Monte Carlo Daytona 2 qualifying notes

Rick Mast, No. 50 blair.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "This was actually a little quicker than we practiced. The guys made some changes and we picked a couple tenths there over what we run. I'm pretty pleased with that. But you don't know. Last...

Rick Mast, No. 50 blair.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "This was actually a little quicker than we practiced. The guys made some changes and we picked a couple tenths there over what we run. I'm pretty pleased with that. But you don't know. Last night it was cool. Today it's a lot hotter. I thought maybe the speeds would be a little bit slower, but it looks like everybody has picked up speed. Everywhere we go, the heat and the temperature and the sunlight affects what we do so much. Here at Daytona, it's such a big racetrack, that just a little bit of cloud cover or haze can make a difference."

Mike Skinner, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We just missed the set-up on the car a little bit, I think. The car drove really, really good - probably too good. I just never really got it down on the ground as much as we would have like to. But we'll race 'em from wherever that (qualifying time) ends up. You can be 15th one lap and first the next lap on this racetrack. So it doesn't really matter where we start." (Is the draft as pronounced here at Daytona as it is at Talladega?) "Last night it was. We were really fast. I think our car will pull up good."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo "I'm shocked. It's all about the crew. They've made quite a few changes, which obviously made a big difference. This was the fastest we've run - both our laps were quite a bit better than we were last night. So, we're pretty happy. Our crew deserves all the credit. They just continue to give me good cars. This is a big race for us and for Dupont, and also we're proud to be running Pepsi in this Pepsi 400 here tomorrow night."

Bobby Hamilton, No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I'm not worried about where we start. I expected us to be somewhere around 20th, and that's okay with us."

Dave Marcis, No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Well, I knew we would pick up because we had good, clean laps last night. A lot of people were out there drafting. We ran like a .73 last night and we didn't have all our tape on, we didn't have all our tuck in the car, we didn't have stickers. So, I knew we were going to pick up. We were pretty happy. Last night we stayed on the line, and waited patiently to get good clean laps and we weren't in a draft. So we felt like we could do a little better than that today."

Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Well, it wasn't fast enough. We were a little bit faster last night. With the heat of the day, we figured if we could run the same speed we'd be in pretty good shape. We went just a tick slower. We're disappointed. We're probably going to shake out somewhere in the top 25. We just need to be a little bit faster. Daytona's all about speed, and we need to go find a little bit."

Michael Waltrip, No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet Monte Carlo "We struggled (in practice) yesterday. We were 38th. We'd only run a .82. To come back and run three or four-hundredths faster is a good deal for us."

(What made the difference?) "The driver. I decided that this is what it's all about right here, and I'm just going to drive it. I could probably teach you everything I know about qualifying the car in about 10 minutes. That's all it would take."

(How do you feel about coming back and trying to win two in-a-row?) "I feel great. I think we'll probably run qualifying about where we started the Daytona 500 and I know tonight we'll have a great racecar in practice. I'm just excited about the opportunity to be here at Daytona. It ought to offer us our best chance to win one in a while, and that' just exciting as a driver."

(Overall, how has your week been?) "It's just been a good week really. We had a chance to celebrate with our teammates. NAPA Auto Parts just did so many wonderful things for our team and I'm thankful for them. We got to come to Daytona USA and formally put our car in the facility over there, and that's just a great opportunity for our sponsors to be in such a tremendous environment and I'm proud of that. I'm just ready to race. That's all that's on my mind right now. Steve Hmiel has really taken the horns of this team and is really running us down the road. I'm looking forward to just getting to experience all of his wisdom and knowledge of this sport of ours. He's won championships and races left and right and I'm just looking forward to having the rest of the year to listen to Steve. The crew has been great this weekend. They have been making - I hate to call them guesses - but educated guesses at what they need to do to make us do a great job of adapting. Now tonight we'll practice in the dark, and tomorrow we'll race in the dark and everything will be back to normal. If it rains, it rains."

(Do you have any superstitions you will follow - things you did prior to winning the Daytona 500): "No, I'll just get in the car and close my eyes and say, 'God, be with me', and race."

(Have you ever watched the tape of the end of the Daytona 500?): "I haven't watched it yet, but I look forward to watching it someday."

Jerry Nadeau, No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "This was better than yesterday. We lost a lot of practice (time) because of some electrical problems with the car. We got it figured out. The guys did a good job. It's a starting spot for tomorrow night's race. I feel pretty good about the race. I think this UAW-Delphi Chevrolet is going to go right to the front. It seems like it drafts well but it's pretty slow by itself. We'll see what happens. We're excited about the race."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We went faster yesterday. I don't know why we didn't go that fast today. We'll figure it out. I'm kind of disappointed, but we'll be all right."

Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I feel really good. It's good to be back. I'm glad to be back in the Oakwood Homes Chevy. Unfortunately for my team and me, I got hurt six weeks ago and I haven't been able to drive. But I'm back and I'm looking forward to some good runs. Our qualifying time was about what we ran in practice. Andy (Petree) and all these guys have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. They put it to us. The air is really heavy right now, so I think that's a pretty good lap. My hat's off to Andy Petree and all these guys - especially the motor shop. I know they've been working really hard to find power. And that's what it's all about now. We're going to have a good run in the Pepsi 400."

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "The air is really heavy right now and the car lost about a 100 - 150rpm just because it's hard to push it through (the air). But the guys did a really good job. We ran a little bit better than we did last night and we come with what we got. So that was pretty good for us."

(Are you looking forward to more restrictor-plate racing tomorrow night?) "I think they're pretty boring to tell you the truth. But we're looking forward to it because it's Daytona and it's obviously a lot of prestige. We're excited about coming to the racetrack tomorrow. We're still learning about this type of racing and we've just got to figure it out a little bit."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Michael Waltrip , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Jerry Nadeau , Dave Marcis , Rick Mast , Andy Petree