Page 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo (on losing a motor during practice): "We were going to put the race motor in it anyway. The car is real good. We're pretty happy with it. Obviously you don't want to blow up,...
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo (on losing a motor during practice): "We were going to put the race motor in it anyway. The car is real good. We're pretty happy with it. Obviously you don't want to blow up, but we're not too worried about it."
Bobby Hamilton Jr., No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo - (substitute driver for the injured Joe Nemechek will start 19th in Sunday's Kmart 400 for Andy Petree Racing. He has competed in The Winston Open and Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, and the MBNA Platinum 400 in Dover).
After having some bad luck at the last two races, are you ready for things to turn around at Michigan?
"This is one of my favorite tracks. For me, this is one of the best tracks that we go to. Last week at Dover we got in that deal on the back straightaway that banged up the nose and it overheated and everything (finished 42nd), but we'll be okay here. This last practice we were fast, so we're looking forward to this race."
At MIS, which is more important - a good car or a good driver?
"You've got to have the whole package. You've got to have a good car, you've got to have a good motor, you've got to have everything. And if you have that, it makes your job easier. All you got to do is turn left and hold it wide open. And you're going to have a good day. I drove the Cup car like I did my Busch car here the first lap and we unloaded second. We stayed third or fourth all day long. So if you've got good equipment, it just makes your job a whole lot easier."
What do you expect of the tires on this track?
"The tires are starting to get back to where everybody's familiar with them. I think this is about the third time we've run this tire and we pretty much know what it's going to do. The way they have the tires now, they go forever. They just go, go, go. I think at the end of a 20 or 30-lap run you'll run your fastest tire because the tires never go away. You hear that a lot of drivers can't get the feel for it. I don't know the difference between the tire here last year and the tire this year. I can't feel the difference, so it's not affecting me. As far as tires go, it's about like everywhere else. The way Goodyear's got the tires now, it's just staying consistent from one tire run to the next tire run."
What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about Michigan Speedway?
"Speed. It's super fast. It's a good place to race because it has grip all over the racetrack. If your car's not handling on the bottom, you can move up to the top and run just as fast or faster. You get to run down the straightaway or the middle or in between - somewhere through there - there's just so many different places you can run. You can run four-wide on the straightaways. It's just a real good place to race. And it's fast. And also, with these Cup cars and the down force that these Chevrolets make, it's just real comfortable here. Driver-wise, it's a great place and for the fans, it's great speed and good racing."
What are you learning in the Cup garage that you can transfer to the Busch garage?
"The biggest thing I'm learning while driving for Andy (Petree, team owner) is how open he is about the changes they make, and the fact that he makes sure I know what's going on all the time. Anything about the overall experience from the Cup car to take back over to the Busch side helps. I can run more aggressive on the Busch side as far as slinging the car around more and making more time through the corners. It just multiplies. You can't even imagine the stuff you learn until you come back to a place like here at Michigan with the Busch car and you think, 'Well I know I can do that because I've been here with the Cup car.' And then all of a sudden you're a hero because you picked-up two-tenths. But you haven't done anything different, you just do what you did (in the Cup car) a month ago or whatever. It's just like a big old barrel. You throw it all in there and then one day when you need it, it's there because you've learned it."