Atlanta: Hamilton qualifying interview

BOBBY HAMILTON, NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 2nd: (WHERE DID THAT LAP COME FROM?) "Yeah, I mean, the way the Goodyear Eagles are now, the temperature of the track, the air got heavy and it hurt a lot of cars. We were ...

BOBBY HAMILTON, NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 2nd:

(WHERE DID THAT LAP COME FROM?)

"Yeah, I mean, the way the Goodyear Eagles are now, the temperature of the track, the air got heavy and it hurt a lot of cars. We were fortunate enough that we got to go out early to run a good lap. A lot of the guys could have beat us but the air just killed them, so we just got lucky and it just puts us that much further ahead from the other cars come Sunday. It's a good place to start, good pit selection, so we'll just start from there and chip away from it Sunday."

(WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BEAT RYAN NEWMAN FOR THE POLE HERE?)

"Yeah, when he doesn't show up! It's kind of an obvious deal. People asked me if I'd try to get after the #12 car-I was like, 'No!' I mean, he's two or three tenths better than the whole field. Whatever. They got it down. All we said about it is what we've done. So that's what we plan to do, call it a night and go after them Sunday."

(AFTER LAST WEEK AND TODAY'S QUALIFYING, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE REALLY STARTING TO GET IT TOGETHER?)

"I think so. I think we're still having growing pains in that we'll still have to have a few more bad runs and learn a few lessons. Hopefully this is the right path we're on. We're starting to figure out the way the spoiler likes the aero package. We're trying to figure out how the aero package, trying to figure out the rear springs that everybody is running versus what we're running and stuff. It's just a big learning curve. So, hopefully this is part of the foundation for a pretty decent, consistent race team. So, hopefully this is the right direction. The last couple of weeks have been pretty amazing to see the turnaround in the team and myself. I've learned a lot from racing with those guys. If anything, it's just pumped up the mental state and attitude and that means a lot in this sport."

(ON THE SPOILER AND THE RULES)

"No, Mark Martin had the best saying. Everybody said you can't ride side by side, and I don't think anybody here plans to ride side by side; they'll just pass you and go. NASCAR-they are not going to put anybody in jeopardy. It's not like they just cut half of the younger peoples' spoiler off and put all the older peoples' spoilers on. They made everybody the same, so you've got to figure out what's best for your aero package. Keep going to work. You figure out, you get it. And you can see it tonight. I mean, at Vegas, who would have thought you'd be three or four wide at Vegas? But we done it. They took it away and we just went to work on the body and got it where it's driving great.

"The tires are a whole lot more forgiving. You've seen that tonight where everybody is driving wide open through there. It equals out. You've got these crew members that are working on it, trying to get better downforce and stuff. And that's what we'll keep doing."

(BEING A SINGLE CAR TEAM IS THERE ANYBODY YOU CAN TURN TO FOR TECHNICAL INFORMATION?)

"Not really, because, you know, for a while everybody thought we had a plague. Nobody wanted to talk to us. That's why we're all of a sudden trying to learn these things. I've got some really good friends-crew chief-wise-who are on the Cup side that my Dad has worked with. They kind of shed light on us every now and then a lot of good crew members I've grown up with in the sport. They kind of steer you in the right direction. We're just kind of taking our time to learn. 11 races ago when we first started with the team, now we have new race cars and lot of new people. Just figuring the tire pressure out, keep everybody's rears up with these springs...we're just trying to keep up and figure out where to go. We're starting to figure it out and we'll get better as we go."

(WHEN THE SEASON STARTED IT WAS SAID IT WAS THE GOAL TO BE IN THE TOP 35-YOU'RE CLEARLY IN THERE NOW)

"Right now, we're like 22nd or 23rd in points. That really took a lot of pressure off of us as far as trying to qualify. Because it wasn't even an issue. At Daytona, we were horrible and still got in the race. The last three races we qualified really well. It's really benefited us. It kind of makes sure that the guys who come every week and support us every week...it makes sure we're in. So, a lot of guys that show up....you know, start in the back or whatever, it kind of avoids that. It kind of makes the sport stronger. It supports people who support the sport. I think it's good. For instance, like the Chase-everyone thought it was the dumbest thing in the world, now it's 'well, that worked out pretty good.' So, they haven't been doing this this long because they've been lucky to do what they do."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin