Report from Motorsport News International NASCAR Public Relations Winston 500 Quotebook TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 1997) John Andretti No. 98 RCA Ford "This team is just great. We haven't had the season we wanted to have, but we knew...
Report from Motorsport News International
NASCAR Public Relations
Winston 500 Quotebook
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 1997)
John Andretti No. 98 RCA Ford
"This team is just great. We haven't had the season we wanted to have, but we knew that this would be a good race for us. We're just trying to get back on track. We knew we had a good car, but we thought the 94 for sure had the field covered. When he didn't run that good, it put the pressure on us. I think tony Furr and Tony Cola and those guys knew it. It's a great feeling. We've struggled a little bit this season, and to come out here and do this feels really good. We were just hoping for a top-five and I was just hoping for a top-25, but with this team, there are surprises. But it's not that big of a surprise, but this team is capable of doing this all the time. Hopefully this will give us some momentum and get us headed back in the right direction.
"The lap wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. I just didn't know it was going to be that quick. It was a much better lap than we anticipated. We knew that from practice that we had something left. After seeing Bill Elliott run a lap like he did, I think it put the pressure on us to run better than Earnhardt. I knew Bobby Hillin would be quick, because he was quick in practice, so that was a pretty anxious moment at the end. I didn't want to lose the pole on the last guy. It was pretty tough because we already felt like at that point that we had it."
Bobby Hillin No. 77 Jasper Engines Ford
"I really wanted to get the pole, more for the guys than for myself. The driver, it's not that big a deal for him to get the pole here at Talladega. But for the guys, it would be a great accomplishment, because it takes such a team effort to put a speedway car on the race track and make it fast. Last year we missed the show, so it's a great testimony to Jasper and our engine program and all the guys back at the engine shop and to this race team. We haven't had a lot to cheer about this year. This is a good accomplishment for them. I'm proud of them, and I'm hoping this will help uplift the team and we can get the communication going a little better. We haven't had that great a year and our sponsors have had a lot of questions, but this shows them that we have the ability to do it. We just to have to work on our communication and start gelling a little better. (My win here at Talladega) that was before restrictor plates. That was when, if you were brave enough to go fast, you went fast and you ran up front. It's not like that anymore, so I don't think that will do me a lot of good. What it's going to take here is all the guys working together. It's going to take us really communicating on the chassis and get the chassis to working right here. And to be honest with you, I don't know what we need to do to get it right. But we're going to sit down and talk about what we need to do to be fast and to make it last all day. That we can do it again. I've never believed in the Talladega jinx, but each year I'm beginning to believe in it a little more, and right now it has got me a little bit, so if I can come back here and win, then I can get it off me and I can go other places and be more successful."
Dale Earnhardt No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet
"I thought it would take a little more than that to sit on the pole. It almost held up, but we didn't quite make it. We always race good here. It was a good lap for us. I feel pretty good about it. We've got a good starting spot. We qualified a little faster than we practiced, so that was good for us. If we can keep all four wheels on the track Sunday, we'll be in good shape."
Rusty Wallace No. 2 Miller Lite Ford
"I'm real happy with it. The guys did a great job. The motor is running really strong. Everything is perfect. We didn't get to test, but they changed the rules a little bit and we were able to adapt to em soon enough and get em all finished. Now it's just getting a race setup in tit and see how we can do on Sunday. We ran like a 49.90 in practice and we knew we had a little left. But Robin and the guys did some tricks I didn't know about and it got a little quicker. You've got to give this one to the team."
Mike Skinner No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet
"When I saw we weren't the first car on the board, that was enough. I figured we'd end up sixth or eighth. It was a pretty good lap after the cards we dealt ourselves today. We had a pretty good car and we came down here and tested and they changed the rules a little bit on us. We upset the balance of the car a little bit, but everybody's got the same set of rules to work with. That was our best shot today. I thought we could shoot a little bit better than that. You can buckle a seat belt wrong here at Daytona or Talladega and slow down a tenth or so. I got to learn some drafting at Daytona. Its' not a matter of who you can trust and who you can't. It's every man for himself when they drop that green flag until the checkered flag falls. We've got a good race car, and I think we'll be good Sunday."
Ken Schrader No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet
"We ran over something, but I never saw it. It's not a real smooth ride around here anyway. The car ran good. We'll take it. We were good at Daytona until we had some problems, so maybe we can have a good run here Sunday. The motor shop got us some more power, like everybody's motor shop did. We're ready. We've got some horsepower. The car ran good in practice. You just go as fast as you can. There's not a whole lot you can do out there qualifying. I knew the car would be good. It looks like we won the low contest, but I think we ran over something somewhere. I didn't see it, but it did some damage."
Ernie Irvan No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford
"The guys have done a tremendous job building this car. We were just a little bit short. We didn't get much practice. It's a shame, because all this work is going to pay off shortly. I think there was a lot more on the table, but with the new rules change, with not weighing the cars and trying to sink em and all that stuff changed on us and we just werent able to be here and do what we needed to do when we unloaded. But we have a great car and I think it's going to race pretty good."
Bobby Labonte No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet
"I tell you what, it's the guys in the shop that worked real hard and got this Pontiac going. This is the same Grand Prix we had in Daytona. We knocked the side off of it in that last wreck there toward the end. The guys worked on the car and it looks like they've got it pretty good. Those guys did all the work. I was a lot more worried about qualifying at like Indy or Martinsville, not here, because the driver doesn't do a lot here. All he does is run it wide open. Those guys did all the work, and I appreciate all they did. The Pontiac really has come around on the superspeedways."
Dale Jarrett No. 88 Ford Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford
"We haven't been there all day, so we just tried to make the most out of what we had. It's a decent starting spot, but we'll be okay on Sunday. We did all our testing down here with the other rules, then they tell you the day before you come down here. Obviously, it didn't hurt some people. They went right to it, so I guess it shouldn't have hurt us. But we had done everything with that in mind. Once that happened, we had a different mindset, that we were just going to come here and make the most of it. It's not going to change anything for the race."
Bill Elliott No. 94 McDonald's Ford
"We were hoping we would pick up a little more, but that's kinda the way it is. You throw everything you can at it. We've just got to get it ready for Sunday. At least we had a good qualifying run. We're going to go at it on Sunday. I knew I got some help in the practice runs. It depends on how the air is and everything else, but we gave it a good run. I feel like the car will race good Sunday afternoon, and right now that's all we care about. It's running good. It's the same car we ran at Daytona, so I'm looking forward to it. I think it doesn't matter where you start. Sure, I wanted to be on the pole, but unfortunately that's not going to happen. But we'll get at it Sunday afternoon."
Terry Labonte No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet
"We thought we could pick it up a little bit, and we did. But it still wasn't what we needed. We weren't real good in practice. This is the same car we ran at Daytona. We've worked on it since then and it's better, so we should be in good shape for the race."
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