BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON PICKING UP A HALF SECOND FROM PRACTICE) "It must have been something other than the driver's compartment. The guys did a good job tuning the motor up. We didn't tune on it too...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON PICKING UP A HALF SECOND FROM PRACTICE) "It must have been something other than the driver's compartment. The guys did a good job tuning the motor up. We didn't tune on it too much this morning, but we did this afternoon before qualifying.
"Jimmy [Makar] and I talked about a few things to try to make it a little bit better and took a gamble at it. Hopefully it was the right gamble. "We made a couple decisions to try a few things on the chassis. Everything seemed to work out better. The car felt a lot better [in qualifying] than when we made our mock qualifying run. I just have to put a lot of the credit there. It was a good team effort today. We're just trying to get things right for Sunday."
(IS THERE A PARTICULAR TURN AT POCONO THAT IS THE TOUGHEST?)
"Yep. One, two and three."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"I was sliding around a little bit more than what we expected. We were a little bit quicker in practice and thought we were going to run a little faster yet. But, we're real happy. The Valvoline Pontiac was still good. It's still in the top 10, so we're pretty happy with that."
(CAN YOU WIN ON SUNDAY?)
"We sure hope so. We've been right there; we just haven't made it happen yet. James Ince and the guys have been doing a tremendous job. I have no complaints on that end at all. It would be nice to get to victory lane, but the guys are doing a great job of being consistent and that means a whole bunch, too."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"I'm pretty happy with that. That is about a half a second faster than what we ran in practice and all that goes to the guys on the team. We've been struggling a little bit the last couple weeks and everybody has been working really hard to try to fix that. Not just the guys at the track, but everybody back at the shop has been working two shifts to try to get us back up to where we need to be. I think this run is proof that they've been working hard."
(HOW DID YOU PICK UP SO MUCH FROM PRACTICE?) "I think I just sucked it up a little bit."
"It's difficult. With three different turns like this, it's the most unique place we go to, by far. Every track we go to has got its challenges. There is no easy racetrack. This one has its own unique characteristics and challenges."
(HOW MUCH BETTER DO THINGS FEEL THIS WEEK AS COMPARED TO LAST WEEK?)
"This is just a different racetrack. You just have to keep working to try to find the balance every week."
(WHY DOES THIS PLACE WORK SO WELL FOR YOU?)
"Shoot, I don't know. I never think I can qualify that well until it comes time to qualify. Even in the past, if you look at those time sheets, we've never been that good until we go out to qualify. Even when we broke the record last year, I think we were ninth or 10th on the practice sheet before we did it.
"I don't know, to be perfectly honest. I think a lot of it is the guy putting the setup on it. There is no voodoo that he does right before we go out for the run. I just do like everybody else does when it comes time to get the job done for the real deal. I just try to suck it up and make one lap count. Today I sucked it up three times - once for each corner. If you can get a tenth or two in each corner, it adds up to a pretty big chunk at this place."
KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"It's about time. The guys that work on this M&M's Pontiac have been doing a good job and the car has been running good. We've just been struggling a little bit to put it all together. "Today we thought we had something [for the pole] until Ricky [Rudd] went out, and then it was like, 'Holy heck.' I just wasn't going to do anything stupid to try to be second."
(ON THE RACE)
"This has always been a good track for us. Johnny Benson (Schrader's teammate) came up and tested here, and they've helped us a lot. We're looking forward to it. We just need to get through tomorrow and get ready for Sunday."
(WHICH TURN IS THE HARDEST HERE?)
"The hardest one always seems to be the one I'm approaching. "I think turn one is the hardest. Turn one is where I'm going faster and it makes me think I'm going to hit harder. You're going to hit hard in all three of these. Turn one is the hardest, then the tunnel [turn] and then three is the easiest."
(DOES THE DIFFICULTY IN EACH CORNER CHANGE WITH HOW YOUR CAR IS SET UP?)
"If your car is off here, you can't find a turn where it feels right. It just doesn't feel right anywhere. The turns are so much different that you'd think your car would really feel a ton different every place. But if you get it right - wherever that 'right' is for your car - it gets around all three of them pretty good, but it ain't 'killer' in any of them."
(ON THINKING ABOUT RUNNING FOR THE POLE)
"We had run a 53.40-something in practice and Ricky had run an 'O' (53.00 seconds). I thought, 'If he slows up a couple tenths and we can get a couple tenths, we have a shot.' Then he ran a 52.70-something and somebody asked me, 'How are you going to run?' I said, 'A hell of a lot more careful than I was going to. I'm not going to do anything stupid to be second.' "When he ran his lap and the next best thing up there was in the 53.40's, it was his pole to throw away."
(ON POSTING ANOTHER GOOD EFFORT THIS WEEK)
"We've had some good runs. We just haven't necessarily had good finishes. Charlotte was 'shouda's and woulda's.' It could have been a fifth or a sixth easy, but we had to come back in and put lug nuts on [after a pit stop]. Dover, we had a real good car...made two laps and wrecked. "It feels good to start third again. Last week was pretty neat because I could actually see who was battling for the lead."
(ON SHIFTING GEARS HERE)
"I'll shift from high to overdrive a little bit past the start/finish line and then somewhere down in [turn] one - when you realize that you're not going to hit anything - you get back into high gear."
(ON THE TIRES HERE)
"They (Goodyear) took some grip away from us and I think the tires are more consistent. They're not changing tires on us every single week. This tire, we've run it a bunch already this year and we know what to expect when we get to the racetrack. I think what Goodyear has done has been good for the whole series."