Fontana Chevy Friday notes

Q&A's with Richard Childress, Owner of Richard Childress Racing (Are you anxious to have Jeff Green run these few races for you this year?) "It's a new team and this is the first time they've ran and we're excited about it. I think Jeff has a ...

Q&A's with Richard Childress, Owner of Richard Childress Racing

(Are you anxious to have Jeff Green run these few races for you this year?) "It's a new team and this is the first time they've ran and we're excited about it. I think Jeff has a tremendous amount of talent if we can just get the right car under him. We tested with him and all the guys were happy with what they seen. We had a good test and we've got to go out there now and back it up."

(Are you concerned about adding a third team and about the possibility that the new team might not be as good as the other two?) "That's the reason it's taken us so long to try to put together what we feel is a strong enough program to do a three-car team. Dale (Earnhardt) and I talked about it, and about how to do a three-car team. And his (team, DEI) is working pretty good. He's got some good success. I think it can be done and we're going to give it a shot."

(Kevin Harvick says that he's learning a lot from you - especially on your Monday morning talks. What do you talk about?) "Well, we just talk about the different races and things to expect and things to watch for and look out for. And he's a good listener and he backs it up on the track."

(For a guy with all your knowledge, is it invigorating to work with such a young driver?) "Kevin has all the talent. He just needs a little guidance like any young driver. I remember Jeff Gordon coming in and getting the right help and I remember Dale Earnhardt coming in and getting some good help. He has all the talent in the world. We've just got to work with him and work together."

(Does Harvick remind you of anybody?) "You know, a lot of his driving style and what he reminds me of a lot --- well, I'll give you two versions. He has a lot of the young David Pearson in him by being savvy. But then he also has a lot of grit and determination in him like Tim Richmond. Tim, and his driving style of getting to the front, is a lot like Kevin's. This isn't personalities - this is just watching them on the racetrack. I like to look at Kevin Harvick as a total different individual and a total different driver. But I see a similarity or two of some things you seen the old silver fox do in his young days and some of the things I've seen Kevin do on the racetrack. There's many drivers you can compare to."

(Are things beginning to settle down for you a little bit more now?) "I just take it day by day. Every day is difficult. You've just got to keep moving forward and keeping busy and try to keep your mind occupied until you get tired at night and try to go to sleep."

(Since Daytona, lot of people have commented on the strength of your car program and how well you've pulled this back together with your leadership skills. What do you think about that?) "Oh, yeah, there's a lot of people in the garage area who could have done it. I'm just surrounded by a lot of good people and they give us the support we need. And it's been tough. It's tough every day."

Comment by Jade Gurss, Team PR Rep for Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo, regarding the practice crash: "Dale Jr. crashed pretty hard. He hit the wall there in turn two, but he's okay. He's a little sore, but he's fine. He said he didn't cut a tire, but that something broke in the right front. We won't know exactly what it was until they have a chance to look at the car. So we're bringing out the back-up car. It ran at Indianapolis and Michigan in 2000, and took a 23rd place finish in Las Vegas in '01.

Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We've been fast all day long and this whole Pennzoil team is doing a great job. This is our 100th start our here in California, so we're excited about that. We thought we had a shot at the pole. We made a small change right before we went out. The car was pretty good. I had my hands full the first lap and it was a little bit on the loose side. Hopefully this will be good enough for the top ten and we can go get 'em on Sunday. That was a lap that we thought was going to be capable of putting us up there on the front row. With the temperature being hotter than it was in practice, we couldn't repeat the time we had in practice. We tested in Michigan, but it was freezing cold there. And now we're here where the temperature is over 90 degrees. So I think we can take what we learned in Michigan and what we're going to learn in practice and decide what we're going to do for the race. I also want everybody to know that I'm wearing this colorful ribbon because April is national Autism Awareness month. We're going to have decals on the car, too. Ty Norris's brother, John Furino's (catchcan) nephew, and Stevie Reaves (spotter) nephew all have this disease. We wanted to combine my 100th start with Autism Awareness here in California."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We're real disappointed in that run. We were real good in practice. As the sun continues to make the track hotter, it just keeps getting slicker. I don't know, I guess we just weren't able to stay up with it 'cause we got a little loose in (turns) one and two. If you bobble just the tiniest bit here in qualifying, you're going to struggle. When I went to make by second lap, I got real wide in (turns) one and two. I just hoped that first one wasn't too bad. And it wasn't very good. We got a great car and it's been fast all day. We're going to have us a good day on Sunday and we're looking forward to it."

Jeff Green, No. 30 America Online Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We were a little bit better in practice and tried to step it up a little bit. But Richard (Childress) said the wind was really blowing hard off (turn) two and was making everybody push up off the corner. So we lost a couple tenths. But our main focus was to get in the race and that's what we did. We wanted to qualify better. But we can work on it. I can learn a little more about what I need for qualifying these Cup cars and we can get better next time."

Mike Skinner, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We're not real happy with the Lowe's Chevy today. It's a shame to sit on the pole here last year and come back here and struggle all day today. We made the car drive a little bit better right there, but something happened and it just wouldn't pull very hard. We just had a rough, rough day. It's just one of them days that hopefully we'll get over and the Lowe's Chevrolet will be good on Sunday."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I don't feel very good. I'm probably going to be a little sore tomorrow. But it ain't nothing we ain't had before that we can't fix. We've got a back-up car that' s just as good if not better with a good motor in it."

Jerry Nadeau, No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We made a change right before we went out. The car's been really, really tight since we got here. The change really helped, but it made the car weight a little bit too much. If I would have known how it was going to feel now, maybe the second time around it would have been a little better. I feel real proud of the guys and the UAW-Delphi Monte Carlo has been running good and I'm hoping that we can have a great race on Sunday."

-Team Monte Carlo

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Jerry Nadeau , David Pearson
Teams Richard Childress Racing