Monte Carlo SS Race Cars to Start from the Front Row for the Pepsi 400 Eight Chevrolet Drivers to Start in the Top 10 After Rain Cancels Qualifying at Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach, Fla. - Saturday's Pepsi 400 has been set by the...
Monte Carlo SS Race Cars to Start from the Front Row for the Pepsi 400 Eight Chevrolet Drivers to Start in the Top 10 After Rain Cancels Qualifying at Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Fla. - Saturday's Pepsi 400 has been set by the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series point standings after rain washed out qualifying early Friday evening in Daytona Beach, Fla. Series points leader Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlos SS, will start from the pole while Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Kinko's Monte Carlo SS, will start on the outside of the front row.
Team Chevy drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart will start fourth through sixth respectively. Kevin Harvick will begin tomorrow's race from the eighth position on the grid and will be followed by Mark Martin and Martin Truex, Jr. giving Chevrolet eight drivers starting in the top 10 spots of the field.
The Pepsi 400 runs under the lights at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on TNT and MRN Radio.
CASEY MEARS, NO. 25 NATIONAL GUARD/GMAC MONTE CARLO SS
WAS THAT A GOOD OR BAD QUALIFYING LAP FOR YOU? "I really don't know to be honest. I haven't been paying attention close enough this week to see what's a real good lap around here. Obviously the No. 78 I think, was in pretty much full qualifying trim. He ran about three or four tenths faster than we did so it's going to be interesting to see how it all filters out here. At the very worst I think we'll be somewhere around middle of the pack. Our National Guard/GMAC car has been working good.
"We've been really loose since we got here and just really tried to work on getting the balance better for the race. As the temperatures cooled down later on last night I felt like we got our car working pretty well. I feel like we're probably going to start out a little bit loose and it's going to come to us as the race goes on so I'm looking forward to starting on Saturday."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: "We didn't really make a mock run yesterday so we didn't know what the car would run but about what we expected. We're not really that good by ourselves but in the draft we're fine."
ON TONY EURY, JR. RETURING THIS WEEKEND: "I'm looking forward to it, should be a lot of fun. The team's done great with him being absent and hopefully we'll just be stronger now."
TODD BERRIER, CREW CHIEF OF THE NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL MONTE CARLO SS
ON RETURNING HERE AFTER THEIR DAYTONA 500 VICTORY: "It's been pretty awesome but then you have a lot to live up to when you come back so that's what the deal is trying to do that."
HOW IS THE RACE CAR? "The car is really good. We've only made race trim runs. Don't know anything about qualifying, probably going to be ugly but it is what it is."
CAN YOU BACK IT UP WITH A SECOND DAYTONA 500 WIN TOMORROW NIGHT? "Anything can happen tomorrow night. I think we got a good enough car to do it. We just got to have teammates and got to have people pushing and helping like we had the other night."
JOHNNY SAUTER, NO. 70 HAAS AUTOMATION MONTE CARLO SS
ON RUNNING UP FRONT WITH THE LEADERS IN FEBRUARY AND IF HE CAN DO THAT AGAIN TOMOMORROW: "That's the plan right now. Didn't really know how fast we were going to run. Didn't really care. I mean at the end of the day we're still in the show so it doesn't matter. We'll start where ever we start. Felt like the car was pretty good yesterday in the draft, obviously the summer race is a little bit different than the spring race. The handling becomes a lot bigger issue here in the summer time so hopefully we'll have our Haas Yellow Transportation Chevy running up front. She ran good in the spring, same car, worked on it a little bit so hopefully it will run a little better."
ON HOW MUCH WHERE HE QUALIFES AFFECTS HIM MENTALLY: "You just focus on tomorrow night. I mean everybody knows that qualifying down here doesn't really mean a whole lot. Guys like to boast and brag about a good, fast lap but for the most part it really doesn't matter so just got to make sure the car drives good in the draft and I feel like our car is pretty good in the draft. We ran well like you said here in the spring and just got to make the best of it."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS
WAS THAT A PRETTY GOOD QUALIFYING LAP? "We'll see that's after 30 cars. I don't know how many cars are even here but qualifying is not that big of deal for the drivers. It's more for the crews to show what they've been doing. We'll just see where we end up and go from there tomorrow."
ON STARTING ON THE OUTSIDE FRONT ROW FOR TONIGHT'S BUSCH RACE: "Ready to go, just hoping that big, dark cloud off of turn two with the lightening and thunder goes away so we can go racing on time. I'm excited about it with Slim Jim and Act Two Popcorn. I'm excited about that car. Those guys have done a great job as always. I feel kind of bad because I'm the only guy that can't get it on the pole it seems like but we ended up on the front row nonetheless so we're ready to go."
ON IF HE WINS TOMORROW NIGHT MAKING IT THREE IN A ROW AND TYING DAVID PEARSON: "Let's just worry about winning the race tomorrow then we'll worry about the stats. Yeah, it'd be really cool obviously to be able to do that but winning one is hard, winning two is very difficult and winning three in a row is much more difficult than that. We just got to take it one lap at a time tomorrow night."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THIS TRACK GIVEN YOUR SUCCESS HERE? "I don't know, I mean we just went out and raced. It's nothing we really think about. We just have really good cars here."
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CAR TODAY? "I was able to hold it wide open for two laps. It was pretty amazing."
ON WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO HIM TO TIE DAVID PEARSON: "We've got to do it first so we'll worry about accomplishing it first and then we'll go from there."
ON THEIR PERFORMANCE SO FAR THIS SEASON: "The only disappointing part to it is the media keeps harassing us about it. I mean we're not really that worried about it. We've just been racing each week. We're sixth in the points. We're right where we need to be. If we can get the media to leave us alone about the fact that we haven't won a race it'd make our lives a lot easier and make us feel a little better each week instead of the media keep reminding us that we haven't won a race."
ON REACTING TO THE TRACK GETTING HOT HERE IN THE SUMMER: "I just think I'm used to having cars that slide around. That's my background coming from dirt cars and stuff too so it doesn't bother me when the cars slide around it seems like."
ON GREG ZIPADELLI GIVING HIM A GOOD SETUP HERE: "Yeah, he does."
HAVE YOU LOOKED AT THE NEW HUTCHINS DEVICE? "I haven't even seen it that I know of. If there is a new one out we'll look into it right away. That's the thing is as teams and drivers, it's like everything performance wise, you want to know what's available and out there so it's nice to know that there's another option it sounds like out there now."
ON IF IT FEELS LIKE IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE HE'S WON AND SAYING IT DOESN'T BOTHER HIM: "I go week to week so it's seven days in a week and I go from one seven day week to the next seven day week so we just do our same thing every week that we try to do the week before and that's try to win each week."
IS THERE SOMETHING CONSISTENTLY THAT HASN'T BEEN WORKING OR IS IT JUST BAD LUCK? "Just bad luck. I mean we lost two fuel mileage races. We had the fuel pump problem at Bristol after we led 250 of 280 laps. If you watched the whole race, I mean you look at races that we should have won versus the ones that have got away. I mean we should have as many bonus points as the 24 and 48 right now. We just have had the luck not go our way."
AFTER THE DAYTONA 500 ARE YOU COMING IN HERE WITH MORE DETERMINATION? "No, just go week to week. You don't do anything different from one week to the next."
SO YOU JUST TAKE THE DAYTONA 500 OUT OF YOUR MIND? "I did that the week after."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/PEPSI MONTE CARLO SS:
ON HAPPY HOUR PRACTICE: "We went from being real loose to being real tight, so we just kind of came back in the middle. Just like most guys, we put some downforce in this car to try to get it to handle good. My biggest concern is what's going to happen when they drop the green; not so much with this DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet, but with all those guys I see at the top of the board right now, knowing that they probably aren't going to have the best handling race cars for this night race. But we definitely had our work cut out for us as well. Jeff Meendering and all the guys have been doing a great job. We've just been working hard to come up with the right changes. Some of it is a guessing game. And some of it has been going back over our old notes to see what we've got. I don't think we're going to qualify too good here.
HOW MUCH DOES IT CONCERN YOU TO HAVE THOSE GUYS UP FRONT? "Well, it concerns me you know, especially if we get further and further in the back and we're not qualifying good. I think that it just means that more of those guys are going to struggle. We worked on handling and I still wasn't handling that good. So if those guys have cars basically in qualifying trim, you know they're going to have their hands full when they drop the green. It's just a domino effect further on back. But we have the bet drivers out here. I feel good that we'll get out there and hopefully everybody will be patient at the start of this race until we get our cars organized."
POST QUALIYFING COMMENT: "Hopefully we've got the right package on the DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet. Yesterday I felt like we starting hitting on some things in practice and after our debriefs last night, I was really happy with all the adjustments that we made on it today. Obviously we knew it was going to cost us a little bit of speed here for qualifying today. It's the speed for tomorrow night that we're all looking for. It'll be interesting with a lot of the guys that are in qualifying trim, at least 80 - 90 percent, that are up front, how their cars are going to handle with they drop the green versus some of the other guys that worked hard on their race set up."
YOU SET UP THE CAR UP IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY TO RUN UNDER THE LIGHTS. DOES THAT THROW YOU A CURVE BALL? "Yeah, I think we'd love to have a night practice here to get the best conditions. But I felt like that second practice that we had was closer to the conditions of what we are going to have and we kind of fine-tune based on that and also past history. We have a little bit different tire this year that Goodyear has brought versus last year. I think handling is going to be extremely important and that's something we're working real hard on. You want to try and balance out with aero and mechanical grip and it's become very challenging this week and we hope we're one of them that hits on it."
WARD BURTON, NO. 4 STATE WATER HEATERS MONTE CARLO SS:
"Well, we certainly don't need the damn rain right now because I don't think we'll get in if we don't have an opportunity to try to qualify. So it doesn't look real good. The wind just shifted and it looks like it's blowing it right in here."
AS A FORMER DAYTONA 500 WINNER, THIS HAS TO BE A NEAT PLACE FOR YOU TO COME BACK TO NO MATTER WHAT "Well, it's a wonderful place. It's full of NASCAR history. There are a lot of pioneers who have made the sport what it is today and it's really neat to be a part of that group."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL MONTE CARLO SS:
IT'S GOT TO FEEL GOOD COMING BACK TO DAYTONA WHERE YOU CAME OH SO CLOSE TO WINNING THE 500. "Yeah, we still have the same race car. Regan Smith drove it at Talladega and brought it home in one piece, so we've got a great car to start with. And this team just did an incredible job for the Daytona 500 to put me in position to have a chance to win. The race, the crown jewel of my career, and I just wound up a little bit short. We'll see what we can do with it tomorrow night. It's a great car and a great team and a little bit new colors with Principal Financial on it this weekend and hopefully it'll bring us just a little bit better luck."
JEFF GREEN- NO. 66 HAAS AUTOMATION / BEST BUY CHEVROLET:
"The car handled great. It really feels good. That Hendrick (Motorsports) horsepower is strong. I could really feel it pulling down the backstretch. I think we'll be able to really get up in the mix tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to it."
-credit: gm racing