BUSCH: Daytona Pontiac Qualifying Review

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 16, 2000) - Hut Stricklin, who drives the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac Grand Prix, led the way for the "WideTrack Attack" in Busch Series qualifying on Wednesday, grabbing the outside pole for Saturday's series ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 16, 2000) - Hut Stricklin, who drives the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac Grand Prix, led the way for the "WideTrack Attack" in Busch Series qualifying on Wednesday, grabbing the outside pole for Saturday's series opener at Daytona International Speedway. Stricklin turned a quick lap of 187.336 miles per hour to grab the position. Buckshot Jones also put his Cheez-It Grand Prix in the top five in qualifying, highlighting a session that included four Pontiacs in the top 13 spots.


(ON CAPTURING THE OUTSIDE POLE) "This feels good. We wanted the pole. But, whatever Joe (Nemechek) did - their car sure did look a lot different when it came by. But, I've got to take my hat off to my guys. They did a super job preparing this car. I just get to be the lucky guy that sits in the seat. We never really got to run a full second lap anytime since we've been here - so many cars here and everything. We kind of had some help there once or twice. We were just never able to get a good clean lap. So, rather than just post one up there that we didn't feel that good about, we just backed off and decided to save it until we could get a clean lap. But, we were never able to until qualifying.

(HIS OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR) "I'm pumped up. For some reason, Daytona seems to set the stage for the whole year on both the Busch side and the (Winston) Cup side. I'm looking forward to this year. These guys have a fabulous track record of running good on the big tracks, qualifying good and everything. This isn't a surprise to me at all. I knew they could do it. This is the first time since 1991 when I came down here driving for Bobby Allison that I felt like I was going to have a chance at running good and possibly winning the race. I felt like that coming down here all through testing. We tested here, and at Talladega and at Atlanta, and it seems like every place we've been, our chemistry has been right. It just seems to be a real first class deal for me to be involved with. I just feel real good about it."


(ON HIS RUN) "Obviously, we slowed down a little bit from yesterday. Overall, our goal coming here was to try to make the top 25. When we ran that fast in practice, I knew that since we ran that fast that I would be disappointed with anything less. But, I still think what we ran is going to get us in the race. I really don't know why we went slower. I told them when I first came in that I didn't feel like I got up to speed quite as good. So, maybe from my first lap to my third lap, I just didn't get up enough momentum. I felt like I drove the same, and I guess that's obvious, because all you do is hold it on the floor. Anytime you go backwards, you don't feel good about it, especially when you go back that much. Still, the main thing is, we're going to be in the race, and now we need to gear up for drafting practice."


(ON HIS RUN) "It's been an up-and-down weekend. We tested really strong here, and we were really confident coming in. All we did was come here with a little bit stronger motor and a rebuilt car. From the get-go, when I left pit lane on Tuesday, it just felt slow. It was one of those deals where we just couldn't put our finger on it. We changed everything we could trying to figure out what it was. But, 30 minutes before qualifying, we found something, and it put us right back to our test speeds. It's decent, but I feel like we're a few sessions behind. We should have started here and then gotten a little better by tinkering away at the car. We'll see where we land and decide what we're doing from here."


(ON HIS RUN) "I felt like we could run a (46.) 20 anyway. The car just didn't turn the RPM we had practiced. I don't know. I think it's going to be a great car for the race. I just really wanted to sit on the pole. I think it will be good in the draft, but I really thought we had a shot at the pole."


(ON HIS RUN)  "The car was good.  I'm just glad to be in the race, and be
somewhat toward the front of the field.  I'm looking forward to Saturday."

(ON DRAFTING TOMORROW) "I'm just looking forward to getting out there in the draft. I've got such a good crew at Joe Gibbs Racing, and with MBNA as a sponsor, I just want to do good for everybody. They give me 100 percent, and all I can do is give them 100 percent back. Right now, all I'm looking for is somebody to draft with, being a rookie. I'm just looking forward to it, and we'll see what we have. I'm just looking forward to doing some racing."


(ON HIS RUN) "The crew deserves all the credit on this. I can't say enough about them. They are the ones that work the long, hard hours. The driver - he's just got to show up and drive. My hat is off to my crew. They gave me a great car. The Pontiac seems to run good here. But, like I said, I just can't say enough about the crew. They are the ones that deserve all the credit."

(ON PREPARING FOR THE RACE) "Now, we just have to work a lot on the draft. Qualifying is one thing, but once you get out there drafting, everything changes. But, I'm really looking forward to it. I think we'll have a good shot at winning this race, as long as we stay out of trouble and stay up there with some good cars. I think it's going to be a good race."

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Drivers Buckshot Jones , Hut Stricklin , Bobby Allison
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing