Atlanta II: Bobby Labonte qualifying press conference

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 2nd: WAS THAT PRETTY MUCH ALL YOU HAD? "That was about it. We had what I thought was a good car in practice. It felt really good and on our lap there we just had an ...

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 2nd:

WAS THAT PRETTY MUCH ALL YOU HAD? "That was about it. We had what I thought was a good car in practice. It felt really good and on our lap there we just had an awesome lap. That was as fast as we could go. That's a good starting spot for us and I'm really excited about that. The car handled really good and hopefully that's a good key for us for tomorrow."

IS THE TRACK GETTING TIGHTER? "Probably the answer to that would be, I don't think so. I think we had great grip toward the end of the draw. Being later in the draw was probably better because the track was cooler and had a lot of grip. I'm sure it had a lot of grip at 7:05 p.m., but it had more later. It wasn't that the track got tighter. Both ends of the track just had more grip, and that's the biggest thing that happened."

COULD YOU HAVE SQUEEZED ANY MORE OUT OF IT? "I squeezed the lap just a little bit, but I don't know that I could have gone any faster. If I had to do it over again, I'd try something, but I can't guarantee it's going to go any faster. I didn't bottom out, I thought my line was pretty clean, I didn't slip up any. If I was out of the gas any it was just for a skosh, so I don't know that with what I have right now that I could go any faster. If I tried, I might go slower."

HOIW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE WIN THE POLE EVERY TIME? "I don't think it's that frustrating. We're getting close and we've won our share of poles this year too. I don't think it's frustrating for the same guy to do it. I think it's OK in a lot of ways because that means their team really has their act together on qualifying, they're really good on racing and that gives you an incentive to go toward and hopefully that's what you want to do. If there were as many pole winners as races, it would be sort of a crapshoot. That's OK. I don't mind that. You're always looking for that guy, in Ryan's case, you're always looking at him as the guy to beat and you focus on that and try to make sure that you are able to do that. If it was different people every weekend, you wouldn't have that. You might be hit or miss maybe."

WHAT ABOUT THIS TRACK MAKES YOU SO TOUGH TO BEAT HERE? "I have no idea. It's just been a good track for me. I go way back to 1982 when I ran here for the first time in a Daytona Dash car. I finished third in the first Dash race I ever ran, I beat Larry Pearson and Michael Waltrip and the throttle hung wide open. Maybe that's what got me over the hump, I don't know. That's all I can say. I have no idea."

HOW MUCH SPEED CAN THIS TRACK HANDLE? "I think this track can handle that, because the fact that after 10 laps tomorrow we're going to be a lot slower. In the morning practice we'll be a lot slower and it's going to get slower yet because the grip on the tire gives up, our fenders are going to be out and we're going to have a lot more drag on it, the grille's going to be open and then it's going to get slower and slower. Plus, we've seen it in the past, you can run high or low or in the middle or all three at the same time in the same corner. The speeds are always fast here. At the end of the day, you're like, 'man, that was a fast race.' You're always going fast, but you can still race well here to where the speeds aren't as bad because you have multiple grooves."

PEOPLE TALK ABOUT SCARY LAPS. IS IT REALLY THAT FAST HERE? "If you go by the laps that Junior and I ran, I don't think you can get scared at that time. It's when you screw up and run a slow lap, that's when you get the 'oh, that took my breath away' feeling. To go that fast, our cars couldn't be too bad. They were pretty much right on. I remember the night race here a few years ago because it rained all day. We fell out before the night came and I had never got to run here at night. It was kind of cool. It feels fast. This track is really good for sensation of speed and at night it was just a lot more. I hope everybody liked it."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Michael Waltrip