TONY RAINES, NO. 51 MARATHON / CHASE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - DNQ: "It's going to be really close. We made some adjustments in practice and it got a lot better. Some guys will pick up and hopefully some will slow down. But it's going to be close...
TONY RAINES, NO. 51 MARATHON / CHASE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - DNQ:
"It's going to be really close. We made some adjustments in practice and it got a lot better. Some guys will pick up and hopefully some will slow down. But it's going to be close and we'll cross our fingers and hope for the best."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - 2nd:
"The last run we made on stickers was not really what the car was. I messed up Turn 3 a little bit trying some different stuff. It didn't work out. I was still happy with the car. I don't know if it'll be the pole or not. I hope so. Ryan (Newman) seemed pretty quick. But the track slowed down a little bit too. So, we'll see."
(YOU STARTED ON THE OUTSIDE POLE HERE A YEAR AGO. AND COMING OFF YOUR BEST FINISH THIS YEAR - 7TH AT ATLANTA, HOW CONFIDENT IS YOUR TEAM?) "We're pretty good. I think everybody on the whole team is confident. I feel like we have more motivation and at Hendrick Motorsports as a whole. I know I do after what happened recently. So we're looking forward to the race here. I like the race tack. We like coming out here. The fans are great. It's a lot of fun."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Yeah, that was definitely a good pickup for this Lowe's team. I had three-quarters of the track down pretty good. I was just real loose off of Turn 4. But that should put us hopefully somewhere in the top 10. It's been a great race track for me and we're on a roll of three wins so we'll just see what happens on Sunday."
(HOW MUCH MOMENTUM CAN CARRY OVER FOR THESE LAST THREE RACES OF THE YEAR?) "It makes a difference. But with the loss that we had with all of our close friends and that plane going down, it's been a weird experience to win races and to feel the emotional highs of winning and then the lowest of lows knowing we've lost our close friends and families. It's been a weird experience and I really hope I don't have to go through it again. It's really been a tough few weeks. But the good thing is that the car has been running well and we've been able to win some races. So who knows? We'll just keep going."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - 6th:
(IT LOOKED LIKE YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD A SHOT AT THE POLE) "Yeah, I think we would have had a pole run but I got a little bit loose off of Turn 4. I just tried to push it a little too hard. This is my home away from home, so I always want to run good here at Phoenix."
(HOW MANY DIFFERENT SERIES HAVE YOU RUN HERE AT PHOENIX?) "I've won in Midgets, Silver Crown cars, the Cup car here ('99), and I've run 2nd in the IRL car and Super Modifieds here. So it's a place where we've always had really good luck. I've spent a lot of time out here. When I was in the IRL, we tire tested a lot here. Obviously with USAC, we were out here a lot. It's kind of a place that's a home away from home for me."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - 8th:
(NICE JUMP ON THE SECOND LAP) "Yeah, you know on that first lap, the car and the tires weren't quite up to temperature. On the second lap I just carried do into Turn 1 and the car just did everything I wanted it to do. It was a little bit snug in the middle, but other than that it was a great lap. I've got to thank Robbie (Loomis) and those guys on the DuPont Chevrolet. They've been working hard all day long to give me a car that we can get up there in the top five. We've got it right now. Let's just hope we can hang on up there and do better than we did last week, which was 10th in qualifying, and keep that streak of improving in qualifying. I feel really good about our race set-up. We came here and tested. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday."
(YOU'VE NEVER WON AT THIS RACE TRACK. HOW MUCH OF A CHALLENGE IS THAT FOR YOU FOR THIS WEEKEND?) "It is a challenge because I've always liked this race track. It's just a very temperamental track to get that right feel and that right balance on. I love the whole are of Phoenix. It's just a beautiful area. I'm looking forward to coming here twice (in '05). We'd love to get a victory out here before we start coming here twice."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - 17th:
"We loosened up the car a little too much and I got sideways. It wasn't good enough. We tightened up the car a little bit and it was pretty good. The car stuck. If it would have rolled in the center of Turns 3 and 4 just a little bit better, we would have probably had another tenth there. But the guys have been working really hard at RCR. We had a good run last week in Atlanta and hopefully we can come off of that and have a good run here at Phoenix as well."
(YOU AND RCR ARE GOING YOUR SEPARATE WAYS IN 2005. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO ANNOUNCE YOUR PLANS?) "We'll have the Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet that we're going to run the Busch Series 24 events. We qualified 7th with that yesterday. The team is already in place. The buildings and equipment is in place so it's not going to be that big of a deal to roll it up to the next level to compete in the Cup Series."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - 14th:
(WAS IT AN ADVANTAGE TO GO OUT LATER IN QUALIFYING?) "Probably so. Most of the time it is. The guys did a great job. We changed a lot of things on the car. We weren't very good in practice. I think we were 30th fast. We changed some stuff and ran better. We obviously would have liked to qualify better but it was a good pick up for us. I'm proud of my team. They put in a great effort all day long to get that."
(AFTER LOSING A COUPLE OF POSITIONS AT ATLANTA LAST WEEK, HAVE YOU AND THE TEAM TALKED ABOUT IT?) "We haven't talked at all really. I've been in L.A. shooting commercials all week and came here yesterday. Maybe that's okay too to give everybody a chance to cool off and reflect on it. That was a tough weekend for us. We were racing hard. My guys would have rather have gotten a lot of points there. If I could go back and do it again I'm sure me and Carl (Edwards) would both have different ways we'd it to end out. But it wasn't his fault. We were racing hard and should have been racing maybe not so hard. I was just doing what I thought I needed to do and got myself in trouble there."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - 5th:
"We knew it was a real good lap. The car's been good since we unloaded it. We thought we'd pick up just a little bit, but I screwed that up in Turns 3 and 4. I just drifted up a little bit too high and had to wait on the throttle that much. And when you're talking about hundredths of a second, it doesn't take that much. It's still a good lap for the GM Goodwrench Chevy."
(WITH YOUR ROOTS OUT WEST, IS PHOENIX A LITTLE MORE SPECIAL FOR YOU?) "Yeah, we've raced a lot out here. We've got a lot of friends and family and people out here. It's a lot of fun to come out here and race. We raced a lot of Southwest Tour races here so it's pretty cool to come back here and race."