BOBBY LABONTE, DRIVER, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX ...what he and his team were trying to accomplish today: "We've got a different shock rule this year and we've got a brand new race car, so we're just trying to work the...
BOBBY LABONTE, DRIVER, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...what he and his team were trying to accomplish today:
"We've got a different shock rule this year and we've got a brand new race car, so we're just trying to work the bugs out and figure out how those new rules are going to affect our Pontiac Grand Prix."
...making use of the short time left between now and the Daytona 500:
"We've still got a day here, and then we'll assess what we've got. We'll go home and work on it to see if we need to do something else before we come back. But, chances are, I think we'll be in pretty good shape. Sometimes, with restrictor plates, what you've got is what you've got. You can't really change your driving style or your set-up dramatically to make up for it."
...on whether he make a run at the title in 2000:
"I hope so. We've got everybody back in place like we need to. The team is really excited about starting the year off, and so am I. That doesn't always count for everything. But, at the same time, we're coming off a great season and looking forward to beginning this year and not letting up any."
...on Daytona being a strong racetrack for him:
"It's really become a better racetrack for me than years ago. We started out pretty good the first few years in Bill Davis' cars and have come on strong the past few years in Joe Gibbs' cars. It's just a case that equipment can make you better here and right now, we've got some great equipment. Hopefully, when we get back here we can run good, and that always makes you like a racetrack a lot more when your car is running good."
KYLE PETTY, DRIVER, NO. 44 HOT WHEELS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...whether he still gets excited to come to Daytona:
"I sure do. I think everybody does. Maybe that's why they leave it as the first race of the year. They might be afraid that if you come for 30 years and they have it in the middle of the season, that you wouldn't be psyched up about coming. But, everybody does, and I think it's all about the history of the place. To just say, 'OK, we're going to Daytona - yeah, big deal.' But we're going to Daytona where so many great drivers have come and where so many great drivers have had great runs. The history of our sport is here and this is where the France's are from. This is where Daytona USA is, and this is everything our sport evolves around. I think that's why everybody gets so pumped up."
...what he expects after restructuring the team during the off-season:
"I don't know. We've been really fortunate and very blessed that so many guys have stepped up to a another level with the team. So you say, 'What do you expect,' and I say, 'I don't have a clue.' These guys have stepped up so far and so fast, that it's hard to explain. In a lot of ways, we're in a lot better shape now than we were last year at this time. That's not a slight against anybody. It's like watching an NFL game when the first string quarterback gets hurt and they send the second string guy in. Everybody rallies around him. I think that's what is happening at the shop right now. Everyone has kind of rallied along pretty good. Hopefully, we can maintain that level of intensity."
JOHN ANDRETTI, DRIVER, NO. 43 STP PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...on the new shock rules:
"If I had a better solution, I'd go to NASCAR and say that I've got a better solution. But, I don't. It's better than reducing the size of the plate to keep the speeds down. It's got a lot of good things to it, but you take away some of the creativity from the team. But, in essence, you create challenges in other ways. You have to work a little harder in other areas. It puts a lot more pressure - like there wasn't enough - on the motor guys, because when you get right down to it, a good motor can make up a little bit of difference.".
...how the test is going:
"We've got a lot to learn. A lot of these cars have tested already, and we're just getting on the track. Based on that, I think we're sitting pretty good. We've only gotten through a few changes and have several more to try. Based on that, I think we can still make a lot of improvements. But, the end of the test is what the end of the test is, and hopefully we'll be up toward the front."