JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Nadeau led the way in Saturday morning's practice session with a lap of 181.837 mph. "The car is really good. I tapped the wall Thursday in practice, and the guys...
JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Nadeau led the way in Saturday morning's practice session with a lap of 181.837 mph. "The car is really good. I tapped the wall Thursday in practice, and the guys did an awesome job putting it back together. I bent the trailing arm, and they fixed that. They basically had to square the whole car back up. The first lap back out on the track the car was perfect. These guys are doing an awesome job. The whole team is doing great. It seems like the second time we go back to a race track we're a lot better. I'm pretty happy about where we're at, and I feel like we've got a great shot at winning tomorrow. "Dover is not my track and we had the best car there if we hadn't blown a tire. We've been good at a lot of race tracks. Charlotte is just fun. Everybody lives here. All the shops are real close. This is one of the first places I ever drove a stock car. I drove an ARCA race here. It's really my audition track. I had to drive the wheels off the car so somebody would notice me. Other than that, it's just another race track. "We were leading in the 600 in May and blew up. This isn't the same car. It's a new one, and I think it's better, but it's hard to say. "I think we're getting real good tire wear. We ran 50 some off laps earlier this week and we ran 30 laps this morning. Everything is looking good. I don't think we should be concerned about the tire, but we weren't concerned at Dover, either, and we had a problem there. We've got seven sets of tires, and we're going 500 miles. Hopefully we won't have a lot of yellow flags and we'll get a lot of long green flag runs so we can get everything out of the tires. "I've heard a lot about the 25 jinx, but I don't think about it much. This car has always seemed to run good at a lot of places. Wally Dallenbach didn't do a bad job in this car. He did very well in some races. Tim Richmond was my hero and Benny Parsons, Ken Schrader, they all did a good job in this car. If they say there's a jinx, obviously we ran over it a few times. "We've had a tough second half. We've wiped out a couple of cars in accidents that weren't our fault. I think overall we've had a good run at a lot of places. Our qualifying has been awesome. We're averaging 15.5 or something like that, and that's amazing considering we're 25th in points. The point standings don't show how really good this team is. We've lost a lot of points this year on a lot of strange things. Hopefully we can rebound and end on a good note this season and go after it next year. "You race the same way if it's 200 miles or 500 miles. The car is good. I don't want to predict anything. I'm not a predictor. Whatever happens happens. I feel confident enough that we have a car that can win the race. The guys can do an excellent job on pit road to get me out in good position. If all the screws and nuts fall in the right place, I think we've got a good shot to win. Jeff Gordon is on his own Sunday. I've helped him out enough."
TONY FURR (Crew chief No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Monte Carlo) "We feel like we're where we need to be. I feel like running the first 30 minutes of practice this morning is like the car needs to be on Sunday. There was no need to wear out the car this morning. Jerry was as fast this morning as we could possibly get it, and he was very comfortable with it this morning. I figured we'd wait until this afternoon to see what else we could fine tune on because this track changes. We'll fine tune more this afternoon and see where we are from there. The track changes here by the minute just about. I didn't want to chase it this morning because it was awfully good. We're going to be racing after 1 o'clock. Our Happy Hour will be after 1 o'clock. It was cool this morning, and I know it's going to be cool tomorrow. We'll see what happens when the track changes after the Busch race. We'll have a good record on everything and there's nothing we're not documenting right now. "Jerry was passing cars in practice Thursday, and he was coming up on them, two or three tenths faster than most of them. I think one car just didn't give him any room, but it was no big deal to us. We just changed everything. The car was too good to take a chance on anything. We took it back to the shop and checked everything. Everything is fine. "I don't know that the team is any better, but we're just learning each other and communicating better. Jerry was a new driver and pretty much the whole road crew was new. Everybody had to get together and get on the same page. Everybody is on the same page now, working together and not against. All three teams work together good. We compliment each other. I run some different setups, I suppose. I'm an innovator, not a follower, but I've been doing that since 1994 actually. There are no rules on the shocks and springs you run. You can use it to your advantage, and that's what I do. You use the aero, too. The aero is free. They make rules and you've got to figure out how to spring and shock the car for the rules. "I know we've got a good chance Sunday. We're in the field. We've got a good qualifying effort and the pit crew is doing good. The last few weeks that's shown up. It's just a matter of everything going our way to make sure it happens. This car is a little bit better than it was for the 600. Jerry and I were going over the notes and some of the times and our times are much better than they were in May. "There's a tire shortage. That's the deal right now. We're looking to get more. It usually takes nine or 10 sets at this track per race. That's what we're looking to have, and right now we have seven sets. We've run this tire a couple of other places. We ran it at both Michigan races and here. If we had nine sets, that would make it easier. I'd rather have 10 to be real safe. You can run a fuel stop and that's between 60 and 65 laps. This is a 500-mile race and that will help a little bit, so you might be OK with nine sets. "Any win would be special. Charlotte would probably be more special to me than some people because I was born and raised right here. My grandparents owned most of the land right across the road here for a long time. It's all been sold now, but they owned hundreds of acres over here. When I was a kid, I used to come over here. My dad built all the turns and the grandstands here. He sloped all that and put the corners up here. I'd say it'd probably mean more to me to win this race than anybody. "You've got the same guys running good that always run good, and there'll probably be a few surprises, but we don't really think about having to beat any certain car. We've got 42 other cars to beat on Sunday. If we can do that, and I think we can if everything goes right, then you're going to see a lot of happy people on that 25 crew in victory lane Sunday night. They've all been working hard, and they deserve it."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) NOTE: Earnhardt posted the 13th fastest speed in Saturday morning's practice session. He'll start 37th in Sunday's 43-car field. "It is an important race. All of them are important, but this seems to be a pivotal race that everybody can have good luck or bad luck. We've come in here and lost the championship (1989), but still it's a competitive race. It's not 600 miles like the spring race. It's 500 miles, but a lot can happen during the day. We're hoping for the best. We're starting out at a deficit with a provisional starting spot, but still, we want to get through the day and be in good shape at the end of the day. "It's a tough race to get through the field with as many cars as we've got, but again, if you be careful and use your head, good pit strategy, we can gain on 'em. The car is running great. It just needs a little fine-tuning on it. The weather changes and it changes the track. It's a real weather-sensitive race track. We'll just keep doing the best we can do with it. "It'll be nice for the drivers (cool day), but again, we've got to concentrate on the chassis and we've got some adjustability in the car. We do that in May with The Winston and the 600 starting in the sunshine and racing into the night. We know how to work with that. "Goodyear is our series tire, and they've been trying to come up with a tire that's good for everywhere. They're working through some things this year. Hopefully if we get through this year we'll be better next year. "You've got to have some luck coming from the back and have some opportunities come your way. If we can do that we'll be OK, but if you get in one little mishap that kills your day. We're just going to start out and see how we do and work through the field. "It favors Bobby right now. He's got the lead, and he's doing a great job. Those guys have worked hard and had some great luck, but still, they keep coming back every race and making it count. "This has been a long week. It's close to home and there's a lot going on here, but it just seems to be drug out with qualifying Wednesday and practice Thursday and then off a day Friday. It's just a long week. It really would be better, I think, if we qualified Friday and practiced Saturday and raced Sunday. After you've been through such a long year, it seems even longer. I'm not saying it's not a great place to come. A lot of things go on this week, and a lot of things happen at Charlotte. Still, it's a long week. "I've got to get through this weekend. I think the rules at Talladega will benefit everybody. I think it will make a better race for everybody. "We're racing for second as much as we're racing for first. I'm going to go into the race and look to finish the best I can. After the smoke clears, we'll see where everybody is at. "The car was better in practice this morning, but the race track is better. Everybody was running better this morning."