Pocono II: GM teams Friday practice quotes

Tony Stewart -- ...

Tony Stewart -- #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet

HOW WAS PRACTICE? Well, it was practice.

HAVE YOU SIZED UP THE FENCE HERE? Not yet. I've got a lot of work to do before I worry about that.

TALK ABOUT THE TEAR THIS TEAM'S BEEN ON LATELY It's just been awesome. Really proud of, in particular, Zippy. He's really been working hard. All three teams, but really been working hard on the #20 to really get us back on track right now and real proud of the job that him and the whole organization is doing right now. They've really stepped it up and made a lot of gains. If we can stay on this pace I think we'll have a real good end of the season.


COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FEELINGS AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON? Well, I'm a lot more confident than I was six weeks ago for sure. But you look at guys who were on top of their game at the beginning of the season and some of those guys are struggling right now in that situation. It can turn in a week, so you can't get lazy. You can't get complacent with what's going on - you really have to just keep working hard. You know, this week the attitude and the approach is no different from last week. Just like all the other teams are doing today and if we don't do a good job we won't be where we were last week.

COULD YOU NARROW IT DOWN TO ONE THING AS TO WHY THE COMPETITION IS TOUGHER THIS SEASON? You know, I don't know. There are so many things involved in this series. Just doing my job is hard enough without trying to analyze everything else that's going on. You know, I'm sure the rules package has been part of it. It's been a big adjustment for a lot of teams. You know, technology and resources. As high tech as this sport's getting and as much as it's costing to do all that. If one particular organization finds something, it's going to be good for everyone on that team.

RE: MOMENTUM I wish I could figure out how to bottle it, store it freeze it and all that. I'd do it in a heartbeat.

RE: INDY TEST Well, it was kind of hard deciding whether we were good or not. It was kind of hard to tell what lap everyone was on their tires. Unless you had someone sitting up there timing everyone's runs every lap, it was hard to compare. But for a one day test, I felt like the last half of the day went really well. We just have to wait and see and go back a couple weeks.

THE TRACKS COMING UP ARE ALL GOOD TRACKS FOR YOU WITH A GOOD RECORD Yeah, this is normally the time of year I really enjoy-the tracks are really hot and slippery. Like I said, we've still got a lot of work to do to still be good at them. Even though I like them, it doesn't mean we're going to run good.

SPRINT CAR EXPERIENCE COMING BACK TO YOU A BIT? Yeah, I did a little dirt tracking out there today. Still haven't found the cushion. Pretty sure we need to work on the cars to try to find the cushion.

Jeff Gordon -- #24 DuPont Chevrolet

MANY PEOPLE SAY THAT RUNNING HERE GIVES DRIVERS A GOOD INDICATION OF HOW THEY WILL DO AT INDY. IS THAT STILL THE CASE? I mean, you know, it's funny that, yes, we've seen that. And I have no idea why because this track is so opposite in my opinion. Maybe not opposite, but there are so many differences here. This track is really rough. Three totally opposite corners from one another and none of them are really like Indy. Maybe the speeds, the long straightaways, versus the tightness of the some of the corners. Maybe that gives us the information we need to maximize some of our downforce and straightaway speed to be able to apply that an Indianapolis.

HOW MUCH ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT TIRES THIS WEEKEND? Well, you know, we were in good shape on tires. The tires were never really an issue. If it was the curbing that was causing all that, then you shouldn't have a problem now because you can't go anywhere near that curb now. I wish they would have fixed the race track at the same time they fixed the curb. You know, there are some things in the race track-some really big bumps and roughness-that would have been nice to have gotten through that area little bit better. But, not at issue.

ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE REPAVING OVER BY THE TUNNEL? I wouldn't even call it that. There is a ramp back there that you can get some air off of, but I don't know if there is a repaving job on the race track.

HOW FRUSTRATING HAS IT BEEN TO HAVE GREAT RUNS GOING AND THEN HAVE SOMETHING BAD HAPPEN ON THE RACE TRACK? Yeah, last week was frustrating. Charlotte it was frustrating. Dover it was early on, but we were running up front when it happened. You know, yeah it's been frustrating. To me it's more frustrating when we have days like Michigan, Texas. Places where we just ran bad and really didn't have our act together; Chicago. Those are on our mind more than some of the circumstances that are out of our control.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE REALLY PRESSING TO GET INTO THE TOP 10? Yeah. We're just pressing, trying to get up front and run up front and finish up front. You know, the points take care of themselves when you do everything else right and we can't be so focused on points. I think we've got other things we need to be working on and concerned about. I hope that we're making headway. We had a good test at Indianapolis. You know, I think that we've had some good things going on today so far.

STILL HAVE POSITIVE THOUGHTS ON THE CHASE FORMAT? Yeah, I think it's great. The thing is, I'm not out of the championship. Not yet. Not mathematically. We still have a shot to get back in that top 10 and anybody in that top 10 has a shot at the championship. Especially in the position I'm in now, I'm in favor of it a lot.

WILL THE WEEK OFF COME AT A GOOD TIME FOR YOU? Oh yeah. It doesn't matter if we're on a streak of six wins or six DNFs. An off-weekend is a welcomed sight. It's a grueling schedule when you look at what we do off the race track in addition to what we do on the race track. It's nice to have some time off, so I'm looking forward to it.

Jimmie Johnson -- #48 Lowe's Chevrolet

YOU WON BOTH RACES HERE LAST YEAR, SO RUNNING A BACK UP CAR MUST NOT BE THAT BIG A DEAL FOR YOU I feel good about. You hate to lose a race car-it was one of our best race cars. But, all of our race cars are good. Chad works really hard to build equal cars. We'll be in good shape in the backup car. We learned some things even though we crashed the primary car. Hopefully we can apply that and take it into the next practice session and have a good race on Sunday. I'm not worried about it. We should be able to start the race where we qualify. We've got no issues, we just lost an hour's worth of practice in the race car.

DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY THIS YEAR GOING INTO THE CHASE? You're always smarter after the fact. Last year we tried some stuff that didn't end up working out. Got back up to speed midway through the Chase and did what we needed to do, just kind of ran out of time and points at the end, but we're smarter than we were last year. You want to say that you can control when your bad luck is going to happen and when you're going to be fast, but you can't. If you look at the #24 right now, they're doing everything they can. They've had bad luck, they've had some bad performances and they're trying to get things turned around. Our spot like that last year took place after Pocono, so hopefully our slow spot's behind us and we only have checkered flags and good finishes ahead of us.

IS THERE ONE THING THAT YOU CAN NARROW IT DOWN TO AS TO WHY THE COMPETITION IS SO HIGH? With Jeff's situation, he's had some crashes and he's gotten caught up in some things. Transmission problem with his car and my car at Sonoma that hurt us. So, there's been some bad performances, but also some bad luck too. Those guys are working hard and hate not competing for wins and I really believe that Robby Loomis and Jeff Gordon will go out there and be back in this before long. In our sport, everything goes in cycles and when you're on top, it's just natural to not change much until people are outrunning you. The Roush guys and us have been very strong from last year and through this year. And the #20 right now - those guys have been working hard at Joe Gibbs Racing and they've stepped it up and won the last three. So, if you look at it, everything takes place in cycles and how everything starts working and the development takes place. So, you get beat a little bit and you start working on new things and you probably struggle a little bit trying to figure that out, then you start doing what you need to do and see the performances. It just takes a month's period of time-maybe two months, for some teams.

DO YOU LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER RIGHT NOW OR DOES IT REALLY MAKE THAT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE IF YOU'RE IN THE ONE, TWO OR THREE POSITION? There's a small edge mentally, I believe, to be the points leader going into it. But, last year, it didn't really matter. Kurt Busch, I think, was ninth in points and got into the final 10 and put in 10 good races. 10 really good races and was the champion. So, with a short format and 10-15 guys in it, I think everybody has a shot.

Alan Gustafson, Crew Chief -- #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet

Note: Driver Kyle Busch crashed in the final minutes of Happy Hour and will have to use his backup car for qualifying and Sunday's race.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? No, I don't, actually. I was in the garage. We tried to make a qualifying run there and I know he got on the apron in two and bent the nose there, so we came back to cool it down. We were rushing there, and I don't know what happened on the race track as far as what the car did. I'm sure it felt loose for him. Probably should have quit there, instead of rushed. We'll get this (backup) car going. It's a good car. It sat on the pole in California, finished ninth in Michigan. So, we'll be fine.

YOU'RE PRETTY SURE IT WASN'T A TIRE PROBLEM? No, it was not a tire problem.

HOW HAD THE CAR BEEN ALL DAY? It was pretty good. We fought it. The second race here at Pocono is usually greasy and you do fight it. We weren't bad. We were definitely a top 10 car. In qualifying trim. That's what so hard about these impounds. You get a race setup to race fast in the race, and you make adjustments to go qualify. A 20-year old guy like Kyle Busch is going to stand on the gas, so it gets tough.

WILL THIS BACKUP CAR HAVE TO START IN THE BACK? We probably won't change the engine there, so we'll have to start in the back.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing