The Winston Monte Carlo qualifying notes

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (qualified 10th): "The lap time wasn't good and the pit stop wasn't good, so we've got some work to do. I'd like to put a lot into qualifying, but tomorrow night is when it really counts. "I...

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (qualified 10th):

"The lap time wasn't good and the pit stop wasn't good, so we've got some work to do. I'd like to put a lot into qualifying, but tomorrow night is when it really counts.

"I like The Winston a lot. Charlotte's a great track for it and the best in the business are in this event. It makes for exciting racing. And it is exciting racing for the drivers as well as for the fans. It's a win-win situation for everybody."

(In the two types of racing - The Winston vs. the 600 -- where do you know where to draw the line in how aggressive you get?)
"In a 500 or 600 mile race here, you pretty much get yourself in line, and feel the car out, feel the competition out and take things as they come to you. You can set up a guy for five or 10 laps. Where here, you just go for the open hole. You can go to the outside, you can go to the inside, you just go wherever the guy in front of you isn't - that's where you go to try to make your move. That's why you see guys all over the track. You'll see them three and four wide - just taking advantage of every little opportunity - especially if you're in the back. The only way to make it to the front is to take a lot of chances."

(You were one of the qualifying favorites today. Did you get it done?)
"No, we didn't get it done today, that's for sure. We weren't very fast on the racetrack, nor were we very fast in the pit stops. We didn't fare to good here in qualifying. But we feel like we've got a good car for tomorrow's race. It's a lot different deal when it's 30 (laps), 30 (laps) and 10 (laps), and I look forward to it."

(Where did it not go too well?)
"The car feels good, the motor's real strong. I just don't know. We were off a good two or three-tenths on the racetrack and I don't know about the pit stop. I don't know exactly what it was. But I could tell it was missing a little bit. You've got to have everything go perfect here for qualifying for The Winston. But it doesn't win you the race."

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (last year's winner, qualified 15th): "Well the laps were okay. They weren't spectacular, but they were okay. We lost about three second on the pit stop. And the guys worked on that real hard, so they are kind of down about it. It matters, but not that much. We've just been struggling with the car a little bit. It's a tough deal to make all that happen - just making it all right (for qualifying). The guys worked hard. But we put forth a good effort, so we can't complain. We'll just have to do what we can to get the car right."

(Do you drive The Winston a lot different than other races?)
"Yeah, you drive it a lot different. The first two (30-lap) segments, you just get out there and save your car for the last 10 (laps). You work on set-up. It's almost like two practice sessions so your car is as good as you can have it for the last 10-lap segment."

(Kevin Harvick talked about just how exciting this is when you haven't been in a race like this before. Does this help a rookie?)
"Sure, a rookie's got just as good a chance as anybody to win."

(Was it hard to see out there with the sun going down and without lights?)
"No. When you've been around this place enough, you can almost drive it by memory."

(Are either of the first two segments more important?)
"You just have to settle in after each segment and see what happens. You've just got to hang in there and hope you get some good breaks like we did last year. No matter how good a racecar you got, you've got to get some lucky breaks and things like that to happen your way. We've got the same car and we should be able to get somewhat the same results. The only thing I'm worried about is if they don't fix the lighting that we won't get our Happy Hour. And then we'll have to have Happy Hour tomorrow in the warm weather it won't be the same."

-Team Monte Carlo

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick