Daytona Beach, Fla.,---Feb. 9, 2001--Morgan-McClure Motorsports saw the No. 4 in a familiar position at Daytona International Speedway during the initial NASCAR Winston Cup practice Friday morning. The pylon located in the track's infield and...
Daytona Beach, Fla.,---Feb. 9, 2001--Morgan-McClure Motorsports saw the No. 4 in a familiar position at Daytona International Speedway during the initial NASCAR Winston Cup practice Friday morning. The pylon located in the track's infield and the smiling face of car owner Larry McClure reflected the number one spot with a lap time of 49.07 (182.160 mph). Robby Gordon, in his debut with the Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo, followed with a lap time of 49.473. Final practice of the day ended with the team in first position with a lap time of 49.37. Morgan-McClure is no stranger to being in the top spot at Daytona with Daytona 500 wins in 1991, 1994, 1995 and Pepsi 400 wins in 1992 and 1996. Gordon had his first NASCAR Winston Cup start at Daytona on Feb. 17, 1991. Ernie Irvan won Morgan-McClure's first Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 1991. Gordon's best start at Daytona -17 on Feb. 20, 2000 and his best finish -16 on Feb. 16, 1997.
Robby Gordon, driver of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevy
"It might be a little easier to start your way at the bottom and work your way to the top, don't you think? If you start your way at the top, then you have to defend it. This sport is just so competitive, week in and week out. Things can change every hour. I am sure other teams will advance more with practice. I am hoping we have some things figured out. We had a really hard time last year with horsepower. I went up to Morgan-McClure and saw their engine program and how much effort they put into it. That made my decision to drive for them a lot easier.
"Obviously today we rolled out and showed that Morgan-McClure can produce horsepower. Horsepower is the key. Larry McClure loves this place. We had a meeting last week talking about it. If we work real hard on the intermediate and the short track stuff, this team will become competitive week in and week out. That is one of my goals, to help out in that area as much as possible without crossing over the line. Larry has been pretty open to suggestions. We had a meeting the other night that was going to be two hours and I think it was about six hours long. Talking about Rockingham, Vegas, Atlanta. I knew we would be strong here. The No. 4 car always runs good here. We are going to work as hard to be as equally competitive at other race tracks. It may take us a little while to turn that around. We had a pretty good test at Rockingham. Our Vegas test was not that good, so we know we have some work to do. I liked running my own team last year. I think as long as we can keep the communication open with the team, we will have a good team here. If we take some of the things we learned last year and roll them into this program, it will be really good. I almost got into a little bit of trouble down there on pit lane because all the cars started passing on the left hand side, so I just went down and parked on the left-hand side. I waited my turn because I wanted to get a clean lap. It was clean. I think the last two runs, I was behind Bobby Labonte and he was at least the entire back straightaway ahead of me both times. We did not get any draft. The key question is how much is left in our car. We put our qualifying engine in at the shop. What we have right now is on the table. I'd be real pleased if we can qualify in the top five."
David Ifft, crew chief
"Hard work pays off. During the month of January we tested five times. All of the guys worked real, real hard. We came back from the Daytona test and Larry (McClure) started cutting this up and cutting that up. Everyone in the shop thought he was crazy. Probably 80 percent of what we accomplished today is owed to Larry. He eats, sleeps and lives speedway cars. I worked on the Rockingham, Vegas and stuff like that. Plus all of the guys in the fab shop worked so hard to get where we are. They are about worn out and the season is just starting. I think us running good rejuvenated the entire team. This shows what kind of equipment we have and what this team is capable of. Once we get a good run, the guys will get pumped back up. The No. 4 car is back on top at Daytona, at least for a day. Daytona and Talladega are places that when you unload, you are either fast or you are not. There seems to be no in between. So, to unload this fast will bring us some much needed momentum. It is really important to unload fast, if not it can be a struggle for 11 or 12 days. This is what we needed. Hopefully we can get a good qualifying run in and run good in the 125s. Then maybe we can relax a little, or maybe just take a breath."
Larry McClure, owner No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo
"It felt good to see that No.4 on top of the board. It has been a long time. Daytona is a special track to Morgan-McClure Motorsports. The Daytona 500 is our most important race of the year. I think it can set the tone for the entire year. We have worked really hard the past few weeks. We learned some key information in our test sessions. I see how things are getting better. We are tailoring our program to fit Robby (Gordon) and David (Ifft). I really do not want to say to much right now. It was an exciting day. Seeing the moral lifted with all the guys makes me happy. To unload that fast and keep up with the pace all day builds momentum going into qualifying and the 500. I think Robby was pleased. We struggled last year and our engines were blamed for many of the problems. I hope a few good runs like today will extinguish that. Runt Pittman still builds our engines and he knows how to tweak them for horsepower. Hopefully we will have a good run during qualifying to back this up. I am proud of the hard work all of these guys have put forth."