B. Labonte, Ince, Zipadelli Charlotte notes

BOBBY LABONTE , NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON JOE GIBBS RACING RUNNING SO WELL HERE) "Everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing, with our team and Tony's team, likes coming here. It's just been a good racetrack for us. Tony struggles...


(ON JOE GIBBS RACING RUNNING SO WELL HERE) "Everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing, with our team and Tony's team, likes coming here. It's just been a good racetrack for us. Tony struggles a little bit at qualifying but runs really good during the race, and we've had really good qualifying runs and race runs here, too. We really like coming here and when you come here with all that confidence and you do good, then it's pretty cool to get back to a track where you feel comfortable at."

(ON STARTING FROM THE FRONT ROW) "It's important here. I think that a lot of times if it goes green for awhile, you can get a lap down pretty quick if your car isn't just right. This track is plenty wide for two-wide racing. It's always getting better with the payment getting a little bit older and the grooves move up during the race. That gives you a chance to feel the competition out a little bit more than trying to get caught up or stay caught up during the race if you're starting out back." (ON STAYING ON TOP IN POINTS) "Well, I think that we go into every race trying to do the best we can and we feel like when we come in here it's zero to zero and when we leave here we'll see where it ends up on Sunday. Qualifying second doesn't mean we're going to run great, but at least it gives us some enthusiasm for practice. I figure the Winston Cup championship this year is a tight battle. For us to stay up front we're going to have to beat the guys that we're racing right now because if we don't finish in the top five, I guarantee you 75 percent of them, if not all them will finish in the top five. We have to keep doing that and work real hard. This is just another weekend that we just want to go out there and run really good and be consistent like we have been and if we can keep doing that hopefully we can continue on our way."

(ON ADVICE FROM JOE GIBBS) "He really hasn't come to me like that. I'm not sure that I could hike a ball very good or throw a touchdown pass, but he lets me do what I need to do, and that's drive. He hasn't come to me yet, anyway. That not saying he won't. But I think just listening to him throughout any day through the week that we try and talk here and there, you just try and understand what it's all about."

(ON ADVICE FROM TERRY LABONTE) "Not really. We talk a little bit, but I think every year is probably a little different. When he won in '96 and '84 it was definitely different than it is today. It changes all the time. Strategies change or just whatever is going on. Throughout the year he's talked to me just a little bit about, 'Hey, don't forget about this, don't forget about that,' but that's really about all."

(ON WEATHER) "When the track cools down it will probably tighten up a little bit. If the sun's out the track might still get greasy. We'll just have to accommodate for it. We'll just have to adjust for it. We've got a lot of notes and if we can go back to them and decipher through them and see what we've got, maybe we can hit upon the right thing. Sometimes when it's slippery it's always a lot more fun because sometimes you can hit upon it and a lot of other guys don't. If it's cool then a lot of guys might hit upon the same thing. It will be more competitive maybe, but it won't be as good as if you can hit the right setup and pull away from some guys."


(ON THE TIRE SITUATION THIS WEEKEND) "I don't think it's a big concern. Naturally, everybody is torn up about it, but I've never been to a race where we didn't have tires to race on. Goodyear had a problem. I think I can respect them that they've had a problem and instead of bolting them on the race car and taking a risk, they have stepped back and said, 'Look, we can't do this and we need to regroup.'

"I think that just kind of reflects the schedule a little bit for everybody. Everybody gets behind. When you have trouble, you hiccup a little bit. The thing I don't understand is why we don't run three (tire) codes everywhere and be done with it. If we ran less tires it would save everybody a hell of a lot of money and you wouldn't have these problems."

(ON GOODYEAR'S STATEMENT REGARDING THE STRAIN OF A 12-WEEK STRETCH) "I'm just not sure what to make out of it. Like I said, I've got to look at the positive and say, 'Boy, they knew they had a problem and they backed up.' It's disappointing naturally, but at least they're trying to do something about it.

"You want to use the schedule as an excuse, but we're all still here. All of us, we're still prepared and we're still here ready to race. But again it goes back to I don't understand why we have so many different tires for so many different racetracks, anyway. It's not like there are competitors here. Hoosier is not here. Firestone is not here. There is nobody to compete against, so there is really no excuse for having tire problems."

(ON THE GOODYEAR MANUFACTURING SO MANY DIFFERENT TIRE CODES) "You could break this us into short track tires, speedway tires and intermediate (track) tires and run the same tire everywhere. I don't understand why we're always hunting more speed with the tire. Like I say, we're not competing against anybody for us to have a decision. It's just like I don't understand with no competition here why there are guys in this garage getting free tires and we're paying full price for them. There is a lot of confusion for me on that part. I don't understand."

(ANY CONCEN WITH RUNNING OUT OF TIRES TOMORROW?) "No. I don't know if there is anything to figure out. If we run out, we're all going to run out together. Maybe the whole show stops 250 laps in, but I doubt it. I'm sure it will work out. We've seen worse things than this and we always overcome it, so there is really not that big of a concern."


(ANY CONCERN WITH RUNNING LOW TOMORROW?) "We've accumulated a bunch of scuffs to practice on so we can save our six sets or seven sets - whatever we get. Under normal conditions, that would be enough to run the race here. You just don't have that option of coming down and putting them on if you do have a problem. But I'm under the impression that they are trying to get more here, so it's too early to say.

"It's kind of a bad deal. It puts us in a tough spot. Obviously it puts Goodyear in a tough spot because now everybody is upset about it, but everybody will get through it."

(HOW DOES IT CHANGE PIT STRATEGY TOMORROW?) "You'll just have to use them sparingly for the first half of the race so you don't end up shorting yourself at the end. But we'll all get through it. It's just another hurdle.

"Six or seven sets is enough to get through it, as long as you're not wasting them, being foolish. As far as the tire itself, we put 70 laps on a set the other day and they were great. They still drove good and speeds were still good. It's not like we're at Rockingham or a place like that where they are really going to give up and wear out. And as cool as it is, that's probably going to help track conditions a little bit more, too."

(CAN THE TEAM WIN THREE IN A ROW?) "We're not good enough to win right now, but hopefully we'll get where we need to be. We'll just keep plugging away. Is it possible? Sure. I feel that there aren't many racetracks where we can't go and win. I think you kind of have to have that belief in your people and your driver and everything in order to go out and win. We're looking forward to just having a good run here at Charlotte."

(ANY THOUGHT TO FIGURING OUT HOW TO DUPLICATE LATE-SEASON SUCCESS IN THE EARLY PART OF THE SEASON NEXT YEAR?) "Everybody just sees that we've won five races in the second half of the season, but the first half really wasn't that bad. We just had three DNFs and that's not happening now, so it looks like we're running a lot better. But we ran good. We finished fourth at Rockingham. We finished second at Las Vegas at the beginning of the year. We had some good runs early in the year in between those DNFs that everybody just kind of overlooks."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing