Martinsville qualifying quotes

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations Goody's 500 Quotebook MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 19, 1997) Quotes from drivers after first-round Busch Pole Qualifying for the Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway....

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

Goody's 500 Quotebook

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 19, 1997)

Quotes from drivers after first-round Busch Pole Qualifying for the Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Kenny Wallace (No. 81 Square D Ford)

"We did it. It feels good. All the guys at Square D, this is for you guys. You wondered why we weren't up front, it just took us a little time. It's like only our second whole year in (NASCAR) Winston Cup. I know I've run some Winston Cup races before, but it's chemistry.

"The first thing I want to say is this, this is for John Nemechek. I was sitting there and I kinda felt like I might get the pole, because I had a gut feeling. I feel a little sorry for Joe, but I really needed this. The whole Nemechek family, this is for John. He was my buddy. I know what Joe has to feel like, but I've been pretty intense here lately, and I came out here like a Funny Fuel Car getting them tires heated up. I knew my first lap was squirrely, but I went for it on the second lap. I'm happy right now."

Joe Nemechek (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet)

"My hat's off to this team. There's a lot of things going on inside Team SABCO right now. These guys have worked their hearts out. We tested up here a couple of weeks ago. We ran well then, too. This is one of my old cars from last year. We ran good here before. Both laps were real good today. I call it the cold tire syndrome here. The cars kind of slide around and do all kinds of funky stuff in qualifying. It takes a special setup here. In the past, we've been really good. We've always run good here, and we've got a good setup for cold tires. We need a little luck to go our way.

"I knew my lap would be hard to beat. We ran a 20.15 in practice. A couple of guys ran faster, but I thought after Ricky Rudd and Darrell Waltrip ran that our time might hold up. I'm a little disappointed, but my hat's off to Kenny Wallace. That was a great lap. At least we know we've got a good car for the race, and starting on the front row at Martinsville ain't too shabby."

Geoff Bodine (No. 7 QVC Ford)

"I'd rather miss it by that much than miss it by more. We ran good. We struggled a little bit in practice. I actually spun out one time on new tires and that kinda threw us off as far as getting ready to qualify. But we're pretty strong. We just missed a little bit."

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet)

"We were 21st fastest in practice, so that's a great lap for us. That's about what I ran in practice. A lot of other guys slowed down. I feel like I got the pole. I had no idea how to get more out of it. I think with the cold tires and with the way everything shook out here today, that was a great lap for us. I didn't think anybody was going to touch Joe Nemechek. I was pulling for him to get the pole. We didn't make a lot of changes before qualifying. We ran on cold tires in practice and only ran two laps at a time. I think we got as much out of it as we could. The car was good in practice, so I'm tickled to death right now.

Ricky Rudd (No. 10 Tide Ford)

"We got behind in practice. We had a brake problem we had to work out. We got that worked out and we had about 50 minutes left in practice. But I can't complain. Maybe that helped us. We came off the truck really quick, but we lost the first two hours of practice. Who runs fast in practice? That's on hot tires. That's a big difference from going out on cold tires. We knew that was going to be a problem. You always slow down when you qualify at Martinsville. We're happy."

Hut Stricklin (No. 8 Circuit City Ford)

"We were pretty good in practice. We didn't feel like we had anything for the pole, but we thought if we could just go out there and back up that we ran in practice, we'd be okay. We slowed down a tick, but really not that much. I'm really proud of all the team. They've worked real hard on getting our short track program turned around. If we can leave here Sunday with a good finish, I think we'll prove we've done that."

Terry Labonte (No. 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet)

"That's what we ran in practice, and we were just hoping we could run it again. If you run three or four laps, you get more heat in the tires and you can run faster. But we knew we only had two laps for qualifying, so there wasn't any need to kid yourself."

Bobby Hamilton (No. 43 STP Pontiac)

"I'm real happy with that. We thought we would be a little faster with it. I can't think of anything we could have done to make it any faster. It hooked up real good and turned good. It got off the corner and the motor ran well. We've got this cold temperature and we took a little different approach with the way we scuffed our tires. We didn't have much time and that might have hurt us a bit. All we were concerned about was pitting on the front straightaway and we've accomplished that. Everything went good. It was all there. We would have liked to run faster, but it did everything right. It's just this cold temperature. You've got to hit it just right. I'm not so excited about being back here, but this Pontiac runs well everywhere we go, so I'm happy about that. We just run it on flat tracks and it always runs well on them. I'm always pretty excited about this particular car."

Bill Elliott (No. 94 McDonald's Ford)

"I was going to throw out the first lap anyway, because here you've got to get some heat in the tires and some heat in the brakes. I felt like if I had gotten off of (turn) 2 a little bit better, I would have been a little bit better. We had run a .19 in practice, but a lot of other cars ran quicker, too. This race track is just so hard to get a hold of when it's cold. The only thing is you would like to go try again. That's the other side of the coin. You get so close and you want to try a little bit harder, but here you can overdo your lap. I was just trying to be calm and cool and get what I needed out of the race car."

Kyle Petty (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac)

"It's kind of like it was in practice. If I had known it was going to be this cold, I mean, everybody in here would have done something different. I couldn't get it hooked up coming up off the corner. That's where we had really worked to get good at. We just missed it. My fault. I think we'll run all right in the race. We're pretty dadgum blessed to be where we're at. The first 15 laps we put in here this morning we couldn't run better that 21-flat. I just want to get in line and run Sunday. We're running good enough. We had great cars at Texas and Bristol. We've had one of the better cars in Saturday's final practice. I just can't get much better than 35th in a race because we keep getting wrecked."

Dale Jarrett (No. 88 Ford Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford)

"That wasn't a very good lap, but Rusty and I kinda got the bad draw and got to blow the track off for everybody. But that's the luck of the draw. It's just unfortunate that we didn't get the car hooked up very well."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Terry Labonte , Kyle Petty , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Hut Stricklin