Report from Motorsport News International
Thanks to NASCAR Online
SUZUKA CITY, Japan (Nov. 21, 1997) Quotes following initial practice for the NASCAR Thunder Special - Suzuka at Suzuka Circuitland:
DALE EARNHARDT No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet
"It's tough to get a lot of traction out there. There's a lot of water on the track. The more cars running at one time the better it is. The flagman is trying to keep people from running side by side, but you can't see the flagman, so I don't know why they're doing that. It gets a little foggy inside the car, but we're working on some stuff now to help us out with that. I've got a lot of laps at this track, but these are the first I've had with it raining. We'll keep working at it and give it our best shot in qualifying."
MIKE SKINNER No. 31 Snap-On Chevrolet
"The straightaway was the the worst part. The corners were about what you would expect in this stuff. It was pretty neat really. We were pretty fast right out of the box. There's so much water on the straightaway, the car just hydroplanes and it starts jumping sideways. It's a fine line being able to correct it, not knowing these tires and stuff. If I thought we were going to have to race in it, I would probably try to go a lot faster. We don't have anything to prove today. It looks like we're going to be racing in the dry stuff. We don't have a backup car, so we're just going to ride around and save the fenders."
DAVID GREEN No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet
"Have you ever driven down the highway and not been able to see where you're going? That's the way it was when we first got out there today. You can't hardly touch the gas. It lights the tires up. We ran a minute and 10 seconds on the first lap and cut more than six seconds off that, so that's pretty good. It fogged up bad on the first two laps, then we put in some hoses to defog it but we had to direct them a little better. It's just so hard to hit the gas pedal. That's the weird thing. I don't think anybody came over here thinking we'd be doing this. If we had known, we probably would have all gotten sick."
BOBBY HAMILTON No. 4 Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet
"It feels like being in a passenger car on a slippery road when it's snowing a little bit but it's still not quite ice. The car is driving pretty good considering the conditions. We work real hard being real smooth on the throttle. It reminds you a lot of North Wilkesboro getting off the corners. Whoever is smooth can run fast. If you mash the gas too hard, you're going to spin 'em. I don't think anybody is hooked up good enough where they can mash the gas hard and not spin the tires. If they are, they'll be the class of the field. We're just going to run a good, smooth conservative lap in qualifying and try to get a good starting spot. It'd be different if it paid $10,000 or $20,000 to win the pole, but nobody's going on and there's no use taking a chance of ruining the car and having to put it in the box and watch the race from the grandstands. We're having some problems with the car fogging up, but we'll get the right stuff in there and we'll be OK with that for qualifying."
WALLY DALLENBACH No. 46 Woody Woodpecker Chevrolet
"It's like a plane crash in slow motion. You're sliding all over the place. You're doing twice the work and you're going three times slower. It's just like driving on ice. That's exactly how it feels. You've got to be real easy on the pedal and the car will break loose real easy depending on what you do with the throttle. You've got to be real smooth with the throttle. The track conditions change every second. One time you go out there and you've got water running across the track and the next time you're got a pretty good groove in there. It's going to be interesting if we qualify in it. The fast lap should be right at the end of the session. The cars want to hydroplane on the straightaway. You're carrying more speed, so it's magnified when you start sliding. We'll go all out in qualifying. We didn't come here to run seconds."