TONY EURY JR., CREW CHIEF, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO ON THE WET WEATHER: "Well, you get tired of sitting around in the rain. But first practice, we were pretty happy. We stayed pretty close to what we had here in the spring. We're...
TONY EURY JR., CREW CHIEF, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
ON THE WET WEATHER: "Well, you get tired of sitting around in the rain. But first practice, we were pretty happy. We stayed pretty close to what we had here in the spring. We're not that good on the practice sheet - as far as busting off a lap - but on the long run, we stayed pretty consistent. We're not far away from what we had in the spring and Dale Jr. is pretty happy with it.
"In the second practice, we tried some awkward stuff to just try and see what kind of changes we can make during the race and see what happens. We're going to go back to what we had in the first practice. It seemed like it was the best and Jr. feels the most comfortable with it. It should be a good day. Luckily we got all the practice in today and we'll just do our routine deal and hope the showers stay away and we can go racing."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
ARE YOU GLAD YOU GOT HAPPY HOUR PRACTICE IN TODAY?: "I'm real happy that we got today's practice in. I'm surprised that we got it in. It was pretty important to get some time on the track. I don't know if it would have been an advantage or a disadvantage for us to not have practice because we've run real well the last couple times we've been here. We're not far off of our set-ups that we've had here in the past, but we feel like we did learn a few things. We're happy with the adjustments we made and the car is running real good. So I guess I'm happy that we had the practice."
IS YOUR APPROACH TO PRACTICE DIFFERENT AT DARLINGTON THAN AT OTHER TRACKS?: "No, I think you've got to take the Saturday morning practice seriously every weekend and put a lot into them. That's your time to see how good you are for the race and the race is the most important part of our weekend. So I didn't approach it any differently than I normally do, other than making sure we got out there and got time on the track."
YOU WERE FASTER IN THE SECOND PRACTICE. DID YOU FIND SOMETHING IN THE SET-UP?: "You guys pay way too close attention to stuff. I never really tried to go fast in the first practice. I was just out there just making race runs. In the second practice, I pushed it a little harder. I wanted to see how fast it could go on new tires. The car is really good."
HOW IMPORTANT ARE PRACTICE TIMES AT DARLINGTON?: "When you fall off as much as you do here -- and at Rockingham and certain other tracks -- you don't put as much into it as you would at other places. It's nice to be able to go out there and go fast for a lap or two, but we're able to pull up everybody's lap times over the whole run and that's what we look at a lot more than who goes fast."
SO, WHY ISN'T IT AS IMPORTANT HERE?: "Because the tires fall off so much. Somebody can run a .30 flat, but in five laps, they're running .31 flat and it's not going to do that guy much good. So, you're looking at a guy who can run fairly fast laps, but can hold on to it for a longer period of time. That's the guy who's going to go fast. That's the guy you're going to have to worry about tomorrow."
ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE RAIN AND WHETHER OR NOT THE BUSCH CARS RUN TODAY?: "Yeah, somewhat. We definitely want rubber on the track and to be in the same conditions we have today, but what that means is that it'll just start one way and it will eventually get back to the way it was when we had rubber on the track. So, the conditions will change and we just have to be conscious of that. Through our first run maybe under green flag conditions, we just need to be patient and not over-react and think we have to make a whole bunch of adjustments. You've just got to put yourself in the mindset of holding onto track position the best you can and maybe wait until after the second run on tires to see how the car acts before making adjustments."
STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The Pennzoil Chevrolet ran decent in practice. It was pretty good for us. We weren't the fastest on the speed chart, but longevity is what you shoot for at this track. We feel that on a long run on tires is where the car is the best. If we get a long run at the end of the race, we're going to be in good shape. You start off pretty fast and after 10 laps, you're pretty slow. So you've got to make sure your car is where it needs to be when it's got worn-out tires on it because you spend most of your time on worn out tires. Jeff Burton is a guy who runs good here and I don't think he's the fastest guys on the charts here. You've got to look for consistency throughout the whole (practice) run and that doesn't necessarily show how fast you can do on one lap."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 8 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Practice was great. We were in the top 10 in both sessions. We really started with the set-up we finished 6th with in the spring and tried to improve on it. We feel that we have. Looking at the long run stuff, we're probably 3rd on the long runs. The No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the No. 40 (Sterling Marlin) are a little bit better, but they have more experience than I do here so we'll just see what happens."
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSISTENCY VS. SPEED: "The tires fall off so fast here at Darlington, you need to have some consistency. Some races have been won here with (the help of) a lot of cautions. If you're good for 20 laps and then fall off and the cautions keep playing out, it can work in your favor. We were fast on new tires and didn't fall off too much. And it looks like some guys are real fast on new tires, but fell off a lot. It seems like we've landed in the middle somewhere."
IF THE BUSCH RACE GETS RAINED OUT, WILL STARTING ON A GREEN TRACK AFFECT YOUR GAMEPLAN FOR SUNDAY'S RACE?: "Luckily, we started Happy Hour practice on a green track. So if that happens, we'll have a good idea where the track is going to be when we start racing."