JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO finished 33rd: WHAT HAPPENED THERE AT THE END? "It's our fault we didn't make it on fuel, but I was going to coast back and finish fifth, I think. I started running out and Junior caught me and I...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO finished 33rd:
WHAT HAPPENED THERE AT THE END? "It's our fault we didn't make it on fuel, but I was going to coast back and finish fifth, I think. I started running out and Junior caught me and I tried to get out of his way, and he hit me. Luckily I saved it there. I was just trying to coast back to make sure I made it back. Harvick got to the outside of me and I guess he thought I was going to run up in the wall, but I really was just trying to get out of his way, and he stopped the car and got in behind me and hit me. He should've known I was out of gas. If he knew before that, he should've known then. He just flat ran over me. I hate it for our guys. We still could've come out of here with a top five. I can't believe I got spun like that on the last corner of the last lap and come home up short like that. I was trying to coast to the finish line, even backwards if I could and I couldn't make it."
WHAT HAPPENED ON YOUR SPIN ON THE FIRST LAP? "I 'll have to go back and look at the tape. I got a great jump on the start, and it was the first lap and I knew my car was going to push a little bit down there, so I drove down in there, not real conservative, but it seemed like those guys behind me just blasted it on in there. I don't know if they were racing for position or what. I'll look at the tape and see what happened, but that certainly made for a long day. It would've all been worth it if we could've just finished in that top five."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - from Victory Lane:
"Well, we came and tested, and it wasn't this car that we brought earlier, but a car just like it. Hats off to everybody at RCR, all of the employees, not just the guys who come and help us on race day, but everybody that makes it happen. I'll be honest, I don't think we had the best car today. We just drove a good, smart strategy, and they made some good calls in pit lane, so my hat's off to Chris Andrews and Kevin Hamlin for some great calls from pit lane. The guys also had some excellent stops, and I just really appreciate it. We've let this race slip away enough times here, we finally get to go to Victory Lane. I knew where it was because I walked by it every time."
WHEN THAT CAUTION FLAG CAME OUT, WHO MADE THE CALL TO COME DOWN PIT LANE, YOU OR THE CREW? "If you look over here, we have some numbers - right there is 55 (laps). That was our number if it was green the rest of the way. We knew we'd get a couple cautions. On lap 52 I told him they were spinning, and he said, 'Pit now,' and we came down pit lane. Hats off to everybody here. It's a great race team and I'm just having a lot of fun right now."
WERE THERE ANY WORRIES WHEN YOU GOT SHUFFLED BACK OUT OF THE TOP 10? "It's just really hard to pass. And I have to apologize to Boris (Said). I was kind of pushing him up the hill and when he went to shift the gears, I picked up his rear tires. I'm really sorry about that. I didn't mean to spin him, I was just trying to push us both faster down the straightaway so we could catch the guys in front of us, but I that's probably the only mistake I made all day long. (THIS SHOULD PUT YOU BACK IN THE TOP 10 - YOU HAVE TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THAT. "I'm real happy and all. Obviously we've got a lot of season left, but we're coming to some racetracks that we're real good at. Obviously we like road courses, and I look forward to Bristol, Richmond, tracks like that. We'll be good there as well, so hopefully we can pull this thing into Victory Lane again."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET finished 3rd:
"It was a good day for us. We got to lead some laps and try and get some points on Matt (Kenseth). Just tried not to make too many mistakes and hope everybody else doesn't lose there concentration. I was behind Biffle and I was just kind of riding there to save my brakes. He was running real hard and I could see the rotors on his car were getting kind of red, so I just wanted to sit there and chill out. I didn't want to make that same mistake and were my stuff out there at the first of the race. The car was just a little bit off on that last set of tires, but it was good enough to get third. I'm just real happy, and happy for my team. We came here and tested and worked awful hard to accomplish this finish today. A lot of work went into it. If the car's good, you let it run as hard as you can, be smooth and not make any mistakes. You've got to give up a little bit of speed just to be careful. There's plenty of time in the race to race for the lead. Those are the things you do. But it was a good car. When I got the lead I just tried to be smooth again. Just try not to drive too hard and not make too many mistakes and I got a good finish."
HOW HARD WAS IT TO PASS? "It's real, real hard to pass. You almost have to find somebody to bottleneck the field up, and then try to pick off spots up through there. But it's hard one on one to actually get by somebody. It's like with Jeff Burton, I think the car just kind of went away on him and we had a restart and I knew my car was still real good. I knew I had an opportunity in a lap or two to get by him, and I just put a lot of pressure on him and he just kind of gave up the spot. That was good because we didn't want to race too hard for it and spin off the track. So I took the lead when it was handed to me. We were 20th on that last restart and had to race real, real hard to get up through there, so I passed a lot of guys then, but I didn't have anything for the guys up front. It was just real hard to pass, but I can't say that's why I didn't win the race. They had good cars too."
THIS WAS ANOTHER RACE WHERE IT SEEMED TO DEPEND ON WHERE THE CAUTIONS FELL - DOES THAT GET FRUSTRATING? "It was frustrating to come out of the pits and be behind so many people after running in the top three all day. To come out behind 20 or 22 cars, but there's nothing you can do about it. It's a little frustrating then, but if you've got a good enough car, sometimes temper flares, maybe he'll run a little faster, drive a little harder than just his natural ability can accomplish. Every time that happens, you just try and make it up best you can."
YOU TOUCHED GORDON ON THAT LAST LAP - IT LOOKED LIKE HE WAS RUNNING OUT OF GAS. "Yea, he was running out of gas. I ran into the back of him because he ran in front of me. I knew I was cartching him a lot, probably 50 mph faster than he was going. Wherever I went, he went, and I knew that he was going to try and block me, and I couldn't lift to because the 29 was coming. I guess the 29 ran over him too. Not very smart on his part. I would've just taken the spots I lost because I ran out of gas. You're not going to block me all the way around the last two corners of the racetrack. I don't care who you are, you don't need to block anybody the last two laps. He ended up in the wall and lost a bunch of spots, so you tell me who made the bad decision."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO finished 4th:
WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND JEFF GORDON THERE AT THE END OF THE RACE? "He just ran out of gas. He pulled right up in the groove and I hit him - twice - and the second time he spun out. I hate it that it happen, but it was a good day for the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet. I feel bad today. I've been sick all week and I was pretty tired in the car. I should've at least gotten second behind Robby, but I'm proud of this entire RCR organization. Two races in a row that we've run, and three in the last couple months.
SCARY MOMENT IN THE PITS EARLY IN THE RACE - DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD A FIRE BEHIND YOU IN THE PITS? "No, I didn't know that we had a fire. The circumstances worked out really good, the 4 and somebody got together and I checked up and the 0 got into the back of me, and it picked my tires up off the ground, and when I came back down I hit the kill switch and didn't figure it out until about 20 of them had passed me."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO finished 5th:
"That was a great day for us. This weekend got off to a slow start and we had to change engines yesterday before we got going today. That really put us behind. I had a good car and I could run the speed that fifth through tenth could run, but I just didn't have the track position. When we got everything under control and got the track position on our side, we could hold our own and some guys made some mistakes there at the end and let us slip into the top five."
RON FELLOWS, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO finished 38th:
"It was decent at the start and a great call to get our track position early. We were cooling the breaks because they were getting a little too hot in that middle run. But the car was really quite good. I felt that we were just a little bit better than Jeff Burton and Junior the longer we ran, but I was quite comfortable just to sit there because I was a solid third. I was just hoping to have something at the end. On that last pit stop we made a little adjustment to try and get the car to turn just a little bit better, and it would not turn left and began to vibrate. It got worse and worse and worse, and then finally the right front cross member, or something, broke and I went off into the gravel." (DO YOU TAKE ANY PRIDE THAT DALE JR. RAN SO WELL TODAY? "I'm certainly happy for him, but he doesn't need my coaching. He's a terrific little driver, and this is a real good points day for him and I wish him well the rest of the year, as well as Michael. He was looking good there for awhile too. I think DEI cars were running first, third and sixth."
DO YOU EXPECT TO BE BACK WITH DEI FOR THE ROAD COURSES NEXT YEAR? "I hope so. We have unfinished business."
BORIS SAID, NO. 01 USG SHEETROCK PONTIAC GRAND PRIX finished 39th:
"I was the best car on the track. I legitimately thought we had a chance to win when I went passed Jeff Gordon and pulled away. I mean the car was so consistent from the beginning to the end. Everybody on this MB2 team did a great job. I passed Robby (Gordon) on that restart, and going up through the esses (Mark) Martin and the other guys were kind of racing and they checked up a little bit going up the esses, so we were a little bit slower. Robby tagged me in the back exiting the esses in top gear. I mean, it was a big spin and almost a huge wreck. Just by luck we saved it. It's disappointing, that part of it, but it's reassuring I ran great and I just wish I could run here every week."