Kenny Wallace, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo "Every time we qualify in Cup, the speeds seem to get quicker. The Pennzoil car is always very competitive. Even when it's not perfect, it's still going good here. I love this place. The track...
Kenny Wallace, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo "Every time we qualify in Cup, the speeds seem to get quicker. The Pennzoil car is always very competitive. Even when it's not perfect, it's still going good here. I love this place. The track is just like Darlington with what I call 'east coast' asphalt. Steve Park won here (in the spring), but that was with bump stops. Paul Andrews and the guys are working hard on getting the car back to where it was when he won.
"It was a good run. But still, down here in turns three and four, I wasn't on the gas for as much as I wanted to for as long as I wanted to. Is it the driver or is it the car? I've been saying this for about a month. Obviously, it's the car. I'd like for me and Steve Park to take credit for this car being so fast, but it's just a fast racecar. I'm just trying to keep this car up there in the points for Steve.
"I just really want to thank Paul Andrews. He's been with our family for years - back in the St. Louis days. But the Pennzoil Chevrolet has just been really good. The key (to qualifying well) here is to drive into turn one as deep as you can and not use too much brake - grab the white line and get on the gas as quick as you can. You've really got to bind the car up. So the crew has got to have the car tight for you but yet still make the turns with a good bite up off of turn two. Three and four throws you a curve ball. It's more of a driver's corner. I got into three real good and I got on the gas and I got a little bit free. I lifted off the gas a little bit and if I get beat, that'll be where."
Jerry Nadeau, No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "It was a pretty good job. The guys have done a good job. I think we were tenth in practice. We made a slight adjustment - tightened the car up and I think we got it a little too tight in the center and it snapped loose. It snapped loose coming off (turn) two on my second lap and I got into (turn) three and it was way too loose. We decided to pull it in but my first lap was good enough to get us somewhere in the top ten. This is the same car we finished second with at Dover. I think this car's worse finish is 15th. It's a good racecar. It's never qualified good, but obviously we did something different today."
Dick Trickle, No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Note: Trickle will be driving the car on Sunday - "We just made minor adjustments from practice because we don't want to be loose. If you're a little tight, you just won't be quite as fast. The car stuck the best it has since we got here. I realize the clouds are coming in and the track is going to get faster. But hopefully this will get us in the top 36 because we sure don't want to use a provisional if we don't have to"
Robby Gordon, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Note: Gordon tested and pre-ran the course in his Baja trophy truck in Baja California this week in preparation for the Nov. 9 Baja 1000. "The car was really loose on both laps."
Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "All the guys have been working real hard on this Oakwood Homes Chevy. Man, we're doing all we can do before the year was out. But it's tough out there right now."
Michael Waltrip, No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Just before qualifying, the crew changed air pressure all the way around, track bar, and a little bit of wedge - all changed prior to qualifying. I just told them we needed to do something, and they did."
Bobby Hamilton, No. 55 Square D Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "This will be close. Somebody will probably run a little quicker and if they do, they can have it. You don't have a choice. I think we got a little bit of help with the clouds. But the car's been good every since we unloaded. We made one spring change on the left side and that was it. We'll see what happens."
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Actually, I expected us to pick up quite a bit more than we did. I'm sitting here scratching my head a little bit because it felt like a great lap. I got the thing turned down into turn one and did everything I wanted to do. If I could think of a few ways to go faster - maybe just squeeze the throttle a little harder once I got back into it - but the Dupont Chevrolet felt great. We were just off a little bit. We'll see where we end up here and go racing on Sunday."
On the aerodynamic rules change for Daytona and Talladega: "I spoke to them (NASCAR) at Phoenix and also prior to the meeting and got an idea of what their direction was. I wasn't there. We had a charity event that we'd scheduled for a while and I had to be there. But I'm happy with what they've come up with. I think it's a good package. It goes back to what we used to have except for (the fact that) a lot of changes have happened since we've run those rules. The last time we ran those rules, we didn't have the springs and shocks rules that kept us from getting the cars way down. Now we'll have the cars more up in the air and go back to the old package. I think for Talladega, that's going to be a lot better. For Daytona, I'm not sure what's going to happen. I hope it works good and we put on a great race. I hope its not single file and there's not a lot of passing. We'll keep our fingers crossed and we'll learn a lot more when we go down there to test in January."
As a driver, how will you adapt to these rules? "I can go back to driving the way I used to a little bit more. You've really got to think about everything you're doing. You've got to plan your passes. You've got to work on the guy for a while. Now we're back to working the draft and seeing the air and all that stuff we used to talk about. Right now, you just pull out and pass any change you can. You basically just block the whole time you're out there. It didn't used to be like that. I'm looking forward to it being like this."
Approaching the championship, do you notice anything different about Robbie Loomis - such as pressure to perform or things like that? "One thing that will surprise you about good crew chiefs is that when they're under the pressure, they don't show it. That's how he's been this year. I would have never known that he's never gone for a championship. I know he's been working hard for a year like this. I know when he sees the confidence in the team and that I have in him and just the teamwork and resources that Hendrick Motorsports have been going on, I think it puts him a little more at ease. I'm real proud of him. There have been times when I've had to be calmed down and he's been right there to calm me down. He seems just like a veteran crew chief that's battled for many championships."
How do you feel about your crew and the Pit Crew competition on Saturday? "Unfortunately it's a one-time deal where there's a lot of luck involved. At the same time, there's skill and speed. My guys, on a consistent basis, do an incredible job of getting us out front. We hope that we can show everybody else what they are made of when the pressure's on. We did some good practice a week or so ago and they had some great stops. We're looking forward to it."
What is it about this crew that makes them demonstrate finesse all around instead of being a bunch of showboats? "We like to show what we're capable of with actions instead of words. Instead of talking a big talk, we just try to walk the walk. That's what I love so much about this group. They know what they're capable of and they could flaunt it if they wanted to. Instead, they're humble about it and they know it can go away just as easily as it has come. That's what I admire most about them.
"When you've had a year like we've had, you want to end it on a positive note with the championship. We hope we can. That would be the sweetest part is pulling off a championship. Probably the thing I'm most proud of is the way this team has come together since this time last year. They are a phenomenal group. Their hearts are in it. They have the desire and drive to be Winston Cup champions."
-Team Monte Carlo-