POST-QUALIFYING: STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVY MONTE CARLO (16TH): ON THE SURFACE: "It affects us a lot. The way they ground the race track really makes it hard for us to set the Pennzoil Chevrolet up. Right now, Tony Gibson did a good job...
STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVY MONTE CARLO (16TH):
ON THE SURFACE: "It affects us a lot. The way they ground the race track really makes it hard for us to set the Pennzoil Chevrolet up. Right now, Tony Gibson did a good job along with the rest of the guys on the Pennzoil team to give us the forward bite that we need on a track that is really slick." HOW WAS YOU LAP? "It was good. The main thing is the track is so loose right now that I think getting a good, smooth, fast lap is the way you need to be. It's so easy to overdrive the race track because of the aspect of the track being ground, that we just wanted to make sure we got a good, fast, smooth lap in." WILL WHEELSPIN BE A PROBLEM ON SUNDAY? "Of course, they ground the race track and kind of killed a really good race track."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVY MONTE CARLO (second, held the pole until Ryan Newman, 45th qualifier, grabbed the pole):
"I'm pretty excited about that. The car almost felt slow; it rolled through the corners; I could just squeeze in the throttle; I could drive in there. It really didn't feel that fast, but it didn't slip a tire too much either, so I knew it was a decent lap. It was a real smooth lap, and that's what I wanted to do."
BOTH LAPS IN THE 40s: "That's awesome. These guys did a great job. We first showed up here, the track was a lot different than what we were used to and we start making a bunch of adjustments, but then it seemed like it came back around for us. Great calls by Robbie (Loomis, crew chief) and all the guys on the DuPont Chevrolet today. Really thrilled with that lap."
ON GRINDING OF THE TRACK: "Well, I didn't see what was wrong with it before. What I don't like is, No. 1, why do it, and No. 2, is why do it and don't ask anybody about it. They didn't tell us, didn't ask us, nothing.
"If you're going to do it, at least maybe get our opinion about it. We're the guys that got to deal with it out there. I think there's ways to go about it. I don't know if that was the best way. Right now it's not too bad. I'm not really fighting too many things that just don't have as much drive off of the corner; that's one thing we struggled with the most."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVY MONTE CARLO (10th)
"A little bit more challenging now that they've changed the bottom groove a little bit, but we should be fine. I think we should have run a little better time; I think the car was a little bit better than that. I was just trying to be smooth and not really spin up off the corner and ruin a potential decent start. I hope I get to the top 10 right there."
WHAT ABOUT THESE CORNERS? "It's a little more difficult at this point, but (it's) the end of the season. I don't know whether it will be (like) this Sunday, but it will be probably a benefit in the long run for the track. It was a little bit rough in the corners and you really had to have a perfect shock package to get around the corner, and now it's a little bit smoother, and probably going to be a little more beneficial for the race track and the competitors. Maybe not now, but in the future. It's pretty slick. There's no grip. It's like a brand-new track. Concrete is pretty slick when it's got no rubber on it. You really got to be careful. They got my car working really good, some guys are a little bit better. I think once the track gets a little rubber on it, our car will come in and hopefully that will happen on Sunday. I hope it will take more than just one race to get some rubber down. I think it will be fine."
IF IT DOESN'T COME IN, WILL IT BE LIKE BUMPER CARS? "It won't take a whole lot to find out. There's not a lot of grip when the car gets freed up out there. That'll be the preferred way to pass somebody because I don't think you definitely will be able to drive up under them as often as you would have in the past. I still think it's a good thing; it's a good change for the track."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK FILMS CHEVY MONTE CARLO (ninth):
"It was a decent lap for us. We rolled off the trailer. We were struggling. We changed a gear in the car and it really made a tremendous difference in the gear, and we're running a little bit different springs than we ran here before. It seems like the forward bite has really become an issue since they've worked on the race track a little bit. Hopefully the rubber won't build up on it as much like it does in the past. I know they had good intentions; I just hope it works out."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVY MONTE CARLO (12th);
"Pretty happy with that. We knew we'd pick up a little bit in qualifying; that should be a little bit better; we were 14th in practice. Good lap for this Cingular Wireless car. It seems like every time I go to qualify here I end up over-driving the car. I just concentrated really hard this time not over-driving it. Kevin Hamlin and the guys gave me a pretty good car. Probably could use a little more traction, got a little sideways coming off the corners, it rotated through the middle really well."
HERMIE SADLER, NO. 02 VIRGINIA LOTTERY CHEVY MONTE CARLO (eighth):
"This is a big effort for my guys. We've got four full-time people; we're a small group; and it says a lot for us. Martinsville is a place that anybody can run good. All the aero and all the motor we may be lacking doesn't hurt us that much here. We've got a good car here; the same car we had in the spring and it raced good, I just started too far back."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVY MONTE CARLO (13th):
"The guys have worked hard all day. We chased an electrical problem all day long. We didn't really get very much practice. We kind of took our best guess at where we thought we needed to be and we tried a couple of gears, and they did a great job changing everything and from the distributor to all the spark plug wires, spark plugs, carburetors, ignition boxes, we changed everything. They did a great job. We will take a top 12, 15 out of this and compared to how we started the day, I think it was a good day for us."
BOBBY HAMILTON, NO. 55 SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC CHEVY MONTE CARLO (23rd):
"We have to be happy with it; it's the fastest that we've run all day. We're getting ready for a race run, and start our test over again and see what happens."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVY MONTE CARLO (seventh):
"That was good. I was really surprised at how little grip there was for the front of the car and finally by our third lap we got enough temp in the tires and I knew what I needed to do to get a decent lap. I'd be a little smarter if I would go out and do it over again right now. This isn't bad, so we're excited."
WERE YOU STRUGGLING COMING OFF THE CORNERS? "We worked on it and made it better and in qualifying we didn't have any issues there. It was more of not enough grip through the center of the turn to make the car turn good enough for us. I just think it was more temperature related. You get sucked into thinking you've got all the script in practice because you go out run after run and the tires don't cool all the way down. There's a lot to that in the tire temp. We need to be a little bit better prepared next time to build a little more front tire temp for qualifying."
HOW DIFFERENT IS THE TRACK FROM APRIL? "It's so new to me that I can't tell any different. I know I will be able to win the race. We're going to have a lot more tire wear so I don't see it being the first one with enough gas to go to the end is going to be the winner. It's going to be more of a traditional race where you have to put fuel and tires on it quite often." ON THE RUN: "We're really happy with this run. We were 14th last time in the Lowe's Chevy and seventh today. That's pretty good progress. The track is a little loose off the turns, but the feel isn't that different. It's still one groove. For Sunday, the brakes and tires are going to be the big factors. You want to be aggressive, but don't want to wear out the brakes. The tire wear will be interesting, especially when you try to balance that against fuel mileage."