Talladega: Pontiac Racing qualifying quotes

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (HOW DID YOUR LAP COMPARE TO PRACTICE?) "We didn't pick up anything, that's for sure. But, I'm still excited. I'm just glad we got a pretty clean run. We hit a bird out there, so it knocked...

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

(HOW DID YOUR LAP COMPARE TO PRACTICE?) "We didn't pick up anything, that's for sure. But, I'm still excited. I'm just glad we got a pretty clean run. We hit a bird out there, so it knocked the valance in on the front. That probably slowed it down a little bit. But, for the most part, we're satisfied with that."

HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU IN THE CAR THAT YOUR TEAM TESTED AND BROUGHT HERE FOR THE RACE?) "The team had a pretty good test here, they felt like. Our cars typically race better than what we qualify, anyway. So as long as we can just get a decent starting spot today, then the rest of the weekend will be fine, I think."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

"We picked up and that was the big key. A lot of times you don't know if you're going to pick up or not, but the guys did a good job. We were a little bit conservative in practice - making sure that we did pick up something for qualifying. We worked really hard on it in practice so that we got all we can out of it. The guys did a good job on the Interstate Batteries Pontiac, so we're looking forward to the race."

KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

(ANY IDEA WHY YOU LOST SPEED FROM PRACTICE?) "No, we don't know why. We slowed more than a little bit. It slowed up a good three tenths (of a second), which really hurts."

(CAN YOU THROW OUT QUALIFYING AT A PLACE LIKE THIS?) "You can throw it out if you're in the race, but you've got be in it first."

STACY COMPTON, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

"I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys. They've been working so hard. They've been working three shifts the last couple weeks, trying to get this speedway car ready and just turning our whole program around. [Crew chief] Mike Hillman is making a world of difference. David Evans and all the guys back at the motor shop are working really hard. The fab shop and everybody is really getting this team turned around. A.J. Foyt is giving us what we need and Conseco is pretty happy right now."

(WILL THIS BE THE FIRST RESTRICTOR PLATE RACE THAT THIS TEAM HAS MADE ON TIME?) "Yeah. They struggled a lot here last here and we've made some wholesale changes. The team is really coming together. The last four or five weeks, we've run a lot better. Mike Hillman and this entire group of guys are working as hard as I've ever seen anybody work to get this thing turned around.

"We need to walk before we run, and we're trying to walk a little bit now."

STACY COMPTON, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

"I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys. They've bee

AFTER QUALIFYING POORLY IN DAYTONA IN FEBRUARY, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU TO BOUNCE BACK SO STRONG HERE THIS WEEKEND?) "I think it means as much to the guys on the team as it does to me. They have worked so hard to get this thing turned around. We've always run pretty good in the speedway races and always qualified well. Daytona was a little bit of a struggle for all of us. We didn't know what we needed to do to get better.

"I don't think many people realize that this car hasn't seen a wind tunnel. This car hasn't seen a racetrack. The first lap this car has seen was this morning. To unload and run that well, I can't tell you how proud I am."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING?) "I love it. I love plate racing and I really love Talladega. I always have. I've always run pretty good here. Our Busch car this morning in 'Happy Hour' was absolutely unbelievable and I feel like our Cup car will race well.

"I think a plate race is maybe somewhere that you can take an underdog that maybe doesn't quite have the resources that some of these other teams do and go out and run well. I think that is what this team is showing. If we did have the resources that some of these other teams have, I think we could be a contender week in and week out. But, we don't have it and we've just got to do the best that we can right now, continue working to make this team better and one day we will."

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

AFTER BEING FASTEST IN PRACTICE, ARE YOU EXCITED OR DISAPPOINTED WITH SEVENTH?) "In this case, I can be a little bit of both. When we unloaded the truck I was really worried about making the race, so we've got to be real happy about that. But then, when you've got an opportunity to maybe sit on the pole, that makes us not quite as happy now. But, overall, we're real happy with the effort these guys put into the car. We tested it and it wasn't where we wanted it to be. It wasn't close. They worked extremely hard and Hendrick Motorsports made sure that we had an extremely good engine to make sure we'd get in the race. We qualified seventh; we can't be too mad. We're happy and we're looking forward to the race on Sunday."

TALK ABOUT HAVING A GOOD STARTING SPOT FOR SUNDAY WHEN YOU DIDN'T EXPECT TO HAVE ONE...) "We're extremely happy with that. We were pretty nervous coming down here, especially the way our test went. The guys at the shop made so many changes. It was a good effort. They did so many things to this car because we knew we had to make it quicker. We couldn't leave it the way it was at the test or we were going home. But, we're in."

-pontiac-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers A.J. Foyt
Teams Hendrick Motorsports