Team Monte Carlo Sears Point Qualifying

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're really pleased with that lap. We had a little skip in the carburetor and it sputtered a little bit coming off turn 11 coming to take the green and again to take the flag. That ...

MIKE SKINNER (No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're really pleased with that lap. We had a little skip in the carburetor and it sputtered a little bit coming off turn 11 coming to take the green and again to take the flag. That probably hurt it a little bit and the driver ran off the road up there a couple of times. That probably didn't help us any either. If the driver had been perfect and the carburetor hadn't skipped, we would have probably been a little better. That should make first round, so we'll take it. I was trying to win the pole, as hard as I could go. We had the carburetor problem and it skipped. The motor was missing a little bit. I was driving it as hard as I could drive it, and I ran off the road a couple of times. That cost us a tenth or so. We'll have to take it. I love road racing. I don't plan to be a road racer, but I like it. On cold tires, getting up through the second, third and fourth turns, that's really, really tough. Coming through the esses, on the second esse, I was really going for it. I ran off the road and had to lift. If you get through there perfect and use all the race track, and don't overstep your boundaries, you get a pretty good lap. We were probably trying a little too hard. I heard the motor skipping, and I was trying to make up for it. You've just got to stay on track. "Every time I've come to Sears Point, when I drove the Goodwrench truck to the Lowe's Chevrolet, I've hit that set of tires getting into that corner (11th turn). I've put marks down the side every time I've been here, so I don't guess today is going to be any different. That's a good lap for us. We'll get a respectable starting spot, and we'll race 'em from there. A good starting spot is very important at Sears Point. It is at any road course. It's so hard to pass. You can be three-tenths better than the car in front of you and you can't pass him. You just have to wait for somebody to make a mistake and it takes a ton of patience. Sometimes drivers have a hard time with patience."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "It was a decent lap. It was about what we ran last year when we sat on the pole, but I didn't think it would hold up this year. I'm real happy with the lap. I wanted to put together a real solid lap, and I didn't make any big mistakes in any corners. I really could have attacked a couple of corners a little bit better, but I'm real happy with it. That's the fastest we've gone all day long. These guys wanted to have a good, strong run, and I told them I was happy with it. The car was capable of a 10.9, but I've seen some guys go off, and I about went off a few times today, so that was a good, solid lap. You see a guy like Jeff Burton go out there, and he's been running good all day long. He didn't get the lap I thought he was capable of. It makes you a little nervous. I would have liked to drawn a later number, but I think for when we went that was a real good lap. We'll be solid in there, and I'm real happy about that. "It felt good, and I was real happy with it. I hit all the corners good. I could have attacked a couple of corners a little better, but for the most part it was a solid run for us. This is a place I really enjoy coming to for many reasons, family, friends. The track is a lot of fun, and we're having a good time out here. The car is very fast and feels good. A lot of guys have caught up to us, and just to get a good, solid lap in here out there is important. I feel like we did that." Friday, June 23, 2000. Sears Point Raceway. Bud Pole qualifying for Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 250. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 2.

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "Track position is important these days. It's got to be a total team effort. I've got to make sure I don't make any mistakes on the track. I think the car is capable of doing it. I think we're able to get the right setup under this thing. We've got to have good pit stops. If we can do all that, we're very capable of winning. We've just got to try not to overdo it. It's a track where you can really attack the corners, but if you just go over the edge a tiny bit you're going to find yourself in the sand. That's a big part of road racing, to be smooth and not make mistakes. It's that way at any track, but especially this one. "In order to win, your transmission and brakes really have to be functioning well. The setup is important, but I think the driver can make up a lot on how the car handles, using the curbs, don't use the curbs. I think those elements are real important. You almost have to force a guy to make a mistake because there's only one place to pass. You hope he does it if you're on him, but if you're on him too much you'll overheat your stuff trying to stay with him. You've got to run your own race, be smooth and be clean and make passes when you can. It's got to be a total team team, the pit crew, the driver, the car, everything. "It's been pretty amazing what we've been able to accomplish on the road courses. When we first started coming to these road courses, I was shaking my head. I love coming to 'em. I'm looking forward to this race and Watkins Glen. Hopefully we can keep the streak going, but some guys have caught up."

TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We couldn't pick it up in qualifying. I don't know why. Usually at a road course you can pick up half a second. The car feels pretty good. There's just not a lot of speed in it right now, but we're pretty close to race setup. I was hoping for a better starting spot, but that's the way it goes. I haven't done well here since they changed the track."

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I gave up some getting off turn 11. I spun the tires a little bit. Other than that, I don't know. I guess it gave up a little bit everywhere. We'll look at the segment times and see what happened."

KENNY WALLACE (No. 55 Square D/Cooper Lighting Monte Carlo) "We were wanting more, but the track got a little hotter and we were tight in right hand corners. We did scuff our tires and rolled them in, but I don't know if that made a difference. We purposely tightened the car for some right hand turns and between that and concentrating on hitting my marks, we finished 17th. We can't complain."

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Turn seven has been a pretty strong corner for me, and we got in there hot. We got some pretty good brakes on this Pennzoil hot rod and I got slowed down a little bit too much. I thought I hit all my marks. I was able to hustle the car pretty good through all of 'em. I just gave up quite a bit in turn seven. That was my only bad corner. That's faster than we tested, so that got us in the top 25 and hopefully we'll do better than we did here last year. We're going to try to keep all four tires on the ground this time." Friday, June 23, 2000. Sears Point Raceway. Bud Pole qualifying for Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 250. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 3.

JERRY NADEAU (No. 25 Michael Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I just didn't get a very good lap. Ward's (Burton) deal didn't affect me at all. I'm not too worried about qualifying. It hurts to start back in the pack, but I think we'll be OK on race day. We came in with a new tire, and it's my first time here with the Michael guys. We're still learning each other. Next time we come back here or go to another road course race, we'll be a lot better. We have a lot of power in this thing and at this place you really don't need a lot of power. So we're just trying to get the car where we can get enough traction."

DALE EARNHARDT Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We had a lot of mess ups, but we're pretty happy. I'm a long way from being smooth here. I don't know if you can ever perfect this place here, but I'm a long way from getting close to it. I just need some more races here. Come Sunday, when we get a lot of laps, maybe I can just concentrate on the race track and learn a lot about the place. To be able to go fast for one lap, we've got some work to do. I've got some learning to do. This is a lot different than Watkins Glen. Here, you've got turn after turn. At Watkins Glen, you can kind of prepare yourself for the corner because you've got such a long straightaway. Here you're back and forth, back and forth, setting the car all the time. I've got a lot to learn. I'm overdriving the car in some places. Other places, I'm not using up as much of the car as I probably could. Boris Said helped us a lot when we tested here and he was telling me one of my biggest problems was I've got a lot more race track than I'm using, that I could probably drive the car a lot harder through the corner or carry more speed through the corner. I'm trying my best to do what's right without tearing up the race car. We need to gain some rookie points. This is obviously a track I can't come to and say I want a top 10 or a top five. I just want to stay on the asphalt and gain some rookie points on Matt. It's fun, but it's kind of frustrating. It gives you heartburn."

BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're happy. These guys have worked their tails off today. We broke two motors. I think we made four up to speed laps. We got a chance to scuff our qualifiers and made some changes. That's going to be good. That'll get us in the first round, and that's what we were trying to do. This is our race motor and we feel pretty good about that. We're out of qualifying motors. It feels like race setup. That's what we worked toward."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We were making a banzai run and got caught up in traffic in practice, but we knew we had a good car. I knew if I didn't mess up and overdrive it that we had a good shot to get in the top 10. I didn't think we'd run that quick. I thought we'd run a .50 or .60, but the car really hooked up good. I hit every corner just right. I usually need somebody to follow. It's a little different when you're out there by yourself. This is a new car and it was pretty quick off the truck. I usually try too hard and get in too deep on a road course. I usually run good in the race here. I've never had a top five, but I've had three or four top-five finishes going and something would happen at the end. If we can just stay on course and have good pit stops, we've got a good chance to win this thing." Friday, June 23, 2000. Sears Point Raceway. Bud Pole qualifying for Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 250. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 4.

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I did what Ward did, but right before I was fixing to hit the wall, I got it straightened up. I came around that turn. I thought I was OK. I didn't think I was going to run off. I thought I was going to be in the ripple strips, but it hung the left rear off in the grass and it just snapped. I was fortunate. Another half a second on the gas or half a second slower response and I would have turned over. It's a bad place to wreck. I knew I had a good lap going. It just got away from me. We're outside the top 25, so we'll probably go again Saturday. We don't want to be pitting out there on that island, and we know we can do a lot better."

DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo) "It really wasn't very good. We'd been a lot better than that in practice. It was a bad lap."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Boris Said , Michael Ho