TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/GOT MILK? CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "Well, that was a little slower than what we practiced. I don't know what we did there. We didn't pick up, we slowed down. We were hoping for maybe a top 10 or 15, but I think...
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/GOT MILK? CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Well, that was a little slower than what we practiced. I don't know what we did there. We didn't pick up, we slowed down. We were hoping for maybe a top 10 or 15, but I think that's going to be closer to a 25th or 30th. We'll just work on our car and get it ready to race."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We're a little disappointed that we didn't run what we had run in practice. The car just didn't quite "zing" like it did in practice. It didn't have that sound that I know makes it go. But we qualified sixth or seventh here last year and we were able to get to the front. I just thank the NAPA team for giving me a car that is this fast. We're probably going to end up in the top 10 and we're a little bit disappointed, so that's a good feeling when you go to bed tonight."
DO YOU FEEL ANY PRESSURE WITH THE RECORD THAT DEI HAS AT THE RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACES, OR ARE YOU JUST CONFIDENT?
"We're just confident. In confidence, you can't be overconfident and get out of your game. I just try to stay very focused and balanced, and don't think about the record here or anything. When I get in this car, it fits perfect and it feels great. I go out on the racetrack, and I know that I know what to do in order to get the thing towards the front. I just feel good when I'm in Daytona and I think it shows with the way the cars run."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
any reason for the slower time from practice to qualifying?
"You know, when you go through the inspection line over there, you never know. I'm pretty happy with that lap. Everything looked good to me. It was a good, clean lap and the car drove great. The RPMs were there and all the gauges did what we wanted them to do. You listen to the pitch of the engine and the RPM, and just hold it to the floor. I think that's a pretty decent lap, especially after watching what some of the other guys did."
THIS HAS BEEN A BUSY WEEK FOR YOU.
"This is the second half of the season and we're kicking off NBC's coverage of Winston Cup racing. Fox did a great job the first half, we're excited about being second in points and having a shot at the championship here at this point in the season. Hopefully we can keep it going all the way to the end. But it has been a busy week. I tested in New Hampshire Monday and Tuesday, got up early and did The Today Show yesterday, and then flew down here and did an appearance for Quaker State, and now here we are driving this DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet." (MORE GORDON)
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We're real happy with that. We've had a great weekend here. We're real excited about getting the pole today for the Busch race tomorrow. We were real concerned about getting this car solidly in the field. It's been an unbelievable trip to Daytona the last several times. We've just had such a great car down here. This is such a great area and such a great place to come watch a race, and it's fun being out on that racetrack too. Just looking forward to doing some more drafting. We finally got this qualifying out of the way and we can get into some drafting, racing in practice and what not, and just try to keep all of the sides on the Budweiser Chevrolet and find ourselves in Victory Lane if we're lucky."
YOU HAVE FOUND A PRETTY GOOD DRAFTING PARTNER IN TONY STEWART IN THE LAST FEW RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACES.
"When you're on the racetrack, you seek out who your friends are, and me and Michael (Waltrip) are good buddies, but we have a hard time trying to work our way to the front together, so what we do is try and find our way there separately. Once we do meet up front, we try and take care of each other. So that means you have to try and find other partners, and me and Tony have worked well here together. We just kind of have an understanding and we'll help each other out if we can. We've both got great race cars, so it's really no problem pushing each other to the front."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We slowed down some. We thought we'd pick up like you naturally do in qualifying. When the 15 ran the time that he did, I thought maybe they had trouble and we were going to be able to run the same time that we did, or at least what Jeff (Gordon) did, but we slowed down as well. Something's gone on that we'll try and figure out and compare our car with the 24 just to see maybe what changes might have helped us out. If you've got a chance to get the pole, to have a Bud Pole, that what you're after, and everything else doesn't really matter here because of the draft and the way it all plays out. We're excited with this Lowe's car -- we've got Sponge Bob on the hood and hopefully he'll bring us some luck come Saturday night."
DAVID GREEN, NO. 60 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I told the people that asked that that practice speed had a little bit of help. There was like three of us out there. We must've thought we were in the (Twin) 125s back in February. Everybody was trying to make a last-ditch run right there at the end. But we ran really well even before that and we knew we were pretty decent. It was a little misleading, but I'm proud of this Haas team and hopefully well be in Saturday night's race."
MIKE BLISS, NO. 80 ADVAIR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We've been about the slowest car here in practice, but we're right real close to making the race. We improved a bunch. We didn't get enough testing to really do this deal right, but we have great engines, and it was the first time for the car on the track, which hurt us a little bit."
DID THE TRACK CHANGE A LOT?
"No, it doesn't change much. We tested here a couple of weeks ago, and it didn't change much from day to night. If anything, you might pick up a little speed from the air temperature."
MIKE WALLACE, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We didn't run as quick as we did in practice. We probably had a little help, to be honest with you, in that final practice session. We know we did. I had hoped we'd run a little better than that. I was hoping we'd run a high 48, like a 48.90 or 48.95, but it didn't, and that's the way it goes.
DID THE TRACK CHANGE ANY?
"I don't think you can ever tell if the track changes here. It feels the same all the time."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We unloaded here and we didn't go as fast as we like to have the Interstate Batteries Chevrolet going, but the guys worked on it real hard and never gave up. We picked up some in qualifying. We changed a few things because we really didn't have anything to lose. We were about 36th in practice. We're missing out on something, but we've got until Saturday to work on it and make it as good as possible. We'll never give up."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We picked up a little bit, but a lot of teams have slowed down. I think we tuned the engine and just got everything ready to qualify. You expect to pick up some in qualifying, and the surprise is when you don't."
IS IT HARD TO PRACTICE IN THE DAYTIME AND THEN QUALIFY AT NIGHT?
"Not like this. It's not that difficult, but it becomes very difficult on Saturday night."
STACY COMPTON, NO. 4 KODAK/PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We slowed down a little bit and I'm not sure why. We're sort of scratching our heads right now. The Kodak Pontiac was good in practice and we really felt like we had a shot at the top 20. I'm not sure whether the track slowed down or what happened. I'm a little bit disappointed. I think a lot of people are in the same boat. We'll have to do some homework and figure out why."
HOW HAS YOUR FIRST WEEK WITH MORGAN-McCLURE GONE?
"It's gone great. There's a great bunch of guys up there. It's a good race team. Their season has gone like a lot of other people's has this year. They haven't had a lot of luck. They've run well, but they haven't been able to capitalize on it. Hopefully, we can have a good weekend here."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"If you saw the practice speeds, for an hour and 50 minutes we were on suicide watch. That was a much better qualifying effort than what we had in practice."
HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL FOR SATURDAY NIGHT'S RACE?
"I'll probably have about 20 more gray hairs like normal!"
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We thought we'd be a whole lot faster that that. If we could have backed up what we ran in practice, we'd have been real close to Jeff (Gordon), but for some reason we lost a little bit of speed. But it's a good qualifying run, a lot better than we ran at Talladega. The guys have worked really hard, the engine shop gave us a good engine and they just keep working on the body. It's all about getting the body out of the air and having a good motor. We're close, really close."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT GUYS ARE STILL MAKING BIG JUMPS THIS LATE IN QUALIFYING?
"No. If they were holding a little back in practice, they're going to pick up a little. You never know until you go out there and put it all on the line and then you see who has what."
STEVE PARK, NO. 30 AMERICA ONLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Park won the pole in the same car that Jeff Green won the Bud Pole with here in February:
"I really want to thank the guys in the fab shop. They really put a body on this car and they spent a bunch of time to get this job done. The AOL Chevy really ran superb. I just want to thank the whole entire team. We had great horsepower. These guys sat on the pole for the 500, so it doesn't surprise me that we're fast enough to be on the pole tonight. I'm just ecstatic. We haven't had the season that we wanted to have. We had a lot of highs and a lot of lows. It feels so good. I am so happy to be at Richard Childress. I'm going to go online and check out the story on America Online!"
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Qualified 2nd, making it an all-Richard Childress Racing front row.
"We fully expected that. I'm merely a passenger. These guys [the crew], this is their time to do what they do with the car and the engines and all their tricks. It shows. It's a lot of fun because you never know what's coming."
YOUR FIRST LAP WAS PRETTY QUICK. DID YOUR CREW LET YOU KNOW THAT THE SECOND WAS GOING TO BE PRETTY GOOD?
"They don't say anything to me. They keep me in suspense. You just have to wait for your number to pop up on the board. If it doesn't pop up on the board, then you know you didn't go fast enough." (MORE HARVICK)
RICHARD CHILDRESS, TEAM OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING;
NOTE: RCR drivers Steve Park (1st) and Kevin Harvick (2nd) swept the front row for Saturday's Pepsi 400.
"The fab shop has really done a great job, the engine shop has done a lot of extra work, and the teams, both of these teams, have really worked hard. Kevin Harvick, Steve Park, they're going to do a great job on Saturday night, and Robby Gordon is going to be up there racing them, so it's going to be an exciting night."
YOUR WHOLE ORGANIZATION HAS HAD A GREAT SEASON SO FAR. WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR THE TEAM OWNER TO SEE THAT?
"We've struggled a lot just rebuilding everything at RCR. We've been rebuilding the last couple of years. With Kevin Harvick and everybody there that has supported us and all of our sponsors and race fans, we're getting closer and closer. We're as close as we've been yet. We're going to be back in the winning way."
YOU HAVE THREE FIERY COMPETITORS IN YOUR CARS. HOW ARE THEY GETTING ALONG THESE DAYS?
"They're working good. The thing about it is, you get guys like Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon, they want to win every week. That's the reason they drive for me. I don't want somebody you have to push and push. Steve Park will do a good job. These guys are just dedicated to winning and that's why I want them driving for me."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Obviously not good enough. The car handled OK. At Daytona you have to handle. It drove OK. WE just didn't have a very fast lap time. I got beat by my teammates by about four tenths.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOU'LL BE IN RACE TRIM?
"We'll hang on. We'll be fine."
DID YOU HAVE A SHOT AT THE POLE?
"Normally, we all qualify right there together. For some reason, this car qualified third for the Daytona 500 and we qualified 18th tonight. It must be the driver."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We'll take that. The Valvoline Pontiac's been running pretty good since we unloaded it. That's just all we got. I've really got to thank Valvoline, and of course Hendrick Motorsports. It really doesn't matter where you start this race as long as you have a good-handling race car. And as the night gets going, hopefully it gets better and better. We'll just have to wait and see what Happy Hour is going to bring us and hopefully be good for the '400.'" "This is the car that Jerry (Nadeau) ran here in the '500' this year, and he ran decent but we didn't have the finish with it they would've liked to have seen, but by the same token it ran good. We felt the car that we had was probably going to be pretty good too, but we didn't have any history on it. This car has a little bit of history, and James (Ince) said we can run this car, it will be pretty good for us. And we actually built it too. It was one of those deals where we built it, they had it, and then we got it back. It's going to be good for us."