SCOTT DIEHL, TONY STEWART'S CAR CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: YOU WERE FAST ON THE FIRST PRACTICE SHEET. IS YOUR CAR A ROCKET THIS WEEKEND? "I don't know that we can say it's a rocket yet. We're good on the short runs. We're...
SCOTT DIEHL, TONY STEWART'S CAR CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
YOU WERE FAST ON THE FIRST PRACTICE SHEET. IS YOUR CAR A ROCKET THIS WEEKEND? "I don't know that we can say it's a rocket yet. We're good on the short runs. We're good on the long runs, but I don't think we're as good as it appears. We started off really quick. The car is good. Don't get me wrong. But I'm not real cocky about it yet."
WHY ARE SOME TEAMS ADAPTING TO THE NEW AERO & TIRE PACKAGE BETTER THAN OTHERS? "It's a combination thing. It's more than just one thing. And they're not looking for just one spring or one shock. It's just a combination. Sometimes you trip over it and sometimes you've got to really look for it for a while."
IS IT A GOOD INDICATION WHEN YOU'RE FASTEST ON THE PRACTICE SHEET? "We're very happy with how we're running. I think we have to be a little bit better on the longer runs. But for the most part, we're pretty optimistic about going into tomorrow's race."
ON THE TIRE SITUATION "They're just finishing up our tire sheets right now and checking the wear. This track has always had tire wear - kind of like Las Vegas last week. I don't think we're going to see anything incredibly bad or incredibly heavy as far as wear goes. I think it's going to be racing as usual."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
HOW WAS PRACTICE? "It went pretty good. We tried a couple of different things in each session. The car feels pretty good. I don't see any major changes just yet."
ARE THE PRACTICE TIMES A GOOD INDICATOR OF HOW THINGS WILL GO ON SUNDAY? "A fast lap really isn't that important to me right now. I think it's the 20, 30, or 40 laps that we'll want to work on as hard as we can. We're getting our car comfortable and that's the most important thing. What the car feels like in longer runs is more important. That's going to be the key. If you can make up time in that part of the run, then you'll be better off."
WHY DOES THIS TRACK SUIT YOUR DRIVING STYLE? "It's just a fast place. I like coming here. Other than that, I don't know."
WHAT ARE YOU MOST CONCERNED ABOUT FOR SUNDAY'S RACE? "We want to make sure we have a good balance in the car. Obviously there is going to be some stiff competition out there. We hope to have a clean race and may the best person win. But I think if you have a good balance in the car, and you can get up on the wheel and go good for those laps in the middle part of the section and can run out a fuel stop without having to back off because you're wearing the tire out, then I think that'll be important."
ON THE TIRE WEAR "There is no change in compound from last year. It's just a construction change - they're new construction, whatever that is. That's the only thing different. So the wear shouldn't be any different. It'll be more excessive than last year because the track is a year older. But it's not going to be like Vegas. Las Vegas had construction and compound changes. Here, there is just a construction change."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We made a lot of changes in our car and we picked up the second session. I wish we had another 45 minutes to keep practicing. Actually, maybe we would go full circle and end up with what we started out with. It'll be interesting to see how much rubber the trucks put down in the race this afternoon.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We made quite a few changes but I think that everything balanced out really well for us. I know that everyone in the Hendrick organization is happy with the cars. Our car is good and we should be able to have a strong finish and collect some points and move up in the standings. We qualified well, and hopefully that's usually a good indication. We need our luck to turn around.
"I wish we could have banked a few points and be solidly in the top 10, but it's racing and it's a long season. It's early yet. We could still move up or down depending on how luck treats us. Hopefully we'll be moving forward."
ON TIRES AND HANDLING "The tires drop off a lot and the handling changes a lot. So the focus for everyone is going to be how to keep the car secure all day long. That is going to be the real big key. This track is rough and kind of coarse. It's a little bumpy. It can be pretty scary for the drivers to drive at times.
"In practice today, the groove didn't widen up as wide as it gets in the race. It did move up (some) and we were able to play with it a little bit, but I think the major concern is going to be tire conservation. The Truck race today will put more rubber down and I think will really push the groove wider and we'll be able to move up sooner in the event tomorrow."
"That's one of the things I really like about this track. There are lots of grooves. If you're not just handling right, you can usually - not all the time - but usually move around and find the groove that works for you."