Team Monte Carlo Dover Friday Notes

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) Fresh off a ninth-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last Sunday, Steve Park and company will race their Bristol and Rockingham Monte Carlo at Dover. Park...

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Fresh off a ninth-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last Sunday, Steve Park and company will race their Bristol and Rockingham Monte Carlo at Dover. Park finished seventh and ninth, respectively. Park is ranked 17th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings (NWCS), and welcomes some new crew members this week at Dover. Justin McKean is the new engine tuner. Mike Atwell will work as an at-track mechanic and change rear tires. Bobby Burrell will now change front tires, and Billy Sutphin replaces Gary Smith as the front tire carrier.

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)

The seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion recorded his circuit-leading ninth top-10 finish of the season last Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600. Earnhardt’s third-place finish helped him retain fourth place in the NWCS. He trails third-place Mark Martin by only two points and leader Bobby Labonte by 83. Earnhardt raced his Dover Monte Carlo at Bristol, Rockingham and Darlington. “The car needed a little work after Bristol, but it went down leading the race,” crew chief Kevin Hamlin said.

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

The Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc., team will race its Winston Open Monte Carlo at Dover. The car was tested recently at Michigan and made its debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in The Winston Open. Hamilton finished 34th last week at Charlotte and ranks 28th in the NWCS.

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Labonte will race his Bristol Monte Carlo at Dover. He finished fifth with the car at Bristol. “The chassis, body and motor positions are similar at Dover and Bristol,” crew chief Gary DeHart said. “Those are the only two places on the circuit you can successfully run a car like that.” Labonte finished 22nd in the Coca-Cola 600 and ranks 11th in the NWCS.

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Waltrip will race his Bristol Monte Carlo at Dover. Waltrip finished 18th last week in the Coca-Cola 600 and ranks 24th in the NWCS.

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Earnhardt Jr. will race his Bristol Monte Carlo at Dover. With a win and fourth-place finish in his last two points races, the 25-year-old rookie is 16th in the NWCS. He’s 130 points out of 10th place after 12 of 34 races.

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo)

Gordon will race Monte Carlo No. 2439 at Dover. It’s the same car he ran at Las Vegas and Bristol. Gordon finished 10th in the Coca-Cola 600 last week and ranks eighth in the NWCS.

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Nadeau will race his Bristol Monte Carlo at Dover. Nadeau qualified second and led 115 laps last week in the Coca-Cola 600 before engine problems relegated him to a 38th-place finish. Nadeau is ranked 30th in the NWCS.

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Skinner will race Monte Carlo No. 57 at Dover. He raced it earlier this season at Bristol where he qualified third and finished 13th. It’s had a complete body facelift since Bristol. Skinner finished seventh last week in the Coca-Cola 600 and ranks 12th in the NWCS.

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Nemechek raced his Dover Monte Carlo at California and Las Vegas earlier this season. Nemechek finished 23rd last week in the Coca-Cola 600 and ranks 25th in the NWCS.

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Marlin will race his Bristol Monte Carlo at Dover. Marlin finished 10th with it at Bristol. Marlin finished 19th last week in the Coca-Cola 600 and ranks 20th in the NWCS.

KENNY IRWIN (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Irwin will race a new Monte Carlo at Dover. Irwin finished 24th last week in the Coca-Cola 600 and ranks 29th in the NWCS.

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Wallace will race his Bristol Monte Carlo at Dover. He qualified second and finished 20th with it at Bristol. Wallace finished 27th last week in the Coca-Cola 600 and ranks 32nd in the NWCS.

GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Bodine will race a Monte Carlo that competed at Darlington and Rockingham earlier this season. The chassis started both races last year at Dover. Bodine started 29th and finished 29th last week in the Coca-Cola 600.

DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

Marcis brought the same Monte Carlo to Dover that he drove at Bristol. “We didn’t qualify at Bristol, but we’ve worked on the car and I really hope it’ll be better here,” Marcis said.

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“That’s about what we practiced. We had been fighting tight up off of turn four. The last run we made in practice, we were tight off turn four. We got through one and two real good and got through three good. Then it got tight again off four and we had to check up a little bit there. When we get it turning off four, it’s too loose. When we get it driving good off four, it wants to shove the nose, so what do you do? The track’s hot and we backed up our practice speed, so we should be all right. We’re fairly happy with it. Going out early wasn’t the best thing in the world, but that doesn’t make that much difference because it’s so hot today. Hopefully that’ll get us in the top 25 and we can concentrate on the race setup tomorrow.”

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo)

“We got loose and we’ve got some work to do before Sunday. The car hadn’t been that fast in practice, but it was faster than that.”

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“It pushed off both corners. We scraped the wall a little bit, and that didn’t help anything, but that was a pretty decent lap. I think we’ll be in good shape for the race.”

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“We nailed it. We’ve been pushing the whole time we’ve been here. Joe (Nemechek) came onto something the second time out, and we put it in there. We had to tune around it a little bit. After we did that, my motor guy had a lot left I guess. We were tight in all of practice. My crew chief, Jimmy Elledge, talked to Andy Petree and we put in a little bit of what Joe had. We ran good here last time, so hopefully we’ll end up in the top 10 and go from there.”

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“We’re real happy with the Budweiser Chevrolet. We’re not sure what happened in practice, but I felt like we lost a little power in practice so we decided to change the motor to be safe on that deal. We got a decent lap, and that should put us in the top 10 or 15 and give us a good starting spot for Sunday. That’s what we need.”

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“We learned some stuff from the 2 car. I don’t know if we made it work. Our car ran awfully good right off the truck, and then we struggled toward the end of practice. The race track started getting rubber on it and started getting tight. When we went through one and two, I thought we had ‘em covered. It was awesome. Coming off four, it just took off toward the fence. I had to let off the gas a little bit, and that hurt our lap.”

GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“Well, we made it. This place is tremendously fast. I got a little sideways off turn two. That slowed us down a little bit. I think everyone has slowed down a little from where they practiced. We slowed down a little. I’m disappointed in that, but it still wasn’t a bad lap for us.”

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“It wasn’t a good day for the Michael Holigan.com team. We had a good first practice session, but we went backwards in the second session. The car was great getting into the turns, but then it just got so tight coming off that I couldn’t get back into the throttle like I needed to. So we loosened it up before we went out to qualify, and I guess we went too much. We’ll work on it tomorrow. It’s a good feeling knowing that we have a better race car than qualifying car each week when we come to the track.”

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“It got pretty loose coming for the green flag, and that hurt our lap. It got slick coming off four. I got sideways and lost some speed. Turns one and two are fine. Three and four is where the problem is. Guess we’ll have to try it again tomorrow.”

DAVE MARCIS (No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“We ran better in practice. We’ve been struggling, and I can’t put my hands on the problem. We’re in a rut, and we can’t seem to work our way out. We’ll keep trying.”

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“We ran our best on 25-lap tires. This is the car we ran at Bristol and Rockingham, and it’s real good on long runs. If we get it driving as good as we had it at Bristol, we’ve got a good chance here. We had a good car here last fall. I really enjoy this place.”

KENNY IRWIN (No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

“That’s the best we’ve been in a long time. We had a good car last week, and I kind of screwed up. This week I did my job and we ended up pretty good. This is a lot better than we’ve been the past few weeks. I like Dover. It’s one of my more favorite places. The race seems like it takes forever, but everybody says that. The guys did an awesome job with the car. We caught onto something a couple of weeks ago, and I think it’s going to work everywhere.”

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo)

THIRD-PLACE QUALIFYING INTERVIEW

“I knew that a .90 was a really good lap, but I didn’t think it would be anywhere close to the pole. My teammate (Joe Nemechek) ran a .79. Rusty ran an .87, but then when I saw the track slowed up I thought we might have something. Here we are again one car away from an all-Wallace front row, but the last time that happened my throttle stuck so I’m glad we’re separated a little bit. “We qualified fourth for this race last year, so we knew we had to back up what we did last year. Going into the run, I was a little worried because my teammate Nemechek and me had completely different setups. We changed my setup right before qualifying, so the payoff of a two-car team in Winston Cup racing was evident right here. I had a real good car. My motor man came to me and told me he had some timing he had to put in the motor. That picked the motor up a lot. I’m one of those guys that you never know how he’s going to qualify. I surprise a lot of people all the time. It was a real good lap. The car was perfectly neutral, almost sideways. It ended up being a good lap.” “We softened some front springs and changed some shocks and a little bit here and there that’s a little bit too deep to go into. Front springs, a little bit of timing in the motor and it seemed to pay off. “I think the big story is here I’ve never finished a race. The Busch Series, I’m always in the top 10. Both races last year, I qualified sixth and eighth and ran like sixth and seventh. It the Winston Cup deal, we came here last year and qualified fourth and ran in the top five three-quarters of the race. We got hung on the outside there and got in the marbles and wrecked. I was really disappointed with the way I handled my used tires versus everybody’s new tires. I think that’s the thing about me and Dover. Now it is a big Bristol and I think that’s why Rusty excels here. I’ve really liked it since they put the concrete down. It seems like it really opens up the groove during the race. We’re coming from way back. We’ve had a lot of motor problems this year. We had a competitive car and had some problems. We’re just going to try to be like old Bill Elliott, come out of nowhere from last year to somewhere this year. That’s what we’re working on for Sunday. “At first, it was my instructions to tell everyone it was a team penalty and have everybody call APR about it. Since they’ve reduced our penalty, which was nice, we’re definitely going to be there next week (at Michigan) for qualifying. It’s just they’ve taken one more test away from us. From what I hear, there have been a lot of team members taking advantage of testing, taking another driver and putting him in a car. It’s an ARCA car, it’s not. NASCAR is clamping down on this whole testing procedure, which will be good financially, especially reading Winston Cup Scene today and hearing some of these prices these guys are getting. They’re pretty incredible, $10 million a year, $15 million a year. I agree with what they did, of course, I was on the wrong side of the stick. We were up there testing some aero packages, and we just got busted man. “We were looking for a good, veteran driver that’s got a gazillion laps around Michigan. He (Jim Sauter) lives up close there. He’s in Wisconsin and he’s run a gazillion IROC laps around there (Michigan). He’s a real good test guy, doesn’t worry about qualifying. We had two cars up there with two different aero packages. We got in trouble when we were out there drafting, well we didn’t get into trouble right then. We got in trouble actually during the Winston Open drivers meeting. Me and Jimmy (crew chief Elledge) showed up a little bit early and Gary Nelson kind of starred us down and asked us if we wanted to tell him about anything. We confessed, but not to that sin. We were like, the red flag came out and I didn’t see it. I made one more lap. Then the more we got going I knew what it was, and I looked at Jimmy. We feel like somebody ratted us out. People have their job at each one of these tracks, somebody is employed that has to report what’s going on. We called it in high school, somebody knocked us out, man. It seems like the most popular thing here is to be the bad boy and get away with everything you can. Maybe I’ll become more popular and people will love me more for trying to cheat and be better.”

NOTE: Jim Sauter and Kenny Wallace tested two cars at Michigan recently. The rule is one car per driver for a test. “We had two cars and two drivers and did some drafting,” Kenny Wallace said. “We got busted.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Labonte , Steve Park , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Jim Sauter , Andy Petree , Gary Smith , Michael Ho , Kevin Hamlin , Mark Martin