PONTIAC RACING TESTING QUOTES DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY JAN. 18, 2000 WARD BURTON, DRIVER, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX ...adjusting to the new shock rule: "Of course it's a lot smoother ride than we've had the last few ...
PONTIAC RACING TESTING QUOTES DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY JAN. 18, 2000
WARD BURTON, DRIVER, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...adjusting to the new shock rule:
"Of course it's a lot smoother ride than we've had the last few years. Right now, we're just making a lot of little changes and testing a lot different things. We're learning a little bit - sometimes we'll learn a lot. We're just kind of calculating through all the forces here, and seeing what little changes make a difference, what ones don't and which ones hurt us."
...his expectations when he returns in February:
"Qualifying at Daytona has never been our strongest suit, but we always seem to race really well here. This is of course, an effort that the team has really been working hard on. We're going to come down here and hopefully try to qualify in the top 10 or top 15. If we do, that's great; we'll be excited about it. But, if we don't, it's not the end of the world. We'll concentrate on Thursday (Feb. 17) and the '125s'."
...keeping Daytona in perspective with the rest of the Winston Cup season:
"It's real easy to get wrapped up in it when you're not running well. You're down here for a week and a half, with all the emphasis, all the media hype, and all the amount of effort that the team has put into Saturday's qualifying. It's al really important. It's easy to get disappointed and grumble a little bit. But, the main thing is that you keep it in perspective that it is one event. But, it is a very important event, and I know this Caterpillar Pontiac will have a great finish if we can miss the wrecks."
JOHNNY BENSON, DRIVER, NO. 10 TYLER JET MOTORSPORTS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...getting started with his new team for 2000:
"I'm really looking forward to it. Last year was a really tough and frustrating year, which makes me look forward to this even more. I'm back in a Pontiac, and the guys at Tyler Jet have been building some great race cars, so I'm ready to go.
"I've never worked with James [Ince] before, but he was part of the Roush deal in the same building up there with Kevin Lepage. So we were close by, and did chat back-and-forth -maybe not as an everyday deal, but I think that was good. Then we've got some other people that were with Bahari when I ran so good, and that part has already clicked off pretty good. Plus, all the other guys are pulling the rope the same direction, and I think that's a big plus."
...what his team can achieve in 2000:
"It's probably too early to know what this team can achieve. The goal is to finish in the top 10 in points. That is the goal, and that's the goal we're going to try to achieve by doing the best we can. But, realistically, you don't know. You don't know until you get going. It's so competitive nowadays that even if you finish 15th, it wasn't like a terrible year. But, it's never good enough. It's just a situation where you need to dig down hard and get the cars the best you can.
"You know, I feel like this is actually one of the years we've been the best prepared. We've got cars ready for the first four races already, so it's actually looking pretty good, as far as the shop goes."
...his impressions of running under the new shock rules:
"This Pontiac Grand Prix drives great with the new rule. You're not sitting on stop blocks and bouncing around. The car is extremely driveable. All-in-all, I'm sure the rule is probably best. Like I said the car is real comfortable and easy to drive."
TONY STEWART, DRIVER, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...how excited he is for the start of the 2000 season:
"I'm tired of talking about it to be honest. Everybody wants to talk about it. Let's quit talking about it and let's just do it. If I wasn't excited about it I wouldn't be here, for sure. It felt really good to get back in the car. This is the third test we've had this year, and I'm still excited about testing, which is unusual for me. That's a pretty good sign that we're ready to go."
...expectations placed on his team:
"We don't worry about it. I worry about getting in the car and doing my job. That's for the media to speculate on and get into the "what if" syndrome. My job is just to get in the car and drive. As long as we keep our focus where it was at the end of the last year - what we were doing at the end of last year was working for us. So, that's one of those deals, if it's not broke, don't try to fix it."
...running in his first Bud Shootout:
"It's a good practice session for the Daytona 500 basically. There's a lot on the line, but it's nice from the standpoint that if something happens, you don't lose any points. There are all pluses to it and no minuses to running that race. It's a good thing for us." (is it like running The Winston?) "It's not quite like The Winston. At least in The Winston, you can control your own destiny, where everything you do here at Daytona all depends on what the people do behind you. It's a 190-mile an hour chess match."
...the rookie class of 2000:
"I think what I did last year is going to get overshadowed pretty quickly by what these guys can do this year. No predictions, other than that."
...whether he likes the new shock rules for restrictor plate races:
"Yeah, I won't have to leave here with crutches or a wheelchair today. My back feels good today, and that's the first time since I've started coming to Daytona that my back has felt good at the end of a practice day."
DAVE BLANEY, DRIVER, NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...on gaining so much ground from yesterday to today:
"The car we ran fast with today was a car that I think we only ran one time yesterday. It's a car that had been run here quite a bit with Ward's team, so we wanted to concentrate on our new one a little bit. Now, we're just trying to get the other one to go down there and match it really.
"We had heard they were running 48.20s down here last week, so that's what we were hoping to come close to. We're just trying all sorts of different things. We've just been trying motor stuff and body pieces. We're just trying to gain anywhere we can, and then we'll throw it all together to come back. We'll go home and look at all this stuff, and try to put all the best things on both cars we can."
...how prepared the team will be returning in February:
"I think horsepower is the name of the game right now, and we feel like we've got a bunch of power to come back with. Terry Elledge and all the guys claim we've got a big power gain in our qualifying engines, so to be honest, we're real happy to be this close in speeds. You know you never know what everyone else is going to bring down for qualifying engines or what they're testing with. But, we kind of know what we can pick up there. We're just throwing everything we can trying to make any little gain we can with what we've got in these two days. You know it will all add up come qualifying time."
KEN SCHRADER, DRIVER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...how he feels his team is stacking up against everyone else:
"We still don't know anything. It's just this whole testing deal. All you know is how fast you're going, and how comfortable you are with what you're coming back with. So we're real happy with what we're running so far. We feel we're pretty good and feel pretty good about the whole thing."
MIKE BLISS, DRIVER, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...the team's progress during two test sessions this month at Daytona:
"We've picked up since last week and we picked up this morning even. We've been throwing a lot of things at both cars. We're testing everything we can, and then going home to find out what works the best. We've got some pretty good notes.
"You've got to do one thing at a time, or you'll get lost. It takes quite a while to do all the stuff you want to get done.
"We're still a half second off, and it's been that way. We get faster, they get faster. I don't expect that we're going to run as fast as Stewart and all them because we are learning things here. But, you want to. You want to run just as good as they are. But, as long as we can come back and improve, then we'll be OK."
JEFF FULLER, DRIVER, NO. 27 VIAGRA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...how they have used the test:
"All day yesterday we spent on our first car playing with little bits and pieces that we learned from Talladega when we tested. Then we got to the next car, and it was about three and a half tenths quicker. So we've been trying all sorts of exhaust pipes and carburetors - basically everything they want to get out of the way. We've done some things, and then backed it up with some other things. I know that some of the things we've done, they've scratched them off the list for when the real deal comes. That's why we're here. I think by the end of the test, we're going to be sitting pretty good."
...how the car feels to him:
"This Grand Prix drives great. I've been down here years when we really didn't have rules, and the car was hitting the track and it was very uncomfortable, to say the least. Obviously, the lower you could keep the car out of the wind the faster you could go. But it got to the point where it was beating the track all the way around like a Flintstones cartoon, and then you had to decide how much speed you were scrubbing off when the sparks were flying. So, I'm just glad we don't have to do that anymore. I don't think we've hit anything since we got here."
. ...Tony Stewart's compliments on the 2000 rookie class:
"That's very kind of Tony because he set new standards for all of us. I think it's going to be a great year, too. There is a lot of good talent here, and by all means, we intend on being a contender for that. All of them have so many resources and have been doing it an awful long time. But, my ace in the hole is Barry Dodson. We've got a good thing there, and I fully expect to build on that."