Daytona Twin 125s: Pontiac race two notes

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (5th): "It wasn't too bad. We just tried to figure out what our car is going to do. I think we figured out some stuff. The guys did a good job preparing the car. We just kind of hung...

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (5th):
"It wasn't too bad. We just tried to figure out what our car is going to do. I think we figured out some stuff. The guys did a good job preparing the car. We just kind of hung out most of the time there. We got up there a little bit, got a little further back, got a break there at the end and got up to fifth."

WHAT KIND OF RACE WILL WE SEE ON SUNDAY?
"I don't know. This, today, is just an over-exaggerated two laps of qualifying because today is just about getting you a starting spot for the race. Back in the back, I would think that would be more of an excitement level than up front."

DID YOU LEARN THE KIND OF THINGS TODAY THAT WILL HELP YOU CONTEND FOR THE WIN ON SUNDAY?
"I think so. I think we hopefully learned a little bit. We've got a pretty good race car. We didn't want to do anything to it here today. Again, this is just kind of a practice day for us, I suppose, in a lot of ways, so we didn't want to tear anything up. But, I think we learned something."

IF YOU GET OUT OF THE DRAFT, ARE YOU FINISHED?
"Your car has to be handling pretty good at the same time. It just depends. You've got to get in the right place at the right time. It's definitely more important to be in the draft than it was. Last year, you could lose it and gain it back."

STACY COMPTON, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (12th):
ON RACING HIS WAY INTO THE DAYTONA 500
"It's going to be good to be here on Sunday. I'm awfully proud of the guys on this Conseco Pontiac. They worked awful hard. We unloaded and hadn't that good since we unloaded, but they just kept digging. They kept working harder and harder and harder, and the next thing you know, we had a race car."

HOW DOES IT CHANGE YOUR MINDSET IN A '125' WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT TO A TRANSFER POSITION?
"I think sometimes it's tougher than winning a race because you know that if you don't finish 15th, you're going home. We knew that going in and we knew that with five laps and we were running 16th. We were able to work it out. We got with a couple of good cars. Rusty [Wallace] gave me some help from behind and pushed me up through there. "We just couldn't go anywhere. We had a pretty decent race car, but we just couldn't go anywhere. Finally, we got a little bit of an opening, got in it and came away with enough to get us in the show."

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"Yesterday morning I wasn't real happy with this Home Depot Pontiac, but late in the session we got our car back. I told Greg Zipadelli, my crew chief, just now that we've got our race car back. We've got something for them on Sunday. We've got a good car.

"I'll tell you what, though - Michael Waltrip, he did a great job today, man. That car got real wide, but he did a great job all day. He's got a really good car, too. There are a good 12 or 14 or 16 cars that are really in contention to with this thing on Sunday."

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN FROM SECOND OR THIRD PLACE ON THE LAST LAP ON SUNDAY?
"We'll just do the best we can. We'll try more in practice. I had some good help there with Jerry Nadeau and had a real good partner with Kevin Harvick, while he was there. The old teammate shuffled us out once."

HOW WAS THE RACE?
"I thought it was fine. I don't think there were any earth-shattering revelations that happened today. But I think we proved in the second race that you can race guys and we can put on a pretty good race, I think, especially Sunday. You get both of these two groups together and get that many good cars, you're not going to have what we had in the first race, I don't believe."

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET BACK TO THE FRONT AFTER YOU GET SHUFFLED OUT?) "If I knew the exact answer I would have gotten to the front. But, it was kind of along the lines of what we were doing, I guess. You've just got to try to get a big run on a guy. There are going to be a lot of good cars on Sunday. I think everybody is going to blow out of proportion the first race versus the second race, but you've got to keep in mind that you've got half the field and half the field. Now you get twice as many cars, you're going to have twice as many good cars up front. You're not going to get in a situation where you can't make moves. Having more good cars means there are going to be more opportunities to pass, so I think that is going to be the key to getting by - just having more good, fast cars up front there to help."

DID YOU GAIN SOME CONFIDENCE TODAY?
I felt good just because of the way yesterday morning was. We had the two 45-minute sessions yesterday. Our car drove good, but it just didn't have the speed I was looking for in the morning. With about 20 minutes left in the last session yesterday, we made a change that got some of that speed back, then made another change that got it there again.

"It (being able to get a nose out in front of Michael Waltrip
probably does give us a lot of confidence. I ran behind Michael behind yesterday at the end of the session and was able to close in a little bit on him and was able to close in even harder today. We, at least, feel like we've got a direction on something that is going to help gain some speed and maybe help us get that extra spot."

ON THE NEAR INCIDENT WITH JEREMY MAYFIELD NEAR THE END OF THE RACE
"I had to use a different part of the racetrack than I've used in practice and I'm glad it was paved."

WOULD YOU HAVE DRIVEN ANY DIFFERENT TODAY IF IT HAD BEEN THE '500?'
"No. I wanted to win this race just as bad as I want to win on Sunday. I wouldn't have driven any different."

DO YOU STILL THINK IT'S POSSIBLE TO GET AROUND THE LEADER?
"I think it can be done, to be honest. What I'm concerned about is that the media is going to portray this Sunday as a race where you can't pass the leader. I don't think that is going to happen at all. You've got to keep in mind that we split the whole field up in two groups today. You had half the good cars in the first group and half the good cars in the second race. Now, we're going to have twice as many cars as what we had. You're going to more cars up front that are going to be able to help you get a run by being behind you. I think it's going to keep the race pretty exciting on Sunday. And I might be wrong. If I could to that I'd be a bookie in Las Vegas making millions of dollars telling everybody who is going to win all these Winston Cup races and the championship each year. But, I honestly, in my heart, think it is going to be a pretty good race Sunday. I think there is going to be two-wide racing the majority of the day and if guys get into handling problems, that might separate the field a little bit. But, I thought our race was a pretty good race, to be honest - at least from where I was at. I never felt too comfortable sitting where I was at thinking that, 'Well, we're just going to sit here and ride and finish second behind Michael. It ended up that way, but I never felt like we were just going to ride there and finish that way. I knew it was going to get interesting before it was all said and done."

HOW DID YOU MAKE THE CLIMB BACK FROM 10TH TO GET TO SECOND AT THE END?)
"We just tried to get runs. When we started falling back, the biggest thing was just trying to find a hole to get back in to make sure that we didn't slide back any further. Then, once we got in a hole we started getting some pretty big runs on guys and were able to pick them off one at a time like we did in the 'Shootout.' The same thing happened in the 'Shootout.' We started up front, got shuffled back and drove back to the front. You can pass. It can be done out there. You've just got to: 'A,' know what to do, and 'B,' have some people behind you that can help you get where you want to be."

-dodge-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Jerry Nadeau