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Checker Auto Parts 500 Post-Race Quotes

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Finished 2nd) – “It was a great run for the Post-It National Guard car today. This is what we need to do – it’s championship form right here. We wanted to win, but we came here and led a lot of laps and ran real strong and finished second. It just goes to show how solid this race team is.” DID YOU THINK THE CAR WOULD BE THAT DOMINANT TODAY? “No, I had no idea it was gonna be that good, but I’ve got a great group of guys working on this 16 car and I just had a lot of fun out here in Arizona. There are lots of great fans out here. I love racing at this race track. It’s pretty exciting to come here and run second.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Finished 32nd) – “We just had a seal or something go bad in the caliper. That just got us behind and we couldn’t really fix it. We had a real competitive car. We had great pit stops and everything went right, we just had a mechanical failure so I don’t know what else we could really do.”

ELLIOTT SADLER – No. 38 M&M’s Taurus (Finished 11th) – “I’m kind of disappointed. I think we had a top-five car. We just tried two tires at the end and I was way too loose. We lost a lot of positions and a lot of points. We really want to get that 11th-place finish and we’re gonna have to go to Homestead and try to finish in the top two or three and hope the 24 and the 42 have problems. We really thought we were gonna gain a bunch of points on the 42 today and stay even with the 24, but we made a few adjustments at the end of the race and the car didn’t like it. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

DALE JARRETT – No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 9th) – “It was a pretty good day. We just never could get the tightness out of the center. That’s the same thing we fought all weekend, but we just couldn’t seem to get that out. There at the end the harder I tried to go, the more I slid the nose, but we had good strategy. We had one pit stop that wasn’t good and got us behind, but things really worked out from there. Anytime you can go and run in the top 10, we hadn’t been doing that, so that’s pretty good.” YOU MADE A CALL THERE BY STAYING OUT LATE. “Yeah, I just thought that we needed to see how we could run up front and then I got in with some lapped cars and got the fender knocked in, so it didn’t work out, but I think Kyle Busch stayed out there and I felt like I could run with him, and I just got caught in the lap traffic. So it didn’t work out exactly right, but it was still the best call for us because we were still in good shape when the next caution came out. Sometimes you just have a feeling so you’ve got to make that call.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Taurus (Finished 6th) – WERE YOU LOOKING AT THIS AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT RACES IN YOUR CAREER? “Oh yeah, this was a really important race – probably one of the most important of my career. I’m happy with my performance. I feel like today was a successful day. The only thing I didn’t do very well was getting through traffic there on that last stop, but you can only race so hard and to come back up to sixth, I think, was a good run for us today. It’s just too bad we have a points deficit we’re trying to make up. We didn’t cut into it.” HOW DO YOU APPROACH HOMESTEAD? “The same we we’ve approached the races the last three weeks. We probably have an average finish of something like second or third, so if we can go and run that way at Homestead, we’ll be all right.” WHAT WILL YOUR MINDSET BE? “We have to go to Homestead with an aggressive mindset. We can’t go there and be conservative. We have to run very well to get this finished.” WHAT HAPPENED ON THE LAST RUN? “Track position just got us there at the end. We gambled. We thought we were playing the right strategy and we would have had the right strategy if the car was faster on a short run to get up through those guys, but we didn’t have it. That’s all we had.”

KENNY WALLACE – No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus (Finished 16th) – “The way I look at it was who was I racing at the end and how far did I get to without ever being in the race car. I’d like to say for never sitting my butt in this race car that I thought we did really good. Sixteenth is pretty good. Mark Martin was two spots ahead of me.” WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU TODAY IN THE CAR? “The seat and just having no practice. I just needed to close the rear springs a little. That was my bottom line. It was just too loose for me.”

RICKY RUDD – No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Finished 20th) – “We’ve struggled with our short track program. I liked our Martinsville car, but we couldn’t bring it because the body was torn up on it and this car has never run.  I don’t know. We’re missing it somewhere on these tracks, but maybe they’ll get it fixed over the winter.”

GREG BIFFLE PRESS CONFERENCE – YOU’RE 102 BACK. WHAT ABOUT THE RACE AND NEXT WEEKEND? “It was a great race for us today. I couldn’t ask for a better race car. The guys just gave me a fantastic race car to drive. This is our last race with Post-It 3M on the race car and I really wanted to get them a win. It’s funny, we won a lot of races with Post-It on the car this year. I think three of the five wins were with them and I was hoping that might have been what we were gonna have today, but it was pretty close. It seemed like we kind of had it under control and this tells you how the complexity of this sport and these races can change so quick. Pit stops, people stay out and people come in – two tires, four – we ended up 14th there and got back up to the top five and pitted again, then a lot of guys took two again. We had to race our way to the front. It wasn’t handed to us today and there at the end, the 5 didn’t really have a lot to lose. They were a lap down, I believe, and got their lap back. I think they were, but they played the right pit strategy and got themselves up there in position. Even though it’s a one-mile track, it’s really aero-sensitive. My car was just a little bit too loose and just kind of sliding the nose at the end. I just couldn’t get the gas down with Kyle right on my bumper. I think if I could have got two car lengths in front of Kyle, I could have drove away from him, but just because the cars are so aero-sensitive. He would have been in dirty air and I would have been in clean air and that’s what I needed. That’s how I had my car set up to run. I had been out there a lot of the day, but I just couldn’t pull it off. Then when he finally cleared me and got in front of me and got two or three car lengths, then I had such a time trying to get to his bumper or trying to get inside of him again. Once I got there I knew I was pretty much cooked. The tires were done.”

CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT’S GOING THROUGH KYLE’S MIND WITH KURT’S SITUATION AND YOU AS A TEAMMATE, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? “I don’t know what all happened. I just heard a bunch of stuff through the garage area. It’s neat for Kyle to win. Both of those guys have a wonderful amount of talent driving ability and it was kind of funny – the race in the spring was exactly the same only I was chasing Kurt the whole night and he was just that much better than me and I couldn’t beat him. I was wondering to myself if he was here today if I would have been doing that same thing because I was out there by myself kind of. I had the best car for a major part of the day, but I don’t know what happened. I suppose I’ll get filled in with all the information when it comes to.”

DO YOU KNOW WHAT CAUSED THE CAR TO GO AWAY? “I really don’t. Sets of tires will be just a little bit different. I had a couple sets there in the middle part of the race that were just unbelievable. As the race progressed, I lost a little bit of turn with the front tires down in one and two, and in three and four. I took a little bit of wedge out of it to get it to turn a little bit better, well that just made it loose on the throttle when I put the gas down. So I didn’t really get that turn back. Kyle’s car was extremely loose as well and the track kind of came to them and kind of just barely went away from us right there at the end. Like I said, I came from 14th and passed a bunch of lap cars. I fought all the way back there, drove up to his bumper and just ran him down. That just used up so much of the tire. You’re punishing the tire when you’re trying to do that and catch guys and run that much faster to catch them. It takes the goodie out of the tire and just didn’t have enough left when I got there.”

DO YOU THINK YOU STILL HAVE A SHOT TO WIN THE TITLE? “No, we needed to do what we did today – lead the most laps and finish second or win, but those other guys would have had to have bad days in order to put us in the hunt. We’re certainly not in it anymore. I kind of counted myself out last week, but wanted to keep hopes up that we might have an opportunity. The reality is that next year we’re gonna go after it again.”

YOU’RE THE DEFENDING RACE WINNER AT HOMESTEAD. DOES THAT GIVE YOU SOME HOPE? “If we run like we did here today is a little bit of hope. I thought three-quarters of the way through the race I might have a chance to win the last two, but Kyle came up there and spoiled the fun. We’re taking the same car back to Homestead that we ran with last year, with the updated body and stuff. We won earlier in the year with that car one time, so we feel really good about that race car and going back there.”

WHICH RACE DID YOU WIN WITH THAT CAR? “That car we won at Michigan with.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY SYMPATHY FOR KURT? “You’d have to. I think you’d have sympathy for anybody if you put yourself in that position and get taken out of the race car. But, like I said, I don’t know any of the details at all about what happened, what went on, and that’s about it. I don’t know anything about it other than I was told this morning that he wasn’t gonna drive it. That’s the first I had heard of anything.”