CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note: fastest Chevrolet in both Happy Hour sessions "I'm pretty happy with the car. I think we have a top-five car. It's a long, tricky race though and a lot of weird things can...
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note: fastest Chevrolet in both Happy Hour sessions
"I'm pretty happy with the car. I think we have a top-five car. It's a long, tricky race though and a lot of weird things can happen (like) spinning out coming to pit road or crazy accidents. A lot of things happen here. But I'm really happy with the race car and Jimmie (Johnson) has really done a great job this weekend. We had a very solid qualifying effort. The team is performed great. I can't wait until tomorrow."
THERE WERE ONLY TWO CHEVROLETS IN THE TOP 10 IN QUALIFYING YESTERDAY. WILL THAT HAVE ANY BEARING ON THE ACTUAL RACE?
"It definitely has an affect. Pit pick is so important. Starting position is very important. We all know that the further back in the pack you get, the harder it is to get back up to the front. I don't mean that just because of aerodynamic reasons, but because people back there race a lot differently than people up front do. It's a lot more aggressive back there. You get beat up and you get beat on and then you have a lot of problems. If the Chevrolets are in the back, they're going to be in trouble because they'll have to fight their way to the front.
"I think we're at a little bit of a disadvantage right now, aerodynamically, and we're a little bit at a disadvantage from the horsepower. But we'll get it figured out. We always do."
WITH TIGHT TURNS AND SOFT TIRES, ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE RIGHT FRONT TIRE HERE AT ALL?
"We're pretty happy with our tire wear this weekend. We haven't really hit a big issue. I don't think the tire is a whole lot different than what they had here last year. It's reacting very similarly. I still prefer harder tires. I think they're safer. I think they're better and more predictable than the softer tires. As the softer tire falls away and the lap times go down, the handling of the car changes a lot and you don't know if you have a problem or not. You don't know whether to attribute that to the tires or what? I don't really like them but I'll learn how to work with them, I can promise you that."
WHAT PIT WILL YOU PICK?
"We're going to pick pit #8. It's the same pit we had last year. It's a good pit."
IS IT A LUCKY PIT OR IS THERE A SPECIFIC REASON FOR THAT?
"I like where it is on pit road. It's down pit road just a little bit and it's a straight shot off. When we drop the jack and he (Johnson) can get after it, he'll be going straight out. That deal that happened last week (at Rockingham) really wouldn't happen here. For example if you're running in the top five here and you come down pit road and you're doing your pit stop, say the caution comes out 15 seconds later or what-have-you. Well, he's only going to be in the middle of the back straightaway with the leaders. So you're still going to be on the lead lap. It's not going to be different because you haven't crossed the start-finish line. So it's not an issue. It's not that big a deal. It's not a whole lot different than what it used to be, it's just that a lot of people make it out to be bigger than what it is."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note:The team switched engines between Happy Hour practice sessions
"Things are not too good right now between the car damage and the engine, it's been a rough 24 hours. But I have the utmost confidence in this team and myself that we can get it back together and come out strong tomorrow. It's a long day and we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I think there's nobody that's better out there at doing that - especially when you're being tested at your most difficult time to step-up and bring a good finish back."
IS THIS A TRACK WHERE IF THINGS AREN'T WORKING RIGHT FOR YOU TOMORROW THAT YOU CAN MAKE IT BACK TO THE FRONT?
"Oh yeah. With the tires that we have and the fact that the track has aged enough to where you can pass. There's no doubt we can work our way up there. We've got a decent place on pit road, so we can make some good pit stops. With the whole effort by the whole team, there is no doubt that we can."
LOOKING AHEAD TO ATLANTA, DO YOU HAVE TO THROW AWAY ALL YOUR PAST NOTES BECAUSE OF THE NEW SET-UP, OR CAN YOU CARRY SOME THINGS OVER FROM YOUR SUCCESS LAST FALL?
"Oh yeah. Absolutely. We have to work on our set-up for qualifying but our race set-up we can definitely take a lot of that and utilize it for the race. But we always start off with a package like that and massage on it from there. We were going to test there last week but couldn't because of the weather. That was unfortunate. But we're still planning on being strong there and starting with a similar set-up that we've had before."