Joe Nemechek 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet HOW WAS PRACTICE? Practice went good. We're just working on drivability and handling. So far I think we're pretty sporty. AFTER A SOLID QUALIFYING FOR YOUR CAR AND SCOTT'S, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES...
Joe Nemechek 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet
HOW WAS PRACTICE? Practice went good. We're just working on drivability and handling. So far I think we're pretty sporty.
AFTER A SOLID QUALIFYING FOR YOUR CAR AND SCOTT'S, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES FOR SUNDAY? I think my chances are as good as anybody's. It's a long race and you've got to be smart about how you race. Right now I think we're. handling wise, I feel my car is very, very good.
Jason Leffler 11 FedEx Express Chevrolet
HOW WAS PRACTICE? The first practice was awesome. My car, the FedEx Express Monte Carlo, is driving very well. The guys have done a great job. We'll make a few little tweaks here for the second final practice and I think we'll have a great race car.
AFTER A GOOD QUALIFYING AND PRACTICE, COULD IT BE THAT THIS WEEKEND THINGS TURN YOUR WAY? Yeah, I mean, we have all the pieces of the puzzle. We've just got to put them all together. If I can stay out of trouble and take care of my race car, I'm sure we'll come away with a good finish.
Dave Blaney 07 SKF/Jack Daniel's Chevrolet
HOW WAS PRACTICE FOR YOU TODAY? We're pretty happy today, really. We got the car a lot better. We struggled.just horribly yesterday. We couldn't get the thing to turn to come up off the corner and they got it much better today. It's pretty racey and we should be much better tomorrow.
DO YOU FEEL SOME RCR MOMENTUM BUILDING AS A RESULT OF LAST WEEKEND AND THIS WEEKEND? Yeah, I've been feeling it all year really and it just showed up a lot last week. But, I've been feeling it all year and I think it's going to continue.
Crew Chief 24 DuPont Chevrolet
HOW IS JEFF'S CAR TODAY? The car is great. We kind of lost the handle the last race, looks like in that second practice we got it dialed in and he's really happy with it now.
OVERALL THE WEEKEND IS GOING WELL? Yeah, we didn't qualify like we would have wanted to, it hurt us a little bit in pit selection, but I think we'll overcome it in 500 laps.
HAVE YOU BEEN TRADING NOTES WITH JIMMY SINCE HE WON HERE LAST FALL? Man, we always trade notes-all four of our teams. Fortunately for us Kyle and Vickers tested so we're using a lot of what they tested.
Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Chevrolet
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TOMORROW? I feel really good. You know, I feel that I made a mistake the last time we were here with the new surface. I felt like we were really fighting with drive-off, up off the corner and I felt that were turning the corner good. You know, I told Robbie, I said, 'That's all I want to worry about' and we just killed ourselves. The car wouldn't turn in the middle and had good drive-off, but it didn't matter because it wouldn't go through the corner. This time, you know, we just came with our normal Martinsville approach of really getting that car to roll in the center and do our best get that drive-off but not focus too much on that. I'm really happy-the car is awesome.
IS TRACK POSITION REALLY IMPORTANT HERE? There is absolutely no outside groove. There's going to be a lot of cautions here tomorrow. It's so hard to pass and the only way you'll be able to pass is to get up underneath a guy. You're not going to see anybody pass on the outside and it's unfortunate that they did all they did with this race track and took away our outside groove. As much as I didn't agree with what Rusty suggested to them about grinding that outside with the old surface, I was totally wrong. It was awesome, it was perfect. You had to have a great working car to work the bottom but most of the guys were running up top and it made a two-groove race track out of Martinsville which I thought was unheard of. And I thought that they really need to consider doing that again because you know, it's going to be a struggle for a lot of guys to move from the back to the front.
THOUGHTS ON TEXAS? The way things are going for me and our team, the last two or three times we've been to Texas, I'm excited about that. I'm looking forward to two races there this year-I think it's a great facility. They have a huge fan base and the way that track has been to us, hopefully we can get our first win there.
OUTSIDE GROOVE: BECAUSE OF TIRE RUBBER? Well, it's because we're all running around the bottom because there isn't anything. If there was grip out there we would go out there. And the tire rubber certainly doesn't help. When it gets built up like that, the last place you want to go is out there and try to make a groove or clean a groove. The help that we have in a race versus practice, is that we're starting double file, restarts are double file, so we usually clean off that outside a little bit. The thing is though, the fastest thing about this race track right now is right around the bottom. And, you know, with what they did before where they ground that groove, it basically.they just went in there and made the track a little bit rougher and gave it more grip than the outside and kept it smooth on the inside, and what that did was it allowed.or maybe it was the opposite, I can't remember how they went about it.it just allowed for you to go in there and slide up to the top and get the grip and drive off. I think that they really need to consider doing that because right now, this is more of a one-groove race track than I've ever seen it.
SOME ENGINE ISSUES DURING PRACTICE, DID YOU GET THAT RESOLVED? I think so, I think it's either a plug wire or a spark plug. We just took off there in that second practice and it just had a slight miss to it. We came in and changed spark plugs and everything was fine from on out, so I think we're okay.
LEADING AT THE END OF A SHORT TRACK SEEMS TO BE A LIABILITY. WHAT IS THE GOOD POSITION TO BE IN TOWARD THE END OF THE RACE? Yeah, you're absolutely right. You're kind of in a tough position because you know they're going to do the opposite. I think the difference is that this year, the tires are giving up a lot more and the tires are more important and I think if you're going to lean in a direction, you should lean in the direction of the tires. Getting tires instead of staying out.
EVEN IN PLACE OF TRACK POSITION? It depends on how many laps you've got on your tires. I can tell you that the first 15 laps on tires here, you're blowing by guys on old tires, so it's going to make a difference. It's still a strategy and risk that you've got to just weigh out at the moment, depending on how many laps you have on your tires, how many laps are left in the race, all that.
Scott Riggs 10 Valvoline Chevrolet
HOW WAS PRACTICE? Practice was fun. We made a lot of changes on the #10 car, so we'll go back now and try to evaluate what helped us and what hurt us. We got on both sides of it: got the car way too loose off the corner and got it too tight. We'll just go back and try to find a happy medium right now.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPIN YOU HAD IN PRACTICE? The #8 car just wasn't using his head. The spotter said that he told him that I was inside, and he just.I guess he decided he was going to come down anyway. So, you know, trying to be easy out there in practice, but if somebody comes across your nose like that during the race, they're going to get spun. I'm not going to spin around trying to miss them.
JUST APPEARS TO BE MINOR BODY DAMAGE, NOTHING WRONG WITH THE CAR THOUGH? No, just body damage, you know. I didn't even know I did that. It's so light, it's just sheet metal. It's got Martinsville marks on it now, so it's okay.
HOW DO YOU FEEL FOR SUNDAY? I feel good. I'm just excited to get started. There are a couple of cars there that seem to have a lot better lap times than we do on long runs, so we just want to be little better. Like I said I'm sure they're.they are putting their heads together now and really looking at everything and trying to figure out.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE POSITIONED AT THE END OF THE RACE? Yeah, I don't know. It all depends on the circumstances and how many laps you have on your tires. You know, fuel can play a big role because having fuel in the rear of the car can really free the car up. You can sort of use that as a tool also. I don't know. We just want to be close to the front with good track position and have all our fenders on the car and we'll be able to race them the last few laps for the win.
IS THERE JUST ONE GROOVE HERE OR CAN YOU RACE HIGH? It seems like ever since they repaved it last year, it's just a one-groove race track like it used to be a long time ago. It would be nice if they ground it on the bottom and took some of the grip away so that it would even out the top groove and the bottom groove. But right now it's just a one-groove race track. There will be some gouging going on during the race.
Crew Chief 8 Budweiser Chevrolet
HOW WAS PRACTICE? It was a good practice. The car was consistent throughout the entire run. Real good. In the second practice we didn't tear off a fast run but it seemed consistent throughout the whole run. So I'm pretty happy about that.
IS THIS A ONE-GROOVE RACE TRACK? Yeah, it will probably work up a lot tomorrow but since this new surface has been put down, it seems that the racing groove hasn't moved up as much as it was before. But, kind of the deal here has always been who could get off the corner the fastest and who could get up underneath a person. And that part's still the same. There's actually a lot more grip in the track with the new surface than before, so everyone in the garage is trying to accommodate for the more grip in the track.
HOW IS YOUR CAR COMPARED TO THE #15 CAR? Well, I think we're somewhat close. In some areas we are, but in other areas we're not.
CARE TO SHARE WHAT THOSE MIGHT BE? Not really. I didn't follow them.Michael's cars. I didn't follow Tony Jr too much in that second practice because we were working on ours pretty hard. But we're working together right now to check what the differences are. Like I said, there are some areas and other areas that aren't.
YOU HAD A GOOD FINISH AT BRISTOL YET MANY PEOPLE ARE STILL SPECULATING ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TEAM. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? Yeah, well, a lot of people are quick to jump to a quick conclusion. I'm okay with that, Junior's okay with that. I basically was in a no-win situation. If Junior ran good, he was supposed to run good. If Junior didn't run good then it was my fault. But, if I let that stuff bother me I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now.
WHAT IS THE GOOD POSITION TO BE IN AT THE END OF THE RACE, GIVEN THE TOUGH CALL TO MAKE TO COME IF YOU'RE THE LEADER? If he keeps the car in good condition most of the race and you end up in the top 5 towards the end of the race, that's when you see a lot of good racing and a lot of good hustling going on.