Pontiac Drivers Notes From the First 125 Qualifying Race

Gatorade Twin-125s Daytona International Speedway February 11, 1999 First Twin Note: Today's victory by Bobby Labonte gave the Pontiac Grand Prix its first twin 125-mile qualifying race victory since Bobby Allison turned the trick in ...

Gatorade Twin-125s Daytona International Speedway February 11, 1999

First Twin

Note: Today's victory by Bobby Labonte gave the Pontiac Grand Prix its first twin 125-mile qualifying race victory since Bobby Allison turned the trick in 1981.

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We got by Terry there. He got up the race track a little bit in turn four and I don't know what happened to him. Schrader was pushing me so hard I didn't want to let off because I figured he'd go by. I got a run on Gordon to the outside and I pinched him off on some lapped cars. He drove back and got right back in there. This Interstate Pontiac ran great today. We put a new engine in it this morning. We made a little call on it last night and the guys made a great decision. The car handled great, better than I thought it would. I was a little skeptical. I didn't think it would do this good. I was a little afraid it wouldn't do this good. Fortunately, for us it did and we were able to hold it together all day. "I used to be the always one getting blocked. I said, "This is going to be another school right here.' I'm not very good at it and I don't like blocking people at all. I guess it's what you've got to do though. We did the right thing and came home first. We just found out we didn't have the qualifying setup like last year and these other guys have picked up on some stuff that we picked up on last year. We've got the same Pontiac we had here last year. Qualifying didn't turn out like we wanted it to for us. It was good for Tony (Stewart), it showed up for him. It wasn't really a big concern because we figured out that's basically what it was. "It's pretty slippery out there. My car got a little tight at places and a little loose in places. We've got to work on that a little bit. I'm not sure if we can find it or not and I'm not sure if we want to."

JIMMY MAKAR, crew chief (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We didn't know quite what we had. The guys changed the motor this morning. We weren't as strong as we wanted to be yesterday in practice. We worked really hard here and made some decisions to start this race a little different and it looks like it paid off. The whole Interstate Batteries crew did a great job."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "The rear tires were rubbing pretty hard and it bent the car up pretty good. The tires were rubbing and I was starting to cut another tire, so rather be in the way and get in trouble out there it was just better to pull off. A guy got down on the flat and it looked like he hit the guy in front of him. It was a pretty sad story because you're not even going 160 miles an hour. I guess the guy didn't know the difference between the apron and the race track. I figured we would at least get to the second turn before somebody tried something crazy. If there was anything good about it, at least we weren't up to speed yet. It's disappointing."

BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 00 Crown Fiber Pontiac Grand Prix): "This was the first race of the year and we are a new team. It is a learning experience, but we need to stay positive. We just didn't have the right combination. We made a lot of changes and Winston Cup is so technical. It's tough. You can't let anything get by. These guys work so hard and I wouldn't trade them for anything. At the start of the race, we weren't that bad."

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "I made a move early because I figured I should make a move. I got under Jeff Burton and then I got caught in the freight train. I got shuffled back. Then they got to racing up front and I made a couple of pretty good moves and got back up there. I was following Terry and then Terry slipped and Schrader was right behind me. I had to do something and I got by Gordon. With five laps to go I got to thinking, "Hey, I'm not supposed to be here, Gordon's supposed to be here.' After Saturday when we took the qualifying setup out, we actually put in the race setup and picked up a little speed. We knew we were in really good shape to race. They're not going to race real hard at the front. You've got to realize that. When you're in the top-five in this race, you know you're in the 500. You start thinking about bending the car up instead of what it would feel like to win. I just wanted to be safe and secure and get in the 500. "I caught Jeff in traffic and I have no idea if I could have passed him if he hadn't gotten caught in traffic. He had a strong car and I had an awfully strong car. The last 10 or so laps I knew the 24 and 33 would get in single file and try to make a run on me. But when they got to racing I felt real comfortable when I looked back and saw them racing."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Bobby Allison