KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Wells Fargo Financial Dodge Charger) NOTE: Petty posted the third fastest speed in the morning practice session with a lap of 187.134 mph. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS RIGHT NOW? "I'm happy, not surprised. I think the ...
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Wells Fargo Financial Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Petty posted the third fastest speed in the morning practice session with a lap of 187.134 mph.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS RIGHT NOW? "I'm happy, not surprised. I think the combination of where we were and with Paul Andrews sitting down and the engineering department sitting down, laying out where we were to Robbie (Loomis) and Todd (Parrott) so they could see how we got to where we're at and then them making suggestions. All of a sudden it was like, 'yeah, we see that.' We can get a little bit better here. Our cars got a lot better and Ray's engines are really, really good. We ran good down here last year, but not this good. Our stuff qualified good, but it didn't race good. This car should qualify good and race good. When we were down here testing, it drafted really good. The other car would not draft. It would run faster almost by itself than it would in the draft, so we struggled with that, but this car is a better all-around car. Talking to Robbie and Todd and with some of the stuff Bobby (Labonte) brought to the table, obviously Gibbs and Yates and Hendrick. They said, that's a qualifying car and that's a race car, this is what the difference is and this is how you make it a better all-around car."
THIS SPEED DIDN'T SURPRISE YOU AT ALL? "No, because we had a good test down here. This is just one race. This is car and engine and not driver and all that stuff. This is all team. I am pleasantly surprised that the teams have gelled like they have to be able to come down here and have two cars that are as competitive as they are right now. I'm pleased with that."
ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH TO WIN THE POLE? "That's a hard question. These guys pull stuff out of the back of the truck and run three-quarters of a second faster than they've ever run. We're just going to be good, and that's how it is. A pole shot? That's complicated. It depends on weather and how bad everybody else does their stuff and how bad you do your stuff. I'm not really concerned about that. I'm just pleased to be as competitive as it is. Hopefully we've got a little bit more. In the past we'd come down here and that's pretty much all we've got, but we've gone out twice and both cars picked up from the first time to the second time. I'm pleased with that, so hopefully we've got a little bit more."
IT LOOKS LIKE BOBBY LABONTE IS RIGHT THERE WITH YOU "Yeah, he's good, too. We were really pleased when he went right off the bat, and each time he's gone out he's gotten better and better. The teams are working totally together, and I'm not surprised at all with that. That's the way it's supposed to work."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Labonte posted the ninth fastest lap in the morning session at 186.517 mph.
"That's better. Todd Parrott took this car back after the test and the guys in the fab shop worked on it. It's better. It's not tomorrow. That will be a better indication of what we have, but today it's OK. I'm doing all I can do. I'm not sure if we've got anything left or not. After Kyle's test here I was more optimistic. They cut our car up some and made it better. If we can be in the top 10 tomorrow, that would be good."
ROBBIE LOOMIS (Petty Enterprises Vice President of Racing Operations)
"We've got a lot of work left to do. This is just another step toward what we want to do at Petty Enterprises. We're glad to have the Dodges up there near the top, but we're a long way off from next Sunday. We weren't surprised with the way we practiced this morning. We had a great test with Kyle's car down here in the second test. The guys in the Evernham engine shop have done a great job, and the guys in our fab shop did a great job. They've been working around the clock, seven days a week. We have so much work to do. We keep trying to do it every day to keep getting better and better."
WHAT'S LEFT TO DO BEFORE THE DAYTONA 500? "We've got a ton of work to do. We've got qualifying tomorrow and we've got to make sure we get the car driving good for next Sunday. We want to leave this baby in Daytona USA. It would mean a lot to see our cars on the front row, but it wouldn't mean as much as winning the race. It would be a great start to sit on the front row, but it's more about where you finish than where you start. The most important thing is to get it ready for the race and push it over there to Daytona USA."
DO YOU HAVE A SHOT AT THE POLE? "It looks like Harvick and his guys have it figured out. Jeff and the Hendrick group are strong. I thought we were going to sit on the pole last year and I think we qualified third. If I've got to pick, I'd rather roll it into Daytona USA."
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