BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (COULD HE HAVE WON THE POLE?) "We were top six in practice, but I don't know if we could have won the pole or not. But you never know. At least we were better than we have been ...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(COULD HE HAVE WON THE POLE?) "We were top six in practice, but I don't know if we could have won the pole or not. But you never know. At least we were better than we have been here."
(IS THE TEAM GAINING CONFIDENCE ON ROAD COURSES) "I'd say we probably came here with more confidence because we ran good at Sears Point - plus the '20' car (Tony Stewart) tested here. They practiced here for two days. Even though they didn't make any qualifying runs, we went off what they did knowing that with the new Goodyear tire that we'd have here this time, that was what we needed to work with."
(DID STEWART'S TEST TAKE SOME GUESSWORK OUT OF THE NEW TIRE?) "Oh yeah. I wouldn't have adjusted to it that quick if they hadn't tested here."
(ON STARTING THE RACE WITH GREAT TRACK POSITION) "Speeds are faster here than they were last year, so that means it's going to be harder to pass like it has been about everywhere because the speeds are up. Track position is going to mean just as much here as it probably has at a lot of other places."
(ON THEY KEY TO FINDING A GOOD SET-UP FOR TOMORROW WITH LIMITED PRACTICE) "Again, the '20' car tested here, so we're relying on them a little bit. We're kind of taking what we know from the past and what they did up here testing, and kind of marry the two together."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(IS HE DISAPPOINTED NOT GETTING TO QUALIFY?) "Yeah, to be honest, I am. I felt like we had a shot at the pole. My 'banzai' run on stickers, I was considerably faster the first half of the lap and then we got stuck in traffic, and I just aborted the run. There wasn't any use in finishing it. I knew what we could run. I felt confident. We were a front-row car for sure. There's no doubt in my mind we would have sat on the front row, and I'm confident we probably could have sat on the pole. I would have liked to have seen qualifying finish. But at the same time, I'm comfortable with the guys I'm starting around. If we were 40th in points it would be a whole different story. I'm happy at least with the opportunity to start up front in the first three rows."
(HOW DOES HE FEEL ABOUT HIS RACE SET-UP?) "That's all we did (during the test) was practice on race runs. So considering we didn't do any qualifying runs and as fast as we were today and as fast as I think we were going to be qualifying, I'm excited about tomorrow. I'm probably more excited about it here than I was at Sonoma, and I felt like we had a really good car at Sonoma, too. I feel like we've got a shot to win this thing."
(ON HIS SUCCESS ON ROAD COURSES) "I've raced go-karts on road courses in the past. I never drove anything where I had to shift gears. I don't know why I've taken to them. It just seems like everything I do with this team I kind of take to it reasonably well. Not that it's been enough that I could win right out of the box, but we've qualified in the top four for all three races that we've run so far and we've run up front in all of the races. We finished sixth here last year and had brake problems the whole, had a fuel can get stuck, had to go to the back and still came back to sixth, so I felt like we were really competitive here even though we had all those problems. "I don't know what it is about this place. I like the track. I felt comfortable here when we came and tested. I think we learned some things that are going to help us tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to having a good day."
WARD BURTON, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"We were sixth fastest in the practice and I think we could have ended up somewhere around there, but you don't ever know. Obviously, there is a lot of opportunity for a driver to make a mistake or with the track being a lot different, which we know it was, from the way some of the other drivers were explaining. I would have liked to have seen what I could have done, but that's a pretty good starting spot for us. We'll take that."
(ON LOSING THE CHANCE TO GO OUT AS THE FINAL QUALIFIER) "Yesterday it would have been fine. But this afternoon, if the sun had been out, it would not have been fine. We kind of got unlucky yesterday and got lucky today with that."
MIKE BLISS, NO. 27 VIAGRA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON RAIN WASHING OUT QUALIFYING) "That was the only way we were going to get in with that kind of time. We got hurt going out early, but yet the rain came and helped us out. It's a relief, but it feels like a provisional.
(ON BEING IN THE RACE) "I always race better than I qualify in a road race. I need to test for two days here with a road racer in my car, back and forth, to find out why I'm a second and a half off always in qualifying. I need to do that because I can race pretty good. I just can't qualify."
JOHN ANDRETTI, NO. 43 CHEERIOS/STP PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"I certainly believe we would have qualified better than where we're going to start. But I'm excited because 'KP' (Kyle Petty) is in the race. We're a team and to me it's important he gets in the race because he helps us a lot with a lot of things that he learns and does. That's big benefit for us. If we've got to start a little bit further back, that's not a problem here at The Glen. The biggest problem is getting taken out. As long as we don't get taken out I think we'll be OK."