Atlanta qualifying Pontiac notes

>From NASCAR and Pontiac Racing Friday, March 8, 1996. Atlanta Motor Speedway. First-round qualifying Purolator 500. NOTE: This is Pontiac's first pole position since Rusty Wallace won the pole for the 1993 Motorcraft 500 -- a span of...

>From NASCAR and Pontiac Racing

Friday, March 8, 1996.

Atlanta Motor Speedway. First-round qualifying Purolator 500.

NOTE: This is Pontiac's first pole position since Rusty Wallace won the pole for the 1993 Motorcraft 500 -- a span of 65 races The Bahari' team built Pontiac's first intermediate super speedway car and spearheaded the manufacturer's testing efforts here last year while developing the new Pontiac Grand Prix

JOHNNY BENSON (No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac Grand Prix): "Pontiac did most of their great deal The guys on the Bahari'' race learn really work hard Qualifying it up front is pretty .cool

YOU WON THE BUSCH RACE HERE LAST YEAR WHAT IS IT ABOUT ATLANTA -THAT SUITS YOUR STYLE?

"It's a track I like. The track kind of fits my style a little bit, but it's mainly the guys. They just do a super job on the race cars It almost went around there by itself I was just kind of holding the pedal down. It's just a good race track for me. I grew up on the short tracks. This track looks like it's got a lot of bank to it, but when you're on the track it's not banked as much as it needs to be. It kind of slips and slide around. It's kind of hard to like it at the speeds you're running here, but it doesn't seem to be all that bad."

WILL THE PONTIAC RACE WELL HERE TOO?

"I hope so The Monte Carlo's and the Fords both run real strong here. We just hope the Pontiacs can run good. We'll have to wait and see. It's a long race. I'm a rookie, but hopefully, the Pontiacs can keep me in good shape. I think it will be a good car here for the race."

DID YOU HAVE A STRATEGY IN MIND FOR QUALIFYING?

"NO. I think originally it was going to be one lap (qualifying) for everybody. But with the cold weather they changed it to two laps. Our laps were pretty much the same. The first lap you're scared, and the second lap it just sticks a little bit better. The car ran great. The Goodyear radials did a super job. I don't think the cold was all that bad for it."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE A ROOKIE?

"I think the quick adjustment is because of the Bahari' race team. It's not myself. Sure we had success in Busch Grand National, But i was with a good team there. This is a great team.They're doing a great job. It's a brand new tee car, and it worked pretty good "

HOW IS YOUR HEALTH?

"The cold weather stinks I'm going to stay in as much as I can I've still got a cold, but it's going away slowly. I'll be OK by Sunday, but it's going to be another week or two before I get up to 100 percent "

DESCRIBE YOUR LAP.

"It wasn't wide open all the way around. Earlier in practice, I thought maybe we could do it. I know you could in the Busch cars. But with the weather being as cold as it its, it wasn't possible. Instead of going in as deep as I wanted to I just lifted a little bit early, and I got in the gas earlier, and it seemed to work out fine."

DOUG HEWITT, crew chief (No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac Grand Prix): "All the Pontiac teams' efforts paid off here I think all the Pontiacs will be good here. We haven't touched a bolt We came down here with what we learned in our tests here on the new Pontiac. It's been well worth it for us That makes the job a lot easier We're pretty happy This is a brand new car We built the first intermediate car for Pontiac, a development car, and I think we tested it three times down here. We learned a lot. Johnny got five laps in the car. Michael Waltrip did most of the driving the first time, and Rick Mast did most of the drving the second time. All the Pontiac drivers had a hand in it.

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "The track slowed up, sunlight probably. We had a good lap anyhow. That's about what our usual pace is. The lap was good. I ran through there and got right back on the gas. We had run a 29.32 in practice. It's a brand new car. We haven't tested it or anything. We haven't had to touch a wedge bolt or anything on it since we've been here. The main thing we're looking for is something to race good here. We qualified ninth for this race here last year and third for the fall race. We've just got to get the car where it drives good."

WARD BURTON (No. 22 MBNA Pontiac Grand Prix): "The car was just loose. We don't understand that because we hadn't been loose at all in practice. We thought we could be in the top-five in qualifying. We finished fifth in the last race here, so we think we'll be OK."

Rick Mast (No. 1 Hooters Pontiac Grand Prix): "WE've got one speed. We unloaded at 30.05, practiced at 30.05, and I qualified at 30.05. The care gets into the turns good, and it turns good. Evidently we're struggling with speed exiting the turns in two and four. The car is justtight in there. Hopefully we can get this thing figured out before the race."

KYLE PETTY (No. 42 Coors Light Pontiac. Grand Prix): "We cooled the car off too much It killed our oil temperature and stuff It never got back up. That just killed the motor. I thought the tires heated up fine It just didn't run anywhere. What happens is that when you don't have enough oil temperature it just knocks horsepower out of the motor. We did it to ourselves. It was done here, so we ail should run good The 30 has been here the most. I came down here twice for tests, but I only drove the Bahari' car once. Hamilton drove it a bunch."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Rick Mast