Saturday, July 22, 2000. Pocono Raceway. Advance material for Pennsylvania 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 1. TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Labonte practiced in the Kellogg's Monte Carlo Saturday morning...
Saturday, July 22, 2000. Pocono Raceway. Advance material for Pennsylvania 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 1.
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
NOTE: Labonte practiced in the Kellogg's Monte Carlo Saturday morning and plans to start the car on Sunday. If so, he'll extend his consecutive starting streak record to 655 races.
"I'll start it and probably run all day because it'll probably go green all the way," Labonte said jokingly. "Seriously, I'll get out at the first caution. I've got to put a pad in the bottom of the seat for me because Rich Bickle is so much taller than I am, but that's about all we've got to do to the seat for me. The steering wheel is in the same place and the pedal and everything.
"I'm going to get out of the car tomorrow and I'm going to act like an owner. If the car is running good, I'm going to stay. If not, I'm leaving. Actually, I'm probably going to leave before the race is over.
"I can't really do anything to speed the healing. It's fractured right in the joint. I can't put any pressure on it. About all you can do is stay off of it. You can't do anything about it. It's gotten a lot better this week. The swelling has gone down a lot this week. It feels pretty good. I almost feel like I could take off and run across the room on it, but I'm afraid to.
"It hurt worse after New Hampshire. The doctor said if I'd quit messing around with it that it would get better a lot faster. I've been sitting around watching a lot of TV. It's pretty boring sitting around not being able to do anything, but I know I'll be ready to go by the Brickyard. They told me it would take six-eight weeks to get over it. Indy will be four weeks, so that's about right."
GARY DEHART (Crew chief No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We had to put Rich's seat in the car. The pieces that come up under his arm pits are raised, but the seat is about the same size as Terry's width-wise. We've just got to put a pad under Terry to raise him up, and we've got to make sure it's firm enough so when Terry buckles in it's firm enough that the seat belt won't cause any problems. Rich did a good job qualifying the car yesterday. You've still got to look good even though we'll have to drop to the rear to start the race. It was a little different with another driver. It would be that much more different with another driver. You learn what Terry likes, then to work with another driver, it's different. We ended up about like we were the last time here. Yesterday was very confusing for us. The car will be just like it was when we raced it here the last time. That's the way we're going to start it today. Terry will run the car, and we're not going to set the car up for him. We'll set it up for Rich."
RICK BICKLE (Substitute driver No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo)
"I'm guessing Terry and I have similar driving styles. It's kind of like Darrell Waltrip. I've seen him over the years and when we'd go test with him, it seemed like we had similar driving styles. I don't think it'll be a big change getting Terry in and out or changing the car very much for me.
"If I get an opportunity and a little luck to get track position, I think the car can run in the top 10 easily. We came here to win the race. Gary said right off the bat there's no holding back. We're going to give it everything we've got. You never know. Anything can happen. I could stand a little bit of luck on my side for a change, but I think the car can run in Saturday, July 22, 2000. Pocono Raceway. Advance material for Pennsylvania 500. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 2.
RICK BICKLE (Substitute driver No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo) the top 10. It ran seventh here last year, and I know the car has a lot more motor this time around. It feels like it's going to drive real good. Realistically, if we get a little luck, and get some track position, especially after starting dead last, we'll be all right.
"My driver's stock is at the bottom of the barrel. I don't know why. It just seems like after stuff happened last year with Tyler Jet things just went downhill. I did my own Busch deal and that was a disaster up until last month. People forget you really fast in this deal. I thought I might get a couple more shots after Martinsville in the 60 car. We were really fast there. We just got tore up every time we turned around, but to have somebody of this caliber call, especially after the way my year has gone, but to have John Hendrick call and ask me to drive the car is a neat situation.
"I've never been around this type of organization. I told them in the garage area I'm kind of spoiled because I've never been this far down in the garage before. I'm usually 25th or somewhere in that area. I've never been in the top 15. I got in the car yesterday and all the guys treated me well. They made changes and did things. Everybody seemed like we'd worked together before. There was no animosity about Terry not being in the car. They knew they were here to get the job done and so was I. Everybody worked together well yesterday.
"The car felt pretty good untaped. Then we started going in qualifying trim and it was really bad. It wouldn't turn. Gary and myself and the shock guy decided to throw a bunch of stuff at it. We changed about everything you could change except for shocks. We guessed at what we needed to do to make the car turn, and we went out there and I wasn't ready for it. I was ready for the thing to knock the wall down being tight. By the time I realized the car was going to turn good, we were coming into turn three and I had left a lot on the track. If I had had one lap on the car like that prior to qualifying, we might could have qualified in the top 10.
"We decided we were going to try to qualify. Gary said the team needed to look good, and I needed to look good. I was frustrated a little because it wouldn't turn. I guess it was the difference in the tire and me not being around the Cup cars that much this year. It's been a struggle. The Indy test helped me get up to speed on the big track again, but I thought we'd be a little bit better than we were.
"I tested with Express Motorsports, the 61 team, at Indy. They did a Busch deal, and now they're doing some Cup races. We're going to do Indy and maybe two or three more if things go right. If the right circumstances come around, I'd like to run Cup. Everybody's got equipment, pretty much. If they can get the right people, that's half the battle. You've got to love it, but at the same time, you can hate it pretty easy. It's a pressure-packed deal, and you've got to be on top of it. If you don't have really good people behind you, you can't do it.
"I'm confident about Sunday. I know how good I ran here last year. I've always wanted to be in good stuff, but this is a no-pressure deal. It's a great opportunity. It's fun for me to be around and sit back and watch this side of the fence. I'm just here to do my job, and there's really no pressure on me at all. If we can put on a good show and show people I'm still around and maybe open some eyes, that'll be a good day for me. I feel like I'm the best I've been on this side of the fence. I'm in the right position."