Final Practice Comments from Chevy Monte Carlo SS Drivers Including Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers, Tony Stewart, Joe Nemechek, Sterling Marlin and Tony Raines Brian Vickers in the No. 25 GMAC Monte Carlo SS was the fastest driver in both NASCAR ...
Final Practice Comments from Chevy Monte Carlo SS Drivers Including Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers, Tony Stewart, Joe Nemechek, Sterling Marlin and Tony Raines
Brian Vickers in the No. 25 GMAC Monte Carlo SS was the fastest driver in both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup practice sessions today at Martinsville Speedway.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS
"I feel real good. I was happy to get in the top 10 yesterday (in qualifying). It's been a while since we've been able to do that. We got another great race car for the race. We know how to do it - just stay out of trouble and keep adjusting to the race track all day."
Brian Vickers, No. 25 GMAC Monte Carlo SS
ON BEING FASTEST IN PRACTICE: "That was good. Tomorrow's when it counts. We were fast in qualifying practice. I messed up at the turn in qualifying. We had a good car all weekend. We were happy with it yesterday. We're fast today but we can be better. We're going to need to be to win the race. We're going to work on it."
IS THERE PRESSURE ON YOU TO WIN? "Yes and no. Rick (Hendrick) hasn't put any pressure on me, neither have my sponsors. The most pressure is coming from myself. I want to win a race as bad anybody but as long as we run top 10, top five every week like we need to be doing. I know we can and we always do and we're finding the problems, whether it's our own or bad luck. We always do run in the top 5 or top 10. As long as we do that every week, the win will come."
ON WHAT THEY'VE BEEN BUILDING ON THE LAST SIX TO EIGHT MONTHS: "We just have to keep working on it. This is probably the best car I've ever had at Martinsville. We've worked on our short track cars and do all the stuff that make these cars better and this worked. It's probably one of the best cars we've had. Just because we were fastest today doesn't mean we're any better or we're going to win the race without working on it more."
ON BUMPING AND GRINDING LAST WEEK: "I wasn't really involved in the initial part of that. I think the 07 wrecked the 22 and we got wrecked as a consequence. Right now we just need to focus on what we need to do to be fast here and get this GMAC Chevy to the top."
SINCE YOU HAVE A REALLY GOOD CAR, WHAT WILL BE YOUR RACE STRATEGY TOMORROW TO PRESERVE YOUR CAR? "That's definitely not going to help anything (starting 24th). We just have to stay out of trouble. That's a lot easier said than done. I'll do the best I can to be aware of everything going on around me and get to the front as fast as possible. We're definitely going to have to have a bit of luck and hope nothing like what happened at Bristol happens here."
Tony Stewart, No. 20 The Home Depot Monte Carlo SS
DID YOU GET WHAT YOU NEEDED OUT OF THE PRACTICES TODAY? "I think so. At the end of the first session we were relatively happy. We were happy with the way the times looked, but you're always conscious of making your balance better and whatever we can do to make it feel like the car is doing is what I want it to do. In the second session we made some bigger changes that made me feel like, with the conditions as warm as they were, I felt like I had a really good balance. I'm excited about tomorrow."
THIS IS THE FIRST WARM-WEATHER RACE OF THE SEASON. DOES COOLING CONCERN YOU TOMORROW? "It's the same variable as you always run into here, with the brakes and tires. We've run this race when the temperature was cooler and never had brake issues, but it's nice to be back and have it be warm enough where we have to worry about that again. It makes guys conscious of wearing out their stuff."
Sterling Marlin, No. 14 Ginn Clubs & Resorts Monte Carlo SS
"We've got a really good car. It's a brand new car. It was fast off the truck yesterday and qualified really good. It had good grip. I'm real satisfied with the way it drives. I was eighth in the first practice and we didn't get a good lap in the second practice but the lap times on the track looked really good and stayed real consistent. The brakes are good and it drives real good. We've got to move forward from the back."
WILL YOU TRY TO STAY UP IN YOUR GROOVE UNTIL LAP 50? "It will rotate out. You will have an early caution and we'll stay out and some guys will pit. Then there'll be a caution 25 laps later and we'll pit. It's just kind of a deal like Bristol."
ON HIS GOALS FOR THE RACE: "We want to win but a top five is good. I think we have a top five car. It's just the lap traffic. It still drives good. We can be quick but kind of out of control. You can start the race really out of control 30, 40 laps into the race."
Joe Nemechek, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS
ON PRACTICE: "The track changed that last hour of practice there. It seemed like it really got loose getting in and tight getting off for some reason. It affected us too. We're trying to work on the shocks and springs to get the balance back."
WHAT WILL BE YOUR STRATEGY FOR TOMORROW? "Unfortunately I'll probably be right in the middle of it all (after qualifying 22nd). It's so close racing here, everybody bumps into each other. It's just short track racing. Hopefully the U.S. Army Chevy drives like it's supposed to then we should be able to pass. So far the majority of practice the car has been good. We just kind of lost it there at the end."
Tony Raines, No. 96 DLP®HDTV Monte Carlo SS
"The first practice wasn't too bad. The second practice we didn't seem to get what we were looking for. I think a lot of that is my fault. I haven't run here a lot in a Cup car and the track is different than the last time I ran here. I'm looking for something and I'm not finding it yet. I don't know if we can find it. Our team is working real hard to see if we can sort that out. We'll make some changes and tomorrow we should have a good stay and a strong race. I'm confident about that. That's what practices are for, to go out there and try a bunch of stuff and gather information and hopefully you pick all the right pieces out of that practice and have your best car for the race."
ON HIS STRONG QUALIFYING EFFORT: "If you qualify decent, it makes Sunday not so bad. We want to do both. We want to qualify well and race well. Obviously racing well is more important than qualifying for the most part but we have to be able to do both. We might as well start with qualifying first. We had a good practice. We communicated well. We got the car better. We qualified well so we're kind of going through the same steps for practice and hopefully Philippe (Lopez, crew chief) makes all the right calls tomorrow and we stay out of trouble and end up with a good day. It's a tough grind. You do the same thing every weekend at a different track. It's never the same and that's what makes it exciting."