JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVY MONTE CARLO, was quickest with a speed of 167.328 mph, 32.272 seconds in final Happy Hour. ON HAPPY HOUR: "We tested here, and we felt we were going to be strong. I was a little disappointed with qualifying,...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVY MONTE CARLO, was quickest with a speed of 167.328 mph, 32.272 seconds in final Happy Hour.
ON HAPPY HOUR: "We tested here, and we felt we were going to be strong. I was a little disappointed with qualifying, the way it turned out. We met our objective and qualified for another race. But we knew we were a little better than that, went home and slept on it and came back with a smile on my face and here we are on top of the board."
ON HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE FANS IN THE GARAGE AREA: "It's tough at times, especially when you're having a bad day. There's a lot on your mind and there's a lot of pressure that's on your shoulders to compete in Winston Cup, with a major sponsor such as Lowe's, like I have, and driving for Hendrick Motorsports. If something isn't just right, there's a lot on your mind and at the same time the fans want a few minutes, and want to see a smile and get an autograph and the media wants something as well. I'm learning the ropes as I go here, and taking everything in stride."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVY MONTE CARLO (25th in final happy hour):
"We were a little better today, but we're still a little frustrated. The car is sliding, but a lot of times it slides all four tires, so we don't know which corner of the car to work on. We're really trying to find a handle on it to make it turn more consistently."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVY MONTE CARLO (27th in final Happy Hour):
ON HAPPY HOUR: "Happy Hour was good. Very good. Looking forward to tomorrow. Certainly it doesn't look like we're as strong as some of the Dodges that I see, but if we do all the right things we will be OK."
ON THE FINAL 10 LAPS IN ATLANTA LAST YEAR: "It was a pretty intense race. There were five cars and we were all swapping positions. It was really a lot of fun. We didn't realize we were doing 200 mph entering the corners, 195 or whatever we were doing. It felt like we were cruising down the highway and just swapping positions. I didn't know where I was going to end up, whether I was going to be fifth or first or what. I knew I had a good car, looked like (Kevin) Harvick made a great move, got down low, made a pass. It took me another lap or so to get into second and by that time the white flag came out and I didn't even think I was going to get close to him. So I was pretty much planning on second, but I got a run down low coming into three, he went high, I hugged the white line and got around there just right; missed by just an inch, I guess."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HIM GETTING THE WIN? "I think it was exciting. I am really happy for Richard Childress Racing, for all that they went through.. It was great for the sport, great for that team, certainly great for Kevin. He deserved it, he made great moves, (he's) very talented and he won the race."
IS IT GOOD FOR THE SPORT TO HAVE ONE DRIVER DOMINATING?: "You want good close competition, you want great side by side racing, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have somebody who is a little more dominant maybe than others. I think everybody likes to see somebody get on top and be the one to beat and see other guys knock them off. I think that's what people love to see -- somebody get on top of the mountain and others come by and make him have to fall down and get back up. I think right now we've got a lot of parity,. That's for sure. The sport is very competitive, it's tough to win races. You see a guy win more than three or fours races, then you've got somebody who's really got his act together."
BOBBY HAMILTON, NO. 55 SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC CHEVY MONTE CARLO (28th in final Happy Hour):
"I think we're at an aero disadvantage. I know we're at an aero disadvantage.. We just have to see what Jeff Gordon does. He usually blows us out of the water on that stuff. We just hope he has a good day, but hope he has a bad day. It might make a difference. I don't know how to say that. Every time we think we got a deficiency he always runs good, so we have to see how we turn out."
ON HAPPY HOUR: "The car drives good, it really does. We don't know where the speed is. We tried several different things. If the track gets slick I think we will be in real good shape, but it's going to be tough. We haven't run good here; it's one of my worst race tracks. To be honest with you, I hate to say it because of the No Bull thing, but if I could finish 20th it would be like winning the race.