Rockingham: Pontiac Racing qualifying quotes

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX "I'm happy with that lap. If you look at our notes from last fall, we picked up exactly the same amount we picked up then and we qualified about the same as we did last year. "I normally don't...


"I'm happy with that lap. If you look at our notes from last fall, we picked up exactly the same amount we picked up then and we qualified about the same as we did last year.

"I normally don't get too wound up about qualifying at "The Rock," because the race deal is so much different than qualifying. I feel like we've got a good race car and our team shines more in the race here than we do qualifying, so I'm pretty satisfied with that."


"That's not what we would have liked to have done. We didn't really pick up from what we did in practice this morning and really don't know why. The car didn't feel quite as comfortable as what we would liked it to, and usually that all adds up to not going as fast as you think you could've gone."


"We're satisfied with that. We made a bunch of changes right before qualifying. The guys did a great job. We got it through qualifying; now we'll worry about the race."

HOW MUCH DID YOUR TEST PAY OFF TODAY? "It helped, but most of the testing we did here was race stuff as opposed to qualifying stuff. We did a little bit of qualifying stuff, but not as much as we probably should have. That is probably why we struggled a little bit off of the truck this morning. Outside that, we're real happy."

ARE YOU PRETTY OPTIMISTIC FOR SUNDAY? "We're looking forward to the race. The last three times here we've finished 11th, sixth and third, so we're looking forward to Sunday. And [Ken] Schrader qualified good, so that's another good thing. To be teammates and be second and third, that is something we're real proud of."

WHAT HAVE YOU AND KEN FIGURED OUT HERE? "The cars are pretty close. They're built the same and we were real close in time. I think we'll both be decent in the race and we're looking forward to it. I know the Valvoline Pontiac will be good and I'm really looking forward to the race."

AFTER LAST WEEK'S RACE, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GET BACK TO SOMETHING LIKE A BASIC ONE-MILE OVAL? "Good. Like I said, I'm looking forward to this race. We don't have to worry about getting the spoilers cut off or added and all that fun stuff. The Daytona 500, obviously, is a huge race and it's a good race to go down to. But this is a little bit more what we like to do. You can race side-by-side. You can run anywhere you want on this racetrack and have a good deal, so we're all looking forward to it."

ON POSTING TWO TOP 10s HERE IN 2001 "We finished sixth in the first race and in the second race we finished third and it's the same car, so I think we'll be in pretty good shape. I think we'll be in decent shape most of the day.

WHAT DID YOUR TEAM DO TODAY TO KEEP FROM OVER-WORKING THE ENGINE? "We didn't run a lot of laps, obviously. Really, as cold as the temperature is out right now, we didn't even get the engines really that warm. I don't think we're really worried about it. We only put like eight laps on our engine and that's not going to be enough to hurt anything. Tomorrow, we may not run as much in the first practice as what we would like to see and run more in the second. But, outside that, I don't think it's going to be a huge problem. It's a track that is slippery, doesn't provide a lot of grip and you 'pedal' the throttle anyway here, so I really don't think the engine issue is going to be a big issue - not any different than any other time we've raced here."

DID WARD'S WIN LAST WEEK MAKE YOU OPTIMISTIC THAT YOU WILL WIN SOON? "We sure hope so. We've been right there. We just haven't been able to get into victory lane. It would be great to be able to do it at a place like the '500,' but I'd take it at Rockingham, I'd take it at Martinsville - it doesn't matter where it's at. But, I think if we had a shot at it anywhere, Rockingham has been a really great racetrack for us and I think we'll be fine here. I'm ready to race. We could race tomorrow as far as I'm concerned."


"Like everybody, our guys worked awful hard [this winter]. We changed a lot of stuff - no people - we've got all our people back and love them all. But, we worked on our equipment and hopefully it will be like this all year.

"We knew we should be solid [after practice], but you just don't know. If I had run a [23.80 second lap], I would have been disappointed, but not surprised."

ARE YOUR TWO TEAMS COOPERATING MORE? "We became a two-car team in July of 2000. Our shops were 30-something miles apart and we had all different kinds of stuff until we came home from Daytona last year. Over the second half of last year and this winter is when we started to get stuff a lot more alike. Now, it's very, very similar. The way Johnny's team ran all last year -we didn't want to build their stuff like mine. We knew that, so we started building my stuff like theirs. We've started doing everything together."

IS THIS A GOOD TRACK FOR PONTIAC? "I don't know. Every time I look at the thing, Ford and Chevy has always won these races. I think that our race team is good. I think both Kenny's and my team is the reason why we run good here, as opposed to the make itself. It's been a while since Pontiac won here. But, I can't take anything away from our race team or the guys that have won. I think we ran good because our race team is running good."

ANY GOALS FOR THE 2002 SEASON? "You don't worry about the year or goals. You go there Friday; you want to sit on the pole. You get up Sunday; you want to win the race. That's just real simple what you want to do. If you don't get it done, then you've got next week to try it. That's all we're trying to do. At the end of last week when they paid us, we were 26th. That's all I know. That other stuff doesn't count."


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Series NASCAR Cup