JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Note: Fastest Chevrolet in both practice sessions) "I feel great. The whole team is pumped up right now. This is the same car we had at Kansas. The thing ran fast in every practice and we...
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
Note: Fastest Chevrolet in both practice sessions) "I feel great. The whole team is pumped up right now. This is the same car we had at Kansas. The thing ran fast in every practice and we ended up finishing fourth. Hopefully we can have a little bit of luck and have a result like that on Sunday.
"We're just trying to be consistent. I'm not doing anything different than I did four months ago. We're finally figuring these cars out and what they need. The motor shop has stepped up and got us some awesome engines. It's just that everything has been going great that last three or four weeks. We're on a roll."
DO THINGS JUST SEEM TO CLICK BETWEEN YOU AND CREW CHIEF, PETER SOSPENSO, OR IS IT JUST A COMBINATION OF MANY THINGS? "I think it's just a combination of everything. Peter and Ed (Guzzo, car chief) are getting along great. Peter is making some good calls. Ed is on top of these cars and making sure nothing is falling off and everything is perfect. Everything is going right. You can't put your finger on one thing. I think it's a combination of everything and our confidence level is real high."
ON HAVING TO START SUNDAY'S RACE IN 35TH BASED ON OWNERS POINTS "We were going to be really good (in qualifying). We just had to pull that one lap off again to be in the front. But Mother Nature didn't let us do that, so we're starting in the back. We'll be going to the front."
CAN YOU MOVE TO THE FRONT ON THIS TRACK LIKE YOU DID AT KANSAS? "I want to say it's going to be a little more difficult here. It just depends on the groove. It depends on how everybody's cars are working. If our car is working good, we're going to be able to get to the front without at problem."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "The car has been great. In qualifying practice, we were a little slower than we would have like to have seen. But our race set-up is really strong. We've been able to go out there and run times on 25-lap tires that other guys are having a hard time running on new tires. Hopefully nothing changes overnight and we're able to come back and run that way for 500 miles tomorrow."
DO YOU AND JEFF GORDON HAVE SOME GOOD NOTES FOR THIS RACE? "Hendrick Motorsports has a lot of history here and they've run well with all the cars. Jeff has obviously had a lot of success here. We ran awfully well here in the 600 except for my little mistake there at the end. We've got the same car, the same springs, and the same shocks. We've fine-tuned it a little bit due to the hotter weather, but it's all the same and hopefully we'll have a similar performance."
SINCE THE WEATHER HAS WARMED UP IN THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS, HAS THAT CAUSED YOU TO CHANGE ANYTHING? "Fortunately since the sun came out during Happy Hour, it'll give us a good read on tomorrow. It's always easier to adjust on the car when the clouds come in. You know where the track's going to go and you're going to gain more grip. But when the sun comes out, sometimes it throws you a curve ball. At least we have the sun today and it'll make for a good race on Sunday."
HOW HAVE YOU MATURED AND LEARNED FROM YOUR MISTAKE OF SLIDING THROUGH YOUR PIT STALL IN THE 600? "You learn from every lap around the track. Prior to the 600 race, I wasn't getting into my pit stall hard enough. And then I crossed the line and got in too far a couple of times. We've been real consistent lately and have had great stops. It's just one of those lessons you learn. In the Busch Series, I had pit stops for two years and made some small mistakes there. But until you lose one - a race that big - it really doesn't hit home that hard. It sure did after the 600."
SINCE YOU MADE YOUR WINSTON CUP DEBUT HERE ONE YEAR AGO, HOW SPECIAL WOULD IT BE TO WIN THIS RACE? "This would be extra special for a lot of reasons like driving the Lowe's Monte Carlo at Lowe's Motor Speedway. It was my first Winston Cup race. This race weekend last year, Blaise Alexander one of my closest friends, was killed here. So there are a lot of neat things that would be special if we are able to win this thing."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE POINTS RACE NOW? "I wish Talladega would have worked out a little better for us. I thought by starting up front, we'd stay out of trouble. I never thought I'd end up in trouble on the pace lap. But things happen. We did all we could that day. We had some other problems. We're just looking forward to this race. If we go out and get maximum points every week, the points will fall how they may and we'll just see what happens."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO MARK MARTIN AND TOLD HIM TO DO THE SAME THING TO TONY STEWART THIS WEEKEND? "Yeah, I talked to Mark (laughs). I don't know if the same stuff will happen. It seemed like it might have been just something they were doing for the restrictor plate races with the power steering. It's possible. I'm not sure. I might be speaking out of line there. Crazy things happen. You hate to wish anything on anyone. But, on the pace lap? That was the last thing I ever expected to have happen to me. It'll probably go down in history as one of the crazier things that have ever happened."
ARE YOU IN A COUNTDOWN PHASE YET OR ARE YOU TAKING IT ONE DAY AT A TIME? "Definitely one day at a time. Every weekend that you get behind you without any problems, you breathe a little easier. You've got to take it one day at a time. You can be a hero or a zero in a matter of minutes in this sport. We'll just keep it going and see what happens."
HOW DO YOU SIZE-UP THE UPCOMING RACES? "At Phoenix, I ran well there in a Busch car. I've also run well at Homestead. Here at Lowe's Motor Speedway and then at Atlanta are probably the best shots we have at winning. I think we'll run strong at Rockingham, Phoenix, and Homestead. Martinsville's got me a little worried, but I think we'll be okay."
-team monte carlo-