NOTES AND QUOTES Bud Pole Qualifying Bristol Motor Speedway April 9, 1999 BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "I got a little bit loose getting into one and I thought, 'Boy, this ain't going to be very good here.'...
NOTES AND QUOTES Bud Pole Qualifying Bristol Motor Speedway April 9, 1999
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "I got a little bit loose getting into one and I thought, 'Boy, this ain't going to be very good here.' But the Pontiac held up good and I got back around pretty quick. It's a brand new race car and a good lap. The shoulder feels all right. It's not bad. The muscle around it is a little sore. We had an X-ray done Tuesday and it showed the bone had healed back really good, as good as it can be, so everybody's excited about that. I'm about 85 percent right now. I don't know if that's enough to get through 500 laps here.
"I don't think I had a lot for Rusty. He was good in practice. We were better than we were in practice and that's really good. The guys did a great job and we've got a great race car here. Bristol's a tough place and starting up front is going to help here.
"It's a good, strong effort for us on a short track. I feel really good about it. Usually qualifying in the top three here for me is pretty hard to do. Having last week off was great. I really didn't do much of anything really. It was definitely a great week.
"I'm sure it will be a little bit tough, but we had that weekend off and that helped. It's probably going to be sore. The bone has healed up and everything is strong. But once we hustle around it will get a little tender. The injury hasn't changed my style or how I approach things. Tony tested a brand new car here and they were able to help us out on quite a bit of stuff. That made it that much easier. They ran pretty close to what we ran here last year."
TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "We tested a lot better than that, but the conditions are a lot different, too. That's about as quick as we've run all day, so we're happy with that. I don't know what to expect in the race. I guess I'll have to get the quija board out tonight. We were a little loose both laps. We've been loose all day. For some reason, we never could get it tight enough. We'll take that right now."
Note: Hot Wheels Pontiac driver Kyle Petty often struggles in qualifying at Bristol, but today he qualified 14th. He missed making the field at Texas.
KYLE PETTY (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix): "That was really good.
I outguessed myself. I should have done what (crew chief) Doug (Hewitt) said. We just haven't worked together enough yet. I made him change the car a little bit and we slowed up a little bit from what we practiced. At least I can call the guys at the shop and tell them they're going to be working this Sunday. A guy told me the other day, 'I haven't been to but two races all year.' I said, 'I haven't been to but four.'
"It was a good lap. I lost time down in turn one. I got into turn one and it was a little tighter than I thought it was going to be. We made the race, that's the main thing. I was worried coming in. This is a tough place and I've not been known to qualify good here, either. I've really been pretty bad here. Bobby Kennedy and I qualified third here one time and every other time we were backstretch and provisional. To miss races we thought we were going to run good in and then to come to a place where you real ly doubt yourself, I think the team just stepped up. I told everybody when we got back from Texas, by coming to the shop on Monday you would have thought we had won the race and not Terry Labonte. Everybody at the shop was pum ped up. Everybody at Petty Enterprises took the week off and regrouped and hopefully both of our cars will be OK this weekend.
"I can race here. I just can't qualify. That's been our problem so far. We've been able to race good like at Rockingham. I do the Kenny Schrader thing here. If I can keep Kenny Schrader in front of me and he's finished, then it's a good finish, because he only finishes in the top-five here. Either that, or he wrecks. That's what he always tells me. I've followed him up here a couple of races and had good runs."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "That's not exactly what we wanted. Qualifying is always so close here than even a little bit can mean a whole lot."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "Same ol' Bristol deal for me. I slid in the middle of the turns and pushed off."
ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix): "We just can't seem to get our qualifying package down. We race fine, but we're struggling in qualifying. All we can do is just keep trying."
DERRIKE COPE (No. 30 Jimmy Dean Pontiac Grand Prix): "I got a little too low coming out of turn four to take the green flag and I think that kind of messed my line up for the first lap. The tires didn't seem to work the way we wanted them to. It's frustrating. We were hoping to at least duplicate what we did in the last practice and then we would be fine right now."