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NASCAR Winston Cup Series DieHard 500: Post-Race Quotes (Ford Drivers)

13 October 1997

 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Ford Race Quotes 
 DieHard 500
 Talladega Superspeedway
 October 12, 1997

TALLADEGA, AL - The following provided by Ford Motorsports Public Affairs:
BILLY STANDRIDGE (#47 Standridge Racing Thunderbird) - Started 26th, finished
42nd - Spun in turn two on lap 52. - "I guess somebody took the air off my
spoiler. The car had been good all day. I drove it into (turns) 1 and 2 and it
broke loose. It hadn't been loose all day and all of a sudden it just jumped
loose on me. I'm not really sure what happened. I felt like we had a top-five
car. I'm real disappointed that this happened."
MARK MARTIN (#6 Valvoline Thunderbird) - Started 31st, finished 30th - Was
involved in multi-car accident on lap 140. - "They just wrecked. I knew it was
going to happen sooner or later. I tried to run a real conservative race. I
wasn't doing much racing there. I was just trying to finish this thing. It was
getting close to the end. We had a shot. I hadn't stepped on the gas yet. I
was waiting for them guys to wreck. I thought they were going to wreck on the
inside, but they came up and took me out. No, we can't get it fixed."
RICKY RUDD (#10 Tide Thunderbird) - Started 41st, finished 34th - Was involved
in multi-car accident on lap 140. - "I really couldn't tell what triggered it.
It looked like Earnhardt was down in the grass and everybody just checked up
after that. Everybody was pretty clean to begin with. They were two abreast.
When they started running three abreast, which was about the halfway point, it
started getting nastier. It was just inevitable that something was going to
happen. I didn't see a whole lot. It looked like Earnhardt went through the
grass and everybody started checking up. It would have been OK, but a couple
of cars didn't check up soon enough. A couple of them started spinning. It was
the typical chain-reaction that you have at Talladega. It's a shame. Everybody
was running a pretty good race. Three-wide at Talladega, you can do it. But
sooner or later it is going to bite you.
"It's a shame. We had a good car at Daytona and lost that car. We came here
and were kind of a victim of other people's circumstances. Unless you are out
front in one of these things, the odds are increased as far as getting
involved in one of these multi-car wrecks. The best place to be is out front,
but we didn't have the car to do it."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (#21 CITGO Thunderbird) - Started 27th, finished 28th - Was
involved in multi-car accident on lap 140. - "The 24 (Jeff Gordon) turned
around. I was right next to the wall. I was hoping they wouldn't come my way
until I could get through there, but they didn't. We didn't have a chance at
winning this thing, but we had a chance at a good finish. Any time you are
running that fast, anything can happen. In that circumstance, why he got
turned around, I don't know. We were on the outside hoping we could get
through the little gap between the wall and the wreck before the wreck got to
the wall. Unfortunately, the hole closed up."
JOHN ANDRETTI (#98 RCA Thunderbird) - Started 2nd, finished 3rd - "I'm really
proud of my team and what they've been able to accomplish. We escaped a couple
of close calls. We were real fortunate. Any finish today would have been a
good one.
"They said the 5 (Terry Labonte) would go with me, but I'm never sure of
anything. I had Ernie (Irvan) up there, and he was the only guy who was
driving the same make that I was driving. Bobby Labonte helped me a lot. It
was just real fortunate that we didn't get knocked out in two other crashes
that certainly got us beat up. We were real fortunate. If we can go back to
Daytona and win that race, there's a million bucks to win that one."
ON THE WRECKS - "The first one, I had a guy up underneath me and he squeezed
me and started hitting me into the guy on the outside. The other one, I guess
Jeff but a left rear tire. We were just tooling down the backstretch and all
of a sudden I get body slammed in the right door. I look in my mirror and Jeff
is spinning. When you cut a tire, there is nothing you can do.
"The car looks like it races Martinsville, but I felt like we had a chance.
When we came all the way from last and led a lap, I felt like we had a real
good shot at at least coming home with a top five, which is important right
now. I would have gotten help. If I could have pulled down in front of Terry,
I think he would have pushed me on by the 33 (Ken Schrader). But I'm Monday
morning quarterbacking now.
"Actually Bobby pushed me by Terry. He hit me a few times and got me going. He
got up there, then the 5 (Terry Labonte) got between us. My car was stronger
than Schrader's. I think Terry might have been a little stronger than mine. I
thought, man, it's going to be hard to hold the two Labonte brothers back, and
we didn't."
effect it dramatically, especially since we had to go all the way to the back
and then come back to the front. It didn't seem to slow us down. We had to pit
a couple of extra times to get it out. It wasn't good that it happened. I
don't quite understand why it happened.
"Good finishes always come at a good time in your career. Any good finish is
good for your career. I would have like to have won my second race, but as
long as I'm part of the 'No Bull 5', that's the most important thing, because
I can win at Daytona."
ERNIE IRVAN (#28 Texaco Havoline Thunderbird) - Started 1st, finished 5th - "I
was like right in the middle of it. I don't really know what happened.
Somebody got tangled up with Gordon and they started swooping back and forth.
I lifted and Mark shoved me right through the deal. I was at their mercy.
Everybody just kinda split in front of me and I just happened to not be in it.
I thought I had a real good shot at winning, but from that point on, our car
didn't run as good as it had. I don't know if the rear bumper got misplaced or
something. The 7 (Geoff Bodine) car helped me a bunch to get up there. But
then it's everybody for himself. It was a good run. It's the last time I will
be in a Texaco uniform here at Talladega and we finished fifth, so I'm happy.
JIMMY SPENCER (#23 Camel Thunderbird) - Started 3rd, finished 24th - Was
involved in multi-car accident on lap 140. - "I was real strong. We're upset
because we've had an opportunity to win all four plate races, and we came home
with three torn up race cars. People just make mistakes. It wasn't
intentional, but you get to going side-by-side like that and something is
going to happen. Something has got to give. We had a good car. It's too bad
for the guys and too bad for Jimmy Spencer, too, because we've had nothing but
tough luck.
"Bobby Labonte and Terry Labonte didn't have that great a race cars, but yet
they won the race because they were in the right place at the right time. And
I credit Terry. That was great. But it's one of them deals where the best race
car doesn't always win the race, and a lot of times it gets torn up. It's a
bad deal, because the draft is exciting for the fans and exciting for the
competitors, but one little mistake and you see what happens. We thought we
had it missed, then we got hit in the left rear and got turned sideways. The
37 (Jeremy Mayfield) drove up over our hood. He didn't mean nothing by it. We
felt really, really good about this race. We knew there were a couple of cars
strong like us, but we really felt like our car was capable of winning this
race, but we're going home with it all torn up."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (#37 Kmart/RC Cola Thunderbird) - Started 40th, finished 26th
- Was involved in multi-car accident on lap 140. - "I'm not sure what started
that deal up in (turn) three, but it was one heckuva wreck. I was doing
everything I could to miss it, but I got caught up in a cloud of dust and felt
the car starting to lift. All I could think of was, 'Hold on.' I felt like a
'Whooomp,' and I looked over to my left and I'll bet my nose wasn't 10 inches
from Jimmy Spencer's nose. There was nothing any of us could do. There was
nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. Spencer and I just rode the rest of the
DALE JARRETT (#88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Thunderbird) - Started 18th,
finished 21st - Was involved in multi-car accident on lap 140. - "It was just
a matter of being in the right place at the right time. They spun in front of
me, and unfortunately we didn't get through it.
ON THE POINTS. - "We could have done a lot more if we hadn't been involved.
But every one of us were in there. I guess we came out on the best end of the
whole thing, but it certainly wasn't what we were looking for. It's what we
had to have, but we needed to pick up a lot more than that. They had their
misfortune and we needed to be able to make more of an advantage out of it,
but we couldn't.
"I think we had a car that could have won the race, but not today. You don't
know when it's going to happen, so all you can do is race as hard as you can
and hope that you are not in it when it happens."
BILL ELLIOTT (#94 McDonald's Thunderbird) - Started 10th, finished 13th - "The
car was a little loose all day. Mike and the guys kept making adjustments but
nothing hooked up. With about 30 to go, my low water light came on and I was
full throttle, but couldn't seem to go anywhere. On that wreck with Gordon and
those guys, I have absolutely no idea how I got through that with no damage. I
couldn't see a thing.