JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO: "I really didn't know what to expect for sure when I went out there. We were good right off the truck but as the track changed, we got really loose then really tight. I went down in the first corner...
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO:
"I really didn't know what to expect for sure when I went out there. We were good right off the truck but as the track changed, we got really loose then really tight. I went down in the first corner and it wasn't quite the same as practice so maybe I left a little on the table but it will get us a great starting spot. It is definitely fast. I just have to thank Ryan Pemberton and everyone on this U.S. Army team. They have just been giving me great cars all years. The last month has been so fun. I just can't say enough about this team. This was definitely an awesome lap for us. The track is cooler than when we practiced. I am sure Ryan Newman and some of the other guys have a good shot as us but it was a great lap and the car was fast.
"I am really proud of this team and also of all the soldiers out there. I want to tell Rick Hendrick, everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and all the families who lost someone last weekend that we are thinking of them and keeping them in our thoughts and prayers. Everyone in this whole garage is thinking of them."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO:
"We have been running the Busch car today too. We are running the McDonald's car for Kevin Harvick this weekend. We were in the top-five or six all during practice, which is pretty good for us here. I think we ended up 8th in practice at the end so maybe that's a help.
"The first lap I over drove the car quite a bit. That is the down side of running a Busch car here because you really have to haul it down in the corner and in the Cup car you have to lift earlier. I told my guys that I was probably going to overdrive it a little bit but hopefully that will be a good starting spot for us in this Home Depot Chevrolet.
"I am really proud of my guys and we want to put together a good run Sunday racing right here in Home Depot's back yard. We will have a lot of Home Depot people here and we want to have a good run for them."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO:
(ON TAKING ONLY ONE QUALIFYING LAP) "I was happy with the first lap and didn't think we could get any better than we did on that first lap. It actually felt better than what we turned but it was definitely better than we had in practice. After practice we weren't sure which way to go but the guys really did a good job on this DuPont Chevrolet. I maybe could have gotten a little more out of it but I feel like I got all out of it that I could on that first lap.
"I was hoping we could do better than that but we will take it. It was a solid lap and gives us a good starting position. This is a good track for us here. I like racing here a whole lot more than I like qualifying here. It is such a wide groove racetrack and really suits how we setup our race car. I really do like coming here.
(ON MAKING UP POINTS ON KURT BUSCH) "We aren't focused on anyone else except our team and getting the best run we possibly can for this DuPont Chevrolet."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We usually qualify very good here. We got a little confused here in practice and went back and forth both ways on the setup so hopefully we went the right way for qualifying. We just want to get this GM Goodwrench Chevrolet up front.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We've had a great year already. We've just got to keep trying to do our best. I'm really proud of my team. Regardless of what happens, I'm really happy with. We just can't give up."
(IS THIS WHOLE CHASE THING OUT OF YOUR HANDS?) "No, I don't think so. We're kind of in the middle of everything. We're still going to race hard and see what we can do. Instead of just racing Kurt (Busch) now we're racing Jeff (Gordon). We've got a couple of guys right behind us. Instead of being in the front, we're now in the middle of everything. We're still going to see what we can do. We'd love to win the championship. We're trying and trying and trying. Last week was just one thing after another and you can't have that kind of week. We can always look back at Martinsville as probably the make or break race that we thought we were going to run good at."
(YOU WON ATLANTA IN THE SPRING. HOW DOES THAT FIGURE INTO YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND?) "We're running good here. We just come in here and race hard. We've really got nothing to lose so we can really just hang it out. We're not in the lead like Kurt. We're not within striking distance of say 20 points, so we can really let it all hang out."
(REGARDING THE HENDRICK TRAGEDY, ARE YOU FEELING A GREATER DESIRE TO GET TO VICTORY LANE NOW JUST TO HONOR YOUR FRIENDS?) "For the Hendrick organization, that's an awesome way to honor Ricky and Dorton and everybody who was involved in the accident. That would be obviously at the top of their list of things they would like to do to recognize those names. For us, when you are personally inspired, you give that credit to the inspiration. I'm sure whoever wins this race this weekend you're going to hear those things in victory lane. I think you feel it up and down the garage whether you were a close friend or whether you were just an acquaintance or maybe you just didn't know them at all. You'll hear it all weekend everywhere you go."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The track got looser. We didn't change it any on the set-up and we were a little too loose for qualifying. If we were just a little bit higher, we would have been in really good shape. Obviously, I'm a little disappointed, but it's a good qualifying effort for us and we'll have a good race car come Sunday."
BRAIN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC MONTE CARLO:
"It feels good to be back at the race track. Everybody here has been so amazing with the support they have given Hendrick Motorsports and all the families that were a part of this tragedy. It feels good to be focused at what I like to do and what I am most comfortable at. It was a decent lap,I thought we could get a little more out of it. It felt like a better lap than that but hopefully it will keep us fairly close to the front.
"The temperature changes definitely gave us a lot of grip out there but we made a lot of changes before qualifying too. We unloaded with the setup that we had qualified well with here in the past but it wasn't working at all in practice. We made a lot of adjustments to get a little more bite out of the car on the racetrack but there were a couple of things that kinda got away from us and we didn't realize it until after practice. We made a lot of adjustments after practice and it came out not bad considering everything we changed. I feel pretty good about the race on Sunday.
"We will see how the car is in Happy Hour. We have to work on it I think. We have always qualified pretty good here but we need to get better because we haven't gotten a pole here yet. As far as Sunday's race is concerned, we need to work on our setup for that as well. I like coming here. I think the racing is good. From the first lap until the last lap you can either run up by the wall or you can run on the white line. It always makes for a great race, the track is fast and the fans are great. The groove moves up and you can go straight to the wall and dig. It was slick out there today and a little slick out there tonight to be honest with you. It will be a little slicker during Happy Hour and even more during the race.
(ARE YOU MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER?) "You know we are all inspired by different things. We all have different motivations. No matter how hard you work and how much you want it, sometimes circumstances force you to reach even deeper down inside yourself and pull out something. I think this is something that can do that for us. You don't always know where your motivation comes from. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes it isn't always obvious. When I got in the race car, something magical happens and sometimes I just shake my head at it.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO:
"The Lowe's Chevrolet was pretty good. I think we could have done a little bit better but we were probably just a little conservative trying to make the right adjustments from practice to qualifying. It was hard to tell exactly what the track was going to do but the guys did a great job and we had a good qualifying effort.
"I feel like we really have gotten our selves back on track from the little slump we had for a few races. We put our heads together and got ourselves back where we need to be with our consistency and rebound from where we were to where we need to be. That is how we have won the last two races and we are going to try and do it again this weekend. I feel like we have a good starting position and can get to fine tune the race setup in Happy Hour to have a good day on Sunday."