TONY2 STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "It just seems like we can't get it to go around the racetrack. It's been doing a little bit of everything. That's the thing - we can't make it do one thing. It's tight in spots and loose in...
TONY2 STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "It just seems like we can't get it to go around the racetrack. It's been doing a little bit of everything. That's the thing - we can't make it do one thing. It's tight in spots and loose in others."
WARD BURTON , NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "We made a last minute change thinking the track was going to go one way, but it didn't, so I think we left a little bit on the table. But that should be a good start and I think we've got a good car for Sunday. That's the main thing. (ON BUILDING ON HIS EIGHTH PLACE RUN HERE THIS SPRING) "We were pretty good. Really we got a break on the last caution. We were running like 12th to 15th all day and ended up eighth by getting a few guys at the end. We need to run a little bit better than that this time. We really need to make up for our run last week."
DAVE BLANEY , NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "We had a good practice lap on our mock qualifying run. We tightened it up a little bit and just needed a little bit more to run any faster. It was just on the verge of getting away from me, so I just couldn't run hard enough."
MIKE BLISS , NO. 27 VIAGRA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "That's real good for me. Qualifying hasn't been my strongest point. We had hoped we would pick up a little bit and we lost about a tenth (of a second). But we're happy with that. Now we can get ready to race. Hopefully we can do something with it here on Sunday." (IS THE TEAM'S RECENT QUALIFYING IMPROVEMENT RELATED TO RETURNING TO TRACKS FOR A SECOND TIME?) "I think so, and we're building better race cars with better bodies on them. It always seems like when you split up you always run better. I don't know why that is. But I think a lot of it is mainly me."
BOBBY LABONTE , NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "The car was a little loose in the center of the corner and I think I needed to drive the car a little differently to make it work. I just didn't do a very good job. I probably over-drove it in one place and under-drove it in another place."
JOHNNY BENSON , NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "James Ince, Gary Putnam and all the guys are just doing a great job on the Aaron's Pontiac. They've made a lot of changes and the car is just getting better and better for qualifying. I think we've still got a good race car or have had good race cars throughout the year, but we've worked hard on our qualifying packages. So far it's been decent." (continued, p. 2)
JOHNNY BENSON , NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST KEY TO HIS QUALIFYING RUN?) "Probably turn one for me. The car was good throughout the whole run, but it just wiggled a little bit in one and two - a little bit more than I would have liked to have seen. But that's fine. Our goal was to qualify in the top 10 and we were able to accomplish that, so we're real happy with it. We just hit it decent today." (ON THE RACE) "I look forward to Sunday's race. We've raced good here in the past. We just haven't been able to get the qualifying effort in. But we're looking forward to Sunday's race. The Aaron's Pontiac is running pretty good. We'll have to get into 'Happy Hour' and try to sort some things out, but outside that I believe we'll have a good race car." (ON THE CONCRETE SURFACE) "I was disappointed to see it go concrete at the time because I had just won my first Busch race here when it was asphalt. But they did a good job. I think the track is really smooth. It enables us to run, at times, three-wide here through the corners and that's a plus with any racetrack that we go to. There is t op groove and a bottom groove and that is really what we look for and what the race fans look for at most tracks." (ON THE TIGHT PRACTICE TIMES HEADING INTO QUALIFYING) "To me, it's the same every week. Every once in a while you see one or two guys sneak out some really good times, but then from there on out the times are just extremely close. I just think that's how competitive NASCAR Winston Cup racing is. I was just glad that we were semi-close to being able to back our time up. I had that little problem last week with being on top of the sheet and then ended up 27th. So this week when we were on top of the sheet I just said, 'Man, I hope we're in the top 10.' "When I ran that lap I felt like it was going to be about 15th quick. I surely didn't think it was going to end up third. But people weren't picking up as much as we expected. I don't know if that was the heat or if it was just the nature of this racetrack. But the times are extremely close. But I think they have been for a long time, except for every once in a while." (ON NOT BEING ABLE TO GO TO INDY FOR THE FORMULA ONE RACE) "As much as I'd like to go down to Indy and watch the Formula One cars - we've had an opportunity to do that twice now - but I'm going to miss that. That's OK. I'd rather be racing in this series." (ON TESTING AT TALLADEGA THIS WEEK WITH THE NEW RULES PACKAGE) "It was hard to tell. We really couldn't tell any difference as far as driving the car. The blade across the roof slowed the cars down about a second, but putting a bigger plate on it brought it back so I think our speeds will be compatible to what they were before. Until we get to drafting, I don't know. "But I think it's a good deal. We'll have to wait and see. It has taken a lot of the 'finding the perfect spot for the race car' out of it. In the past we'd have to have that thing just perfect. We did a lot of stuff and it didn't seem to make as big of a difference as it has in the past."
JOHNNY BENSON , NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (WILL THERE BE MORE 'THROTTLE RESPONSE' TO PASS SOMEBODY?) "Throttle response is the deal everybody keeps talking about. You're wide-open there. There is no throttle response to be gained there. But I think the car is going to bust a little bit bigger hole in the air and I think it's going to give you a better shot at getting a run on the guy in front of you. Still, whether you'll be able to finish the pass or not is an unknown. But I think it's going to be a good thing. Talladega has always had a great race and I think it will continue to be a very good race down there. Last year it was a great race and I think it will be the same when we go back down there in three weeks."
RICK MAST , NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: "Going into (turn) one, the car was perfect through one and two, and our segment speed shows that. I think we had the quickest speed through there. Honestly when I came off of two I was thinking that they couldn't beat me through there. When I headed down the backstretch, honestly for like half a second I was thinking, 'Bud Shootout gun, Bud Shootout gun.' You know when you get in the Bud Shootout they give you all those neat gifts. The last couple years they have given away those guns that have got 'Bud Shootout' engraved in the stock so I was thinking, 'Bud Shootout gun.' Maybe that's why I missed the pole. "When I went into three the car turned good like it had been doing, but when I jumped back in the gas the car tightened up and it pushed all the way off of four. It really surprised me. I hadn't had that problem today. The car had been a little loose in that area. We didn't really adjust for it, but for some reason the car just got tight in that one spot and I think that is probably what cost us." (ON THE TRACK) "This place never changes. From sunlight to clouds, evening, mornings - it doesn't really change. The speed doesn't change a lot. The balance of the cars doesn't really change a lot here." (ON HIS APPROACH TO STARTING IN THE FRONT ROW) "I've got to look and see who is on the inside. I think (Johnny) Benson owes me. I know Benson owes me something, so maybe he'll let me in. If he doesn't, whoever is starting fifth will be my buddy. "One time I started fourth or sixth here and by the time I got down I was running in like 22nd spot. I went back like 15 spots or so in just a few laps before I could get down. It's very important when you start this race to try to get to the bottom when you can. And when you do, just get there and run - just run and run and run - and see how the car is going to handle and work things out because guys will be at the back coming to the front and some of the guys at the front will go back. It's just all in who gets their race set-up best."
RICK MAST , NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON THE TEAM'S IMPROVEMENT) "This is one of the few races so far that we've come back to with a baseline of what we did in the last race here. We only ran four laps and got wrecked. But in those four laps, it is probably one of the best race cars I've had in a few years. I know 'Happy Hour' the last race was the best 'Happy Hour' I'd had in a couple years. "The more racetracks we go back to with good runs from before, it'll show up better. Like the first race at Pocono, we hit on something that worked good. We went back and we ran very well at Pocono the second race. New Hampshire was going to be like that and they put those stupid plates on us, and that screwed us up there. But we've had a couple other races like that. All those tracks that we can go to and run good, and then go back with a baseline, that's when we'll get better because we've got better pieces now. "The first part of the year when I started with this team we didn't have good pieces. We were screwed up aerodynamic-wise, we were screwed up horsepower-wise, our geometry wasn't right, so anything we did in that period of time was no good for us now. But from here on out it's just going to continue to get better." (ON THE TIRES THIS WEEKEND) "They've got a little bit more stagger and I like that. I think all the drivers like that. It makes the car turn better through the apex or through the center without doing crazy things to the camber. To get these cars to turn in the apex with less stagger we have to use more camber in the right front tire. When you do that it builds heat up and you take a chance on blowing that tire out. Nothing can take but so much pressure there. At Dover, the right front is loaded so heavily, then you put in all that camber to it to make it turn. It's a dangerous situation and I applaud Goodyear for doing that."