Dale Jr. highest chevy qualifier at Brickyard, in third. DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (third): "The car wasn't as comfortable as it was yesterday. The car's really looser; I really couldn't find exactly what I...
Dale Jr. highest chevy qualifier at Brickyard, in third.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (third):
"The car wasn't as comfortable as it was yesterday. The car's really looser; I really couldn't find exactly what I wanted through the corner. I didn't think it was good as it was. Pretty happy about the time. If the car just would have been under me a little bit better we might've been able to be a little faster. Bill Elliott's kind of been setting the standard lately; we're only a tenth off his time; it should be a pretty good starting spot for tomorrow."
HOW OUT OF CONTROL WAS IT? "It was right in the middle there"
"I think the guys working on the cars should be real satisfied. It's a little faster than we practiced. I knew Bill (Elliott, on the pole at the time) was going to be real tough. Our early draw helped us out, to get a good lap in. We should be in the top five. It's a good starting spot, (hopefully) we can stay up front all day Sunday. It's great to be back in Indy."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (fourth):
HOW DO YOU FEEL? "To be honest with you, I think probably the left ankle being sore is a good thing here because you don't use the brake very much. I'm pleased. We got in the show. That was our big concern. Last year we had a shot at the pole and I'll be honest I overdrove the car; I was a little disappointed. This time to come back and set a good solid time, pick up basically six 10ths of a second over what we did yesterday, I'm very happy."
STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (sixth):
"I'm doing great; I just appreciate all the race fans for their concern. We're very fortunate that the Pennzoil Chevrolet was a safe race car, we take extra measures to make sure the cockpit is safe. To survive a violent crash like that is a credit to NASCAR and all the guys on the Pennzoil team to make sure it's a safe car. Again, I want to thank all the race fans 'cause they've been listening on the radio, writing into the fan club just to make sure I'm OK, so I'm doing fine. Just some nicks and bruises, so I'm doing really good."
ANYTHING HURT TODAY? "No, Man, it feels good today. All the pain I had just went away. We qualified and qualified good and had a good lap and I'm just thankful that I didn't get hurt so I could come here to the Brickyard."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN? "I feel really good. We put a lot of effort into coming here and we felt at Pocono last week that we turned a corner. We just hoped we could bring a good car here and qualify good and we backed that up. My teammate Dale Jr., he qualified good, and Michael's (Waltrip) got a really good race, so hopefully we can put them all up in the front."
DRIVING THIS RACE TRACK; DIFFERENT STYLE? "It seems (in) qualifying you're wide open and the Pennzoil Chevrolet was a good race car. It was a little bit loose; I was wiggling it in the back a little bit; I came up off 4 and kinda had to check up because I was a little bit loose and lost a little bit of time. I thought right after that point we had a really good lap going and I was coming down the front before we crossed the start-finish line and (I was thinking),'Like, Man, I gave up time coming off of 4 and crossed the finish line and Paul (Andrews, crew chief) just said, 'good lap.' And he said, 'uh, really good lap.' We knew we had a good lap and went through 1 and the tires were all hot, didn't get through 1 like we did in the first lap, and we just gave it up. Water temperature was kind of hot. We set the car up to go all-out on that first lap, and that's what we did."
HOW ABOUT THIS TRACK? "This track is awesome. You can tell by all the race fans how awesome it really is. Indy is the hot bed of auto racing and growing up with NASCAR you thought you'd never get a chance to come here and race, and now here we are -- stock cars at the Brickyard 400 and it's just nice for us to bring our Pennzoil Chevrolet here and run good."
"We thought we had a good car yesterday. Paul Andrews (crew chief) is so good. We turned a time that was decent yesterday - I think it was 20th or 21st and Paul (Andrews, crew chief) thought that was a good time for yesterday. We knew the guys in the shop and I had a little bit more and we showed it today."
HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO GETTING THINGS LOCKED UP FOR NEXT YEAR? "We're getting closer. We're not totally locked in yet but Ty Norris is doing a good job of making sure that this team runs good and stays together. We feel we turned a corner in Pocono with our set-ups and stuff. We just need to run good and that's the main goal for myself. When we can do that, I don't think we should talk about contract negotiations."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (29th):
"We didn't get a lot of practice yesterday. Second run out we blew a motor, something happened to it; it started blowing a lot of oil out. These guys did a great job, we got back out right at the end of practice just to see what happened to our car. We tested here a couple of weeks ago; I think everybody was prepared. We still didn't run as fast as we tested, and that kind of concerned me; it was a little bit hotter today, probably. Them guys are running 49.40s, we ought to be able to run down there with them too. So I'm a little concerned about that. Even though we (qualified) we blowed up, so we still have to start in the back, but that should give us a little better pit selection."
ON DIFFERENT DRIVING STYLE AT THIS TRACK: "It's pretty awesome to be able to come here. As a young boy in Kentucky watching the Indy 500 forever and to be able to participate in the Winston Cup Series is pretty awesome. It's a unique race track and you've got to get around every corner. There's four corners instead of two, basically. The better you get through 2 and get through 4 the faster you're going to run down the straightaway. So just concern yourself with that and that's where you're going to do all your passing up off the corner and hope this AOL car will be able to turn under them when I go by them."
RICHARD CHILDRESS, TEAM OWNER (NO. 30, NO. 31, and NO. 29 - qualified seventh):
ON ALL TEAM CARS SOLIDLY IN: "We'd like to have our 30 car going a little better right now. We're trying to figure out what we've got to do to get it going, but the other two are going to race real good; we feel we're going to race real well."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHIA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (qualified 10th): "Not a bad run. I gave a little bit of speed up in turn two and it kind of hurt the backstretch a little bit. But it wasn't a bad run at all. I think it's going to be a pretty good spot and that Sunday will be a pretty good day for us."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (14th):
WITH THAT CHEER YOU'D THINK YOU'D WON THE POLE:
"Well, I would've thought we would've won the pole too, but the weather made it unfair. I'm mad, but I'll get over it."
JUST TOO HOT LATER IN THE DAY? "Yeah, anybody could have seen that that was going to be the case. I'd like to have been in on those meetings when they said we'll just have it at 10 in the morning. What kind of sense does that make?"
ESPECIALLY BECAUSE YOU PRACTICED IN THE AFTERNOON YESTERDAY? "No, especially because it's about 15-20 degrees cooler at 10 than it is at 1 o'clock. It just gets hotter. You know you're up against that. I guess that if I had drawn earlier I wouldn't be complaining, so I just like for it to be fair."
DO YOU LIKE YOUR CAR FOR TOMORROW? "Yeah, it will be fair tomorrow; we all race at the same time. So, hopefully we can win. We'll take the green together and we'll take the checkered together, tomorrow will be a better judgment on who's got the fastest car. It doesn't make any sense, but they've (NASCAR) done a pretty good job of guiding this big old ship down the ocean for 50 years or so; I guess they had a better idea than I that I couldn't see."
A DECENT WEEKEND FOR DEI? "DEI's definitely got some good handling cars; that will be really important tomorrow. I think I have the best starting average in Winston Cup racing in 2002, but I don't have the best finishing average, and that's more important."
IS THE TRACK SLIPPERY? "It's real slippery. I never felt my car stick to anything. Nevertheless, we got us a decent time in, and shoot, 15th place is a good place to start."