Daytona Saturday Chevy Notes and Quotes

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Wallace is part of the Winston No Bull 5 event in the Daytona 500. A Daytona 500 victory would give Wallace a $1 million Winston No Bull 5 Bonus for himself and his fan, Betty ...

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

NOTE: Wallace is part of the Winston No Bull 5 event in the Daytona 500. A Daytona 500 victory would give Wallace a $1 million Winston No Bull 5 Bonus for himself and his fan, Betty Blackmon of Dillon, S.C.

"We're going to go to victory lane together," Wallace said. "Sometimes you face odds you don't want to face, but the one reason we're here is because we ran so strong last year with a fifth at Talladega. We ran 15th in the Pepsi 400 down here. We're up against a couple of good cars in the 88 and 28, but you never know what's going to happen. It's a 500-mile endurance race and besides having to have a lot of speed, pit stops have to go good and I've seen Earnhardt lead this thing all day long and then have a flat tire at the end. We've just got to capitalize on everybody else's mistakes and try to approach it like a card game instead of having the strongest car.

"I love South Carolina because that's where my very first sponsor ever came from which was Cox Tree and Lumber. They're from Orangeburg, S.C. They've got one of their plants in Sumter, so I'm very familiar with the state of South Carolina. That's a pretty big load to have on my shoulders, the whole state of South Carolina, but maybe we can buy it for a million dollars. I think it would cost a heck of a lot more than that, but we might be able to buy a small county or a trailer park or something. I'm just excited to get this opportunity for Betty (Blackmon). We're up against a pretty tough battle with those Yates cars up front, but at least we get a chance. There's that movie, "On Any Sunday" so we'll see what happens on Sunday evening.

"The No Bull is an elite event and the only way you can get in it is to finish in the top five in select events. We did it at Talladega. It's an honor just to be in the thing. We're facing an uphill battle with those Yates cars in the thing, but we'll approach it like a card game and try to capitalize on either pit stops or a draft that favors getting by them. It's been a long week, and we've had a long time to work on our cars. Sunday is a different day and we're looking forward to it.

"It hasn't had the speed all week long. After we ran 50 straight laps and ran as bad as we did in the 125s, Jimmy Elledge, my crew chief, made a lot of changes and it seemed to pick the car up a whole bunch. We're handling well right now. We're a longshot, that's for sure. I know that, but I'd rather have some type of shot than no shot. If I'm not in the No Bull, then I'm not even a shot, so I'd rather be a longshot.

"You just want to put on a good show for her (Betty Blackmon). You want to give her some type of excitement throughout the day and get up there and wrestle around with the leaders and do something for her. You don't want to run in the back all day or run mid-pack. There's some awfully tough cars for this No Bull. You've got the front row in the No Bull between Jarrett and Rudd, so it's going to be tough. We'll give it our best shot.

"Any driver is going to do what they've got to do to win the Daytona 500, but I've been running this Winston Cup Series long enough now to realize it pays as many points next week as it does for the Daytona 500. You're going to take your chance, but you don't want to wreck doing it. To win the Daytona 500, I'd run down in the grass if I had to. Whatever it takes to win it on the last lap, we're going to do it."

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"The biggest pressure there is is trying to make the field. You try to set yourself up for emergencies. When we took our provisional to get in the race, all the boys held their heads high because I told them the only reason we had the provisional to get in was because of how high we finished in the points last season. We took the third provisional. Our team is really good on dwelling on all the positives. They've got those seven provisionals to fill the field, and I've seen a lot of good race car drivers take 'em down here and come on to finish in the top five. The car seems to be running real well right now. It needs a little more speed, but Jimmy has it handling a lot better, and we're going to do the best we can.

"I was convinced from Andy Petree Racing's latest success in qualifying. I didn't realize how far we were off at that time. Exclude Mike Skinner, I didn't realize the best Chevy was going to qualify 16th. If I had known that, I would have been nervous a month and a half. If all I can do is worry, that'll tear you apart. I worry internally, that's for sure.

"I'm so ready to get to Rockingham, you can't believe it. I love Daytona, but I'd love it a lot better if they made it a five-day week. I'll bet Dale Jarrett is even ready to go home. It's been a long two weeks. We had a one-hour practice yesterday, and I didn't expect the car to run as well as it did. When we first went out, it didn't run real well. Jimmy came in and took 15 minutes and made some changes, and I think we're at a point right now where we can get in there and hang on and get in position.

"If it was a 125-mile race, I would be concerned about what I could get done, but an endurance race like the 500, the biggest thing is just to stay in the draft and pull your way up. You get out of the draft by mistake and they've lapped you. That's kind of embarrassing and it'll be a long day. The biggest thing here is to run all 500 miles and miss the big wreck. There's so many new scenarios with the shock package and the bodies and things like that.

You're just hoping when the sun sets here Sunday we've positioned ourselves for a good run.

"The Bud Shootout and 125s are sprint races. When you look at the Daytona 500, you're looking at completely different scenario. You really need a good fast race car to stay up front, but you're looking at more of an endurance race. So many things can go wrong, whether it's a pit stop or a flat tire or the equipment gets worn down toward the end. I wouldn't say it's so much Dale Jarrett's race to lose. I won't put that kind of pressure on him. I've seen Dale Earnhardt lead this thing all day long and have a flat at the end. I'd say Jarrett and Ricky Rudd could capitalize as good as anybody.

"Rusty (Wallace) is on his own little horse over there. He's in a different camp. He's in the Ford camp and I'm in the Chevy camp. We haven't talked much at all. I think we're all waiting for Sunday night. There's a lot of mystique to this race and a lot of pressure we put on ourselves, not just to have a good race but to get everything rolling and going.

"I was thrilled for Mike Wallace last night. I went to victory lane to congratulate him. Mike won an ARCA race down here a while back and I was in my rental car going to eat. I wanted to make sure I was in victory lane for him this time. Mike is a great race car driver who hasn't had the opportunity to get in a good Cup car. He's in a good truck. He had a run that was about a 2,000 mph run. He was headed straight for the wall. He was up on the high side, and he was going to do whatever it took to win."

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"I think everybody was more worried in the Twins about bringing their cars home. The Bud Shootout, everybody was going for broke. The 125s, everybody knew if they wrecked, the scenario was bad. If you got in a fender bender or wrecked, you might not be in the Daytona 500. There were no alternatives.

"I ran my first Daytona 500 in '93. I didn't run Winston Cup again until 1995 or '96. I've only been in three Daytona 500s. I went back to the Busch Series in '94. The biggest thing is since I've joined a professional team like Andy Petree's, we've been in the Daytona 500 both times. We're excited about that.

"Joe Nemechek (APR teammate) has shown a lot of promise. He's been willing to work with me in practice. I'll definitely work with him. I think his car is a little faster than mine. I'll have to have somebody behind me to help him a little bit. It's not so much the Fords, bit's the Yates Fords. Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of fast Fords out there, especially down the straightaways, but we're not going to cry over spilt milk. The timing was all wrong for our new car. We all know that. NASCAR is going to make it right. We'll get the front end figured out, and the car will be competitive.

"It's going to be hard to overcome. You're going to see a lot of segregated drafts on Sunday. You're not going to see one big old hairy draft. You're going to see three or four different drafts. I didn't really realize in my 125 that they had a three-car breakaway like they did. The three Fords of Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett and Rusty. It was hard to believe that Earnhardt and those guys were over a straightaway behind. That's tells you what kind of race you're going to see on Sunday.

"I think I've got more butterflies for the Busch race than I do for the Daytona 500. We've got a lot of people who don't know what's going to happen. It seems like some of the biggest wrecks happen at the lead. The thing about Daytona, it's never anybody's fault. You can say what triggered it, but sometimes you're going so fast the air gets your car out of shape and it slides you across the track. We've got through Speedweeks pretty good until the truck race, and that was just the guys running so hard through the tri-oval. It's been a pretty darn good week besides Geoffrey Bodine's wreck."

ANDY PETREE (Car owner Andy Petree Racing Monte Carlos)

"You've got to think we're a longshot for sure. We were a longshot to get in it, too. Maybe lightning will strike twice. That's the nature of this kind of racing. Anything unexpected can happen. The car is running pretty decent. We've worked on it trying to get it right. It's a lot better than it was.

"It will be hard for Nemechek and Wallace to get hooked up early, but that's the nature of this racing. Things get swapped around pretty quick. We're counting on getting our car driving a lot better. You can't count on unexpected things to happen. The only thing we can control is making that car drive as good as it can.

"I'm the crew chief for the 33 team this year. I'm going to evaluate that after a few races. Our organization is so big right now that I may not be the crew chief long term. I might not do it all season. If I find the right guy, things might change."

ANDY PETREE (Car owner Andy Petree Racing Monte Carlos)

"This is what it's all about. You're off for months and all you're doing is working, working, working for one race. It's a big deal. You can't hardly put any more pressure on yourself than what we do. This is such an ultra-competitive environment. You're doing all you can do and there's no more than 100 percent that you can give. If it comes right down to the end and you do have a shot, then the pressure is there.

"You have to really get prepared for the amount of practice you get. One of the biggest problems that has been overlooked is the tire. The tire is not as good as it was. They brought a new tire here for July and everybody had handling problems here at night. They changed the tire compound and construction for the July race and ever since they've done that these cars have not driven well. A lot of people are blaming the way the cars are driving on shocks and new bodies and Fords and Chevy. There is a lot to be said for that, but one of the biggest problems is they changed that tire. Everybody noticed it in July. It wasn't a typical restrictor-plate race because all the cars got spread out.

"You're going to see a lot of green-flag racing Sunday, and you're going to see a lot of small packs. You're not going to see a big pack. It's just not going to be as good or a race. Thursday was terrible. It was the worst racing I've ever seen here.

"I'd like to see Kenny Wallace get a top 15 finish and basically the same thing for the 33. I'm crew chief on the 33 and I'm shooting a little higher than that. A top five finish would be great. If you could go out of here and not feel like you're a failure or disaster... Our goal is to come down here and win the race. With what's going on and the way the cars are driving, if we could come out of here with some decent finishes and go racing, I'd feel pretty good about it. I don't know what to think about Rockingham. We might go to Rockingham and it might be worse as far as the Ford and Chevy thing."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett , Mike Skinner , Geoffrey Bodine , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Mike Wallace , Andy Petree