DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP YOU TO HAVE A CHANCE TO RUN IN A RACE BEFORE THE OTHER GUY? "It helps a lot because it's a lot different than it was last year." WHEN YOU RUN WELL AT...
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP YOU TO HAVE A CHANCE TO RUN IN A RACE BEFORE THE OTHER GUY? "It helps a lot because it's a lot different than it was last year."
WHEN YOU RUN WELL AT SPEEDWEEKS, DOES IT SET THE TONE FOR YOUR SEASON? "Yeah, I guess so. But we've got some bigger fish to fry. And that's the softer tires and whatnot. This tire is just tearing up real fast on us and wearing out real fast. The car is handling real bad. So we're going to have to concentrate on that real hard."
HAVE YOU BEEN HELPING OUT BORIS SAID WITH A FEW POINTERS? "Yes, he's been asking a few questions and I'm trying to answer them for him. He's helped me a lot and I try to help him."
WHAT COULD MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOU THIS YEAR IN WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "I guess I just need to be faster than everybody else. I don't know. It's hard to say. You just do what you've got to do and hopefully you can do it better than anybody else."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
ON THE PRACTICE SESSION "Our GM Goodwrench Chevy was great in the first drafting practice today. I could suck up from the back and run out front by myself."
ON THE FIRST RACE OF THE YEAR "It's good to be back in the car. I was getting sick of sitting around the house all day."
ON THE SOFTER TIRES "Tires are probably going to be the biggest concern. After about 25 laps, they were through. There will definitely be a four-tire stop for the race (Budweiser Shootout)."
ON DEI BEING SO STRONG AT DAYTONA "Until someone beats them, they rule this place. We've got a good package and our best finish last year at the superspeedway tracks was 9th. We've got a good chance at it."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM YOU HAD DURING THE AFTERNOON PRACTICE SESSION? "We just had a little problem with the oil tank overflow. We may have had a little bit too much in there. But I think we have it figured out now."
ONCE YOU GOT OUR THERE, HOW DID IT FEEL? "It feels great. I'm real happy with it. The car has good speed, and we're just working on the handling. These tires are a lot different from what we've had here, and so we're just trying to get an indication of what we're going to have in the race."
SOME OF THE GUYS TALKED ABOUT HOW WELL-BEHAVED EVERYBODY WAS. ARE YOU REAL HAPPY ABOUT THAT? "That's good. I like to hear that. This is the place where you don't need to really take any chances in practice. You've got a big race tomorrow and there's plenty of action going to be going to be happening there tomorrow. You just need to feel out your car, and there's no reason to do anything crazy out there. But we've still got a little more practice left to go.
IS THERE GOING TO BE A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AFTERNOON AND THE NIGHT PRACTICE? "Not a big difference. But it will be a better indication of what we're going to have tomorrow night. I mean it was pretty hot and slick out there during the middle of the day, so it's going to be a little better. Sometimes it takes a little while for that track temperature to really cool down."
EVEN THOUGH THIS IS A DIFFERENT CAR FROM WHAT YOU'LL BE RACING IN NEXTEL CUP, DOES IT HELP YOU GUYS WHO ARE ABLE TO RUN THE BUD SHOOTOUT GET A LITTLE MORE PRACTICE TIME IN THAN THE OTHERS? "It does in some ways. It's nice to get out there and just get a feel for the tires. But the cars are a little bit different than what we have for the 500. Sometimes you might have cars that are pretty close. But our 500 car is definitely better. It has a little bit different aero package than what this Bud Shootout car has. So I think you can learn a certain amount. But you really have to wait for the 125s and practice with the 500 car before you can really get an indication of what it's going to be like.
DID IT FREAK YOU OUT A LITTLE BIT WHEN YOU FIRST HAD THE PROBLEM AFTER PRACTICE HAD JUST STARTED? "Well, no, I just wanted to know what it was. I just felt bad for the guys who were behind me that were getting sprayed with oil. It's fine with me now that we know what it was.