Pocono Team Monte Carlo Friday notes

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Park’s team will use the same Monte Carlo that finished 15th earlier this season at Pocono. Park finished 28th in his last outing at Loudon and ranks 20th in the NASCAR Winston Cup ...

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Park’s team will use the same Monte Carlo that finished 15th earlier this season at Pocono. Park finished 28th in his last outing at Loudon and ranks 20th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings (NWCS). “We took some things we learned at our Indy test and put them in this car,” crew chief Paul Andrews said. “Hopefully we’ll be better this time around.”

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) Earnhardt has raced his Pocono Monte Carlo three times this season -- Richmond, Pocono and New Hampshire -- and has recorded three top 10 finishes with the car. Earnhardt finished fourth earlier this season at Pocono and has reeled off eight straight top-10 finishes. The seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion ranks second in the NWCS and trails leader Bobby Labonte by only 45 points after 18 of 34 races. Earnhardt leads the circuit with 15 top-10 finishes.

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Hamilton will drive the same Monte Carlo the Morgan-McClure Motorsports team used earlier this season at California Speedway. Hamilton, with new crew chief Danny Gill calling the shots for his first Winston Cup event, ranks 29th in the NWCS. He finished 40th earlier this season at Pocono and 22nd in his last outing at Loudon.

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Labonte will use his Monte Carlo that won the pole earlier this season at Texas. Labonte will have relief help this week from Rich Bickle, but Labonte plans to start the car on Sunday and keep his record streak of 655 straight starts intact. Labonte finished 12th earlier this season at Pocono and 43rd in his latest outing at Loudon. He’s ranked 13th in the NWCS.

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Waltrip will race the same Monte Carlo he used earlier this season at Pocono. He started 12th and finished 43rd in that race because of engine failure. Waltrip finished 35th in his last outing at Loudon and ranks 28th in the NWCS.

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Earnhardt Jr. will race the same Monte Carlo that won The Winston earlier this season at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. finished 19th earlier this season at Pocono, 21st in his most recent race at Loudon and ranks 14th in the NWCS.

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) Gordon will race Monte Carlo 2443 at Pocono. In its only other start this season, the car finished 10th at Rockingham. Gordon ranks 10th in the NWCS and will be going for his fifth straight top 10 finish on Sunday. He finished eighth earlier this season at Pocono.

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Nadeau will race the same Monte Carlo he had here last month. He started 26th and finished 20th in that race. Nadeau also raced the same Monte Carlo earlier this season at Las Vegas. He qualified ninth and finished 20th in that race. Nadeau scored a season-best fourth-place finish two weeks ago at Loudon and he ranks 25th in the NWCS.

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Skinner will race the same Monte Carlo he drove here in June. It’s Monte Carlo 62. Skinner qualified seventh and finished ninth in that race. He finished 39th two weeks ago at Loudon and ranks 11th in the NWCS.

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Nemechek makes a return trip to Pocono with his Monte Carlo. It finished 42nd here last time after qualifying 10th. Nemechek finished second in his last outing at New Hampshire and ranks 21st in the NWCS.

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Marlin will race the same Monte Carlo he drove earlier this season at Michigan and Martinsville. He finished 22nd here in June, 25th two weeks ago at New Hampshire and ranks 16th in the NWCS.

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Wallace drove this Monte Carlo at Dover earlier this season where he qualified third and finished 18th. He finished 23rd at Pocono earlier this season and ranks 31st in the NWCS.

GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Bodine will race a brand new Monte Carlo at Pocono. He finished 24th here earlier this season and 13th in his latest outing at Loudon. He ranks 43rd in the NWCS.

DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Marcis will race the same Monte Carlo he used at Charlotte. Marcis finished 29th earlier this season at Pocono and he ranks 49th in the NWCS.

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 01 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Musgrave will drive the same Monte Carlo that Kenny Irwin drove here earlier this season.

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “That wasn’t too bad. For some reason, we’re just off a little bit this time around. I guess it’s about what we ran here last time, but I guess everybody else picked up a little bit. I think we’re going to be good in race mode. We usually qualify pretty good here, but we’re still scratching our heads trying to figure it out today.”

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) “That’s a great lap for the DuPont Chevrolet. These guys did an awesome job all day. This is a different race car than we had here last month, and I knew from the first lap that it was going to be a good one. It’s been handling great all day. We’ve just been fine tuning on it. I didn’t know if going early was going to help us or hurt us, but it was a great lap. I’m real happy with it. The guys have made some great calls, and they’ve got something to shoot for. It’ll be interesting to see where that ends up. The car did everything I wanted it to do, and I knew it should be a good lap. It’s good that what I was feeling showed up on the race track. Sometimes at Pocono you can run hard and think you’ve got a fast lap and it wasn’t. This car is a little different than the one we had here last time. Hopefully we’ll start up front and hold on to that good track position.”

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We’ve been struggling. We’ve had some ignition problems, and we put a whole new setup under it. As long as that’s a competitive time, we’ll get started on our race package Saturday and we’ll be all right.”

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) “We had run better in practice. We had the car too loose, and it got loose on us when we got back in the gas. We were just off. That was the deal, just too loose. This is the same car we had here five weeks ago. I feel like we’re going to be in real good shape for the race.”

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “I’m not totally satisfied with it, but that’s about all we had for ‘em today. The car is turning good. We’ve had a hard time with our car turning all year, and that car is turning real good. I think we’re going to have a really good race package for ‘em. I’m excited. I’m ready to race. “This car has a new round of tin on it. They changed the nose around a little bit and some of the front end geometry. I think it’s made the car a little better. It didn’t really show up in qualifying, but I think the car is going to race real good. This is a car we’ve got a lot of miles on this year, and we’ve been pretty pleased with this race car. We’ve had a nose push with this car since day one, even when we dominated Atlanta with it. It’s a good race car, and we didn’t ever wreck it, we just wore the body out on it. They’ve put some new fenders and stuff on it, and we thought we could help some of the push in it. It really wants to push in the turns. It might not have shown up in qualifying, but I think they’ve helped it. I think it’s going to race good. If it doesn’t, I’m going to be surprised. I’m excited. I can’t wait. We’ll get ready now and go race ‘em.”

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “The guys changed the car around from practice. We were terrible in practice. We were hoping we could just get in the top 25. We totally changed the car around. We went to talk to the 24 team and see what they were doing, so we just mixed and matched our setups. Tony Furr (crew chief) dug down deep and put a good setup under the car, and we went out and got a good lap. Hopefully that’ll be good enough for a solid top 10 spot. We’ve got a totally different setup in it now than we had here last time. We didn’t think it could work, but it did. We weren’t that good the last time we were here in qualifying, but we raced good. Hopefully, we’ll race good again. We had a good run at New Hampshire, and it was nice to have a weekend off after that race to enjoy it. Maybe we can enjoy another weekend off after Sunday at Pocono.”

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “Turn one was better than we’ve been. The tunnel turn was the same as Rusty’s and turn three I thought we real good. We just didn’t go anywhere. I don’t know what the deal was.”

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “These guys have done a great job. I told Paul Andrews (crew chief) and the guys this is the best car I’ve probably ever had at Pocono. My hat’s off to the motor shop, too. They’ve been working real hard. They’ve got a combination that’s working real good right now. My hat’s off to these guys. I probably gave up a little bit in turn three. The car is so good in that corner. The driver is probably off a little bit and needs to pick it up. The car was good in all three corners. That last corner, it handled a little better than I expected and I got a little bit late back in the gas. That cost us a little time. Hopefully that’ll be good enough for the top 25. It’s just great to be back up here in Pennsylvania. We’ve got some great race fans up here, so maybe we can get a good run in Sunday.”

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “I just messed up in the tunnel turn. I got through one great, but once I got in the tunnel, the car got on the curb a little bit and when it did it turned it sideways and I had to mess a round a little bit. It cost me a couple of tenths anyway. It was just a bad turn.”

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 01 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “That wasn’t too bad. We didn’t really work much on the qualifying package. We wanted to make sure we could race good on Sunday. I can race that. What’s in it right now I can race on Sunday. We’ll tune it for the track conditions, but I think we’re going to be in good shape on Sunday. The guys worked hard to get it that way because we didn’t know how much time we were going to have to work on it on Saturday.”

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak Max film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “The car was dragging on the track during practice. We thought we had fixed the problem, but it got too low into the track during our run. It just pushed me up high on the track, and I washed up. I was fairly pleased with our practice setup, except for the dragging problem.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “I made a lot of mistakes. I went down into turn one and overdrove the car. It got real loose. The car is perfect. It should have been in the top. We ran a .79 in practice, and I messed up in every corner, but it’s only my second time here. We’re learning. It’s good to make mistakes and still bring the car back without it getting torn up. I’m pretty happy for the guys. The Pennzoil guys qualified well, so that’s good. We want to bring this setup back. I’m happy with it. This is the car we won The Winston with, and it’s one of the cars we ran last year. It’s one of the first cars we’ve built, so we’ve always liked it.”

RICH BICKLE (No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Bickle practiced and qualified the car for Terry Labonte on Friday, but Labonte plans to start it Sunday. He’ll move to the rear of the field to take the green flag because Bickle qualified the car. “We unloaded in race trim, and we were pretty good. I just wanted to get used to the car and make a few laps. After that we were terrible. It was push, push, push, push, push, and everything we did to the car made it worse. It should have made it better. All the guys got their heads together and decided to throw another setup at it. Actually, I wasn’t ready for it. I was waiting for the car not to turn. By the time I waited, the corner was gone by and it turned, so we could have had a pretty good lap. “They called me Wednesday afternoon to do this. I don’t know who put my name in the hat, but I want to thank whoever did. It’s kind of funny. Every time I make vacation plans, I get called to drive a Cup car. The same thing happened with the 60 bunch at Martinsville. I was getting ready to go Mexico. This time I was getting ready to go to Florida to see my buddies in Ft. Myers. John Hendrick called me up and asked me if I would be interested. I said I had some plans, and he said, ‘oh no, if you’ve got plans don’t worry about it.’ I said this was a little more important than going to Florida for a couple of days. “It’s Terry’s car. If he gets out of it Sunday, fine. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. I saw him before qualifying, and he said he needed to take a couple of weeks off. After wrecking at Loudon, he realized he was hurt a lot worse than he thought. There’s a week off after Pocono, so I think Terry wants to start the car, keep his streak alive, and then recuperate for the Brickyard.”

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Michael Ho