Bristol COT test: Dodge day one morning quotes

DAVIE STREMME (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Avenger) WHAT'S YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSION OF THE AVENGER AT BRISTOL? "I think when it comes to the cars we've made real aggressive changes. We need to be a little bit better, but I feel like my car is ...

DAVIE STREMME (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Avenger)

WHAT'S YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSION OF THE AVENGER AT BRISTOL? "I think when it comes to the cars we've made real aggressive changes. We need to be a little bit better, but I feel like my car is decent. I feel like our organization has done its homework over the winter, and it's helped out. We're not way off like some teams here. We're in the hunt. I've lost count how many times I've tested the COT. I didn't go on vacation over the winter. I went and tested. It was something Steven Lane and I decided to do. We built a new car, and we have a car we've been testing. We felt like we've made improvements. There's so much to be learned still, a lot of unknowns."

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST UNKNOWN? "The cars are all tight. You didn't see anybody wreck (in morning test). I didn't know what to expect. I was expecting the worst coming in. It was a lot better than what I thought."

DO YOU THINK THERE'S BEEN SOME OVERREACTION TO THE COT? "A lot of us are playing catch up, and I think the COT puts us on a level playing field. I think whatever teams work well together here and communicates well together will accomplish their goals. I'm a racer. I'll race anything."

IS THERE A BIG DIFFERENCE? "There's not a huge difference. It'll depend how things hold up on the cars through 500 laps here.

WILL YOU BE ABLE TO USE THE FRONT OF THE CAR TO KNOCK SLOW CARS OUT OF THE WAY? "Guys will probably get more aggressive because the bumpers are bigger on it. For the most part I think it's going to be the same Bristol. Track position is going to be huge and you're going to need to stay out of trouble. Guys that have their cars turning well and can get back on the throttle are going to be the better cars. That's what we're working on now. It's not as big of a deal as everybody makes it out to be. I think when we go to Darlington and other places, I'll be curious to see how it works out there."

ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU'RE THE TOP-RANKED DODGE IN THE STANDINGS? "A little but on the other hand I don't feel we've had the finishes we deserve. We should be sitting with two top 10 finishes right now. We got caught a lap down last week running with the top 10 guys all day. We just couldn't ever get a break. We wanted to start '07 where we left off in '06 and that's what we're doing. It's still early. Points are up and down. California was a bad race for us last year in both races. We come back and have a bad day of 19th. We'll take that. We have room for improvement, but we're more competitive."

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT RACE AT LVMS? "Yes, we had a good test at Vegas and we're racing the same Charger we raced at California. They're getting it ready as we speak. It was very comfortable in the test there."


BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Avenger)

WHAT'S YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSION OF THE AVENGER AT BRISTOL? "I think everybody was on the nervous side to start with, but once you get going you just go with it. It's just different, but it's still got four shocks, four springs, four tires. I think all the people in the grandstands are going to be the ones to figure out if it's good or bad."

WHAT DO YOU THINK? "I'd like to say it's going to be good. To me the box is too small. It doesn't matter if you've got a car they say is going to save a lot of money. If it saves you a million dollars for 10 cars people are still going to spend all of the money. I've heard only one car has gone through inspection. What are they going to do? They're going to have to be lenient. They should have thought about this before hand and make it where you've got X, Y and Z and you've got to abide by it, but let us have A, B and C to make our cars better. But if they make A, B and C and X, Y and Z you're going to spend more money to try to make it better. That's just my opinion. They say a small team can't get caught up if you do that. I think it's just a process we're going through now."

WILL YOU BE ABLE TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE AT BRISTOL WITH THE COT? "I don't think you're going to be able to knock anybody out of the way with that thing. If you knock the front off and that thing off the back you're done. That's probably the worst thing. If you get out and do something wrong, and come into the pits to fix it, I'm not sure you can fix it now. If there's 22 cars at the end of the race and nobody riding around because they can't fix their stuff -- again those people in the stands will dictate what it's going to be."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)

WHAT'S YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE AVENGER AT BRISTOL? "It's a really rough ride for awhile. Everybody is bouncing like crazy out there. It's getting better. We're not even working on going fast. We're just working on getting the car to drive better and settle down on the racetrack. It's a different piece. We've just been trying to get it so it's under you. We've tested it twice before. There was a big difference in the car at Darlington, but there wasn't a big difference on the flat short track. I have noticed a big difference (with the COT) at Darlington and Bristol."

WHAT DO YOU THINK A COT RACE WILL BE LIKE AT BRISTOL? "If they started it right now, it would be a mess in turn one, but by the time we get to race everybody will have it under control. It'll be fun. It'll be tough to say how it'll turn out. It'll be tough to pass and tough to race, but it'll be fun. We'll figure it out."


JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Avenger)

WHAT'S YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSION OF BMS? "It's pretty wild. It's been a wild experience to be honest with you. I spun and kept it out of the wall. I was pretty lucky. I think we've been OK. We're a little bit off the pace, but it's a hard place to find your feet. You're looking for a really good lap time but when you've got everybody around it'll be a different force. The hard thing is always the last four tenths. You're chasing the car and track and chasing whether you're driving too hard or too slow. You need to find a good balance and good rhythm. The better balance the easier it's going to be. That's what we're trying to do."

COMMENT ON THE AVENGER "If you ask the guys who have been here before they'll probably say (the COT) is horrible. I've never been here in the other cars so I didn't know what to expect. From that point of view, maybe I have an advantage, but the lack of laps... Guys come here twice and year and do 500 laps. I have 118 laps here. I've got a lot more to catch up."

COMMENT ON RUNNING 500 LAPS HERE "I think you'd be lucky to make it to the end. I think this is a track where you'd have to be happy just to bring the car home. You've just got to be at the right place at the right time the whole race if you're going to finish."


DONNIE WINGO (Crew Chief No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Avenger)

HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR DRIVER IS DOING SO FAR AT BMS? "He only walked through the gate four hours ago and it's the first time he'd seen the place. He went faster every time he went out. I think that's pretty good for a guy who'd never seen the place."

WAS HE AWED BY THE TRACK? "Yeah, a little bit. He said it looked like a football stadium. I think he's had a lot of fun. I almost had a heart attack when I saw him spin (in turn one). He didn't hit anything, and that's the main thing."

COMMENT ON YOUR FIRST TWO RACES IN 2007 "People are expecting a lot out of us and we're expecting a lot out of ourselves. Are we happy with the way we ran last week? No, I'm not happy with that, but one reason we wound up like that was because we got out of sync pitting and we got a lap down. The second lap down came trying to stretch it so we could make it on one more stop. We had that worked out and then there was a debris caution at the end. That caught us out. Other than that, he ran six or eight laps in the middle of the race faster than anybody. I think he's doing pretty good."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup