Darlington qualifying quotes 97-08-29

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations Mountain Dew Southern 500 quotes DARLINGTON, S.C. (Aug. 29, 1997) Quotes from selected drivers after Busch Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Mountain Dew...

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

Mountain Dew Southern 500 quotes

DARLINGTON, S.C. (Aug. 29, 1997) Quotes from selected drivers after Busch Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway:

BOBBY LABONTE No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac

"It was a pretty darn good lap. When (crew chief) Jimmy (Makar) said it was an .80 (28.815 seconds), I said 'Boy, I really screwed up,' thinking it was a 29.80. Then when I found out it was a 28.80, I thought that was pretty good. Being the second car out (of 46 entries), I took the attitude, 'Well, we'll wait and see what happens.' It was a really quick lap. We're awfully excited about that. It was the best lap we've run all day. Usually I slow down for qualifying, so that's pretty good. The reconfiguration of the track didn't bother me. As long as there's a flagman there, we'll be OK. It really hasn't made any difference yet. This crew did a great job. We felt pretty good about it when we first went out on the race track. This team is really happy."

BILL ELLIOTT No. 94 McDonald's Ford

"Any time you can make a lap here, it's a solid lap. I ran an .09 (29.09) in practice and I didn't think I could run any faster, but I sucked it in. I saw what Bobby Labonte ran and I said, 'I need to pick it up a little bit,' and fortunately, we did. (Crew chief) Mike (Beam) made some great calls as far as what we needed to do to the car and I stuck my foot in it and it stuck to the race track and here we are. I wished I could have picked it up a little more, but I swear if I did it again, I don't know if I could have done any better. Man this place is slick and it's just hard to get a hold of. It's better than I've been here in a long time. I really got through 1 and 2 (the old Turns 3 and 4) as good as I've ever done it here. I just hope we run good Sunday afternoon. That's all I care about."

DALE JARRETT No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford

"We probably could have gone faster, but the car was a little snug and we were afraid to loosen it up too much, not knowing what was going to go on here. I was just a little tight on the exit and that probably scrubbed off some speed, and then I was too tight on the exit of Turn 4. You can't be loose, but you can't be too tight, or you'll lose a little time. That will give us a decent starting spot and we'll go after them on Sunday. We've got a pretty good race car for Sunday. "We're here to win the race. Whether it takes money away from anybody or not, that doesn't even concern us. Our concern is winning the race. We know that is the only way we are going to solidify ourselves more in the championship battle."

MARK MARTIN No. 6 Valvoline Ford

"That's a good run for us. Our car has been real strong all day. We haven't run a lot. We've been real confident in it. We got an excellent lap. We might could have gotten a better one, but we'll take that. I'm pretty happy with that. We've had a fast car all day. I felt so good in (Turns) 1 and 2 that I was pretty optimistic going into Turn 3. I'm not saying I slipped or anything, but I might have been a little overly optimistic there. I ran a little bit higher line. I don't know if I lost any time, but I might have been better if I had just done it like I had been doing it"

KEN SCHRADER No. 33 Skoal Bandit Chevrolet

"I butchered (Turns) 3 and 4 just a little bit. I don't think we had anything for Bobby Labonte, so it really doesn't matter too much. At least we've got a god starting spot for Sunday. The flip-flop didn't matter much for qualifying. It's still the same circle. At least we're parking on the front straightaway. I think we'll have a pretty good car for the race. We've got a little work left to do, but we'll go to work on Saturday and not have to worry about getting a starting spot. I've had some good runs at Darlington in the past, and I'm looking forward to another good one on Sunday."

HUT STRICKLIN No. 8 Circuit City Ford

"The guys worked until midnight getting this car ready, so I'm really proud of 'em. Bill Ingle has come over and is helping us out. He changed some things on the car and it helped. We were really good here last year. I just hope we can get the car right and do it again."

JEFF GORDON No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet

"We didn't pick up as much as everybody else did, but we ran a pretty good lap in practice, and I'm just glad to back that up with a little bit faster speed. The lap felt great. I don't know what we could have done to go any faster. That's all this DuPont Chevrolet has right now. We'll race something totally different that we've got in it right now. That's when this place really comes into it's own. It's such a tough race track because it gets so slick. We'll just get ready for the race now. We're in the top-10 and that's good. That's important. We'll go to work on the race setup and I think we'll be in pretty good shape, but we're going to have to work hard on it all weekend. "We had a shot at the pole. Any time you have a shot at the pole you put pressure on yourself. I knew that Bobby Labonte had set an unbelievable time and it was going to be hard to beat that. We got about all we could out of it and I'm happy with that."

DICK TRICKLE No. 90 Heilig-Meyers/Simmons Ford

"I got a little loose in the new (Turn) 2 or the old 4. The car turned sideways on me, but I mashed the gas and went with it anyway. I told everybody a few months ago that we should get better and better, and the team has helped me prove it. We are getting better. We're making improvements on the team. We pulled the team together and we're working together as a unit."

STERLING MARLIN No. 4 Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet

"That lap got my attention. We were a little bit loose. The track is a little better like this because you don't have to hold your breath as long. Before, we had to go through (Turns) 3 and 4 wide open twice. Now you've just got to go through it one time. That's better than we'd practiced. We had a little left in the motor, and they tuned it up. We made a chassis change. I didn't think we had anything for Bobby Labonte, but I'm glad we hung on and got a top-10 starting spot."

ERNIE IRVAN No. 28 Texaco / Havoline Ford

"We'll, I didn't wreck. It wasn't bad. I left a lot on the table. It wasn't a very good lap, but I think it will be in the top-10. With the way everything has gone this year, hopefully that will put us in a good position to be able to race 'em all day."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte