DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 24th (ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP) "It was okay. Our car doesn't have any tape on the grill. We just really didn't spend on our qualifying set-up yesterday so the car drove good in...
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 24th (ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP) "It was okay. Our car doesn't have any tape on the grill. We just really didn't spend on our qualifying set-up yesterday so the car drove good in race trim. We've got a great handling car. The car is fast. And I'm looking forward to the race."
(ON MICHAEL WALTRIP AND DEI PARTING WAYS IN 2006) "I'm sad because Michael has been my teammate for all my Cup career. He's taught me a lot and he's just a fun guy to be around. And he's been around, you know. It's going to be weird I guess. I'm looking forward I guess to the rest of this season. He'll be missed, you know?"
(ON THE FUTURE) "We'll let you guys (media) worry yourselves about what we're going to do in the future. We're just going to concentrate on one week at a time. I think once we get to the end of the season, we'll have a real clear picture about of what might be the best for us to do."
(WITH WALTRIP LEAVING, DO YOU SEE A SNOWBALL EFFECT COMING WITH MANY MORE CHANGES AT DEI?) "No, not really. I don't think so. I think there will be some changes for us. Things can't stay the same forever. I really need to sit down and talk with Michael a little bit about it to understand it a little bit more. I was surprised that came up so soon before the end of the season. I was hoping, personally, that we would have three race teams next year; and, with Michael, because Michael has always been my teammate. Apparently he feels real good about his opportunities elsewhere. Of course I only want the best for him. And he's taught me a lot about how not to take everybody in this sport and yourself so seriously and to really enjoy life while being involved in this sport as a race car driver. When I came in here I was pretty uptight and running pretty hard on myself every week. He's just got a different attitude and he's a real fun guy to be around. I appreciate the time I've been with him. I'm really looking forward to the last half of the season working with him and being around him because I know when he's gone we definitely won't see each other as much although we'll still call each other friends even though we won't speak to each other as much. That's just the way it goes. I'm going to miss him."
(SOME PEOPLE ARE SAYING THAT YOU WANT TONY EURY JR. BACK AS CREW CHIEF AND THAT'S WHY WALTRIP IS LEAVING.) "We haven't even talked about it. Michael has been around this business a long time and apparently he feels like he has some good opportunities in other places. There is definitely a lot to it that will be understood down the road as it all unfolds."
(HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT WIN LAST WEEK IN CHICAGO? DID IT COME AT THE RIGHT TIME?) "Well yeah, it couldn't have come any sooner. Regardless of what happens in the race, we were good today (at NHIS in practice) and it's those types of things that never happened earlier in the season. It gave the team a lot of confidence and a lot of morale. We had belief and we still worked hard, but this has really boosted our attitudes and our morale that we definitely needed."
(HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SITUATION YOU'RE IN NOW?) "We're just trying to get as many points as we can these last few races before the Chase and see if we can get enough to make the Chase. And we're worrying about how good we are each week. We've got a couple of tracks that we're real concerned with like Pocono. We're bringing out brand new race cars that we finally got finished. We're putting a lot of effort into it. We sure are spending a lot of money to try and get there. I can't say enough about how much the company and my team, most importantly, has done to try and put in the effort and the work that it takes. I feel real good right now as far as our situation. We seemed to have found a combination that's comfortable and competitive. And if we can tweak on that, we'll be right there in the top 10, top five and a little more consistent basis."
(SOME PEOPLE ARE SAYING YOU ARE RIGHT BACK IN IT. IS THAT TRUE?) "We're in it. There's only 100 points so that's not a whole lot in six or seven races. But we're in it. But we can't make any mistakes. We can't get wrecked out. We've got to be careful who we're racing out there and not get ourselves wrecked out in a race. If we finish 20th or worse in any of these races, it'll be real hard to make it."
(WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES THIS WEEKEND?) "I can get a top five if everything goes right for me. We've got an awesome car. It's a brand new car that drives great. The team is really pumped up. They're going to get me some spots on pit road. And we should be just fine. It should be a good weekend for us."
(WERE YOU EXCITED ABOUT GETTING A NEW CAR FOR THIS RACE?) "We've been using some equipment that's been semi-new and using a lot of the stuff that we've got here today. These guys are real pumped up because they put a lot into this car and they were real excited to get here."
(IT TOOK ONLY 10 DAYS TO BUILD THIS CAR?) "Yeah. They're real happy with it and I'm real happy with it."
(DID THE CHICAGO WIN SEND YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?) "It's a good step in the right direction. We still have to work hard. We can't sit back and rest now. We've got to keep working hard and taking advantage of more opportunities that we had last Sunday."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 21st: "We've spend the majority of our time on race set-ups. We only did one qualifying run yesterday. The car is feeling pretty good and the qualifying run wasn't bad. We have to adjustments from here and hope we get it right."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 12th: "It looks like it's going to turn out well. We tested up here and went home and really worked on trying to make the car comfortable to drive. We came back and the car was comfortable but we just didn't have the speed. So there are some other things we tried in the test that made the car a lot faster but that took away the drivability. And we chose to go back in that direction last night because we off the pace pretty good. So far today, it looks like we've done a good job and gotten the car back and gotten some speed out of it."
(DO YOU LIKE THE IMPOUND PROCEDURE?) "When you have a great race car, you love it because it doesn't give the other teams a chance to catch up. But when you're struggling, you hate it because two hours isn't enough. So some weeks I like it and others I don't. This week I'm on the fence. I haven't practiced a lot with the new set-up in the car before qualifying. We tried something similar to it, but it's a whole new set-up today."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 10th: "We were a little free the first lap but a little bit better the second lap. If we'd made a little more of an adjustment we would have been okay. We made a 25-lap run yesterday and we feel pretty good about the test. So maybe it'll be good for tomorrow."
BRIAN VICKIERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Bud Pole Winner: "The guys did a good job yesterday in practice. We have a good car. Hopefully it'll hold up but there are a bunch of fast cars left to go. But this GMAC Chevy team has given me a great car in race trim and hopefully in qualifying trim as well. But we really love coming here to New Hampshire. The fans are great and the race track is a lot of fun so hopefully we'll have a good race here." More to follow.
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 8th: "The car has been pretty good since we unloaded. We haven't made any qualifying runs. We'll see what happens. But we usually run good here. I'm looking forward to it."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 13th: "I was hoping to be a little closer to where my teammate, Bobby Labonte, is. We only did one qualifying run. Tomorrow we're going to be in a lot better shape than we are right now. But for two laps it probably wasn't the right set-up. I'm excited about tomorrow. The Home Depot Monte Carlo was really good on long runs yesterday. If it stays like this - or even if it gets cooler - it really won't be much different. I don't think the weather will be a factor for our car."
MIKE BLISS, NO.0 NET ZERO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Qualified 18th: "We didn't make a qualifying run in practice. But this is good for our Net Zero Best Buy Chevrolet. Our car is hitting the ground pretty good, so we didn't want to attempt it. So that's pretty good. I'm proud of that. I think we've got a real good race car for the race."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Highest qualifying Raybestos Rookie candidate - 7th (HOW CLOSE ARE YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATE, BRIAN VICKERS, TO WINNING A RACE?) "It's real tough just to try and get out there and finish what you have going on in a race. From what Brian and I have been able to do here as of late, it's been really cool. But we just need to finish out the deal and get it done. What it is exactly, we're not really sure how we need to get up there and finish well. But I'm not sure how close we are and how close we're not. We, as a whole, the No. 5 and the No. 25 teams have really come along."
(WHY ARE YOU SO CLOSE TO GETTING IT DONE COMPARED TO LAST YEAR?) "The team has had time to gel. The chemistry is built and has become better. We've worked on set-ups in order to get a better handling race car. We started out the season a little bit behind the eight-ball trying to figure what we needed in this year's package with the spoiler and the tires and the cars and everything else. And we kind of came on some things about the Darlington and Charlotte era and that's where all the Hendrick cars really ran strong. Here as of late, we've really been able to run well everywhere. It's been good to be able to do that. It's just hard to try to finish those races out. We're not really sure why we've had such bad luck come about - especially for myself. I seem to be running in the top five at some tracks and then I'll get my fender knocked in and have a tire go down on me or I'll have a motor problem or something like that. So it's been circumstantial issues that have taken us out of the running to get some wins here."