JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 ZEREX/VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 23rd: "It was a little quicker than practice, but it's not near enough to keep us where we were in practice. We were like 11th quick in practice, and I hope this keeps us in the...
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 ZEREX/VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 23rd:
"It was a little quicker than practice, but it's not near enough to keep us where we were in practice. We were like 11th quick in practice, and I hope this keeps us in the top 20, but I'm not sure it was good enough."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 13th:
"I was happy with my first lap, it was good. The second lap wasn't as fast as we needed. I didn't expect the second lap to be faster, but Bill [Elliott] ran faster on his second lap, so I was thinking about that. I'm happy with the first lap for the Tide Pontiac, which was a great improvement over practice. I'm proud of these guys."
ARE YOU HEADED HOME TO WATCH THE RED SOX PLAY? "Well, I'm going to hang out here and work with the guys on the race setup, but you bet I'm going to catch the last four or five innings. Last night was a thrill ride, and it was really cool the way they went in there and won that first game. With six races to go, we need to finish strong. We've had a good year, left a lot on the table, and we'd like to qualify decent and finish the job."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/got milk? CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 21st:
"I knew my first lap was stronger than practice, but I saw Elliott run his quick lap on his second, so I thought I would try it. I just didn't have the grip on the second lap that I had on the first lap."
KEVIN LEPAGE, NO. 4 KODAK PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 5th:
"I was a little free earlier in the day, and I convinced Tim Brewer and the rest of the guys to tighten me up a little bit, and we just went a little too far with the Kodak Pontiac. This is what these guys need. They've been home two out of the last three weeks, and this is a boost for the Kodak team right now."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 10th:
"If it bottoms out a little bit, you can get by with it. I was going to turn up my normal two-tenths for qualifying and get a flat or a .90, and our 01 Pontiac was awfully good. I felt like it ran good in Turns 3 and 4 and it came to the green pretty good. I asked a little more of it than it was willing to give down there in Turn 1. The front wheels wouldn't go with the back wheels and we about wrecked, but we pulled a decent lap out of it. The second lap I just tried even harder, but we just don't have the travel for the grip that's in the track right now. The track is good now and it's getting better and better. It always does at night."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DuPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: NOTE: Gordon was the fastest qualifier when he went out and wound up 2nd:
HOW LONG CAN YOU HOLD YOUR BREATH HERE? "About 29 seconds and change. It's all about getting the feel for it in the first corner and I drove into Turn 3 to come to the green and we made all the right adjustments. The car just stuck great, and I put as much throttle to it as I possibly could. It wasn't pretty, but it was pretty fast. We'll just see where that ends up. I know we went pretty early, but I'm real proud of all the guys at the shop. They worked real hard on this car. Hopefully, we'll end up somewhere near the top."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 3rd:
"If you can get out of the car here and hold your hands still, you weren't trying hard enough. That was an exciting lap. We dragged the ground pretty hard, and it bottomed out, so there was a little time in that. You don't know what to expect as night falls. You just drive in there hoping that it's going to stick and jump in the gas, hoping again that it's going to stick. It did that on both ends for me on that lap, and we're second. I would like to see Jeff and me start on the front row. That's how I want to see it for Hendrick Motorsports. These guys work so hard and I'm so thankful for all they do for all the teams. Unfortunately, we have Rocket Man coming up here pretty soon and we all know how he's been in qualifying."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 12th:
"It wasn't bad. We were sixth fastest in practice. We picked up some but we didn't pick up like some other guys did, so I don't know where this will put us. Overall, we have a good race car. It's brand-new and it feels OK. We're in the top 10 in points, and we're 200 points out of sixth, so we want to stay in the top 10 and win races."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 9th:
" I think I have too many jobs. I have to decide that whatever I get in first is what I stay in. It's been a good day for both cars. I put the PayDay Chevrolet on the pole for the Busch race and the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet--the driver screwed up the first lap and had to be conservative on the second lap. So far, so good, and this is a pretty pivotal weekend for everything."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "We actually have a 21-point head start on what Alan Kulwicki had [in 1992], so it's definitely possible. The last couple of weeks have definitely intensified the first in our organization. You can start to trace the trails of blood, but we still have a long way to go to find the kill."
HOW ABOUT THE POINT SYSTEM? "The point system is great. It credits the guys that have the best year, not the guys that win the most races, and in all reality, that's the way it should be. It should be something that credits the team that has the best season in all 36 races." HOW ABOUT NIGHT RACING? "It will be like the end of the 600, only it's for the whole race. Night racing is fun and it's cooler for the drivers."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 6th:
"It was pretty good, I was a little free in Turns 1 and 2, but nothing that cost us a lot of speed. That's the best our car has driven in qualifying as far as balance between 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. I'm pretty happy with the lap, in all reality." HOW ABOUT THE RACING AT NIGHT? "It'll be a lot more like The Winston, where we start at night. The good thing is we do it in The Winston and at the 600 too, so I think it's a good move. I think it's going to be a lot more fun for the fans. I think they'll enjoy it more."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 11th:
"It was pretty good. I ran really, really hard through the corners. The car's running great. I lack a little straightaway speed, but we had a great handling car. Hopefully, it handles like that in the race. We'll have it covered. I ain't got the horses tonight, for some reason."