DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "That's really not a surprise (lap of 51.436 seconds). We ran that fast in practice. What really is a surprise to me I found out we were running the whole practice this morning with...
DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"That's really not a surprise (lap of 51.436 seconds). We ran that fast in practice. What really is a surprise to me I found out we were running the whole practice this morning with the spoiler about three degrees lower than we had to qualify it. I'm kind of disappointed in that, but I'm happy we ran as quick as we did with having to raise the spoiler up after practice. It's pretty simple to drive around here with the shocks and springs we've got. The cars really don't drive a lot different than they did at Daytona except they don't push as bad. It's kind of hard to make the cars any quicker. We ran three or four runs this morning and ran all of 'em exactly the same time or pretty close. We tried to improve, but it's hard. That lap should hold up and get us in the field in the first round. We'll practice in the draft on Saturday and see how it is. It's the same car we ran at Daytona, and hopefully I won't make the rookie mistakes here Sunday that I made at Daytona."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)
"I'm real disappointed with that. We've been a lot faster than that today. That's a real shame. The guys did a great job after our test here at Talladega, picking up a lot of speed. We unloaded off the truck. We weren't a rocket ship, but we were easy a top 25. That's not a good start for us, but I know we're going to race good."
STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We've been struggling since we got here. This team has been doing a good job. We've been racing real hard all year long. Mechanical failures have kind of set us back, but to come here and run that slow is really disappointing."
GARY BRADBERRY (No. 41 Big Daddy's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"That's probably a second faster than we ran in practice. Hopefully we'll work on the car tomorrow and get it a little better. We didn't get much practice today. We just made two runs this morning, and hopefully we can pick it up a little bit on Saturday."
MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We pretty much threw away the first lap. I just really don't know how to qualify with this new restrictor deal. We felt like the most momentum we could get with our Lowe's Monte Carlo would be the best for us. We got back around and the thermostat stuck and the water temperature got hot and that had to hurt it a little. That's what we got, and that's what we'll have to take. We came down here and ran a .21 in testing. We were conservative with everything with a practice motor. We'll take it. It'll make the show first round, but I really thought we could get us a pole here at Talladega. Maybe it'll come next week. NASCAR has been pretty hard on everybody, making us work on these cars a lot. We'll just have to race 'em from wherever that ends up. We'll go to work on our race package now. The list of tracks that owes us one is getting bigger and bigger. Nobody really owes us one. We just haven't figured out a way to get to victory lane, but we're going to get us one soon."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)
"I think we could run a little faster. I ran high on the first lap and I got into some stuff up there. I knew it was there. I think I got the valences down on the race track. It might have hurt us a little for the second lap, but we still got a good lap. I just threw the first lap away. I didn't know what we had. We really didn't get a qualifying lap in practice. I went turkey hunting with the Realtree guys this morning. I had a good time. I got soaking wet, but I got a nice turkey. I got here late for practice, but I didn't get to practice for an hour anyway because they were still working on the car from all the adjustments they made. Maybe we got a little carried away on doing all we could to get the car as good as we could. We were trying to make it as good as the cars we had here last year and better than the car we had at Daytona. It was an OK qualifying deal, but we've got to draft and race and that's what's important. We're going to work hard on that tomorrow and hope we get some good weather for that. It's real important to qualify and get up front if you can stay up there. I was sparking a little bit. The guys did a great job on the engine, but the work the guys did getting this car fixed from NASCAR inspection was pretty awesome.
"The biggest thing I'm worried about is drafting and racing. That's what we've got to work on. I ran nine practice laps today. I ran four. We untaped it to get some heat in the tires because we didn't have much time. We got one lap after that for a qualifying run in practice. We felt pretty good about it. They do all the oils and stuff, and that's worth a little bit, but the hard work these guys did getting this car ready, going through what NASCAR put 'em through and changing things, it was pretty neat to see them do that and then coming out and running good. I didn't see the car before they fixed it. I got here late. It was raining today, and they had a lot of time. That's NASCAR life. You've just got to do what you've got to do. That's what they did. NASCAR said they wanted it fixed, and they just kept adjusting and fixing it. They got it fixed. I don't think it was better. I think we could have been a little better the way we were before they fixed it, but you never know. We didn't test that well, and our car wasn't as good as Skinner's car in the test. We didn't think we could run as fast as Skinner."
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 50 Midwest Transit Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We only had a couple of laps on the track today. We've had some problems, and I'm not really sure what's wrong. We've got some oil inside the car, so we'll have to see what's up. That's going to be close (as far as making the field). With the weather the way it is, I'm sure there's going to be some anxiety tonight. I just hope it's going to be good enough to make the race. I think we'll race well if we just get in it."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"That's not very good. We've worked hard. We came down here and tested, but we just don't know where to get anything right now. We'll be back. We're just trying to get in the race now. Last year, we qualified third and ran fifth and seventh here, but we've got to get caught back up with these new rules."
JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We picked up nine tenths from practice and we're still not very good. We're struggling. I don't know what's making us run like we're running. This is the car we had at Daytona and were running fifth or sixth most of the race. We ended up breaking a part on the front of the motor, and that put us out, but I think we're going to be pretty good in the race."
JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It was pretty slow considering last time. I think you're going to see some good racing on Sunday because the speeds are closer than I've ever seen 'em here. The guys did a real good job with the car. It's the same one we had at Daytona. We'll just have to get ready to race now. This is a place where you can come from the back to the front pretty quick. It's a good race car. It was a top-10 car easy at Daytona until we broke a shock mount. Our guys got everything ready to go. I don't know if we'll end up in the top 25 today, but we'll see how it goes."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We tested here and ran quicker than that. We're scratching our heads a little bit and wondering what's going on. We got through the inspection perfect and then got on the track and didn't perform like we'd hoped to, but that's not bad. I know how to get to the front here, and I expect you'll see a lot of this little 7 car up at the front on Sunday. You can see perfectly well on the track, and there was no reason to stop qualifying. It's a little dark, but you can see fine. I've got a dark shield on my helmet, and it fell down on my run. I picked it up right quick. It was a little dark with that down, but there was no problem qualifying."
DICK TRICKLE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"We only got a couple laps of practice. The guys have been really working hard. We just didn't get enough laps on this car. We weren't that quick in practice, but we picked it up a couple tenths in qualifying. The guys did a good job. We just need to find a little more speed. We're not giving up. The car drives good, and we ain't giving up. We hope the weather sticks with us, and we'll be in that race come Sunday."
KENNY IRWIN Jr. (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It's getting dark coming down the back straightaway. I tested out here late a couple of years ago. It had rained during the day. As long as you can see, there's no problem. You just don't know when it's going to go to the next point where you can't see the corners. The biggest problem was seeing the apron. It was a good lap. I thought we could run a .60. To run a .40 is pretty awesome, and I was concerned because the weather has changed so much. It's harder on the motors right now, but our motor guy did a good job. It makes you a little more apprehensive that you're seeing everything the right way. You double check yourself, and it's hard to do going that fast. Any light going down the back you can see. There's a big light at the gate, and that helped a lot. We didn't have any problem. We picked up quite a bit from practice, and that's what you want to do."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"Now you know why we were hoping it would rain out qualifying earlier. That's really about as good as we'd run in practice. That's about what we expected. It's a little bit dark, but it's not bad now."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"It's dark in the garage, but it's lighter on the race track. I think the Indians are overlooking us and shining a little light on the track. I needed all the help I could get. The cars are not running fast enough to do anything right now. I'm not sure what it did."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I saw some motor homes cut their lights on down in three and four when I was qualifying. By the time I turned in the corner, I saw some lights come on. No kidding. They did. You could still see the yellow line. The guys really did a good job. This is a new car. It's never been tested or anything. It's a whole lot better than the car we had at Daytona. Last week this car wasn't together."
DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"You can see the yellow line, and you can see the white line. It was no big problem. You could see the race track well enough. I made 150 rpm's more than I did in practice, and I should have picked up. The car didn't go as good as I thought it should. We ran a 51.97 in practice, and only ran a 51.91 in qualifying. We I see that many rpm's, I feel like that should be a couple of tenths. It's nice and cool right now. The air is getting cooler, and I think that's why we turned more rpm's."