BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (WHY THE BIG GAIN FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING?) "We changed a lot of stuff before qualifying. It seemed like when we first got here I was driving the way I thought I was driving like...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(WHY THE BIG GAIN FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING?) "We changed a lot of stuff before qualifying. It seemed like when we first got here I was driving the way I thought I was driving like last time. It felt comfortable, but it didn't go fast so we needed to find some more speed. I guess we accomplished a lot of it - more than I anticipated, because that is definitely better than I thought we would do."
RON HORNADAY, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON HIS RUN) "That's just compliments to [crew chief] Phillipe Lopez and everybody that's working on this Conseco Pontiac. They've been giving me awesome cars. They're really working hard on these bodies Pontiac has really been helping us, and it shows. These cars are a dream to drive. "That lap, I think we could have done better. I just overdrove the thing again. I knew I had to pick up the gas early. I did and I drove a push into it, and when the nose started planting and it got loose. But I'll take that. That's pretty respectable. I just can't wait for the green flag to drop because I know we've got a race car."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON HIS RUN) "I'm pretty happy with it. The car was a little bit loose still, but it's been that way all day. We just didn't quite get it as tight as we needed to, but that's a good starting spot for this weekend. We're a lot better than we were last year at this time for sure."
(WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR CAR IN RACE TRIM?) "Our cars have always been better in race trim here than qualifying trim, so I'm looking forward to it. I think we're going to have a pretty good day."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN) "The Valvoline team has just been doing a tremendo us job. We did have a decent test. Obviously, we tried for the pole and didn't quite get it. We're second quick, but we're real happy with that. We're not going to complain. "It's just great to be out here in Vegas and have a car that's going to hopefully race good. It's a brand new race car. It hadn't been on the track until we got out here for testing, so we're going to find out tomorrow if it's any good in race trim."
(ON SOME DRIVERS SAYING THAT THE TRACK CHANGED FROM THE TEST TO THIS WEEKEND) "I don't think it did. We started to hear people saying that it was changing, and we were going to make a change, but then didn't. We left the car alone to just see what it was going to do. To me, the track felt fairly similar to what it was in practice and was real happy with our time."
(WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK THAT ADAPTS TO YOUR DRIVING STYLE?) "I'm not really sure. I've had decent success out here. We've finished with a fourth and a sixth. I was running decent the other time that I wrecked the car. I like this place. It's flat, it's fast and I guess it's one that fits more toward my driving style, if one can. Outside that, I don't know. [It's as much about] having good people and just having a good run."
(HOW READY ARE YOU TO WIN A RACE?) "I've been ready for about two years - three years. Why does everybody say you've got to lose one to win one? Heck, we've lost a couple hundred of them by now. We're real happy about this year. We feel like we had a great race team last year. It's the same people, but we've got Valvoline, obviously, as a backer and it allows us to do different things and more things that we couldn't do last year. [Crew chief] James Ince and all the guys are just doing a tremendous job. "We're real happy about this year. We're just real happy with Valvoline being on board -- and not only as a sponsor, but also as a co-owner of this race team. That's real important to all of us at the race shop and on the race team."
(WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK FORD'S VICTORY MONOPOLY AT THIS TRACK?) "I don't know. The Fords have run good here. It's pretty hard to say that they haven't. I ran good here with the one that I had here, also. Right now, everything is fairly equal. Everybody thinks the Pontiacs are the best thing on short tracks, but Ford has won every race here, so I'm not sure. But I think our Pontiac is pretty good. I'm glad I'm in it. Hopefully it will win one of these races out here."
- Al Larsen