Homestead Pontiac Racing qualifying quotes

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "My lap was obviously about like it was in practice. The car was about the same. I think if anything I just might not have gotten as much out of it as I should have. That's the only...

"My lap was obviously about like it was in practice. The car was about the same. I think if anything I just might not have gotten as much out of it as I should have. That's the only thing. Other than that, it was pretty good. "Actually we started third last year, too, so that's kind of ironic. Maybe it's a good omen or bad - I'm not sure which. But we were happy with third today. We definitely would have liked to have seen a first, but we'll take a third on any day that we can. Third is a great place to start here. It's a tough track to pass on. I feel like we've got a great race team and a great race car, so hopefully we can accomplish what we want to accomplish Sunday." (DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOUR CAR FOR SUNDAY?) "Yeah. We tested here a couple weeks ago and it was pretty good. Last year we gave up a little bit on the long runs - after about 30 laps or so - but hopefully we can get that worked out this year and hope for the best." (ARE YOU FEELING ANY PRESSURE GOING INTO SUNDAY?) "I don't think really any more than the pressure we put on ourselves to be competitive and run good, week in and week out. We know we have a job to do and we want to do the best we can at it. There are a lot of scenarios for the weekend. But the best scenario we can do is just do like we have been to this point and hope everything goes right." (HOW BAD WOULD YOU LIKE TO CLINCH THE TITLE ON SUNDAY?) "Our intention is to run good again, and if we do like we have been, we can definitely wrap up the Winston Cup championship. But we have to do what we have set out to do all year long and that's to be competitive week in and week out, and lead laps, lead races and be competitive at the end of the race. "You can ask yourself the same question. If you're in my shoes, you definitely want to wrap it up last weekend, but you couldn't do that. So, this weekend? Yes, and then if it doesn't happen we want to do it next weekend. But the sooner the better for us. Inside our race team, that's what we want to do. We want to be able to do it as soon as you can, just for the fact that it would be fun."

"We were a little tight. Not terrible, but enough that we didn't run as good as we would have liked to have seen. We freed it up a little bit going into qualifying, so it kind of surprised us that we were tight. But that is where we ended up."

"That's as good as we've been all day. We struggled when we first unloaded, but the guys kept working on it. It's difficult to know how it's going to turn out, but it's definitely going to be better than we have been in the last several weeks, so I feel OK about that. I feel pretty good about the race if we can get the car what we need it to do, obviously. Then we'll be in good shape, but that's kind of the same for everybody."

"The Cat team worked real hard from the last practice to qualifying. We changed about everything but the number on the side of the car and made some good adjustments. I probably overdrove it a little bit into turn three. We carried quite a bit of momentum through there and probably gave up a little bit of time. But 30 or 45 minutes ago I would have taken that (time) in a minute. We're pretty happy with that lap."

"We've got a good car. We've got a lot better car than what I just qualified. The driver made a mistake again. I've been doing that a lot lately it seems like. We just should have picked up more than that. I think I know where I lost my ground. But I'm fairly happy with it. It's not going to be a terrible starting spot, but it should have been a lot better."

(ON QUALIFYING YOUR BACK UP CAR SO WELL) "That's pretty wild. The bad part is that the car I wrecked is the car that we tested here and man, I felt good about the race set-up. That thing was really running good. But we went out, cut the right front on the first lap (of practice), we wreck and have to pull out the back-up car. When I first went out with it we were like 46th or 47th fastest. We came in and worked on it a couple times and got it up to 36th fastest, but that was all the time we had in practice. But then Philippe (Lopez), me and the guys put our heads together and changed some stuff around on the set-up and went out in qualifying and picked up almost half a second. That's been the good part about what we've done the last couple months. We've been able to help ourselves a lot. We're happy with it. We've got some work to do tomorrow, but we'll be alright. We've got two hours."

(HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT HOW MUCH YOUR CELEBRITY STATUS IS GOING TO CHANGE IF YOU WIN THE TITLE?) "I'm not sure how it is going to change, so I think you've just got to take it how it is. I'm not ready for anything, to be honest with you, but whatever happens happens. You've just have to go with what your gut feeling is. If it's different, that's great. If it's not, that's fine, too. But I'm sure I'll still put on my jeans the same way in the morning. I hope so, anyway." (ON THE TEAM REMAINING SO "LOW KEY" THROUGHOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE) "I think that has just been our approach for many years. People just pay more attention to it now than ever before. Through experiences where I've learned that I should be more low key and through experience that I've gained from years of being around the right people, I think that has helped out. I think we've just been doing the same thing for the past two or three years. It just shows up more today than it did last year or the year before. "I think we're definitely on the low key side of things. It's not that we're trying to be, other than we're just trying to do what we set out to do - work real hard and not try to get caught up in a lot of things. We just want to try to stay on the low side of a lot of details, I guess." (WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAST YEAR'S TITLE RACE AND THIS YEAR'S TITLE RACE?) "I'm 200 points up this year and was 200 points behind last year - about a 400 point swing. It's just really no different, except for maybe some things that we learned last year over this year. Our team is the same. The guys are working hard the same. The mistakes that we made together last year, we just haven't made this year. We might make the same ones again next year. But we'll shoot ourselves then. Until we do that, we won't." (ON REMAINING CALM DESPITE BEING PURSUED BY DALE EARNHARDT FOR THE POINTS TITLE) "I can get nervous over the littlest things, but it seems like in the race car everybody has got the same thing. Again it goes back to the difference between this year and last year is that we're leading right now and last year we were trying to catch up. I've been asked a lot of times, 'Is it more fun to be behind or is it more fun to be ahead?' I can tell you it's more fun to be ahead. This year Dale has had a couple of chances to catch back up or catch up some and things didn't go his way. Rockingham was a prime example. It just didn't work out for him that he made up any points that day. I think it's just been good fortune for us that it didn't happen like that. But it's been good fortune for us that we've been able to stay up front a lot of times, too. We've raced hard with him and against him. I think Charlotte was a prime example of us racing hard together and respecting each other. We're not going to give each other a position when it comes down to it, but we're not going to take it away mean, either. We're not going to take it away the wrong way, but we're going to race each other for that position as hard as we can."

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Series NASCAR Cup