Watkins Glen: Pontiac Racing qualifying quotes

NEWT MOORE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON THE FRONT AIR DAM RULE CHANGE FOR NEXT WEEK'S RACE AT MICHIGAN...HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT WILL THAT HAVE?) "It's going to be better. It will put more balance to the front, but will also...

NEWT MOORE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

ON THE FRONT AIR DAM RULE CHANGE FOR NEXT WEEK'S RACE AT MICHIGAN...HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT WILL THAT HAVE?) "It's going to be better. It will put more balance to the front, but will also add some rear (downforce) to it, too."

IS IT ENOUGH?) "I don't know. We haven't gone out that far with it in the wind tunnel to see what it will do. We've been close to it, but we haven't been out that far. We know it's going to be better. We know it will be better in the draft. Whatever we can get is good."

P.J. JONES, NO. 14 CONSECO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

"I'm happy. We just worked on it and worked on it all practice. Mike Hillman and all the guys gave me a great car. We were real conservative. I just couldn't afford to have anything go wrong with the situation the team has been in, but I'm happy. We can race from there.

"I probably left a half a second out there. It's mainly all in the braking zones, but that's the highest risk (place) for making a mistake, too. I just drove it as smooth as I could, didn't make one wrong move. I probably could have carried a little bit more speed here and there, but we're happy. This is perfect."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

"We still didn't get any speed out of it. We tried a couple things, but they really didn't help out. But, we're stuck now, so we'll work on race setups."

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

ON YOUR RUN) "It was pretty good. I think I did what everybody else did. We all sat in the transporters and watched TV to see where guys were making up or losing time and made some adjustments and listened to drivers comments about the track. We got a relatively late number, so we went out and made a last minute air pressure adjustment and went out and ran within a tenth of what we ran in practice. I felt like we had a solid lap. We've got a really good race car. We came and tested the same days that Ryan Newman was here and learned a lot. Hopefully, if we can just stay in the top five cars for the majority of the day and keep good track position and not have any problems the majority of the day and get to that last third of the race, then we can race these guys for the win, hopefully."

ON THE ADVANTAGE OF STARTING UP FRONT AND ON PIT STRATEGIES) "As far as being up front, if you're up there you don't have to pass as many guys to get to the front. With the aero the way it's been this year it is hard to pass. We beat a dead horse every week. It's the same topic we talk about. You get behind cars and you lose the handling of the car.

"Pit strategy - that is something you've got to talk to the crew chief about. I've got a hard enough time just driving the race car without having to try to figure out pit strategies and this and that. But, knowing if you can make your last pit stop and get out before everybody else goes in and makes their last pit stop and gets out, it's advantage because you've got that track position again. I guess that is somewhat how the pit strategy works. But, knowing when to take two tires versus four tires, and all that, that is a call the crew chiefs have to make."

ON OVERALL GRIP COMPARED TO LAST YEAR) "I think we probably slowed down a little bit. I think our fastest lap in practice last year before qualifying was a 1:11.8 and today we ran a 1:11.9, so I don't think it's really given up a bunch. We did notice in the test that early in the morning the track conditions were a little better because it's cooler. But, every racetrack you go to across the country the track conditions are better when it's cooler in the morning, so I don't think it was any different than any place else we go to be perfectly honest."

ON HAVING SOME OF THE HIGHER RANKED DRIVERS IN THE POINT STANDINGS STARTING BEHIND YOU...WILL THAT CHANGE ANY TACTICS?) "It's not going to change anything on my side. I want to do the best that we can in the point standings this year, obviously, just like we want to do every year. But, you've got to take it one week at a time. We started dead last at Richmond because we had to change a motor and won the race. Kurt Busch has started in the back a couple times and come back up through the field, so you don't worry about it because pit strategies and guys with different strategies have been able to start in the back and get track position and the next thing you know they're there the rest of the day. We've got to just run our race the way we need to run it and not worry about those guys. If you win the race, then the points will take care of itself, so we've just got to do the best we can, doing what we're doing."

ON THE QUALITY OF YOUR TEAM) "I think the last month or so has really shown the strength of our team. Bobby (Labonte) and I have put a lot of pressure on our team to pick up the pace and pick up in every area of our race team we felt we were getting a little bit behind on. The team has responded. We've had motor guys that have stayed at the shop for three straight days and not gone home - not seem their families, stayed at the shop 24 hours a day, just taking short catnaps to get caught up and try to find things to get us back where we need to be. A day like today is a very good reward. Last week was an awesome reward in qualifying - getting them a pole and a track record.

"This is a very, very good reward for the team. These guys deserve the results like what we had today and like what we had qualifying last week for all their hard work. They've stopped their lives just to get us back on track. This is an excellent day for them."

-pontiac-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman