ROBBY GORON, NO. 83 RED BULL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: (ON THE CHALLENGING ROAD COURSE) "I think the easiest way to explain this to you is that we've had a lot of incidents already, but everybody has a throttle pedal. And everybody has brakes.
ROBBY GORON, NO. 83 RED BULL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(ON THE CHALLENGING ROAD COURSE) "I think the easiest way to explain this to you is that we've had a lot of incidents already, but everybody has a throttle pedal. And everybody has brakes. I think they're just trying to get too much out of the car too fast. It looks like -- to be honest with you, we sat out the first hour of the session -- just because it wasn't worth going out there and getting caught up in somebody else's incident. By this afternoon's practice they'll weed themselves out. But the biggest thing in road course racing is that if you try to be aggressive, and if you think you did a fast lap, that lap will be slow. Every time you run a nice, smooth, consistent lap, bang -- you'll pop up in the numbers and wonder how that happened. It's because you didn't scare yourself or get sideways in the corner. You carry a lot of momentum as it were and that's really an important thing."
(DO YOU AGREE WITH THE MEXICAN DRIVERS WHO SAY THIS COURSE TAKES MORE THAN JUST AN AFTERNOON TO GET USED TO?) "I'm sure it's pretty difficult. It's just about being smart and not being too aggressive. I think the Mexican contingent is doing a pretty good job. They're keeping it real. It seems like it's coming more from the United States drivers. But the biggest thing is that you just can't get sideways. It's just like a go-cart. You've just got to carry a lot of momentum through the corners."
(HOW DOES THE MEXICAN CONTINGENT DEAL WITH TIRE WEAR HERE AND KNOWING WHEN TO BRAKE 20 LAPS INTO A RUN? IS THAT GOING TO BE A BIG PROBLEM?) "This isn't going to be a problem. These guys are talented race car drivers. They're no different than when I showed up when I used to race the CART Series or Boris Said or Ron Fellows showing up. Good race car drivers adapt. They get the feel of the race car and what it's doing. And they pace themselves and back themselves up so as not to put themselves in a position. This is an 80-lap race. Not that it really matters. The key is that you have to be around for those last 20 laps. All this stuff before practice and for the first 60 laps just doesn't matter. You've got to have a whole race car to race them for the last 20 laps. And that's what we're working on and what we're trying to do."
(WHAT'S THE FEEL OF THE RACE CAR IN HIGH ALTITUDE?) "Obviously it's lack of downforce. It's just like landing in our plane yesterday when we had to come in 15 knots hotter than we normally come in just because landing at 8,000 feet. The cars obviously lose power. Dehydration is going to be a really important thing. They talked about that to us in the drivers meeting earlier. You've just got to keep it all in perspective."
(DOES IT AFFECT YOU IN THE CORNERS AND TURNS?) "With the lack of downforce, it does. But if the car won't hold, slow down. You have to do what your car can do."
(WHAT'S BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR IN MEXICO CITY?) "I've raced for 20 years on the Baja Peninsula, which is the country of Mexico as well, and we've never had an issue -- not one little one. I guess if you go out carousing, and you cause trouble, you're going to get in trouble here just like you would in the United States, but you're not going to be able to communicate very well if you don't speak good Spanish. I think a couple guys come down here and think they can have a free-for-all, and that's just not the case. None of our guys have had any issues. It's been a pleasure. It's been a pleasure coming to race here for 20 years. They want to be treated with respect just like we want to be treated with respect when they come to our country. As long as you do that, you won't have any issues."
(DID YOU HAVE ANY ISSUES COMING ACROSS THE BORDER?) "No issues whatsoever. We had two truck drivers and they didn't have any issues. We brought our own plane in and we didn't have any issues."
(DOWN THE ROAD, DO YOU SEE A MEXICAN DRIVING IN THE BUSCH SERIES FULL TIME?) "I think we already have one in Busch right now with (Michel) Jourdain Jr. And it would be good. I see no reason not to. I've raced against Adrian Fernandez for 15 years now. And he's obviously very talented. And Michel is gaining experience every year and looking very promising."
(ON THE POPULARITY OF STOCK CAR RACING) "Stock car racing is getting more and more popular in the United States in general and throughout the world. I think because it's a reasonable form of motorsports to put on good competition. NASCAR has come up with a really good formula and it seems to work."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, NO. 5 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(THERE ARE A LOT OF TORN UP CARS AFTER THE FIRST SESSION) "Yeah, I know. I've seen that. Fortunately we haven't done that, which is good."
(DO YOU THINK THE WRECKED CARS ARE BECAUSE A LOT OF GUYS DON'T HAVE EXPERIENCE ON A ROAD COURSE?) "Yeah, you have to be very gentle. The track is dirty. You have to wait for the track to come up to you. I feel fine. I'm pushing when I need to push. I'm trying not to make mistakes. I try to follow a rhythm. I feel good about the car. I'm trying different things. Some things work, and other's don't. But we've been in the top three all day so it's good that we're second or third. We're very close so that is good."
(ON THE TRACK) "It's a very nice track. It's a nice facility. It's a track that we have been racing for many years."
(WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE AMERICAN DRIVERS' REACTIONS TO MEXICO CITY?) "So, far, it's been very good. They're not going to be here for a long time, but so far it's been good. Next year, they'll know what to expect and they will be better prepared. It's like when we go to Germany or Japan to race, you can enjoy more of the place if you know what to expect."
(DID IT BOTHER YOU WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT BEING KIDNAPPED OR ROBBED IN MEXICO?) "No, but I understand. But at the end of the day when they are still here, they realize that's not the case."
(DO YOU THINK THE MEXICAN DRIVERS LIKE YOU AND MICHEL HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN HERE?) "I think so. We should be very strong and very competitive here. We know how to drive and we feel good about it. It should be fun."
(THERE IS A RUMOR THAT YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED SOON) "It's not a rumor. It's a fact. I'm getting married on Friday over in Columbia. Hopefully I can bring the trophy to her. We're having a lot of fun."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 21 PELON PELO RICO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(DID YOU RUN THE ENTIRE PRACTICE SESSION) "Yeah, it went well. We're just trying to make sure that we didn't tear our car up and didn't slide tires and just could get used to the race track and make sure we did the things we needed to do to work on our car. We only used one set of tires, so we're in good shape. We have seven sets of tires and we'll put another set on for the second practice session and try to do a qualifying run and then that'll leave us five sets for the race."
(DID YOU GO OUT RIGHT AWAY OR DID YOU WAIT A LITTLE BIT?) "We waited about 10 minutes before going out just because we knew it was going to be dusty and dirty. We just kind of needed to let them dust it off. And then I needed to go out there and just kind of learn where I was going. I took a good 10 or 12 laps just to figure out where I was going. It's a very unique race track. It's got some really technical stuff. It's got some high-speed stuff. The surface is good."
(ON THE FRONT CHICANE) "They put that chicane in there to slow everybody down. Otherwise the front straightaway would be really long. But it's got a chicane in there and you just barely have to let out of the throttle. So it doesn't slow you down much, but just enough to keep you from hauling off into Turn 1."
(ON THE ALTITUDE AND DOWNFORCE ISSUES) "Well, the temperatures have been the biggest issues and the motors feel awfully spongy just because of the altitude. It robs a lot of horsepower. But for the most part, just having to take some tape off the grill and really keeping the temperatures down because the altitude makes it much hotter. Other than that, it's just the same old thing."
(DID ANY OF YOUR GUYS HAVE TROUBLE GETTING DOWN HERE?) "Nobody has had any trouble doing anything yet. The hotel has been great. Everything has been great so far."
(WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE TO WIN THIS RACE?) "It's going to come down to pit strategy and track position and a lot of the guys who don't have a lot of experience and yet they're running fast. You can get behind them, but they're out of control. They're doing a good job but it just takes time. Once the tires wear out and everything starts going south and getting hot, it'll be a different game. So we're just trying to take care of all our stuff right now."
RON FELLOWS, NO. 87 NIMCO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
Note: Fellows is under the weather with a head cold
(ON THE RACE COURSE) "The corners are fast -- particularly the very last corner here. But there's not much grip. And that's the problem. I almost got myself into trouble a few times because the radius of the corner increases. You're in there and you feel pretty good and then all of a sudden it starts to push and then as soon as it does that then the back goes. So there's not a lot of grip. And then with all the turns in the back, we're just trying to get as much lateral bite as possible."
(DOES THAT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH TIRES?) "No, it's the surface. It's also got a lot of really sharp, but longer bumps. If you could measure it, the tires are probably off the ground for 35 percent of the lap. So you see, guys who have their shock deal together can track very nicely."
(SO WHEN YOU GET SOME RUBBER ON THE TRACK, IS IT GOING TO IMPROVE?) "Yes. It's already so much better than it was. This morning I was quicker. I think you can feel it when you're running around how much more grip you have in the corners."
(ARE BRAKES GOING TO BE AN ISSUE?) "Well, no, I don't think brakes are going to be an issue here. It's sort of like Sonoma where you're really only on the brakes twice. I think we'd be better off running that chicane to be perfectly honest with you. But I think it's here now. I don't know what the reasons for putting it in were. But it's going to make things difficult. It's also going to make it more single file because you can't get enough of a run -- you can't get enough room between the exit of the chicane and Turn 1 to get by somebody."
(WHERE DO YOU SEE THE PASSING ZONES HERE?) "Well, I thought that was going to be one of them was going to be Turn 1. It's going to be hard. Going into the start of the esses, Turn 3 or something like that. But it's going to be very difficult. I've made some passes into the last corner, but I don't think you're going to be doing that with the guys in the front."
(HAVE YOU RACED HERE BEFORE?) 'Yes, in the Trans-Am race in 1991. It was very different. It was a different surface. This last corner was quite a bit more wide open. And as you go down under that Camino Real Bridge you'd go left and then right and another right into another series of esses. So it's a bit of a shortcut. The track is a lot of fun. But it's frustrating when you know what you want the car to do and you can't get it to do it. It's so easy to lose time. The chassis set-up is going to be super critical."
SO WOULD YOU BE CONSERVATIVE AND WAITING FOR ANOTHER GUY TO MAKE A MISTAKE?) "Yeah, braking into Turn 3 or Turn 4, you've got a lot of bite initially. And then on that new asphalt, you've got two pretty substantial bumps. And then the grip is a lot lower. It's sort of like a boat where there's enough wake to create wheel motion but when it does that it's not making grip. We're just trying to get it to where it balances when it's bouncing around it's going to do the same thing."
(ON THE TIRES) "We've got seven sets for this weekend. We've used one set all through this morning's practice. We might save Joe (Nemechek) a little money on one set, but I wouldn't count on it. Except for qualifying, it's going to take at least three for the race. They feel like they've got decent grip, but this is just a very slick track. It's very dry around here. You don't see that much dust until you start following cars. It's like going down a back road. That's part of the problem is so much dust on the race track."
(HAVE YOU EVER RACED AGAINST GUYS LIKE ADRIAN FERNANDE AND MICHEL JOURDAIN?) "No. I'm too big for cars with no roof."