RICK MAST , NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON THE FRUSTRATION OF RUNNING ONLY THREE LAPS HERE IN JUNE - HIS SECOND SHORTEST OUTING IN 330 CAREER STARTS) "I'm going to tell you what - that was a very frustrating day. I said some things in...
RICK MAST , NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON THE FRUSTRATION OF RUNNING ONLY THREE LAPS HERE IN JUNE - HIS SECOND SHORTEST OUTING IN 330 CAREER STARTS) "I'm going to tell you what - that was a very frustrating day. I said some things in the media and on TV that I normally wouldn't have said, chastising another driver. It wasn't anything he (Steve Park) did on purpose. He was just doing stuff he shouldn't have done and took us out.
"The frustration level at that point was pretty high because you've got to realize that what this team needed at that point was anything positive that it could get. At that point in time, it was a very big deal to have something positive going on. I knew when I went to bed Saturday night that I had an awfully good race car and I knew Sunday could be a good deal for this race team if we just stayed out of trouble all day. We could have been there at the end and had a good shot at being on TV a lot and doing a lot of good running. I got taken out before any of that could happen, before any of that could be shown. That particular race was very, very frustrating, and I guess all those reasons made it more frustrating than normal. A normal deal you wouldn't quite get that upset, but that was not a good deal."
(IS THERE MORE PRESSURE TOMORROW TO CAPITALIZE ON STARTING SECOND?) "Not really. There are a couple things different. Number one, a lot of places we go your qualifying set-up and your race set-up are completely 180 degrees apart. What you do qualifying at a lot of places doesn't mean anything as far as what you do in the race. But the unique thing about Dover, which is unique to maybe five or six of the racetracks we run at, is that your qualifying set-up isn't that far away from the race set-up. We don't change the car around as much here as we do some other places, so that bodes well for us. I feel good about that.
"The other thing is that at Dover, if something goes on and you're behind it, you're probably going to get collected in it if there is a wreck going on. Starting up front really helps your odds and your percentages as far as getting through it.
"The only downside is that you start on the outside row and you've got to get down to the bottom. I remember one time I started like fourth or sixth here and by the time I got down I was running in like 22nd spot before I could get in line. That's a tough deal. That could easily happen. I've seen it happen to other guys. I saw it happen in the spring - guys got hung on the outside and they just went straight backwards before they could get down."
(WHEN DID HE START CUTTING DEALS WITH OTHER DRIVERS TO LET HIM IN LINE TOMORROW?) "I started as soon as I got out of the car yesterday. I went and told Johnny (Benson) all the good things I've done for him over the years. Of course, he couldn't remember any of them."
(ON THE TALLADEGA RULES) "I don't really know what that's all about. I guess I'm not up on it enough to know. I don't know if anybody is up on it enough because I've asked some other people and nobody has been able to explain it to me. I'm not real sure what's going on there. Evidently NASCAR's wind tunnel data has shown something that shows a discrepancy there. They wouldn't just arbitrarily give them less spoiler for Talladega unless there is something there."
BOBBY LABONTE , NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON DOVER RACES BEING UNPREDICTABLE) "You can get swept up in some things pretty quick here, especially on the back straightaway it seems like. I've seen it happen off of turn four where a lot of guys will get involved in a wreck. But it seems like over the past few years it's been a little bit better. But it is similar to Talladega in that respect. You can get swept up in a lot of things here. You are going pretty fast. One thing about it - when the race gets going the groove moves up and gets real wide usually, so you can have room to maneuver if you see something happening up there. It can give you a chance to maybe get out of a bad situation."
(WHAT IS HIS APPROACH TO DOVER?) "We know that we've got to go out there and run really good because if we don't, we'll probably lose points to somebody. We're just going to go out there just like the spring race here. We had a good car and we finished in the top five. We didn't qualify as good (this time) as we wanted to, but it was actually better than we practiced, so we kind of felt like it was really pretty good. I feel like we've just got to go out there and get our car set-up for the race, and just run the best we can.
"We've got to finish in the top five because if not, those other guys are, and we'll lose points to them. You always want to win a race and you always want to win them all. We're going to go out there and try to win. But if we can't, we're going to finish the best we can."
(ON THE TALLADEGA RULES) "The way they've got it now you probably don't want to be leading on the last lap whether you're Chevrolet, Pontiac or Ford, so I don't know that will really matter. It looked like before you could kind of do a little bump-drafting where now it just looks like you can just knock the heck out of them. I'm not sure how that is going to play out no matter what you are. But we'll just have to wait and see. We're not worried about what anybody else is doing right now. We know we've got to go down there with the car that we tested with in order to get it the best we can and see if we can draft well. It looks like we're going to be able to pull up to a car because of the way the spoilers and roof plate are going to be. But can we pass? Well heck, we couldn't pass before, so I'm not sure if that will make any difference. We've just got to go down there and do the best, and not worry about rules right now."
(DID CHEVROLET TEAMS NEED AERODYNAMIC HELP AT TALLADEGA?) "I don't know. I think they designed their car and maybe weren't thinking quite as much about Daytona, Talladega because it's only four races a year compared to everywhere else. But what they've got is what they've got. Everybody is always going to argue about having concessions. It seems like that is the easier way to do it is to build what you want and ask for something later. It just seems like it's kind of gone that way. But I'm not saying they don't deserve it. They might deserve more - or in this case less - than what they're getting. But we're not driving a Chevrolet, so it really doesn't matter to me. I don't know what their cars are in the tunnel or anything like that and I don't drive one. They know more about it than I do, so evidently they're speaking their mind, just like we would if we wanted to speak our mind."