PAUL MENARD, NO. 15 MENARD'S MONTE CARLO SS: "The car was awesome for a long time, then it started to get tight, really really tight. Then we just lost the draft. I don't know if we had a slow leak but we ended up blowing the right front tire ...
PAUL MENARD, NO. 15 MENARD'S MONTE CARLO SS:
"The car was awesome for a long time, then it started to get tight, really really tight. Then we just lost the draft. I don't know if we had a slow leak but we ended up blowing the right front tire going through the tri-oval. I guess that is just the way it goes. We have a heck of a race car in the Busch Series so we will work on getting our Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevy up front in that race."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS:
On feeling a vibration in the car: "I'm not sure what we've got going on. It sounds like (Ken) Schrader and I here are together here having similar problems, whatever it is, it sounds like a wheel was loose. We took off on the restart and everything was fine until we got up to speed and got some lateral load in the tires. It was rolling good in a straight line but when we got load in it, we had a pretty bad vibration. Shrader is having the same thing so I was just talking to Fatback (crew chief of the No. 21) and I told him we've definitely got to come in. We've got too good of a car to take a chance."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 66 BEST BUY MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 11th:
"It was pretty good on new tires, but when the tires got hot, the car drove me more that I drove it. It just slid around too much. If the sun had been out, it would have been a lot worse. For our first time out, we had pretty good pit stops. We recovered pretty goo there on that last green. It gives us a pretty good starting spot for Sunday. We just have to make some changes so it will drive a little better. Racing wise I think our season really starts next week in California. This is just a test for us and we feel like if we can come out of here with a decent finish, maybe a top-20. If we can do that, we have a decent start for the season. We are just looking forward to the rest of the season and I am glad to be back in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS where I belong."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 8th:
"I'm not going to stand here for 10 minutes and go over comparisons between Sunday (Bud Shootout) and yesterday. We've got a lot of work to do for Sunday and I'm excited about it."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE RACE IN GENERAL? "It was good when we were up front. We had a loose right rear wheel and to come in and when we got in the back, we got tight. We just need to stay up front. The balance was pretty good when were up front."
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE FOR THE 500 NOW AFTER LEARNING MORE TODAY? "We've got a car that's good. Make no doubt about that. Even with as tight as we were, we were still decent. We'll be fine. The good thing is that we've got Friday and Saturday to work on it, so we'll be fine."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 20 GMAC MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 20th:
"There were a couple of incidents there at the end that just really hurt us. It seemed like it was a little hard to pass out there. Everybody was a lot more conservative, you just kind of ran side-by-side. It was hard to work your way to the front. The first run, the car was handling pretty decent, it was a little tight. The second run, the car was handling great. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time a couple of times.
First time when the 99 got loose and Schrader checked up, I think we lost about 10 spots. Then that next time when they wrecked on the front stretch after the caution came out. I ran across some debris and slit the right front pretty bad so we couldn't go back green on that. So there we were, you can't make up much time on a green white checkered. We still have to work on how the car sucks up in the draft to other cars. It seems to be bogged down a little bit. We definitely figured some stuff out that we can take in to Sunday.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 4th:
ON PROVING HE HAS QUITE A TEAM AFTER WHAT HAPPENED EARLIER IN THE WEEK "It was nice to be out on the race track today. That's old news. There's something else to talk about now."
HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO COME THROUGH THE FIELD THE WAY YOU DID? "I'm very excited. I did also realize that there were some cars that were handling much better than we were. We had a great pit stop that got us some more track position. We just need to go back and get a little bit better. We need some more front grip in the car but all in all a lot of a excitement and a good practice run for this team in Chad's absence."
ON DARIAN GRUBB FILLING IN FOR CHAD KNUAS "He's been somebody that's been a very important part of the 48 team for a lot of years. It's just natural. It works better and it flows easily because we have this time and experience together. So all in all it looks good."
ON IT BEING CALM OUT THERE "It was much more relaxed. I think the 500 will be that way as well until you get down to the final 15, 20, 30 laps. We know what we should do, but we're racers. We get out there in that environment and we want to race hard. If there aren't any points on the line and a trophy on the other end, we're going to race and be crazy and do the things that we know how to do. Unfortunately that causes some wrecks at time. Today was good and smooth. I think the biggest threat was everybody trying to dodge the debris on the front stretch. All in all a good day."
ON HIS HOPES FOR A WIN SUNDAY "Well we're definitely excited. We're off to a good start. The handling of your race car is going to be a big key for everyone in the 500 and we've got a little bit of work to do there still."
ON WORKING WITHOUT CHAD KNAUS "It's definitely different but the good thing is that Darian has a lot of experience with the team and has been a voice that I've listened to on the radio for a lot of years. It's as seamless as to be expected but all in all, it went really well. We had a good, smooth day today. The pit stop was good. The adjustments were good. So you know, life is good."
HOW BAD IS CHAD MISSING THIS WEEKEND? "I know can only imagine."
STERLING MARLIN, NO. 14 WASTE MANAGEMENT MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 26th:
We just looked over to switch the oil cooler fan off, there was debris or something on the track and when I looked up, everyone was stopped. I hit the brakes and started sliding but I just couldn't get stopped. These speedway cars just don't have the brakes there, so I guess I will take the blame for it.
I am not sure how bad the car is. It is a really good car, it stays down by itself before the first caution came out. We lost a few spots when someone got sideways but we have got a good car. We will get it fixed and be back ready to go to the front.