Silverado Chicago qualifying notes

JACK SPRAGUE, NO. 24 MBNA SILVERADO (second): "It wasn't bad; the driver choked. The NetZero Platinum Chevrolet has been awesome. I was actually running faster than Joe (Ruttman, polesitter) qualified in race configuration. When we went to ...

JACK SPRAGUE, NO. 24 MBNA SILVERADO (second):
"It wasn't bad; the driver choked. The NetZero Platinum Chevrolet has been awesome. I was actually running faster than Joe (Ruttman, polesitter) qualified in race configuration. When we went to qualify, it was a little freer than it had been and I tried to break the track record and basically overdrove the snot out of it and didn't even put a good lap together. That's my fault, but the guys have done a great job. I love the truck, it's unbelievably fast. It turns unbelievably good. I should have calmed down a little bit."

LOOSE IN 3 AND FOUR?

"I was loose in entering the corner and was loose entering on one of my banzai runs and I ran a (31).19 and a .14. that would have been good enough. My next banzai run we tightened it up a little bit and I ran a flat and a .96. I was trying to run a .70 basically and just overdrove both ends and it was too loose to do that. If I would have just calmed down (and) let the truck have all it could stand going in instead of overdriving it I probably could have run in the .0s or the teens, low teens. I didn't. That's not bad. Second will be fine. Just got to get to the bottom quick going into turn 1. I know I've got a great race truck and the guys have done a great job. Actually, the truck I've got here is rive years old, so we're real happy with it. I'm just beating myself up with it right now." ("I would be too if I qualified second," interjected Matt Crafton sitting next to Sprague in press conference.) ON TRACK POSITION:


"If you've got a fast truck you can pass. If you've got to move them a little bit or whatever... At any race track you can pass on. Certainly track position helps but being against Joe going into turn 1, I doubt very seriously I'm going to beat him there. You've got 175 laps to get it done. My truck gets faster the longer it goes. And it's driving real good. I'm not terribly worried about that part of it right now; (I'm) just mad at myself."

ON THE UP AND DOWN NATURE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE; THREE DIFFERENT DRIVERS ON TOP IN THE LAST THREE RACES:


"I hope there's a fourth. I don't know. It seems like everyone who is leading the points has trouble. Of course, we've been having a lot of trouble without leading the points, so it doesn't really hold true for us. Joe and myself and Scott -- we're all running good, as some other guys are -- but it seems like if we stay together we're there fighting for the wins and even like last week Joe wasn't running that well. By the end of the race he was running well and he finished fourth. We had trouble and he jerked a lot of points off. Heck, I don't ever know what's going to happen each week. I just go to the race track and see what's going to happen next, basicallly."

LANCE NORICK, NO. 90 AVENTIS BEHRING CHOICE SILVERADO (third; matches his previous best qualifying position, a third in California in 1998):


"This is the same truck we ran last week. It ran so good last week that we decided to bring it here. Right off the trailer it was fast. We made a few changes; I think we made two changes all day and the thing was fast. I was kind of wondering the first lap. I just about got spun out in 1 and 2. I think it ran a 32.20 the first lap. That's hideous. Then the second lap I just tried to go as fast as I could. We pulled out a little slower than we did in practice, but we were pretty close."

SPEEDS ARE DOWN FROM LAST YEAR. TIRES OR CARBURETOR?

"It's probably the carburetor. I mean the track feels good, there's a lot of grip out there. It feels like the motors are pulling hard. I'm sure it's just a little bit less horsepower. The tire might be a little harder this year. Overall, it feels really good."

AFTER YOU ALMOST SPUN IS IT HARD NOT TO BE TENTATIVE ON THE NEXT LAP?:


"Yeah, it is, but I basically wasted the first lap in 1 and 2. I really didn't have a choice in the second lap. It was either run fast or put it in the fence. I drove it down in there as hard as I did the lap before and it stuck that lap. The guys did a great job. They've worked a ton of hours this week to get this truck ready for here and it shows.."

DENNIS SETZER, NO. 46 ACXIOM/COMPUTER ASSOCIATES SILVERADO (seventh):
"That's about where we practiced; I think in the six to eight range. We made a few more adjustments for Happy Hour and we'll see how that goes and maybe we can gain a few more positions and Danny (Gill, crew chief) always has good race strategy on the Axciom Silverado; I think we'll be fine."

DO YOU DOWNSHIFT?

"Absolutely. I think all the front-running trucks are pretty well shifting on this deal. Part of the reason is because of the carburetion. They put the 390 carburetors on us, the rpms are limited more now than they've been before. Where a few trucks didn't shift before, i think pretty much everyone up front is shifting now."

MATT CRAFTON, NO. 88 FAST TRACK DRIVEWAY SEALER SILVERADO (eighth, top rookie for second time this season -- Gateway in St. Louis was first):

FIRST TIME AT THIS TRACK, HOW DO YOU LEARN THIS TRACK?

"I really like the flat tracks. We've actually done really good on flat tracks. We were really good in Homestead in the beginning of the year. Where we actually shined this year has been on the flat tracks. We struggled a little more on the banked tracks than the superspeedways. We have a pretty good flat-track combination."

DO YOU TAKE WHAT YOU LEARN FROM THESE OTHER FLAT TRACKS TO THIS TRACK?

"You take some. At this place you could shift. I'd say probably 90 percent of them you don't shift, so it throws another loophole into the deal -- something else to break or something else to slow you down or maybe speed you up."

ARE YOU DOWNSHIFTING TO THIRD?

"Yes. It's one of those things when you shift every lap you say 'don't miss this gear, stay together transmission, stay together motor.' It's definitely harder on the motors than the transmission. You make sure you don't miss a shift, don't downshift too soon going into a corner. That's what the guy who builds the transmission was telling me. Just don't downshift it when you're going in too soon and wheel-hop it. That's when you break stuff."

ARE YOU HAPPY WHERE YOU'RE AT?

"No. I wanted to be on the inside. I wouldn't mind it if someone else would have beat me and put me on the inside, but we'll take eighth."

RICKY HENDRICK, NO. 17 GMAC SILVERADO (ninth):
"I'm glad we are starting on the inside. That is the place to be. People will probably get hung out and shuffle back like they did last week. We were tight in the center and off in practice and we fixed that for qualifying. We have one more problem to fix and hopefully we can do that during Happy Hour."

ON THAT RUN:


"It was a pretty good run. I think the No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado will be good for the race. Team GMAC is young team so we put most of our energy into our race truck. We got another Top-10 and we hope we'll be good for the race."

TRAVIS KVAPIL, NO. 60 CAT RENTAL STORES SILVERADO (10th):
"Right off the trailer we were real comfortable with the Silverado; ran some pretty good lap times. Never really could improve on what we started with. I feel like we've got a really good truck for the race. the truck seems to turn real well in the middle of the corner. It got a pretty good drive off the corner too. I think that's the main thing we're going to need here tomorrow for the race. We qualified 10th; we ran the same lap time we ran in practice so pretty much we did what we thought we could for qualifying. We should have a pretty good Silverado for the race tomorrow."

COY GIBBS, NO. 20 MBNA SILVERADO did not qualify today; he will start tomorrow¹s race on a driver's points provisional (he's 10th in points).

"NASCAR didn¹t like the way the front end of our Silverado looked. It fit the templates, but the MBNA Silverado team and NASCAR have a disagreement as to the configuration of the nose of this truck. We basically opted to pull out the backup truck and prepare it for Happy Hour. We figured we would switch motors and get everything right on it. We should have a good hour of testing in Happy Hour to see where it stands. We will take a provisional starting position and try to bring this Silverado up to the front in the race."

BILLY BIGLEY, NO. 75 SPEARS MANUFACTURING SILVERADO (15th; first time at Chicago Motor Speedway):


"I like this track. It¹s a lot like what people have said. It¹s like a big Martinsville; real tight corners and really long straightaways. It seems like it would be a fun race track to race on, definitely."

DO YOU USE THE BRAKES HERE?

"Yes, quite a bit."

AT HOW MANY TRACK ON THE CIRCUIT DO YOU USE THE BRAKES?

"About 50 to 60 percent of them."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Matt Crafton