BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: NOTE: Vickers qualified third fastest for Sunday's Ford 400, his third straight top-three start in four races in the UAW-Delphi Chevrolet. Vickers' qualifying speed, 180.729 miles per hour,...
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Vickers qualified third fastest for Sunday's Ford 400, his third straight top-three start in four races in the UAW-Delphi Chevrolet. Vickers' qualifying speed, 180.729 miles per hour, was exactly the same as Labonte's, but since Labonte ran first, he earned the second spot.
HOW WAS YOUR LAP AND HOW IS YOUR CAR ON THIS NEW TRACK?
"It was a great lap, The UAW-Delphi crew did an awesome job in practice, and we tried some things. Some worked, some didn't, and we made some educated guesses like we did last week and it all worked out. I think doing the Busch qualifying helped me a lot, I kind of knew what the track was going to do from practice to qualifying like it did yesterday. I lost a lot. We were just excited this week about finally beating Ryan Newman, and then Bobby Labonte steps up to the plate and shows us how it's done. I guess that seniority outweighs--I must not have paid my dues enough."
WOULD A VICTORY IN THIS LAST RACE OF THE SEASON MEAN MOMENTUM FOR THE OFFSEASON?
"I think so. Anything that happens that's good--good finish, good qualifying--and it keeps the momentum and the spirit and the team motivated during the offseason. That's a long stint where they don't really get to see that car go out there, the one they've worked so hard on and put their heart and soul into during the week, and it runs good, they enjoy that. They lose that sense during the offseason, so a good finish here will definitely help the offseason go and some good tests during that and then you go to Daytona."
THIS GOODYEAR TIRE IS SUPPOSED TO BE MORE LIKE WHAT WILL BE RUN NEXT YEAR. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?
"The tires were falling off, and we're not used to that. I don't really know what the older tires were like, but these new tires seem to fall off a little bit. I haven't been around long, but I've been around long enough to know that a tire that falls off as it goes, you do have to change four tires and you have to conserve. It just puts it more back in the hands of the driver and the crew."
YEARS AGO, YOU WERE HANGING AROUND THE HOUSE WITH BOBBY LABONTE AND NOW YOU'RE UP HERE WITH HIM AFTER QUALIFYING. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?
"It wasn't too many years ago Bobby was shooting pool at the house and showing me how to play NASCAR video games when it first came out. He was real big into that and, obviously as a punk kid, I was too. I've known Bobby for a long time, and anytime I've ever had a question growing up racing, no matter what series it was in and especially now, I could call him up and he would help me the best way he could and give me a lot of advice along the way. Now, to be here in this position, I'm very grateful and thankful and blessed. The opportunity that Hendrick Motorsports, Papa Joe and Rick and Ricky, to drive this car, to be sitting up here with Bobby Labonte--it's been exciting."
ARE YOU GLAD TO SEE THE SEASON END?
"I love racing and I'm excited to be here, but it's been a long hard season. I'm looking forward to a little bit of off time. Ricky and I are going somewhere as far away as possible. I think that's important, to get some offtime, so you can be that much more focused when you get back. I love racing, and it won't be long before we get back racing again. We're going to stay down here for a week or so and try to have fun, go back and start testing, just like Bobby said."