PENNZOIL 400 PRESENTED BY KMART THURSDAY PIT NOTES NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers practiced for five hours today in preparation for Sunday's Pennzoil 400 Presented by Kmart. Many drivers raced on the track for the first time, while others ...
PENNZOIL 400 PRESENTED BY KMART THURSDAY PIT NOTES
NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers practiced for five hours today in preparation for Sunday's Pennzoil 400 Presented by Kmart. Many drivers raced on the track for the first time, while others tested here within the last month or competed in past Busch Series races. Here are drivers' reactions from today's session:
Michael Waltrip -- #7 Phillips Electronics Chevrolet (42nd fastest)
It's going good. We have a lot more practice to do. The track is real fun to drive. It's real predictable. It's straightforward and pretty much there is no trick to getting around it. You just have to get your car to everything you want it to do. Handling well in the turns is going to be the key to winning this race. That's the case most everywhere we go, but some places if you car is not working well on the bottom, you can move to the top or change your line. There's not a whole lot of room for changes out there, so you really need to get your car right.
Sterling Marlin -- #40 Coors Light Chevrolet (32nd fastest)
I have never have seen the place. We gained a whole lot and I think we will be real good to race. It's the same car we used at Pocono. It runs good for us and we are gaining on it real good. We should be in good shape.
Ward Burton -- #22 Caterpillar Pontiac (3rd fastest)
We made quite a few adjustments, but the Caterpillar Pontiac was good all day. We feel really good about our chances tomorrow and Sunday. This is a beautiful facility and I like the racetrack. Is the playing field a leveled a little since the track is new to most drivers? I think everybody will be chasing the same teams they do every week. You might have some guys that sneak into the top ten that normally aren't there, but I think you'll see the same group out front. The last time I ran here was in a Busch race in ' 95, but that really didn't help me today because the track has changed so much.
David Green -- #45 10-10-345 Pontiac (11th fastest)
It was good. We were good all day long and at the end of the afternoon we stopped and changed engines. We made a little bit of headway there, but we lost those two hours that were very valuable. All in all it was a good day and we need to gain a little more speed. The track is changing a little bit, because the more the cars run on it made it a little stickier. I am excited about tomorrow.
Ricky Rudd -- #10 Tide Ford (17th fastest)
I think we started out on the record being the slowest and come to being one of the quicker cars today. We made a lot of progress and we had not been here to test. I am really glad they had this practice today. We are putting the qualifying motor in it now. I feel like we have a top ten car here if we do everything just right.
Bobby Labonte -- #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac (Fastest time of the day)
I thought we ran really well out there today. We made changes all day long because a lot more rubber was out there from when I tested before. Usually the same core of guys run near the front each week, but I think some of the guys like Rick Mast who run well on flat tracks will run near the front this weekend as well. But I still haven't been in the same corner as anybody else yet, so we'll see how things go later in the weekend.
Off the track, NASCAR announced a new television agreement starting in 2001 with NBC, FOX, WTBS. Replays of the NASCAR Press Teleconference are available by calling (800) 839-9140. Audio is also available on NASCAR Online.
Unfortunately, there is sad news to report from late today. According to Team Sabco spokesperson Gigi Liberati, longtime crew member and team employee Thomas "T.L." Stiles passed away today as a result of injuries he sustained in a multi-car accident on I-77 in Charlotte, NC. Mr. Stiles was involved with motorsports for 22 years and with the team for eight seasons. Len Sherrill from the team was with Mr. Stiles and is in critical condition. Mr. Stiles leaves behind his wife, Kim and three children. According to Liberati, team owner Felix Sabates is closing the shop today and tomorrow and is arranging for team members to travel back to Charlotte. Liberati indicated that the team plans to compete this weekend.