Darlington qualifying notes

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations TranSouth Financial 400 Quotebook DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 21, 1997) Quotes from qualifiers for the TranSouth Financial 400 : Busch Pole Winner -- Dale Jarrett (No. 88...

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

TranSouth Financial 400 Quotebook

DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 21, 1997)

Quotes from qualifiers for the TranSouth Financial 400 :

Busch Pole Winner -- Dale Jarrett (No. 88 Ford Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford) "They came close. You just never know in qualifying with the weather changing and the sun going behind the clouds. But we had a good lap. These guys deserve all the credit. They gave me a great race car. Usually a lap around here to win the pole is pretty white-knuckled, but this one was pretty comfortable, so I was pretty happy. I think we knew we were going to have a good starting spot, but I didn't know if we had enough for the pole. I didn't know what everybody else had and didn't know if we would pick up a whole lot more. We we're as concerned about getting the pole as we were about just getting a good starting spot. A lot of good things happen with this. We're going to see if we can get the five bonus points for leading early and have a good day on Sunday."

Second -- Ricky Craven (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet) "I would like to have been on the pole. It's easy to be greedy in this business. I'm pretty happy with that lap. We were a little bit short, but I can't wait until Sunday. This is usually a good track for me. We're trying to be patient and get some experience. "I thought it was a good enough lap for the pole. With the sun being out, I was concerned about being able to have a shot for the pole, but I was happy with the way the car ran. I've got an awesome pit crew, and they're going to keep me up front. I'm going to beat myself up tonight wondering where I could have got nine-hundredths."

Third -- Bobby Labonte (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac) "The lap went pretty good. I went into turn one hard and came off two good, and I went into turn three pretty decent and came off four a little higher than I wanted to. That was the best we'd run since we've been here, so we're pretty please.. We missed it a little bit, but it wasn't bad. The Pontiac was great."

Fourth -- Geoff Bodine (No. 7 QVC Ford) "A piece of tape came off on the grille. I'm going to blame it on that. I don't know if it let too much air in or what. But that was a good lap. I'm happy with it. If I could do it over again, I would go a little faster. The car just stuck so darn good, especially up in 3 and 4. I went through there a little easy and I guess I gave the pole away. I'm happy for the team. The driver just left it out on the track today. I didn't think it was going to stick that good."

Fifth -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Valvoline Ford) "That was a real good lap. I'm real proud of this race team and these cars. That will give us a good spot. We'll take that and run with it and try to win this thing Sunday. This is the first step. Darlington is the first step in improving our finishes in these 400-milers."

Sixth -- Jeff Burton (No. 99 Exide Ford) "That is a helluva lap. It's three-tenths quicker than we ran in practice. On top of that, it's about eight-tenths quicker than when we unloaded this morning. We unloaded and we're very good and I just didn't have a very good feel for the car at all. I was very discouraged, but these guys kept doing things. I don't know how we ran that good, but they deserve all the credit."

Seventh -- Hut Stricklin (No. 8 Circuit City Ford) "That was a pretty good lap. We were a little bit too loose. I think the race track loosened up on us a little bit and I knew that was going to happen. We tightened it up a little bit, we just didn't go quite far enough. Maybe this is a sign of good things to come. Last race here we qualified tenth and ran really strong in the race. Hopefully, this time we're going to be better than that. Maybe this is an omen."

Eighth -- Ernie Irvan (No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford) "That was really good. It was all I wanted. If they had told me I had run faster I would have believed it, because that was about as hung out as I could get it. The guys have done a great job and the motor department is unbelievable."

Ninth -- Sterling Marlin (No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet) "We were a little loose in turns three and four. We had a good lap in one and two. We slowed down just a little bit from practice. These Fords look tough. We'll just have to set our car up as best as we can. We'll have to be perfect to beat em. I hope we can do it. The guys have been working real hard, but we just haven't caught the right breaks. Maybe this will be the weekend."

Tenth -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet) "I'm smiling because we made it back in one piece. I got way loose off of turn two. I lost two or three tenths there. We've got a good car. We've got Blacker' here, so I'd rather put the pressure on the other guys out there in qualifying. It wasn't a good lap for us, but it was good because I made it back in one piece."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Sterling Marlin , Hut Stricklin , Ricky Craven , Mark Martin