JEFF GREEN, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ARE YOU SURPRISED TO WIN THE POLE? "I really expected it. A lot of people, I think, looked at me like I had four eyes when I said that. But, we didn't practice a lot Saturday. We knew we had a great...
JEFF GREEN, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ARE YOU SURPRISED TO WIN THE POLE? "I really expected it. A lot of people, I think, looked at me like I had four eyes when I said that. But, we didn't practice a lot Saturday. We knew we had a great race car. For the work that's been done at RCR the last two and a half months - even last year - getting to this point, I'm pretty proud of guys - the fab guys, the engine guys, Richard (Childress), what he's given to us, Mike Beam is a blessing for all of us - not just my team, but for the '29' and the '31' both. He knows what he wants in a race car and he's able to give it to me. That's what we've got to have to be able to win and to sit on poles like this. I'm just very proud of him."
RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING:
"I think it's just been a great effort, like Jeff said, from everybody at RCR. The engine guys, they never gave up. They were tearing brand new engines down. I gave them a number to go to and they'd be one or two away and kept tearing them down, so I'm proud of everybody there. The fab shop, they just kept working on the cars and the body shop...it's just been a huge team effort. Having Mike Beam up there right now, he's going to be a plus for the whole organization.
"We were on the outside pole here last year in February and on the pole in July. This year, to come back and be on the pole again, it says something about all the people at RCR for all the hard work and effort they put in. With Jeff's experience in these restrictor plate races, I think we'll have a good run this weekend."
DID YOU HAVE TO CHANGE HATS TODAY AFTER JEFF GRABBED THE POLE? "No, I had an RCR hat. Whichever one of (the teams) does best, I put their hat on."
DOES THE UNDERDOG ROLE FIRE YOU UP A LITTLE BIT? "I enjoy people not talking about me a lot. When you slip up and win one of these things and slip up and win poles like we did today, it tends to make a better story. Things like that make me go and hopefully it will keep going that way."
HOW MUCH CREDIT DOES DALE EARNHARDT, SR., GET FOR THE SUCCESS OF YOU PLATE PROGRAM? "Dale, he was the man here for many, many years. We just gave him a car. I'll always give Dale Earnhardt all the credit. He's the man when it comes to Daytona and Talladega."
WITH THE BODIES SO EQUAL, WAS THIS AN ENGINE BUILDER'S DAY? "I think it takes all of it. You've got to have a good slick race car. You've got to have a great motor. The guys working on the car have got to do the right things to make it go through the air. There is no one thing that makes it happen. Everything has got to happen. I don't know how many pieces are on a race car, but every one of them has to work to get where we are today."
DID YOU HAVE A POKER FACE ON THE LAST COUPLE DAYS, KNOWING HOW GOOD YOUR CAR WAS? "Yesterday in that rain was the longest day of my life because I knew how good a car we had. I kept telling Michelle, my wife, how good a car we had. She was just shaking her head, you know, but we made a believer out of her today. It's just that when you have Mike and those guys working as hard as they work, I want to go out and do the best job for them each and every week and this is just the first weekend of this season. I think at the end of the year we're going to be noticed."
HOW TOUGH IS IT GOING TO BE TO BEAT THE DEI CARS THIS WEEK? "It's going to be tough, but there are 40 other guys out there that you've got to beat, too - not just the DEI cars. My philosophy is 'get in front of the 8 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) and let him push you all the way to the end. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to block my butt off to keep him behind me. He's got a great race car. He's got a lot of experience here. He reminds me of Dale, Sr. I think he reminds everybody a lot of Dale, Sr., on these racetracks. They've got a great combination, but I think RCR is right there with them now. Hopefully, we can just hold our own, get to the end of the race and, again, if I can somehow keep myself in front it's going to be a wide car come the end of the race."
IS THE TEAM COMING TOGETHER? "I think last year we had a lot things that pulled our attention away from the races. We moved into a new 80,000 square foot shop mid-season, Richard added my Winston Cup team to his roster, so there were a lot of things. We were just getting to the racetrack basically, what I seen - not gelling together like we should have. I was basically a rookie in the Winston Cup Series - I'd had some laps under my belt, but not in a competitive race car like I've had. Todd Berrier was a first-year Winston Cup crew chief and I think we all learned together. But, Mike Beam has just brought so much experience to our race team. He knows what he wants when he leaves the shop. We don't have to get to the racetrack to figure it out. I think at the end of the day that is going to pay a lot of dividends and get us a lot of wins and a lot of poles. And, not just the '30' car, but he'll help the '29,' the '31,' and both Busch teams. I think he will make all of RCR better. The fab shop has been working so, so hard this winter to get those 2003 Monte Carlos where they need to be and the tests that we've done have proved it. We've been very fast every place we've went to. I'm just like a little kid in a candy store. I want to go to every racetrack right now and get it over with. But, I think Thursday and Sunday will tell dividends for us - how really good we are."
COMPARED TO YOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS, WHERE DOES WINNING THE POLE TODAY STACK0-UP? "I think it tops them all. The championship in the Busch Series is definitely a great accomplishment for me as a race driver for me in my career. But, to come to the hub of racing at Daytona the first race of the year and we're the class of the field - that's saying a lot in this sport."
ON TEAMS BEING ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD HERE THIS YEAR "I think last year the Chevrolets were good here. I think you're going to see Chevrolets run really, really good. I think the teams, now, will show what all of us are made out of that we're on more of an even playing field this year. I think you're going to see Monte Carlos be a really strong factor this year. I know the tests we've been to so far, we're so far ahead of where we were with our 2002 Monte Carlo, there is no comparison. Now we know why we were getting beat so bad."
IS YOUR TEAM LINEUP SETTLING DOWN A LITTLE BIT? "We've got some long-range plans at RCR. Last year we had some short-term sacrifices for long-term success. We're putting a lot of stuff in - spending a lot of money at RCR. We're putting a lot of equipment in - state of the art - to be competitive 10 years from now."