JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 24th: (WAS GOING OUT EARLY A DISADVANTAGE?) "Well, we certainly didn't need that today because we were already having a problem. We were just off. We can't really seem to put our...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 24th:
(WAS GOING OUT EARLY A DISADVANTAGE?) "Well, we certainly didn't need that today because we were already having a problem. We were just off. We can't really seem to put our finger on it. We just can get comfortable. That's certainly not a good lap. A lot of guys are going to go faster as the day goes on. This didn't help us by drawing the number one spot, but we'll go to work on it tomorrow and get it going good for the race and work our way up through there."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 23rd:
"We almost ran as fast in race trim as we did in qualifying trim. I'm really happy with the car in race trim. I wasn't real happy with it in qualifying trim. But that's the price we're going to pay. We focused on race trim because we felt the weather is going to be bad tomorrow and obviously the race is more important. I'm optimistic about the race and we're just going to take what we get with qualifying."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 18th:
"I thought my first lap was going to be pretty good but I got greedy in turns three and four. It made the car jump sideways and I just had to get back out of the gas. Whenever you do that, you lose a lot of time. The second lap was just a good smooth lap. It's tough when you mess one up. You've got to be careful and make sure you get everything you can the second time. The U.S. Army car is running good. I've got to thank all the guys at MB2 Motorsports getting me in this car. I know I'm going to be in it next year and we're running good. We just keep digging and digging and before long we're going to win one."
WARD BURTON, NO. 0 NETZERO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 12th:
"The NetZero Chevrolet was hooked up pretty good. All the guys have been working really hard on it and it was good right off the truck. New Hampshire used to be a place where I didn't even want to be in the same state as this race track. I couldn't get around this track to save my life. I actually had by brother Jeff (Burton), who had won some races take me around in a pace car and it still didn't do any good. So having a good race car made it so that I could run fast. Now I like it, but it's also a really tough track. We know things can happen really quick during a race. You've got to stay on your toes and get your car to really handle well."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 19th:
"Todd Berrier and all the guys made some small adjustments to the car and made it a little bit better. All in all I think it was a fairly balanced lap. It's nothing really exciting, but it's a pretty good time. Compared to what everybody else is doing, I'm pretty happy with the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet."
(HOW HARD IS IT TO FIND A BALANCE HERE?) "If you miss your mark just a little bit, you can get up a half-groove too high and then mess up the exits, or get in the corner too far and really mess up the middle of the corner. It's really hit and miss. You've just got to make sure you hit everything the best you can and put together both corners and put together about three-quarters of a lap."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 2nd:
"The way everybody has been qualifying, a lot of people have slowed down and really nobody has gone faster than what they had in practice. So that leaves me optimistic. But Ryan (Newman) had a great lap in practice and backed it up with a lot of other good laps. The No. 12 car is definitely the one to beat and we'll have to pay close attention to see what he does. But with those guys coming up here and testing, you know they're going to be tough. Sure enough, they came out of the box strong. I can't thank everybody enough. Even with the loss of Papa Joe Hendrick, we came back right where we left off. That just shows the commitment of Hendrick Motorsports and the hard work behind it all."
(HOW DO YOUR NOTES FROM LAST YEAR COMPARE SO FAR?) "We've made some small changes from last year that have helped us out. We learned some things at Richmond that really carried over. Tomorrow we're going to start very close to where we finished up here last year because it was so successful and then start working in some new changes to the race car. I think we're only going to make it better and I hope that means we'll win another race." (more to follow)
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 9th - "Zippy made a couple of small changes right before we went through inspection. We know the Home Depot Monte Carlo is going to be fast in race trim. We just wanted to get a good qualifying run so we could get a good pit selection and a good starting spot and go from there."
(WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THE OFF WEEKEND?) "I went racing with my USAC and Outlaw teams. I'm a diehard racer. So I went to four race tracks during the time off and I bought some property in Indiana and drained a seven acre lake. I think I flooded the neighbors down stream from us. But they'll get over it."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 4th:
"I have to give a lot of credit to the NAPA team. I told them what it was doing in practice when practice finished up and they just went to work on it and really tuned it up nicely for me. I was able to drive it really hard. It didn't stick perfectly. I was loose and I was tight and I was slipping and sliding the whole 'way around. I was really surprised. Slugger came on the radio and all I heard him say was 'flat'. I didn't know if that meant I ran a .30 flat or a .29 flat or it looked like I had a flat because I didn't felt like I was going in the right direction. But it was a pretty good lap nevertheless. So I guess I'm happy."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 20th:
"This morning we did mostly race runs in practice. We were just trying to feel things out. We probably still haven't gotten as comfortable in that mode. We went to qualifying mode but didn't get as good a run as we would have liked."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., RELIEF DRIVING FOR DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 3rd:
"I was real happy with that lap. Tony Eury and all those guys on the Budweiser team are doing an awesome job. I'm just the lucky guy who gets to be in this seat for this weekend. It's unfortunate that Dale Jr. is unable to qualify the car today. But I've learned a lot and we're real happy with that lap. We weren't that good later on in practice. When we started practice, we were real good but then kind of lost the track. Tony Jr. made some adjustments and I can see why they're so good every week."
(DID YOU GET ANY EXTRA ADVICE FROM DALE JR. TODAY?) "No, it's been the same old thing. That's Dale Jr. and how he is. I think he has a lot of confidence in me. He just lets me do my thing. He told me to go out there and just drive the car the best I can and do what I do every week and that's what I try to do. That's all you can ask for." (More to follow)
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 10th:
(ON PARTING WAYS WITH CAL WELLS AT THE END OF THE 2004 SEASON) "We worked pretty hard on it. It's been a great three and a half years. We got a couple of wins and three poles and a lot of top fives and top 10's. But it certainly hasn't been a banner year for us. But that's all going to change for us starting this weekend. It's a great place for me and it's home and I have a lot of great fans in the grandstands."
(HOW HAS THE TRACK CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?) "It hasn't changed a lot for me. It's a demanding place for me and you don't get anything for free here. This track has been very good to me. I think back to when this place was built and I lived just a few miles down the road and I couldn't wait for the first race here. And we won that year. We came back and won in Busch and won poles here in the Cup Series. But we haven't won in the Cup Series here and I'm determined to make that happen before I'm done.
"The thing that fascinates me is that people continue to come back and bring their friends and families and the attendance grows. I knew New England fans and New England racing and it doesn't get any better than this."