KYLE PETTY, NO. 44 HOT WHEELS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (2nd): (ON HIS LAP) "We were a little slower in qualifying than we were in practice. We were just so fast in practice that we were able to hang with it. It feels good to be able to go to the ...
KYLE PETTY, NO. 44 HOT WHEELS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (2nd):
(ON HIS LAP) "We were a little slower in qualifying than we were in practice. We were just so fast in practice that we were able to hang with it. It feels good to be able to go to the racetrack and qualify in the top five or six, anyhow, instead of struggling with the last five or six."
(WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE TODAY?) "Since Adam's deal, I basically have to go back and re-evaluate where I'm at as a driver, as a person, where I'm at totally. I've got to re-focus on what we're going to do at Petty Enterprises. And that's basically where we're at right now - just trying to re-focus and trying to regroup on where we're going.
"These guys (the team) have just worked incredibly hard, and that's all I can say. They've regrouped over the last two or three weeks and we got a good lap out of it."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (3rd):
(ON HIS LAP) "It was a good run for us. The guys in the motor room have done a great job. The car is a brand new race car. Everything just fell together at the right time. We didn't run that fast in practice, by any means. This place here, you've got to hit all your marks just right. I guess I did."
(ON TESTING HERE IN APRIL) "We ran a few laps and were able to pick up on some stuff. Hopefully that did help us. I think it did. It was just about getting comfortable with the race car because I'm not a road racer, by any means. Whenever you get out there and run a few laps you get more comfortable with it and can make more decisions on your race car better and hopefully communicate with the crew chief better."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (4th):
(ON FIGURING OUT ROAD COURSE QUALIFYING) "I guess in three road course tries we haven't qualified any worse than fourth, so it's pretty good. These guys really worked hard. I think we were 29th at the end of practice. It was a good lap. The car drove real well. It turned better than it has all day and it went forward better than it has all day. We had some problems real early in the day with the brakes. Then we got that figured out and changed some things around, and the car has really in.
"It was a pretty good lap. They asked me where it was better, and I said, 'Everywhere.' I stopped better, it went forward better, it turned better. It did everything it was supposed to do. We just struggled early in the day and really made some big changes. We were holding our breath because we made some real aggressive changes for qualifying and it worked out."
WARD BURTON, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (46th):
(ON HIS CRASH IN QUALIFYING) "I'm fine. I got loose going into that first 'S' (turn) and probably should have gotten off of it a whole lot sooner than I did. I thought I was going to get it back around, and I obviously didn't."
MORE FROM KYLE PETTY, NO. 44 HOT WHEELS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON HIS LAP) "I had a real good lap in practice. I didn't have a good lap qualifying, but the car was really good. I ran up over the curbs a couple of times. If you saw it on TV, it wasn't the prettiest lap in the world. But the motor program at Petty Enterprises has gotten better the last two or three weeks, and I think both John (Andretti) and I came out here thinking we could do pretty good. We both ended up pretty good. For how we both usually qualify out here, we were both really good. But I got into a curb at the top of the hill in (turn) one coming through the 'S's' and that kind of slowed me down. But there is no way that I could have run a '60' (1:10.60) like Rusty did. That's a phenomenal lap. That was a great lap."
(WILL THE TRACK CHANGE FOR SUNDAY'S RACE?) "That's a hard question because you're running the (NASCAR) Southwest tour race and that always makes the racetrack a little bit slicker and that changes things around a little bit. "But it's really hard to say because, from my perspective if you go back to Michigan two weeks ago, I'm struggling to make the field and now all of a sudden, I'm sitting here second. We've concentrated on qualifying and we've tried to make our program better. It's gotten a little bit better obviously because both cars are qualifying. John was on the outside pole this week (at Pocono) and we're on the outside pole here. So we're getting better. We've just got to continue to get a little better and then get where we can race. We'll get our race stuff under it and see where it goes."
(ON HIS COMFORT LEVEL WITH ROAD COURSES) "I like the road courses. You've got to remember, I've been doing this forever, it seems like. I ran Riverside. There aren't many of us that were at Riverside. I can say I worked on a pit crew at Riverside, if you want to go back that far. I've always enjoyed the road courses. I used to enjoy watching my father and (Dan) Gurney and (David) Pearson and all those guys that would come out here and run the Riverside race and do some of that stuff. I liked to watch them run at Watkins Glen. We've always run well there. I've just had an opportunity to do it a few times and enjoy doing it. I think that's part of it. It's like when I go to Dover I usually run good because I like the racetrack, so when I come out here I run pretty good because I like the racetrack."
(ON THIS BEING STP'S LAST RACE AS A PRIMARY SPONSOR ON THE "43" CAR) "I think that's big for us at Petty Enterprises in a lot of ways. I've got a little sister, Rebecca, who is 14 years younger than I am, and she has never seen the '43' car painted with anything but blue and orange, with an STP (logo) on the side of it. Her whole life the car has been an STP car, which is pretty phenomenal. There are a lot of people who have never seen the '43' car with anything else. For a company like that to make a commitment to us at Petty Enterprises for that long a period of time has been incredible for us. They've been there during the good times and they've been there during the bad times. Things are just changing in the sport right now and their direction as a company has begun to change a little bit. It's going to be sad to go to Daytona (next week) in a lot of ways and see the 'Cheerios' (new primary sponsor) on the side of the car, and see the yellow car with the Petty blue and stuff, and not see the orange and some of that stuff because it's going to be a drastic change. But I think that sport ahs changed in leaps and bounds over the last seven or eight years. All the stuff that used to be 'sacred cows' that you never thought would never change are beginning to change. For us to be able to move the sport forward, then we've got to change with it and that's what we're trying to do."
MORE FROM BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON THE TRACK BEING SLICK TODAY) "We were a little tight earlier, and then we got loose as the day went on when the track temperature came up, so we had to tighten the car up a little bit. New tires helped, too, because we were getting looser as we went on older tires. It's definitely gotten pretty slippery out there in places. I knew where Ward (Burton) spun out. I've done that before, so I knew how that felt."
(WAS HE SUPRRISED AT HIS LAP?) "It's a good lap for us. I just hit everything right. When I made my qualifying run (in practice) I had over-tightened my car up because it was getting looser and looser. We did have to loosen it up a little bit to get back to where we needed to be. We made some good calls, I guess, between Jimmy (Makar) and I, and things just turned out for where we hit every corner just right. I've never done that here before, so it was pretty neat to be able to do that all in one lap, instead of doing it every five or six laps at different places on the racetrack. It was just a good lap for us. I can't think of anything that I could do to go any faster today."
KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (21st):
"I think we practiced decent and I think I was pretty sure I was going to hit my lines dead on and get a better lap. I hit my lines dead on (in qualifying). I couldn't have been happier with it, but I think I sacrificed a little bit of speed to hit my lines. But, we're not going to be buried."
JOHN ANDRETTI, NO. 43 STP/CHEERIOS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (16th):
"They ought to take a club and beat me over the head. I was trying to get more out of it than I should have. I got up to turn and about spun it out. Usually I'm real cautious through there, so I guess I need to find some middle ground. I haven't found it, yet."
(ON STP'S LAST RACE AS HIS PRIMARY SPONSOR) "It means a lot to me to be part of this. STP has been so great to my family. Obviously, you don't even have to say what their relationship has been like with Petty Enterprises and The King (Richard Petty). I would love to do this (win here) for these people. They have been wonderful to so many people. They bought me my first racing uniform. I've been telling everybody that because it meant a great deal to me when Jim Vogrin (of STP) did that. I still have all my uniforms and that one I treasure a lot."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 LYCOS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (34th):
"I'm not happy with that at all. It slipped and slid the whole lap. I don't know why. It didn't do that earlier. I was just off a little bit. We'll just have to work at it hard and see what happens tomorrow."