Friday, Oct. 22, 1999. North Carolina Speedway. First-round Bud Pole qualifying for Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400. KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The Skoal Chevrolet has been good since we unloaded. That's not going...
Friday, Oct. 22, 1999. North Carolina Speedway. First-round Bud Pole qualifying for Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400.
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"The Skoal Chevrolet has been good since we unloaded. That's not going to be right up front, but it's going to be decent. It's almost the same thing we practiced, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Obviously we would liked to have gone faster, but the car is good. We're solidly in the field."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"They started the motor up on the line and let it run and then shut it off. I went to fire it up and it turned over a couple of times and then just locked up. We tried push starting and everything. The motor just locked up. We put it in third gear and tried to roll start it, and it wouldn't go."
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"That was a good run. I'm proud of the team. We got through one and two pretty good. I got in the gas great. I went into turn three and got in there really, really good. I got in the gas early, maybe a little too early and that probably slowed us up a little bit. That's the way it goes sometimes. We stepped it up a little bit in qualifying, and that's what you've got to do. The track is in pretty good shape. The weather has been consistent today, and that helps."
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 50 Midwest Transit Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"That was a tremendous effort by the guys back at the shop. We took the week off and skipped Talladega. They put some extra effort into this car and it paid off. I want to thank Hendrick engines also. This is fun. I'm the world's worst in practice. We hoped to pick up two tenths and we did. I slipped getting into turn three. If I hadn't done that, it could have been a little better. It's progress. That's the key. This is the most enjoyable group I've raced with in several years. We've gone to 10 races together and qualified honestly for all 10. We just want to improve the race aspect of things. Qualifying hasn't been our greatest challenge. It's been running good on Sundays. I don't know if it means anything, but this has always been a pretty good track for me. Attitudes mean a lot."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I'll take it. That's better than we practiced. For some reason, I was extremely loose. That thing was sideways up off turn two and up off four. This whole BellSouth Chevy team is working hard, and you can't get the pole every week. We weren't good when we started today, but we kept adjusting on it and got it pretty good. I think we'll be good in the race. It'll definitely be a tire race. The old race track is getting worse and worse and worse. It tears the tires up. Goodyear does a real good job with the tires, but the old race track is like a piece of sandpaper. It just chews them up. There's not much you can do with them."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak Max Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I don't pay any attention to qualifying here. When they drop the flag, I'll be going to the front. We handle good here. I started 27th when I won here, so I don't care where I start -- especially since they've got pit road like they have it now. You'll need tires before fuel on Sunday. The tires might last half a fuel run."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We needed about two more tenths. We've been fighting a loose condition. I don't know what's wrong. I'm hoping it gets hotter and hotter and the track gets looser and looser. We made a bunch of changes for qualifying and the car was better in the center of the corner, but we just didn't fix it from getting loose getting in. Hopefully it'll get us in the top 36. We hate to take a provisional. We've been struggling since we got here. We haven't been able to put our finger on it yet."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"We were fast in practice and just to back up what you did in practice is good. We didn't quite do that, but we had a good, solid run. Mark set a heck of a lap out there. I was getting it. I was doing everything I could to try to get a lap like that, but I was just a little loose up off the corners hanging that thing out sideways. I was having fun. We've been enjoying ourselves lately. It's great to be a position to have a shot at the pole. We were going for it. We're trying to focus on winning races and seeing how far up in the points we can get before this year is out. We're going through what we're going to need in the off season and 2000 to get ready for the new Monte Carlo and be back in action as a champion. We want to win races. We'd love to have 10, but we'd have to win three of the last four races to do that. That's not where we set our goals. We set our goals realistically and approach each race one at a time. I really like this race track. Rockingham and Darlington are two of my favorite tracks. We've been in position to win here several times and have had glitches or problems. When we have good, solid runs and we're there at the end we're usually in contention to win."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"That stinks. I wasn't loose. I was there. I was right on it. I got back in the gas hard and everything. I should have run a .40 or .50. That's the best lap I'd run."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"That was kind of an indifferent lap. The entries were good and the exits were bad. I guess that means indifferent. I think the car would have run quicker, but we were slow in practice and Bobby (crew chief Kennedy) changed the car a whole bunch. I guess it was just too tight. It felt good, but it wasn't going quick enough. I asked them to loosen it up. I knew the path we were going down wasn't going to make the top 25. We decided to try a new path. I was a little nervous wondering if it was going to stick. The engine ran good, and we're looking forward to Sunday. This is a good track for me. I really like it."
WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I had to scare myself to go fast, and that's exactly what I did. We've got a good race car. The car was good here in the spring and it hurt us pitting on the back. Maybe with good track position, we'll get a better finish. The Budweiser guys did a real good job today. I got in pretty hard down in turn one and the car had a good balance all day. We knew we needed to get in a good lap. I think we did a little something different with tire pressure, and it paid off."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"That's a little faster than we'd practiced, but I believe we've got a good car for the race. This car didn't qualify good at Dover and we had a top five car with it. It's the same car we had at Bristol. That's above average qualifying for us here, so I think we'll be in good shape with the Coors Light Chevy."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We picked up a little bit, but so did a lot of people. That got us in the top 15, so that's not too bad. It's going to be a tire race. If you roll your car around too far in the garage area, you need a set of tires. The track is so hard on tires. I don't think it matters what kind of tire they have here. It just won't last too long. We have a good race setup here. You've got to take care of your tires, but it's a fun place to race. The groove changes from the bottom to the top to the middle. It's a neat place to race."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We've been bad ever since we got here. We just haven't got up to speed. We've worked on the chassis and got it driving good. It drove good on that qualifying lap. It was out of control, but I don't know what our problem is. We obviously have a problem. Neither (RCR) car will get up to speed. Watching where I picked the throttle up, we never cracked the gas. We still can't pull up out of the hole. We missed the torque curve or something or we're pulling the wrong gear. I don't know what we've done, but we missed it a little bit. We'll go to work on it and get good for Sunday."