JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS: ON HIS LAP: "It was a good lap for us. I was tight in some areas and loose in some areas. I think I left a little bit out there, but I ran as hard as I thought I could run and come back. I ...
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS:
ON HIS LAP: "It was a good lap for us. I was tight in some areas and loose in some areas. I think I left a little bit out there, but I ran as hard as I thought I could run and come back. I thought I got all of it, but I was a little bit conservative in a few places that if somebody has a little more confidence, they might be able to do better than that. But it was a good lap for us. Worst case scenario that should be a good qualifying spot."
AFTER WINNING THE POLE: HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS TO WIN A POLE AT THE BRICKYARD? "It's pretty special. Obviously we got a lot of benefit from going out early. But we knew we had a pretty good car because we only made a few little adjustments to it. It's real rewarding to sit on any pole, but to sit on the pole here means a great deal. And for Clint Bowyer to be on the outside pole is really special."
ON WINNING BOTH THE DAYTONA 500 POLE AND THE BRICKYARD 400 POLE THIS YEAR: "Qualifying has gone well for us this year. Winning both (poles) is really something special for me. In fact, I think I've gotten more poles this season than I have in my entire career. Overall, our average start has been really good. We'll just keep putting ourselves in position and keep working and hopefully good things will happen."
HOW WAS THE CAR IN TESTING AND IN RACE TRIM? "It was pretty good in testing. We worked yesterday in first practice and we weren't near good enough in race trim. We've made a lot of changes going and hopefully we made the right changes. We weren't as good as we needed to be yesterday by any means."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS:
HAS THE HARD WORK ONLY BEGUN TODAY? "Nah, we're in good shape."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE LAP? "No, I'm not happy with the lap. But it'll make it more fun on Sunday because we'll be able to pass a lot of cars. That'll make it fun in itself."
DOES QUALIFYING REALLY MEAN MUCH? "Yeah, it's track position and pit selection. It's not going to be a very good starting spot by any means, and it's probably not going to be a very good pit selection. But we have nice, huge pit boxes here at Indy, so from that standpoint, it won't be so terrible."
WHY DID YOU GO ONLY ONE LAP INSTEAD OF TWO? "It won't go two laps without getting too hot. So you put enough tape on it to make one lap to try to get one really good lap instead of two mediocre laps. That's why everybody just runs one lap."
NOT THE BEST RUN FOR YOU TODAY "Yeah, it was a little too tight. Well, it was way too tight. We'll be all right for tomorrow. We had a car that started off really loose yesterday, which is a great sign in race trim. I'm not too worried about the qualifying run; it just means we'll have to pass a lot of cars; which makes it fun. We started 22nd last year and worked our way up there with no problem. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
WELCOME BACK TO INDIANA.AND THE BRICKYARD..YOU'RE HOME "Yeah, I could have gotten up and driven here this morning and beat the traffic still, so it's nice to be running in our backyard at a place that means so much to me. So, this is my biggest weekend of the year for sure."
HOW MUCH DOES A POOR PIT SELECTION HURT YOU HERE? "It's shouldn't. The pit boxes are really big here, so it shouldn't be an issue at all."
DO FEEL PRESSURE BECAUSE YOU'RE HERE OR DO YOU FEEL LAID BACK? "No, this is a much more laid back atmosphere than anything we've had in the past here, so it's definitely made it a lot more fun this year."
ON THE TIRES IF IT RAINS SATURDAY NIGHT "It shouldn't be a big deal. Even if it does, NASCAR will have a mandatory caution that will give everybody a chance to make 10 laps in that first run and then go ahead and have a caution where we can get fresh tires and not have to worry about any problems. NASCAR is a pretty smart group. They'll make sure we're all safe."
ON THE TRACK CONDITIONS "The track has more grip this morning. That's why the speeds are up. We missed the set-up today."
ON THE RACE STRATEGY OF TAKING HIS TIME WORKING THROUGH THE FIELD "The strategy is going to be exactly the same. That's exactly the way we should do it every week. Unfortunately I don't do it every week quite that good. But this race is one where I've got two other guys on the radio that will help me stay focused and patient all day too.
"I'm confident. I'm not going to say we can go out and win the race, but I know we're going to finish a lot better than where we're going to start tomorrow.
WHAT WILL YOU DO DURING PRACTICE TODAY? "We got some ideas from yesterday. The first session all we did was work on race set-up. Everybody sat down last night and took some time where we're not pressured in an hour trying to figure out exactly what we're going to do. So now we can kind of take a break and get everything ready for this afternoon now."
TONY RAINES, NO. 96 DLP HDTV MONTE CARLO SS:
"I don't know how it will stack up. We picked up. I think a lot of guys will. We have to gauge it off of is we were 32nd in practice, and we can be 25th or 22nd or better in qualifying, that will just show we've improved, and that's what we're working on right now."
"Well, as big as this track is and the car gets maxed on speed and the engine won't take the heat on a second lap. Even there, at that end of that first lap, it was getting hot. There is just no way. If you try to make two laps, you'd sacrifice a lot of speed. So it's just one and done as they say and if you mess us one corner here, it kills you. I got three out of four pretty good. The last corner was a little rough, but it was a good pick up for us. That will put us in the top 25 or 20 maybe."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS:
ON HIS LAP "It was really good. I felt like the first three corners were right on pace to be on top of the board. And then getting into Turn 4, I got a little tight and I know I lost some time off of Turns 3 and 4 and off of Turn 4. I knew it was going to hurt the lap. I know we lost some time there. But I'm very proud of the team. We didn't have the best race practice. And then in qualifying trim, we picked up some speed today. Hopefully that'll be a top 10 starting spot and we can be comfortable with our pit stall selection. The track's going to get hotter and it's going to be tough for guys to go fast so now we'll just focus on race trim. Now, the first part of the weekend is over with."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLOS SS:
"We ran what we did in practice. The car drives good. I ain't much of a qualifier anyway, so."
THIS IS A PLACE YOU CAN WIN FROM THE BACK "Yeah, I ain't really worried about that. We got a long race. We'll be fine. We got a pretty good car and we tested really good. The car drives good. I don't know. I ain't a good qualifier - especially here for some reason. The car's got a lot more speed in it and I'll be fine when we get to racing."
IS THIS RACE A TURNING POINT IN THE RACE TO THE CHASE? "Yeah, this one seems to take the points deal and turn it around. It's a big race. You try to come in here and get a good finish, just like everywhere else, but it seems like the size of this whole place and this whole spectacle at Indy will get under your skin or get in your head and make you do some crazy thing out of it."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS:
"We drew a late number so obviously that handicaps you a little bit going in. But we struggled yesterday and needed to make some changes and some gains and I feel like we definitely went in the right direction. So this is better than the last couple of years, actually.
"Anything can happen here at Indianapolis. We've shown that in the past. We've won races here when we weren't a factor throughout most of the race. So I think this is a race track where you have to never give up on throughout the whole race and I think we're in a good position, but we're not in the best position we need to be at right now and we'll find out more this afternoon."
HOW DO YOU PUT YOUR DRAW INTO PERSPECTIVE WITH YOUR QUALIFYING? "We get the luck of the draw every weekend. It's just that here at Indianapolis is so crucial. It's hard to pass here. It's a big hyped race so all of us want to be up there up front. And we knew as soon as we drew that number (41st) that we were already behind the competition. So all we could do is go out there and get our best run. We've won this race from mid-pack before and all we can do it go out there and try to do it again."
HOW EASY IS IT TO PASS HERE? "When you have a good car, it's easy. But we're going to rely a lot on our pit crew. We still have to find out what this tire is going to do. This tire has been temperamental, and we've had some issues with it. We're going to find out a lot more this afternoon."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 REESE'S / GM GOODWRENCH MONTE CARLO SS:
"I didn't get all of it through three and four but our Reese's Chevrolet is really good and for the time of day we went out, it was a good lap. I am so proud of my guys for doing such a good job and make it easier for me to go back and forth between here (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and IRP (O'Reilly, formerly Indianapolis, Raceway Park. We didn't hit anything and that is a good thing.
"I will be able to run both practices here and the final practice and qualifying for the Busch car.
"I think this is a good starting spot for us going out as late as we went out. We have a good race car, I have been really happy with it since we unloaded. I am looking forward to the Busch race tonight and this race tomorrow."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 7 MENARDS / JOHNS MANVILLE MONTE CARLO SS:
"Being able to drive a car like that is nice. When I drove it in deep into turn one and picked up the throttle early, I knew it was going to be a good lap. I was hoping to pick up a little more time than we did, but we can still be proud of that effort. Looking forward to Sunday and hopefully putting the No. 7 Menards/Johns Manville Chevy in Victory Lane."
JEFF GREEN- NO. 66 INTA JUICE MONTE CARLO SS:
"The car was a little tight, but it felt better than it had in practice yesterday. With as good as the car felt, I thought we had a better lap time than what the board showed. We worked a lot on race runs yesterday, so we knew it wasn't going to be a top-10 effort. When we tested here, our first day of testing got rained out, so we felt like we needed more race information. I think we'll be pretty good in the race."