Report from Motorsport News International
Thanks to NASCAR Online
The No Fear Challenge Quotebook
FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 18, 1997) Quotes from selected NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers after Busch Pole Qualifying for The No Fear Challenge at California Speedway:
MIKE BLISS No. 2 Team ASE Ford
"I'm glad that's over. We had two good laps. I was a little bit looser than I had been all day in the corners, so it slowed up my corner speed getting in. But I think the Yates motor pulled us out of this one. It really ran down the straightaway. "I think just the track sitting and the heat of the sun, and the wind did pick up. But mainly, when I see a track sit a while, it does get slower and greasier. "I don't know (about how drafting will go). We'll find out in the last practice. We've always been good in the draft. We showed that at Texas. But like I said, stay tuned. The first half of the race is going to be a learning curve for all of us."
JACK SPRAGUE No. 24 Quaker State Chevrolet
"It was a little too tight. I couldn't keep it down in the corners and it cost me the pole. We got a good Chevy race truck and I feel good about the race and I'm goin' to see if we can win this thing. Drafting is going to play a big part in the race. I just have to keep my nose clean and not get caught up in other people's problems and see if we can get this Quaker State Chevy in Victory Lane."
LANCE NORICK No. 90 NHL Dodge
"The track is big and beautiful -- it's nice and smooth. We put a new motor in the truck, the first new motor since our team switch to Dodge. It's amazing what a new motor can do for your times and speeds. My first lap, I was conservative and it wasn't so fast, then the second lap was a banzai lap and it paid off. We've been running great all day and in every practice and test. It is just nice to be rewarded and able to perform when it counts. Mike Cheek (crew chief) is the man! I owe this one to the crew -- they kept their heads up even when we were struggling and they've all worked so hard. This is really theirs -- I had the easy part. He (Cheek) did a great job preparing this truck. Since this is such a fast track, we as the drivers have to show more respect for each other. I think we all proved at Texas that we can be some of the safest drivers in professional motorsports. Speed doesn't have as much to do with it when drivers are smart and respectful of each other."
KENNY IRWIN No. 98 Raybestos/Ford Credit Ford
"I'm happy. I didn't honestly think we could go that fast. I felt like we were kind of getting false readings today with the sheets that were coming up. But when it came down to it, the guys gave me a good truck. I know we can race with them. As long as we're in the top-15 I'll be happy."
RICH BICKLE No. 17 Die Hard Chevrolet
"I don't know where that lap came from. We haven't been in the 42s even close to it. My guys taped up the front end a little different and I think it might of helped the motor a little bit. And the chassis, I got a little bit loose the second lap. Like I said the fastest I went in practice was like a 35. I put tires on it and only ran a 42. I guess that's what qualifying is all about sometimes you've got to suck up a little bit."
JOE RUTTMAN No. 80 LCI International Ford
"I was hoping for the pole. The guys said when we went out, you're bound to get on the pole. My step-son (Kenny Irwin) beat me which I didn't want him to do. Darn, that hurt. I'll never hear the end of that. I thought maybe we could go faster than that, but that was the best we could do. The guys did a great job. I thought we could run an .8, but we just couldn't do'er.
BOB KESELOWSKI No. 29 Mopar Dodge
"Our superspeedway experience serves me well for setting up at this track, but to be honest I really thought we would be faster. I thought we'd run a 41.7 for a lap time, but we ran a 41.9 - not exactly what I'd wanted. We'll go out in happy hour practice and see if we can improve upon our qualifying run."
ERNIE IRVAN No. 28 Federated Auto Parts Ford
"We're excited. I think we've got a good truck. We've been preparing this thing to be able to race. They don't pay a whole lot for qualifying. We're kind of getting geared up for that, for the race."
RICK CRAWFORD No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford
"Right now there's a few good trucks behind us now, but being that it is new and the way it's driving, the Circle Bar Motel and RV Ford race team, the whole race team -- I have to give them a lot of credit. That's what makes it so the driver can run a couple of laps wide open. Our success is the crew and the equipment."
JAY SAUTER No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet
"The run was decent. The truck handled real well but we were a little off from where we were earlier today. Maybe track conditions changed, I don't know but we've got a chance to work on it. I got a chance to run in the draft and it handled pretty decent. I think we'll be in good shape."
ROBBY GORDON No. 18 Dana Dodge
"I'm really disappointed. I expected to run a 41.9 qualifying lap. I blew the second lap. We're not in bad shape for tomorrow's race, but it will be a challenge. We're going out and we'll just get through the first half, then drive the wheels off of it in the second half."
KYLE PETTY No. 42 Hot Wheels Chevrolet
"We were good. The guys worked their rear ends off to get us in there, We had a little motor trouble and had to change motors and that was the first two laps on the motor. We didn't want to heat it up too much 'cause we have to race it. Rick McCray has a bunch of 18 and 19 year olds working on this thing. "It was a good lap..we just didn't pick up a thing since we've been here. Like I said before, I'm going to have to blame some of this on the driver. I need to get used to these trucks. I have to admit this truck series is a lot more competitive than I thought it was watching at home on TV. This isn't any 'Days of Thunder" deals where you can watch on TV and learn how to do it."
MICHAEL WALTRIP No. 1 Band-Aid Ford
"The truck hasn't been too good. We were better than that in practice. We went on stickers. We saw a couple other guys do it, and it seemed to work for them. But for us, the whole first lap I about spun out. But I just needed to get in the race. We just kind of run around there and made it. We got in. We're starting back there a ways, and we'll need to get to the front. I think we've got a truck that can do it. We'll have to wait and see what happens. I love the track. We ran 11th here in the Winston Cup car. We were real competitive. I think we're in pretty good shape. I just got a little loose in qualifying."
TAMMY JO KIRK No. 74 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford
"For not getting may laps in the truck, I didn't feel it was too bad. The truck is good. I just don't have any race track time, and that's what's killing me. I don't know where to let off and all that, don't know the line. That's what's tough right now. "Rick (Crawford) said something about it yesterday. He said what would you think about starting one of my trucks? I said I'd be glad of that, but I don't want to take anything away from your team. You're running for rookie of the year and points. He said if he got to running good we'd look at it. This morning he got to running good, and he said are you ready to drive that thing? So we got it off the truck and put it out here. I'm glad he let me do that."