Robby Gordon takes third for Chevrolet at Watkins Glen. ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (third; first top-five finish in 2002): "Everybody on the Cingular team did a good job. Tony (Stewart) drove a helluva race.
Robby Gordon takes third for Chevrolet at Watkins Glen.
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (third; first top-five finish in 2002): "Everybody on the Cingular team did a good job. Tony (Stewart) drove a helluva race. Track position was everything. We struggled, we had a slow pit stop. The guys did a great job for me; they ordinarily give me really good stops. Something must've happened; we stumbled on the last one. I thought we still had a shot at it. I wasn't ready for Tony to take off in turn 10; I got snookered on the last restart."
FIELD SPREAD OUT AT THAT LAST RESTART? "I don't know; you tell me. I was ready to go; had a good run. I'm pleased with everybody here on the Cingular team; they did a great job today; had a good Chevrolet today; have some work to do. The 12 car was really good on the straightaways; so we've got some work to do there, and we'll get it. We'll be back into victory lane before the season's over."
YOUR MOMENTUM HAS BEEN GOOD THE LAST COUPLE OF RACES? "We haven't been out of the top 10; when we have been, we haven't been far out of it. So I'm really pleased with Richard Childress Racing and everybody on it."
WHAT ABOUT THAT SCRAPE WITH TONY STEWART? "A little love."
DID YOU HAVE A GOOD CAR? "We were easily the fastest car; anytime I got a clean track and it was real hard to pass. When we were real fast the other guys were real slow and they would hold me up for a long ways. I'm pleased with the performance. We didn't lose any handling; we just lost track position in that last pit stop. We will see when we see the fastest laps of the race; but I'm pretty sure that we have the fastest car here."
PASSING THE 20 AND DAMAGE? "Tony tried to dive-bomb me down into 1. That's racing. He locked up his brakes; got into the side of me. Once I got away from him I pulled him by 15 or 20 seconds. We had a good car."
WORKING ON RYAN NEWMAN? "It's all good; it's a part of racing. Ryan did an awesome job today; he did a really good job. The 12 car makes power too."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA PARTS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (ninth): "I'm a little disappointed. The car got tight all day long; we must have missed it a little bit on our gearing; high gear was a little too low and it messed me up on the back straightaway and a lot of people got runs on me. All in all, it was a good run, but we thought we could be a lot better."
PASSING WAS A PREMIUM HERE? "Yeah, we stayed toward the front most of the day and there's three passing zones and (at) one of them I was a passee, not a passer, because of my gearing problem that I had. We made that call this morning and usually when I decide what to do the transmission the boys ought to just tell me to just go back to the motor home and just set there, because it never works out."
HOW ABOUT THOSE ROAD RACING GUYS, P.J. JONES AND SCOTT PRUETT? "Just goes to show you that there's a lot of good race cars in this garage and there's a lot of good drivers and sometimes if you don't get the two matched up it's hard to be successful. A.J. proved he had a pretty decent car today and P.J. drove the heck out of it."
ROBBIE LOOMIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "We knew this year was going to be tough; we knew it was going to be a learning year between both cars. We have the same shop finding out what one driver likes, and what one doesn't like, so we've just got to pick up the pieces and go from here."
THE WHOLE WEEKEND WAS STRANGE? "It really was a strange weekend. When you think about qualifying. The competition has gotten so close; everybody's cars have gotten so good; the motors have gotten so good. You just have to keep improving them every year. Michael (almost) sat on the pole the other day; we were kidding him about that; that was a great job for him, and we just have not been on top of our game at tuning the car during the race. I said the first half of the race we had a great race car. The second half I made some adjustments; almost took it out of the ballpark. We just have to put it in your notebook and come back. The next time you come back, you look in your notebook it'll be completely different. It's real unfortunate because every time someone slips we can't seem to capitalize right now."
WHEN YOU LOOK AT HOW FAST YOU WERE IN THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSION YESTERDAY, IS IT SOMETHING YOU CAN LAUGH OFF OR DOES IT AFFECT THE TEAM? "I tell people all the time, when we were winning last year having good practices and qualifying good, every time you do that your confidence keeps elevating and you keep working from a higher level. This year what we've been experiencing -- we've just been operating. We've never got anything to really give us the momentum to go and so you get the points and you look at them and you think each week, like, (the) big picture looks OK, but that's not really what we want, so we've got to just keep working 'til it's right."
DID YOU FEEL THIS WAS YOUR WEEK IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE RACE? "We definitely felt like, coming into the race this morning, that we had a really good car. In Winston Cup now the competition is so tight you've got to make all the right calls and it doesn't take anything to get off a little bit. Today we just made some wrong adjustments there at the end and got off on it."
WHAT WAS JEFF'S MOOD AT THE END OF THE RACE? "He's a champion; he knows how to handle it. At the same time he's very disappointed at the outcome of the race. He wants to win; he wants to win bad. I'd be lying to you if I said he didn't."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (22nd): "It's disappointing. It's a place where we can capitalize on. Every time we get an opportunity to capitalize on some points we just seem to mess it up somehow. We were coming on strong at the beginning of the race. The car was great and got loose and never could tighten it up. Unfortunately, we had to come in and pit; I was getting ready to wreck out there, I was so loose and we had to come in and pit, and lost track position and it was over."
HOW DISAPPOINTING IS IT KNOWING YOU'VE RUN WELL HERE? "It all started on Friday. Every weekend starts on Friday. You've got to approach it from the second you get on the track and be prepared every time you're on there. We got behind on Friday and we've been playing catch-up ever since and starting 21st didn't do us any favors. But we drove up through there and got up to like sixth or seventh. Pretty happy, then it kind of all fell apart from there. Yeah, it's definitely disappointing 'cause it's a place that we run real well at and if there's places where we can capitalize for the championship, this is certainly one of them. And we haven't been able to do that at a lot of places this year."
YOU DROPPED A SPOT IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP BUT YOU GAINED ON MARLIN: "That's the least of my worries right now. I want to win races and I want to go to places that I know we can win races and perform to where we're capable of. Last week at Indy we had one of the best efforts we had all year long. We had a great effort this weekend; it just didn't work for us."
HOW IS YOUR CONFIDENCE? "I'm not losing my confidence, and I don't think the team is, it's just disappointing that we didn't make all the right calls this weekend. We can analyze it and look back and see where we got behind. Can't fix it now; we just go to the next race."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (16th): "We broke the motor before qualifying and that hurt us bad. Came from the back once and got to mid-pack and then we had a mistake on pit road; we had to come in for a stop-and-go and worked our way back up to mid-pack again. Frustrating, but you win as a team, you lose as a team. We've had a five or six race stretch here where we've been able to be in the top 10 or top 15, but we haven't been able to get back in the top five. Hopefully Michigan will turn that around for us."
PASSED A LOT OF CARS? "I wish they awarded passing points, because I passed a lot of race cars today. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) gave me a great race car. It was going to be a decent day. It still ended up OK in the big picture. I just wish we would have not had any mistakes and would have capitalized on everyone else's misfortune in the points race."
YOU GAINED GROUND ON MARLIN: "We're gaining ground in the points race but with lesser performances than where we need to be; that's allowing those guys from fifth on back to close that gap on us. We had a nice margin there. As much as we're focusing on where the 40 car is, those guys behind us are closing at a high rate of speed. I'm looking forward to getting back to Michigan, where we've run well before and hopefully we can have a solid qualifying effort, start from the top 10, top 15 and then race from there. We've been coming from provisional-land and back, way back in the pack up to contend for top 10s each week. I'd just love to start up front and finish up front."
COMPARE TO SEARS POINT: "Our finishes would have been about the same. We broke a gear at Sears Point. Actually, we were probably going to be eighth or something, but we broke a gear there late."
ON CATCHING RYAN NEWMAN IN ROOKIE POINTS: "We're second in the Winston Cup point standings. It's odd how the Raybestos Rookie of the Year points pay out. If we end up with the championship and don't have the Rookie of the Year I think we'll be OK with that."
WHAT WAS THE STOP AND GO FOR? "We left our left rear tire on the outside of the race car; didn't return it back. It's got to be back halfway across the car before the car leaves the pit. We left it sitting it out there, outside the pit box."
DALE EARNHARDT JR, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (went into the sand on lap 73, was towed back to the garage. After finding the kill switch had been stuck, the crew restarted the car and Dale Jr. re-entered the race, finished 35th):
IN THE GARAGE: WHAT HAPPENED? "Went off into the corner and spun out. That's about it."
SOMETHING BREAK? "I don't know, the car won't start."
HAVING A GOOD DAY BEFORE THAT? "We were 15th; I thought that was pretty good. I was driving my %^^& ass off; I thought that was great."
STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (pulled into the garage after 29 laps, returned to race, finished 39th): "The Pennzoil Chevrolet either broke a rear-end gear or trannie; it just picked up a really bad vibration and then it started skipping real bad like it lost a tooth somewhere. So we're going to change probably both the trannie and the rear end to make sure."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (crashed on lap 36, returned to race, finished 38th): "It's disappointing. We've been having a tough weekend since we got here. I had the brakes lock up getting in the inner loop and I flat-spotted the front tires and I was fixing to come into the pits and I think the right front tire went down coming into turn 10 and I just went straight. Thank God for the gravel traps; it slowed me down there, hit the front end, knocked the radiator and stuff out of it. We'll get it fixed and be back out. The gravel traps slow you down so much. I'm making a left-hand turn and all of a sudden the car goes straight. I think I flat-spotted the tires so bad it must've popped there going in that corner. It's just a tough, tough weekend for us. We'll rebound."