DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2000) - Buckshot Jones drove the No. 00 Cheez-It Pontiac to the front, led 27 laps and wound up eighth to top the list of six Grand Prix teams competing in the Busch Series season opener Saturday at Daytona ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2000) - Buckshot Jones drove the No. 00 Cheez-It Pontiac to the front, led 27 laps and wound up eighth to top the list of six Grand Prix teams competing in the Busch Series season opener Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.
Jones ran among the lead draft at the finish, but couldn't find a hole to make a run at the victory. Jason Jarrett, in the No. 11 Rayovac Grand Prix, also finished on the lead lap in 17th position, despite spinning to avoid a wreck early in the race. Finishing behind Jarrett was rookie Jason Leffler in 20th, rookie Mike Borkowski in 22nd, Jeff Purvis in 29th and pole sitter Hut Stricklin in 36th. Purvis also led during the day, and actually retired from the event on lap 88 due to overheating while in the lead.
HUT STRICKLIN, NO. 61 IWX PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It looked like Chad Chaffin in the 77 car might have cut down a left rear tire or something. I'm not real sure. He just got turned sideways right in front of me, and there really wasn't anywhere I could go. All of a sudden, a bunch of fire erupted from something. Then, from that point on, you just kind of hang on and hope the thing stops quick enough that you can get out without burning up It's just an unfortunate thing. There was just no place to go." (ON TRYING TO HELP CHAFFIN GET OUT OF HIS CAR) "I could see all the fire. Actually, I could probably see more than Chad could. It was a deal that I knew I could get to him quicker than anybody to try to help him out and get him out of the car. The thing was burning pretty good, and it was just a deal where I wanted both of us to get out of this thing, and somehow get away." (ON HIS CAR) "We were getting better. Missing 'Happy Hour' yesterday really hurt us. We had some ignition problems and everything, and not getting to run 'Happy Hour' really hurt us. It just put us three runs behind everybody and we were trying to catch up. We were slowly gaining on it, but we just got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. But, I'm fine - just pretty disgusted because I really felt like we had a car to beat today. It just wasn't our day. We'll just have to got get 'em next week at Rockingham."
BUCKSHOT JONES, NO. 00 CHEEZ-IT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It didn't matter what line you were in, you just couldn't really get any help. We got a little bit too tight. But, that's the way it goes. I'm proud of these guys. They did a good job on the car. They know we got up there and led for awhile, and ran up front all day. That's a good start. At least we've got a car we're taking home. The car just got tighter and tighter as the race went on. But, I'm pretty happy with everything. It was a pretty good run. We just got tied up there at the end, and you're just kind of there for the ride. You can't do a whole lot.. Like I said, we got there, we got to lead some laps today, and we stayed up front all day. At least we're taking it home in one piece. That's a good way to start the season." (ON THE LAST RESTART) "That's how it usually is on the restarts. With slower cars there, you can't go anywhere if someone is on the inside of you, and that's what kind of happened. We just got kind of hung up with them, and that's the way it goes here. You know, that is the first time we've come down here and led the race. We got to lead, and we had great pit stops. The guys always got me back out front. I'm happy with it." (GOOD START IN THE POINTS) "I think it is. It's not what we wanted to do, but it's better than what it could have been."
JASON JARRETT, NO. 11 RAYOVAC PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"I am so happy that we achieved what we came here to do. We qualified in the top 25 and we stayed on the lead lap all day. Regardless of how you stay there, all the paper says is you were on the lead lap at the end of the day and finished in the top 20. With being so far back in the points, you have to get off to a good start, even if you have to play it a little more conservative than you want to at the first of the year. That's the way this team needs to do it until we learn each other. We'll go to Rockingham with a little bit more confidence that what we came to Daytona with." (ON HIS EARLY SPIN) "I saw Jeff Green's car fly up in the air and turn over, and my spotter obviously told me to go low. I was looking out the right side of my car and I didn't see how far left I was turning, and I got in the grass, and hit the brakes. That was probably the stupidest mistake I made. Luckily nobody hit me and I stayed down on the apron and everybody missed me. (HOW HE REGROUPED AFTER THE SPIN) "I was really disappointed because I had been running all day with the lead pack, which at that time was everybody. But, I'd been right there where I started right in the middle of everybody, and I wanted to stay there just to get the drafting experience. It didn't hurt the car and it didn't worry me. Anytime Wes (Ward) and my spotter tell me the car is OK, then you just have to go back and be hammer down."
JASON LEFFLER, NO. 18 MBNA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"The car was pushing early on and we caught a break with that yellow. But, right as the yellow came out, we ran out of gas, so it put us behind. But the car was good, and I can't be too mad, because I'm going to make plenty more mistakes than that. I'm pretty happy to bring it home in one piece. This is a whole different breed - this speedway racing. I just wish we hadn't run out of gas. I think we would have been up there a little better. But, we had a good car, and worked on it and got it better. That's what we have to work on - my communication with the crew. And, it helped that time, so I'm pretty happy." (CAN HIS TEAM WIN IN 2000) "If I said we were going to win, that would sound pretty arrogant for a rookie. But, I go into every race thinking we are going to win, so you never know what could happen. This series is so tough and competitive, you just never know. But, I would like to think we could maybe win a race or run up in the top five."
MIKE BORKOWSKI, NO. 20 AT&T PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"The car actually was pretty good at the start. I was a little too tight. We tried to loosen it up a couple of times, but I was still sliding the front quite a bit. The accident - I think it was kind of my fault. I was pushing really bad, and I was having a hard time keeping the car down when I had somebody along beside me and behind me. I couldn't slow up much and I slid and slid and slid up and I touched him in the left rear. After that, we tried to fix the bodywork, but I was kind of a brick wall in the air, so we couldn't stay in the draft or anything like that."