UAW-GM Quality 500 Quotebook CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 1, 1998) The following are quotes from selected drivers after Bud Pole Qualifying for UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. DERRIKE COPE (No. 30 Gumout Pontiac) "I think you're ...
UAW-GM Quality 500 Quotebook
CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 1, 1998) The following are quotes from selected drivers after Bud Pole Qualifying for UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
DERRIKE COPE (No. 30 Gumout Pontiac) "I think you're always surprised because you have to put a perfect lap together. I think when we were here testing we brought two new cars and we tested very well and there were a lot of good cars here. Jeff (Gordon) was here, and I knew the laps we turned last night were very productive. I thought we could come back and match that and be close. In practice we were quick. I think we ran a .96 and I had to lift because I pushed. I knew I had something left if I didn't make any mistakes. It all came together for us and we had a good effort from everyone.
"Typically, you see the track get faster (after sunset). Sometimes it's really hot and it cools off and the track tightens up a bit. I've seen it go the other way, too. From what I saw in testing here we tested pretty well in the sunlight and I did a run at six o'clock knowing that the sun was barely out and hoping I could simulate (conditions). I did one at nine o'clock and picked up almost three-tenths. I knew being a late draw and the sun having gone down, if I didn't make a mistake and overdrive the car we could run a (29).70. I knew it would take a .70 and I knew it would take a low .70.
"It's definitely been a year of uncharted territory for Chuck and myself. Being hurt to the degree I was really limited us. A lot of things have been disruptive, and it's been a difficult year. It's really a lot more gratifying for me knowing my crew feels the way they do. Those are the guys that have to go through all the difficulty of putting the cars together again and having all the difficulties when you don't run well. They have to go to work every Monday morning and dig. They knew we had a shot at it and I knew that they knew. I really wanted it for them. When (crew chief) Doug (Hewitt) told me on the radio that we had it, I said, 'Well, that's great.' I was really tickled for all the guys more so than myself. One thing I do hate is that my wife (Renee) is not here. She's at the Rod Stewart concert. She missed this one, so I'm sure she'll be a little bit upset. I got hung out for Rod Stewart.
MARK MARTIN (No. 6 Valvoline Ford) "That was just a real good lap. This is a moody ol' girl here, this race track, especially when it comes to sun and cloud cover and night time and everything else. You just have to take a guess on what's gonna work for qualifying. We got a real sweet lap, it was excellent. We were decent in practice and then the sun came out and we were about a 15th-place car. We made a few adjustments and just threw it to it. It's a decent run."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac) "It was about a tenth and a half faster than it was in practice, so at least we picked up a little bit. We went out early, but I don't think that made much of a difference. It wasn't quite as good as we wanted to do, but still not bad. We've usually got a really good race setup, so we're not going to try and differ off that very much."
ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 Skittles Pontiac) "This Pontiac has been running good since we unloaded it, and we just got beat by a little. The car drove really good. It's just a matter of hundredths of a second. I was pretty happy with it, and I hope it will be racing pretty good."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak Max Film Chevrolet) "Cooling down here has helped a lot, but I'm not sure how much this early draw is going to hurt us. We went early and got a good cloud cover, but if it cools down a lot it's going to hurt us. Hopefully that's enough to get us in the top 25. The Kodak Chevrolet drove good all day. We had a good qualifying motor and we hit it as hard as we could hit it. That's about as good as we can be. I couldn't hold it wide open, so the motor man can't say he did a bad job. This place always gets faster as the night comes in. We had some pretty hot cookies going out after we did, so I was a little surprised we ended up as close to the front as we did."
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) "I am really excited about how we ran because my motor missed at high end all the way around the race track. It was so distinct. I'm going, 'Man, I've gotta kill these corners to try and make up.' We were bullet fast in one and two and three and four, I'm excited about seeing the segment times and Jeremy's motor missed to, so evidently something is doing the same thing in both engines and we're gonna have to find out what it is."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac) "It was really loose. More loose than I wanted it to be. I like them to be loose, but I don't like them to be loose, loose, loose."
TODD BODINE (No. 91 Little Joe's Chevrolet) "We picked up almost two tenths and at night that's about what you should do. We got an early draw and the track kept picking up, but we're happy with it. We struggled the first part of practice, but we ended up getting it pretty good at the end. We didn't know what we really had, but we went out and put the pedal down. I was just hoping it would be in the top 25. I had no idea it would be good enough for the top 10. We*re getting better every week. It just takes time, but we*re getting there fast."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 12 Mobil 1 Ford) "That should get us in the top-15 somewhere and that's all we can ask for. We wanted that and the car handled real good. We've got a great race and we're just real excited about it. I can't wait until the race. Charlotte's been a good place for me. I got my first little win here anyway and I know my car runs good here, handles good, so we're real excited."
KENNY IRWIN (Driver, No. 28 Joker-themed Texaco/Havoline Ford) "We definitely needed that. The whole team needed that. After what we did here in Charlotte the first race it kind of embarassed me and embarassed the whole team. We got a good solid run here and we know we can do it and we just have to get better. Hopefully we've learned from some of our mistakes and obviously we did today because we came back here and had a good solid run. That's just what we wanted to do."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet) "Driver error. The car was good. The crew chief was good. The tire guy did a good job. The motor ran awesome, but I didn't make up time in one and two like I'd been doing in practice. Three and four was awesome, but one and two, I got in a high-speed wobble and I couldn't hammer back on the gas. We've got a good race car. It finished sixth here last time. It'll run good again Sunday, I'll guarantee you that. We've got a new fancy paint scheme and hope to do well here Sunday to show it off."
JERRY NADEAU (No. 9 Cartoon Network Ford) "The car was great. In practice we were a little loose, but I told the guys to leave it. We weren't that fast in practice but I knew I had a good race car. These guys give me a good race car week-in and week-out. I just had to lay it to it. I knew the track was gonna be a little tight, it was actually a little too tight for our car, so that was a pretty good run for the Cartoon Network car. I'm pretty excited about starting 12th and hopefully we'll have a good run all day Sunday."
RICKY RUDD (No. 10 Tide Ford) "I got a little greedy and drove in a little deep into three and it got pushing a little bit. It probably cost us about a tenth anyway. In early practice we were 11th all day and the second session we put on our tires and we were too loose, so we tightened the car up. We really didn't know what we had until we made our run and it was a little bit too tight."
GARY BRADBERRY (No. 78- Pilot Ford) "The way we've been struggling, hopefully that will put us in the top 25. That's what we need. We need the second day to be able to get ready for race setup. A lot of things have been changed around on this team. We've got Dennis Adcock as crew chief and Robert Yates motors, so those are two good deals right there. Now we can hopefully work on the car for race setup rather than second-day qualifying. It's always real important to make the race at Charlotte. In the 600 we qualified eighth and hopefully we'll be in the top 25 today. We had a good car all day in practice and with the way we've been struggling we'll take that."
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Batman-themed Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) "That sure was a lot better than practice had been. We're pretty happy. We picked up about three tenths, so we're pretty happy with that. It's not gonna be a great starting spot, but we know we can win this race. We brought a car that we feel like is gonna be much better when we get out there in traffic. We feel like on a hot, sunny day, this is gonna be the car we need."
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 23- Team Winston Ford) "That's faster than we practiced, but I just didn't get after it like I thought I should have. I was probably a little on the conservative side. I left two-tenths for sure out there, but that will put us in the first day and we'll work on race setup."
DAVID GREEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet) "We'd been pretty decent all day long. We made some major changes. I'd been loose up off the corner like the spoiler is not quite tall enough. Imagine that. We made some strides to compensate for that, but we didn't go quite far enough. That's about what I ran in practice. We should have been a little faster, but I just want to make the race. I hope that'll get us in. These guys have worked hard trying to get the program turned around. The only way you can do that is with a little bit of time."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet) "It was tight. We were a little loose in practice, but we didn't change anything. I don't know if it was this set of tires or what, but it was tight in qualifying. It should be close for the top 25. I don't ever qualify worth a flip here. We'll be good in the race. The more I think about last week, the more I know I had the race. It was ours to lose and something happened and we lost it. I wish we could be that strong again here Sunday. We had a good car here last time and got spun and wound up a lap down. I usually run good here in the race. I qualify between 20th and 30th and within 50 laps I'm in the top 10 somewhere. It ended up that way in qualifying, so hopefully we'll race as well as we usually do here."
WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 50 Budweiser Chevrolet) "Considering what we've been through today, I'm pretty happy with that. We've got some things we've got to get straightened out. We've got to get better when we show up to the track. We think we know where the problem was. We're getting it fixed. We chased ourselves a lot for the first two or three hours of practice. We*ve got a better race car than we just showed, but we'll show 'em on Sunday."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet) "We just kind of wanted to get qualifying out of the way. We knew when we tested here we weren't going to be good qualifying. We thought we could make some gains, and we made big gains during the say. For some reason, I got real, real loose there. We didn't get out of it what we wanted, but we hoped it would be in the top 25. We didn't quite make it, though. Things are totally different when you get ready to race. In qualifying, you get ready for one fast lap. For the race, you've got 500 miles and you've got to pace yourself at times and you've got to be aggressive at times. You've got to have good pit stops. It takes a total team effort on race day. In qualifying, it takes preparing that car and getting it fast and then the driver going out and getting that lap he's looking for.
"I'm not real concerned because I know we've got a good race car. I've heard a lot of guys say that the cars don't feel real comfortable qualifying. We misjudged a little bit and I got a little bit looser than I was expecting to get for qualifying. I'm disappointed a little bit that we didn't go faster, but I'm thankful to get this out of the way so we can get ready for the race.
Source: NASCAR Online