Practice quotes 97-02-14

Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 1997) Quotes from practice NASCAR Winston Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. MIKE SKINNER No. 31...

Report from Motorsport News International

NASCAR Public Relations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 1997)

Quotes from practice

NASCAR Winston Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

MIKE SKINNER No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet

"I don't need to think about what we've accomplished down here. I don't want to yet. I just need to keep going and we need to get this car driving a little bit better. I thought it was driving great until I went out and raced it, and now I've found its weaknesses. We'll try to eliminate the weaknesses. It's going to be tough, but I'm having a ball. It's been a lot of fun."

BOBBY HAMILTON No. 43 STP Pontiac

"It's more different than it's ever been down here. We see this at Talladega where it's always bunched up but there's more room there when they're three or four wide. I think we're seeing Talladega- type racing at Daytona and we don't have room for it. I don't know if anything bad is going to happen, and I hope it doesn't, but it's a lot easier for it to happen when they get cluttered up. We were in good shape before the motor blew yesterday. I was real happy with the car. I wanted to be faster down the straightaways but everybody does because that's the problem right now. I feel like we're going to have a real good motor and the motor we practiced with today was fast. We made some changes to make the car drive better. I think we'll be in better shape yet. We're mainly working on chassis stuff. Everybody pushed, not just the Pontiacs. We're working on getting that out. This is a stressful time down here. I used to think that was because everyone just focused on this one race more than the other ones. But I think what the deal is is that we're down here so long everyone's got time to focus on it. You're here two weeks and you only have five or six hours of track time, and everybody tries to use it to get caught up and prepared for the rest of the year."

DAVE MARCIS No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet

"I might be the oldest guy in the Daytona 500, but I'm just as physically fit as some of those younger guys who are in it. I can go 500 miles just as well as they can. Richard Childress came over after the race yesterday and gave me a hug. I think he was more excited about me being in my 30th straight Daytona 500 than he was for Dale winning the 125-miler. Dale came by and talked to me about it. He's tickled to death we're in it. Richard has another new engine for us. We ran it this morning and it's great. It's great to have that kind of support from Richard. What goes around comes around. It works two ways. When Richard needs me all he's got to do is pick up the phone any time of the day or night and give me a call. He always asks me if I can make it. It's not a question of can I make it. I'm there. Come and get me and we're on our way. We're in the race now. Now we want to get up front. I'm not just here to be in the Daytona 500. I'm here to finish on the lead lap and be as close to the front as I can get. I think we could have moved up more yesterday. I ran faster speeds for 19 laps than Dale was running up front. I wish I could have been up there to see if I could have pulled Dale. That would have been fun."

RICKY CRAVEN No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet

"I'm not happy with this car as I was with the other one, but we've got some time to work on it. It's my Busch Clash car, and we probably got 20 laps of practice on it this morning. We've got a little work left to do on it yet. I've got every intention of winning a race for this Bud team. I made a mistake and people make mistakes. This is not the start we were looking forward to, but we've got time to work on the car and have a good run on Sunday."

BUTCH MOCK Owner No. 75 Remington Arms Ford

"This is just a joint venture between us and Tri-Star for the Daytona 500. They were in and wrecked their car. And through a turn of unique situations we didn't make the race. It's part of my obligation to have a car in the race. It will be all my equipment and the Remington Arms car with an associate sponsorship from Child Support Recovery International. Loy (Allen) will drive but we'll pit the car. We have to thank (No. 19 car owner) Mark Smith for doing this. He came to us and it was a good idea and it worked out for both of us. This is a very unique situation and it bit us. It's misleading when you say we failed to qualify for the race. Rick (Mast) has never not qualified for a race. It's true that we're not in the race but he did qualify for the race. We weren't the slowest car here. They had 52 cars show up and under normal circumstances we would have been in the show. At Wilkesboro, Martinsville, Richmond, Charlotte, we would have been in the race."

RICK MAST No. 75 Remington Arms Thunderbird

"You remember (Civil War general) Robert E. Lee? He put a team together for the seven-day battle of Richmond, but he went to Gettysburg and got his butt whipped with a new team. It was basically a new bunch of people. He made a lot of mistakes. But when that deal was over at Gettysburg he kind of pulled his bootstraps up and said 'to hell with this' and he started kicking butt. And he basically kicked everybody's butt. He had a bad day at Appomattox, but in the long run he was good. That's kind of the way I'm looking at this deal. We're going to be back strong and we're going to kick some butt."

KYLE PETTY No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac

"We started this team three or four months ago and we've built it to a point to get to Daytona and it comes down to the last hour to make the race, nearly the last lap. It was just goofy. It was a big sigh of relief, definitely. We started this team four months ago, and boom, now we're racing. We're in business. That reality really set in after the twins. The Pontiac is better this year. It's improved but we're still encountering the same problems. It's just whoever you can hang on to right now. But it's not just that way for the Pontiac. It's like that with all the cars now. Sunday's race could be one of those days where fuel mileage wins it. That would throw out all this other stuff that we've been talking about all week long."

KEN SCHRADER No. 33 Skoal Bandit Chevrolet

"I'd hate for anyone to think it would be a surprise if we do good. Andy Petree has won a couple of championships. Skoal has been in the sport forever. We've got some good backing from Chevrolet. I have won races before. I hate to think it would be a total surprise if we would be up doing real good. I'm seventh in money winnings at this track. I've never pulled in Victory Lane in a points race, but we've run good here a lot. You're not going to get a break in the Daytona 500. Well, I guess you could get a break and win it, but you've got to be running in the top-5 to get that break and then capitalize on it. You're not going to back into the Daytona 500. When Derrike Cope won his, he didn't back into it. He was the next car in line and one car had trouble and he won the race. He deserved to win it because he was the next car in line."

TONY FURR Crew chief No. 98 RCA Ford

"I think we have a shot at the 500. I think track position Sunday will be very crucial so your pit stops are going to have to be up to par. You're going to at least have to stay in your own position, because it's going to be hard to pass out there."

DARRELL WALTRIP No. 17 Western Auto Parts America Chevrolet

"I don't have any gameplan for Sunday. I'm just going to stay out of trouble if I can, get to about the 400-mile mark and hope I'm still up there fighting for the win and go from there. This Monte Carlo is better than the one I won with here in '89. That car didn't drive near as good as this one does. This one drives real good. If I can get this car to run like that one did, we'll be in good shape. We didn't run our best engine in the qualifying race. We saved it for the Daytona 500. It's better and that'll make a difference. We don't need much, we just need a little bit. We're working on the car to see if we can speed it up just a tad. We don't want to lose the comfort I have in it. We just want to see if we can get it faster."

Jack Durbin jackd@motorsport.com Motorsport News International Web page www.motorsport.com

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Derrike Cope