Daytona 500: GM teams qualifying day quotes

JEFF GREEN, NO. 66 BEST BUY MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 27th: "The car felt good, but we didn't have our qualifying speed up to where we wanted it. This is a brand new car, and we didn't even get to test with it. Harold (Holly, crew chief of the...

JEFF GREEN, NO. 66 BEST BUY MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 27th:

"The car felt good, but we didn't have our qualifying speed up to where we wanted it. This is a brand new car, and we didn't even get to test with it. Harold (Holly, crew chief of the No. 66 Best Buy Chevrolet) took it to the wind tunnel and said the numbers were better than the car we did test with. With so many cars being here yesterday for practice, we just didn't get enough track time to dial it in like we wanted. We should be really good by the time the (Daytona) 500 rolls around, though."

WITH SO MANY DRIVERS VYING FOR JUST EIGHT STARTING SPOTS FOR THE DAYTONA 500, WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN IN THE GATORADE 150'S ON THURSDAY? "Oh, it's going to be big. It's probably going to be some of the most exciting racing the fans will see all season. When it comes down to a few laps to go, you're going to see some guys make some pretty gutsy moves. There will probably be a few who'll make some pretty stupid moves, too, but if it means the difference between being in the Daytona 500 or going home, you've got to throw caution to the wind."

AS ONE OF THE DRIVERS IN THE TOP 35 IN POINTS, YOU'VE GOT A GUARANTEED SPOT FOR THE DAYTONA 500. SINCE IT WILL BE SO INTENSE IN THE 150'S, DO YOU LAY BACK AND TRY TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE, OR DO YOU STILL RACE AS HARD AS YOU CAN TO GET THE BEST STARTING SPOT YOU CAN? "Well, you definitely don't lay back in the early going. You've got to put yourself in position to try and get a good starting spot for the 500. If it comes down to two laps to go and you're in the top 10 (in your respective Gatorade 150 race), you're going to keep your foot in it. But, if you're kind of stuck back in the pack, you're liable to see some guys who have guaranteed spots kind of drop back and watch the fireworks. If you're in the top 10, race as hard as you can. If you're back in the pack, be smart and make sure your car is in one piece for the 500."

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JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 13 CERTAINTEED MONTE CARLO SS Qualified 47th:

"We are struggling to find speed right now and don't quite understand what is going on. I thought we would go a little bit quicker than that but it just didn't happen. I know the wind is blowing, so hopefully it will blow for everyone today. The wind is about average. It has blown a lot harder here in the past just hopefully it will be consistent for everybody."

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KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 13th:

"We are and we aren't satisfied with our lap. Everybody is about two tenths slower right now so hopefully the wind we stay the same for everybody or else gets a little for worse. Overall that is a pretty strong run for our Kellogg's Carquest Monte Carlo SS guys. They did an awesome job preparing this car so they deserve to qualify up front and give themselves a good starting position for the Gatorade 150. Hopefully we can hold on to a top-10, which will give us a good sport.

"You pretty much have what you have in a race car. Obviously you can get off the launch pad better, where you take off from pit road, make sure you don't spin the tires too much. Make sure you get it up to speed as quick as you can. Shift at your shift points; hold your wheel steady. On the first lap, get to the wall as quick as you can and the second lap, get as far down as you can."

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MIKE WALLACE, NO. 9 MICCOSUKEE RESORTS MONTE CARLO - Qualified 61st:

"I guess when we went through the tech line there was something they had to change in the fuel line or something like that. Unfortunately it appears there is something wrong, but we don't know what it is. I just look at it this way: There are two spots available in the 150's and I'm going to take one of them and somebody else can have the other one."

YOU DID THAT LAST YEAR "Well, yeah, and I'm going to do it again. We're just going to have to start last in one of the races there and we have no alternative now. It's not like we have a second chance. We only have one chance. And we'll do the best we can."

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J.J. YELEY, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 17th:

ARE YOU HAPPY? "We're pretty disappointed. We lost about two-tenths from yesterday. I know that a lot of guys have slowed down right now. But we're charged up for 2007 and this is a formality today and we'll see that happens in the 150's."

WHAT DOES A DRIVER DO DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE YOU COME BACK THIS WEEK? "I'm going to go back and load up my family and we're going to DisneyWorld."

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TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 19th:

"We were hoping for a top-15 or so spot and it looks like we will be close with that effort. As long as the wind stays the same for everybody, we should be ok.

"Winning last night was a great way to start the season for our Home Depot Chevrolet team. I had the guys working pretty hard on the car so it was a good deal to be able to give them a win for all of their efforts. We learned some things that we will use on Thursday so that is always a plus.

"Not sure how it is all going to shake out on Thursday with the tires but I always look forward to the Twin 150. They are fun to race and we have had some pretty decent runs in the past.

"We feel like we have a really strong car for Sunday's race. Same deal as always, have to stay out of trouble to be there to make the run we need at the end."

THE BUD SHOOTOUT SEEMED LIKE A SINGLE FILE RACE. WILL THE DAYTONA 500 BE LIKE THAT? "Yeah, I don't know if it's going to be much different than that. It's hard to say."

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500? "That's kind of an obvious question. It's the biggest race of the year. It's one of the three biggest goals each year for us. It's one of the three biggest goals for us on the circuit. This is the only one of the three that I haven't accomplished, so that ought to give you a good idea."

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JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 10th:

"It isn't a bad qualifying effort. We were looking for some speed and it looks like we found it. The guys worked really hard on this Lowe's Monte Carlo to get us where we needed to be. We wanted a shot at the pole but it isn't going to be this time. But we will have a good car come Sunday afternoon.

"I am looking forward to relaxing for the next couple of days and enjoy some time off. It has been a very busy off-season for us, very hectic. So I am looking forward to a little down time, do a little relaxing, having a little fun. The get back and get ready to race.

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STERLING MARLIN, NO. 14 WASTE MANAGEMENT MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 8th:

"I thought we would run a little quicker than that, we were quicker in practice. The wind is blowing, slowing everybody down. Hopefully it will stay the same for everybody and stays up the whole session. I would like to thank everybody on this Waste Management Chevrolet team for all the hard work they did over the winter on our cars. They did a great job preparing this Daytona car.

"We have been the fastest of the go or go home cars, it doesn't really matter if we are 5th or 15th as long as we are the fastest of the go or go home cars."

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JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 7th:

"Our run was pretty good. Obviously we'd like to be on top of that board right now. We went a little slower than what we went yesterday, but most guys have been the same. So we just kind of watch the wind and watch the clock and see where everybody ends up."

"The guys this Dupont Chevrolet just did an awesome job. Everything I could see form inside the car, the gauges, the way it was driving, the RPMs, all the temps, all that stuff were just spot on. It couldn't have been a cleaner lap than it was.

"I am looking forward to getting out here Wednesday, we haven't run this car in the draft. I am a little disappointed with our performance last night, we know this car is a lot better. We are really looking forward to making a strong effort to try to win this Daytona 50-. I think we have the car and the team to do it. We certainly didn't showcase that last night. Looking forward to this coming week."

"I knew that those Yates cars are going to be the cars to beat. It really just depends on what happens when you go through NASCAR inspection and what this wind does, but all in all it was a great, clean lap for the DuPont Chevrolet."

IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYONE IS SLOWING DOWN A BIT "Well, it just depends on the conditions. We were expecting to pick up a little bit or at least run what we ran yesterday, but we didn't. That's always disappointing. You always want to go faster in qualifying. But if we're the only one who slows down, then it's a concern. But most guys have slowed down except for the NO. 6 (David Regan) so it is what it is."

DOES QUALIFYING MEAN MUCH UNLESS YOU'RE FIRST OR SECOND FAST? "I want to get the best starting position I can for the 150's. We learned last night that being back in the mix, it's really hard to get up there. Handling has become a huge issue now with these tires. And so anything I can do to be a spot forward in the 150's is only going to better our chances of having a good starting position for the 500."

DO YOU THINK THE 150'S ARE GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT INSANE JUST BECAUSE SO MANY ARE TRYING TO MAKE THE 500 FIELD? "You might see some guys who are definitely pushing the limit and taking big risks. That's what is going to make them interesting and exciting because you've got other guys who want to make sure they've got a strong, clean car for the 500. The 500 is what we're all here for, not to win the 150's."

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MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 22nd:

"It is good for us. We have picked up from yesterday and that is all we can ask. It is what it is, just ready to go racing Thursday in the 150. We are really ready to get going. Bono (crew chief Kevin Manion) and the whole team is geared up and ready to go. Looking forward to a great season with the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.

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WARD BURTON, NO. 4 STATE WATER HEATERS MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 32nd:

"That sure isn't what we need. We are going to have to race our way in Thursday so it doesn't really matter where we qualified. If we don't get the car to handle well, we aren't going to get one of those spots. We just have to go to work and try to get the car to handle well to put it up front on Thursday.

"I am feeling great about being back here at Daytona. It feels about as natural as walking down this pit road. Just want to thank everyone at State Water Heaters and everybody at Morgan-McClure has done to get us here."

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CASEY MEARS, NO. 25 NATIONAL GUARD/GMAC MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 12th:

"We are very happy with that effort for our first time out to qualify as a team. I am looking forward to getting out in the draft. It has been kind of a long week being away from drafting practice so I am looking forward to drafting practice and play around in the draft.

"Everything is going good so far with my new team. There are a lot of good guys here with this National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet team. It has been pretty comfortable. Everything is going really well. I am just ready to go racing."

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JOHNNY SAUTER, NO. 70 YELLOW TRANSPORTATION MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 9th:

"Couldn't be happier with Team Yellow. This has been a work in progress. They started building this car in August. They worked really hard over the off-season. Got to thank Hendrick Motorsports for all the help they have given us. So far so good, I just want to be one of those cars that gets locked in today. That would be a huge accomplishment."

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DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 23rd:

"Not as good of a lap as we wanted but we can't change that. We had a great car practice. We have made a lot of improvements even though we didn't qualify where we wanted. The DEI engine department has done a great job of improving the power of these cars, thank you guys. We will figure it out. We just didn't do something right, we will have to figure it out.

"We are getting kind of used to qualifying like this here. The motors are better and we thought we would be able to improve. It is no big deal; we will be fine. Back there with my teammates so we will be ok."

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JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 52nd:

"Certainly not the lap we were looking for. We kind of knew coming down here that we weren't going to have much speed. We didn't think it was going to be that bad, but we knew our speed would be low. So we will work really hard to make this Cingular Chevrolet drive really well in the race and I think that is going to be really important. If it drives, we will be fine. We will just have to see what happens.

"We were slow here in testing and we figured we will be slow here in qualifying. We aren't getting our heads down. It is a long week and we will go get them."

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TONY RAINES, NO. 96 DLP HDTV MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 36th:

"We'd have liked to have qualified better, obviously. We think we've got a pretty good drafting car, so we'll see what happens during practice on Wednesday and then the duels on Thursday. We drew last, so we weren't sure if the weather was going to affect the run or not. I don't think it did either way. We'll take a couple of days off and get back at it on Wednesday."

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JAMES HYLTON, NO. 58 RETIREMENT LIVING TV MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 60th:

"I am a little bit of a rookie again - a little bit rusty but it's coming back. That was great. It felt real good."

YOU'LL HAVE TO RACE YOUR WAY INTO THE 500 NOW: "We kind of figured that because we were struggling in our last practice yesterday. The car is not quite as good as it was when we tested but we'll race our way in."

WHAT WERE YOU HOPING FOR TODAY?" These cars are so temperamental that when we got here and tested, everything was great but then you put in a different engine or a different gear and it changes things. We're just glad the car is driving excellent; I think it will be a real good draft car. We'll just try to make the best of it."

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CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 41st:

"We struggled a bit in qualifying but I think it will be just fine in race trim. That's all I'm worried about. That's all that matters here. They can sit on the front row here but it doesn't matter."

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MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 35th:

"I'm just thrilled to be a part of this U.S. Army team. We have a great race team and I just want to make sure that these guys keep their chin up because we'll make it all back on Thursday, I guarantee it. Our car was spectacular in the Budweiser Shootout.

When we get to racing in the daytime this track gets slick; if there's any chance that we might be able to improve on our handling from last night we'll be great.

"Qualifying doesn't mean a whole lot unless you are sitting on the front row or you're one of the go-homers and we're neither of those.

"I'd take my Budweiser Shootout car and start dead last in the 500 and be happy and never turn another lap between now and then. Because all this other stuff in between is just filler. The 500 is all I care about and I had a great-handling car. This car in single-car runs is quite a bit better than that car so I have every reason to believe that we've got a great shot at the Daytona 500. I just want these guys to keep these guys to keep their chin up. The race doesn't start until Sunday and starting spots don't mean much. But I'll bet we get us a good one come this Thursday."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers David Ragan
Teams Hendrick Motorsports