Daytona 500: GM teams qualifying quotes

DERRIKE COPE, NO. 55 S.W.A.T. FITNESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 52nd: (DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT QUALIFYING TODAY?) "It's not enough for the qualifying spots that are available on speed. Certainly our car didn't do that. The car drafted ...

DERRIKE COPE, NO. 55 S.W.A.T. FITNESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 52nd:

(DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT QUALIFYING TODAY?) "It's not enough for the qualifying spots that are available on speed. Certainly our car didn't do that. The car drafted exceptionally well down here at testing and I foresee that happening on Thursday. That's what it will come down to. We'll get out mindset straight for the drafting practice. We'll be a factor come Thursday."

(ON THE ADDED PRESSURE) "I come down here every year having this same thing happen, so we'll do the best we can. I know what I need to do in a drafting situation. I know what my needs are in the race car and we'll do that in the next few days. Come Thursday, we'll be strong."

DALE EARNHARDT, JR. NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 39th:

(WILL YOU CAPTURE THE POLE TODAY?) "I've got a lot of work to do to get there. I think we have a car that will be in the top 15, top 20. We'll get a pretty good start for Thursday. We've got a car that I think will be strong in race trim. The easier it is to drive it on Thursday, the better."

(HOW WAS YOUR RUN?) "It's hard to do it by myself. We're way, way down on horsepower. And that's just the simple fact of it. The car races really well in the draft. If everything works fine, we'll have a good race on Thursday and get up front sooner or later. But, to run by ourselves, we need more steam underneath the hood. I've kind of seen it coming and the test wasn't that good."

"We've been real slow since we've been here. We were slow in the test. So our expectations have been pretty low as far as qualifying. We picked up a little bit so that made the team happy. We picked up about a tenth. But we didn't expect to be real high on the board."

(IS THE CAR GOOD IN RACE TRIM?) "Yeah, the car's good in race trim. We you don't have as fast a car, it makes it a little tougher. But I think I can get it up front. We're just going to have to work a little harder."

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 31st:

(HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT QUALIFYING TODAY?) "It's good to be here. I've got to thank everyone at Bass Pro Shops and everyone at DEI. These guys worked all winter to put this car together and I'm just trying to get in the race. We'll see what happens today but Thursday will be more important, I think.

(WHAT ABOUT THE PRESSURE?) "We just have to hope we get a good qualifying today and get a guarantee spot. I think that's how it works. If we don't do that we'll just have to race our way in. If we make it, we make it and if we don't, I guess we'll try again next year. I'd be really disappointed if that happened so we'll just have to try really hard."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 3rd:

(ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO QUALIFYING?) "Well, I'm just so impressed with the job these guys have done on this DuPont Chevrolet. Preparing for Daytona takes a lot of time and effort and these guys have put a lot into it. So far it's been paying off and we hope it pays off when we put these two laps on the track. This is definitely as good as it gets for us. This baby is slick, it's fast, it's got a lot of power and we're having fun so far. We hope we continue to have fun after this run is over."

(YOU'RE FAST. HOW WAS THE RUN?) "I want to thank everyone back at the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet team in the shop. The chassis, aero guys, engineers-there is so much hard work put into this season but also into Daytona. That was everything we've got right there. You know, we definitely slowed down. I think there is a little bit more wind here today than yesterday. I definitely feel it hurt me in the back straightaway. We've just got to keep our fingers crossed. It was a good lap but not exactly what we were hoping for. We're just going to have to wait and see."

(ON THE PAINT SCHEME) "That is an awesome paint job. If you just look at the small details of that car, it's pretty impressive."

(IT SEEMS YOU'VE MADE AN AERO IMPROVEMENT IN THE OFF SEASON) "I feel like we've always been known for good power-good, reliable power. But you know, those guys never stop working to get more. It's the job of the entire team to make sure we have the complete package with the aerodynamics as well. I feel that this one is one of the best cars we've ever put out there."

BORIS SAID, NO. 36 CENTRIX CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

(ARE YOU PROUD OF YOUR QUALIFYING TIME TODAY?) "I'm most proud of my son Boris, Jr. at home watching. HE just turned a year old. You know, this is a far cry from what I'm used to. I'm used to driving BMWs all over the world and they've been like a family to me. Centrix has given me a great opportunity to come out here and race in the greatest race in the world, the Daytona 500. I can't thank Rick Hendrick enough. Those Hendrick motors are unbelievable. I've got a great team and a great crew chief. Joe Nemechek has helped me out a lot. It's just a team effort. I'm just a small piece of it. We're having a blast in Speedweeks. I'm just going to go have a hot dog and watch on pins and needles for the rest of qualifying. Hopefully I can make the race and go out there and run decent and not do anything stupid to make any of the veterans mad. Hopefully we can be there at the end with our Centrix Chevrolet."

SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 VALVOLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 6th:

(HOW WAS YOUR LAP?) "The team did a great job. Everybody back at the shop-Big Mike and everyone in the fab shop-keep building great race cars. Our downforce stuff is even better and of course our speedway program is getting better and better. I just want to thank everyone on the No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet. It's good to have good teammates like Boris Said and Joe Nemechek so you can play with and have a good time with. Boris is someone who can lighten up the whole scene. And then you've got Joe who you can always go to. He's got a ton of experience and can just shoot from the hip. It's good to have a good car and be close to the front. But the good thing about this car is that it runs so well. And they've worked so hard to make them go fast and they drive so well. It's exciting for me."

ROBBY GORDON, NO. 7 JIM BEAM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"You always try to think you've got a little more for qualifying. But you know, this is Daytona. I think a lot of guys will slow down a little bit from what they ran in practice, because you get a little bit of the whirlwind effect going on when you have cars out there. We're pretty with that time. It'll hopefully get us a good starting spot for the 150 and we'll take our chances from there. There are only 35 cars that are guaranteed into this deal. So there are about 20 cars trying to get one of those extra eight spots. We're trying to do the best job we can for Chevrolet and Jim Beam and all of our sponsors."

(HOW HARD IS IT TO GET SETTLED IN TO THIS DRIVER/OWNER ROLE AS YOU BEGIN A NEW SEASON?) "It was obviously a big undertaking in the beginning. But we've got the right management in the right positions. Actually I get to play the driver of the race team even though it happens to have my name on the front door. But I've got a great general manager with John Story and Bob Temple and Patrick Donahue are doing a great job crewing the car. We've been able to assemble a great group of, I wouldn't call them 'new' guys because they've been involved in motorsports for many years, but just 'new' at working together. I think we'll have a very competitive year."

(ANYTIME YOU START A NEW BUSINESS, THINGS CAN GET BEHIND IN THE EARLY GOING. IS EVERYTHING ON SCHEDULE AT THIS POINT?) "For us, I think we're a little behind. Any new race team will always be behind for a while because you race against some of the best and most established teams in the business. But we've got out car count. We're working hard trying to build that up. Our fab shop is running close to 18- hour shifts trying to get us properly built race cars that we can be competitive with. We made the test here in Daytona and went to the Las Vegas test and the California test. So I think we've got the next three races kind of under our belt now and we'll just have to take it one step at a time."

JASON LEFFLER, NO. 11 FEDEX CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"I'm relieved. We came down here for testing and we lacked some speed. We went back to the shop and Jimmy Makar and Dave Rogers told me, 'Don't worry, we got it handled.' And, they sure did. It's great to be driving for such a great organization. I think we're pretty much locked in now so I can go into Thursday's 150s and learn as much as I can and race hard and get ready for the Daytona 500.

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 4th:

It just shows how well the guys know how to work on this GM Goodwrench Chevrolet. This is the same car we raced last year. We ran in the top 5 all four races and decided to work on our downforce stuff. We thought our restrictor plate stuff was pretty good. Maybe everybody will leave us alone now and act like we know what we're doing. It's a great job by all the guys on our team.

(YOU'VE WORKED HARD TO DEVELOP YOUR AERO PACKAGE) "No, and we've taken a lot of flack in this off season for not showing up to the test and really trying to take some time for ourselves to work on our restrictor plate program and things like that. I think a lot of times, the RCR bunch are the forgotten people in the restrictor plate shuffle and these guys have been good at it for a long time. One of these times we're going to win one of these races and not finish second and all that stuff can go away."

(HOW WILL THE CAR REACT ON THURSDAY AND IN THE 500?) "We've got a good notebook on this car. We haven't tore it up. All the body pieces and components are the same as they were last year. We've got a good place to start and that's a good thing."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 24th:

(HAVE CONDITIONS CHANGED YOUR QUALIFYING STRATEGY?) "It might be a little bit different from what it was earlier. An earlier draw might have been a little better. The wind has picked up a little bit and it is a bit warmer. Some guys are still running some pretty fast times, so maybe it hasn't changed as much as we think.

(DO YOU NEED A GOOD STARTING POSITION FOR THE 150's?) "You might not need one but you want one. I'll take a good starting spot. It's harder to pass now than it was then, so it's still important. But obviously if you start in the back, you can still get in the front, it just depends on how you get there and what you do. I'd rather want a good starting spot than need a good starting spot.

JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 5th:

"I'd just like to thank everybody back at the shop. This is just about as close as you can build. I think we have eight speedway cars and they all run just about identically. That's a pretty good feat for those guys back at the shop. I'd also like to thank Hendrick Motorsports for the engines. The motors run good and that makes our job a lot easier. But that's about all I had. I said if we could run a low ninety, I'd be happy. I wanted to run in the eighties. Jeff Gordon ran in the eighties and I'd like to have been there. But that's not going to be the pole. The Yates cars are going to be fast. I believe the No. 38 car might have a shot at it. Pretty quick times today."

(ON THE RESTRICTOR PLATE PROGRAM) "We really came on strong. Our restrictor plate program was strong the whole year. This is the car I ran in the last race and it ran so good I wanted to bring it back here. But our whole program is good. Ryan Pemberton (crew chief) and I have developed good communication and chemistry there. We just hit it off. I can tell him what I feel I need and he can go in that direction and we usually get the cars pretty close. Here at Daytona, this is going to turn into a handling race. You're going to have to have a little bit of luck - a lot of luck - and a good driving race car. If you can do that at the end of the day, hopefully we'll be the guys up front."

MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 33rd:

"I've got to thank Teresa (Earnhardt) and Richie (Gilmore) and everybody at DEI for giving me the opportunity. They've put me with a bunch of guys that have won races and won championships and wow - what an opportunity to get in a car like this and have people around you with those types of credentials. It makes me want to jump up and down. So I'm ready to race and looking forward to it."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Boris Said , Joe Nemechek , Bob Temple , Jim Beam
Teams Hendrick Motorsports