Friday, May 21, 1999. Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Winston qualifying. Chevrolet notes and quotes. GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're not the fastest, but everyone worked hard. The stop was a...
Friday, May 21, 1999. Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Winston qualifying. Chevrolet notes and quotes.
GEOFFREY BODINE (No. 60 Power Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "We're not the fastest, but everyone worked hard. The stop was a little slow, but that's part of the program. We'll see what happens Saturday night. That's the important part. We're disappointed. Everybody worked hard. We practiced yesterday at Concord Speedway doing some hot laps. Everything was going good, but it came down to crunch time. One little mistake can cost you a couple of seconds, and that's all it takes out here.
"We're paid professionals. We can handle anything. Compared to what we do every week, one little pit stop is no big deal. It's fun. It really is. You'd like to have a little more time to practice. We missed pit stop practice today. I snuck a couple in during practice and got yelled at, but I was pretty happy the way I came in. We've seen a couple guys win when they weren't expected to here. I don't know if I was expected to in '94. I think I was. I was on Hoosier tires and a good car that year. Most races have been pretty exciting. A wreck can wipe out a few guys and put you right up front. You just hope you're not in the wreck. I feel good about our chances."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Klaussner/Sealy Monte Carlo) "The guys had an awesome pit stop, but that's nothing unusual. They've been doing that all year. I left a little bit on pit road. It could have been so much more. The pit crew killed it. It was an awesome. I got on pit road in a hurry. I just got her wowed down too strong. When I was about 10 pit stalls away, I knew I didn't have enough momentum. It was just one of them deals. The car ran good on the track. I just left some on the table when I pitted. There's no way I can explain how difficult it is getting on pit road. You want to get all you can get, but you've got to get it stopped. I don't think in everyday life anyone faces what we go through in this deal. We're probably a little over critical of ourselves, but you want it so much. When you leave anything, you're disappointed, and I feel like I left a little bit."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The motor locked up before we went out. We had to put it in fourth gear and flush the water out of the cylinder. I think we would have been pretty good if the motor hadn't locked up. It went down as soon as we went out of pit road, but everything else went good. The rpm's were down, but it'll work."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 Wrangler/GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo) "That was exciting for the fans. It's one time each year for us and it puts a lot of pressure on us. My first lap time wasn't as good as I would have liked it. The race car is a good car, but I've got a car that will qualify better next week. Hopefully we can race good Saturday night. We've got a good setup under the car. It's driving good. The guys did a great job on pit road. It got us up in the top anyway. Maybe we'll be all right. Maybe we can do some things like we used to in this Wrangler car. The time was good on pit road. We got in and out good. Maybe we can do it Saturday night. We've got a good race car."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont/Superman Monte Carlo) "I'm real happy with the car. The car is handling great. This is Winston qualifying, but it's also a little bit of a test for us for next Wednesday to see how hard we can run and what the car is going to act like. We're real happy with this car. Even though we're not planning to bring it back next week, if it keeps driving like this we might. I gave up a little bit on pit road. I hit pit road really fast. You can actually get back in the throttle. You can't imagine how hard you can drive it on pit road and how fast these cars slow down these days on new tires, with the brakes a little warmed up, the thing really stopped better than I ever anticipated. I gave up a little bit there, and I think that's where we came up short.
"The car was handling great. It was smooth. It was almost too smooth. I think you've got to have a little bit more of a spooky lap and put it on the edge. Bobby put up some great numbers. I think we've got something for 'em on the race track, but I gave up a little bit on pit road. There is a lot to think about. You're thinking about running a complete lap on the track, don't forget to come down pit road on the next lap, and you're fighting and shifting gears. You're doing everything you can to get it slowed down. Then once you get it stopped, you've got to remember when to shift to get it back in gear. You're only doing a two-tire stop. It's definitely a lot to think about for the driver, but it's fun, it's exciting and sometimes a little hair-raising.
"I feel better than ever. Things are going well. This car is driving extremely well, actually better than it ran when we tested. We're happy with that improvement. It's the first night. It's qualifying. We did pretty well, but obviously not as well as we wanted to.
"If I think of home, I think of Vallejo, Calif., but I never raced there, so it's hard for me to call any track home. I traveled all over the country when I was a kid. I ran a lot in Indiana. The Brickyard means a lot to me. I've been down here in Charlotte for about six or seven years now, and I love it here. I've always loved this track.
"This is an exciting race. It kind of takes me back to the midget-sprint car days. You really run hard for a short period of time and try to get the most out of the car and try to get to the front as fast as you can and stay there. It's exciting. Some guys like the 400, 500 or 600-mile races. I enjoy that, too, but where I really had my upbringing was on the short tracks and sprint races.
"As much fun as I'm having, I scare myself every once in awhile when you're coming down pit road that fast and you're running that hard on the track. I think on nights like this and tomorrow night, the winner is going to have a lot of fun, but hundreds and thousands of fans are going to have a good time, also.
"Charlotte has been good for us. We've had a lot of success here. I love coming here. I hope the good luck continues here. We certainly could use some.
"I wish we could have been a little better tonight, but Bobby was awfully strong. This is a good test for us for next Wednesday to see what we've got for pole night. I think we're going to have a great car for the 600."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light/Brooks & Dunn Monte Carlo) "The old guys used to do pit stops like this all the time. It's fun. It's a little hard to get stopped, but you've got to go after it. The car is pretty good, but we've got to get it a little better. Second doesn't mean too much in The Winston. It pays pretty good, but it doesn't really mean much. The car drove pretty good. I got the brakes locked up coming in and that might have hurt us some. We used a standard race setup. This don't mean much. They'll just invert it, so we'll see what we've got and go for it Saturday night."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 K-Sentials Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The car isn't bad. This is a lot of fun, especially if you hit it right. We didn't hit it right. I didn't come in fast enough. I was afraid I was going to slide through my pits. I was too slow coming in. I think we've got a pretty good car. We'll see for sure tomorrow night."