Martinsville II: Chevy teams qualifying quotes

Ward Burton, No. 0 NetZero Chevrolet (Qualified 4th) "It was a pretty good lap. All the NetZero Chevrolet guys and Bill Ingle (crew chief) made some good calls right then. I needed a little bit more grip right past the center of the corner. I ...

Ward Burton, No. 0 NetZero Chevrolet (Qualified 4th)

"It was a pretty good lap. All the NetZero Chevrolet guys and Bill Ingle (crew chief) made some good calls right then. I needed a little bit more grip right past the center of the corner. I think it's going to be a pretty decent, solid run. Although I do think as time goes on the track is going to start giving more grip because it's going to start getting more rubber on it here in this cool weather so the times are going to get better."

Jeff Burton, No. 30 America Online Chevrolet (Qualified 12th)

"It was pretty good. I messed my second lap up a little bit unfortunately. The car drove well. I just didn't hit the second lap. The first lap I got. The second lap I just didn't roll through the middle over here like I needed to."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet (Qualified 15th)

"We stepped it up. The car felt great. I thought it was going to be better than that but everyone stepped it up. We tested really good here. The new surface is definitely different. We're being challenged by it right now. We're good but we're not good enough. We'll just keep working on it until we get the DuPont Chevrolet where it needs to be."

BEING THIRD IN POINTS, IS THE RACE WHERE YOU MAKE THINGS HAPPEN AGAIN?: "This is a great race track for us. I don't think it's going to happen overnight for us. It's just like what we did last week in Charlotte - never give up until it's over. We're going to do it this weekend. We're going to do it next weekend. We're going to do it all the way through Homestead."

HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS WEEKEND'S RACE?: "I they all are (important). Everyone is so critical to where you're going to be in the points. The competition is very tough and somebody is going to step it up here and have a good finish. You have to make sure you maintain that and keep that consistency going. In the past this has been a great race track for us. I'm kind of wishing they hadn't repaved it yet. I would have liked that for next year. I felt like we had a little bit of edge on the competition. This is a track with a lot of cautions on it and accidents and you got to survive that in this race."

IS THIS RACE AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE UP SOME POINTS?: "You have to look at who we're competing against in the championship. Kurt Busch has won here. Junior has run really good here. I don't know if we really have an edge but it's a track we feel good going into. We'd certainly like to. I think that this is one of our best tracks in these last five races. We proved last week that you just got to dig deep and work hard and never give up all the way to the finish. Even with last week's second place finish, we didn't make up any points. We just got to keep doing that and if we make up points - great."

ON YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP BASED ON THE LAST FIVE TRACKS: "Darlington is a good track for us. Atlanta is a good track for us. Here in Martinsville is a good for us. We tested at Phoenix and we tested at Homestead. I think we've got a really good game plan. I think our past experience at these race tracks plus our experience in the championships is important. It's going to play a role but it's all about performance and having the breaks go your way. We had that go our way Saturday night and let's hope we can keep that going."

ON KURT BUSCH'S CONSISTENCY: "It's more frustrating that we haven't been consistent more so than they have been. They're doing their jobs. They're doing it well. You got to take your hat off to them for doing that. It's our job to put the pressure on them to make sure they keep doing that. We're not out of it by all means. We're very close. If we can put some string of races together. I don't feel like we have so far. At least not the first four (races) but this last race was a great one. If we can continue to do that here in the next five, it's anybody's race."

COULD THIS BE A THREE MAN RACE AFTER MARTINSVILLE?: "I think it's easier to say that. Someone could have trouble. Someone else could go on a streak of great runs. Jimmie Johnson won last week and could just keep it going. There's Mark Martin. With the way this points system is, it's really hard to predict what is going to happen."

WITH THE POSITION YOU ARE IN, IS THIS RACE CRITICAL?: "It is, not to mention our competitors were running good in practice today. We sat on many poles here and know what it's like to have that number one pit stall advantage. It could make your day. It's a whole lot easier. We're working hard for that. We didn't get the best results in practice. We got to pick up a couple of fifths. I'm looking forward to doing that in qualifying."

A LOT OF DRIVERS IN THE TOP TEN ARE IN SUPPORT OF GEORGE BUSH. DO YOU GET INTO POLITICS WITH THE UPCOMING ELECTION?: "That's why I'm not on that list. I choose to keep that private. How I vote and who I vote for is up to me. I don't think it's right for them to be putting pressure on the drivers so they can use them to promote them (the candidates). I know we promote a lot of things but when it comes to the elections I've very supportive of our president. I think Bush has done a great job. As far as what is going to happen in the next election, I'm keeping private of what I'm going to do and who I'm going to support."

YOU INFLUENCE MANY PEOPLE. BY KEEPING PRIVATE ON POLITICS, COULD THIS PREVENT SWAYING PEOPLE TO VOTE IN ONE DIRECTION OR ANOTHER?: "Politics has never been my thing. I'm not big into politics. I like to voice my opinion on things I know a lot about. I encourage people to vote. I encourage people to have the right to choose that. But that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to go out there and promote one or another."

ON THE ATLANTA RACE: "I'm looking forward to Atlanta. It's been a great track for us. I love racing there. That track has matured so much. We've really been strong there the last couple of times. We hopefully will have something good for it. Plus we have a little promotion going with the "Racing Stripes" movie. The whole race that weekend is going to be promoting that. It's going to be a lot of fun."

ON THE NEW SURFACE HERE: "I tested here. It's nice and smooth. I think they should have concreted the whole race track. I don't think there is any reason to have pavement here. It should be all concrete. Other than that, they did a great job with it. It's got a lot of grip. It's very fast. We should see some great times today."

Bobby Labonte, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet (Qualified 17th)

"I wish we could of run a little bit better obviously. I just couldn't quite get on the gas like I needed to. That kind of goes back to what goes a little bit faster. I just wasn't able to do it. Hopefully we'll be able to be good in the race and we'll see. I haven't qualified good here in a long time. We'll see where this ends up after everybody runs and we'll worry about tomorrow."

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet (Qualified 18th)

"The car drove good. It was a good clean lap. We had a loose condition we were fighting in practice. I thought we adjusted out of it. We wished we would have been faster than that. We'll take it and go from there."

DID THE TRACK GET SLICKER?: "I think it just started to get temperature in the tires. It seems like the air temperature has gone down a little bit more. It's real hard to get any temp in the tires so you can count on them and believe in them to one, use the breaks and two, to carry any center speed. I think it may be a little bit of that. It's a new surface and I think it's got a lot of us trying to sort it out right now and tomorrow is going to be an important practice for all of us."

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet (Qualified 19th)

"It wasn't terrible. We were just spinning the tires up off the corner. We fought brakes. We didn't come up here and test. We made a lot of changes during practice and did what we could. It was just a little bit too free off the corner."

ON KEVIN HARVICK AS A TEAM OWNER IN THE BUSCH SERIES: "It's a lot of fun for me. It's kind of my hobby. Tonight we're going to announce it. It should be fun for next year."

Joe Nemechek, No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet (Qualified 29th)

HOW IS YOUR SHORT TRACK PROGRAM?: "We came up here and tested for a day. We had a really great test. Ryan Pemberton (crew chief) and his whole crew is working really good and making some good decisions. We've just been making good decisions and we're finally having a little bit of luck going our way right now. We're finally getting the finishes this team deserves."

Brian Vickers, No. 25 GMAC Chevrolet (Qualified 34th)

"We changed a lot of stuff in practice. We were not anywhere where we needed to be when we cleared off the truck. But we didn't get far enough. The car was extremely tight off in practice and it was still that way in qualifying. You can't stay in the throttle. The guys at GMAC did a good job. We got a lot changed and went through a lot but we didn't go quite far enough."

ON HIS HARD HIT LAST WEEKEND IN CHARLOTTE: "I think I was blessed on that one. It was combination of the good Lord looking after me and everything NASCAR and the race tracks have done for safety equipment - from the HANS to the safer barrier. I was very thankful for everything they've done because I feel great."

Bobby Hamilton Jr., No. 32 Tide Chevrolet (Qualified 35th)"We just need to get it out. I'm sure it's going to take a provisional or whatever. We didn't have time to come and test but what do you. We did the best we can do with the information I gave my guys and everything they wanted to know. I'm lost. I'm not used to running here. Anywhere else we go I can kind of say what I need but here I don't know if I'm doing right or wrong. We'll just get it together and try to survive Sunday."

ARE YOU STILL ON A LEARNING CURVE WITH THE NEW TEAM?: "Oh yeah. It's a learning curve every week in a Cup car then to come to a place you've never seen. You feel like you're driving your heart out and you're taking a spot. It's frustrating. We can't give up. We got to keep digging. So give me some laps in a truck tonight for happy hour and then happy hour tomorrow in a Cup car. Maybe I'll figure out where I'm at."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Kurt Busch , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Brian Vickers , Mark Martin