Daytona 500: Bill Davis Racing Monday morning quotes

BILL DAVIS (Car Owner No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) COMMENT ON SHOT AT WINNING DODGE'S MILLION DOLLAR BONUS "They better get the check ready. I'm not going to spend the money yet because it's a long season. We've got a head start on ...

Daytona 500: Bill Davis Racing Monday morning quotes

BILL DAVIS (Car Owner No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)

COMMENT ON SHOT AT WINNING DODGE'S MILLION DOLLAR BONUS

"They better get the check ready. I'm not going to spend the money yet because it's a long season. We've got a head start on everybody else. I've said all winter this needs to be our year because it can be our year. We're capable of winning some races and running up front all year long. If we just get to run every race like we did yesterday, of course we had some great luck yesterday. We missed a couple of big wrecks. If we can just have not any good or bad luck and just get to race, we'll be fine.

"It was such a disappointment leaving here last year because we had the best car all week and dominated the race and led the most laps and then didn't get to win it. This makes us feel a little better. We had a much better car last year. Sterling and the 24 getting together there and taking the 24 out of the deal and messing up Sterling's fender where he had to pit put us in position to win the race. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if they hadn't gotten together, but we'll take it.

"I hate we're going to have to give up the car because it's a great, great race car. It has been for years. That's the oldest race car we've got. We just keep using it and bringing it back. At the same time, it's such an honor for it to be in Daytona USA and for everybody to come through here and see it and remember for sure who won the Daytona 500. We'll build another one.

"These guys have been together for a long time and we've been building for this for a long time. They're in the shop right now working as hard as they can work. They didn't leave here last night until about midnight or so, but I'll bet you they're at the shop this morning digging. We've got the cars sitting there ready for the first six races. We're in the best shape we've ever been in. We've got the strongest team we've ever had. We got through the growth last year of switching brands. We've got the best race cars we've ever had to race. The Dodge brand is just incredible. What those guys do for us is just unbelievable. The technical support that we get, we're in real good shape to have a heck of a year.

"All I can do is apologize to Hills Bros. We told these people that qualifying wasn't going to be an issue and then to come down here and do this. I can't imagine why we didn't run a faster qualifying lap. Hindsight, should we have requalified, sure, but we weren't worried about it. We were going to race our way in. If not, we were going to fall back on points. It was a unique of circumstances that took us out of it. I like the Twin 125s, but I don't like how much they mean. They have too much bearing on your season. Now Hut (Stricklin) and his team have to start out in a big hole, along with some others. The 20, 41, 8 are in a hole, too, but they're going to dig out.

"I didn't get much sleep last night, either. I was just laying there thinking, 'we won the Daytona 500.' Gail and I worked so hard to get here and be taken seriously. You're pretty much here when you win the Daytona 500. Maybe this will earn us the respect we've never got before."

GAIL DAVIS (Car owner's wife No. 22 Caterpillar Intrepid R/T)

"All these years of effort and hard work have finally paid off. We built a little trucking business first. That was a very difficult business. To race for this many years and to finally win something so big. It's pretty thrilling. One of the first years we went to Daytona for the 500, this man came into our trailer and he said we must really be able to take the stress being in the trucking business and racing.

"We were not wealthy people and had to race the best we could. Bill always made it work. To have finally reached this point where we have a fabulous shop and wonderful personnel and a tremendous engine department and driver. To not just win a race, but win the Daytona 500 is just about the biggest thing we can do.

"I started off and paid the bills and helped Bill figure out ways to get money to race. We never had children and we just have always talked about everything all the time. Now, we have a lot of people who work for us and I don't have specific duties like I once did. I'm always busy. I work every day whether it's our trucking company in Arkansas or at our racing company.

"I haven't been sleeping well, but last night, I did get five good hours last night. I was thrilled to death. I'm ready for New York, but we didn't pack clothes to go to New York. We didn't come prepared. It was a surprise. Last year we had a car that could have won, so I learned a long time ago not to get too excited because you never know what's going to happen. I've been let down emotionally so many times, and it's hard on you. I had gone to the motor home because I don't like to sit out in the sun a lot. I was getting our stuff ready to go home. I watched the race and listened to our scanner. I wasn't going to go back to the pits because I thought that would be bad luck. Ward got closer and closer and I was pacing the floor and couldn't do anything. Then the red flag came out and so I thought it would give me time to walk over there. We had two laps to go by the time I got there, and it was tremendously emotional.

"I knew Elliott Sadler would help Ward, and Geoff Bodine was going to help also. That made me feel good. I did know they could have gotten together and left us behind, but I just hoped. I couldn't do anything but hope and cry a little bit."

TOMMY BALDWIN (Crew chief No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"I didn't get to bed until about 1:30. I was up about 5 ready to go.

"I played all sports. I played baseball and football, and I was a semi-pro bowler. I pitched, but I was a little small back then. My mind was there, but my body wasn't yet.

"I've done a lot of things, owned a lot of companies. The only thing that ever kept constant for some reason was racing. About six years ago, I reflected on that. I decided to try to live my dream. I packed up all my stuff without a job and moved down and looked for work for over a month and a half without getting a job.

Ray Evernham gave me a shot working at night on the Budweiser car back then. I was just cleaning parts. Ricky Craven gave me a call when he was at the 41 Kodiak car and asked Ray if he knew of anybody that could be his car chief. They hired me at the beginning of January to go work as car chief with no Winston Cup experience. I jumped in with two feet and showed everybody I could get the job done. Ten months later I had a job as crew chief and progressed from there.

"I don't like losing. When we have a chance to win, like we do every Sunday, it just gets you pumped up. It's an incredible feeling to be a part of NASCAR the way it's grown, and to be a part of Winston Cup. Yesterday to win the Super Bowl of racing has been a dream.

"I was crew chief for Harry Ranier in 1996. Tony Stewart was under contract. We did some testing with him and were going to run him at Atlanta. We hauled the mail in testing, and for some reason Tony didn't want to go along with it. I think he had his goals set with Joe Gibbs. Joe ended up having to buy his contract out at Ranier's. We didn't have a driver going into Atlanta. We hired Elton Sawyer to drive for us. We showed up without a sponsor and put together a group of guys real quick. We qualified in the top 20, and I think we raced in the top 20 all day. We finished 20th. Elton got out of the car, and he told Bill (Davis) that he needed to watch me. It was one of the best cars he'd ever driven. I guess Bill just kept his eyes on me. I went with Junie Donleavy and stayed there a couple of years. Bill gave me a call and here we are.

"I still change tires, and I love doing it. I've been doing it my whole life. It's a relief. It's something for me to look forward to. We tried a bunch of people over the winter, and this sport is so big, to give that up on pit road, you just can't do it. The competition is too high."

TIM CULBERTSON (Program Manager, Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering)

"This is a victory for all the Dodge teams. We've been talking about the one-team concept a lot, but for sure, we're living the one-team concept. I'd like to think there's a little bit of this Daytona 500 victory for the Pettys and Ray Evernham and Chip Ganassi and Melling and Chip Smith. We're real proud of that. That's a formula that continues to be powerful. It's a formula that will continue to grow, and it's a formula that I think will lead us to more and more victories.

"We had a great celebration last night. It was very festive. The teams were out late getting the car torn down, but they got there around 9:30 and we had a lot of happy people. You always feel what you think the power of winning the Daytona 500 would be, but last night, it was 3-D. To see everybody so happy and pumped. You could tell what we had all accomplished was something very, very big. It was a lot of fun.

"I slept like a baby last night. I slept better than I have any of the 12 days I've been down here. It was an awful big relief to win that race. It was a long week. There was an awful lot of work to be done on everybody's part, and it all culminated in a Daytona 500 victory."

-bdr-

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