STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Qualified third fastest. "We worked on it yesterday and got it pretty good. We put tires on and made our banzai. We changed a gear and really hurt the car. We put the...
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Qualified third fastest. "We worked on it yesterday and got it pretty good. We put tires on and made our banzai. We changed a gear and really hurt the car. We put the gear back in that we had, and I thought we could run somewhere around a .30 flat with the car driving real good. What's weird. I qualified second here in '93 and ran a 30.06 with 700 horsepower I guess. Here we are running faster with this. It's kind of weird, but the cars really go through the corners fast. Everybody is in the same boat. We worked on the motor some, but we didn't test anywhere. We found a few things. We came off the truck yesterday, and we weren't bad. We just kept working on it. We put some shocks on it, kind of like what you run at Daytona and Talladega that put the car down and bounce around. It helped it. It's a big range of gears. Some guys have 411, 422 gears all the way up to 463, so there's a big range there, but the combination we had worked good for us. We worked totally on qualifying setup (Friday and Saturday). Some guys are shifting and some aren't. We're not. We're too busy to do that. The last time I checked, it paid the same thing to win. "We've been pretty good. We just messed up on our banzai run. We're two tenths slower than we were up here in the spring. The car really drives good, but everybody is in the same boat. You just try to do what you can do. I don't know what to expect for the race until we get out here in practice (Happy Hour) and see how everything is. One of our fastest lap was on tires that had 49 laps. I don't think you'll see too many people change tires. You might change the right side tires, one side or the other. That's the best I've qualified up here in a long time, so we're happy with that. Now we've got to get ready for the race."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I thought the second lap was going to be a lot better. I got into turn one a little too hard and about spun it out getting in there. Thank God the first lap was pretty competitive. It's a new beginning up here with these restrictor plates. So far, so good. We're looking forward to the race Sunday."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I got into turn one too deep on the second lap. The car worked real good on the first lap. I never dreamed it would be an .11. I wanted to cut my wrists because I figured I'd run a .40 and go get me an .11 on the next lap. I just extended myself all I could. I tried to watch guys going into the corner and analyze what I was doing earlier. We were struggling all day long. Before qualifying we changed the rear gear, front swaybar, both front springs and all four shocks. Those were the pre-qualifying adjustments. The car just wasn't talking to me. It wasn't right. Everybody did a good job with all the adjustment. It talked to me for a lap. Now I've got to get it to cooperate for 300 laps. I don't know how all this is going to turn out tomorrow, but it's going to be interesting at least."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "My hat's off to this whole team. This Chevrolet Monte Carlo was really hooked up. We had an opportunity to test at Milwaukee. We figured out some of this restrictor plate stuff. Again, this whole team helped give me a great race car. We're happy with that lap. That's a little bit faster than we ran in practice. We'll take that top 10 starting spot and go into Sunday."
JOE BESSEY (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The second lap was good. I probably got down into turn one too hard on the first lap and didn't have enough heat in the tires. It stuck good coming through three and four to take the green, but it didn't stick as good as it needed to in turn one and that might have cost us a little bit. It's disappointing. We didn't back up what we ran in practice, and that's a driver's responsibility. I didn't think it would be good enough to make the top 36."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "This place is notorious about the first 10 or 12 cars running a little slow. An early draw usually hurts here because the track sits and gets a little dirty, but hopefully that'll get us in the top 10 and we'll be happy with that. Nobody seems to like the plate right now, but I think you heard a lot less complaining after everybody got out there. I think you'll see a good race with a lot of passing. People don't think so, but it's still going to go back to who has the best handling race car, the best aero package and the best motor."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "The Pontiacs look pretty strong, but a good team that knows how to figure this place out is going to be pretty strong. I think we're one of those. The setups that have worked in the past are pretty much out the window. You just drive in real deep and try to get back in the throttle real quick. It's hard to say what it's going to take for a long run in the race. We haven't really been as fast as some of the other guys, but we're pretty happy with the way things are going. I think it's always a work in progress. I think a lot of us like the horsepower we normally have here, but for the time being, slowing the cars down, it's a good option. I think some guys are running restrictor plate motors and some guys are running a regular motor with a plate on 'em. I think it is an unknown for a lot of us. Nobody is positive what's going to happen here. It's a big test for us, a big learning curve for all of us. "If I had to do it over again, I'd bring a car that was a little slicker aerodynamically. I didn't realize how much slower we were going to be. Aerodynamics play a really big role with overall speed. I've learned a lot with my Busch cars the last couple of years. You need to get that spoiler out of the air as much as you can. The way to do that is build a speedway car. "I saw some guys running fast on their first lap. I didn't quite understand how they were able to do that. My car was faster on the second lap. It didn't have anything for them on the first lap. The car we have here is similar to our Richmond car. If I had to do it over, I'd probably bring an Atlanta car or something like that."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "It's aggravating. Racing with so much less horsepower than you're used to racing with and trying to and trying to qualify with, trying to find the right place for the chassis and right place for the gear. You're really searching around. We're just sort of shooting in the dark. Hopefully we can get a handle on it for the race. I'm disappointed. We needed to be down in the .20s for qualifying. That's not going to give us a very good starting position. It's going to be a mess. I just hope we don't get caught up in somebody else's stuff. There's going to be a lot of shuffling around. We needed to start up front. It's going to be a real traffic day tomorrow. Not knowing where anybody is on setups. We've been real puzzled here the last couple of days, of course, everybody has. It's real frustrating to have to race with these things. It sure is like running a Late Model Stock car, so these Late Model car drivers can probably come on up here and run Winston Cup cars now with these restrictor plates. I'm going to try to pass 'em when I get to 'em. That's all I know. We'll do the best we can with it."
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 01 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That wasn't too bad. The car was handling well. It was a little tight on me, but it stuck, and that's what we needed it to do. My son runs in a Late Model Series, so we've been helping him. This kind of feels like that. I know a lot of people are screaming and yelling, but it's kind of neat. This is a good start for us. It's the best start we've had, and we're going to need all of that for this race."
JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We've been OK. This is the car we finished fourth with here last time. All we did really was just bolt on the restrictor plate and make a couple of changes and we're hoping we can get in the top 10 with that run. That was the best my Late Model could do."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We've really struggled. We got better toward the end of practice. They had to do something here, and I think the restrictor plates were a good idea. It's worked. It's reduced speed getting in the corners, so I guess it worked like it was supposed to."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I missed a shift right there at the end of practice, and I probably hurt the motor. The motor never really pulled up and got any rpm's. That's all we had today. I think the plates were a good idea. It was a quick fix. I don't know if we need them here, but we need them at Atlanta and Charlotte and Texas and places like that. I think we're going to be OK for the race. We brought our Darlington car. It was good there, and I think it's going to be good here. We pretty much threw the first lap away and just get some heat in the tires. I expected to run quicker than that, but I think we hurt the motor. I'm optimistic about Sunday. I think we're going to have a good weekend. We rolled off the trailer and it felt good. We're a little short on speed, but it's driving good and you've got to handle good here. I think we're going to be all right."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That stinks. I thought we would run a lot faster than that. I don't know why we didn't pick up. That's kind of been the story of our qualifying all year. I just can't seem to ever pick up. The car drove good. It just didn't go anywhere. We've got to work hard. We finished real good here the past two races. We just need to pull something out of our hat right now."
DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We practiced a little better than that. We just haven't come up with what we need. We don't have a restrictor plate engine in our car, and we think that hurt us pretty bad. Most guys do have plate motors. We've got our normal qualifier with an intake manifold change and a plate on it."
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 50 Midwest Transit Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That was a pretty good lap. It's always good to be home. The fans are great here, and we get to see some friends. We hope we'll have a great day tomorrow. We led some laps at the first part of the race last time. We're focusing on leading the last part of the race tomorrow. It's always a big boost coming home. I'm pretty happy with the way things are going right now."
DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We didn't run that good in practice. We weren't happy in practice. We would have liked to be better than that, but that's an improvement. We know where we need to be and we know what we need to do to get there. We just ain't had enough time. We're working on it. It's going to be a good race. It's interesting running with the plates. I think it's going to make for a great race."