Loudon first round qualifying quotes

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations New Hampshire Friday quotebook LOUDON, N.H. (July 11, 1997) Quotes from the top-10 performers in Busch Pole Qualifying for the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International...

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

New Hampshire Friday quotebook

LOUDON, N.H. (July 11, 1997)

Quotes from the top-10 performers in Busch Pole Qualifying for the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway (in order of qualifying position):

Ken Schrader, No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet: "All the guys on the Skoal Bandit team kept telling me how good they ran up here last year. I knew if we didn't run good that we were going to be in trouble. It was good right off the trailer. The guys in the shop worked awfully hard, and the car was good all day. We made some changes but they were very small. This is a car we haven't run this year. They ran it here last year and said they've had some of their best finishes with it. I've been wondering why we haven't run it, but it looks like it's a good one. "That's one lap and we've got 312 (in Sunday's race). We've proven we're capable of running as fast as anybody. Maybe we'll be better for the race setup. We'll find out. We've got finishes that haven't been real impressive, but I think if anybody has been watching TV the last four or five weeks they've seen this Skoal team is ready to go. It's always great to start up front, but that's no guarantee you're going to stay there when they drop the green flag. We're going to do everything we can to stay there. We need some top-5 finishes, and I don't see why we can't start here."

Bobby Hamilton, No. 43 STP Pontiac: "I just want a good finish for a change. We've been trying some different body stuff, and Robbie Loomis decided to bring the same ol' Pontiac out we always run good n. That's paid off so far. It was a good lap. It felt the same all day. We changed one spring all day. It's been kind of leisurely, so hopefully, we can make a whole weekend like this. It really didn't feel like that quick of a lap. I was surprised. I though it would be a little slower because of the heat and all that stuff. "The thing about it here is if you run a smooth lap it's usually pretty good. If you wiggle any it usually hurts you quite a bit. Everybody's saying we've kind of fallen on our face, but every year at this time Petty Enterprises kind of goes in a slump, and then from here on it starts back up again. We're trying to get geared up for the rest of the year. We're staying with that same routine."

Ricky Craven, No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet: "It was a bit unpredictable. It was a little tight in Turn 1, but that was a pretty good lap. If I could think of one spot where we could have gained some time, it would probably be in Turn 1. I'd sacrifice the pole to win the race. I thought I overdrove into Turn 3, but the car stuck. We were a little tight in Turn 1, but it was a pretty good lap. The track didn't change much. The car hasn't been perfect all day, so we can't say if we could have got this or that we could have won the pole. We've been pretty fast. We've been between eighth and 15th all day. "This is our third trip here in a Winston Cup car, and this will be a good chance for us to win. The guys did a great job today. We made progress. I really thought I had a shot at the pole. Last year we ran really fast qualifying and then the hurricane came and we didn't get a chance to practice. It was a long Sunday. We didn't run well. The car is quite different this year. I wanted the pole bad, but not as bad as I want that win."

Chad Little, No. 97 John Deere Pontiac: "It feels really good. I'm really happy for everybody on our team. It's been a struggle for us this year, and for most first-year teams it's always a struggle. We're no exception. This is a small reward for all the work everybody's done. Maybe we can go from here and get a good race setup. I was very happy with the lap. I messed up a little bit coming out of (Turn) 2. I think we could have been about a tenth better. "It's been a busy week for us. We spent three days testing at Indy and came straight over here. I think we learned something at the Indy test that will help us from this point forward. Hopefully, we can apply it to the race on Sunday, too. I was a little late getting on the throttle off Turn 2, and that's what made me mad. I think more than anything for me it was more of a mental thing at Indy. We kind of got over some barriers I've been struggling with. I think it's going to help us from this point forward in the races on these type of tracks."

Dale Jarrett, No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford: "I had a pretty good lap there. If I had gotten through (Turns) 3 and 4 as well as I did 1 and 2 I'd have been okay. But I about busted my tail through 3 and 4 a couple of times today so I kind of eased through there a little bit. But the guys have given me a good race car...one of my favorite race cars, so I'm looking forward to Sunday. It should be a real competitive and enjoyable race."

Steve Grissom, No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet: "We made some changes before qualifying, and we definitely went the right way. We'll get to work on the race setup and get ready for Sunday. We were just a little bit tight coming off the corner. We gained RPM and had a pretty good run down the straightaway. We picked up more than a tenth of a second from practice. Charley Pressley (crew chief) made some adjustments from practice and it really worked."

Kyle Petty, No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac: "Coming out of Daytona and qualifying 38th, getting in by the skin of our teeth, that was a little bit too close for us. The guys have worked their butts off at the shop. We didn't even know what car we were going to bring here Tuesday. That shows you how much we were concentrating on getting up here and running good. Bobby Hamilton and those guys were about a tenth or 15-hundredths quicker than us and they beat us again. We'll have to struggle and catch up with those guys. "The race track is pretty good. It hasn't torn up. This place is notorious for that, most of the time just because it's hot. The weather is a little cooler and it's not as hot as it's been up here in the past. We're just now getting all our Pontiac built back at the shop, and the guys there are getting far enough ahead, and I shouldn't say ahead, but caught up enough to try some of this stuff we used to try. "In the last practice we decided we would try sticker tires, and Bobby and those guys tried scuffs, and they were about 15-hundredths better than us. Bobby said he was going on scuffs, so we went on scuffs. That's the advantage of having somebody you can work with. You can use what they say and they're not lying to you. They tell you the truth. It picked us up a little bit, too."

John Andretti, No. 98 RCA Ford: "Momentum has to get started somewhere. And Daytona's the place to get it started. Obviously, everything that happens now is for a reason. Everyone works and everyone is focused. They're saying 'I don't want to keep these guys out of Victory Lane,' so it's like everyone has stepped it up a notch, to a level they didn't know they could reach, including the driver."

Jerry Nadeau, No. 1 R+L Carriers Pontiac: "I'm real happy. When we first got here, we weren't great off the trailer, but we kept making changes. I think we were like 36th in practice. I just put my head down and went in the trailer and lied down for a little bit. I qualified on the pole here twice in Barber-Dodge, and I've won here three times, but that doesn't mean anything. When you get in these big cars, it's a different story. Pontiac cars are really running well here at Loudon. Maybe instead of Wide Track Grand Prix it should be known as Flat-Track Grand Prix. "I'm just excited to be here. My whole family is here this weekend. I'm tickled to death to get in the first round. It was a little loose out there, I scuffed my tires pretty hard. I want to have a good race this weekend. I want to bring this Pontiac home in one piece."

Terry Labonte, No. 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet: "I'm really happy with that speed. As loose as the car was, that was really good. That's about what we practiced, and we usually pick up a little bit in qualifying. It was a little loose getting into Turn 1 and a little loose off Turn 2. I let off a little early getting into Turn 3, and it was still a little loose. That was a lot better lap-speed-wise that I though it was going to be. I'm really happy with that."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Terry Labonte , Kyle Petty , Ken Schrader , Jerry Nadeau , Ricky Craven , Chad Little , Steve Grissom , Robbie Loomis