Monte Carlo Loudon Happy Hour notes

Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo - winner of the '99 New Hampshire 300 at NHIS: (What do you think of the new track sealer and how will it affect the racing on Sunday?) "I hope it will make it better. When they put the ...

Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo - winner of the '99 New Hampshire 300 at NHIS:

(What do you think of the new track sealer and how will it affect the racing on Sunday?) "I hope it will make it better. When they put the sealer on, hopefully it's going to open up the outside groove. In years past, it got really slick as you moved up the track. I think that will make for a better race. Unfortunately for me, we're starting from farther back (28th). And although the Oakwood Homes Chevy is handling very well and we're hoping to make it better yet, it's going to be very hard to pass. I think that extra grip will help you pass if you're good enough."

(Do you have a particular race strategy?) "No, it's really the whole package that we have to worry about. Everything is important. You've got to pass them in the pits, you've got to pass them on the track. You've got to do all you can do. I think we're going to be capable of doing that."

(How important is patience on this track?) "Patience is a key here. You can't knock the front end off your car - you've got to have everything on it. Downforce is very important. We'll start the race and see what happens. And hopefully that outside line is going to be good."

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We changed everything during practice - a couple sway bars, springs - we were pretty far off and the beginning of the first practice, but by the end of the last practice everything was good. The track seems like the track is getting greasy. I think the truck race will help it come in for tomorrow's race. It's really going to help the outside groove. The sealer's really got a lot of grip."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Oh man, it was hot out there. But the track conditions are pretty good with the track this week. The sealer's got a lot of grip. Actually that's almost catching us off guard and we're just trying to free the car up. It was way too tight. We weren't very fast in practice, but right there at the end we made some big adjustments and the car really started to come around. So I think we know what direction to start with tomorrow."

(Do you like flat tracks?) "I've never been a big fan of flat tracks. I've worked hard at trying to get around them. We've worked hard as a team to get better set-ups for the. To me, the real key is getting the car to work the way you want it to work on flat tracks. We've been successful here at New Hampshire, but I wish we had about 10 degrees more banking at this place. It would make it a lot more fun for me."

(What about Pocono or Indianapolis - a couple of tracks that are coming up?) "Well believe it or not, those places have more banking than you think. It doesn't look like it on TV or when you're watching the cars go through there. There's a decent amount of banking. If I had my choice, I like the banked tracks. I like to go fast."

(Are you surprised at the popularity of NASCAR in the northeast part of the country?) "I think some of our biggest and most loyal fans come from this area. I think it just shows that NASCAR Winston Cup racing is popular in a lot of places that none of us thought it would be. It's just like being in Chicago last weekend. There was a huge crowd there. They're selling out truck races in Kentucky. It's pretty amazing. I think the west coast is where we always have wondered if it would happen. But from what I'm seeing everywhere we go around the country, these people love to come out here and watch the races and we're thankful for it."

(What seems to be the connection between the driver and the fan in this sport?) "That seems to be what separates us from other sports is the connection. They feel like they know that person a one-on-one basis and that's great. It just makes it great for us to go out there and try to put on a good show. The support they give us is pretty awesome. I don't think you see that in other sports."

(You guys always seem to take the time to say hello and sign autographs): "We try. It's tough. The numbers continue to get bigger. The crowds get bigger. It's hard to take care of everybody but I think the effort's there and that's what counts." -GM Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek