Friday, Sept. 24, 1999. Dover Downs International Speedway. Bud Pole qualifying for MBNA Gold 400. Chevy notes and quotes. DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "We just haven't run. I don't know what's wrong. We've...
Friday, Sept. 24, 1999. Dover Downs International Speedway. Bud Pole qualifying for MBNA Gold 400. Chevy notes and quotes.
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"We just haven't run. I don't know what's wrong. We've done everything. I'm flat-footing it from the corner off on both ends. I don't know why we're not running any faster. We changed engines trying to give it every benefit of the doubt. The 31 car is sitting there with the same stuff basically and running faster. Our car is driving good, but I can't put my finger on the problem right now."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"That's as fast as we've run since we've been here. It was a pretty decent lap. The car feels good. It handles good. We just need to be a little bit quicker."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I just don't seem to qualify well here. The best I've ever qualified here is 19th. We'll race good. This is the best driving race car I've ever had here. We're not blazing fast, but we've been consistent all day and that means a lot here. I qualified 38th here once and by the 50th lap I was running fifth. Hopefully we won't start that far back this time, but I think we've got a pretty good car, capable of running up front."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"The Pennzoil car has been pretty fast all day. We ran about the same time we ran in practice, but we thought we could go a little bit faster. I got through one and two pretty good and got to three and pushed up a little bit. I probably lost a tenth or two right there. We're still working on this qualifying deal. We're a little disappointed today. We thought we had a car capable of winning the pole. We're working on it, trying to get better. This whole team has turned things around. Paul Andrews (crew chief) is doing a great job, and the guys are building great cars. We've got to get used to being fast in practice and then go out there and get us a pole. The track is slowing down a little bit, but we were hoping if we could speed up a little bit from practice we'd have something for the pole. Maybe we'll get 'em next week."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I don't understand it. We changed the gear there before qualifying and thought maybe we'd run out of the power band on the motor. We'd run 22.90s every time we went out in practice today, but we changed the gear and it picked it up. I thought I was going to win my first race here back in 1994. We usually run well here, so I'm looking forward to it this time. When I got in the car today, I felt pumped up, extra confident. A lot of things go along with winning. That first lap I drove it as hard as I could drive it. We're running fast, and we'll be good in the race. That was a good lap for us today. We picked up about a tenth and a half from practice, and that was a big improvement. Dover is so fast now, and if you make one little mistake you're not going to make the show. I feel good this week. I've got a real good feeling. The guys who went out early went fast today, and a bunch of guys who were fast in practice went slow. I don't understand it. We pretty much had a calm lap, and I picked up. We've run good this year, and we're back in the points. We shouldn't be. We should have had easy top 10s and top fives this year. I think people know I can drive, but the win definitely opened some eyes. There's only been 153 different winners in NASCAR in 51 years. That's pretty interesting to me. It's so hard to do, and I'm really proud of my guys and myself for doing it."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"I'm happy with that lap. That's the best lap we've had all day long. I could have gone faster. That's just part of aggressive qualifying here at Dover, but the balance of the car was really, really good. It looks like the track has gone a different way. We've been pushing, and when you're pushing that hard you're bound to make a few mistakes, but I'm real happy with that lap.
"I know if I could do it over that I could go a little faster, but that's just part of the deal. These guys did a great job getting the car balanced right. We made all the right calls and went faster than we did all day long.
"We just haven't been getting enough headlines all year. I wish I had a comment (on Ray Evernham). I just don't have a comment on it right now. The plan all along has been to take our guys and step them up in our program. That's been Ray's wishes. It looked like things were going to be taking place anyway, and we are basically stepping into a little of that right now. We're still trying to figure out how everything is going to shake out. When it does, we'll let everybody know. We've got a strong group of guys here and they know what their jobs are. They want to work hard and win races. It takes a group effort and we've got a really good group. We're going to continue to look forward toward that. Hopefully that means this group can go on and win races and championships.
"I think it's fair for me just to say no comment. I don't have a comment on it. We're doing a good job, and I'm happy with the way things are going."
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We ran just a tick faster than we'd practiced. I guess I went slow enough in practice to pick up a little bit in qualifying. At least we made the first round and now we can get ready to race."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"My brain wouldn't take my foot off the gas pedal. I was going for the pole. I was doing the best I could. I don't know that we could have beat Rusty, but we could have been pretty good. We wanted to put our Chevrolet on the pole and knock that Ford off, but we couldn't make it happen today. That was a little bit quicker than we ran in practice. The guys did a great job with the car. I drove into turn one way too hard. I struggled through turn two and it hurt me on the backstretch. The put me in a good car and the motor ran super. I think we'll have something for them Sunday."
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We've been really good all day. In that last practice, people kept pulling out in front of me. I never got a clean lap. We thought we had a good car. Actually, we have a little miss in the engine. We thought we fixed it. A spark plug wire is bad or something. I don't know how much that slowed us down. It was skipping pretty bad out there. I don't know how we ran that fast really. This has been a good track for me. I held the track record here for awhile. I've had some good runs here, and I've had some bad runs here. The track was pretty good the last race here. It's almost two grooves. The fast way around is on the bottom, but the groove moved up last time. I think the track is really, really good right now. It should be a good race. I'm a little disappointed in that lap. If we hadn't had that skip, we would have been a little quicker. The team did a great job with the car. We'll figure that miss out before the race. Hopefully this is going to be a good weekend for us."