different drivers he worked with and the things Todd gave him an opportunity to learn -- I hope it all pays off for him."
CAL WELLS, Car Owner --32-- Tide Taurus --
DO YOU FEEL THIS IS THE RIGHT COMBINATION WITH BRAD AND SCOTT?
"Yeah, I do. Absolutely. Brad is new to this particular job, but he's got a lot of experience and we're looking for some fresh ideas, but still with a lot of understanding history and experience. He brings all of that, along, with an open mind and to work at this place you need that. We're pretty excited about that."
DID THIS HAVE ANY TIE TO THE FACT YOU RUN YATES MOTORS?
"Actually they weren't tied together. That's a plus, certainly, but they weren't tied together. We do have an agreement with Robert and Doug not to poach and we didn't, so we talked to Doug first to make sure they'd be OK with it. He (Brad) was ready for a change and was ready for something different. We just happened to be the most needy, I guess, and he's gonna bring a lot to us. We're real excited about it and the fact we use Robert Yates engines is all that much better."
BRAD SAID HE HAD A LOT OF OFFERS. DID YOU HAVE TO GO AFTER BRAD HARD?
"We actually got approached by Ford about hiring him because not all the teams that he had an opportunity with -- he was very respectful of the relationship he was in, not only with his brother but with Robert -- so he wasn't openly negotiating with anybody. He was ready to do move up and there were opportunities in the garage area here -- some that are here and some that won't be here until next year -- that were very, very good but they weren't necessarily Ford teams and it was important to retain not only his technology background, his notebook for lack of a better term, but they realized he's a super talent. Again, we have this relationship and agreement with Robert that we're not gonna touch his people, so even though we'd heard the same rumblings, we didn't want to cross the line. So, when we had a conversation with Ford, I went to Doug and said, 'I hear some rumblings and we'd be interested if it's OK,' and he said, 'Go, that'd be great for us because even though we're an extended family he would still be kind of in the family,' so we did and things came together real quickly."
WAS THIS A PROCESS OF ELIMINATION TO GET TO BRAD?
"We didn't know he was a choice, but when we knew he was available he instantly became the top choice."
DO YOU FEEL FORTUNATE TO GET HIM WITH HIS BACKGROUND?
"When Brad runs this car next weekend it'll be Brad, it won't be his notes, it's won't his dad or his brother. What it's really gonna be is what comes out of his mind. He's a young, bright, fun, passionate, compassionate competitor and he's ready for a big challenge. We can provide that and I'm real confident that his selection of us was as much that we can provide some opportunities in regards to him. But some of it, to be honest with you, was dumb luck. I mean, I've got this agreement with Robert and I respect it absolutely top to bottom, from floor sweeper to owner to sponsors and anywhere in between, so when the door cracked open by Ford, we leaped on it by talking to Doug. When he opened the door wider it was our number one priority to get something done."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400, Page 4 (Race, Page 1) July 1, 2000 Daytona International Speedway
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "I'm not sure what happened up front there. Marty (Gaunt, spotter) yelled 'low' so I went low. I thought I was OK and then, all of a sudden, Michael was right there. I missed him twice, but nailed him the third time. His car just kept moving and I didn't have anywhere to go. I'm OK. My (right) shoulder is a little sore, but nothing broken. I do have seat belt burns on my uniform there (at the shoulder). I've never seen that before. I must have hit hard."
SCOTT PRUETT --32-- Tide Taurus -- "Bummer, bummer, bummer. You talk about the Everready Bunny, this team is the epitome of that right now. The Tide team, we're working hard every weekend. It hasn't been easy. We had a good race going today, we were real pleased with the way the car was running. Unfortunately, we just got caught up a little bit in that altercation with Terry Labonte -- just the tail end of it caught our quarter and pushed me into another car. I thought we had it pretty well fixed and I don't know if we didn't have it fixed all the way or if we picked up some debris on the track, but we blew a tire going into one and it was just a wild ride."
BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus -- WHAT HAPPENED? "I have no idea. Mark was plum down in the grass, I checked just a little bit, and somebody hit me in the right rear and I went head-on in the wall. This is aggravating racing. This ain't racing. This is just going out there and riding around." IT LOOKED TONIGHT WAS YOUR NIGHT? "I had a good piece, but we'll never know now. We'll get out of here, go home and go to Loudon." WHERE DID HE HIT YOU? "Somewhere about three-fourths the way down the back straightaway, I mean just turned me dead right." COULD YOU PASS AT ALL WITH THE NEW RULES? "This race track, it ain't like Talladega. You've gotta handle here. The cars, it looked like to me, got tight and that was it. Nobody could pass anybody, but that's kind of the way Daytona has typically been. If you don't run the corner you can't pass down the straightaway. It's just as simple as that." YOU WERE RUNNING WELL. "Well, it's a part of Daytona. It's the junk you have to put up with down here when you come down here, but I'm alright. We'll go to Loudon." ANYBODY AT FAULT FROM YOUR STANDPOINT? "Yeah, whoever hit me in the back." DO YOU KNOW WHO IT WAS? "I don't have any idea. Look at the videotape."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400, Page 5 (Race, Page 2) July 1, 2000 Daytona International Speedway
JEFF BURTON GIVES FORD ITS SECOND 1-2-3-4-5 SWEEP OF DAYTONA For the second time this season Ford swept the top five positions at Daytona as Jeff Burton beat Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Ricky Rudd to the finish line. It was the second win of the season for Burton, who denied Jarrett his third straight Daytona victory. Back in February, it was Jarrett who led the Ford parade with Burton, Bill Elliott, Wallace and Martin following behind respectively.
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW: DID TWO TIRES WIN YOU THE RACE? "Two tires was a great call by Frank. It was a gutsy call because most people put on four. We put on two for track position. I followed the guy in the lead and it was real hard to pass him, so Frank wanted the lead. He did a great job making that call. We're pleased, the car handled well enough to take two. Normally when you don't handle well it doesn't allow you to think about taking on two." WHAT ABOUT DALE JARRETT ON THE RESTART? "I learned my lesson with the 10 car down here at the Daytona 500. He passed me earlier in the race and then in the Daytona 500 he got passed late in the race, so I was determined to hold the 88 off." HOW ABOUT BEFORE THE CAUTION CAME OUT? "I thought we were in good shape, but you never know with Jarrett behind us and I think the 3 was behind him. You never know what's gonna happen -- that's two of the best in the business right there with great restrictor plate programs. I was worried about it." HOW WAS THE CAR? "It got better all night. We started out way too tight and Frank and everybody kept making adjustments to it and kept making it turn better and better. Fortunately enough it turned like it needed to at the end."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "That's pretty intense right there, I tell you what. That was a tough run. The last four or five laps were something else and, boy, Mark Martin. Man, I love drafting with that guys because he's patient, he's fast, he stays right there and thinks. I was a real neat deal." NOT A BAD RECOVERY AFTER DROPPING TO 40TH. "Yeah, they said I left speeding on pit road, I guess I did, I don't know. I learned a long time ago not to say anything bad and I screwed up today and got into some words, but we got it turned around and I'm real happy." WHAT ABOUT THE RACING TODAY? COULD YOU PASS AT THE END? "Yeah, pretty decent. I took right sides on, we didn't put lefts and, boy, the car was loosey goosey -- pushy and kind of all over the place, but I had to put two on to get caught up from the pit road penalty." THOUGHTS ON THE LAST LAP? "I was just trying to make the car real big, that was the deal. I just had to make it real wide, but I trusted Mark and that was good."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- "It was a good run for us. The guys did a great job. We just got behind on one pit stop and never did get much further up than about fourth. It was a good finish for us. With different circumstances things might have been different, but at least we didn't go backwards on the last lap." A GOOD DAY FOR ROUSH RACING. "It's good for Roush Racing, Jeff Burton and those guys. It's good for us. We've bounced back from all that trouble we had and have had some good runs here." IS THAT AS INTENSE AS IT GETS? "Pretty intense, but it gets worse than that sometimes here and Talladega. At least we didn't have a big wreck and go backwards on the last lap." WHAT ABOUT THE LAST RESTART? "We didn't have a run for the last lap. We had a run before that and made our move and did our deal. We weren't in position to do anything else there on that last lap." WAS THAT DUE TO THE PLATE? "Well, yeah. I mean, you've gotta have restrictor plates on these things but the bodies are too slick. That's the real problem. With 420 horsepower you can run like that, that's 350 horsepower off what we can make. The bodies are just so slick that handling's not a factor. If the cars were slipping and sliding then the chassis setup would make a difference and the driver could make more difference, but at least we didn't wreck tonight."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400, Page 6 (Race, Page 3) July 1, 2000 Daytona International Speedway
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- COULD YOU PASS WITH THE NEW PLATE? "I think we could have passed, but our front end was so tight coming off one and two that we had to crack the throttle and with that smaller plate it just wouldn't pull back up. Not everybody was tight, it seemed we were about the only one shoving the front end. I'm not really sure why, but that really killed our chances. The Texaco Havoline team did a great job to come back and finish 10th." STILL A GOOD NIGHT? "Oh yeah, another top five. I get through these difficult tracks like Daytona and Talladega I'm happy." IT SEEMED YOU WERE ALWAYS TRYING TO HANG ON TO THE DRAFT. "I was lucky to keep up really because I was having to crack the throttle down in one and two. You really shouldn't be able to crack the throttle and still keep up here. I had a bad push. If I didn't crack the throttle then I'd knock the fence down, so finally at the end of the race I didn't crack the throttle and went right up on the fence and that seemed to help us. I don't think anybody else was up there (high on the track). We were up there kind of by ourselves and I think that's the key to saving the front tires because the push would get worse and worse. We're really lucky to be able to get a good run with this Texaco Havoline team." YOU TRIED TO MAKE SOME HEADWAY AT THE END. "It really played into our hand the way everybody bottle-necked up on the bottom. I needed the high side of the race track. Everybody went down low, they lost their momentum, I sailed around on the outside and never cracked the throttle. I was able to pick up two or three spots by doing that."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "First I want to congratulate Jeff Burton who did a great job there. He really knew what to do with his car there. It was fast through the corners and he blocked the race track like he should. Congratulations to him and his team. We had a great car. Everything was going just as planned. We had trouble with a lugnut and things are gonna happen. We got back there, but worked our way back up. We just couldn't get anybody to give you that little push that I needed to maybe try to make a run at Jeff, but his car was awful strong. It was a really good run for us. I'm really proud of this team that they could build another car like that one sitting over at Daytona USA. At least we made a run at it. We didn't quite get three in a row, but we made a run at it." DID YOU NEED A PUSH? "I thought I had it at one time, that Rusty was gonna give me that on the restart there. I got a really good run, but it just wasn't quite enough. I started to jump out of line, but I just couldn't do it because I was afraid I was gonna lose too much there and it wasn't the time to try to do it. The car drove great. We adjusted on it very little. We had a little bit of tightness behind cars, but we adjusted most of that out. It's another good finish for us. We had to gain some points and that's another good thing." WHAT ABOUT COMING THROUGH THE PACK? "You've gotta catch the traffic right and get a little bit of help up through there. I had to be patient. I had plenty of time and I just had to work my way there. By the time I got there the tires were pretty well worn, but I just couldn't quite make a run at him." DID YOU HAVE PLAN TO MOVE ON HIM? "The plan was whenever I got a good push. You can't do it by yourself. It's not like I can just say, 'OK, I'm gonna go right now.' You've gotta wait until you get a good push from somebody and I just never really got that. It looked like Earnhardt's car went away from him some and he couldn't stay up on me enough to push me and then when Rusty got there we just didn't have enough time to do it."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400, Page 7 (Race, Page 4) July 1, 2000 Daytona International Speedway
DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus -- THOUGHTS ON YOUR LAST DAYTONA. "I really had a good weekend. We brought a new car and other than just being a little nervous when we qualified, my practice sessions were great. I was one of the fastest cars in both sessions. We had a better car than our finish, but the car in traffic just pushed a little bit more to where I could never get by people. Once I could get by 'em I could run off and leave 'em, but I had a hard time passing people and that hurts you when you have to lift off on the throttle, but we had a good night." ANY SENTIMENTAL THOUGHTS AT ALL OUT THERE? "Well, when I was leading just after halfway -- even though it was under caution -- I could hear 'em cheering and that put a couple of tears in my eyes. That was neat. I needed that."
STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus -- "It's a shame. The Kodiak/Cougar Melling Taurus was good and one of the best races we had going. The guys made great pit stops, made great calls in the pits, kept adjusting on the car and getting better and better. We were right there with the lead pack. I don't know what happened. It looked like somebody got into Bill. We had gotten through a couple of them earlier. I don't know, just a victim of circumstance. He came off the wall just a little bit, there was nothing he could do, and we just barely clipped him and sent us out into the wall. I hate it for the guys. We'll buckle down and go get 'em next week."
POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus -- "I was a little close when Elliott flipped over there. I think he might have gone over my hood just about. It was kind of an uneventful night for us beside that. The DeWalt guys did a good job and got me good track position. They did a good job getting this backup car together. It was fairly fast, but without having the morning practice and only having happy hour we kind of missed on the setup and we were just pushing terribly. It was a good call to get four tires there at the end because we gained a few positions back." WHAT ABOUT THE COMPETITION TONIGHT? "I thought it was about the same as the 500. I thought the track was about the same. If you didn't have the chassis set up right and couldn't hold it wide open, you had to let off the gas if you were handling real bad, so I thought it was pretty similar to the 500."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "On the restart I just tried to out drag Jeff. He got a good start, I got a really good start and had a couple of chances there but he did a good job of blocking me. Then I just never got the push from behind. I guess Earnhardt and Rusty got to racing and then when Rusty got to me one time I had a little bit of a run into turn one on Jeff to the high side, but as I thought about that I didn't have quite enough to really pull all the way beside him and I knew that Rusty liked to run on the bottom and I wasn't gonna get much help on the top, so unless I could have got all the way beside him, I just decided not to do it and then Rusty never got close enough to me to make that push at the end. Jeff's car was really good and he did a great job of driving it." ANY DIFFERENT RACING TONIGHT THAN THE 500? "Maybe a little bit. This is such a handling race track that it makes it more difficult here than Talladega. We can do all the two, three and four-wide at Talladega, but you get here to where the tires get some laps on them and you have to have your chassis right. If you don't do that, then that makes it more difficult so you see more single-file racing and then guys just making some passes as other guys tires wear off a little bit. It was a pretty good race, I guess. We passed a lot of cars, so it went pretty good for us."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400, Page 8 (Race, Page 5) July 1, 2000 Daytona International Speedway
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- WHAT ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS. "It was a tough couple of laps, there's no doubt about that. It was like swatting flies out there the last five or six laps after we got going because anybody could have won at that point. Jeff did a pretty good job blocking Dale off and Dale did a good job trying to get around him. I did a good job trying to get past Earnhardt and got past him and then Mark got behind me and pushed me up to third. I just had a great night with Mark Martin, man, he drafted so perfect with me all night long and I had a great car, but I left pit road speeding. I was way back to 40th and made it all the way back from 40th back up to third. I wanted to put four tires on the last stop, but I couldn't because I was too far back on the track. I had to gamble with two tires to get my track position back and did that. The car was a little loose, a little pushy, but mostly tight off turn two all night long. That's what I fought, but other than that I was hooked up in three and four and just did the best I could. It was a fun night." YOUR REACTION TO THE SPEEDING PENALTY. "If they say I was speeding I'm sure I was, I just didn't think I was. That happens, so I guess I was speeding if they say I was."
DALE JARRETT CONTINUED -- ON THE URGENCY OF COMING FROM THE BACK. "I knew we didn't have a lot of laps left. Even though it was close to 50, that's a long way to come from 29th or 30th. The biggest thing was I knew that everybody wasn't gonna have to make another pit stop, everybody could go the distance from there, so I knew I was just gonna have to get into hard racing and I was gonna have to make all the right moves. Luckily, I had some people to help me back there and I was fortunate to make the right moves. I missed the wreck back there when Elliott wrecked and then from there I made a couple other moves that were the right moves. I got hooked up with Earnhardt then and he and I worked well together." CAN YOU COMMENT ON NO PASSING THE LAST FOUR LAPS? "As far as passing you have to have help. I think we had probably the fastest car here all weekend, but it's not like you can just pull out and make a pass -- you have to have that help. As the laps got to winding down there everybody's tires were worn out and you were picking up a push in turn two. Unless your car was really good it was hard to stay right up behind the guy. If you don't get that push, there's just no sense in trying to make a move. You're not gonna make a move. That's just this type of racing. I tried to drop back and pick up Rusty and get that little bit of a push I needed, but we just didn't have enough time to make all of that happen."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- HOW DID YOU HOLD THEM OFF WITH TWO TIRES? "Our car worked exceptionally well. We worked really hard yesterday on getting the car to drive well. We made a 52-lap run to find out exactly what the car would do and made some adjustments to the chassis based on that. I think yesterday's preparation was key for us. Two tires got us our track position, got us in front of the crowd and it was very difficult to pass. Passing was hard and we were fast enough to block and stay in the way enough to be a pain." WHAT KIND OF BLOCKS DID YOU GIVE AT THE END? "We had to give some big blocks. Taking the green, I knew, would be real big. I knew going down the back straightaway would be real big. Once I held him off on the front straightaway I knew he'd still get a run on me. Fortunately, we blocked him enough. I stayed in his way enough to be a nuisance and that was real important. That was the race."
BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE TO FOLLOW
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400, Page 9 (Race, Page 6) July 1, 2000 Daytona International Speedway
JEFF BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE: "If Dale would have pushed me out of the way, then by the code of ethics that I live by, that means that I could push him out of the way a little bit later. Dale's been a clean race car driver. There's really nothing you can do about it, you just run as fast as you can, block all you can. Had he wanted to wreck me I sure gave him the opportunity on the front straightaway on the restart and he chose not to hit me, so I wasn't too worried about it. But you can't worry about it. You can't worry about what the guy behind you is gonna do because you can't control it. I just did my best to block him." WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN MORE CONCERNED IF IT WAS EARNHARDT BEHIND YOU ON THE RESTART? "Not really. I've driven those guys clean all the years I've been in Winston Cup and they've driven me clean. Like I said, the code of ethics for a seven-time champion or a one-time champion or a one-time winner or a no-time winner. That's the way I race and that's generally the way people race me. You just can't worry about it. If somebody's gonna knock you out of the way, then they're gonna knock you out of the way. All you can do is try to get away from it." WHAT'S THE CODE OF ETHICS ON BLOCKING? "It appears to me that at Daytona and Talladega you just block all you can to keep a guy from getting besides you. If the nose of his car ever gets past your bumper, then you're dead. It just puts all the air on your spoiler and it kills you. All these races get won by people blocking each other and it's just what you do. I don't know that we're like and Indy car program where you really worry too much about blocking. You block all you can and you weave and you swerve and do whatever you can to win." IS EXPERIENCE MORE IMPORTANT AT RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES? "I think it is and, unfortunately, the only way to get experience is to get beat a lot and I sure have made more wrong moves in restrictor plate races than I've made right moves. The best I've ever done in a restrictor-plate race from start to finish was tonight and I believe that's because I've done a lot of wrong things. That's the only way I know how to learn, unfortunately, is do it the wrong way first and learn from that or watch somebody else do it wrong and learn from that. We finished third, second and first here the last three races and in each one of those races I saw how the race got won and we were able to apply that tonight." ON POINT STRUCTURE. "We put every bit of effort we know how to put in to winning the championship. The best way we know to do that is to win as many races as possible. We have not done a good job this year and we have not been as reliable as we need to be at times and we haven't been as competitive as we need to be at times. The last six weeks has been a tremendous struggle for us. We care about points. We want to win the championship. I don't question the point structure because you have to build and position your team around the point structure and if we aren't as competitive as we need to be or reliable as we need to be or if I'm getting us in too many wrecks to win the championship, then we need to fix those things. So, the number of wins is really important. We come to try to win every single week, but it's also real important to win a championship and every week we need to be strong."YOU'RE THE OLDEST DRIVER SINCE MARK MARTIN IN APRIL TO WIN A RACE? "Man, I was feeling pretty young until you said that. I turned 33 two days ago. I see Dale Earnhardt driving harder and more aggressive than I've seen him the last three years. Mark Martin has every bit of intensity that he had when I first met him. Dale Jarrett, he is what he is, he's a Winston Cup champion and a competitor and I'm not about to take that away and feel like they're ready to bow over to us. There is a youth movement in NASCAR. There's a push to bring real young drivers into Winston Cup and teach them how to learn and how to race in Winston Cup and they've been a real pain in the butt. They've been hard to beat. The success that Matt has had, and the success that Earnhardt has had, Stewart, Gordon -- it's incredible that guys that young -- it came way more natural to them than it's come for me. Having said that, I believe that if Dale Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin and an old guy like myself, if we continue to work hard and care about our program as much as a young kid, we may be a little smarter. We may not be as aggressive at times, but we may be smarter. Dale Earnhardt's in a great position to win the championship and he may be the oldest active driver, I don't really get into age, but he's sure older than me. I don't see him bowing over by any means."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400, Page 10 (Race, Page 7) July 1, 2000 Daytona International Speedway
BURTON CONTINUED -- IS THERE SATISFACTION TONIGHT FOR NOT GIVING UP? "This race is really big for our race team. We needed a kick in the pants and we got it. I did a great job driving and Frank did a great job of making some calls and setting the car up. Everybody did a great job to get this done and we were able as a team to beat two of the best in restrictor-plate racing and I take a lot of pride in that. I don't take pride in it because I'm younger than them, I take pride in it because we were able to achieve something against some pretty tough obstacles." THOUGHTS ON THE LAST CAUTION. "I did not want to see the caution come out. I thought we were better off staying under green. The guy that's leading the race on a restart at a restrictor-plate race is a sitting duck and its hard to do a whole lot about it. I was able to watch him and turn when he turned and block him. But all of that just worked perfect. Some of that was luck, some of that was skill, some of that was just being too dumb to not care about wrecking. It all just worked out. We didn't want to see a caution and being in the front I didn't think was the place to be." SIGNIFICANT OF A RESTRICTOR-PLATE WIN. "I think it's important for our team and Roush Racing to be able to win at every race track. That's our goal -- to be competitive at every single kind of race track. When the lift gate goes down on the truck we want people to look at the Roush Racing team and say those guys are gonna be a threat. When you can win on a road course, win on a speedway and win on a short track and win at a place like Texas, then you have the complete team. We still aren't there, but maybe this takes us a step closer."
FRANK STODDARD, Crew Chief -- ON TAKING TWO TIRES. "I hit Buddy and said, 'Well, now what are we gonna do,' and he didn't say anything. He wasn't much help. But, I had watched the race all night long and all night long it seemed to be five or six car breakaways at the front of the field. I felt like 10 or 12 cars would put on two tires, based on what Gordon did earlier. He was running 27th, came in and went out seventh and stayed in the lead draft the rest of the night. I felt like everybody saw that on the screen and I firmly expected 12 guys to put on two tires. They might not be all the lead guys, but I figured guys in the back of the field that saw what Gordon had done would do the same thing and put themselves back in position to win. It seemed to be to me, other than maybe the 88, a huge track position night. We never slipped further than fifth or sixth all night. Guys that started in the back like Gordon, he didn't move up until the first pit stop. It just seemed like a lot of track position, so, inevitably, I'm only surprised that more people didn't put on two tires and after they didn't put on two tires and Elliott was running eighth and he was the first guy with four tires, I was a little more nervous, but, at the same time, the 88 car had been real good all night out front. When somebody shuffled him back, I think Bill Elliott shuffled him back midway through the race, he commented to his crew that he was real tight behind everybody. Earlier in the night he was setting sail up there and everybody else was complaining about being tight except for him. That stuck in my mind that we needed to be at the front. Jeff had been complaining about being a little bit tight and I felt like if we got to the front it would be hard to wrestle the lead away."