Pocono: GM - Bobby Labonte qualifying interview

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: NOTE: Labonte knocked his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart off the pole, and wound up qualifying 3rd. "We changed a lot of stuff after practice. We weren't that good, and...

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

NOTE: Labonte knocked his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart off the pole, and wound up qualifying 3rd.

"We changed a lot of stuff after practice. We weren't that good, and I told them that I didn't know what else to do. We changed some stuff, thought about it and talked to Greg Zipadelli and those guys and I have to thank them for that. We unloaded off the truck and weren't that good; we changed some stuff and got better. We changed more stuff after practice. We knew we were going to be good. We didn't want to be 23rd or 24th. We wanted to either be better or give it a shot and take a chance it might be worse, but evidently it was better.

YOU AND FATBACK SEEM TO BE WORKING WELL TOGETHER RECENTLY. IS THIS TEAM WHERE YOU WANT IT TO BE?

"This morning, the car was really loose and that's what Fatback is used to from years past. It was too loose for me to drive, and that is where our communication comes in handy. We can work really well toward getting it to the feel that I like. That's cool, because today we didn't start off that way but we ended up that way. That just shows me that we don't have to unload just right. If we can work toward the same goal week in and week out.

DID YOU GIVE UP ON IT AFTER PRACTICE?

"If anybody did, I did. We sat on it for a while and thought about it and thought about it. We made a few changes and I thought about what I could do different. Maybe the combination of the two or three things, the shocks, springs, weight, wedge, air pressure and all that stuff that we changed. I would say that helped. We still have a lot of cars yet to go and it's probably going to cool off maybe a little before it gets any warmer. We're just happy we got what got and wherever it ends up it ends up. We're excited that we're first right now, and we picked up a little speed. We made kind of a gamble, I think a good educated guess that we were going to be better. It could have backfired. The track temperature could have gone up and we could have slowed down. I'm just real excited about what we were able to accomplish."

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAST YEAR'S PONTIAC AND THIS YEAR'S CHEVROLET?

"There's a lot of difference. There's a lot more downforce, a little better balance to it. The new Pontiac is like the new Chevrolet, where last year it was a lot different. There's no good comparison, because it's just old car to new car. We kind of took our notes from last year and threw them away because it's so much different. The new car is pretty good, and I'm sure the Pontiac is probably the same. Obviously, they're all supposed to be the same anyway."

WHAT DID YOU SHARE WITH TONY AFTER PRACTICE?

"We changed a lot of stuff between practice and qualifying. We kind of got like him on a few things that we weren't before and there were a few things we decided to do on our own. We changed a lot because we were 23rd or something like that. We wanted to make a change to go either forward or backward, we weren't going to be happy sticking where we were. We made the changes to go faster and we did. We compared a little bit of notes with Tony, but we knew we could adjust with my driving style. We were looking for a top-10 after our practice runs."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing