Chevrolet Darlington qualifying notes

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Park will drive the same Monte Carlo that he piloted in both Pocono races this season. He finished 15th in each of those races. Park finished fifth last week at Bristol, 39th at...

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Park will drive the same Monte Carlo that he piloted in both Pocono races this season. He finished 15th in each of those races. Park finished fifth last week at Bristol, 39th at Darlington earlier this season and he ranks 13th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings (NWCS). Park will be making his 80th Winston Cup start on Sunday.

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 01 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Musgrave will drive his Brickyard 400 Monte Carlo at Darlington. Musgrave started 41st and finished 24th at Indy. Musgrave drove Geoffrey Bodine's Chevy earlier this season at Darlington and finished 42nd. He finished 17th last week at Bristol.

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) Earnhardt will drive a "Golden Oldie" Monte Carlo at Darlington. It's the same Chevy he drove earlier this season at Fontana and Las Vegas. He finished 17th at California and eighth at Vegas. Earnhardt finished third earlier this season at Darlington after qualifying fourth. He was fourth last week at Bristol and ranks third in the NWCS.

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Hamilton will drive the same Monte Carlo that ran the Winston Open earlier this season at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He finished eighth in that event. Hamilton has recorded three straight seventh-place finishes at Darlington. He finished 34th last week at Bristol and ranks 30th in the NWCS.

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Labonte drove his Darlington Monte Carlo earlier this season at Michigan and Pocono (26th and 12th) and Todd Bodine drove it at Indianapolis. Labonte finished 11th earlier this season at Darlington and ranks 19th in the NWCS.

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Waltrip will drive a brand new Monte Carlo at Darlington. He finished 32nd here earlier this season and 19th last week at Bristol. Waltrip ranks 27th in the NWCS.

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Earnhardt Jr. will drive the same Monte Carlo he piloted earlier this season at Indy and Michigan (13th and 31st). Earnhardt Jr. finished 40th earlier this season at Darlington, 21st last week at Bristol and he ranks 15th in the NWCS.

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Nadeau will drive the same Monte Carlo at Darlington that he drove to a 32nd-place finish last week at Bristol. Nadeau finished 37th earlier this season at Darlington. He ranks 24th in the NWCS.

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) Gordon will drive chassis No. 2440 at Darlington. It's the same Monte Carlo that won the pole earlier this season at the 1.336-mile egg-shaped oval. Gordon finished eighth in that race. He also drove the same Monte Carlo at California, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Michigan in June and Indianapolis. Gordon finished 23rd last week at Bristol after qualifying second. He ranks 10th in the NWCS. MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Skinner will drive chassis No. 53 this week at Darlington. It's the same car he drove at Las Vegas earlier this season. He qualified 20th and finished 27th in that race. Skinner finished 14th earlier this season at Darlington, 14th last week at Bristol and he ranks 11th in the NWCS.

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Nemechek will drive a brand new Monte Carlo at Darlington. He finished 41st here earlier this season, 27th last week at Bristol and he ranks 18th in the NWCS.

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Marlin will drive the same Monte Carlo at Darlington that finished eighth and qualified eighth last week at Bristol. He also drove it at Pocono and finished 42nd there. Marlin finished 21st earlier this season at Darlington and ranks 17th in the NWCS.

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Wallace will drive chassis No. 9932 at Darlington. It's the same Monte Carlo he drove to a 30th-place finish at Michigan. Wallace finished 26th last week at Bristol and ranks 29th in the NWCS.

GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Bodine drove his Darlington Monte Carlo at Dover and finished 40th there. With new sheetmetal, crew chief Jim Long says it's better than ever after the Dover race. Bodine finished 25th last week at Bristol and ranks 44th in the NWCS.

DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Marcis tried to qualify this Monte Carlo for the Brickyard 400. Marcis finished 31st last week at Bristol, and he finished 33rd earlier this season at Darlington.

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I'm very happy with that considering what we went through in practice today. We kind of had a real nightmare of a practice. At the end of it, we were junk. We were junk the whole time. We had a couple of things happen up front and got us going in the wrong direction. I've got to thank Jimmy Elledge (crew chief for teammate Kenny Wallace). He really bailed us out on our qualifying setup. That's about half a second faster than we ran in practice, so we're real happy with that."

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That was a really good lap. We weren't quite that good early in practice. We made some air pressure adjustments. We made some changes on some rear shocks. It was a real good team effort for the Kodak Chevrolet. Things have been turning around the last three or four weeks, and we're just trying to put it all together. It was smooth as silk. I almost felt like I didn't do my job because it was so easy, but I'll take it. We picked up about half a second from practice. It's Darlington, but everybody keeps talking about how bad the tire is and the track. It feels the same to me. I'm looking forward to racing."

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're real happy. That's the best we've run. That's two tenths quicker than we'd practiced. The car was pretty comfortable. We've been fighting the new tire Goodyear brought. It's not really very comfortable for everybody, but we're working toward fixing that problem. Hopefully we've got a good race car. We'll just have to wait and see. We've worked real hard to get to this point. The car wasn't real good when we got here. We just had to work on the comfort level. That was a decent run. I'm not sure where it'll end up, but it gave us something to work with. My car was real comfortable getting in the corner. I was a little loose in turn one, but I was able to make up a little time in three and four. That hasn't' been our strong point, but the car was better than it was in practice. We made some adjustments, and we'll see where it ends up."

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I let off just because I had a little lack of confidence in it. If I had known it was going to stick, I would have gone ahead. Qualifying doesn't seem to be our problem here. It's that 20th lap. We picked up a lot from practice. We were really loose right off the truck and did several thing to tighten it up. We just never could get the car to go. When we made our simulation of a qualifying run, I just about crashed coming off turn four. I knew we had to do something major with it, and they did. All the guys did a heck of a job. They tightened the car up an awful lot. Mike Hawkins did a great job tuning the engine and if I had known it was going to stick that good, maybe we could have run a little quicker. I'd start 43rd right now if we could figure out how to get the 20th lap better at this place."

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That was a great lap. I can't say enough for these guys. We struggled really bad in practice. We couldn't get on the program like we thought we needed. We finally hit on something there at the end. That was a very good lap for us. Once we got the car right, it felt pretty good. That really makes you feel good for the race. I think I've got the car up under me for the race. We put some stuff under it before qualifying, and I really wasn't sure if it would work or not. It was a cold turkey kind of deal. It worked. I've got confidence in these guys, and confidence to drive the car like I need to. I think we really found something we can work with. We gained 42 points on the leader (Bobby Labonte) last week at Bristol, so if we can keep doing that, we're going to be in good shape."

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Something came loose in the engine. I guess it threw a rod or something. It just did it all at once, and when it did it, you could feel it pretty good. It's just one of those deals. It wasn't bad, but we weren't going to win the pole. I think we would have made it in, but we'll have to try it again now. It was a tough day for the Labontes today. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "It would have been a good place to come test with these new tires. These tires threw a curveball big-time on a lot of teams. That's the best we've run all day. I'm pretty pleased. We got in the top 15, and I'm happy with that. I'm sure we'll be better in the race than we were in qualifying. It's funny. The two races I love the most are Bristol and Darlington. They're like my two worst finishes. They haven't been kind to me, but I love the race tracks. They're a lot of fun. You've got to be aggressive and attack it. The last time we were here, we had a really awesome car in Happy Hour and we got wrecked on the first lap. We never got to show our hand, so hopefully we'll have another good car this weekend."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "I thought we would have been a little better than that. Some of these other guys picked up from practice a bunch and we didn't. These other guys have cut some great laps. I was hoping we were going to pick up a little more than that, but the car wasn't bad. It was a little bit too tight, but other than that, it was pretty good. We're real happy with the way things have gone with the DuPont Chevrolet. You're not going to get a handle on these things (tires) qualifying. It's just one of those things. Compared to what we've had in the past, there's so much grip, so fast. Unless you've come here and tested, it's going to be hard to get a handle on what they've got here. We've been working. The problem is you only have three sets of tires and they go away so fast. That doesn't really give you a lot of time to make adjustments. We got in pretty good. We were up there all through practice, but these other guys picked up a little more than we did."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We've been off a little bit all day. I used to run real good here. The car is driving good. It just ain't going nowhere. That's kind of the way it was in the spring. We didn't qualify too good. We get the race going and handling comes into play, so maybe we'll do better then.

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I thought it was a good lap. I wish we could have run a little bit lower in three and four, but I thought turns one and two were good. We had to tighten up the car a little more than I wanted to get the grip I wanted. We're working on getting it to run a little lower through three and four. I went as fast as I could go. It wasn't exactly where I wanted to be in three and four. I wish I could have been half a car length lower. The tires, plus we're still looking at the body issue. This is another new body that Jimmy Elledge brought. I liked it at Michigan. We've had to learn it. It's taking the same thing here it took at Michigan. We're still working with it. I think we're going to be fine."

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I give Bobby Kennedy (crew chief) all the information I can. There wasn't a lot to give today, but these guys always make the NationsRent hot rod handle well. We've been a lot of places testing this car, and this will be its first race. I'm looking forward to it. We had a lot of problems today, and to qualify 11th is just great."

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We broke a motor. We had a great race car, but these motor problems are killing us. Now we've got to start in the back, and this is a tough place for track position. I thought we had something for 'em today. We were seventh fastest in practice. Coming out of the pits and going through three and four to take the green flag, the car really felt good. I was coming down the front straightaway and it started coming out the bottom of the oil pan. You can't sit on the pole when you're blowing up like that."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Todd Bodine , Geoffrey Bodine , Kenny Wallace , Michael Ho , Bobby Kennedy