Daytona Chevrolet Qualifying Notes

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We ran a 47.68 yesterday, so we slowed down a little. We threw everything we had at it this morning and only ran an .85. I really can't answer why we couldn't run a .68 again. We should...

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We ran a 47.68 yesterday, so we slowed down a little. We threw everything we had at it this morning and only ran an .85. I really can't answer why we couldn't run a .68 again. We should be top 20. We were hoping for top 15 and we would have been really excited with a top 10. We thought we could run a .65. The wind is a lot brisker than it was earlier today, so I'm not going to complain. The guys have worked real hard on our Monte Carlo and have given us a car that's competitive. My hat's off to my team. We're looking forward to Sunday when I can draft a little bit. We ran two .85s this morning and an .84 in qualifying, so that must be about all she's got today.

"It was so violent when we were here in July. I could run about two laps and that was it. Now they drive really, really easily. We took the power steering off of ours to give me something to catch my attention. They didn't want me to be too comfortable. They could have accomplished the same thing with just the shocks. They didn't need to mess with the springs. I wish they had just put four shocks on the car and let us have creative control with the rest, but that's not the way it is."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)

"I think the wind has picked up a little bit. The car wouldn't turn as many rpm's on the front straightaway as it did this morning. We knew the wind would pick up a little bit. I was hoping to pick up a little more than that, but it looks like things will kind of equal out. It was a good lap. The guys worked real hard, especially the guys in the engine shop last night. You do a lot of things to get ready for the Daytona 500, and it all comes down to this day. I'm glad we got that lap in. It was a good lap and we can go racing now. I'm not overly concerned yet. I want to run the Bud Shootout and see what we've got in the draft. Some guys are pretty fast out there and they seem to have the same characteristics -- a blue oval on their hood. Yates' engines seem to be pretty good. It's different if you're a half second off at Daytona and if you're half a second off at Rockingham. We're a little concerned. We'd like to be going faster, but I want to draft with them first and then make some comments. I think he (crew chief Robbie Loomis) has got up to speed real fast. He's sharp. He's been around this sport awhile, and he's experienced some different things, different body styles with different drivers when he was with Petty and the Pontiacs. He's gotten up to speed fast and he works well with this team. The ride is great compared to what we've had the past few years. When we get out there drafting, that's what I want to find out."

GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We're consistent. We're real happy with this team. They've worked real hard this winter. We have a new engine program with Hendrick Motors. I'm glad they're underneath the hood this year. We're looking forward to a great year. Hopefully we can win some races and win some poles. We haven't made a lot of changes to the car. We've just been very busy. This is a busy business with the Bud Shootout car and this car getting ready this morning. I was happy with the car. It drove good. I'm glad the season's started, and I'm excited about it. The Monte Carlo is going to be a great race car. Our new engine program, I can't tell you how elated I am that those engines are underneath our hoods."

ANDY HILLENBURG (No. 91 Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We felt like we hurt our good engine on the chassis dyno this week and it kind of put us behind. My guys are doing a good job. We picked up a little bit and we're not done yet. I think we might go again Monday. If we don't go again, then we're going to put on a heck of a show from the back on Thursday."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We got a little help this morning and ran a .56 (47.569-second lap). The oil was real cold on it and we never got the temperature up. That might have hurt it a little bit, but we'll do the best we can and get ready for the qualifying race. I don't know how the car is going to race. This Coors Chevy tested good this winter. This is our primary car, and the Bud Shootout car doesn't seem quite as fast as this one. We'll know more Monday when we get out and start drafting. I thought we could run faster in qualifying, but that's what we got. We need a little more speed, but we'll keep working on it during the week. It looks like the Fords have got us a little bit now, but we'll see how it all shakes out. My car is handling good, it just won't run. If you've got any suggestions, come help us."

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)

"Danny Lawrence (engine man), Kevin Hamlin (crew chief) and Richard Childress (car owner) did a great job with the car between practice and qualifying. That's where it's at. We didn't put everything into it. We practiced with a lot of things to stay on the safe side. When you go to qualifying, you just go for it. I've got an idea of some things that helped us, but I can't put my finger on just one thing. It was a lot of hard work from the crew. I ran right on the bottom, and I think the bottom is still the fastest way around the race track. We'll see what happens out here in practice with the drafting. I'm afraid these shocks in the rear is going to make the cars looser and more treacherous to drive in the draft, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

"We didn't put the light oils in it until qualifying, so that was a plus for us. We didn't run new tires this morning, so that was a plus for us. We adjusted the air pressure a little different than we practiced, so I think that was a plus. Maybe we caught no breeze at the right time. We just had a good, lucky shot and it went well for us. I'm very surprised. I was hoping for a .90 and then we got a .70. That's a big improvement from where we were at. I know the Chevys are still off from what the Fords can run. A couple of years ago we were side by side with Ernie Irvan here on the front row. It's disappointing to see Ford and Chevy so far apart right now."

RICKY CRAVEN (No. 50 MidWest Transit Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"I would be happy with two more tenths. I feel like we're halfway there. If we could find another two tenths, then we'd have a little more security as far as the Twin 125 race. We'll sit back and consider requalifying. If we don't speed up, we'll have to race our way into the 500. I don't think there's much security with that lap. If we can gain a couple of tenths, we'll be all right."

RICHARD CHILDRESS (Car owner RCR Chevrolet Monte Carlos)

"It's disappointing to come and not be on those first couple rows after qualifying. We've just got to work harder and do our best and go racing as hard as we can. We knew that we had some. We didn't get excited. We knew we were conservative with our shock package. We knew we would be better with our shock package. We stayed a little conservation on the whole thing so we wouldn't have any surprises in the wrong direction. I'd rather come out and run better than come out and have a lot of stuff on the car that's questionable. We always like to go through the room and know it ain't going to slow us down. Some guys will do all the things going into it and get their speeds up. Then when you go through the template room it makes a difference. We would like to be three or four tenths faster. We've got to wait until after the Bud Shootout. You run a different race for the Bud Shootout, a different setup for the 125-miler and a different setup for the 500. We'll just have to see what comes out of it. I think it'll be NASCAR's call. If they see the Fords are that much better, or Pontiacs, I think some of the Pontiacs are going to run good, I think if they see the Chevrolet is at a deficit they'll make an adjustment to help us out. It would have to be done with the spoiler. If I was sitting up there and wanted to help us out, I would probably ask for a little less spoiler. This car has a lot more drag than the cars we had last year. You can knock some of the drag out of it by laying the spoiler back. I think the shock deal is a good deal. I'd like to see 'em race the shocks our guys build and we'd like to run a rear sway bar."

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We haven't been that fast down here and the guys did some things for qualifying. We're ready to get going for Thursday's 125. That's a hard act to follow what Dale Jarrett did. I'm happy to be here. I'm ready to go."

DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"I guess we gained about six tenths from practice. We need to get better. It looks like the Chevrolets are struggling. It don't look like it. They are. I think Gary Nelson needs to get someone to help him analyze the wind tunnel testing sheets. Somebody needs to help him read the test results."

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We put a new motor in this morning before qualifying and it picked up. That's about what we thought we could run. We might have left a little bit on the table, but we'll take it."

RICK MAST (No. 41 Big Daddy's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We were one of the slowest cars when we left testing and the guys went back and cut the body off and redid it. We went through the wind tunnel and to Talladega testing. The guys did a good job. You don't go from the slowest car to the 13th fastest car in two weeks, but these guys did it. I couldn't be happier right now. If you had a million dollars and somebody could give you a tenth of a second, 90 percent of the guys in here would pay it right now. If anybody in the grandstand has a tenth for us, we'll give 'em a million bucks."

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We stole something. We really got away with something here. The Monte Carlos are really, really struggling here. We're really in trouble. We tried that oil that we tried at Talladega and the motor didn't blow up. We got away with it this time. We knew it was either going to blow up or we were going to run a hell of a lap. That's about all the Monte Carlo is going to get. It's going to be ugly (in the race). We're in trouble. We've got a long way to go. We've got to develop this car. I'm excited about the new 2000 Monte Carlo. Don't get me wrong, I really, really am. We've been struggling since we got here. That's all we've got. We gambled. We used to snake oil in that thing that bit us at Talladega, but it's probably blown up now but it made it across the line.

"We did some different things with the heat. We gambled and it paid off good for it. Those were changes we made right before qualifying. We knew we couldn't make the top 20. If we crashed or something in the 125, we knew we were going to be depending on a provisional starting spot for the Daytona 500, so we decided we might as well gamble. We got away with it. We struggled. We're in a lot of trouble with the Monte Carlo. I'm excited about the car, but we've got a lot of work to do.

"We came down here to try to sit on the pole and win this race. I'd hate to look at the bearings in that motor now. I didn't know how fast we ran, but we need some help with the cars. We didn't hold anything back. We gambled and did OK, but that oil is only good for one lap. We got two laps out of it, so we've already stole something. We can't run it in the 500.

"We can't keep up with the draft. We're in a lot of trouble. We need some help with our cars. They need to jack the spoiler up on those Fords and Pontiacs. I don't make the rules. I just abide by them the best I can. We bend them (rules) as far as we can bend them everywhere we go. We bent them as far as we could there and it's just a shame. That lap would have been the pole with the '99 car.

"We're Chevrolet boys. We're going to hang in here with this 2000. We're going to do a good job with it. We'll be OK."

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"That's a little bit better than we've been doing. We've been struggling a little bit. We've been off a little bit. We've got a little way to go yet."

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"My hat's off to these Pennzoil guys. They didn't give up. That's the fastest we've run since we've been here. It's not where we want to be, but we're pretty happy with that. We've been watching guys lose time. We were nervous. We couldn't afford to lose time because we weren't that good. You don't know what other people have got until they go through that room of doom over there. We've been sticking to our game plan and making sure our car is legit. We threw some tape on it and that Monte Carlo ran pretty good. We came out 26th out of 55 cars and we had been struggling, so we can't be too unhappy with that. It's going to get us a decent spot in the 125. We just need to race our way in now. We feel that the car has been struggling in its qualifying trim. We haven't had a chance to see what it'll do in race trim, so maybe we can pick it up a little bit and give those Fords a run for their money in the 125."

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"I wish we could have run a little bit faster than that, but that was about a tenth and a half faster than we practiced. We worked real hard to get there, so it ain't because we didn't try. We're down somewhere, but we can't really figure out where. We put a lot of effort into our motor program and Tony and the crew worked real hard trying to find a little speed here and there. I worked real hard trying to put my two cents in, too. We've tried to keep the balance on the front of the car. Some of these guys have figured something out, and we've just got to figure out what it is."

DAVID GREEN (No. 34 Sunoco Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"That's a little bit better. This car is still in the Bud Shootout mode. We'll come back Monday and make a better qualifying effort. This is our Bud Shootout car. We're going to go out and have some fun tomorrow in this 1999 model Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It's a Dale Earnhardt car from Richard Childress Racing. I want to thank Bill Davis for supplying the engines. We're down here to get excited about the Bud Shootout. We'll work on qualifying more on Monday. We didn't have a qualifying engine in it and it's the only car we've got."

KENNY IRWIN (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"That was real good. I think we ran a 47.81 this morning. If we could back that up we were going to be real happy and we went a little faster than that. The guys did a great job. Tony Glover is awesome and I want to thank Felix Sabates for putting me in the 42 car. We've tested a lot and everything seems to be going good. We've got a good motor program and have a bunch of good guys. We're looking forward to having a good year."

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"It was pretty good. The guys did a good job. We struggled when we first got here, but the guys did a good job and found some speed. We were able to get two more tenths out of the car since practice. We're looking forward to a good race. I'm confident about this season with this team."

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak Max film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

"We're not going to worry about it. We've been about like that since we've been here. The good thing about Daytona is the sun shining tomorrow, so we'll just get ready for the race."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Michael Ho , Kevin Hamlin , Robbie Loomis , Felix Sabates