Garage Chatter: Martinsville II

Johnson paces Happy Hour: Jimmie Johnson turned the fastest lap in final practice for Nextel Cup teams at Martinsville Speedway with a lap of 96.015 mph. "I think there are guys that walk in and absolutely dread seeing this race track," Johnson...

Johnson paces Happy Hour: Jimmie Johnson turned the fastest lap in final practice for Nextel Cup teams at Martinsville Speedway with a lap of 96.015 mph.

"I think there are guys that walk in and absolutely dread seeing this race track," Johnson said of Martinsville. "Then there are other guys that come in and are excited about it. I can say for my first year, I walked in with the wrong attitude and watched Jeff (Gordon) walk in with the right attitude and dreamed and hoped I would come in with the right attitude. Now I do. After a couple of seasons racing here, I understand the track, I know what I am looking and I truly enjoy coming here."

Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Sterling Marlin and David Stremme complete the top fives times.

"The guys did a great job," said Marlin. "The car really drives good, it drove good yesterday. We just didn't qualify it good. But the car is driving great."

Earnhardt on the close of Terry Labonte's career: "I have one story I will never forget. He and my Dad had a friendship that was really unique. They hunted and stuff together and anybody that hung with my Dad was cool as hell to me you know what I mean. If they got to go on a hunting trip with my Dad, I never got invited. I am 'like wow, he likes Terry, Terry must be really cool.'

"I was St. Louis in 1997 in my second or third Busch race and I pull out on pit road for practice, I don't know where I am at, I don't know this race track, I don't know nothing. I got this crappy old car and out there in the middle of all these guys waiting in line and I am trying to figure out if I am in the way, I don't know what I am doing. Terry pulls up besides me in his car, it was just weird to be setting next on that piece of asphalt, sharing that race track with him. At that point in my career, I don't know how old I was, but I hadn't really done anything significant as far as wins or anything. I didn't consider myself anything but a tryout. There I was sitting to who was the defending Cup champion, he won in l996 I believe, he is a man of few words. I was just very overwhelmed to be sitting next to him to go out to practice. I will never forget it, that was one of the first highlights of my career.

"We were in Watkins Glen, he and Dad went hunting but I don't know how much they talked. I had known him for years and never said one word to him or him one word to me, you know. He never talked to anybody, at least that was the impression he gave. I was sitting in my motorhome and him, Kenny Schrader and Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and I don't know who else, a bunch of guys were hanging out and riding around the infield like they do on Friday nights, goofing off and giving all the guards crap and stuff. They go back to Schrader's bus, which was parked next to mine, Schrader always likes to come talk to me and he comes in and says 'Hey man, we are over at my bus, come on over.' So I go over there, I am standing there, this was three or four years ago, being around guys my Dad raced with kinda of made me feel overwhelmed a little bit. There I am sitting in the bus; they are talking guy stuff, old veteran talk. I am just sitting there and Schrader says come on over here and I said what do you want me to come over there for. Terry was sitting next to me and he nudges me and says 'Hey, I see you are still not wearing the Hans Device, this was before the rule, and he said, 'You ought to wear one, I would like to see you stick around for a while. Those were the first words the man ever said to me in my life. So the next week I immediately starting wearing the Hutchins Device, but he pushed it and if Terry Labonte asks you to do it, you do it."

Riggs, Wallace loose engines during practice: Scott Riggs had an engine failure during the first practice Saturday morning at Martinsville Speedway. Kenny Wallace had a similar issue during Happy Hour, stopping the session cold for clean up.

"I was coming hard off turn two on the first lap of practice this morning, and it just stopped," explained Riggs. "It didn't smell like oil. It actually smelled like power steering fluid. It was light-colored white smoke that came out of it real fast. I thought maybe the belt or power steering line broke. I pushed the clutch in and coasted to the pits. They opened the hood and said it was in the motor."

NASCAR Hard Card: Speed TV has a new reality show where they have race fans competing to win a hard card (which grants all access entry to the garage) - like there aren't enough useless people wandering the garage now?

Schrader makes 700th career start on Sunday: Kenny Schrader will make his 700th career NASCAR Nextel Cup series start Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in the No. 21 Woods Brothers Ford.

Schrader made his Cup series debut in 1984 and has four series wins.

Congrats!: Congratulations to Keith Green, Director of Public Relations and his wife Donna, who welcomed their Gavin into the world Thursday. He weighed in at 7 lbs. 15 oz. and was 21 inches long. Mom, dad and baby are all doing well.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Kenny Wallace , Greg Biffle , Sterling Marlin , Jimmie Johnson , Scott Riggs , David Stremme