MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I'll tell you, it scared the hell out of me. It was a good lap for our Lowe's Chevrolet. Although it probably won't hold up for the pole, it was a good lap and we'll race from there and we're...
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I'll tell you, it scared the hell out of me. It was a good lap for our Lowe's Chevrolet. Although it probably won't hold up for the pole, it was a good lap and we'll race from there and we're glad to have it. We got the Albertson's car in the Busch race, so we won the second-day Busch Series pole. The car pushed coming to the flag, and I had to roll out just a little bit. I knew that was going to hurt it. I really got through one and two awfully good, but I got a little too high on both ends of the race track coming off the corner. But we'll take that lap. Like I said, a perfect lap, and we might have run a tenth (of a second) quicker.
"The Lowe's car has been really good ever since we got off the trailer. We didn't know if we had a shot at the pole or not, but I told Larry (crew chief McReynolds) and Richard (car owner Childress) that we were good enough in points to get in the race, and I was going to go for it and run as hard as I could. That's the fastest we've been and wherever it stacks up, we'll be ple ased with to race from there.
"The first time we raced out here, we had the fastest time by a couple of tenths and a buddy of mine got me fired up and said we could win the pole. Well, I drove off in there so deep that I just about wrecked. I thought about that today. I said, 'Don't do it today. You've got to let off sometime down here.' We did, and the car turned good for us. I just got a little too aggressive on both ends, I think. Hopefully, that will stay in the top 10 or 15 and we'll race them from there.
"Yeah, I was breathing pretty heavy for a minute. Man, I'll tell you what. That was a handful. I'm glad it's over with. I had to really put it on the line in Andy Petree's Busch car, and we got that thing in the show, fortunately. I said, 'man, the 31 car is good enough to start in the top five, maybe get a pole with a perfect lap.' We didn't have a perfect lap. We pushed coming to the flag. I had to let off a little bit, and I know that hurt us. And I got a little too high on both ends of the race track. But it's a good lap, and we'll race from there. I'll tell you, the engine shop at Richard Childress Racing really stepped up this weekend. That's a good qualifying motor.
"We really got off to a slow start. It's a situation where we've run better than our finishes. We've had a couple of opportunities to win races, and we've had mechanical failures that are pretty rare at Richard Childress Racing. Hopefully, that's behind us now and we can get some top 10 and top five finishes and get into the top 10 in points and maybe win a points race."
NOTE: Skinner is participating in a program to raise funds for Red Cross Disaster Relief. The NAPA Auto Parts 500 will mark the last of four races for the program. Lowe's donates $31 for every lap Skinner completes and $1,031 for every lap Skinner leads. So far, Skinner has raised $42,620 ($11,354 at Texas, $25,438 at Martinsville and $5,828 at Talladega.).
JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"In practice we ran really strong in the morning. When the track was cloudy we probably had one of the best cars here. When the sun came out, the track got a little slick and we just couldn't get our car back where it needed to be. I know we're going to race good. We'll just have to take it the way it is and hopefully that speed will be good enough for the top 25 and run hard on Sunday."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"We hadn't even been close to what a lot of those guys were running all day. Even though we've won here, we always try to get better. I think our car is going to be good on longer runs. We've got the front downforce we want and I've been loose all day. It's been a little bit of a struggle for us. The car is much better than that, but I drove real deep into turn one and drifted up too high. It probably hurt me two or three tenths. I just didn't get the most out of it. At times, you need to hit that perfect lap, especially going out second. I didn't hit it today. We've been fighting it a little bit. I just haven't been able to get that speed going through the corners. We've been picking it up, but I drove too deep into turn one in qualifying and hurt it. I really like this track. It's a track we've got confidence in, but I don't think that matters a whole lot right now. We're just trying to figure out what this car needs. The tire is a little different. We're just trying to figure out the combination it needs. We'll keep getting after it until we find it. We haven't been a rocket ship all day. I was hoping to pick it up in qualifying. I don't think going out second helped us, but I drove in so deep into turn one, and the car slid up on me. I wasn't expecting that. You can blame it on whatever you want, but that's what we got and it wasn't pretty. We're going to try to get it better. I think we'll be all right in the race."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"The car was just too loose in qualifying. It was real good in practice. I guess the track changed on us. It was a little tight in practice, so we decided to leave it there. I was too loose in and too loose out in the middle for qualifying. I didn't think the lap would hold up for the top 25, but it made the top 10 and that really surprised me. I think we'll be in real good shape for the race."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"The sun came out on me. That made the car loose. I think we were 11th quickest in practice and we ended up 12th in qualifying, so that's not too bad. We unloaded good and cut a fast lap early when the track was cool. I was a little loose. When we were here testing, we found out that if the sun came out for 30 seconds, the track changed and that's what happened to us in qualifying today."
DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We were terribly loose in three and four. We ran more tape on the car than we practiced with and it hurts us every time. I don't think the track has changed that much. They want to tape it up and get some more straightaway speed. Well, we got it, but it turned it loose on us in the corners. I guess we were lucky to keep it out of the wall." Friday, April 28, 2000. California Speedway. Bud Pole qualifying for NAPA Auto Parts 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 3.
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"The track changed a whole lot for us. We were 15th in practice. We were loose in and we tightened it up a little bit, but it wasn't near enough. I got sideways. I almost spun out coming to take the green flag."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"Driver error was my main problem. I didn't have a good practice today. I never could get the car exactly like I needed it in order for me to hammer it for a lap. We ran a bunch of half laps and three-quarters of a segment laps. In qualifying, I got a little loose off turn two. Then we got to turn four and the car stuck good, but I don't guess I hammered it hard enough. I waited too long to get back in the gas or something. I thought I had hit everything like I needed to. I'm proud of my brother. I'm disappointed in my job, but I'm pleased with the team's performance today. I wish I could have qualified better for them."
DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I was out of control. We were so free to begin with, any freeing up of the race track between practice and qualifying really hurt us. My car was extremely loose. I was a little afraid of that going into qualifying, but I still drove it down in there pretty hard. It just didn't stick. I can't get on the gas. You either ride around there and get what you can get or bring it back on a rollback. We were pretty good in practice, but we lost about half a second in qualifying. I'm disappointed, but I'm glad I got through it. The car is going to be fine for the race. When we got here we were way off and never got close. I was driving the car over my head in practice to get some times so they'd see the car move up on the board. I couldn't do it in qualifying. It was just too loose."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"I'd run fair in practice. I went in there and got real loose in one and two and when I got loose down there, I just didn't try that hard in three and four. I gave up a lot just not to wreck the car. The sun changed the track some, but I don't think it should have made me go sideways. We're going to requalify in the morning. We're going to give it another shot. I know we can do better than that. I'm not comfortable with that. We should have been in the top 10 easy."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"My car pushed. We were too tight. We'd been that way in practice, and we made some adjustments, but it was still pretty tight. We'll be OK for the race I hope. This is the same car we won the pole with at Texas. We thought we'd be in pretty good shape with it out here. We just got a little too tight. We thought we could get it better, but we didn't."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I thought turns one and two went good, and I got down into three. The car was turning good and I rolled back in the gas coming off four. It got sideways on me. I stayed with it. I thought I was going to be OK and then it started coming around. I had to let off the gas. It was pretty loose, but letting off the gas just killed the lap."