BUSCH: Daytona race notes

GARGOYLES 300 RACE NOTES JEFF BURTON (No. 9 Track Gear Ford) -- "I don't know what started it. All I saw was the smoke. I was already committed to go high. I couldn't go low, there were people under me. I just drove into it. I got into the wall...


JEFF BURTON (No. 9 Track Gear Ford) -- "I don't know what started it. All I saw was the smoke. I was already committed to go high. I couldn't go low, there were people under me. I just drove into it. I got into the wall and somebody got into me. Any time something like that happens, it's just a chain reaction. We're disappointed about it. We had a good race car. I got real aggressive on the back straightaway on a restart and got us to third. This car likes to follow somebody, it doesn't like to lead. I got it in a spot leading a pack when I should have been behind the pack running seventh or eighth, giving me a chance to win. When I did that, they all blew by me. I put us in a position to get us in that wreck."

JIMMY SPENCER (No. 20 Zippo Chevrolet) -- "He (Elliott Sadler) pushed me into the 88 car (Kevin Lepage). He (Sadler) had one great race car, super fast. He just needs more experience. The 29 (Sadler) was clearly the favorite but we had a top five finish working. We're not running for points. The toe-in was knocked out. I couldn't win the race and if I couldn't win, there isn't any point in racing.

TIM FEDEWA (No. 33 Kleenex Chevrolet) -- "The 70 car just got loose coming off turn two. We had nowhere to go, got into it and I tore the car up. I've got a whale of a ride for this season and I'm really pumped up. That's the most fun I've had in a long time."

MIKE McLAUGHLIN (No. 34 Royal Oak Charcoal Chevrolet) -- "Something let go in the driveline. It started losing power a little bit so I tried to roll around, hanging on. It started vibrating and finally it broke. I was looking forward to what Todd and I could do at the end of the race but we never got that far. Next week -- that's all we can do. It's disappointing."

DALE JARRETT (#32 White Rain Ford) -- "The 6 car (Joe Bessey) got into the wall off turn two. I went to the inside and when he came shooting across the track I was afraid he'd catch me in the right rear quarter. I got off into the grass when I swerved to miss him and I lost it. From there I was just along for the ride and I ended up collecting somebody else. Today is not the day you want to get off into the grass."

SHANE HALL (#85 Luck's Chevrolet) -- "We were setting back there and trying to get some laps in when some cars got together in turn two. I just wanted to bide my time. I tried to stay against the outside wall, but somebody came back across the track and I got collected up. I was hoping everything would stay to the inside. Once I got collected, I was just a passenger. This is not the way we wanted to start out the season, losing a race car."

GLENN ALLEN (No. 99 Luxaire Chevrolet) -- "The 24 car spun around and we were OK. We checked up, locked down and spun. We flat spotted the tires and they blew out before we could make it back to the pits. It's a shame -- the Luxaire Chevrolet ran good for us."

MIKE WALLACE (No. 7 Clabber Girl Chevrolet -- "Someone spun in front of us -- I'm not sure who -- and we got caught up in it. We're out for the day. We're here to win -- not to run around at the back."

DAVID HUTTO (#24* Gateway Shell Chevrolet) -- "I was just out there running and trying to make some laps, running in a pack of cars trying to catch the lead draft. All of a sudden it just went around on me. But we had a good run going and we were coming up through the field. It's a shame we had to end it like that. I backed into the wall and somebody came along and hit me. The car filled up with tire smoke so I couldn't see. There's a good bit of difference between the Dash cars, where I've got experience, and these cars. These are a lot heavier and have more horsepower. I think I'm getting used to it, it just takes time."

LYNDON AMICK (#35* Rockwell/Dodge Pontiac) -- "It looked like the 24 car got a little sideways and just lost the car. I tried to go high and I just hit somebody, I couldn't really tell with all the smoke. I'd already decided to go high, I saw him spin and come back down the banking and somebody got up in front of me and whatever happened. We'll get ready to go to Atlanta. That'll be our next race."

STANTON BARRETT (#81* PowerBar Chevrolet) -- "The 24 car spun on his own. We were trying to get away from that and went to the inside. I think I got hit from behind and from there on it was out of my control. The 24 just lost it. It's an unfortunate situation for all the other guys. We were just trying to bide our time."

MARK MARTIN (No. 60 Winn-Dixie Ford) -- "I was running back there by myself and the 70 car (Dale Fischlein) lost it off Turn two. The tires were starting to wear down and handling was starting to become a factor and it got away from him over there. I lost it trying to miss him. It was a tough day for us. I hated it because the guys worked so hard (this winter). You know, we tested twice and put a lot into this race."

DALE FISCHLEIN (No. 70 Titan Wheel Chevrolet) -- "I was out there riding along. I was passing and moving up pretty good. I was running high, then cutting down low in one and two. But I was up high that one lap, and when we turned down to cut down under them, she just broke loose on me. I guess I had it a little too close on the setup."


RANDY LaJOIE (No. 74 FINA Chevrolet) -- "It's a helluva start (to championship defense), that's for sure! I've always wanted to win one at Daytona -- ever since I ended up on my head (in the 1984 Gatorade 125s). It feels a lot better to win! The car was real good, chassis-wise. Birdie (team manager Steve Bird) just said be careful. (On fuel).' But I didn't understand how I could get my foot out of the carburetor. I never knew a race car driver who would lift , and I knew he (Bodine) wouldn't. I learned that (strategy) from IROC yesterday -- I found some drafting tips. We were just a little bit better (than Bodine) cause he finished second!"

DALE EARNHARDT (Team owner No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet) -- "The guy (Steve Park) did a good job (highest-finishing Penrose Rookie of the Year Candidate in seventh). He was lucky not to get in that wreck with Spencer and them. That bumped the nose up some. We had to put some screen and tape on it and that hurt us on drafting. Steve's gonna do a good job for us. It's gonna be a great pleasure to Tony and the guys to work with him -- and I'm sure gonna have a lot of fun watching him. He's a rookie down here but he wants to get up in there and win."

STEVE PARK (No. 3* ACDelco Chevrolet) -- "It was pretty incredible! To come to Daytona as a rookie for my first Gargoyles 300 and run seventh is pretty much unbelievable. That's a credit to this great team. (You ran in the lead draft early but fell back.) I just made a rookie mistake. I got up out of the draft and instead of going forward, we went backward. It taught me a good lesson. We stayed in the line the rest of the day and we were able to work our way back up. This was our first race on anything bigger than a mile and a half and I'll tell you what, you have to keep your foot on the gas and keep steering the steering wheel or you go backwards. The guys did a great job band-aiding the nose up after we got in that wreck. (Was Dale Earnhardt on the radio during the race?) Yeah he was, but he was pretty quiet. I guess we were doing a good job. He threw in a couple of comments to help us out during the race but from there on out, he was pretty silent."

GREG SACKS (No. 30 Hunter's Specialties Chevrolet) -- "The car was a little pushy in the draft. I found a way to make the car work for me OK, and as soon as I wasn't bottled up in traffic I could move low pretty good and pick them off, one by one. I wasn't in any of the incidents, but I saw a lot of them. I ducked one on the backstretch that happened right in front of me, and then the one on the frontstretch happened right in front of me. I was pretty fortunate to duck through those. Then I was following a guy who had cut a tire during one of the incidents, and I ran over the fender. I didn't know if I would have to pit again to change right side tires, but Jeff Fuller, who was pitted next to us, pulled alongside us to check it, and I took a look at his nose to let him know what his car looked like, so we helped one another out. Today just reconfirmed what we saw yesterday afternoon (in Winston Cup practice). We made a 25-lap run with the Winston Cup car, and today on a long run my Busch car responded the same way. If you have a good idea of which way the car's going to go, you can adjust for it, so that's good news."

TODD BODINE (No. 36 Stanley Pontiac) -- "We finally finished a race here! My best finish here until today was 24th back in 92. The No. 36 Stanley Pontiac did great in the draft. We were a little concerned about fuel, but we actually had a few gallons left. We actually put in 20-and-a-half gallons. We could've run five or six more laps if we'd had to."

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 21 Band-Aid Ford) -- "I'm just real proud of this team and the job that they did getting ready for Daytona. We ran 300 miles and never had a hitch. I'm just happy today. It's a good way to start off my new association with Band-Aid. We handled well on Thursday and learned some stuff for today. That just makes me feel so much better for tomorrow. The Busch Series regulars ran good. The gap is gone! The equipment those guys have and the equipment we (Winston Cup regulars) have is even, at best, and you've got guys like Todd Bodine and Randy LaJoie who have Winston Cup experience. It was a great deal. I feel real proud of Mark Green. I saw his number up there on the board when I finished. Another Owensboro (Ky.) boy coming to NASCAR and doing a good job!"

JEFF PURVIS (No. 4 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet) -- "We had a good race car. We just got low on fuel. We couldn't have made it -- it was not even close. Maybe we didn't take on enough on our second last stop. Our car drove good all day -- probably as good a driving race car as there was out there. I could drive it with two fingers. It ran good all day, we just came came up short on fuel. I cut a tire about halfway through the race and I had to rim-ride the wall until we came in. Luckily, we just caught a caution. It was a good day -- we brought home the car in one piece. (On when he was racing behind LaJoie and Bodine) There wasn't anybody that could stay up behind me, and I was probably dragging those guys a little bit, because I had a little bit more spoiler than they did. Things just didn't fall our way. We'll just have to come back next week and try again."

TRACY LESLIE (#63 Lysol Pontiac) -- "This is a new start for me and I appreciate all the guys working so hard to give me a good car. (Looking at several circular black tire marks on the right side of his car) I got turned around there and had to drive through the infield when the 88 spun and I thought our day might be over. It put some black marks on it, and I think it run a little better after that. We had a little longer run on our tires at the end than everybody else because we didn't pit there, just took gas and didn't get tires. This is a new start for me, with Lysol and Hensley Racing, and I appreciate all the guys working so hard to give me a good car. We're ready for Rockingham."

JOE BESSEY (#6 Power Team Chevrolet) -- "Some air just got under me coming off turn and it pushed me into the outside wall. It carried the car to the outside and I bounced off pretty good, right across all the traffic behind me. I feel bad for Jarrett and all the other guys who got caught up in it."

ANDY HILLENBURG (#5 Bayer Chevrolet) -- "We ran it as hard as we could. That was all it had today. I just tried to take care of the car and get what we could."


LEE MORSE (Team manager No. 7 QVC Ford) -- "Geoff's (Bodine) got a cold. I wouldn't call it the flu yet. He's not in the best of condition, but he's OK. He'll be OK for the Daytona 500. I don't know how the rumor got started that Todd was practicing the car, but Geoff needs to stay in the car. He's fine. If we needed help, we would have put Todd in (for practice)."

GEOFF BODINE (No. 7 QVC Ford) -- "I sound like Kermit the Frog. I don't feel too bad right now, but I just have trouble talking. I went to New Smyrna (Speedway) with (his son) Barry. It was damp and cold over there and I guess I caught a cold. When you're around this many people, somebody might have accidently given me this. If we need help tomorrow, (brother) Todd can get in without any practice. I hope I can go all the way. I feel good when I'm out there. I think I'll be alright."

DERRIKE COPE (No. 36 Skittles Pontiac) -- "I'm feeling a lot better now (after being treated earlier in the weekend for cold-like symptoms). I'm feeling a lot better now. I got taken care of at the infield hospital and I'm starting to get pretty excitable now. We've got a good race car. The Skittles Pontiac is starting to show some things. If we have a good, patient day, maybe we'll be a factor."

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Kevin Lepage , Mark Green , Elliott Sadler