Friday, April 23, 1999. First-round qualifying. DieHard 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The driver didn't do much today. It makes a big difference what kind of ride you have.
Friday, April 23, 1999. First-round qualifying. DieHard 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes.
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The driver didn't do much today. It makes a big difference what kind of ride you have. The guys at the shop had the Skoal Chevrolet all geared up. It was good. It was good in practice. They don't put the whole package on it in practice, so we knew it would be close. Joe Nemechek put down a time that was tough to beat, but anybody can beat anybody else's time. They just have to go out and do it. If anybody beats my lap, they're going to be going pretty fast. This is the car we sat on the pole with here last year. We qualified third with it at Daytona and ran sixth with it down there in February. I don't know if we'll start first or not, but we'll be somewhere up near the front. We'll be able to see who's up there for sure. We don't do a full banzai effort in practice. We've done it so much, we know how much we're going to pick up. We weren't sandbagging. You learn here all the time. Gosh, I hope I'm going to get better at this. You can probably learn more here and Daytona than anywhere else."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're not pleased. We'd like to be on the pole, but these guys have been working real hard with the Pennzoil Chevrolet. This is the first time we've qualified one of our own restrictor-plate motors, so my hat's off to the guys back at the shop. It's about three or four tenths quicker than we were when we were testing. We're going to keep plugging away. We're excited about what they've been able to do with it already, so we're looking for a good ride Sunday. I don't need much experience here because I drive for Dale Earnhardt and he's got about as many laps around here as anybody else. I go to him all the time for advice. I learned a lot in practice, and we picked up about 50 rpm's from what we learned at Daytona and what we learned here. I'm just holding it wide open and trying to get it to go as fast as it will go."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We didn't practice a qualifying run, so we're happy with it. That's a little bit quicker than I thought we'd run. I elected to run that high line on the first lap. It's the way Andy Petree (car owner) and Kenny Schrader (teammate) have been doing it the last couple of years. I decided not to mess with what they've been doing, so I ran high the first lap to try to get some speed built up. The guys did a great job. That was a good run. I'm sure we wanted to be faster, but that's a little bit quicker than I thought, so I'm happy with it. I'm trying to build up some consistency. I don't know if we ever get excited about this race. We all end up wrecking, but if I can stay out of all the wrecks, we should have a good run for the Square D Chevrolet."
DICK TRICKLE (No. 91 Little Joe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We'll just have to keep working on it. We ran about half a second slower than we tested down here. We've got a different motor we're going to put back in it. We'll keep digging."
DAVID GREEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That's about what we tested here for two days. We unloaded and didn't pick up any. I think we'll be OK. If my car was perfect, I would be more disappointed, but our car's not right yet. I've got a lot of faith we'll get it even faster."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "These guys have worked real hard. The guys in the motor shop, the chassis shop and the guys that hang these bodies are the ones who make these cars go around the track. I know it was a pretty hairy ride. I told the guys on the radio I was glad that ride was over and we could go back to race mode. I don't know if that's going to stand up for the pole. I hope it will. We thought we would go quicker than that, but the temperature has gone up quite a bit since practice. Maybe it'll be right up in there. This car got wrecked in Daytona, and the guys put a new body on it. The motor shop has been working their tails off building motors. I can't thank them enough. If anybody beats that, they can have it. That's all we had."
WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Considering where we were a week and a half ago, I'm happy with that. We were basically a second off that after we tested for two days, so we would have basically missed the race. The R&D guys took this car and rebuilt it. They had this thing in so many pieces. They completely went through it. We weren't getting the car down low enough for qualifying. That was our problem in Daytona, too. I don't think anyone at Hendrick Motorsport doesn't have their fingerprints on this car. I appreciate. We would have missed the race. That's how bad we were. A lot of guys put in a lot of work when we were at Martinsville and got the thing turned around. I know we'll race good, but we'd like to start up front as far as possible. If we can be in the top 10 or top 15, well, depending on which row you're in, if you're in the right row and it goes, you can move up fast in just one lap."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're slow. We're way slow. We usually pick up four or five tenths here from practice and we only picked up a little more than a tenth. We're about two tenths short. We never got going. It wouldn't run. It'll race good. We just didn't get it. The lap was perfect. The line was good. It just wouldn't run. I don't think I could have done anything any different. We've just been off a little bit since we've been here. We'll take it and go racing."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We had help getting that fast lap in practice, and you don't need a whole lot of help here to make a big difference. We actually ran about a tenth slower than we thought we would in qualifying, so you can't be real disappointed with a tenth. The rules have sort of worked against this car. They wrote the rules against this car, so they've got a handle on it now, but it always races good."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "When you test down here you should take it home and not mess with it if it's fast. I guess we got the car home and took it all apart. I just told Tony (crew chief Glover) when you go that fast in testing, you should take it home and cover it up and not do anything to it. We just never picked up today, so I don't know what's wrong with it. I thought we could fall off the truck and run a 49 flat pretty easy. We just didn't run. It's not the motor. I don't know what it is. We've just got to learn not to take things apart."
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "To some people it might not sound very good, but that's a good lap for us. This is a brand new car. We came here and tested and learned a lot and learned some this morning. That's a pretty good time for us. We're still in our infant stage of building this team, and we're proud of that lap. Racing and qualifying are two different things. We feel like we're going to race good. For sure, we're going to have a lot of fun out there. Let's hope it's a safe race for everybody and a good race for the fans."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "This is a great race car. It's a car we qualified ninth with at Daytona and had a shot to win the race. Things aren't a whole lot different here at Talladega as far as our performance goes. We're going to be right around the top 10 again. The boys did a super job getting the car tuned up for qualifying. I'm just as happy as I can be and ready to start drafting and racing these guys tomorrow morning. I've had a little good luck here. I've never got hurt, so that's good luck. Last year, I wrecked in both races and finished ninth in one and 21st in the other. That's just barely wrecking. I'm really confident about what we can accomplish here. We can win this race. That'd be fun."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "We just didn't really get the attitude of the car right, I don't think. The car is OK. It ran good at Daytona and hopefully it'll run good here. I think it will. We'll have to wait and see what practice is like tomorrow, but a lot of guys are running fast and have their cars right. We just haven't see the speed today. We've had some pretty tough wrecks here, too, but I think the car is up to it and I know I am. We'll have a good race on Sunday."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "We ran about what they tested here, but we thought when it came to qualifying we'd pick up more. We drug the front end quite a bit through three and four. We're solidly in the field. That's all that matters. It felt like it was going to be a good lap, but we've been off a little bit all day. We'll go to work on the race setup. I think we'll be good Sunday. We were fast here testing. Sterling was maybe a little better, but we were happy with it. That lap I was fast in practice, we got a little help with it. A lot of cars were in front of me helping me. We qualified right about where we were most of the day. We were off a little bit and thought we would pick it up. We'll go to work on it for Sunday now. We're starting further back than I'd like to. The pole at Daytona and now 13th. I think a lot of guys have picked it up. This car we felt like what we had at Daytona. We're done with qualifying. Now we can go on."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We would have liked to be a little faster than that, but that's a little bit faster than we practiced. We'll take that and work on our race setup. I think we'll have a good car in the race. This is the car we ran down here last year in both races. We qualified third and fourth and actually ran faster this year than we did last year. Everybody else has stepped it up a little bit, so we've got a little work to do in our qualifying deal."
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We always look forward to getting in that Bud Shootout because you get a couple more cases of beer every week. That's a pretty important race for us. Andy and Sammy and the guys told me the car would be real good. They don't put all the tape on it. There's a lot of things they don't do when we're practicing. They kind of know what they're going to throw at it for qualifying. We put some fast laps down there. I knew it was going to be tough, but we got it. That's all that matters. You've just got to run that second lap right. I don't know if that high line does anything, but a lot of guys are doing it now. I doubt if we're going to quit. We can (win race). A lot of guys can, but that Skoal car is definitely one that can. We didn't come down here for Thursday and Friday. We came down here for Saturday and Sunday. That's our main goals. "We didn't test that quick, but we never made a full-fledged qualifying attempt where you throw all the extra junk at it. Everybody has done a real good job of getting the cars down on the ground. Everybody makes more power. They'll make more power when we go back to Daytona in July. Then they'll make more power when we come back here. They continue to work on those engines and they get those bodies a little bit slicker. Nobody backs up. "If we didn't go so damn fast or run so close together. The objective of our sport is to go real fast and get there first. Everybody tries to do that and you wind up running close together because all the cars are about the same speed because the rule book is real thick. So no one has a real distinct advantage. So when everyone runs that fast and that close, sooner or later, someone is bumping someone else just a little bit. Then it gets messy. "It's a coincidence that I drove both cars (Busch and Cup) for Andy Petree racing and they've got a real good restrictor plate program. The Busch car and the Cup car were good at Daytona. They put a lot of effort into those four races every year. You've got to kind of balance that out, because they're very expensive races when you do all the research and testing it takes to do those races. It's not a coincidence. We've just got an excellent team for restrictor-plate races. "At restrictor-plate races, basically none (crossover from Busch to Cup) because the way the Busch rules and the suspension and the way Winston Cup is, the stuff doesn't relate. Some of the body stuff is, but we're all governed there by the templates and everybody has that knowledge. As far as the really distinct advantage of running the Busch car, they don't factor in here. "You'll think I'm crazy, but when you come down here and test and all you're in is qualifying mode, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, you think your heart is going to rip off. Stuff is shaking loose in there. I can feel it. It hurts. It beats you and beats you and beats you. Now with the race stuff, we're going more towards that. You can't do it all day, but we're starting to do some of it. "You go to Charlotte or Atlanta or some place and you qualify 20th. You may not have hit your line that lap as good or you may have wiggled. Here it's real simple. The fastest cars are in the front. There's no wiggling or missing your line. That's why usually the winners come out of more of the up-front starting positions. You just hold your foot down and steer the thing. That car was going to be on the pole if there would have been 20 guys in it, all right 15 guys."