Chicagoland has been a great place for you when it comes to qualifying. Why is that? "For some reason I love the so-called cookie-cutter tracks especially Chicagoland. It's been especially good to me because I was able to get Travis Carter his...
Chicagoland has been a great place for you when it comes to qualifying. Why is that?
"For some reason I love the so-called cookie-cutter tracks especially Chicagoland. It's been especially good to me because I was able to get Travis Carter his first pole award in 2001 while my teammate, Jimmy Spencer was second. Then last year, I backed it up with a solid Cup qualifying effort and a Busch Bud Pole Award. I don't think I get on top of the wheel any different but the confidence I have coming into a place like this no doubt helps."
"I think one of the main reasons why I like a track with this type of configuration is it carries a ton of momentum through the corners and straights. It also helps to have the horsepower and Robert Yates Racing engines certainly gives us what we need. At this place, I would guess you're probably in the throttle for 90 percent of the lap. And that's key because horsepower is going to give you that extra boost."
Will you put more emphasis on qualifying?
"I think we need to since track position is at a premium here. Unfortunately, I haven't been happy with our qualifying program. It's an area that needs turned around and hopefully we can do it this weekend. It helps having a good starting spot to avoid losing track position. This is a real raceable track but passing is tough. Within 20 laps, the field will get pretty spread out. If you are back in the pack and in traffic, it just makes it that much harder to get back up front. It also puts a lot of stress on your engine. Granted, if you've got the handling and horsepower, anything's possible. Kevin Harvick showed us that last year. However, I'd like to avoid the spin and win scenario. The odds just aren't in your favor."
Last weekend pit strategy and gas mileage came into play. Do you see a similar scenario?
"I think so. I think if this race goes green like it mostly does, gas mileage will certainly be an issue. However, handling will be just as important. You have to come out of the box with a near perfect set up because you will have very few, if any, chance to make a stop under caution to make serious adjustments. You want to spend as little time as possible in the pits."