Daytona II: GM teams qualifying quotes

MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "We were able to pick up. That's really difficult to do. You know when you're practicing, your temperatures are all hot and you have a tendency to get some drafting help and so when you go out...


"We were able to pick up. That's really difficult to do. You know when you're practicing, your temperatures are all hot and you have a tendency to get some drafting help and so when you go out by yourself after sitting for three or four hours, it's a real testament to the team. Slugger and all these guys who build these NAPA Chevys, it's a real testament to their abilities to understand the challenges that face them and then improve upon what we just did."

(ON HIS FEEL FOR DRAFTING WITH THE OTHER DRIVERS) "You're usually pretty comfortable drafting with Dale Earnhardt Jr. because you're in the front. So that's pretty easy to understand. Theirs is less traffic and you're fast, so that's a good feeling. Dale Jr. and I have never really had a conversation about what we do in order to be successful at a plate race. At Talladega, we were on it. We were doing what we were supposed to do with five laps to go. I just couldn't get all the way to where I needed to get in order for us to take the lead. He had to bail out on me. Sometimes it's self-preservation. That happens. Dale Jr. and I are wonderful teammates and we'll work well together Saturday night to try to put these DEI cars back in Victory Lane." More to follow


"Yeah I'm very happy. We picked up quite a bit. My friends at RCR helped me pick up speed for qualifying. I don't know how they do it. It scared me out there. It wasn't running that fast before. It got a got a little loose in the corners. It's a good car and we got a good lap." "We just got caught in a late-race altercation there at Talladega. The Bass Pro Chevy is running awesome. The car is good and the guys got it put together and we brought it back to Daytona. It tested well last week. We're looking forward to the race."


COMMENT ON KERRY EARNHARDT'S QUALFIYING EFFORT: "We're really happy for Kerry. He did such a great job at Talladega that we're really excited about having him here. We're off with our restrictor plate program right now at RCR. Kerry went and tested and I think he helped us all a little there. We're looking forward to getting to Talladega and having some more stuff when we get down there."


"The guys just worked hard and they take a lot of pride in this stuff. We hadn't qualified quite as good as we had with the old package, but the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet always races good. So we're excited for this weekend. Hopefully we can get the car into Victory Lane."

(WHAT CHANGES DO YOU MAKE FROM PRACTICING IN THE AFTERNOON TO QUALFIYING UNDER THE LIGHTS?) "Well, you pretty much have got what you got at Talladega and Daytona when you unload off the truck. The guys do a few tricks here and there on the engine and tune it up a little bit."

(ON THE TONY STEWART / BRIAN VICKERS INCIDENT LAST WEEKEND) "Well, I'm not the best behaved guy in the garage. It's one of those deals where there is a lot of emotion and a lot of things going on. It's hard to calm yourself down when you get out of the race car because there is so much Adrenalin flowing and there is so much going on that you just want to jump out and brake the other guy's neck if you feel like you've been done wrong. You can go that. We have corporations that spend millions of dollars on all these cars out here and we can't do those kinds of things. It makes it tough for people like myself and Tony who bring a lot of emotion to the table."


"These guys have done an awesome job. As far as qualifying goes here at Daytona it's all about the team and the bodies and the engines and everything. This is a lot better than we had last time but I'm sure we'll be even better next time."


"I'm pretty happy with it. That's the first time that we've actually picked up in qualifying for about a year and a half here. Typically we always get the thing taped off too much trying to get that little extra steam. Normally we get it too hot and it costs us horsepower. We did a great job tonight. We picked up. I don't know we're going to end up but it should give us a somewhat solid spot. The biggest thing tonight is just getting your pit selection. You'll have plenty of opportunities to go to the front."

(ON THE IMPORTANCE OF WINNING AT DAYTONA) "Anytime you can win at Daytona it's big. Obviously if I could pick which month of the year I'd do it in, I'd rather do it in February than July. Trust me, to win at Daytona is special for anybody. I remember the first time Dale Jr. won here at Daytona. It was a pretty emotional weekend for him. It'd be great to do that. I'm going to run the Paul Revere race tonight for Max Crawford and Howard-Boss Motorsports and their CITGO car. The Home Depot guys will sit here and watch that a little bit tonight before they go home and go to bed. It'd be neat to win in the sports car tonight and hopefully win with the Cup car on Saturday night."

(ON THE INCIDENT LAST WEEKEND AND NASCAR PENALTIES) "I'm not sure it's totally a bad thing. It's NASCAR's way of redefining again what our rules and regulations are. It just shows that you have to control your frustrations. I think that NASCAR has done a pretty good job. It's a changing time with the new TV packages and stuff. I'm not sure I totally agree with the punishment on it, which other people have disagreed and said I probably should have been parked this week. I didn't have anything to gain by going and talking to him down there. I wasn't even mad when I went down there. I went down there to kind of tell him what exactly happened.

"Brian is a great kid. I don't have any ill feelings toward him and don't have any ill feelings toward NASCAR. There's a reason they've been as successful as they have been. There's a reason for that. They need to be the recipient of the award this week. We've been pretty good in the last two years. It's almost been two years since I did something really stupid. It just redefines the boundaries and that's not a bad thing. That's what NASCAR is here for. They're our sanctioning body. It was probably something that needed to happen."


"I think that was pretty good with the luck of the draw and going out early. This Chevy is very good and my hat's off to all the boys here. They just keep working hard. Hendrick Motorsports does the engine and they keep tweaking on it a little bit more every race. It's fun to be here. I know the car is going to drive good in the race. Hopefully we'll be up front."

(IS DAYTONA AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO GET GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AGAIN?) "We definitely want to use this to turn our year around. What's so frustrating about it is that we've had good cars just about everywhere we've been. We've had top five runs going at the majority of these races when we either break something or have a part failure or something happens. It's just been kind of crazy. But nobody's giving up. We're going to win a race before the year is over."


"I'll tell you what. This team is a on a roll right now. I hope we can hang on to it. The car was good at practice. That was certainly a great lap. We unloaded and the thing was really stout. Last week I might be able to take a little bit of credit on the road course. This weekend all the credit goes to the race team. These guys worked so hard on massaging these bodies for these restrictor plate races, massaging on that engine and doing every little thing to get every bit of speed out of it. The driver doesn't do a whole lot here. We're just enjoying this DuPont Pepsi car and want to give somebody the chance to win a billion dollars and we'd certainly like to start up front." More to follow


"I thought it would have picked up a little bit more than that. I think that will put the NetZero Chevrolet finally in the top ten. It will be a good start for us on Saturday night."

(ON WHAT HE NEEDS TO PUT HIS CAR OUT FRONT) "At the Daytona race we were too loose the entire race. Right there at the end we starting messing with the adjustments and got the car better and got a lap down with a loose lug nut. Hopefully that won't happen. I'm sure they won't let that happen again. We're trying to figure out another way mechanically to try to make sure the car is not so loose."


"We are real happy. This car is running really good. Everybody knows the Daytona 500 winner is in the museum over there. This car is going to be just as good for us this weekend. We're real happy with how the car's been running all day."

(ON DECIDING WHO HE DRAFTS WITH) "There is a buddy system out there. It's really hard to explain in this quick interview. The people that you're friends with, you like to help. You like to take care of the people who take care of you. Me and Michael (Waltrip) have worked with each other over the years. Me and Tony have worked great together also in the past. There are a lot of other drivers out there that I have an enormous amount of respect for that I like to work with. If that's them and I'm around them, we usually hook up. That could be just about anybody in the building."


"I know this Coca-Cola C2 Chevy is going to be great in the race. The guys have done a great job in the short time frame that we've worked on it."

(YOU CELEBRATED VICTORY AT THIS RACE IN 1997. DO YOU REFLECT BACK ON THAT VERY MUCH?) "A little bit. But I also sat here in '89 (co-drove to Rolex 24 victory at Daytona) so maybe I'm due again. Maybe there has been a big enough gap that maybe we're due to sit in Victory Lane here again. At least I know where it is. Daytona has been great to me and obviously it's been great to DEI. Maybe we can put the two together and have a great weekend. Obviously Junior and Michael are going to be tough, but as long as they're my teammates I know we're going to be running good."


"We really thought we would be on par with our teammates, so we're a little disappointed with that. But the thing that counts is Saturday night. We're a little bit puzzled as to why we don't have the speed in the car. I know these guys will work their tails off to figure out what it is and we'll be good in the race and put this Chevy Monte Carlo back up front. It's definitely about drafting and having a good handling race car. When you have something bound up that's holding the car back, it's going to work against you.

"But when you get in the draft, it's a totally different animal. Sometimes you've got to be pretty creative to make it past these officials and if we haven't been working some areas over like others, that may be where it is. We'll just take what we can get here. It's not going to be that great of a starting spot, but it'll be a fun drive up through there."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Max Crawford
Teams Hendrick Motorsports