Mike Skinner top Chevy qualifier in Rockingham. MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK FILMS CHEVY MONTE CARLO (fourth): "It would have been a real good lap. We spun the tires halfway up the backstretch. Good motors. I tell you, these guys did a good ...
Mike Skinner top Chevy qualifier in Rockingham.
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK FILMS CHEVY MONTE CARLO (fourth):
"It would have been a real good lap. We spun the tires halfway up the backstretch. Good motors. I tell you, these guys did a good job."
YOU PICKED UP TWO TENTHS ON THE SECOND LAP: "We try to save a little bit if we can, and so many times this year we just barely backed up what our practice run was and I really tried to focus on this thing. We need a good run right now; it's all good."
THE SECOND LAP COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: "Yeah, it really could have. The car spun the tires a lot on the backstretch and we got loose up off the corner and they just stayed spinning. If we could have gotten it down on the ground a little bit I think it would have been a little bit better lap. But we'll surely take it, it's the fastest lap we've run so far today, and it should get us a fairly decent starting spot in the field for Sunday. Maybe we can do something with our Monte Carlo."
IS THIS A TURN-AROUND WEEKEND? "I tell you, I've had a lot of those lately that I thought could have been the turnaround weekend. I was really disappointed at Martinsville; we thought we had an awesome car. Rome wasn't built in a day. We just keep on working every weekend and doing the best we can."
CREW CHIEF CHRIS CARRIER WON THE RACE LAST YEAR WITH THE 33 TEAM, DOES THAT HELP YOUR EFFORT? "I think so. I certainly hope so. Chris has a good setup here; we practiced here a couple of weeks ago; we used his setup. We ended up varying and getting somewhere between his setup and my setup, or I should say our setup, the setup we all came up with together. Our race car is a little bit different than the 33 was last year, but hopefully it suits our body and our engine program and our driver."
WITH ONLY THREE RACES LEFT, ARE POINTS IMPORTANT? "Win, crash or blow, it don't really matter to me; I don't care right now. I'm not points racing with anybody and I'm not racing for points. If our car is competitive, we're going to stay up there and stay in the way all the way. If our car is not competitive we're going to get the heck out of the way and we certainly don't want to mess up the points championship for anybody. There's two or three guys up there racing for the points championship that are friends of mine, I'm not going to mess them up. If the 4 wins it will be a really good race."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVY MONTE CARLO (21st):
"This qualifying effort, I'm kind of disappointed, but we picked up quite a bit from our last run in practice. We're definitely not where we wanted to be; I thought we would be in the top 10 here in qualifying; it's going to be tough to do. We kind of started out loose, and got too tight. We've been back and forth and haven't really hit on the perfect setup."
ON OUTLOOK FOR THE RACE: "I think we're going to be pretty good. In race trim we did a lot of runs down here. We ran really good. I think we're going to have a really good race car for the race."
STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVY MONTE CARLO (44th):
ON THAT RUN: "Without using a word I shouldn't use, it's about the way the car has run all day long. It doesn't drive real good and we're a little off on setup."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVY MONTE CARLO (ninth):
YOUR SECOND LAP WAS A WHOLE SECOND QUICKER: "That was kind of our plan. We timed it in practice and I was always quickest in my second lap, so what I didn't want to do was make the tires too angry on the first lap so they wouldn't have good enough grip. It almost paid off for us. It will definitely be a top 15 starting position; so we'll be able to build from there for sure."
SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND? "I think my best qualifying was sixth here before. It's just a lot easier when you race with the guys at the front of the pack. There's just a little more give and take up there, where the other guys, when you're running in the 20s, you're fighting to get inside the 20s to run there and you risk it more often. We took some risk factor away there."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVY MONTE CARLO (22nd):
"I'm kind of satisfied with that. I was ready to qualify real good here; we normally race well here; I'm looking forward to Sunday, but I'd better start dialing it in."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVY MONTE CARLO (31st):
"We've been pretty loose, fighting some different conditions, just a little loose there in qualifying. The way the times are so close, being off just a little bit is going to cost us a lot of spots."
ANY WEATHER CHANGE BETWEEN PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING? "No; there's been no change."
HOW DIFFICULT IS ROCKINGHAM TO GET AROUND? "It's a lot like Darlington. It's really abrasive and it's hard to be consistent when the tires are changing and your lap times are inconsistent. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of experience to really figure out how to run here well."
WITH ONLY THREE RACES REMAINING, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO PERFORM WELL HERE? "I mean it's just like any other racing. Any other point in the season you need to go out and get maximum points. We're at the end of the season and you're counting every one and every one's important. Really, all along you've been adding these points up, so I hated to see what happened to us in Atlanta; we lost some points. I don't think we can control our outcome for winning the championship. A few laps into the race in Atlanta it looked like we could maybe control our destiny. Now, we're gong to need the 20 car make a mistake if we're going to have a shot at it, but we're still fighting for second in points and, who knows, crazy things happen."
IF YOU'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD, IS IT A DIFFICULT CHALLENGE TO GET UP FRONT? "It's difficult anywhere; the competition is so close. Here, the preferred groove over the long haul is at the top. When you're running at the bottom you're burning the tires off, and that's the only place you have to pass, so you've got to be abusive to get somewhere, but then once you get up there you've used up your tires and you start slipping back again. So, It's going to be a little bit of pit strategy, great pit stops and a good handling race car."