Monte Carlo Martinsville II qualifying notes

Rich Bickle, No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "It wasn't bad, but it sure wasn't great. Man, it was slippery all over. But we're trying to get this Kodak Chevy in the show and try to run as good as we can. We were pretty good in practice. ...

Rich Bickle, No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "It wasn't bad, but it sure wasn't great. Man, it was slippery all over. But we're trying to get this Kodak Chevy in the show and try to run as good as we can. We were pretty good in practice. The guys have a pretty good shock package for the race. I've got to thank these guys for giving me a shot to drive this car. I've had an up and down season and it feels good to get back in the seat here and this is one of the places I excel at, so hopefully I can give these guys a good job."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "We're pretty happy with that lap. It is the best lap we've run all day. It was a good clean smooth lap. I can go over it a million times, thinking of places where I could have picked up. But it just seems like the track temperature right now, you just can't get after it too hard. If you drive in too hard, you're going to get yourself in trouble. I thought both ends were pretty decent for the Dupont Chevrolet. I was really just trying to get good on that very last lap. I was trying to get the heat and the pressure and everything just right. I was building up to that. I had to be smooth."

Jerry Nadeau, No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I would have like to have been a little bit quicker. The guys have done a good job. I've been struggling with qualifying here lately. But our race mode should be pretty good. I didn't think it was particularly slick. I think the track is as good as it was in practice."

Hermie Sadler, No. 13 Virginia Lottery Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "My guys have worked hard. At this racetrack, you can overdrive it as much as anything else. I just took my time and let my tires build up without spinning them. I put a lot of stock in my second lap. We're tickled for the Virginia Lottery. I just hope we have a good weekend now."

Dick Trickle, No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Dave Marcis just called me up. He wasn't intending to run this thing. He had a hunting and fishing trip with some guys up in Wisconsin. He said he might come back and race it if I could get it in (the show) and asked me if I wanted to try to qualify it. I worked with the guys in the shop on the set-up together and spent a half-a-day together. We came here and ironed it out with no testing or anything. So I'm just happy to make the race."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet (qualified 2nd)
"I don't know how we did it. I didn't think the car was going to be that fast. I must have just hit on the marks just right. I've got to give a lot of credit to the guys. We tested and learned a lot of things. Hopefully that's going to pay off. I just want to run good on Sunday, that's what it's all about."

You weren't too happy with the car in practice. What happened? "Tony (Eury) Jr. changed a bunch of stuff - moved a bunch of stuff and took some right front spring out. He just made the car drive better. We were comfortable, just slow. We're still comfortable, just a little quicker."

Since your dad was so strong in short tracks, how important would it be to win here? "I think you've really accomplish something if you win at Martinsville. This is such a unique racetrack and it's so different from what we normally run and what we see more of throughout the series. You have to be careful on the brakes. It's a drivers' racetrack. You've got to use lots and lots of patience to keep out of the back of guys in front of you and don't get run over by guys behind you. If you can stay out of trouble - just try to stay in the top 10 - and then find yourself up front to win at the end. I haven't quite figured that equation out. We just now got to where we can run in the top 10 at this place without wrecking. Last year, I wrecked four times in one race. It's been a tough racetrack to get used to, but I think it's coming around. I really liked the place when I run here in Late Model cars. And I've just got to get the right set-up and the right feel and comfort that I need."

How important was it to get the 11th place finish in the spring and now come back thinking you have a chance to win? "It's a good feeling to be able to come in here and make such large gains. Like I said, we wrecked a lot here last year and didn't finish any of the races. To come back here in the spring and run 11th, we were really excited and happy. That was like a win for us. So you can imagine what the team's feeling like now after qualifying second and what their goals are for the race. We tested at Carraway a couple weeks ago to really concentrate on the race set-up. We did no qualifying runs so we are really excited about our opportunity on race day. I've had a quick car here before, but I really didn't know what to do with it. Hopefully now I'm a little bit smarter racecar driver.

Jeff Gordon, No 24 DuPont Chevrolet (qualified 3rd)
How important is track position at Martinsville? "Our goal coming in here today was to get a good qualifying run and we certainly did that. It's as important to start up there as it is to have a good pit location. I know how important that No. 1 spot is and I wish we could have gotten that. But we just came up a little short. It was a good day for us and definitely a good starting position. I think it's going to be real important at a track like Martinsville where it's hard to pass."

At what point do you begin to count points? "We're racing for points, we're racing for wins. We're doing everything we can to win races and this championship. It starts on Friday and it ends on Sunday."

Does the bump in turn 4 alter your set-up? "Now, it's the smooth part of the racetrack now. It definitely doesn't have a lot of grip. There's not going to be much of an outside groove there for a while until put some rubber down there. I liked it. People were talking about less grip over there but I didn't see it at all. My car stuck real good on that new patch. I wish they had continued that concrete around there a little further. This is a tricky place and most of it's because of the transitions from the pavement to the concrete - getting into the corners and getting off. But that one there, I didn't have a problem with."

-GM Racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Rich Bickle , Jeff Gordon , Dick Trickle , Jerry Nadeau , Dave Marcis , Hermie Sadler