BOBBY LABONTE , NO., 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: (Finished 3rd) "We sure didn't start out good tonight. We were just way too tight at the start of the race and got a lap down there early. But the guys just kept working on...
BOBBY LABONTE , NO., 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: (Finished 3rd)
"We sure didn't start out good tonight. We were just way too tight at the start of the race and got a lap down there early. But the guys just kept working on the car and we kept getting better and better as the race went on. We got our lap back and kept moving toward the front. We had great pit stops tonight so it was a pretty good night for us. I just want to thank everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing.
"The guys did a good job on the Interstate Batteries Chevrolet. It was a real good run. But we sure didn't start real good that's for sure. The guys worked real hard. We got a lap down and the car was way too tight at the beginning of the race. The guys had some good stops and made some good adjustments on the race car to get it balanced back around. That's why we finished in the top-five."
"We probably ought to start with yesterday. We didn't have a good qualifying run. We fought most of the final Happy Hour with a fuel pick-up problem. We weren't getting enough fuel pressure and really didn't get as much practice as we needed. We thought we were pretty good for a few laps and made a couple of adjustments for today that we thought were a pretty good educated guess.
"We started off the race by running a few laps and then got real tight. We just went a lap down because we were too slow. We caught that caution there right after the leaders got by us. We had a good pit stop. The guys did a good job of adjusting on it. We took off under green and the car worked really good. We got by Kurt Busch. He had something go wrong. We stayed out in front of the No. 48 car (Johnson) and got a caution. We got back around and the guys kept adjusting on the race car. We kept getting caught back up a few times.
"We got some track position toward the end and were not just quite good enough to pass the No. 48 and the 8 (Earnhardt Jr.) there at the end. But we were a lot better then we were the first run and were still good enough to finish third. We just had a good night after that first pit stop. It was just a matter of getting some good pit stops."
ON THE TRACK SURFACE
"I didn't come up here to test. Tony (Stewart) did. The track was super-fast from what I heard. I heard the groove was on the bottom and I just anticipated that it was going to be like that all night. If you got off the groove you were going to go toward the fence. I heard they put some stuff down on the race track before we got here. Between the Busch race last night and practicing above the cones I think NASCAR made a good decision on that. The pavement was better than I thought and we had a two-groove race track out of it. I thought that was really good for the first time of a re-pave."
WHOSE DECISION WAS IT TO PIT AND DO YOU AGREE WITH IT?
"It was more my decision, really. When Tony (Stewart) came in, it made good sense to me. My car was giving up a little bit there at that point in time. I figured with 40-something laps to go by the time we got back to green that we'd probably run 20 laps pretty good. It would depend on whether we got a good cycle on the tires. We didn't have enough knowledge on them tonight. So we made the call to come in. When the No. 20 (Stewart) and the No. 24 (Gordon) got together just a little bit, I was able to get by them. I had a little vibration there toward the end so I couldn't really make any hard efforts there the last 10 laps."
ON HIS SEASON TO DATE
"It started off and it wasn't very consistent. We could go back to Daytona, but I don't think we have time for that. But it's been pretty good the last few weeks and I'm pretty excited about that. The guys have really come around pretty good as far as just putting things together. It's not really anything different than we've been doing the first part of the year. It's just that crazy things aren't happening like they were in the first part. But I'm real happy. We were in the top 10 in points before tonight. We shoulda-woulda-coulda finished second two weeks ago in Fontana and we finished third tonight. So we've really had two top fives. It could have been two top three's in a row. We've had some good consistent runs the past few weeks and that's real exciting. Hopefully we can continue this. We've got some good race tracks coming up."
HAS IT MADE ANY DIFFERENCE WHETHER OR NOT JOE GIBBS HAS BEEN AT THE RACE TRACK?
"I think everything is running along really good. I always enjoy when Joe is here. Our good friend, Oliver North, was here tonight. That was pretty cool. He comes up to this race quite a bit. He came to the truck and we talked for a while. But to have both of us finish in the top five tonight and to have Joe here was really good for us and good for him. But having JD (Gibbs) running the shop has been like business as usual. He seemed pretty relaxed tonight."