Pontiac Racing Darlington qualifying notes

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (2ND): (ON HIS LAP) "The lap was really good. We were off just a little bit, but extremely happy how the Aaron's Pontiac ran in qualifying." (ON THE DIFFERENCE IN TIRES HERE) "Today the track...

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (2ND): (ON HIS LAP) "The lap was really good. We were off just a little bit, but extremely happy how the Aaron's Pontiac ran in qualifying."

(ON THE DIFFERENCE IN TIRES HERE) "Today the track is just so hot and it's pretty slick, so I think that's why the speeds weren't as fast as they were as maybe they were in the spring. But the tires are a little bit different. Most places we've gone to they've been faster, but here they've been just a touch slower - not an extreme amount. There again, just like every week, qualifying is extremely tight, so I doesn't really matter speed-wise."

(ON THE IMPROVING CHEMISTRY BETWEEN HE AND TEAMMATE KEN SCHRADER) "It's worked out really good. Kenny Schrader and myself, James Ince and Sammy Johns have been doing a tremendous job of communicating back and forth. We're getting our cars as equal as possible. We tell them what we have, they tell us what they have and whatever seems to work best we try to lean toward that way. Our cars are fairly close - as close as we feel that you get them being in two different race shops. I think that in the future when we get under one roof, this deal is going to be pretty good. We're obviously looking forward to 2001. But the rest of 2000, I think we're communicating very good. For two single-car teams that were decent in the points getting together, I think it's been a great idea. We're looking forward to the rest of this season and 2001."

(ON DARLINGTON) "I like Darlington. Most people hate the place, but I can pick worse tracks. I like this place. I like racing here. You've got to race the racetrack instead of everybody, but it's a track I like. I think it's challenging, and it's got some interesting characteristics to it. I like racing here. I think it's kind of a neat deal and it's obviously a great race to win. Hopefully we can accomplish that this weekend. "We've struggled in qualifying and run OK in the races, so we've been making some pretty big efforts toward qualifying and I think that is where Kenny has helped us out. Kenny has always qualified decent and we've struggled. He's helped us there and hopefully we have helped him with the race set-ups. I think we're pretty close now. Again, we've been working really good together and I think it's going to be a great effort for us in 2001."

(ON THE GROWING EXPECTATIONS AT THE TEAM) "Our expectations are to try to win a race. That's kind of the goal. The goal is still to try to get in the top 10 (in points). It's been very difficult for us this year with some of the things we've had to endure. With the team change and the sponsor deals that have been going on, and obviously with us not being able to test and go to the wind tunnel and things of this nature, I think we've done actually very well for the circumstances we've been under. But that's part of it. It's still tough for this year. This year we're still on a pretty good budget, but our goals haven't changed and realistically we still want to do the best we can throughout the season and do good in the points. But we still feel we could still win a race this year and that's the goal - to make that happen. The driver's got to qualify better to get us up to the front to where we can do that and we've been working on that hard, so hopefully this is going to help us out." (continued, p. 2)

(ARE THE PIECES FINALLY IN PLACE TO ALLOW THE TEAM TO CONCENTRATE AT THE RACETRACK?) "We haven't really changed what we're trying to do at the racetracks. Once we get to the racetrack everything else is behind us. We can't really worry about those things. But it's 'during the week' that we're struggling with and not being able to do things. Once you get to the racetrack, it's 'Yeah, here's what you've got to deal with.' You've got your race car, your driver, your crew and you need to make those things happen. So it's our 'during the week' stuff that we need to improve on. Not some much just at the shop, but as far as being able to move forward. There are a lot of things that we need to do, and now that MB2 and MBV actually have gotten together and we've got a sponsor for 2001, this winter should be very productive for us."

(IS HE SURPRISED THAT THE CAR RAN THIS GOOD?) "This car has been pretty good to us. It's been kind of sitting there collecting dust a little bit and we decided to bring it back out. We actually ran very well with it at the beginning of the year, and then I wrecked it at Texas. We ran it once and then we didn't run as good with it at Fontana as we would've liked, so it's kind of sat on the side a little bit. But we figured out where the problem was there, so we corrected it with the car and brought it back out. It's a good race car, so hopefully we can make it run very good on Sunday and just kind of see what happens."

(ON TIRE MANAGEMENT VERSUS TRACK POSITION) "Track position means everything, but tire management means a bunch here. We don't have to worry about fuel mileage for once. But I think with this new tire, it seems to run better in a longer run than what some of the old ones did. But still, you put tires on - it's going to be two seconds here. There is no getting around that. The track is very abrasive on tires, but everybody has got to deal with the same program. It's just a matter of getting the right cautions, per se, if they're going to hit everybody at the right time. If the leader has checked out, man, you've got to work on their schedule. If somebody starts short pitting and there are no cautions, I think that guy is going to end up pretty good, so it really depends on where the cautions fall."

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "I ran into (turn) one a little harder than I had all day. The car wiggled a little bit and it took all through one and two to get it caught up. That's where we lost our time."

MIKE BLISS, NO. 27 VIAGRA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "That was the best lap we've run today. I finally hit the lines I wanted to and it obviously made a lot of difference. I scraped the wall a couple times in practice, but it wasn't anything major. We're happy to be in the top 25. It's so nice to have all day tomorrow to get this thing set up for the race."

KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "That was a good run for the M&M's Pontiac. It wasn't pole material, but we're going to be able to see who starts up on the pole. It was just real good. The track was good. We got through one and two, and I've been messing up in turn three, so I made sure I didn't mess up in turn three. The car did everything I wanted it to. I wish I'd have know it was going to be that good, but if I had tried harder I would have messed it up. It was OK. It will be decent.

"The car has been pretty good all day. We had one real close deal. I got it in the fence just a little bit, but this will be a good starting spot for us.

"We're just very pleased. The car was good when we unloaded and it should be because the guys back at the shop have been working their butts off, doing a lot of changes and getting these things where they need to be. It was good."

DAVE BLANEY, NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON PICKING UP SO MUCH IN QUALIFYING) "We didn't get our second sticker run in practice. We went out and made half of it and a guy wrecked, then went out and made another lap and I lost it, so I bailed. That there was actually quicker than we though we could run. We didn't know. We didn't have a sticker run in practice so we didn't know what we could do."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (DID HE GET WHAT HE EXPECTED OUT OF THE BACKUP CAR?) "I think we expected a little bit more, but it just wasn't there. We've just got our work cut out for us and we've got to go to work."

(ON DARLINGTON BEING A TOUGH PLACE FOR HIM ON FRIDAYS IN THE PAST COUPLE SEASONS) "Yeah, I guess that's the way it is. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose."

WARD BURTON, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON QUALIFYING THIRD) "We were quickest on both sets of stickers this morning, so obviously the team gave me a good car. We got a little loose on the second set during practice and we thought we had tightened up enough. We did tighten it up in some areas, but made the nose push a little bit entering the corner and that got me a little bit loose in the center. But we gave the pole way. That's for sure because as much as I was threading the needle there, we only lost it by a little bit, so I felt like it was ours to lose. But we'll take a third place start, the car is in one piece, we'll work real hard tomorrow to get the good handle on it and see what we can do Sunday."

(ON SAND MANAGEMENT) "You're always managing it the best you can here. Even when you've got one of the best cars it's still a handful to keep it out of the fence. You're always managing and paying a lot of attention to the lap before. That's the one thing here. You're racing each and every lap, but you have to remember precisely what that car did the last time into one, the last time into three, the middle and the exits because if you forget a little bit, if you came a little close to the wall and don't correct for it, you'll be in the wall. You're always managing a lot here.

(ON SAND ON THE SURFACE BEING SIMILAR AT ROCKINGHAM AND DARLINGTON) "Rockingham and Darlington might as well be in the same county as far as that's concerned. I don't know what the hell it is about up here, but something about the sand here and Rockingham eat this pavement up."

(ON HIS CHANCES OF WINNING SUNDAY) "I think the main thing is we just need to stay real focused and get a competitive finish out of it. Whether we're going to have the car to win or not, we've got 450 miles to get to that point and then we'll decide like we do every week at the end of the race. We've just got to stay real focused. The main thing is to get the car to handle. If we get the car to where we're the best handling race car, then it will be again like today. It will be ours to win or lose."

(ON THE TEAM) "We stomped our own toes four or five weeks in a row. We did not get the results we were headed to because of our own mental mistakes, and that's myself included - not pointing the finger. But with a lot of other stuff going on around Bill Davis Racing, not only at the shop but at the racetrack, I think some of our focus was not as clear as it was before, so we're working real hard on that.

"I think that's what we need to do is stay focused, take one week at a time, work hard at the shop and try to put some of the outside, exterior distractions away. We've got a heck of a lot more on the plate than we did this time last year or even in the fall here. That's the biggest thing is stay focused and put some of that stuff where it's still on the burner, but it's not on the burner when we're at the racetrack.

"It's bothered me, but we're building for the future. Obviously, everyone thought and thinks that adding a Winston Cup team is going to be better for Bill Davis Racing. On a selfish side, it would suit me to still be a single-car team. But on Bill Davis' side, if that's better for Bill then I need to go along and support that, too."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Teams Bill Davis Racing