Daytona first round qualifying quotes

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations Pepsi 400 Quotebook DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 1997) The following are quotes from selected drivers after first-round Busch Pole Qualifying for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona ...

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

Pepsi 400 Quotebook

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 1997) The following are quotes from selected drivers after first-round Busch Pole Qualifying for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

MIKE SKINNER No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet

"When we ran that .25 this morning we had a little help. Today we had a little help with that wind pushing against us.

"It's an awful great feeling. Hopefully it's good for Lowe's and Chevrolet and everybody involved in this deal. This is a strong race car. We thought we had a shot at the pole at Talladega, and we left a little on the table. I fussed an awful lot about that, but everybody busted their tail and gave me enough steam to get it done today. Our best finish was ninth at Dover, and I think Daytona in February was our second best finish (12th). Hopefully we can improve on that some this week. I'm pulling for (Earnhardt) to finish second. If we can't win it, I'd like to see him win it."

DALE EARNHARDT No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet

"We've got a good race car. We'll be good in the race. The guys are working awful hard. We weren't that fast in practice, but that was a good run. We're ready for the race. It's hot. Let's go to the beach. Second doesn't count in qualifying. I've been down in the Bahamas fishing and thinking about it a little bit. We're looking forward to the second half of the season. Larry (crew chief McReynolds) and I are looking forward to it."

JOHN ANDRETTI No. 98 RCA Ford

"Like any lap around Daytona qualifying, it didn't feel real good. But the worse they feel, usually the quicker they go. I knew we ran quicker than we practiced, because the RPM was swept away and I knew that we didn't change gears. We brought a car down here to race, not to qualify. We've got our qualifying car up in the truck. I think that we could have had the pole, but I think concentrating on the race was the right thing to do. Those other guys will race good, too. The car that we brought out here in February didn't drive as good as this one does now. This car does nicer things, especially getting into the corners. That's the thing I always fight with here, so I'm really optimistic about what I think we can do with this race car. Obviously, a lot can happen, and racing and qualifying are two different things, but I feel good about where we are right now."

JEFF GORDON No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet

"I knew Mike Skinner put a great lap out there, and I knew it would be close. By looking at my tach, I thought we might have gotten him, but when I looked on the scoreboard I knew I was second. That's a great run for the DuPont Chevrolet. We're excited about the Pepsi 400 this weekend. We've got a great start and I think we've got a good shot at this race this weekend. Everything went as planned. We hoped we could go a little faster, but this is a new Chevrolet. We came down here and tested this Monte Carlo, and it paid off for us. I ran a real wide lap on that first lap trying to get the car up to speed. We knew our first lap wouldn't be as good, but we made it up the second lap. We just didn't make it up enough. We weren't near this fast in qualifying in February. I think this is going to be a good race car also. Anywhere toward the front is fine. We're always trying to win races. This one will be just as tough as the Daytona 500. Hopefully, we'll be there at the end and have a shot at it."

JIMMY SPENCER No. 23 Smokin' Joe's Ford

"It's the fastest we've run so far, even though it's not that fast. It's gonna be a hot one on Saturday. We've got to get the car handling nice. It's gonna be a whole different package from qualifying to the race here. Donnie (Wingo, crew chief) and Travis (Carter, owner) always do a great job for the race and we feel real confident going into Saturday's race."

RUSTY WALLACE No. 2 Miller Lite Ford

"This car qualified fourth for the Daytona 500 and fourth for the Talladega race a couple of months ago, and fourth right now. It's got a great engine in it. It runs real strong. To tell you the truth, we left something on the table out there, because we didnt' get the shocks just right. They're real good, but it's bouncing like crazy out there. I though we could have run a little faster out there if we'd had a little more time. We just ran out of time. But I'm proud of the lap. The guys did a great job, the motor's running real strong, the guys back in the engine shop did a hell of a job. I'm real proud of everybody right now."

BILLY STANDRIDGE No. 78 Hanes Ford

"That was a pretty good lap. That was the best we've run here at Daytona. Of course, we've worked pretty hard in the last few weeks to get ready for it. We tested the last three days at Talladega, which helps. We didn't really get many laps in here today testing, but I feel like we could have run a little faster if we would have."

MICHAEL WALTRIP No. 21 CITGO Ford

"Well, my spotter always tells me to go in high, be at the bottom in the middle and then come off high. I try to do the opposite of that because he doesn't usually know what he's talking about. I was down here in February for three weeks, and I never saw anybody wearing a 'Speedweeks' shirt. It was like I had the plague. I was running last and nobody wanted to talk to me. I've got a lap in the books that will make the top-25. I'm really excited about this race. I always handle awesomely in this race, at least I have. And Jack Rough and Eddie (Wood) have gotten me a super engine and car combination this year. I think that I can contend on Saturday morning."

LAKE SPEED No. 9 Melling Ford

"It was a little disappointing in terms of speed. I thought that we had the car driving a little better than that. You know, we ran just a hair quicker than that in practice. We made a couple of little adjustment, hoping that we'd pick up and have a shot at the pole, especially with some of the other guys slowing down just like they did, so we wound up falling back some. But qualifying is one thing, and racing is a whole other creature. And the Melling guys have stuck in there with me through a horrible season as far as sponsorship and things. This is a tough bunch of guys. They're hanging in there, and we're continuing to perform really well despite some super adverse conditions."

JOHNNY BENSON No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac

"We were definitely better in warmups. That kind of surprised us, but this Pontiac is running all right. We were faster earlier, so we are kind of wondering where the other two tenths went. We'll just have to get it race ready and hope we can stay in the top-25 today. I though the track was a little better in qualifying. It is warmer, there's no doubt about that. Practice went to one o'clock, and that's when we almost ran a .60. What are you going to do. That's what we've got, and that's what we've got to deal with. It's a long race. It's not like a qualifying race here. This will be all right."

TERRY LABONTE No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet

"We didn't expect to be much better. We were slow off the truck this morning, and we didn't get any better. I dong' know why. We didn't qualify well at Talladega with the same car, but it seems to race okay. We'll just have to work on it tomorrow and have a good run with it Saturday."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mike Skinner