RYAN PEMBERTON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (REGARDING JOE NEMECHEK NOT TAKING PART IN TODAY'S PRACTICE SESSION) "Joe is a little under the weather and since our Army car ran strong in practice yesterday we felt it would...
RYAN PEMBERTON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (REGARDING JOE NEMECHEK NOT TAKING PART IN TODAY'S PRACTICE SESSION)
"Joe is a little under the weather and since our Army car ran strong in practice yesterday we felt it would be best to skip today's practice. We feel we're as ready as you can possibly be for the Daytona 500. This car has logged a lot of miles here beginning with testing last month."
Note - The car that Nemechek will drive in the Daytona 500 is the same 01 Chevrolet that he drove in Saturday's Bud Shootout. The car was designated the backup 500 car, but became the primary after Nemechek got collected in Thursday's multi-car accident during the second Gatorade Duel 150.
Nemechek's new primary car was sent back to the team's shop in Concord, N.C. after the Shootout to make minor repairs. The car arrived back in Daytona on Wednesday.
Nemechek will compete in today's Busch race.
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(HOW WAS PRACTICE?)
"I thought we were okay today. This is the backup car. I was happy with it yesterday. I actually wasn't quite as happy today as far as handling goes. I thought we tightened up a bit. I guess it's probably a little bit hotter today. And we tightened up a little more. We need a little tweak, but we're not bad."
(ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR MOTOR?)
"Yeah, the motor is pretty good. We're pretty happy with what he have here at the minute. We need to get the thing handling well the whole fuel run and we'll be close."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(WHO DO YOU VIEW AS YOUR GREATEST COMPETITION IN THE 500?)
"Those other 40 guys. They're really persistent."
(YOU'VE HAD TWO GOOD DAYS OF PRACTICE FOR THE DEI CARS)
"Yeah, the cars are running well. And that's a great feeling after we got off to a slow start in Speedweeks. Thursday was a great statement for our team. I think we'll be good tomorrow. Dale Jr.'s car is really fast. My car is very, very fast.
"We just didn't handle as well just then as we did on Thursday. We tried some things that didn't really work, so we'll go back to Thursday's setup."
(ARE YOU WORRIED?)
Well, you always worry if you're qualifying in the thirties. Obviously, I'm pretty realistic so that's not a good sign. But I felt really confident that we would be okay on Wednesday when we practiced for the 150s, and we were. Thursday was a great day for our whole team. Now we're really confident, so that's the way life goes: up and down.
(SO, YOU'RE BACK?)
RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING:
"You've got to have consistency and we've got to start off with a good, strong start. We've got to be consistent all year to make the Chase."
(IS THERE SOMETHING SPECIFIC LIKE EVEN LEADING A LAP THAT HAS BECOME MORE VALUABLE IN THE NEW CHASE FORMAT?)
"Yeah, you want every point you can get. It's really critical for you to make it or not make it. We're trying to not put all of our eggs in one basket and get all our cars in the Chase by the end of the year."
(HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PRACTICE TODAY AND YOUR CARS' CHANCES FOR THE 500?)
"I think we've got a really good chance. The three cars are running really well. And we'll just see how it ends up."