Watkins Glen: Chevy qualifying quotes

ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (seventh): "I didn't overdrive the car at all. We were nervous about not qualifying up in the top five because track position is worth so much and I should have pushed a little harder.


"I didn't overdrive the car at all. We were nervous about not qualifying up in the top five because track position is worth so much and I should have pushed a little harder. Mikey (Waltrip) did a good job and he knocked us off the pole, but qualifying and racing are two different things. We came here focused, we had a good run. We were a little conservative in qualifying and I knew I was conservative half-way through the lap. Since I was conservative first couple of corners I figured I'd stay conservative all the way through, and not put a wheel wrong. We lost about six 10ths from what we ran in practice, and it was 72.1. It will be a good starting position and we'll race good."


IT LOOKS LIKE YOU PICKED IT UP THROUGH 10 AND 11: "I did? I go into a fog when I leave for the track here; I forget everything that I'm supposed to know or I think I'm supposed to know and then I get done and they tell me what I run and I try to regroup and think about it. It's nerve-wracking a little bit. I almost spun out in the esses. I think I'd had a great lap if I hadn't done that. I kind of got a little bit up on the curb and the thing just snapped on me and I had to back off. That hurt my overall lap; that's probably why I was behind in 10 and 11. Just had a really good-handling Napa Parts Chevy all day, and I'm really proud of all the boys that worked so hard on this Chevy."

ON ROAD-RACING ACE RON FELLOWS HELPING YOU: "I'd run a 72.09 in practice. I thought it was better than that. I made a big mistake in the esses and got sideways and had to back off the gas and then Ron Fellows has been with us this weekend and just giving some points and pointers here and there and Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) and all the boys that worked hard on the Napa Chevy we tested here, we learned a lot, so I'm not surprised at all with my .92. I'm just disappointed about the esses; I think I could have run quicker than that."

HOW DID FELLOWS HELP YOU? "He just emphasized some things that I already believed, which was cool. I felt like I knew what I needed to do to be fast here. Most of it at Watkins Glen is momentum, 'cause there's a lot of grip here. You can really lay on the gas and you just really need to make sure you don't ever wait on the gas. It's like an oval almost, where if you go into the corner too deep and you wait on the gas in the center then you're wasting time. It's better to roll of it a little bit early so you can get back after the gas hard. That, and he reassured me that from what he could see when we tested here what I was doing and the boys were doing (were) the right things with the car. It just was a lot of reaffirmation that we were on the right track, nothing we really had to red or undo."


YOU'RE NOT DRIVING HERE: "The last bit of sponsorship just didn't come through. It's frustrating, for sure. It's painful to be here watching. Maybe some good will happen from this. You have to remain optimistic. I know I would have quit a long time ago otherwise."

HOW DID YOU HELP MICHAEL WALTRIP? "I'm flattered that he thinks so. He can drive this place plenty good enough on his own. We just had some conversation how to carry momentum, the kind of things that I do driving that he might be able to apply. He needs to trust his instincts on setup, and he's bang on from what I could see at the test and what he was telling Slugger. And they were both going in the right direction, and it's paid off. I felt all along, based on what they had this morning, that they had a really good car to race on Sunday and anything they got in qualifying would be a bonus."


YOU SPENT SOME TIME TODAY CHASING YOUR REAR END: "Little bit, only 15 times a lap. The Pennzoil car is just a little bit too loose. You heard guys complaining that the track got looser and we were loose at the end of practice. So we did a little adjustment, tightened the car up. We just didn't go far enough. People are slowing down from their practice times, but there are some guys that are going faster and we're unfortunately one of those people that slowed down. I wouldn't say it's unfortunate, but the Pennzoil car is not running real bad, it's just a little bit loose. And with the heat and the track conditions it got looser, and it's just hard to qualify that way."


"The track's heating up. Qualifying is two hours later than we practiced. We tried to do the things we needed to do to make it a little bit tighter; we just didn't go far enough. The AOL Chevy is pretty good; everybody's calling me a road-racing expert since Sears Point. I just got a good car and these guys are taking care of me pretty good and that was a pretty good lap for us."


"We were not real good this morning. We had some problems with the rear end, threw the axle out, spent a lot of time fixing some things, trying to chase the car. Luckily enough, we had a teammate, Michael Waltrip, that was running some good times and right before we went out and ran that lap Tony Eury Jr. and Tony Sr. put a lot of things onto the car they thought would help it. I'm real happy with the lap time. Seven 10ths faster than we practiced; we never really went that fast in qualifying before. We always raced good; we're really looking forward to it."

YOU WERE ALSO DEBRIEFING WITH SLUGGER LABBE, WALTRIP'S CREW CHIEF: "We're all just trying to improve ourselves as a unit. We have, first and foremost, a company to look after and then it breaks down to the teams. We're trying to do what we can to finish out a good year so we can have a solid season next year and get one of these teams up in the points battle."


"It's been real loose. I was loose on entry into the esses and I started swapping ends. I almost didn't make it out the top, so I know I left a lot of time on the table there. We had to overcome a lot today with this Lowe's Monte Carlo. Second lap on the track we blew an engine; just a part failure, something we would never expect with the type of engine program we have at Hendrick Motorsports. The way the rules are shaped it really hurts us. Regardless of where we qualified we're going to have to start dead last and come up through there."

ON WATKINS GLEN: "It's a place that I love for a lot reasons. I've run well here a lot and then I think everybody now knows that you can go off turn 1 at 150 miles an hour and hit the wall and you're going to be OK (Jimmie crashed here in a Busch car). I drove safe and I still like charging hard. This is a great race track for me, because I've been here in the Busch car a few times, tested here two years, so I've got some experience here. When I went to Sears Point I was just shooting blind. We had an OK day going; we were going to finish in the top 10, but busted a rear gear. I think we're going to be real good if we can have a couple of track position issues work our way Sunday afternoon in this Lowe's Monte Carlo."


"Starting where we're going to be starting we've got our work cut out for us and it stinks. I'm not really happy about it. We made some adjustments to tighten the car up and we just didn't go far enough. Very disappointing. The car was loose. I didn't think it was that bad. I drove as smooth a lap as I could, but I couldn't get aggressive. And to run a fast lap you've got to be aggressive. The track just didn't seem to offer me the grip that we were hoping for. It's unfortunate, it's a shame. We've won from 13th or 14th here before; hopefully we can do it again. The DuPont Chevrolet is good; it was good all day. But that's pretty disappointing."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Ron Fellows , Tony Eury Jr.