Darlington Pontiac Friday Notes

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "My team is just awesome. They do such a good job for me each and every week. I'm really happy to get the Murray Pontiac on the pole and the Caterpillar Pontiac's got a good place to start...

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "My team is just awesome. They do such a good job for me each and every week. I'm really happy to get the Murray Pontiac on the pole and the Caterpillar Pontiac's got a good place to start Sunday, too. We're confident of a good weekend. Hopefully, the bad luck, some of the situations you can't control, hopefully, that's behind us. We've just got to use our heads, I've got to use my head Sunday and run all the laps. Race the race track. We've got a good car right now, but it's Friday. We've got to work on the car so it's good on long runs. Tommy Baldwin and all the guys did a great job for me. "I was a little bit tight in three and four and got a little bit loose. Man, my Caterpillar team did a great job for me. I'm just real excited for Sunday. We picked up about two and a half tenths. That cloud cover is what picked everybody up. We're pretty happy with that. We definitely needed the cloud cover (but he went out with the sun out). I'm really excited about our opportunity to have a good run in the Caterpillar Pontiac Sunday."

JERRY NADEAU (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix): "I'm pretty excited. Earlier I saw the speeds these guys were running and I was going, 'Man, oh man!' It was a good lap. The guys on the M&M's team did an awesome job and I'm looking forward to Sunday's race. It was a pretty wild lap, pretty hair raising. It was tough. You have to drive so hard. The car did a great job. "It was a good lap. I went out 35th and a lot of guys seemed to cut some good laps. I was pretty amazed. I seemed to have a good lap, the only place I seemed to have a little trouble was turn four when the car got a little bit tight. Other than that, the team did an awesome job. I'm pretty excited. This is my fourth time here. I always seem to qualify OK here and we seem to race good but we never seem to finish good. Hopefully, this weekend we can change that. "I imagine Ernie's retirement is pretty devastating for the whole racing community. He's won a lot of races in Winston Cup. He probably made a good decision for himself. The nice thing is he's probably going to stay involved in racing and he's going to be at the race tracks. For me, I was going to wait until next season to get back in a car with Hendrick. When this opportunity came up, I was more than glad to help out for Ernie until he got better. Now that he's retired, I'm really not sure what's going to happen. If things keep going the way they're going, I could be there the rest of the year."

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "I have to apologize to the guys. I've been trying to run fast all day, but we just didn't hit it right off the truck. You've only got two sets of tires to work with. On the second set we were better, but still off. We made a couple more changes and finally got it there. Maybe I just wasn't driving it hard enough. It still didn't feel all that good, but this makes us feel a whole lot better. Maybe we won't be in the way on Sunday. Not being able to qualify in the spring and not qualifying well for either race last year made me think maybe I didn't want to even qualify today. I'm glad we got a good run in for the guys. That lap there was just a 'get all you can get lap' I guess. The car was probably that good earlier, I just didn't drive it that good. The car is a lot better than me. Thank goodness for that. This is the same Grand Prix Matt Kenseth drove here last time, same won we won Pocono and Dover with and same one we ran last week at Bristol, so it's a good race car."

TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "We made some pretty big gains. Sometimes bringing a new car to this race track is a hindrance rather than help. But this run shows how dedicated my guys are and how a slow start in the morning doesn't slow those guys down. We kept battling the car and kept battling loose all morning. We pretty much got it calmed down but never got a real stout lap. My fastest lap was on three-lap tires. We never really had the chance to see what it would do on a sticker run."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "We just pushed. Everybody was picking up three tenths and we didn't. We missed the setup and I kind of blame that on the weather conditions. We were a lot faster than that this morning and this afternoon we were just way, way off."

RICH BICKLE (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "I don't know what's wrong. It seems like the car is handling good. We just don't have any speed."

TODD BODINE (No. 30 Bryan Pontiac Grand Prix): "Nobody is going to believe this but we think we had a pole-winning car. The motor shut off on the backstretch because of a faulty distributor. Barry said I killed everybody through turns one and two and it sure felt great. But then the motor just shut off and I had to fumble around for the other ignition switch and I finally got it cranked again. You've got to think that took at least a full second to do. We were really fast in the morning practice (ninth fastest) and everybody was picking up three tenths. If we had followed the same formula we'd be sitting on the pole right now. I'm telling you, we've got a great car. We know what the problem was, it's fixed and we'll go get 'em tomorrow."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Tommy Baldwin