NOTES AND QUOTES Bud Pole Qualifying Texas Motor Speedway March 26, 1999 BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We ran a little bit faster than we did in practice. We kind of stuck to our gameplan and we weren't sure...
NOTES AND QUOTES Bud Pole Qualifying Texas Motor Speedway March 26, 1999
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): "We ran a little bit faster than we did in practice. We kind of stuck to our gameplan and we weren't sure what was going to happen. I ran a pretty good lap there. I can't complain about that. I feel OK. It's tough getting in and out of the car. Once I get in there it's OK. I'm taking it one lap at a time right now. I don't know what tomorrow will hold. It was a little bit tight off turn two. We've been fighting that. I think I can go to bed a lot better than I could last Friday night. We've got a good race car and we're going to see what we can do. "I've done some underwater treatments, some stimulants for working the bone, moving it, moving it, moving it. All the trainers with the Carolina Panthers helped me. I was down there about three or four hours each day. I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be today. Monday, I thought I'd be real sore by this weekend still. I'm not as bad as I thought I'd be. I've got a cast taped to my back (in the seat). Matt (Kenseth) is going to come drive it in the morning, just in case. Matt's a good, young driver that has a good head on his shoulders. I knew he would take care of the race car. "Ask my wife, I'm not very tough. Trust me. I can lean back on the seat the way we've got it all taped up. I don't want to take any licks at all. The way its positioned, it's not as bad as I thought it would be (in the car). I can reach up and grab the wheel. I can shift the gears. Last week, I was a little bit sluggish doing it. Reverse is the hardest thing. I can't get to reverse too good. "There's a bump down there (in turn two), where the tunnel is, and maybe it throws you a little sideways. It's got its own characteristic. I really wasn't leery of Darlington until last Friday. I haven't seen the groove move up any since we got here. It's awfully tough, but it's a new race track again. The track is better. It's more comfortable coming off of four and getting into one. Two and three are basically the same as they were. It's going to be a new race track and it's going to be hard to pass on. It might be better than I think. "I think tomorrow how I feel in practice is the big key. I'll be running more laps and there's a lot more of a load here on your side and body than at Darlington. We'll have to wait and see. I'd say Bristol would have to be the worst and this one's not far from it. It's kind of tough on you and tricky too because it's so narrow. I came to work this morning because I wanted to. I want to do what I want to do."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac Grand Prix): "We picked up about a tenth and a half. The last change we made was pretty good. We've been struggling a little bit with qualifying. We've been racing better. Tommy (crew chief Baldwin) and I talked a lot this week and I think he used some good sound judgment on the chassis. The track still isn't right. If they had 50 percent of it wrong they probably fixed about 25 to 35 percent of it. You have these huge areas in the corners and you've got this one little groove you've got to run in. The way the entrances to the corners are, I don't know if the guys on the outside is ever going to be able to go in as hard as the guy on the inside. You run out of room. You've got a lot of room on the exits of two and four, but you can't use it. It's still going to be the same ol' Texas, I believe. I really didn't know where we would be at and we ended up fifth. We could have been 15th. I really wasn't comfortable with the lap. The motor and the car were good."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "The track wasn't very good at the beginning of qualifying and then it got better and better. My car handled great and everything worked out good. We'd like to be in the front row, but what idiot wouldn't? It was a good effort. That's about as good as I typically qualify here anyway. If they had cut all that banking out of the race track instead of trying to build something that doesn't work, it would be better. You can't race side by side on it. They fixed a lot and the track is a lot better. It's OK, it's just not the best layout that could have been done here and it's not the worst, so we'll leave it at that.
TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix): "I got loose going into turn three and we had been fighting tight all day. We made some adjustments. I just drove it in there a little too hard and got the car out of shape where I had to wait to get back into the gas. I think we could have run a .60 pretty comfortably. The driver just messed up today. We ran a bunch of .50s and .60s in practice so we felt we could back that up. We didn't test here and this is only the second place we've been to this year where we haven't tested. This is not an easy track to get around. Look at all the guys that had a tough time in Busch qualifying and practice. It's just a tough place to get around. Everybody is trying to get a hundredth here and a hundredth there and I tried a little too hard to get that extra hundredth."
ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix): "Predominantly we run a little better on these tracks. When you know qualifying is something you need to work on, that's what you start working on. I know I've been slowing down too much in the corners. I've got to get in there and dig a little harder. It's real tough here. It's tough to do at Darlington. It matters how your car is handling and being able to relay the right information to your guys so they can adjust it and you can get a good feel. It's better than we've been qualifying. It's decent. We kind of repeated what we had run in practice. We didn't slow down, so that's a plus. The track is better than it has been. I don't know how it's going to race. All the attention they placed to it was definitely good. Who knows how it's going to race? Hopefully, it will be good."
RICH BICKLE (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "Actually the track didn't seem all that bad to me. It actually feels good to contribute to our qualifying package for a change. We've been so out to lunch. We made a lot of changes this week to chassis stuff. When I needed to pick up a tenth or two at least I felt like I could do it. I didn't think that was all too good a lap because it didn't feel fast. I'm happy with it."
DERRIKE COPE (No. 30 Jimmy Dean Pontiac Grand Prix): "We freed our car up because we had been tight. We got loose in turn two. I slid around and kind of held on. The track is in far better shape than it was last year. At least you can race at this place now."
KYLE PETTY (No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix): "It was slick. You just can't get a good hold on the race track. That was pretty close to what we had been running in practice. We should have run a little bit better than that. You just can't get hooked up. But the track is definitely better with the changes they made."
BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 00 Crown Fiber Pontiac Grand Prix): "We were loose. It was real slick out there."