Friday, Aug. 6, 1999. Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brickyard 400 Chevrolet notes and quotes. DAVID GREEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Green, a 41-year-old Owensboro, Ky., native, talks about qualifying third for Saturday's ...
Friday, Aug. 6, 1999. Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brickyard 400 Chevrolet notes and quotes.
DAVID GREEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
NOTE: Green, a 41-year-old Owensboro, Ky., native, talks about qualifying third for Saturday's Brickyard 400 and his goals for the race.
"Our qualifying seems to be OK at times and yesterday was extra great. We spent two days here at the GM test, and we probably spent a day and a half in our qualifying mode to try to get the most speed we can. Our point situation is such that we can't overlook qualifying. We've got to put all our eggs in that basket. On the second day of the test about noon we thought we were OK on our qualifying stuff so we went into race trim. A lot of the other guys were already in race trim. We got in about a dozen laps in race trim and then the rain came. It hurts us when we go into race trim on Saturday morning because we used up a lot of our time in our qualifying package. Now, it's so, so competitive that it's two different worlds when it comes to qualifying and racing, but we'll get it turned around here and we'll be OK by race time.
"We ran a 50.60 in testing and that stood right up there in the Chevy bunch. We were happy with that, and that was on scuffed tires, so we knew we had a little more. David Evans brought back a little better engine, and we knew that would be a plus. Now that we're sitting here third, I wish we'd spent one day on qualifying and one day on race trim, but back then, we didn't have a guarantee that we could have been third fastest in qualifying. We're happy with third, but we've got to work real hard to get this Monte Carlo ready to race real good on Saturday.
"I'm not typically a person that does back flips. I want to clarify one thing I said yesterday. I said my car didn't drive very good. Maybe I should have said it like Jeff Gordon said it. It wasn't a very pretty lap. I didn't think as much as I missed the line here, there and yonder that it would have stood up in the top five. Any time you qualify in the top five in a Winston Cup race, especially at Indy, the car has got to drive pretty decent. I was quite surprised as much as I slid around that we had that good of a time. I was excited. I slept good last night. A lot of people don't realize how tough it is on this race team and myself. We've got to put all our eggs in that qualifying basket to get in the race. We miss out on a lot of stuff that will make our race program better. It's hard to juggle two different things in the short amount of practice we have, but I'm proud of the team. The sponsor has stuck with us through thick and thin and hopefully we can turn it around.
"This car has attempted to race one other time at Loudon and didn't make the show. I feel good we've been able to turn it around and get the package where it needs to be here at Indy. We didn't take the body off and move it. Some setup stuff, stuff we learned here testing at Indy, that when we go back to Loudon, we can use. We'll probably take this car back to New Hampshire in September even though we failed to make the race with it the first time. It was fresh out of the shop and maybe we didn't have all the bugs worked out of it. We saw four of the five Roush cars take provisionals at Loudon, so maybe it's pretty tough. It was tough for us. We learned a lot since then, but this car hasn't had a history of being on poles and qualifying up front, so that makes me equally as proud of what happened yesterday (qualifying third for Brickyard 400).
"I had 19 poles in the Busch Series, and I enjoyed qualifying, but sometimes here in the Winston Cup Series I don't know if I've liked it as many times as I liked it in the Busch Series. I know people are going to say the Busch Series is a lot easier, well, no it's not. It's all about your whole team working together, and we're finally getting to the point where I have flashbacks. Like yesterday, all through practice and qualifying yesterday was a flashback for me to my Busch Series days when I sat on poles here, there and yonder. When you can do that and move up in the points, we can start working on that race setup. That's where we've got to work hard today, getting that race setup where it needs to be.
"It's really not enough time today. If I could have looked through the crystal ball, I would have said let's spend a day of the test on the race setup. We've got to do what we've got to do and that's qualify for these races. We've got to use these three hours of practice today and get ready for the race. I'm confident my guys will throw everything they can at it. In a perfect world, it sure would be nice to have another day to get ready.
"Donnie Disharoon is our crew chief and Mike Hill is our team manager. We've had some personnel changes this year, but everything is coming together. This is the first time we've come to the race track with all our stuff together. That makes me even more excited about the rest of the races.
"We can run in the top five Saturday if everything falls into place. I qualified eighth in '97 here and was going to run in the top 10. We had a mechanical problem at the end of the race. It's a fuel mileage race, a track position race, a pit stop race. It's a car race. If we get it where we want to be, we can finish in the top five. It's a driver's race, too. The driver needs to get up on the wheel. I'm ready to do that, but at the same time, I'm very proud of our engine combination and our car.
"David Evans (engine builder) has a resume from here to Owensboro, Ky. I really love working with the guy. He's a driver's dream. He shoots straight and tells it like it is. Underneath the hood, he's made our program here at Larry Hedrick Motorsports a lot better. Along with that, we're getting our cars better. He's really knowledgeable in all areas. Along with Mike and Donnie, I think we're going to really improve in the second half of the season. We're looking forward to having a good run here Saturday. It'd sure be nice to have a top-five finish in the Brickyard 400. That could really get the second half of the season headed in the right direction."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
NOTE: Park was second fastest in second-round qualifying on Friday and will start 32nd in Saturday's Brickyard 400.
"We had a car yesterday that was capable of qualifying in the top 15. We tried to push it in qualifying and I ended up going a little slower than we wanted to. It ended up pushing us back to the point where we had to qualify in the second round. With all the practice this morning and the track getting hot, the speeds were down. Speed is what it's all about to get in the race here. We made a last-ditch run late in the afternoon and we had just enough speed to get in the top 30. We needed to go out about an hour later, and try to repeat it. We went a tick faster and we were pretty happy about that. We know we've got a good race car, but the first thing you've got to do is get in these races. We're in now and these guys are working real hard on this Pennzoil Chevrolet to get ready for the race.
"If we had stood on our first-round speed, we wouldn't have made it and then we wouldn't have had a provisional either because we're too far back in points. You can imagine the pressure going out there being the Pennzoil car at a Pennzoil race here at Indianapolis and being in a position to go home. We had to requalify today, and we had to do a good job. There's a lot of pressure. I wasn't feeling too good before I went out, but I feel pretty good now.
"If it had rained today and we had to go by first-round qualifying, we would have gone home. So many variables were leaning toward us going home and only one was leaning toward us getting in the race. That was running fast enough in qualifying in the second round. We tested up here for two days and worked mostly on our qualifying setup. We thought we had a shot at the top 15. If we had repeated the time we ran in practice yesterday, we would have been 28th or something like that. We thought with the new tires and tape on it we would go a tick faster, but we went a tick slower. We went from a top 15 car to a car that didn't even make first-round qualifying. I'm still trying to bridge that learning curve for Winston Cup qualifying. I just have about a full season under my belt. I need to learn to just kind of settle down and take what the car will give me and do a better job qualifying. I think we can race the hell out of anybody.
"This is my second time in the Brickyard 400. We qualified 28th last year and now we're 32nd. We were hoping to improve, but we're in the show. We ran in the top five all race last year and ended up having a blown tire. Since we couldn't improve on our qualifying, maybe we can improve on our race finish.
"We're going to have to concentrate on coming from the back. The car has been driving good. The driver just did a terrible job yesterday. When you're on the limit and try to push it, sometimes you step over. I'm still trying to find where that limit is and try not to step over it. We're just going to have to put the pedal down and let it hang out. We need to stay out of trouble and get through our pit stops and let the guys in the pits gain spots for us. It's real hard to pass on the track. Pocono is kind of like this, but Paul Andrews (crew chief) and the guys came up with some strategy that helped us pick up some spots on our pit stops. We'll work on the race setup now. We're just going to tune on it and make it the best we can make it. There's never enough time, but we ran a little bit of race practice this morning. If we can't get it dialed in, maybe Dale Earnhardt will help us out."