BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: WITH YOUR WIN LAST WEEKEND, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'VE RETURNED TO YOUR "OLD FORM?" "I don't know that we're there, yet. It's not like we've pulled off 10 wins in a row. But I do...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
WITH YOUR WIN LAST WEEKEND, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'VE RETURNED TO YOUR "OLD FORM?"
"I don't know that we're there, yet. It's not like we've pulled off 10 wins in a row. But I do know that we have been getting better throughout the season and that gives us a lot of confidence coming back into this race. Maybe we've touched upon it and can see that we've got some light at the end of the tunnel.
"I guess you can look at it this way, too: there are only like two or three teams that look like they've got it together week in and week out, consistent-wise. And even them this year, they've had their share of problems. I'm talking about Ricky [Rudd] and Dale [Jarrett] and Jeff [Gordon]. I feel like if we get our confidence going it will be better, so hopefully after last weekend we've got a little more confidence and can get a little bit better run at making the right decisions week in and week out."
DID THE FIRST PART OF THE SEASON SHAKE YOUR CONFIDENCE AT ALL?)
"I don't know that it shook my confidence. You just feel like you're only as good as the last week that you ran. For instance, last year we won the championship. But when you're not running as good you're like, 'Well, we're not as good today and that is more important than what happened last year.' It doesn't necessarily shake your confidence. It just doesn't get it like everybody else's. You just don't feel quite as up on top of your game like everybody else is, so you want to try to get it better. And there is only one way to get it better and that is to start running better."
IS THE KEY TO KEEP AN EASY-GOING PERSONALITY?
"It probably does help out some and you try to stay that way as much as you can. But there is more pressure here than maybe doing some other things - maybe not sports, but just a job for instance or whatever - so it is kind of tough sometimes to keep yourself lined up with doing the right thing.
"You do think about it all the time. Even though you're home doing something else, you still think about it a lot. You've got to really be careful not to let it interfere with anything else you do. You try to stay as 'even keel' as possible, but still again, it's not the easiest thing to do sometimes."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON ALWAYS RUNNING SO WELL DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON
"It just seems like we get going good at that time of year. I don't know what the reason is behind it. If I knew what the reason was I'd figure out how to make it start in February instead of waiting until July or August. At least it gives me something to look forward to the rest of the year. Historically, this has been when we've really started to come on for the rest of the year."
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALIFYING WELL IN WINSTON CUP
"Most of the time [my qualifying is not so great. I've not really been a qualifier, ever. In midgets I could do it. But for the most part, I'm a race-pace kind of guy instead of holding my breath for one lap."
ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO IMPROVE THAT?
"I think it's something that's hurting us. And not so much because of where you start, but because of pit selection more than anything. I'm seeing where that is being affected and where that is hurting us - creating track position problems."