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NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400: Post Race Quotes

2 August 1997


MARK MARTIN (#6 Valvoline Ford): "We had a chance to win it but it just
didn't work out. I blew it there. We had enough. We just weren't in the
right spot. We had a fast race car. Not very good until the end but at the
end we had a shot at it." ... (on stopping for a splash of fuel when he
didn't need to) "My fault. I was afraid we couldn't make it on fuel mileage.
Then I made a couple driving errors on the last lap. There wasn't any need
for that last caution but there was one anyway. It cost us a few spots, but
we come from 30-something to sixth and had a chance at it. What can I say?
We did the best we could and I fumbled today. I dropped the ball and it cost
us three spots at the end."

LAKE SPEED (#9 Melling Engine Parts Ford):  "We only had eleven laps of
practice yesterday after we changed engines.  After crashing on Wednesday,
we went to the backup car, which if you could believe it, is our
Martinsville car.  As a result of the lack of practice we just guessed on
race setup.  It didn't drive too well early, as it was tight.  We adjusted
on it during the race, and by the end we had a real good car.  I was just
gobbling up other cars.  We certainly didn't need that last caution.  It
really cost us.  On the restart the 17 and 28 cars collided, and I got hit
in the back.  There was bumping and banging everywhere.  I made a move down
the inside (of the frontstretch) and kind of redeemed myself.  It was really
the same situation as last year.  A top 10 car, then we lose it on the
restart.  I'm really pleased with the car and I thank the good Lord for a
safe race."

DARRELL WALTRIP (#17 Parts America Chevrolet): "We weren't getting the fuel
mileage today. The motor was so good we were making a lot of horsepower, but
we were burning too much fuel today. If it had been a normal day, this would
have been a Darrell Waltrip kind of pace. We went for it all. We went for
the hot rod and it cost us fuel mileage. We got off in the middle. When it
cooled down so much the car was way off. We came in and adjusted it a little
bit and we were back at the end. There wasn't any use out there with three
laps to go. The last lap was pretty wild. That's where a kid like Kyle Petty
needs to learn a little discipline. If he can't take the heat, he needs to
back down there and work on race cars and quit driving them. Those old men
were out there running around at the end and I didn't see any of them jump
in anybody's face."

BOBBY LABONTE (#18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac): (about the restart):
"About 15th to 18th was where I thought I was gonna be. I didn't have the
fastest car. I had a good car. My team got me in and out quick. We had good
track position and that s what it s all about. I was lucky to be behind
Ricky on the restart. We were at the right place at the right time. The race
came to us. The yellows were at the right time and we were able to stay out
there to get good track position." (about his finish): "This is Indy. It s
huge. It s the best one (finish) for me here. I'm usually at the back. It's
great for the team. We needed this. We ll build off this. We knew we d
rather finish second than screw up and finish worse. This place is tricky.
We had good luck on our side today. The whole team will take this to the
rest of the season."

JEFF GORDON (#24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet): "Well, it was a great race
for us. Actually, because we qualified so poorly and we kind of ran poorly
prior to the race, we had a great car during the race. And, like I said, we
re going to slowly work our way to the front. And hopefully, we could
challenge for the win and we did. You can t control when the cautions come
out and the cautions won the race for Rudd. I really think it was between me
and Jarrett. I got loose on that last set of tires so I had to ride behind
him (Jarrett). I still thought we had a chance to run up with them but that
last caution didn t help. At one time, I thought it was going to come down
between us (him and Jarrett) but that last caution threw us for a loop."
(about a possible gamble on fuel to stay out): "I was wanting to chance it
but I didn't say anything. I know when Ray (Evernham, crew chief) and them
make the call, it's the thing to do." (about the points): "Every race is
different. I might have trouble, as much as you want to say, 'Great, we made
up a lot in the points.  Man, every week is a new challenge when it comes to
those points. It could hit you one week. It could hit another guy the next.
We had a great run. We tried to win the race and had a car capable of
winning the race. That's something we re proud of." (about the race): "It
was pretty exciting and very interesting. That s for sure. When Mark passed
Benson on the inside, Jarrett was right on his tail. I was kind of hanging
back to see what was going to happen. I knew Mark was going to get sideways.
He had been a little loose getting in all day. When Jarrett was right on
him, I thought I was going to get by all three of them because they were all
sideways. When I started to gas it, I needed to be in third gear so I could
take off, but I was lucky to get fourth."

ERNIE IRVAN (#28 Texaco Havoline Ford):  "At the end of the race, the group
in front of me left me.  We had a decent race car, but not a great one.
That pit stop didn t help us.  I wanted 2 (tires) not 4.  That cost us track
position. "   (Irvan started to leave the pit after only 2 tires had been
changed, while the crew was planning to change all 4).  "At the end, I just
couldn t get through traffic. "  

JOHNNY BENSON JR. (#30 Pennzoil Pontiac): "We had a pretty decent run. We
seem to like this race track. Everybody was swerving across lanes or
whatever they could to grab a spot or protect a spot. I hated to see that
last yellow or we would've gotten third." (about Martin and Jarrett's passes
on Lap 159): "There was a lot of bumping and banging at the end. It got
pretty exciting and I'm sure the fans saw a whale of a race. We saved the
race car and didn't hit nothing (meaning the wall). He (Martin) almost
passed me when he was running high going into (Turn) 3. He got loose and
slammed into my car. I lost it and almost crashed but was able to save it.
It was one of those things. I fell back to 11th but I was able to get back
to seventh at the end so I feel pretty good." (about the gamble on fuel):
"We were struggling so I knew it was our plan. I had been drafting guys and
saving fuel. I knew we could make it but those last couple yellows hurt us."

KEN SCHRADER (#33 Skoal Chevrolet):  "We stole something today that we
shouldn't have.  We finished eleventh with a 20th place car."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (#37 Kmart/RC Cola Ford): "It was probably a pretty good
race for the fans. That's what you get when you get in a big race like this
here in Indy. Just hard-nosed racing.  We had a shot to win it. When that
hole opened up, everyone was going for it. Nobody knew who was going to be
there in the end. We were fortunate to come home fifth. My hat s off to
Ricky and all those guys." (about the "banging" on the last lap):  I wasn't
going to give up a hard day s work for something like that. This is an
awesome team. We're ready to go to that next level."

KYLE PETTY (#44 Hot Wheels Pontiac):  "I had a good car the whole race.  No
particular drama."  (Were you happy with the car?)  "Happy?"

BILL ELLIOTT (#94 McDonald's Ford): "We did all we could do to come out of
here where we did." (about racing at Indy): "It's been really good. I really
like this race track. The car was a little off today but the team did an
excellent job." (about the scramble at the end): "We don't need to be doing
that. We need to figure something out. I know it's part of the business, but..."

JEFF BURTON (#99 Exide Batteries Ford): (about the penalty): "It was the
lesser of two evils and if I get lapped in the pits, I'm a lap down. I beat
the leaders out. The penalty is only to go to the tail of the longest line.
Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication. I thought the leaders were
coming so I sped down pit road to stay on the lead lap. It wasn t the
leaders. I messed up. I feel pretty stupid. Without that, we would've been
in position to win the race. It was a helluva run. We had a chance to win.
But starting 28th, we re happy with 15th."

STEVE MYERS (Goodyear director of race tire sales and marketing): "As
expected, Goodyear tire performance and wear was excellent. Many teams were
able to make two-tire stops, which is very critical for track position at
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In fact, Ricky Rudd ran the entire 400-mile
race only changing the left-side tires once."

RICKY RUDD (#10 Tide Ford): (Describe how it feels to win the Brickyard 400)
"Unbelievable.  It's hard to put into words. I've won 17 or 18 Winston Cup
races, but this race here, it's incredible.  As a kid I ran go-karts just
down the road.  I won the national championships at Indianapolis Raceway
Park here in 1971.  We did our pre-registration here where the Brickyard
Crossing is and then we did the tour around this place, and I dreamed of
racing here but I thought it'd be in an Indy car.  I never dreamed I d be in
a stock car -- I was too far north for that.  Then, you're doing a victory
lap in a convertible around this place.  It s incredible.  There's something
about having grandstands on both sides.  Going around (on the victory lap),
there s 24 shirts, Earnhardt shirts -- and they're all cheering for you.
They're just race fans.  Coming down pit road, I think crew members from
every team congratulated me.  That really says something when your peers
congratulate you like that.  I guess we re in somewhat of an underdog
role...This race ranks really up there with the Daytona 500.  I hope
(winning this race) doesn t mean I get too popular, because then I'll have
too many obligations.  I kind of like the low profile.  I mean, I love the
people, I love the fans.  I have really loyal fans -- some of them have been
with me for 20 years.  I love the fans, but I wouldn t want to be in the
position Jeff Gordon is in right now, it's really hard on him...There s
something about Indianapolis.  You know, even the guys who may be having a
rough time, you'll always remember if they won the Daytona 500.  You'd be
hard pressed to remember every winner of Pocono, no offense to that race
track.  But this race carries the same type of status of Daytona.  You'll
always remember the winners."  (What are you going to do with the money you
ve won today?) "I don t know.  We're good at spending money...I m not used
to being in this position with having to count all this money.  I want a
second transporter.  I want to build a test team.  The question is how to
cross the country racing and testing.  Jimmy Spencer has been kind enough to
help us in our testing, but we ve been kind of improvising.  "  (About the
race)  "We weren t the dominant car today.  We were a top five car.  We knew
on the stopwatch, we were as quick as the leaders were.  As long as it had
clean air, I could run in traffic...You 've got to be smart.  The fastest
guy doesn't always win the race.  I ve had 'em get away from me, too...The
biggest thing was not getting psyched up but get psyched down, if you can,
so I didn't make a mistake and overdrive it and get it in the marbles."
(About conserving fuel):  "If it weren't for that caution, we probably would
have run out coming into Turn 3.  They guys were saying, 'Don t abuse the
accelerator, just let it idle.  That second caution just sealed it...Before
that second caution, it was a borderline, iffy situation. We decided to roll
the dice and go with it.  Then the caution flags came out and it wasn't much
of an issue."  (About the difficulties of running a small team)  "My
inspiration is Alan Kulwicki.  I didn't know him very well, but whenever
things get down, I think of him.  He was able to whip up on those big
guys...I just kind of see this as a steep challenge.  Some days, I say,
'Man!  Why am I banging my head against the wall?   But this -- we didn't
expect this...We have maybe 25 full-time people that work on the race car --
secretaries and PR people and all.  We probably have 15 guys that actually
turn a wrench on the car.  To give you a comparison, the Hendricks operation
is up to 189, 190 people.  Childress has over 100 people...You almost got to
walk through our shop, and I m really proud of our shop, and then walk
through Yates shop and it s easy to see who will be leading the races. I d
love to be leading more laps.  You've got a clean windshield, you re not
looking at somebody's tailpipe all day.  You can pick and choose your line.
Having a clean track in front of you really makes a difference. I'd love to
be up front more."  (About running against Dale Jarrett)  "It s no secret we
couldn't catch him on horsepower.  Those guys are really on the next level.
We re just figuring out things they figured out six months ago."    (About
your crew chief)  "Jim Long and I have a good relationship.  He lives,
breathes and sleeps to get a car out in front.  He's a good example of the
American way.  He just wants to race and he races to win."  (About the car)
"This is the car we won Dover with.  It hasn't been run very much.  It was
kind of collecting dust.  Then we looked at it and said, 'This could be a
good car for Indianapolis,  so we dusted it off."

MIKE SKINNER (#31 Lowe's Chevrolet):  (About the tight racing at the end)
"Kevin (Hamlin)  was telling me on the radio, 'Hey!  We don't have to win
this thing. Let's just finish it!  He said, 'Those guys are crazy the way
they're racing.  They're gonna knock each other out.  That was fun. Those
guys were crazy.  They were racing for 10th place like it was the win... Our
pit stops were just out of sync...We ll be ready next year."  (About helping
his teammate)  "I was trying to help him (Earnhardt) but I didn't know he
had a rear tire going down.  I was trying to help him get a lap back and
laid back so he could get past.  He waved me by and he said, 'No!  I got a
flat tire!   I almost wrecked him."  (About being up front)  "It was pretty
awesome racing with Jarrett and Gordon.  It was a dream come true to be
racing with those leaders.  We ll definitely be ready next year."

DALE JARRETT (#88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford):   (About Rudd s fuel
management)  "Ricky did a great job saving fuel...I don't know how they were
able to do it, but they did it.  We were at least seven laps short, so we
weren t even close...We had a good car.  Sometimes what you think is the
best car doesn t always win.  That s frustrating.   Unfortunately, the tires
stayed on it, but the fuel didn t stay in it.  Ricky did a great job. We
were lucky to get back up as high as we did, so we were happy with
that...What s frustrating is trying to figure out how somebody gets 15 more
laps on a  tank of fuel when you can't. I thought that was an awfully long
way to go on fuel...They really had to conserve fuel.  Some people work on
fuel mileage, some people work on horsepower.  It's obvious what we re
working on at Robert Yates Racing...It s frustrating knowing you have a
great car and it comes down to something like fuel mileage.  But, there are
no set rules on how to win a race. We're just fortunate to finish as high as
we did."   (About the tight racing with Gordon)  "It was fun.  You can only
do what we were doing with certain competitors...He got high up into me and
I kind of ran him into the grass. There are some people that you can do that
with and know that they re not gonna wreck you.  It's fun racing and it s
interesting for the fans.  It's great to race with a competitor like Jeff."
(About the tight racing in the last 10-15 laps)  "It was time to get what
you could...Mark got loose going into (Turn) 3 and starting braking.  I got
into him.  I was lucky -- I got past him.  I didn t mean to get into him.
It was hard racing, fun racing -- that s what these people came to see."
(About the report that he had a bad tire early in the race)  "My car just
didn't want to go very good the first 15 laps.  I thought a tire was going
down or something.  As I was moving around a bit, it got better.  It was
probably just a tight set of tires that need to get warmed up."

Additional Note:

The Kodiak Chevrolet team reports that a bone marrow donor drive was held
this week in Fayetteville, N.C. The goal of 10,000 people to be typed as
potential donors was surpassed today. It s believed to be the largest
response from any single donor drive in history.