Dover qualifying quotes

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations Miller 500 Quotebook DOVER, Del. (May 30, 1997) The following are selected driver quotes after first-round Busch Pole Qualifying for the Miller 500 at Dover Downs ...

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

Miller 500 Quotebook

DOVER, Del. (May 30, 1997) The following are selected driver quotes after first-round Busch Pole Qualifying for the Miller 500 at Dover Downs International Speedway.

BOBBY LABONTE No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac

"It was awesome. This race car really stuck. The crew did a great job. We had to do a little chasing on it today because it wasn't quite right when we got here. We worked on it and worked on it and towards the end of the last practice we had a pretty good run. This old 'No. 9.' We brought it out of retirement. Maybe it will do well for us Sunday. The last time we ran this car was at Charlotte a couple of years ago. It was a real good lap. I didn't get as low as I wanted to be on the race track. I wanted to be a little lower. We had enough heat in the tires where it stuck good for a lap. Before we hadn't gotten it as comfortable as we wanted it to be. We changed a couple of things right before qualifying to make it better, and I guess they worked. I love coming here and I'm not really sure why. I think it's just because of Sambo's (Seafood Restaurant). We always run good here, too. I didn't like it the first time I came here. It was the second time before I got to like it. I don't know why we run good here, but we do. I'm glad though. We didn't leave anything on the table. We ran two-tenths better than we did in practice, and I thought then we probably went faster than we would in qualifying. This Pontiac really performed well. All the guys did a great job. The motor turned just enough RPMs, and everything just went right. We always run well here. This place seemed to have us buffaloed a little bit earlier, but we got a better handle on it towards the end of practice."

JEFF GORDON No. 24 DuPont Automotive Refinishes Chevrolet

"We've got to put on a good show for DuPont. We're right here in their backyard. I'm glad to get through with that lap. I was more nervous today about qualifying than I've been in a long time. I think the tires are a harder compound and it's just a little different tire than what we've had here We're having a little trouble getting hold of the track.

"We made a lot of changes hoping we'd make it better, but it was still a handful. I was pushing it as hard as I could, hoping I could get a little more out of it. I never doubted we could go out there and run a decent lap. But when Bobby Labonte ran his lap, I knew we didn't have to think about the pole. I still wasn't counting us out of anything. I saw the other guys slow down a little bit. It wasn't a pretty lap. I had my hands full, but I'm actually petty happy with the lap."

KYLE PETTY No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac

"It was a good lap. We're just trying to concentrate on making races, I don't know about this pole stuff. I don't know about making runs at that kind of stuff. When we unloaded my Pontiac was really good. The last time we ran good up here was when we were runnign hard tires like they are now. We ended up winning the race. We were real pleased with the setup that Bobby (Hamilton) and those guys come with. Everything worked good. It was a good lap.

"I was a little bit pushy in one an two on my qualifying lap, but a lot of other guys were loose and all over the race track. I'd rather be on the pushy side here than the loose side at Dover. We had a shot at the pole. We've had a couple of shots at poles this year, and a couple of times, I've overdrove it and sent us back to 23rd or 24th. At least we'll get started somewhere close to the front. Hopefully this is a sign of the Pontiac teams getting better and better."

JOE NEMECHEK No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet

"Tony Glover and the guys have been working hard. The car has been running real good all day. That's about what we ran in practice. I'm looking forward to a good race. We've run good here at Dover before. I'm excited. We're going to have a good weekend. I'm tickled for Dave (Marcis). He's up front, too. We're not worried about making races anymore. We're worried about qualifying up front now. What a change. We're excited."

DAVE MARCIS No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet

"We just made a decision on tires. We got a mixed up set of tires on the car. In practice, we found the car responded different on one set of tires than the other set. We put two or three laps on all three sets of tires. Then we made up a set of tires from those three sets. We knew what we were doing. That's what we went for. I had my guys air up all the tires after practice. I made up what I though was going to work. The car has been feeling pretty good since we came off the truck. We made a couple of changes to the car and it responded. We're getting better and better.

"I figured somebody would beat us, but it was good enough to make the race on the first day and that's what's important. I'm tickled to death with that lap. It was one of those perfect laps you're always looking for. Things just fell in place."

DALE JARRETT No. 88 Ford Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford

"That's the fastest we've run today. The guys have worked hard on this car. We weren't very good when we started, but we made some adjustments for qualifying. I got a little bit loose picking the throttle up. It was real good going into 1 and 2, but I had to pick the throttle up in 3 and 4, and I decided to just bring it back instead of trying to be a hero. We've got a good car and a good starting spot for Sunday."

MARK MARTIN No. 6 Valvoline Ford

"I was happy with that. It's a little slick. It's gotten hot and sunny, and we were just taking it easy. We want to make sure we're in this thing for Sunday. We've got a real race car, and we weren't really trying to hang it out for the pole. This place has bit a bunch of people today, so we just wanted to make sure we get a starting spot."

DAVID GREEN No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet

"A lot of good guys were wrecking today, and that puts us newcomers on the edge. I hate to see those veterans have problems. Our guys did a great job today. The car was a little loose, and it's hard to be careful when you're that loose and keep the car pointed straight. After I saw Mike Wallace about wreck, and he was the first guy out. I told myself if I got loose to just try to keep it pointed in the right direction. That's what we did."

WARD BURTON No. 22 MBNA Pontiac

"It got really loose. The second practice it was going away and I thought it was the tires. It wasn't. The tires are consistent. We just missed it. We should have tightened the car up more. All the guys have worked hard and we've got a good Pontiac here. It will race good. I though we had a good opportunity for the pole and we missed it. Every driver here has heard the tires squeal and the metal hit the wall today. It makes you think about it, but once you get in that race car it's pretty much 'let her go,' then."

ERNIE IRVAN No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford

"Any time you can repeat what you did in practice, that's the best you can do. That's about what we ran in practice. The car has been pretty good. We just need to get to that next step. We need to get another pole, like I use to be able to do."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Mike Wallace