JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 6th "It was a pretty good lap for our whole U.S. Army team. I'm proud of all these guys. I'm proud of who I represent out there. We just can't do enough for our men and women in uniform.
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 6th
"It was a pretty good lap for our whole U.S. Army team. I'm proud of all these guys. I'm proud of who I represent out there. We just can't do enough for our men and women in uniform. Since we've unloaded our U.S. Army Chevy from practice yesterday (in) race trim, (it's) incredible. I think it's one of the best cars I've had here in Talladega in race trim. Qualifying trim we thought we were going to be a lot closer to the front guys than we were but that's just part of it. The wind has picked and I think it slowed some guys down. We were off a little bit on a couple of things on the car. We'll take it and I think we'll be great for the race."
HOW ANXIOUS ARE YOU FOR THE RACE WITH SUCH A GOOD CAR AFTER WHAT HAPPENED FOR YOU IN DAYTONA? "I'm definitely ready to get going. Our goal is just to finish the race. If we can finish it without having any issues, it will be a huge accomplishment for our team. It just seems like this year we've been caught up in wrecks and if debris will fly off somebody's car, it normally hits ours. It's been a crazy year for that but my team never gives up. We're strong, we're proud and we're here."
J.J. YELEY, NO. 18 GSK ASTHAMACONTROL.COM MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 11th:
"It was definitely a good lap. The wind seemed like it picked up a little bit as we were making our run. That might have hurt us a little bit but we were flying blind in qualifying today. We didn't make any qualifying runs yesterday with the Cup car. Racing is more important to us than what qualifying was. Hopefully it hangs in there for a top 10 but most importantly it's going to be a good race car."
WHAT DOES A DRIVER DO HERE TO HELP THE QUALIFYING TIME? "The best thing you can do is make sure you hit your check points and try to keep the steering wheel as smooth as possible. The more you move the wheel the more the speed you're going to scratch. As along as you don't hit anything leaving or coming in pit road, that's about all you've got to do."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 13th
ON THE EFFORT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS PUTS INTO RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES: "I have the utmost confidence within these guys and the whole Hendrick organization and the way they go about doing things and the way they give us race cars. It's not a problem of mine to go out there and try to win the race. To try to make it to the end, that's what it's about. Basically trying to make sure that we can keep everything under ourselves until we get to that point and try to race them at the end."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/PEPSI MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 14th
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR QUALIFYING TIME? "No, not really. We certainly would like to qualify a little bit better than that this early in the qualifying session. We feel like we could be up there towards the top. We didn't focus a lot on qualifying yesterday. We had a great car in the draft so I'm really excited about the DuPont/Pepsi car and this special paint scheme for this weekend's race and hopefully we can have the type of success we've had here in the past with it."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 16th
"It was a good lap for us. The car did a good job. The guys did a great job. (It's) a brand new race car with no time on it before we came and it looks like all the Hendrick cars are right there around one another in speed. That's kind of all we can ask. We wish we were a little bit better. It was an impound race so I really feel like we've done the right thing so we have a good race on Sunday but not really the speed for today."
ON THE EFFORT OF YOUR TEAM TO PUT YOUR RACE CAR TOGETHER: "I do have to thank our entire organization at Hendrick Motorsports. We have some guys that are dedicated just to do speedway stuff at the 24/48 shop and they've done an amazing job as well. It's just been a lot of work. We've worked so hard to get two of our cars ready for the (Daytona) 500. Fortunately we lost one of them and it's in Daytona USA. We had to get to work and build another car along with all of downforce stuff that was coming along. The guys definitely have been working a lot of hours at the shop to get everything ready and they've done a great job."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 7 MENARDS MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 19th
ON BEING ABLE TO LAY DOWN A LAP WITHOUT HAVING TO QUALIFY ON TIME: "I think if we were in a position where we were outside of the top 35 and we really had to get in the show, I think we could have been quite a bit quicker than we were. We were very quick in drafting practice yesterday. The car seems to suck up pretty good. We didn't spend a lot of time in qualifying mode. Being inside the top 35, that's one of the opportunities you don't really have to focus so hard on. If you really had to go and lay down a number for qualifying to get in the show obviously you could do a lot of different things to get yourself in the show but you're probably going to pay the price once you got in."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 27th
TODAY WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR DAD'S 55TH BIRTHDAY. HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS SPECIAL BLACK & SILVER PAINT SCHEME? "Yeah, I like it. It's been a lot of fun building the race car. A lot of the fans enjoy it, and a lot of the guys at DEI take a lot of pride in it and the guys at RCR too. We're just having some fun. It's been a good weekend for Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt fans and everybody in relation."
YOU HAVE 5 WINS HERE. IT SEEMS LIKE YOU MAKE GOOD DECISIONS DURING THE RACE. WHY ARE YOU SO SUCCESSFUL ON THIS TRACK? "Well if I ain't in the front, I just try to get there. You got to keep the car moving and know exactly where you need to be going to get to the front. I just have a way of getting there. We've struggled here lately, but we've worked real hard to try to make some improvements. The guys in the engine shop have made some improvements. So we've got a little bit better car and a good package -- a better package than we had in Daytona. I'm real happy with how we practiced."
YOU DIDN'T QUALIFY PARTICULARLY WELL HERE, BUT THAT DOESN'T MATTER. YOU'VE WON HERE 5 TIMES. IS THERE ANY REASON TO BELIEVE YOU CAN'T WIN HERE AGAIN ON SUNDAY? "We got a good car. I don't know why we qualified so slow. We ran about three-tenths faster than that yesterday when we made our run. You just can't never tell what you're going to get here in qualifying. I ain't really worried about it. The car will be fine and we'll have a lot of fun on Sunday."
SCOTT WIMMER, NO. 4 AERO EXHAUST MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 35th "As far as driving the car, it feels real good but we didn't have very much speed there. I don't know, that doesn't look too good. It's a shame. These guys have worked real hard since Daytona. We missed that speedway race and that's going to be real tough. Hopefully the wind is hurting everybody else too. It's going to be a long wait now."
HOW TOUGH IS IT TO GET IN THESE RACES IN THE NEXTEL CUP SERIES? "It's real tight especially just trying to get into the race. It's going to be tight today. Like I said, hopefully the wind hurts everybody else. These guys did an awesome job getting this car ready. They worked real hard. If we don't make it here, we'll be back at Daytona."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 REESES MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 42nd
ON NOT PRACTICING IN THE SECOND PRACTICE SESSION YESTERDAY: "We practiced in the first practice. We did everything we needed to do. And there's no reason to practice if there is nothing else you have to try. It pretty much is what it is. The Reeses Chevrolet should race good. We didn't do any qualifying runs or anything so we'll go from wherever we start and have a good day."
ON RICHARD CHILDRESS RETURNING FROM AFRICAN SAFARI: "I think he's been taking a lot of grief about being gone for the last couple of weeks and us winning. But it's good to have him back and hopefully we can keep it going while he's here."