Saturday practice ...
Saturday practice #2 quotes
Dover International Speedway
Ken Howes, Vice President of Competition, Hendrick Motorsports
COMMENTS ON THE TRACK CONDITIONS The track will change here a lot because it was so green from the rain. It will change and you have to figure that in when you make decisions for tomorrow. And, some will make better decisions than others.
ALTHOUGH THERE WAS SOME BAD LUCK, ALL THE HENDRICK CARS SHOWED GOOD PERFORMANCE LAST WEEK IN CHARLOTTE Yeah, you're always concerned because it comes and it goes and it cycles in and out. You have good days and bad. You want to have good days all the time, but it's not always going to happen. You just have to keep working and keep going and some days are better than others.
Jeff Gordon - #24 DuPont Chevrolet
HOW IS THE TRACK TODAY? Well, you know, it's a tough place to read when you have a track like there, where it's been raining for a day and it's a green track. When we go out there and start laying down rubber, the track changes a lot throughout the day. Even more rubber gets laid down, the more it's going to be like the race tomorrow. I thought we were decent. We need to make some more gains, but we're chasing the track quite a bit there. It will change a lot tomorrow and I know the guys have a good car underneath me. You know, it's just going to be about keeping up with it.
DRIVERS LOVE RACING HERE Yeah, it is a cool race track. You know, how you approach the turns and you can play with the throttle and the brake. Entry speed and different things you do here can make the car working better for you. Try different lines, run up the race track, run down the bottom of the race track. It's a tough place to pass on. When the groove moves out wide here, it's a great place to race. I'm hoping that we get that tomorrow.
IS THIS TRACK DIFFERENT? Well, every place is. Tires are different, aero is different, but you know, I feel like this team is so amazing about how they learn. Just every weekend how to make the cars work better and go faster. I'm really not feeling that much of a difference in speed right now than I did here last year.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE MEETING WITH QUARTERBACK DONOVAN MCNABB? It was cool. He's a real nice guy and I certainly respect his talents on the football field. I was at the Super Bowl this year and it was a great game. It's neat to be able to get a chance to meet him and I think it's great what he's able to do with the Urban Racing League and I support what they're doing. To have someone of his stature involved in it and supporting it will do well.
DID YOU LIKE HAVING TWO PRACTICE SESSIONS TODAY, INSTEAD OF JUST ONE THAT WAS PLANNED? Yeah, that was great. The more time we have on the track, the better. It was definitely a big plus.
DID YOU TALK TO MCNABB ABOUT ANY OF THE TRADE SPECULATION? I didn't. Right now it's about fantasy football. I talked to him how he's going to be for my fantasy football next year and whether or not I need to pick him.
AND? He said I need to pick him!
A LOT OF CAUTIONS. DO YOU THINK IT'S DUE TO RULE CHANGES OR COMPETIION? I think it's a little bit of both. We've been seeing more cautions over the past few years just because the competition's tougher. The speeds have increased through the corners in past years, which makes it harder to pass. You know, you take some downforce away from the cars this year and it might make the cars a little bit more difficult to drive or not give you quite that security as it did in the past. Anytime you do something like that, it's an adjustment. I've liked it. Some guys haven't. You know, every place is different. Every weekend is different as to why there are more cautions.
GOING TO POCONO, WHY IS THAT ONE OF THE PLACES NOT MANY PEOPLE TEST AT, SINCE IT'S SO UNUSUAL? That's a good question. You know, I don't know. I guess because it's nothing like any of the other tracks that we go to, that we're testing primarily just for that race track. Whereas when we go testing at Vegas and Charlotte and Texas and Atlanta, I feel like we're getting something that's going to help us on all 1.5-mile race tracks. Instead of just one race track.
DO YOU KNOW THE TALLY ON THE CARS YOU WRECKED IN YOUR ROOKIE YEAR? I don't know. It was a lot. Ray Evernham would know better than I would, or Brian Whitesell or somebody like that, but it was quite a few.
CAN YOU IMAGINE COMING INTO THE SPORT NOW WITH THE TYPES OF PRESSURE YOUNG DRIVERS HAVE? Well, the difference is, I always wrecked by myself! I didn't seem to take many other guys out with me, and that was just getting a feel for the cars. I know that there's a lot of pressure. As a rookie, when I came in, the pressure wasn't that you had to go win. This year, or nowadays, as a rookie, you're expected to win your first year. And that's tough to do. We're seeing rookies get in good race cars and good opportunites to have that chance at winning. I don't think it matters what is going on. When you're a rookie, there is an extreme amount of pressure-whether it really is there, or whether you just make it up. You just feel like all eyes are on you. That every mistake you make, that it's the biggest mistake you've ever made in your life. And that there's just exteme pressure to perform at a high level. To me, there's nothing better than getting past that rookie season. Just to have that comfort level and get that behind you.
WHAT SORT OF RACE DO YOU THINK WE'LL SEE HERE AT DOVER? You know, I'm hoping to see the groove move up. Because if it does, I think it will be great. That's why I'm saying that with the track as green as it was, laying down rubber, that we really didn't see the groove widening out like I'd like to see it. If it does widen out, we're going to see a great race with side-by-side racing. If it doesn't, we're going to see a lot more cautions.
THOUGHTS ON BUMP DRAFTING ON NON-RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS I tell you what, anybody that bump drafts at Charlotte is a complete idiot. I'll tell you that right now. And, if anybody is out there thinking that you can do that at any other place other than Daytona and Talladega, I'll tell it right to their face. Because that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. You don't bump draft on the straightaways on any race track except for those tracks. And even at those tracks, I wish we did it less. Anytime passing is harder to do, guys get more aggressive and start using their bumpers. Now, what we're seeing on the straightaways, I think it's just guys not using their head. Usually when you crash somebody on the straightaway, it's going to collect you as well. You have to think about that before you take that measure.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - #8 Budweiser Chevrolet
HOW WAS PRACTICE? The Budweiser Chevrolet isn't too bad. We were just working on the handle and trying to get it to drive good. We struggled with overall grip. The car is bouncing quite a bit because the concrete is real rough. This track could use some grinding I think.
There will be a big difference in the track we will have tomorrow after the Busch race and the Truck race. There isn't a lot of rubber on the track right now. The two races are going to put a lot down. We kind of have to guesstimate as to how that is going to change the track. The track is real rough so we have to have some room to make changes in the car.
Scott Riggs - #10 Valvoline Chevrolet
HOW WAS YOUR PRACTICE SESSION? Yeah, it wasn't too bad. We ran a pretty fast lap there, but our car was a lot like everyone else who was fast-the time still fell off a lot. Still, just a balancing act. We went back and forth on different adjustments. We'd help the car in one spot and hurt the car in the other spot, so we try to diagnose it and try to figure out what is going to be the best way to get the car good all the way through the corner.
HOW WAS THE TRACK WHEN YOU WENT OUT THIS MORNING? It was pretty green. It seemed like the track got tighter with the more rubber that we put down, of course. But, I think everybody had the same thing and just worked to try to make their cars better around the corner. It's typical. I think it's going to be really tight once the race starts tomorrow, but the time you get all the rubber down from the Busch cars and Trucks.
WHAT SORT OF RACE WILL WE SEE TOMORROW? Usually there are a lot of cautions (here). But usually, once it takes a lot of people out and wrecking and crashes, then you usually have some really long runs here. We just want to miss all those cautions and not be a part of them and be there at the end.
Bobby Hamilton, Jr. - #32 Tide Chevrolet
PRACTICE COMMENTS We are running good so far but it is just practice. There are two other races before we race so that is going to change the track a lot. This is where a single car team like us gets beat by the multi car teams because they have so much information to draw from while we kind of have to shoot in the dark when the track is going to change so much.
I will watch my Dad in the truck race but we drive for different manufacturers and we don't cross those lines so what I learn from the race, will be what I watch. So we will shoot from the hip and hope we hit something right. It will be a handful to drive if we don't.
Jimmie Johnson - #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
PRACTICE COMMENTS We were playing with some things and working on it. The car is driving really nice. There are a couple of cars that were really fast, kind of like a rabbit situation but I am not sure they can run that way all day tomorrow. I think we have a good top five car looking at the time sheet.
Because we practiced on a green track and the Busch race and the Truck race are going to change the complexion of the track, we are going to have loosen the car up because I think the track is going to continue to tighten up when the two races put rubber down on it. We will look at our past notes and hopefully make some right decisions.
Kevin Harvick - #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet
PRACTICE COMMENTS We have a little something left to find in the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet but running the Busch race will give us something to gauge the track changes and then what Ron (Hornaday, KHI driver of No. 6 GM Goodwrench Silverado in NCTS) learns when he gets in the truck to race today.
I told Ron to stand on it in the Busch race so he can have a good warm up to go out and win the Truck race today (Chuckled).
Kyle Busch - #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet
PRACTICE COMMENTS The first practice (NASCAR Nextel Cup) went really well for us. We had a pretty good handling car. We tried a few things to help it out a little bit and of course the track kept tightening up too. It is all about trying to get the thing to turn on late exit and a lot of people have trouble with that and others don't, maybe they are loose. Hopefully we can try a few more things to get it better for us.
WILL THE BUSCH RACE BE A GREAT HELP IN SEEING HOW THE TRACK WILL CHANGE WHEN MORE RUBBER GOES DOWN? Exactly, especially for the Truck race later on. This Busch race is going to be good for that. I kind of wish it was the other way around but still, we are going to be able to run well here in the Busch car. I think I have a really good car. We will be able to see exactly what happens during the race, I think it is going to tighten up like I said but just exactly how much we don't know.
WILL THE TRUCK RACE ADD THAT MUCH MORE INFORMATION TO THE POOL? Exactly. That will basically be what 400 miles will be like here tomorrow because the end of the end of the Truck race is going to be pretty much like the last lap of the Cup race tomorrow. That many laps on this track with the tires laying down the rubber, that will give me a good sense on how the track changes.