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NASCAR Winston Cup ITW DeVilbiss 400: Ford Driver Post Race Quotes

18 August 1997

 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Ford Post-Race Quotes
 ITW DeVilbiss 400
 Michigan Speedway
 August 17, 1997
BROOKLYN, MI - The following provided by Ford Motorsports Public Affairs:
TED MUSGRAVE (#16 Family Channel/PRIMESTAR Thunderbird) - Started 7th,
finished 3rd - "This is the same car and the same problem. The car got real
tight and I couldn't get through the corners as good as Mark. But the guys did
really, really good. We tried a lot of things during the afternoon trying to
loosen it up, but it had the same characteristics as it did during the last
race here, so we'll have to look into that. I don't know if we could have held
Mark off. This car runs good here all the time, but Mark was just quicker.
Jeff, I could run him down a little bit when I drove a different line, but 
I got right behind him, I lost my frontend and it pushed again. That was all I
could do at the time, but we're going to give it a shot again next week.
"Mark was quick from the beginning of the race. My car got tight and Jeff and
Mark got by, I just wanted to save the car and save the tires. I really
couldn't run as good as they could. I tried to adjust on the car and got it a
little better, but there is some hidden problem that makes the car time all
the tight all the time in the center of the corner. My hat's off to Mark. I'm
glad a teammate won, but I sure need to get one, too."
ERNIE IRVAN (#28 Texaco/Havoline Thunderbird) - Started 20th, finished 4th -
"It wasn't too bad. We sure would have like to have done what we did last
time, but we were just a little bit off. From yesterday on, I knew Mark was
going to be awful tough. When they threw the green flag today, he was just as
tough. Me and Dale had a good race. Our cars were pretty equal right then.
Neither one of us was handling like Mark and Teddy and Jeff was, but I guess
sometimes you've got to take a whipping and go one and get ready for the next
"We had a real good race. D.J. (Dale Jarrett) raced me really hard, and that's
what it's all about. It doesn't really matter if we're teammates or not.. He
didn't expect me to pull over and I didn't think he was going to cut me any
slack. We had a good run and we'll just go on to Bristol. The car wasn't bad.
It just pushed a little bit too much. That was probably the worst of it."
BILL ELLIOTT (#94 McDonald's Thunderbird) - Started 24th, finished 7th - "My
car was just absolutely too tight. I set up more for yesterday, and at the end
of a long run, I was too tight. I couldn't go nowhere. It was the cooler
conditions. We just missed the setup, that's all there was to it. But still,
we had a great day. We beat a lot of good race cars today and we didn't have
no bad luck, so we're going in the right direction. For where we come from a
year ago, we're doing good."
JEFF BURTON (#99 Exide Batteries Thunderbird) - Started 5th, finished 8th - ON
HELPING MARTIN GET HIS LAP BACK - "That's part of being a team. If I was in
that position, he would have done the same thing. We wanted it to come down to
the Roush cars. We thought they were the three best cars out here. To see him
cut a tire and take himself out of position, that's racing luck. But if we can
change that racing luck, that's what we're going to do.
"I saw Mark coming. Buddy had told me we needed to work with Mark, and I knew
what he meant. That's what it's all about. He had the best car and we had the
second-best car. It would have been fun for him and I to race it out. But I
let more than just him back in the lead lap. Rusty Wallace and Darrell
Waltrip, they owe me a thanks, too. I let Darrell back in the lead lap, and he
raced me for 15th, I'm like, 'Hey, wait a minute, without me, you'd be a lap
down.' So some people forget about it pretty quick.
"I could have kept him a lap down. He wasn't even close. I was coming out of
(turn) 4 and he was going into 3. I had to brake to let him go. It didn't cost
me the race. It gave him the race, it didn't cost me the race. What cost me
the race was the rain.
"It wasn't tough at all. I'm a guy who believes that the best car should win.
If Mark and I came down to the end and he beat me and had let him get his lap
back, then more power to him. That's what being a teammate is all about.
You've got to be willing to give things up. It will come back for you later.
Those guys, Mark and Ted, we came into this deal last year and they gave up a
lot of stuff to get us in the position we are in now, and when you get the
opportunity, you've got to do the same thing.
"A lot of those guys pitted. what happens is that people gamble. You are
sitting there and you don't know how many laps under caution you are going to
run. It had quit raining and we kept going and we kept going and we kept
going. We probably went for five laps longer than we needed to. I don't know
how much that helped people, but if you are sitting there running seventh and
you are not going to win, you pit early and you hope that people are going to
go a long time under caution, because it saves gas under caution. But in our
shoes, other people could get better gas mileage than we could, so we couldn't
stop as soon as they could anyway. So we had to wait out there for a long
time. Then when we waited, there were only three cars behind us, so we said,
'Hell, we'll just wait some more. We'll just wait and wait and wait, and if it
keeps raining we'll be OK, and if it doesn't keep raining, we're only going to
be two or three more spots behind.' And sure enough, once we didn't pit real
early with everybody else, that was the strategy to go. What we've got to do
is figure out how to pit early with everybody else.
"It's frustrating that we didn't put ourselves in position to win. We put
ourselves in position to win competitive-wise, but not with the fuel strategy.
We just didn't seem to be able to pick up as much fuel as some of those other
guys could. The gamble is, how many laps are you going to run under caution,
and who knows?"
DALE JARRETT (#88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Thunderbird) - Started 4th,
finished 5th - We just never could get to the front. We just didn't have all
today. We ran hard and got a top-five, but we lost points to both of the guys
in front of us. We'll take it and try to make up some at Bristol. Fuel mileage
was a factor. I guess everybody stopped and were able to go, and it didn't
turn out to make much difference, other than the track position at the end. We
were just kinda going on what was going on, and when we thought we could stop
and make it from there. That's when we wanted to pit and keep some guys behind
us. We pretty much pushed all day. We just couldn't get it turned off the
corner, and that hurt our straightaway speed. We just never could get to the
front. We just didn't have it exactly right today. We had a great time with
Ernie. I just wish it would have been for first and second instead of fourth
and fifth. We couldn't touch Mark. The guy had a flat tire and came from the
back and still won. He was awful strong. He just seems to have it dialed in
here if he doesn't have any problems."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (#37 Kmart/RC Cola Thunderbird) - Started 12th, finished 33rd
- "It seems like we ran 750 miles while everybody else ran 400. We were just
sliding up the corners all day long. The car was pretty loose and the guys did
a good job of getting it tighter, but we fought it all day long. I really hate
it because we're here in Kmart's backyard and we had the new paint scheme.
Then again, the last time we finished in the 30s (32nd at Texas), we followed
that up with a long string of good finishes and took a big jump in the points
(from 20th to eighth)."