JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: NOTE: Nemechek was the first driver out for qualifying on Saturday morning and promptly shattered the track record held by Tony Stewart. His lap of 49.061 seconds at 183.445 miles per hour...
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Nemechek was the first driver out for qualifying on Saturday morning and promptly shattered the track record held by Tony Stewart. His lap of 49.061 seconds at 183.445 miles per hour held up for three more drivers, however, as it was bettered by Bill Elliott. "It's for the whole UAW-Delphi Chevy team. Peter Sospenzo, all these guys that build these cars, build the engines, everybody does so much work and puts in so much extra effort. It's cool to come here and run fast. I hope it holds up. I don't know if it will, but there're pretty optimal conditions here right now. We've had a little bit of luck going our way and we just hope we can continue it."
HOW MUCH DID TESTING HERE HELP YOU? "Anytime you can come here and make laps...this place is about going as fast as you can and at the end of the straightaway you have to make that 90-degree corner. There's quite a few guys who will have a shot at it. You just have to do it all at the right time. I didn't make any mistakes. It was very, very close to a perfect lap, but I was just a little bit snug on my car."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DuPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I have mixed emotions right now, because we were way off yesterday. We picked up a ton. To run that fast today...I know the track's faster and has good grip, but we still closed the gap on these guys a whole lot. I'm real happy. The track has a lot of grip right now, and we drew an early number. Hopefully we can take advantage of that. I need the clouds to go away and this track to warm up a little bit. We were real good on the balance, just a little bit free. We're happy right now."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Harvick shattered the track record set moments earlier by Ryan Newman with a lap at 48.822 seconds, 184.343 miles per hour. "That was an awesome lap. I saw Bill [Elliott] and Ryan [Newman] put up some pretty good laps, so we knew we had to go for it. This is a brand-new car, new body package, so we came with a good piece. So far, so good."
THE SUN IS PEEKING OUT, WHICH SHOULD BE GOOD FOR YOU. "I hope it just glares down. It would be fun to sit on the pole here."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It went well, but that's the hottest the race track has been. It was 106 degrees. Our Army Pontiac drove really good. I got loose in Turn 1 yesterday making a mock run, and doggone if I didn't do it again. I think I left a little too much on the table in Turns 3 and 4. I didn't want to make a mistake at both ends of the race track. Maybe I was a touch conservative down at the other end of the track. When I came back, I said, 'let's hustle it here and see if we can't pick up on the second lap.' There just isn't enough in the tires to pick up much unless you totally screw up the first lap. I'm happy for our Army team and I think that will get us a starting spot. We'll come back and work on it in Happy Hour and make it good for the race."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was pretty good, I thought. I don't think I could have made my Pennzoil Chevy any better, driving-wise. It's not good when you have to depend on the weather to help you. Those guys going out early really got a good benefit from it. Usually, the Pennzoil car gets an early draw, not a late one, so it kind of hurt us today. It was still a good effort for us, and it'll give us a good starting position."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I left a little on the table on my first lap, and my second lap was faster, so it's just hard to drive into Turn 1 and know exactly what you're going to have and what you're going to need. I've torn up a lot of race cars, especially the last year, from over driving it. That's one thing I've really tried to do this year is make sure that the car we bring to the race track is the one we start the race with. It could have been a little better, but it's just a great starting spot for us compared to where we started last year, when we took a provisional. To come back and pick up two seconds from where we were last year compared to today. I'm very happy with that. Kevin [Harvick] put up an awesome lap, and that's impressive. For them to unload just after a cup of coffee in the morning and go out and run a 48-second lap around this race track is pretty amazing."
TONY RAINES, NO. 74 AARON'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The track had pretty good grip. The car was pretty good in Turn 1 and Turn 2, and I screwed up a little bit in Turns 3 and 4. I was hoping to run about a 49.5, and we're close. We'll just have to see what it does."
WHAT HAS YOUR FIRST BRICKYARD EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE? "I'm still nervous and I'm not even on the track. We obviously wanted to qualify well, but it's going to be tough. The track has changed and there's clouds and whatnot. We picked up, we should be all right, and we're working real hard to get in it for Aaron's. It would mean a lot, being from Indiana. The team has worked really hard, we built a car to come up here with. We had a good test, we have Aaron's on the side and I want to make the race for them and for all my friends and family that are here."
JASON LEFFLER, NO. 0 NETZERO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It was a good lap. Those were laps five and six for the weekend. I missed a shift yesterday and blew the engine and didn't get any practice. The guys changed the engine in an hour and 15 minutes, rear-end housing and
everything. If I had more laps, the car has a lot of potential. I think we could have run a lot faster. I just couldn't get the arcs the way I wanted into the corner. All in all, it wasn't a bad lap."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"A little cloud cover would have gone a long way. We improved the car and then we had sun when we went out. You can't even put that into perspective. It's very temperature-sensitive. You're only guessing, but I would have liked to have had that cloud cover as opposed to any change I could have made to the car."
HERMIE SADLER, NO. 02 TNA WRESTLING PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"The track is great, and the car drove well. We just didn't get the speed that we wanted. There's a lot of things that go on here that we're not up to speed on. We drove well. We gave it the best effort we had. It just doesn't seem like we can get the speed that we need. So we're a little disappointed."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The car didn't handle good. It just didn't drive good, didn't feel good. It was just uncomfortable. It wasn't set up good enough, I guess. I don't know. I just drove into the corner and didn't have the grip I needed and couldn't cut a faster lap.
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD ENOUGH CAR FOR TOMORROW? "Yeah, it's 400 miles. It's a long race. There's plenty of race to make it happen. It just depends on how cautions fall and if you can use things to your advantage. But your car's got to be handling to get to the front. No matter where you start, you have to be handling good. If we don't get it handling good, then we'll have our work cut out for us."
STEVE PARK, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was decent, just for the time of day. It's the luck of the draw. We went out 35th or so and the temperature went up quite a bit from the early part of qualifying [track temperature was 107 degrees when Park went out, compared to 97 degrees when Kevin Harvick took the track]. It kind of hurt a little bit on speed. We picked up seven tenths from practice, and the guys that went out early picked up a second. Not a bad effort. It's the luck of the draw when you go out. Kevin went out fifth or sixth and he's on the pole. We're solidly in the field with a top-20 spot. We're good. We can concentrate on racing and we're going to have a lot to do on Sunday."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/got milk? CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The weather didn't make muchof a difference. It was probably pretty close to what everyone else had."
DAVID REUTIMANN, NO. 04 KODAK EASY CAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"Horrible. Horrible would probably be an understatement. That's the best way I can sum it up. It's not from lack of trying. It's not from lack of effort. It's not from lack of good people. It's just off a little bit, and you can't be off at this stage of the deal. You have to be 100 percent or you're not going to make it. And we didn't make it."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It worked out good for us, because on most days it would be hotter than this, so it helped us out. We had a pretty decent lap. We ran better than we did yesterday, so we picked up on it, and that's good. Our qualifying speed is indicative of the weather. You can't really control that."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was solid. I just overdrove the entry to Turn 1 pretty bad. I was hoping for the big grip and went down into 1 and didn't get the grip I was looking for. It wasn't because of the car, it was because the driver made a mistake. It made it through and it's still a reasonably decent lap. We just didn't pick up as much as I would have liked."
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT THE SPEEDS TURNED IN BY HARVICK AND SOME OF THE OTHER GUYS? "Not at all. The biggest variable here on qualifying is the weather, because of the track being so flat and having four corners. It makes it very important. The cooler the track, the better the grip is. You have to rely on the grip of the track as opposed to the physical handling of the car. You have to have both, but this place gives up a lot of grip for every degree of heat you get in the surface temperature, so to do what we did at the time of day we did, I'm somewhat satisfied with that."