Martinsville Team Monte Carlo Friday qualifying notes

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) “I hated we had to go first because we’ve got such an awesome race car. That wasn’t a bad lap for going out first. The guys made some good changes, and the car was better.

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) “I hated we had to go first because we’ve got such an awesome race car. That wasn’t a bad lap for going out first. The guys made some good changes, and the car was better. The track just wasn’t there. It’s a big disadvantage going out first. My first lap was clean, and I just went ahead and went for it on the second lap. I got into the wall a little bit coming off turn four. I thought it was going to straighten out, but it didn’t. That’s as slow as we’ve been all day.”

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “I had some sore ribs on Sunday after Dover and they had me back in the car on Monday testing at Greenville-Pickens. We ain’t giving up. We’ve built a brand new car for Martinsville. We’ve struggled here in the past at Martinsville. I think the best we’ve qualified before today was 19th, and I think we ended up 10th, so maybe we can improve on our best finish here. The pain started easing up a little bit yesterday, so we’re looking forward to the race. That was about as fast as we’d run with the Pennzoil Chevy. I think the track slowed down a little bit with the sun coming out. We’ll go to work for the race Sunday. This whole team has been doing a good job. They’ve been working hard, and we’ve had real competitive cars the past few weeks. My hat is off to those guys.”

RICH BICKLE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We had a good practice and everybody had their heads up. Everything went right, but the car was real loose in qualifying. I’m not sure what happened. We were second quick in practice, and the car was awesome off the trailer. That was the slowest lap we’d run all day. We were just loose getting into the corners through the middle and off. It’s just a shame. The team has had a hard year, and I’ve had a hard year. I thought we had a chance of getting this car qualified in the top 10. We’ll just have to go to work and see what happened.”

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “That wasn’t a bad lap. The guys did a good job. I think we went out on a set of scuffs, and that might have hurt us a little bit. We know we’re going to be good in the race. We struggled a little bit in practice today, but we made it in the first round and now we’ll get ready to race.”

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “That wasn’t a good lap. I’m not sure what happened. We ran better than that in practice. We just couldn’t do it in qualifying. I don’t know what happened.”

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We got a little bit better for qualifying. I missed my marks on the second lap. We just had to wash out the second lap, but we’ll take that for the Lowe’s Chevrolet. Hopefully that’ll stay in the top 10 or 12. We didn’t think we were going to qualify that good the last time here. We ended up third. We’ll race them from wherever we end up today. I don’t think we’ll fall back too far. Starting in the top 10 would be cool. We’ll be able to race ‘em from there.”

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “I was just going after it. If I was guilty of anything it was trying too hard the first lap. The car felt really good. Actually, the second lap, I’m not so sure I could have run any quicker the first lap. I calmed down on the second lap and didn’t over drive it. When you have a reputation of qualifying in the top five every time you go to Martinsville, you know you want to get a pole. I just drove a little too hard. That was a pretty good lap. I was sixth in practice and ended up sixth in qualifying, so I guess that’s a pretty good indication that we have the sixth fastest car right now. Maybe we can get it a little bit faster before the race.”

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “That’s about what we thought we could run. We went to Greenville-Pickens and tested this week and I think it helped a lot. In practice, the track was tighter, and I guess when it was a little bit hotter, the track got free. It hurt us a little bit in the middle. When you run like that and you slip on both ends of the track and know you still had a shot at the pole, that feels pretty good. We’ve got a good car, motor wise and all. It makes you feel pretty good. This car is better than the one we won with here a couple of years ago, but then everybody else is better, too. It’s definitely the best driving car we’ve ever had here.”

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We changed the setup before qualifying and it was extremely loose. We were trying to get closer to where Kenny Wallace was. He was pretty quick. My car wasn’t too bad in practice. We were just off a little bit in speed. The changes made it way on the free side. That’s usually fast here. I think the track changed, too. Kenny was loose on his qualifying run, too. It was just a big change for me not being prepared for it. It was just really hard to drive, but we’ll take it.”

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) “We’ve been struggling with the brakes all day long, sliding the left front tire. I know I’m not getting in too deep. I can’t quite get it because something is going on with the brakes. It’s not a preparation problem. It’s just something with the pads. The guys have the car tuned up. It’s nobody’s fault. Something ain’t right, and we’ve been working hard to get it figured out. We’ll work on it and try to be ready for Saturday.”

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) “We ran well here the last couple of races, and we’ve got a good car for Sunday. We’ll just go get ‘em. We ran a 20 flat in practice and I just tried to squeeze a little harder in qualifying. I thought I might could get an .80 out of it, but it was good to get that out of it. We’ve been needing to make that move (in points race) for a long time. Again, it’s going to take some luck. I don’t wish anybody bad racing luck, but that’s what it’s going to take. We’re happy with that lap. I usually qualify 30 something here. I have in the past, so we’re pretty happy with that, and I think we can race ‘em from here. Every week from here on out, if I can be closer to ‘em on the start of the race, I know I can race ‘em. You’ve got to be right there with ‘em and doing the things they’re doing. It puts the pressure on them as much as it does you. To start in the rear like we did at Dover and New Hampshire, you’re playing catch up all day. You never get to really race ‘em. If you can race ‘em from the start, you’re much better off than playing catch up all day. I’ve had a lot of laps here, and I know what it takes to save the car and save the brakes. I can do that well here and still race hard. That’s our goal. We want to go after it and be consistent. I’ve got a good feeling about Sunday.”


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kenny Wallace , Michael Ho