Rockingham - Pontiac Notes After Saturday Quailfying

NOTES AND QUOTES Bud Pole Qualifying North Carolina Speedway February 20, 1999 BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We picked up a little bit. We didn't pick up as much as we'd hoped too. We were pretty maxed out ...

NOTES AND QUOTES Bud Pole Qualifying North Carolina Speedway February 20, 1999

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix):  "We
picked up a little bit.  We didn't pick up as much as we'd hoped too. We
were pretty maxed out earlier.  That's a lot better than we were here
last year.  Last year we took a provisional for this race.  It's a brand
new Pontiac and we just need to work it out.  The more laps I get in it
the more comfortable I get.  We can't complain.  

"We haven't run good here in a race in a while. After last weekend we really need a good race to pick things up in points. We have different ideas we've taken here this time and we're applying them better. I think we'll be better. I'm optimistic. We know more from a lot of things we've learned here the last couple of times. Having a tough time at Daytona isn't much worse than having a tough time anywhere else. If anybody has a tough finish they're down in the dumps. We'll have to do better this weekend to gain some ground back.

"We're pretty optimistic. We've got a great race team and hopefully we'll run good the next several weeks."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "I don't know where that came from. We either qualify really good, like top-10, or I take a provisional. I need to get where I consistently qualify top-10 so I can start qualifying top-five. When we tested here we tested for long runs. We got really concerned about qualifying and we went back to a different setup. We changed some rear shocks and the front bar for qualifying and Robbie Loomis is just really good at it.

"I feel better about this race than I've ever felt about running one at Rockingham. We're going to go to what we know. It worked for us in the test and hopefully it will work for us in the race. I'm real pleased with the qualifying run. If you looked at the practice sheets we certainly weren't setting the world on fire and 10th is not setting the world on fire, but it's real respectable. This Pontiac ran great. I kind of messed up the lap a little bit, but I think I made up for it, too. If I could just make up that time and not mess up the other way, then maybe we could qualify even a little bit better. Robbie's just really good at stuff. We were pretty good before qualifying, but I just wasn't completely happy with it.

"I think we can win.  I'd like to think we can win any weekend.  Petty
Enterprises has won here and I haven't.  I'd like to change that."

KYLE PETTY (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix): "That was a really good lap. The car worked really well. It was a good lap. We ran a little quicker this morning, but it was a junk lap. That's why I can't believe we ran the speed we did. We're good. We're pretty pleased the way everything has gone all week long.

"This will be the first open race, first open motor race. Who knows what will happen? Everybody was pretty calm at Daytona and who knows what Rockingham will hold."

TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "That was a good run. We didn't make a sticker run this morning and we still gained two tenths in qualifying. We're pretty happy with that. This was a good track for me last year in the Busch Series. I hope that will transfer over to Winston Cup. The thing I have to concentrate on now is tire wear. I don't want to chew the tires off the race car. The tire wear on the Cup car seems to be a little worse than the Busch car. We're going to really concentrate on making sure I take care of the car and take care of my tires. We'll try to find a pace here in happy hour that's competitive."

ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix):  "I think that's the
quickest I've ever been around here.  But it's a matter of being on the
front straightaway.  Since I've been with this team we haven't be en on
the front straightaway.  I didn't run the last race here and they
qualified on the back straightaway too.  That makes it harder to get this
Pontiac to win the race.  Hopefully, we'll still be able to do it."

DERRIKE COPE (No. 30 Bryan Pontiac Grand Prix): "The track's actually pretty good right now. It's got good grip. We pushed in one and two. I got through three and four well, but we were still too far off. We just didn't make it. It's disappointing and I hate it for Bryan since they were debuting on the car this week."

BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 00 Crown Fiber Pontiac Grand Prix): "We tested here and ran good. When we got here to practice yesterday we had brake prob lems. We never figured it out until the end of practice. We didn't have the proper chassis setup and we tried to get it all in today. We had bad luck there at Daytona and we weren't that good. We came here and we just can't seem to get things right. It's no fault of the guys. It was just a mechanical error that no one could prevent."

RICH BICKLE (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "We've had a good car since we got here and I just about spun out in three and four. That was it."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robbie Loomis