Friday, March 5, 1999. Las Vegas Motor Speedway. First-round qualifying for Las Vegas 400. Chevrolet notes and quotes. MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I'm just a thankful driver for a great crew. I told them what it ...
Friday, March 5, 1999. Las Vegas Motor Speedway. First-round qualifying for Las Vegas 400. Chevrolet notes and quotes.
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I'm just a thankful driver for a great crew. I told them what it was doing in practice, and we were running decent in practice. They thought they could fix it, and they didn't even tell me what it was. I think there was a bumper sticker, sit down, shut up and drive. That's what I did. It was almost a great lap. I got into it over here (three and four). When I nailed it, if it had stuck, I would have looked like a hero. It didn't. I had to back off, but I thought it was pretty good."
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That was a really good lap, faster than what we practiced. Practice times were so close. This is the tightest field I've seen in a long while. The car ran good and handled good out there. We're happy with that lap, but it's tough going out first."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We've been struggling. We blew a motor this morning and got behind. I thought we'd be able to run faster than we did, but we just couldn't do it. The car seemed to handle pretty good. The motor didn't run hot enough, and the lack of practice hurt a little bit."
WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The guys worked hard on the car this morning, and we made gains all morning. I love this kind of race track. You just drive in until it stops sticking. It's a fun race track to drive. They gave me a good motor and a good car. We had good race cars the last couple of races, but we had to come from the back of the pack. Maybe this will be a little easier on us. The race is to get in the race. Sunday is a piece of cake.
"My race cars are night and day different from last year. That's all that matters to me. I don't care what they've got to do at the shop to make it right, they're giving me real good race cars. That makes a big difference. We had a good qualifying run today. We made big gains on it. We knew we would pick up a little in qualifying. It's a fun race track to drive, and I think we're going to have a good day Sunday. This is one of our good cars. We've got a great motor in it this weekend, so we're pumped."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The first thing you think when you come here is you hope you can get the pole. Then second you think you want to get in the top 25. Maybe it'll be good enough where we won't have to requalify on Saturday and we can devote our time to race stuff. This place was real grippy last year. It doesn't have the grip it had last year, but we have the six and a half inch spoiler rule now which gives a lot of the grip back. I noticed yesterday in Winston West qualifying when the sun went down, it picked up quite a bit."
STEVE GRISSOM (No. 91 Textilease Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "It wasn't too bad. We picked up considerably from where we had practiced. We all got together at the end of practice and we kind of ended up where we started off. We made changes to free up the car. It helped. I wish we had had a little more time, but these guys did a great job."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "It was pretty good. I was a little bit freer than I was earlier. I think that hurt me just a tiny bit, not much. We picked up from what we ran the last lap in practice. Michael Waltrip made one heck of a lap. That's going to be tough to beat. They'll have to get a more perfect lap than he got. We were off earlier, but we never really made a qualifying run until late. Once we did the sticker tires had the car sticking pretty well. We were struggling a little bit, but once we put new tires on, we felt pretty good about it. I hope it (new rules) is going to equal things out. They slaughtered us the last time we were here. It was disappointing what happened at Rockingham. We've got to forget about it and go on and make sure those problems don't happen again. That's all we want. We had a great shot at a top five at Rockingham. We need to try to get a top five here."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We've got to try to concentrate on our car and get it as good as we can for the race. We had a real good lap today. I'm real happy with it. We picked up a little bit, but we thought we would. The car is running good, and now we're going to work on our race setup. It's easier to pass people now. You can race side by side, you can pull up behind them and not lose the air off your car, so it's better for everybody. I like it."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I thought we had a real shot at the pole today with our Lowe's Chevrolet. The driver drove it in a little too deep (three and four), got on the gas a little too early. I think I just tried to get a little bit more than was there. We got through down there pretty awesome. It was so good down there, that I thought I could get a little bit more in three and four. I think I asked a little bit more out of my Chevy than it had today. It's a double-edged sword. We're a heck of a lot better than we were last year at this time. We about knocked the wall down coming off turn two last year. I've got a lot better race car than I had last year at this time, but doggone it, we thought we were going to get the pole today. This is an awesome race car, and it's going to race good."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "We were having a little bit of a problem with the engine. We were adjusting for it, but we're just not getting through the center like I need to. It's a brand new race car. We don't have any big problems, but we just need to get on the fine-tuning. I thought I could have run better than a .30. I know .30 wouldn't have been fast enough, but if we had been in the ballpark it would have been different. We're not in the ballpark right now. Hopefully we'll race good. It's going to be a good race, and I want to be in that race. I don't want to be racing 30th. I want to be racing up front. We've got to run good to get there now." Friday, March 5, 1999. Las Vegas Motor Speedway. First-round qualifying for Las Vegas 400. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 3.
DAVID GREEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "If I can duplicate a good practice lap, I'm happy, and that's what I did today. The driver didn't mess up this time. The sun went in at the last minute and the car got tight. I'd rather be conservative. This is a brand new car, and we're pretty happy with it. We had a great race at Rockingham. We've got a brand new Monte Carlo here, and I'm really excited about it. David Evans has done a great job with the motors. Now I know how Rusty got so good. If David can help me half as much as he did Rusty, I'll be OK."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I've got to thank the engine shop back at Team SABCO. This BellSouth Chevy is running awesome. We were second fast in practice. I didn't expect Michael to run that lap, but he had a killer lap. My lap, one and two was awesome and three and four, I had to hesitate half a second to pick up the gas and it cost me a little bit. We'll have a good starting spot. I like this track. It's fast. I think it's a driver's race track. You've got to use the brakes. You've got to use the gas. You've got to do everything. It's kind of like a road course. The driver has to do everything, and that's what makes it go fast. We came out here for the first race and qualified third and led most of the race. We've led a lot of the races out here. I think we're going to have a good weekend. I saw Michael's lap and I didn't think anybody was going to come close to that. I gave it everything I had and we came up a tick short. Goodyear brought a new tire here this year, and it's extremely fast.
"I think they have made a difference, making the cars closer to each other, Fords and Chevys. I know my car since they put 'em on at Atlanta, it's run a lot better, just because it feels more stable. I think it's definitely made my car feel better.
"We tested out here with a big spoiler and then we had to come back and race with a smaller one, so it's definitely going to make the races better. It's still going to be a tough race. The same guys are going to be up front, but I think it's going to be a better race on the track. If someone got around the back end of your car, you were struggling just to hang on. This year, I think you're going to see side by side racing, just because the cars are stuck better. Everybody has been strictly in qualifying mode. The first side-by-side racing will be tomorrow."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I went through one and two real good and I got into three and I was real tight. That's where I lost my speed. We haven't been as good as we wanted to be so far. Second round is going to be in the heat, so that speed should be good enough to get us in."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That was kind of tough to sit through for so long knowing that if you did indeed beat everybody back to Bobby Labonte, there was a pretty good chance that he was going to beat you. Everybody was talking about Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. I was kind of looking at everybody. I came from out of left field up front, so I knew that meant a lot of other people had the same opportunity. We had a good lap, but I was talking to Joe (Nemechek) and neither one of our laps was perfect. Evidently Bobby's was pretty close. We both slipped up there in three and four. We came out here wanting to have a chance to win the million. So much is made of it. I'm not worried about it, and this is no bull. Joe knows what it would mean to win a race. It doesn't matter what it pays, especially in my case as long as I've gone without winning one. As a team, we're just geared toward winning the race. We wanted to have a car capable of winning it, and so far, it looks like we have that.
"In Winston Cup racing, there's a lot of disparity between the haves and have nots these days. Everybody has got money to race with, but not everybody has the tools the top teams have, such as as soon as they change the spoiler rule, these guys are in the wind tunnel the next day working on their car. When they took spoiler off, it made every tweak and cranny on that race car more important. When they put it on, it sticks to every car better, so then you can drive them better. It's just better for everybody to have too much spoiler. That's a good thing. Then you can get by without being in the wind tunnel every day you're not racing or something."