Michigan: Bobby Labonte pole press conference

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: NOTE: Labonte won the pole for the Sirius 400 with an event-record lap of 37.822 seconds at 190.365 miles per hour. He also held the old record, set in June of 2000. It is his third...

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Labonte won the pole for the Sirius 400 with an event-record lap of 37.822 seconds at 190.365 miles per hour. He also held the old record, set in June of 2000. It is his third Bud Pole of the season and the 24th of his career. It is his third pole at MIS, and he led seven Chevrolet Monte Carlos in the top 10 during qualifying.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LAP:

"It's getting better. We came off the truck really good, and we worked on some things, just trying some things out. We made our banzai run, ran real fast again and made a few more adjustments. The car handled really well and it stuck real well in qualifying. I was really happy with it. The speed was fast, and I felt like it was good coming up off the corner, so I felt like some speed was going to be there. I was a little surprised at how fast it went. I figured if we picked up two tenths, that would be great.. It was going to be hard, because I thought we ran pretty maxed out on our qualifying run in practice. I didn't know if we could pick that up or not. I knew the car felt good."

YOUR TEAM HAS BEEN ON A LITTLE BIT OF A ROLL, DESPITE YOUR LITTLE HICCUP LAST WEEK AT POCONO. IS THIS A CONTINUATION OF THAT RUN?

"I hope so. We've worked real hard. Last week [at Pocono] we did do that, but we didn't get any practice, so we can blame it on that. We're just really getting along well and everything is going well. We've got some really simple stuff and we're not trying to get off on anything too hard."

LABONTE IS CARRYING THE HULK PAINT SCHEME ON HIS CAR THIS WEEKEND. DALE EARNHARDT JR., THE THIRD-FASTEST QUALIFIER, ASKED THE POLESITTER IF HE BUMPED HIM IN SUNDAY'S RACE, WOULD LABONTE'S CAR GET BIGGER?

"Yeah, and when I bump you back, you'll know it!"

WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOUR CAR BETWEEN PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING THAT MADE IT SO MUCH FASTER?

"I worked on some stuff on entry today that I didn't like on my car. It helped on both ends of the track, but it's not like a road course, where you get somewhere off on Turn 11 and you try to get better there. We worked on the whole thing. You try to work on a little bit of everything, no different than you do every weekend. We wanted to work on our entry a little bit and our exit a little bit. You work on one area and it's good, but it possibly hurts another area. You have to work on everything."

WHAT IS THE SECRET TO YOUR SPEED GAIN?

"There's no secret, no rhyme or reason to it. I get all I can get out of it in practice, but there's one lap that counts today and that's the last one. I just work hard toward getting all I can get of that last lap. It doesn't work all the time. I was the only person at Darlington that lost time on my lap for qualifying and it bit us. You just work toward it, and try to have a little bit left. It's always a whole lot better when you pick up a tenth than when you lose a tenth. Sometimes you pick up six tenths. You want to make sure you pick up that tenth. It's not like I'm holding back in practice, but there's always just a little bit more that we get out of our race car, out of our driver, out of the tires. It's not always six tenths. If we can get a tenth or two out of it, because everybody picks up a little bit, we just want to make sure we pick up more than everybody else."

YOU'VE BEEN UNDER THE RADAR SCREEN ALL SEASON. IS THAT ON PURPOSE?

"It's probably just our characteristic, more than anything. It's just the way it is, no rhyme or reason to it either. We like that more than anything else. We were fast in practice and we qualified good. We didn't lay back in practice, pick up six tenths and win the pole. Obviously, we'd like to be able to do what we did today every day, but we can't. You just want to go out, do the best you can and go home. That's what we're doing."

-gmracing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte