NOTES AND QUOTES Bud Pole Qualifying Homestead-Miami Speedway November 12, 1999 DAVID GREEEN (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "I had just gotten out of my Busch car and it's very tough getting into these cars. The car worked good and...
NOTES AND QUOTES Bud Pole Qualifying Homestead-Miami Speedway November 12, 1999
DAVID GREEEN (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "I had just gotten out of my Busch car and it's very tough getting into these cars. The car worked good and stuck good. The Hendrick motor gave me all the power I needed. It's so much fun. These guys have enabled me to come to the race track and really enjoy myself again. This is awesome right now. I don't think it was a perfect lap. The Busch car is two seconds slower or whatever and I really didn't feel like it was that good a lap. But most poles I've sat on in the Busch races haven't been very pretty laps. Maybe that was a good omen. James Ince and myself, working together more and more with a good package with the car, that puts the whole package together. I'd rather have everything in place like that and then making a lap. I can't say enough for the guys. We all came together at the right opportunity in time. The car stuck good. It really didn't feel like that good a lap."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "It was a good lap. I might have gotten a little tight in one and two. That's the best we've run all day. It seems like it's been eternity since yesterday. We've knocked off some things trying to get better. It was a good run for us. It really hasn't changed a whole lot (track). I think I drove into one a little too hard. I got up a little high in the center. That wasn't where I'd been running all day. Overall, it was a great lap, we just didn't have enough for a couple of guys. Our flat track program has picked up by a ton. Hopefully, we'll be good here. I've never raced here, so I don't know. We'll have to see how the race setup is going to do. We tested here and we had a good test. Hopefully, we can put a good race setup package in in the morning and learn from that."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "I go for the balance the other way than Bobby Hamilton did in this car. I wish I knew how to drive it that way because I know he won a lot of races driving it the other way. I think we'll be OK. We did a lot of race runs Thursday. We've done everything right so far. The way we did our tires and everything today worked. Our team is really on top of it and that's what makes me feel good. It's nice to be near the top of the board, too. I was always known as a superspeedway guy. Now I'm a flat track guy. I think I can run good anywhere. Bobby Hamilton is a really good flat track racer. We've taken what they learned those three years with Bobby. Kyle has got an exceptional feel for the car so I'm always hanging around him. He's really helped me a lot. The lap was pretty clean. I always feel like I can get more, but in going to get that extra tenth I probably lost three-tenths."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "Tommy said we were the fastest in one and two. We were equal down the backstretch and I lost my time in the exit of four. It got a little tight. We could have fixed it with an air pressure adjustment. The track is nothing like it was earlier. I like this place. It's going to be a one-groove track going into the corner, that's for sure. It's going to be a lot of fun."
TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "A lot of that for us was motor tuner and fresher tires. That's the best we've been all day, that's for sure. We went at the right time of the day, too. It was cooling off with every car that went out there. We just drew a good number this week. It was a whole different perspective as far as the race track going out so late in the day. I'm just glad we ran what we ran."
KYLE PETTY (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix): "What am I doing up this high? I actually bobbled a little bit in three and four, but it was a good lap other than that. I really thought I left some out there because of that."
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix): "We really wanted to back up what we did in practice. It's getting a little later here and cooler and that makes the car go a little faster. We've been tickled all day. The thing has been handling great. I hope it continues all weekend. We've been pretty consistent on our speeds. If I could have just run what we did I would have been happy, but for sure I wanted to get this thing in first round qualifying. It was great."
JERRY NADEAU (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix): "I drove that lap as hard as I possibly could. We were in a backup car, but the guys on the M&M's team did a great job getting the car ready. We'll fine tune the car in practice tomorrow and we should be good in the race."
DAVID GREEN (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "It hurts a little bit at times because we had our best finish at Phoenix and the first thing I read about in the paper is the Chevrolet and the Ford people saying, 'Well anybody can drive a Pontiac nowadays in Winston Cup because you're going to win.' I don't feel like that's a fair statement. To beat Bobby and John Andretti is pretty darn special. It's going to be a cycle. The Chevrolets are probably going to come out with a better piece and Ford is going to do the same thing.
I don't care who you are in this garage area, from the top to the bottom, you all have the same pieces. You all have the capabilities of getting it through that inspection line and making it as best as you possibly can. I'm proud of my team. We tested good here and we got to the top of the sheet and Bobby or Jeremy Mayfield punched us down a notch. The fire never went out in our eyes. I'm just glad we're in a Pontiac. I drove my first Pontiac here a year ago, the Stanley Pontiac in the Busch Series and I loved that thing to death. I'm glad I'm in a Pontiac now, too.
"Yesterday I would have said we had a shot at it and that's why we worked hard today. We were afraid we'd get offbase and I was afraid to change my line up on the race track. The wind conditions really reacted and we really worked hard on getting our car to go through the wind. I'm somewhat surprised at the lap time we ran. I thought if I got in the 34s I was really shooting to knock Bobby off because he's my closest friend in the sport. I really wanted to show him my Pontiac is 'Wider and Better' too. I'll read and wake up tomorrow and see the same old story. Well David Green's a good qualifier and I've won 19 poles in the Busch Series, but didn't win 19 races.
Our goal right now, and this is good and this is special, but my goal is to show them on Sunday that we can race as good as we qualify.
"Here at this race track a year ago I qualified third in the Busch car and raced the same setup. This is a lot like Indianapolis and you race somewhat close to what you qualify with. The only thing we have to do is do it for 300-some laps. I've got the best shock guy in the business and we've got the best engine program in the business and I've got the best crew chief that people just kind of shifted away from everybody. My confidence is sky-high right now. There's not a better place to start and we'll run some stuff tomorrow in the Busch race and we'll get a handle on the track. The track changed a lot from yesterday to today.
"We did put a lot of effort into qualifying here, but we've got a good starting point for the race. I'm not worried at all. Frustrating isn't the word (for his Cup career so far) and handling it, I don't know, my hair is getting grayer and grayer. I feel like this is the first good opportunity I've had in Winston Cup. People might sit there and say, 'This team is 35th in points.' But this team was knocking at the top-25 a few months ago. This is by far the best opportunity that I've gotten. That's not to talk bad about some of the teams that I came from. It's all about communication. I knew one lap into my first practice session at Loudon, New Hampshire, since joining this team on that Tuesday, that this was going to be fun. It starts before we ever get on the race track. To say I've been frustrated is probably an understatement. I've heard it so many times. 'He can qualify, but he can't race.' He only won one Busch race the year he won the championship. He's not aggressive enough.' I think times are changing. You're only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I've got some people right now so I'm awfully excited."
TIM BEVERLY, owner (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "I think 'Wider is Better.' Pontiac has been great to us. Their people have been great to us. The best thing here though is for the 10-10-345 people. This is pretty special for them. It's coming up at the end of the year and I couldn't be happier about it.
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "It was a good run. We picked up a little bit. Three and four was really good and in one and two I got up the track a little too much, more than I had been in practice. It was a great effort by the team in putting together a great race car. We came here and tested. It goes back to our flat track program and we started off on it a ton better than we did last year. I guess we've learned some stuff at John, I guess.
"I know there's going to be a rules change. We're going to get a quarter inch more spoiler because we're worried about the Fords and Chevrolets. To be honest, it's probably where it's going to have to be equal now. Wouldn't you agree? I do. I haven't heard NASCAR say anything to me. We must be OK.
"The wind effected me a little bit. It was kind of like when we tested down here, it was real windy that day. The wind would blow you around a lot in one and two. It would push you against the rear in three and four. It made it tight in one corner and loose in the other corner. You carry some speed into turn one and you push it down the back straightaway. I don't remember it blowing this bad at Daytona. Maybe it does, but it doesn't seem like it does.
"I haven't run with anybody on the same corner yet. I don't have any idea what the race is going to be like. I don't know how much the air is going to make your car push or when somebody is behind you. More rubber on the race track is going to make it better. Mark Martin said the other day, and we've got to believe him, that in the Busch race last year when more rubber got laid down the track didn't really get better, but it make it easier to pass, I guess."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "I think David Green was in a Chevrolet at Indianapolis when he qualified right up front. Bobby Labonte has won more Bud Poles than anybody. Dave Blaney is a guy they just brought in and obviously he's a strong qualifier. We qualified good. I knew that was going to be a question when we came down here (interview room). I asked Kyle, 'Is this a place I really want to go?' It's kind of good news/bad news. The good news is that it was a good day for Pontiac. The bad news is as in any kind of motorsports everybody that's not in a Pontiac is going to tell you that's the way it is. Just throw a Chevrolet decklid on it and spoiler and we'll go race it. I don't know what the solution is. I never get into that. I don't like it. I think NASCAR does an excellent job. I think eventually you're either going to be on one side or the other of it. I somehow always change teams at the wrong time and am always on the wrong side of it. I always thought they were just against me. In actuality, we all tested down here, at least the top three did, and we should have done well, I guess.
"When you were down in one and two the wind would make it hard to get the car to turn. The wind was pushing the nose over. I'll blame it on the wind. I don't know what else it could be. It was either that or the track. You come through three and four and you're hanging on. I saw in oil streak all the way through three and four and it kind of caught me off guard. That probably cost me a half-second (joking).
"Nobody thought we could pass at Indianapolis either, and we do."