BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "That wasn't bad. It seemed like I lost a little time up off of four. But that's the way it is. It's pretty close here at Martinsville. It's pretty tight. We probably didn't ...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"That wasn't bad. It seemed like I lost a little time up off of four. But that's the way it is. It's pretty close here at Martinsville. It's pretty tight. We probably didn't practice as good as we wanted to, but qualifying was probably a little bit better than what we practiced."
KYLE PETTY, NO. 45 SPRINT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It was OK. I just couldn't get it to hook up to the racetrack. We were good in practice - we weren't great in practice. We were OK, but we were a little bit better than that, a little bit faster than that. I just couldn't get it hooked up in qualifying."
RICK MAST, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"That's the quickest lap I've run since I've been here. We've been working with the chassis all day. On my qualifying lap the car was still a little snug in the center, which I've fought the whole time. I gave up a little speed exiting turn four on both laps. I got a little loose. We did that trying to help it through the center, but it cost me a little speed. We should have left it alone, but we're alright." (HOW TOUGH IS IT TO START MID-PACK HERE?) "It's not bad. I've started at the back here and gotten up to the front, and I've started at the back and gotten lapped with a good race car. The middle of the pack - I don't mind that. I just hate starting at the back here."
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"That's just about the same speed we ran in practice. I thought the lap felt better. I thought it was going to be faster than our practice. But you try not to overdrive it here and I think I didn't drive it hard enough. But we'll take it. It wasn't like we butchered it. The car had a little bit more in it, I think. We just didn't get it."
MIKE BLISS, NO. 27 VIAGRA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We hadn't been real good today, but we just kept working on it. You just can't second-guess this place. It will bite you. You'll be real good in practice and then you can be real bad in qualifying. It's just real hard to find a happy medium here. It's almost takes a little bit of luck, but then you've also got to make sure you don't overdrive it here."
WARD BURTON, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We'll take that. That gives a good spot for Sunday. The team really worked hard all day. We unloaded with a few difficulties like everybody did, but Tommy (Baldwin) and all the guys were really working good. They showed what they were made of today. They made some real good, smart changes and got us a top five starting spot. We'll get refocused here and get our season turned around."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"This hasn't been one of my favorite racetracks. The people here are what make this place special. I've just never gotten around here very well, that's for sure. It was good to get the run in that we did. We were really strong in practice. We never really got in a hurry all day. The car was good from the first run on, so it was just a matter of me going out and doing my job today.
"This place is one of the toughest to get around. You've got to hit your marks every lap to be good here. The last time I was here I had a decent practice run, but then in qualifying I missed my marks a little bit and we took a provisional. I'm just glad we didn't get in that situation this week.
(CAN HE WIN ON SUNDAY?) "This is a good starting spot. I'm kind of encouraged because our race cars are normally better than our qualifying cars. So if we can get the car driving as good tomorrow in practice as we did today, I think we've got a shot at it."
(DID MOMENTUM FROM LAST WEEK'S WIN HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH WINNING THE POLE TODAY?) "I'd like to say that I think it does. But last week is over, we're at a different racetrack and it's another week, so you pretty much have to start over. It doesn't hurt anything. But we're not sitting there reflecting on Dover last week. We've been just working hard trying to make sure that we've done everything that we can do today to be quick."
(WILL THIS RACE GO BETTER THAN THE FIRST TIME WHEN HE WON THE POLE HERE?) "I wish I could be that confident. We'll know a little better after the two practices tomorrow, as far as how we're going to do on Sunday. But even if you think you've got the fastest car on Sunday this place can still be a rough day. We're just going to take it one step at a time right now and do the best we can."
(ON LEARNING FROM HIS SIXTH PLACE FINISH THIS SPRING) "I haven't learned anything. I just didn't wreck this spring. I tore all the corners off the car like I have every time I've been here, but I just didn't wreck so many times. We were in the right place at the right time and got through a couple cars that spun in front of us in the last few laps and ended up with a sixth place finish.
"This is probably the toughest track I've tried to conquer. I haven't figured out how to be good here and be good here all day. I get very impatient and that's what causes me a lot of problems here. I guarantee that I'm going to tape it on the dash this week instead of the team taping it on there. I think we've got a really good car. Our cars don't normally qualify good, so if we qualify good, normally our race cars are even better. It's just a matter of making sure I take car of my equipment all day."
(ON THE SEASON AS A WHOLE) "It's been up and down. I don't know if we can get to fourth (in points) or not. I doubt it, seriously, unless they really have trouble. If we finish fifth versus fourth, like we had last year, I'm not going to be real disappointed, especially winning four races so far.
"We're in a prime position to try to win another one on Sunday. We'll just do the best we can. Ricky Rudd is tied with me for fifth, and sixth through ninth are really close, also. It's just a matter of going out and doing the best we can.
"I'm more worried about our consistency right now than anything. That's kind of where my focus is the rest of the year. I'm not really worrying about the points right now."
(HOW DO YOU KEEP IMPROVING ON YOUR RECENT GOOD PERFORMANCES?) "I don't know, to be honest. This is just the part of the year last year where we did the same thing. We had a good consistent string of top fives. The string didn't really continue through here but we picked it back up the next week. It's just a matter of going out and doing our jobs just the same as we do every week. It just seems like this part of the year we start coming into it again. I don't think there is any real secret to it right now. We've just got to make sure that I don't do stupid things and crash the car fifty laps into Sunday's race. That's a good start. If we just make sure that we're finishing the races, and Greg (Zipadelli) and I keep communicating like we are right now, I think things will continue that way."
(ON THE IMRPOVED COMMUNICATION WITH GREG SINCE NEW HAMPSHIRE) "The biggest thing is just that with as many changes as we've had this year, there are a lot of weeks that our notes from one week before weren't very good for the next time that you go back to the racetrack. It makes it frustrating as a driver when the car is not driving the same. Greg is just keeping me focused in the car. When he starts hearing that I'm getting frustrated in the race car he is kind of stepping in to a 'cheerleader mode' at that point. He is able to kind of get me out of that thought process about how the car doesn't feel good and gets me concentrating on what I can do to make the car better. We're learning how to play each other's emotions. If I'm on a downswing he knows how to pick me back up and if he's on a downswing I know how to pick him back up. I think that's what we have to learn to do together to be a contender for a championship."
(WHY DOES HIS PERFORMANCE GET BETTER AS THE SEASON GOES ALONG?) "If I knew that I'd make sure I could do it in the spring instead. I don't know, to be honest. It just seems like it's a part of the schedule, whether it's the racetracks or the second time around, I'm not sure. We just go out and do our jobs. Maybe our fall set-ups are better than our spring setups? I don't know."
(ON WHY HIS QUALIFYING RECORD IS A LITTLE INCONSISTENT HERE) "Any time the tire has been changed it has normally taken me a lot longer to get used to it. I think this is the same tire that we had in the spring here, so we were able to take those notes and refine on that set-up a little bit. They keep making the tires better and safer for us and that is in our benefit. It's just a matter of going out when you know you have a new tire and you need to be able to try to utilize your tests to kind of find out what it takes. Every time the new tires come out we haven't had an opportunity because we've used up so many of our tests already, and the ones we do have left we've already got booked. It's just a matter of finding out what the tire likes."