MIKE WALLACE, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 31st: "That was better than where we had practiced, but it was really tight over in the Tunnel Turn. We just never got the speed out of it today. Hopefully, we can work on it in final...
MIKE WALLACE, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 31st:
"That was better than where we had practiced, but it was really tight over in the Tunnel Turn. We just never got the speed out of it today. Hopefully, we can work on it in final practice tomorrow. That's not going to be all that good a lap, and hopefully it'll be in the top 36.
YOUR TEAMMATE JERRY NADEAU WAS RELEASED TODAY FROM REHABILITATION. ANY NEWS? "Jerry went home today from the rehabilitation center in Charlotte. Just as we came out to qualify, we heard that he had stopped by the MB2 shops and talked to some of the guys, and that some of the guys from here talked to him. I'm really happy for Jerry and his family, and it sounds like he's on a quick road to recovery. In the meantime, we'll just fill in and keep the seat warm for him."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 5th:
"That was really good. We're really getting better every time we come back to Pocono. Tony just ran a little bit faster than we were in practice, so I'm pretty confident in our lap. It's a whole lot better, a big step up for us from how we've run here in the past, and we've done pretty well. I'm looking forward to Sunday.
HOW TOUGH IS IT TO GET COMFORTABLE ON THIS TRACK? "It's real difficult, especially when you come with a relatively inexperienced team. Everything that we've done and learned, we've learned it together. [Crew chief] Tony Eury Jr. didn't have a lot of time here and I didn't have any laps here. We've just kind of progressed along. I think we'll be a good threat. We ran second here in 2001, and we've been pretty good here in the past."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 4th:
"That wasn't quite as fast as we ran The Home Depot Monte Carlo in practice, but the sun's come out and this place, with the three corners being different, is real temperature-sensitive. Just to lose two tenths is not too bad. If we can stay where we're at, we'll be pretty happy."
"It was good lap. It was a little bit loose on the last run of the practice and we tightened it up a little bit, but we didn't get it quite tight enough to get the pole. My teammate had a great lap and we're going to have a good starting spot regardless, so I think the car is really going to race well."
YOU VISITED VICTORY LANE LAST NIGHT? "I got to go to one of the coolest and most historic dirt tracks in Pennsylvania, Williams Grove, last night and won a big-block modified match race. I passed Billy Pauch coming down for the white flag and won that 20-lap match race. So I'm batting 1.000 at Williams Grove."
HOW IMPORTANT WAS YOUR TEST HERE TO GET YOU IN THE TOP FIVE? "In all reality we didn't do any qualifying runs. We just worked on race setups. The way this car drove in qualifying, I'm excited about the way it's going to race. I think the test is obviously going to be more effective for the race on Sunday than it was today. Having a good day today is making me optimistic about having a good day on Sunday."
HOW DID YOUR TEST AFFECT YOUR TEAMMATE? "Because of the fact that we didn't make any qualifying runs, I don't know how much of what we learned at the test he'll use."
REGARDING THE GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT ABOUT ALLOWING OTHER DRIVERS TO GET THEIR LAPS BACK, WHERE DO YOU STAND ON IT NOW? "It's a little bit confusing. I'm not sure where it stands right now. I think it's a situation where we all need to figure out what we're going to do and everybody needs to be that way toward everybody else. If we're not going to let each other have our laps back, then we need to make sure all the drivers know that. If we are going to do it, then we need to do it for everybody and not be selective. I respect Ryan [Newman], he's a great race car driver and he won the race fair and square the other day [at Dover]. I'm happy with the way we ran last week. We had a great, great car and I made a mistake that got us in that position in the first place. I don't have any ill feelings toward him, he ran a great race and deserved to win. We have a lot of racing left this year and I'm sure we'll be racing for more wins with him."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: Qualified 24th:
"I'm happy that we're making gains. The car is OK, but we haven't been as fast as we like to see, but we picked up about three and half tenths and that was a good thing. It's a new car and we're just trying to get it to where it needs to be. I'm looking forward to Happy Hour and we'll see how it's going to be in race trim. I'm looking forward to the race."
STEVE PARK, NO. 30 AMERICA ONLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Qualified 36th:
"We just haven't really been fast since we came off the truck. We made a bunch of changes after practice and we just keep running the same speed. We backed up our speed in practice, and a lot of guys have slowed down. We ran the same speed and we're just going to look at how we qualified well all year long but not finished well in the race. We're going to try and do the opposite this weekend."
JACK SPRAGUE, NO. 0 NETZERO HI SPEED PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
NOTE: Sprague was the top rookie in qualifying at Pocono and will start 18th: "We came here last week and tested with the NetZero Pontiac and we were really pleased with what we had. It was a little tight in practice and I thought, with the sun out, it would free up a little bit. It was a little too tight in qualifying, but that's kind of where we need to be. We need to be very careful what we're doing. The guys that come in and don't run full time can run us out of provisionals, and once you're out of them, you have a pretty good chance of going home. We don't need that for this race team and our sponsor, NetZero. This race team is just starting to turn around and unfortunately, we had to burn three provisionals right off the bat at the beginning of the year and that left us with one. We just need to be careful. We have to get in these shows solidly. I know what we could have done to run faster and be in the top 10, but that would have been taking a chance of not making it all the way around and we can't have that."