JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 12th: "The guys are working really hard on these cars. The motor shop has given us awesome motors this week. The last couple of weeks we've struggled a little bit. I messed up a ...
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 12th:
"The guys are working really hard on these cars. The motor shop has given us awesome motors this week. The last couple of weeks we've struggled a little bit. I messed up a little bit last week at Pocono qualifying and I wanted to make up for it here. I'm trying to push this car as hard as I can every time I go out on the track. We've got a great group of guys here with the UAW Delphi Chevy and they are making some good adjustments. Peter Sospenzo (crew chief) is making some good calls. We adjusted some stuff right before qualifying and it paid off. It was a pretty good lap."
DID YOUR NICKNAME OF "FRONT ROW JOE" BEGIN WHEN YOU STARTED ON THE OUTSIDE
FRONT ROW HERE IN '97?
"Yeah, it actually started in Pocono a little bit later but we were kind of building it up when we qualified second here in 1997 or '98. It is a fun race track. You can race all over -- inside or outside. Our starting spot is going to be a good spot.
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 9th:
"I've got about 20 seconds to stay on the pole because the man who goes out and figures out how fast the car will possibly go around the track is running right now: Ryan Newman. That was not a fast lap. We just pushed in a couple of places. It was a good lap. I'm proud of the team. They just fixed the car up and just sent me on my way. I was real pleased with how it came back.
HOW CONFIDENT IS THIS RACE TEAM RIGHT NOW?
"We're really happy with where we're at. It's just a matter of overcoming a couple of bad weeks. We were in the top 20 the last couple of weeks and that's not where we want to be."
STEVE PARK, NO. 30 AMERICA ONLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 33rd:
"We were good through the middle, but a little tight off. The AOL guys have a little bit of work ahead of them but we've got a good race car. That should get us somewhere in the top 25 I hope. We're trying to find out what we need in the race car to go fast on race day. Our communication is really good. We're just trying to learn each other's needs. We're only 3 or 4 races old, so we can imagine what we'll be later."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 40th:
"It wasn't very good. We've been really slow ever since we got here. We've had a hard time with the balance of the car. I think we might have started out a little too soft. We put back in what we had last year. We qualified in the top 15 in both Michigan races last year, and we kind of went back in that direction. We have a new body on the car, with more downforce, and we felt like we had to make a few little adjustments. We did, and it was better, but I'm really afraid it wasn't enough."
HOW ARE YOU FEELING AFTER LAST WEEK'S CRASH AT POCONO?
"I feel good. One good thing that I've done this year is work with a trainer every week. I've gotten myself really strong in the areas that are weak in these crashes. We've had a few crashes, but we've been in good enough physical shape to come right back and run the next week. I'm not very mentally strong right now after that run, but physically, I'm OK."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 10th:
"That was a good lap for the GM Goodwrench car. We came up here for our test and spent a lot of time in race trim on the first day and then got rained out the second day. So we spent our whole morning in qualifying trim (today) and unloaded really good. From there we just picked it apart and slowly made some changes and had a good lap. The car was a little tight off the corners. I had to let off a touch before getting back in the gas. We picked up about four- tenths from practice so I'm pretty happy. It's our best qualifying effort in quite some time."
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TESTING?
"For us, the biggest thing is just getting in the rhythm and knowing that all our stuff from last year is pretty close. We've run well every time we've been to Michigan. We unloaded at the test and had the same results. We just did a lot of knit-picky things and just kind of picked the car apart at the test."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 11th:
"We picked up. We fixed some handling characteristics in the car that we were fighting. I think it was a good effort for us. Bobby Labonte put one heck of a lap out there. We've obviously got a ways to go to catch up in qualifying trim. It's just some weeks you have what it takes like last week in Pocono (won pole). This week it looks like hopefully a top 10 for us. I'm just really happy with the whole Lowe's team and how they've performed this weekend. I'm proud of Chad Knaus, (crew chief). He's trying things and always moving and not sitting still. With an entirely new idea underneath the car and to sit in 10th is pretty good."
WITH JUST TWO WINSTON CUP STARTS AT MIS, HAVE YOU ADAPTED TO THIS TRACK?
"I think I'm adapting more and more. I also think the couple of years in the Busch Series with Herzog Motorsports really taught me a lot too. Experience is always something that you need, but a great driving race car like I've had here really helps too."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 6th:
"We're real happy with that. The car's been good and solid all day long. It just felt like it was all about just pushing it as hard as we could. We tried to change the balance a little bit and free it up and we did. It might have been just a little bit too free to run with some of those other guys. But to be solidly up there -- we're real happy with the Dupont Chevrolet."
ON SWAPPING CARS WITH JUAN MONTOYA AND GETTING TO DRIVE A FORMULA 1 CAR ON THE
ROAD COURSE AT IMS
"I'm still blown away that I was able to do that. And I was certainly blown away by that race car. I had a blast. I was grinning ear to ear all day long. I had a good time. I think I know who got the better end of the deal. It's an experience I'll take with me forever. Now it's back to trying to win a Winston Cup championship."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 13th:
ON HIS BROKEN TAIL BONE FROM HIS CRACH LAST WEEK IN POCONO
"We've had a great race car and the guys put a lot of work into it each and every week. I just hate it for those guys. To bring one back totaled out over somebody else's mistake was pretty tough to swallow. But we had a great car last week and hopefully we can pick up where we left off last week.
CAN YOU DO ANYTHING TO MAKE THE CAR MORE COMFORTABLE DURING THE RACE?
"We'll just do a little bit with the seat. We'll put a little padding in the bottom of it. But to tell you the truth, when you get the car wide open and the Pennzoil Chevrolet is working good, the pain goes away."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 44th, will start 37th on Sunday:
"That was a really disappointing run for the Tide Pontiac. We were really loose, and I'm not sure why. We're scratching our heads right now, but Scott Miller and the guys will get us ready to race. We've passed a lot of cars the past two weeks, so we need to do it again on Sunday."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 26th:
WERE YOU PLEASED WITH THAT LAP?
"Based on how we unloaded, yeah. We've struggled a little bit. This car ran at Charlotte and it was really good. It seemed like halfway through the race, something happened to it and it got a little demon in it. When we unloaded here, it was there again. We were able to get it out of it, and that was our main goal, to figure out what it was. That was quite a bit quicker than what we practiced, so we're happy with that. We'll get it set up for the race and we'll be OK."