BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 17th: "The guys did a great job today. They worked on the car all day long. They worked really hard to give me a good solid race car. And they did that. We were able...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 17th:
"The guys did a great job today. They worked on the car all day long. They worked really hard to give me a good solid race car. And they did that. We were able to pick up a little bit. Going out early might not be the best thing. Still, to pick up a little bit and we were in the top 10 in practice so we should get a good starting spot Sunday."
HOW DIFFICULT - MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY - IS IT TO RACE 500 MILES AT POCONO? "It can be tough if your car isn't handling good. If your car is handling pretty good, it's not as bad. It's not like it's any worse than it was three or five years ago when it was 500 miles. It's still tough. It can be a lot of racing if there are a lot of cautions. But for the most part you can get grab a sandwich down the straightaway too. You've got a little bit of time to rest every now and then. You're shifting too, but for the most part you can get a little rest down the straightaways."
WARD BURTON, NO. 0 NETZERO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 27th:
"All the guys have worked really hard on this car. We've changed a little bit of our aero package this week. We've got to get the car to turn a little bit quicker right before the center and I think we can get the car to run a little bit faster."
HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE HAS BILL INGLE MADE AS YOUR CREW CHIEF FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS? "Bill has a different approach to the teamwork and using all the assets and a different approach with the way the cars are built from the ground up and I'm really excited about working with Bill. He's got a super philosophy and he's a great role model for all of us. He's got everybody steered in the right direction."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 6th:
"The fans are very outspoken here and the track is very unique and a lot of fun. The GMAC Chevy crew did a great job. I think I did the best job I could. It's an awesome place. I can understand why the fans love it so much."
HOW IMPORTANT IS PATIENCE HERE IN RUNNING 500 MILES? "It's very important. It's a long race and it's hard on equipment. We have to shift. It's a long track in general. Patience is very important. If you get wound up or lose your cool or something, it's very easy to miss a shift and blow a motor and then you're out of the race. So you have to be very patient and take your time. But it can be done."
IS THERE ANY ADVANTAGE TO STARTING UP FRONT AT POCONO? "Yes. It's a big fast race track that's going to have an aero push - I don't care what you do. But you've just got to work around it as best as you can. A good qualifying spot would be great to pick a good spot on pit road. It's real important." More to follow
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 2nd:
"I ran a 51.1 off the track and then we put stickers on it at the end of practice in the sun and we ran a 51.5. Those were very good laps and I had to get everything I could. I got into Turn 1 just a little bit too hard and all of a sudden it got loose in the middle and then it got tight and then it was all messed up. But the tunnel turn and Turn 3 I did just perfect and that's all I had. We'll take it. We're close. I think we qualified third when we were here six weeks ago.
"This U.S. Army team has been awesome. They are giving me top-notch equipment every week and we're right on the verge. If we have that little bit of luck, we'll be in good shape." More to follow
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 14th: "It's really weird. I've been watching on television. For a lot of guys, the first lap is the one. I don't know. We didn't roll in our tires like we have been in the past and I think that may have hurt me a little bit. I was really slow coming to the green and I knew that lap wasn't going to be that good. Turn 1 was kind of exciting too, to say the least. I made it around and put in a good second lap. Hopefully we'll make it into the top 10 and hopefully have a similar performance like we did before in this Chevrolet Monte Carlo."
TONY STEWART, NO. 2O HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 8th:
IS THE TRACK NARROWER BECAUSE OF THE SAFER BARRIERS? "It's just a little bit narrower on the exit of the tunnel. That's the only place that you really notice it. To be honest, we really appreciate all the tracks that are doing it. It wasn't totally completed when we were here six weeks ago. They just had the soft walls in Turn 1. But now they've added them to Turn 2 and Turn 3 has been a big effort by all the folks here at Pocono and we appreciate it."
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT "The first step in winning this race this weekend is to just have a solid run and have a good starting spot. Obviously pit selection is a big deal today so that's probably the most important part of the day is just pit selection."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 16th:
"Getting in this car is probably one of the few things that I can do. And we've been keeping them (his burns) clean and doing everything we can - trying to keep them from getting them infected. The doctor has been great. We're just waiting to heal up and be done with it."
YOU RAN 60 LAPS LAST WEEK. ARE YOU READY TO GO THE DISTANCE THIS WEEK? "I want to and I think I can. It was a lot easier to turn the car over to Martin Truex Jr. at Loudon) because the car wasn't running good. I figured Martin would do a good job and he did with what he had. This weekend I've got John Andretti ready go get in the car. I've got a lot of confidence in John. If I feel like I need to turn it over, I will. I want to go all the way because I ain't had much fun sitting on the couch."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 13th:
"We just gave it everything we had with the weather and the draw on our side. I thought the car felt the best it had all day long. I felt like we had a heck of a lap going. I got into the Tunnel Turn and turned a little bit early and you don't want to do that there. I got a big push up off and pretty much killed the lap from then on. We've got a good race car and I hate it that we didn't qualify better than that but hopefully we can drive to the front on Sunday."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Qualified 6th / TOP ROOKIE:
The GMAC Chevy team did a great job. We had a good qualifying and a good practice. Everything went well. I enjoy the race track. It's a lot of fun coming up here. The track is very unique and that's probably one of the biggest things I enjoy about it. It's very different. Every turn is different. Where we got beat in qualifying was just the time we qualified. We got everything we could out of the car. The track was still slick. It was still hot. It was still above 100 degrees when we went out. It's dropped dramatically since then and it's really hurt us a lot. But that's part of it. There's nothing we can do about that. I think we had a car capable of the pole. But we just needed a little luck to go along with it."
WITH A SHORT PRACTICE, WHAT DID YOU CONCENTRATE ON DURING THAT TIME? "We were just trying to make the car comfortable. We had a good qualifying package left over from last time. We just made a couple of adjustments and just tried to get the car as comfortable through the corners as possible. We focused on a couple of things that got us last time. We got those fixed, actually. I thought we were even better than last time. But you can see, it's just that the time of day got us."