RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON HIS RUN "It was encouraging. It's always nice to run your fastest lap qualifying. The new Tide Pontiac is a very good race car. It's got me pretty excited about the season." HOW DID YOU FIND...
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON HIS RUN "It was encouraging. It's always nice to run your fastest lap qualifying. The new Tide Pontiac is a very good race car. It's got me pretty excited about the season."
HOW DID YOU FIND THE ADDITIONAL SPEED SINCE PRACTICE? "The guys just made some good decisions. The 70 laps we ran in the Bud Shootout was great. Track time is priceless, and I believe we're just going to continue to gain speed as the week goes on and be a contender on Sunday."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON HIS RUN "I'm very pleased. I just want to thank my team: Slugger (Richard Labbe), Richie [Gilmore], Steve Hmiel - just all the boys that worked so hard for that lap right there. We've been looking forward to making that lap since last November when we quit racing at Homestead. I think we did all that we could hope to do."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT DAYTONA THAT IS SO MUCH TO YOUR LIKING? "I just understand it and I understand one thing, for sure - I've got a great car and that makes the job a lot easier."
JACK SPRAGUE, NO. 0 NETZERO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"At least we ran what we tested here - exact same time we ran down here in testing. Two days we were practicing and we were messed up. We had brakes dragging and we had problems we didn't know about until the practice was over and I was a little bit frustrated. But, they found some stuff and at least got me back to where I was testing over the winter. That proves we weren't cheating (in testing). We ran that time legitimately."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It's a little disappointing. I thought the Dupont Chevrolet was going to pick up more than that. We've been gaining each time we were on the track, but we didn't pick up as much as some guys did there. We'll have to work our way through the 125, which I'm excited about because we ran so well in the Bud Shootout the other night."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was a good lap for our little Interstate Batteries Chevrolet. It was really just a good lap. All the guys did a great job. They picked it up about four tenths from what we practiced. They mixed all the stuff up right and got through everything good, so I'm real excited about that. You've just got thank them for all the hard work and everything. My part was pretty easy - just go out there and hold it as smooth as possible and make the shortest lap that you can, and that's about it."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"That's not what I was looking for. I thought we'd run a lot faster than that, but the RPMs were down a little bit. I don't know. That's all we had. It's just disappointing. We ran fast on Friday, but that was not what I was looking for. But, we'll take it and we'll have a good car for the 'twins.'
DERRIKE COPE, NO. 37 FRIENDLY'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON HAVING TO RACE IN ON THURSDAY "I've only really come down here one time and had a car fast enough to qualify on speed. There are only two guys out there that are locked in for sure and some guys that have points from last year. We'll go race them in the 125s. Hopefully, the car will be good in the draft and that's kind of my forte, so we'll se what happens."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"I'm fairly happy with that. We were able to come down here this time and at least back up what we tested. We were pretty nervous about that. We weren't running that good in practice, but that was good. I think the Valvoline Grand Prix is going to race good. Not that you're ever happy with the time you posted, but based off a little bit of practice - at least we were able to get back to where we tested."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"All the tricks and everything that it takes to be fast in qualifying, we're making progress on figuring them all out, but just didn't have everything in time for qualifying for the 500. I'm sure we'll be a lot better for qualifying at the next restrictor plate race that we go to. But, the way the car drove in the Shootout, I don't care where we start. We've got a great race car and we're going to be in really good shape for the 500."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
DID YOU EXPECT THAT LAP? "This race team surprises me every single time. They do such a good job when it comes to qualifying here at Daytona. We qualified fourth last year and third this year, so far. I'm very pleased with Richard Childress Racing and very excited with the crew. They've done a great job. It shows they've done their homework. They've been to the GM Proving Grounds many times, just trying to find more and more with this new Monte Carlo body. You've just got to give the guys an 'A' for effort. They've really worked hard all winter long. Daytona really kind of shows how hard you've worked.
"I'm really pleased for Jeff Green, my teammate, and Mike Beam, the crew chief over there. Everybody at RCR has just really done a good job."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was a good lap all-in-all for the GM Goodwrench Chevy, but there is not a whole lot of reason that it should be four tenths of a second slower (than Jeff Green). But, that will get us a good spot. It just wasn't quite what we were expecting, but all in all I think it was a good lap for the GM Goodwrench team and that'll get us into the 500. But, it was just a little bit off for some reason."
ON THE PERFORMANCE OF RCR - THE TEAM MUST HAVE REALLY WORKED HARD OVER THE WINTER? "Yeah, they really did. The body shop and the motor shop - it's really a credit to the whole organization. We're always good when we come to the speedways. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come for this weekend."
HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE 125? "We're going to go and try and win the race. I think that's what we have to do. I think that's the only way to approach it, otherwise I think you're going to get yourself in trouble and lose a lot of spots from where we qualified."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"Somewhere between the test and going back to the shop and coming back, we lost somewhere around a half a second. We got half of it back Friday, but then lost it again today. Everybody has worked really hard on this car and everybody is trying really hard. I don't think there is a guy on this team that's not scratching his head wondering where it went. Everybody is trying real hard and that is all we can do.
"Our next goal is, based on what happened today, is we're going to have to really get that car drafting good. We need to just forget about the last couple of days and forget about today and totally focus on race mode now and get that car where it will draft good, so we can get ourselves a spot in the Daytona 500."
TONY STEWART, NO. HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
WHAT HAPPENED ON YOUR WARM-UP LAP? "I'm not real sure - something in the motor. When we came around and crossed the start/finish line it made a pop and then it took off again. But, at the same time, after it did that it started laying down. Coming off the backstretch there it was about 700 revs lower than it should have been, so I knew we had a problem. There wasn't any point in blowing the motor up and messing up the racetrack and making these fans wait. They've waited long enough to see all of us qualify. I wasn't going to mess up the racetrack for everybody else. "I don't know what happened to us. If that's the worst thing that happens to us, we'll be all right this year. It's not the way we wanted to start off Speedweeks. Last year we started off Speedweeks great and finished up bad, so maybe we're starting off bad and we're going to finish up good."
IT'S GOING TO MAKE FOR A BIG DAY OF RACING ON THURSDAY... "I like racing. I hate this qualifying stuff. I like the racing a lot better. This will be fun - coming from the back."
DOUG DUCHARDT, NASCAR GROUP MANAGER, GM RACING:
"I am very proud of all our GM Racing engineers and our teams who have worked so hard on these new race cars. To have RCR put three drivers in the top six, coupled with another strong showing from DEI on a superspeedway, is very encouraging. It's been a fantastic team effort in utilizing many of the GM resources -- including tools, facilities and processes -- during the past couple of months to get to this point. However, this is just one small hurdle in the Speedweeks schedule. We'll get a much better indication on Thursday of what the race might look like."