Daytona Thursday notes 97-02-06

IROC PRE-RACE NOTE TOM KENDALL (SCCA Trans-Am) -- "I've got plenty to do this year. I'm trying to win my fourth Trans-Am championship, and that's plenty to keep me excited. I'm also trying to put something together for the Indy 500, and...


TOM KENDALL (SCCA Trans-Am) -- "I've got plenty to do this year. I'm trying to win my fourth Trans-Am championship, and that's plenty to keep me excited. I'm also trying to put something together for the Indy 500, and also a few NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. It's great to win any championship, but half of what we do in the Trans-Am is trying like crazy to get invited back in IROC. That's a big deal for anybody, but it's a real big deal for a road racer. That drags you into the big time. I've been invited to IROC five times, and now it's time to win one.


DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Real Tree Camouflage Chevrolet) -- "Our sponsorship deal came together Thursday of last week at 11:15 a.m. Richard Childress helped us with this. RealTree was with Childress for a few races last year with Mike Skinner. Right now, this sponsorship is just for the Daytona 500. We're hoping it could turn into a season sponsorship, but right now it's just for this race. We're think we're in pretty good shape, but it's early to make that statement. Everyone's tested, so everyone should come here pretty much dialed in."


MARK THOMPSON (No. 66 Midway Island Ford) -- "I'm not happy with our qualifying. I'd thought we'd run a 48.5 (he qualified at 48.9), and actually, when I was out there I thought it would be that good. Qualifying and racing are two different animals at Daytona. It would be hard to race the car the way it's set up now. But when we change it around to our racing trim, I don't think it will slow us down all that much. Our car runs faster the hotter it is -- if it was 100 degrees out, I would be happier than heck!"

BLAISE ALEXANDER (No. 26 Lisa Express/Sunoco Lubricants Chevrolet) -- "That was slower than our practice. I thought cooler weather would make it go faster, and I thought we'd at least get a 48.9, and we went five-tenths slower. I don't know the answer why."

RON BARFIELD (No. 94 New Holland Ford) -- "I don't think our lap was strong enough for the pole. There's a big headwind on the backstretch, and you can really feel it in the car. This is the hardest the wind has been blowing all week. It's slowing everyone down.

BOBBY GERHART (No. 85 Bobby Gerhart Truck World Chevrolet) -- "The weather hurt us a little bit, and we lost a step from this morning. It's an excellent driving car. I hope we'll be in a good position with 15 laps to go. It's tough to get into that position at Daytona!"

TIM STEELE (No. 16 HS Die/CIMLINC Ford) -- "Our motor's hurt. We had a cylinder wash out before we qualified, and we knew that. We'll be better for the race."

DAN PARDUS (No. 42 Midwest Transit Chevrolet) -- "Not bad. We were expecting 180, and ran 177 and a half. Our goal is to make the first cut (qualify in the top 25), stay out of trouble and finish in the top 10."

BILL BAIRD (No. 52 Spee-Dee Pop Popcorn Chevrolet) -- "I just wanted to qualify in the top 10, and I think we've done that. We actually improved from our practice, and we're one of the few teams that did. All during practice, people are out in the draft, and that really picks up their times. My goal was to get in a clean lap. I finally got one in during the final practice and it was a good one, so I knew I was in good shape. I've known Kenny (Schrader) a long time. I've wanted to run ARCA and he said he had a car, and his crew chief, Timmy Kohuth, has a lot of experience (race victories in 1994-95). So I've got a lot of experience behind me -- I certainly don't have any supertrack experience. I ran Michigan (Speedway) in an ASA car three years ago. These cars drive so nice compared to cars I've driven in the past. Kenny's given me good pointers that help me a lot. This is Kenny's car, but I'll end up with it later on."

MARK GIBSON (No. 59 Gibson Racing Ford) -- "Something happened. Our motor lost 300 RPMs, and it wouldn't turn. We lost a cylinder or something. Just my luck at Daytona."

ANDY HILLENBURG (No. 1 Gravy Train Dog Food Chevrolet) -- "I knew it was a good lap -- it was a pretty exciting ride out there. This is my first ride for Jim Finch and Gravy Train, and I was glad we got in a good lap. I knew it was fast, I was looking at the tach and it was as good as we practiced. Man, I'm pumped up! I've never won a pole before, and to win my first pole at Daytona is something special. It's hard to get a clean lap in practice, so it's hard to know how you stack up. That's why I didn't run in opening practice yesterday. I tested last Friday at Talladega, so I felt comfortable we'd only need a few laps to get sorted out here. We were fastest in final practice, and that was in as clean air as you're going to get here."

GARY BRADBERRY (No. 80 Stan Hover Motorsports Ford) -- "Not too bad. This is the first time our car was on the track since we cut a tire and hit the wall this morning, so I can't complain."

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Drivers Mike Skinner , Bobby Gerhart
Teams HART