Jeff GordonM, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 2nd): "I wanted to sit on that outside front row. That's the place I'd like to be. That's a good lap for us. The guys did a great job. I can only hold my breath for one lap around...
Jeff GordonM, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 2nd):
"I wanted to sit on that outside front row. That's the place I'd like to be. That's a good lap for us. The guys did a great job. I can only hold my breath for one lap around this place. Really, we set up all day for one lap. Pressure's were set for one lap. The car stuck great the first lap. It was actually tight down in (turns) one and two. I knew it was only going to get tighter on the second lap. I gave it my best shot. I've just got to say a lot for my guys building these engines. We came out here with some big steam and it was definitely paying off today. It was a lot of fun driving that thing down the straightaways. Ryan Newman's got us beat and that's just the way it is. We'll take what we got tonight."
What did Ryan Newman say to you out there?
"He says we're going to need to talk before the start. I don't know what that means. We gave it a heck of an effort. To have such an amazing weekend and back it up with a good strong effort here and that's why we brought this car. This car had a shot at the pole. It came up just a little bit short, but it was a good effort. The car felt great ever since the first lap today. It just felt awesome. It was real comfortable getting in and through the corner. I'm looking forward to getting it into race trim."
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo: (top qualifying Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate - qualified 6th):
"We had a real good day. Everything started good and we learned a lot last week, believe it or not, when we pulled our backup car out for The Winston. We went through our catastrophe of the weekend. This car has been good since we unloaded. The track was awesome right off the bat and it had a lot of grip. It's hard to tell how hard you really can drive. We had a little bit left in our car."
Do you approach a 600-mile race differently than you do any other?
"No, they're all pretty long for me. When we reach the end of 500 miles it'll probably feel like you're mentally set to run 300 miles in a Busch race."
What do you make of Ryan Newman?
"Believe it or not, I actually picked him to win. After practice today, I told the guys he'd be the one sitting on the pole."
Mike Skinner, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 7th):
"I'll tell you, we'll take that with our Lowe's Chevrolet. It's always good to come to Lowe's Motor Speedway and race. We needed a good qualifying effort, and we got one out of our Chevy. I left a little on the table in (turns) three & four. We'd run nowhere near that fast earlier, and Royce said you can run almost wide-open through (turns) one and two.
Harvick said the same thing. I thought, man I keep hearing that, but I ain't seeing it. When we got down there, it was true. You could run almost wide open through there. It was a good lap for us."
Rick Mast, No. 50 blair.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 29th)
"That's the best we've been. I think we leaned on the motor too much. The air changed and it felt like it was blowing up but I knew we just had it way too lean. We lost like 300 rpm's from practice, even though we picked up a lot of speed. The track had a lot more grip of course, you could run a lot faster. But that was the biggest thing, I think we just laid on the motor too much. The car was okay, we bottomed-out too hard. We changed the chassis 180 degrees from that last practice 'cause it wasn't fast. I was pretty pleased with the car. It was a little too tight. But at least we're in the show, that's the main thing."
More post-qualifying comments from Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"This is car #2453. It's not the car we wrecked last week and it's not the back-up. Hopefully we don't have to get a backup out. This is actually a better car. All day long this car has just been phenomenal. I couldn't be happier with it. I really couldn't be much happier with where we qualified. Outside front row - man, I'll tell you, that's a good effort. I didn't know what was going to happen with the rain. I was more concerned that I was going to start seeing raindrops during my run. This is definitely the right car for us to bring. It's better for the long runs. It's very comfortable and it's certainly fast. I really believe we brought the right car."
What are your thoughts on Ryan Newman winning the pole?
"Well, he's done extremely well in ARCA, which basically is a Winston Cup car - especially being with Penske. He's gotten some laps around here. They tested here. Penske is obviously giving him good equipment, and he's getting the job done. You put a good combination together, that's what it takes. That's what we have. We have the most horsepower we've ever had under the hood. I'm really happy with our engine. I felt like I made as good a lap as I could ask for. These days, you look at rookies coming into Winston Cup and they get with the right organization with the right equipment, it seems like that experience level maybe comes to a qualifying run or comes to certain things. It doesn't seem to be as much of an issue as it used to be. Dale Jr. won three races in his rookie year. Maybe that doesn't mean so much if you get all the right pieces in place."