ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR LAP? "Since I ended up in the middle of my two teammates, I guess I'm mediocre satisfied. I'm very pleased with all of the guys - they've worked really hard on...
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR LAP? "Since I ended up in the middle of my two teammates, I guess I'm mediocre satisfied. I'm very pleased with all of the guys - they've worked really hard on this program, just trying to get our restrictor-plate program up to speed. We were real good at Daytona and got to bring the same car back here. Everybody on this Cingular car did a great job and we were able to pick up something from practice, so we're happy with that."
HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR STARTING SPOT HERE AT TALLADEGA? "Since I have Kevin Harvick up there in front of me to tow me around the racetrack, I can kind of hitch on to him for awhile. I don't think starting position is that big of a deal as long as you're somewhere inside the top 20. It's a long race. We got shuffled out of it at Daytona and we were still able to get back up and finish sixth. The key is having a good race car, and everybody at Childress Racing does a great job putting these cars together, so we've got a good race car."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We ran a little bit better than that in practice, and I was hoping to run even faster than that. It's a little bit disappointing. You never know what's going to happen when you go through that inspection line, and the little tweaking you have to do to get to the car to the heights and everything. We slowed down a little bit, but the tach showed great, temperatures were perfect. It's still a huge improvement for us from Daytona. I couldn't be more proud of the work that was put in by everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, especially on this Dupont Pepsi car. It's still running fast. We're going to start towards the front a lot further forward than we did at Daytona."
THE TEAM SEEMS TO HAVE GAINED SOME MOMENTUM - ARE YOU CONFIDENT HEADING INTO SUNDAY? "The performance has been outstanding. We've been leading a lot of laps, qualifying up front. We want to get a victory, but we'll just keep chipping away at it getting those top fives until we can do that, and I'd love to do it here at Talladega. This is a great race and a great racetrack, and we've won one here before."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It's not what we expected, but you know, outside of making the pole, I'm not sure if it really matters. I know the Tide team's going to run really well. The Tide Pontiac ran all day at the Daytona 500, so my day on Sunday will be a completely different story."
DOES IT HURT YOU GOING OUT EARLY IN THE QUALIFYING SESSION? "I don't think it makes any difference. In fact, maybe we would rather go early if the track's still a little bit warm. I think it's probably very little of an issue. It sort of surprises me we didn't run faster than that, but again, it's about running good on Sunday."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON QUALIFYING "It just kind of is what it is. You go out and ride around and see what they tell you it ran. You don't know any difference. We'll just race them on Sunday. The car is running good. We should be good on Sunday."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
WHAT HAPPENED IN PRACTICE? "We had a drive shaft come apart on us. It kind of put a little dent in everything, I guess you could say. So, we had to fix a lot of stuff and missed all the practice. We got one lap in (in practice) and it was quicker than I qualified, so I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see, look everything over and see why we slowed down a little bit."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN PRACTICE? "We thought we lost a motor the last run of practice. It was a real good surprise knowing we didn't. We had a bearing in a gear go bad, so just the fact that we got to qualify and didn't have to change motors was a plus for this team."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR LAP? "Not really. We should have run a little faster than that. We run better than that in practice. But, we kind of had a little trouble getting through tech and I think it slowed the car down a little bit - going through there. But, we ain't never really been great qualifiers here. We don't have any poles at Daytona or Talladega. We just race good and that's all that really matters."
CAN YOU GET TO THE FRONT ON SUNDAY? "As soon as I can get there."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Laps are very uneventful here, but we had a great race car. I feel a little bad for the guys on the Lowe's team right now and everyone back at Hendrick Motorsports. They've been working so hard to find some speed from Daytona to here. We were a contender for the pole. But, there is a new measurement that came up in the template room when we were rolling through. It looks like it slowed down the '24,' it slowed us down and the '8' and a couple other guys, so we're kind of bummed there, but there is nothing we can do. It's the same for everyone and we've just got to find another way to find a little bit more speed."
ARE YOU CONFIDENT FOR SUNDAY? "Very confident for Sunday. As most people know, qualifying here doesn't mean anything and if you don't have a shot at winning the pole it doesn't matter where you start from there. It's nice to get the Bud Pole Award.
"But, we've got a great race car. I've learned a lot. I almost had a chance to win the Daytona 500 and I'm really, really looking forward to Sunday's race."
STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I'm happy with that. It went 51.90 in practice and we thought we could run a 51.70 with all of the qualifying stuff, and we did. The only scary moment was our teammates went out and ran 51.80 when they ran 51.40s and 51.50s in practice. They slowed down, so we were kind of afraid the track might slow down a little bit, but it didn't for us. We're on schedule - we thought we'd run a 51.70 and we did, so we're happy about that. It feels good. We've struggled in qualifying all year long, so to come here and qualify somewhere near the top 10 is a credit to this whole Pennzoil team. We qualified good in Texas and didn't race good. All year long we've raced good, but we haven't qualified good. So hopefully we can qualify good and race good on Sunday."
DAVID GREEN, NO. 60 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Gary Dehart and the bunch have worked hard since Daytona. We kind of left there, or at least I did, with my tail tucked. They've worked nonstop, and I think it helps all the Hendrick cars. We're happy to have our Haas car up there, and hopefully Rick will be proud we worked hard. These guys have worked nonstop and this is a good reward for them. It's going to be fun on Sunday."
DID YOU THINK SO MUCH COULD CHANGE FROM LAST YEAR TO NOW? "I was hoping it would. It wasn't looking very pretty - like earlier here, a lot of clouds. But I have to thank Rick Hendrick again, and Ricky, for the opportunity to drive the No. 5 GMAC Busch car, and then that opened the door for Clarence and the TimberWolf folks to give me that opportunity. We've got a whale of a team over there, but this is a nice job to also do for Hendrick Motorsports. Our main goal is not only for our No. 60 Haas car, but to help Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Joe Nemechek, Terry Labonte, all of those guys, because we do a lot of stuff that can help those guys for the championship."