BUSCH: Talladega Thursday notes




RANDY LAJOIE (#64 DuraLube Chevrolet) -- (Replaces Dirk Stephens) The way it looks, I might finish the year with these guys (team owner Dennis Shoemaker). It'll give me something to do, have some fun and hopefully put some good runs on the board for Dennis and his guys. Any kind of seat time is good. The Busch Series is a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it. Today is the first time I've run this car. It's a brand-new car and we're working some bugs out.

(Lajoie led last year's Humminbird 500k in Dick Moroso's car and finished second here in '93.) I think we're gonna race real good. I think we're down a bit on horsepower, but I think in the draft we'll be OK. We'll tighten the belts and have some fun!

(LaJoie will run Dick Brooks' Kendall Oil Pontiac for the first time in the DieHard 500.) I'm gonna run the 40 car for four or five races. We talked about Bristol, Darlington, Dover and Charlotte after this one.

I think I've got a deal put together for next year back over here on the Busch side. There's nothing to talk about yet. I'm just gonna have some fun and be competitive, with some good people and a good sponsor -- give them a good bang for their buck. I want to put my mind to winning that Busch championship. We ran really good last year (with Moroso Racing) but we had a lot of motor trouble after we led the series. I'd really like to be the first one to have won the (Busch) North championship and the South championship.

I wasn't competitive this year (with Bill Davis' Winston Cup car). When you race from 15th to 40th, I guess you're competitive but you're not racing. I want to race. You can make a lot of money on the Winston Cup side as a driver, but I'd rather be on the Busch side, run in the top five and hopefully win some races. That's what I want to do. I didn't have a good time at all this year and I'm gonna change that. Like anybody else, if you're not happy in a job you've got to get out, even if you've got to take a cut in pay.


JOHNNY BENSON (#74 Lipton Tea Chevrolet) -- At this track there's not a whole lot you can do except put it on the floor and go. You should've interviewed me about a minute ago -- we were on the pole (Benson was first car out in qualifying). We ran faster than that in practice but there's not a whole lot we can do about it. We'll get geared up for the race and go from there.

(On point race.) We're not worried about the points. The points will take care of themselves. Chad (Little) is going to do the best he can to win races, and we're going to try to win as many races as possible. We'll worry about the points at the NASCAR Awards Banquet.

KEN SCHRADER (#52 AC-Delco Chevrolet) -- That's not good enough. We haven't played with the car in the draft yet, but we will and we'll be better for the race.

JEFF PURVIS (#4 Kodak Funsaver Chevrolet) -- The car's been fast ever since they built it. It came off the truck fast. The car actually practiced a little bit faster, not today, but in the past here. They made us change a few things after we went through the inspection line and that made it a little bit faster. Maybe we learned something there. My guys work really hard. They build these cars just for these places (Talladega and Daytona). It's a credit to my team and Kodak Funsaver. This car is really fast, but I don't know how it'll draft because I've never drafted with it before. I feel like my Cup car is just as good too.

CHAD LITTLE (#23 Harris Teeter Ford) -- It was the best run we've had today. The car felt good. The further up front you can start at any race track is a plus -- it sets the tone for the weekend. I think with the temperatures it was pretty good. This car drafts great, it's just wonderful. It's just a great drafting machine. That's its strong suit. We struggled in Daytona with qualifying and we won the race, so we're happy.

This has always been a good car. Here and Daytona is the only place it has ever raced (Little won the season-opening Goody's 300 at Daytona in February.). It's a very good restrictor plate car. We had some trouble qualifying at Daytona and had to take a provisional, but I think we'll be alright here. (On championship race.) I'm not going to worry about the points. I'm personally going to concentrate on what we've been doing. (Would winning the Busch title be a good send-off for your plans in Winston Cup next year?) Not really, I just think it would be a wonderful championship to win in a big-time series like this. Winning at Daytona earlier this year in a restrictor plate race gives everybody a bit of confidence knowing that we can win one of the restrictor plate races.

MARK MARTIN (#60 Winn-Dixie Ford) -- That's the slowest car that I've driven in a long time and we're gonna be stuck with it all weekend. That's all it will do. It's just slow. It's gonna be a long day on Saturday, I'm afraid. There's no hope of making it any better. I don't even know if that thing's gonna draft with 'em or not. It's a good car and it always drafts pretty good but it's just hurting for speed right now. It'll have to handle REALLY good to make up for that.

MIKE WALLACE (#90 Duron Paints Ford) -- We ran terrible all day. The best we ran all day was 52.05. This cloud cover didn't hurt at all, but of course it didn't hurt anyone else either. We're happy with it, but unfortunately the 4 car (Purvis) is in another time zone! Hopefully he'll back up to us.

HUT STRICKLIN (#36 Stricklin/Arquette Racing Ford) -- That was actually a pretty hairy lap, to be honest with you, because we had a qualifying set-up in the car and we're doing everything we can to make the cars fast. It was a pretty fun lap it just wasn't fast enough.

JEFF GREEN (#3 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet) -- It was a good lap but he's (Purvis) in a different Zip Code for sure. But we're racing those other guys for the points every week. We've got an awful good car so I'm looking forward to Saturday and running good. We'd be real happy if Jeff hadn't done what he did. There are so many cars out there during practice that it's hard to get a clean lap. We're here to win races and go for the points. If we get a good starting spot we've got a good shot to win Saturday.

STEVE GRISSOM (#29 ChannelLock Chevrolet) -- That's the fastest we've run all day. We ran this car at Daytona and it was super fast, but then we got in a wreck with one lap to go. It's got a new body and the whole deal. Drafting is all getting yourself in the right position. We've got to work on the car so it will handle and draft good. That was where the car was really good in Daytona.

PHIL PARSONS (#99 Luxaire Chevrolet) -- You're happy anytime you can come here to a restrictor plate race and duplicate in qualifying what you ran in practice. The guys did a good job setting up the car.

JOE NEMECHEK (#87 BellSouth Mobility Chevrolet) -- We picked up time from practice, but we never taped the front end for practice either. I feel good for BellSouth Mobility and the team. We tested here a month ago for our Cup car and used this car as the test for the other one (Winston Cup car). We learned a lot about this car during that test.

DAVID BONNETT (#03 Humminbird Chevrolet) -- We've struggled all day with a miss. We've changed everything to just about changing cars and we still haven't found it. We've still got another hour's worth of practice in the morning to try to find it and I hope we can find it! We tested last Monday and Tuesday and we've got a car that can make the race. That's what I'd like to do -- make the race so I can learn a little bit of that drafting.

MIKE McLAUGHLIN (#34 French's Mustard Chevrolet) -- I'm real happy with that lap. We had some kind of electrical problem right at the end of practice. We changed ignition boxes, batteries -- we disconnected things we didn't need (for qualifying) hoping we'd find the problem. We still don't know what it was but we got a good lap at least. The track cooled off and I'm sure that helped. We'll have to see if if we can stay with Jeff Purvis. It's a long race and we'll have to be there at the end.


STR CAR POS NO. DRIVER TEAM/CAR SPEED 1 4 Jeff Purvis Kodak Funsaver Chevrolet #189.921 2 34 Mike McLaughlin French's/Black Flag Chevy 187.872 3 87 Joe Nemechek BellSouth Mobility Chev 187.163 4 3 Jeff Green GM Goodwrench Svc Chev 186.790 5 99 Phil Parsons Luxaire Chevrolet 186.612 6 90 Mike Wallace Duron Paints Ford 186.235 7 23 Chad Little Bayer Ford 186.155 8 70 Dale Fischlein STG/Prestige Bldrs Chev 185.736 9 38 Elton Sawyer Ford Credit Ford 185.679 10 44 David Green Slim Jim Chevrolet 185.549 11 1 Hermie Sadler DeWalt Ind. Tools Chev 185.517 12 37 Hut Stricklin Stricklin-Arquette Ford 185.402 13 40 Patty Moise Dial-Purex Ford 185.387 14 71 Kevin Lepage Vermont Teddy Bear Chevy 185.384 15 08 Bobby Dotter Hyde Tools Chevrolet 185.312 16 57 Jason Keller Budget Gourmet Chevrolet 185.287 17 74 Johnny Benson Lipton Tea Chevrolet 185.033 18 8 Kenny Wallace Red Dog Ford 185.029 19 29 Steve Grissom ChannelLock Chevrolet 184.983 20 42 Bobby Hamilton J&J Band-Aid Pontiac 184.868 21 20 Jimmy Spencer FINA Ford 184.808 22 92 Larry Pearson Stanley Tools Chevrolet 184.683 23 47 * Jeff Fuller Sunoco 260 Chevrolet 184.551 24 60 Mark Martin Winn-Dixie Ford 184.242 25 52 Ken Schrader AC-Delco Chevrolet 184.101 51 Jim Bown Luck's Foods Chevrolet 183.942 14 Terry Labonte MW Windows Chevrolet 183.681 6 Tommy Houston Red Devil Enamels Ford 183.614 63 * Curtis Markham Lysol Pontiac 183.607 17 Robbie Reiser FDP Brakes Chevrolet 183.561 18 Randy Porter Unifirst Uniforms Ford 183.515 25 Johnny Rumley Big Johnson Chevrolet 183.427 7 Stevie Reeves Clabber Girl Chevrolet 183.010 35 Doug Heveron Cincinnati Milacron Ford 182.856 54 Rich Bickle Kleenex Ford 182.696 43 Rodney Combs Sports Design Pontiac 182.098 95 Ward Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet 181.718 93 Troy Beebe Crisis Center Chevrolet 179.794 36 Andy Belmont Valley Trophy Ford 177.936 03 David Bonnett Humminbird Chevrolet 171.881 64 Randy LaJoie DuraLube Chevrolet DNF 55 Tim Fedewa Duragloss/Li'l Joe's Ford DNS 75 Rick Wilson Food Country USA Ford DNS 33 Greg Sacks Jackaroo Barby-Q Sauce Pon DNS 72 Tracy Leslie Detroit Gasket Chevrolet DNS 50 Jeremy Mayfield Healthsource Ford DNS 30 Michael Waltrip Pennzoil Pontiac DNS * Penrose Rookie Challenge Candidate # = New record. Old record of 188.404 set by Bill Elliott in 1993.

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Drivers Rich Bickle , Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Bobby Hamilton , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Michael Waltrip , Jason Keller , Ken Schrader , Jeff Fuller , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Kenny Wallace , Jeff Green , Kevin Lepage , Elton Sawyer , Mike Wallace , Hut Stricklin , Johnny Benson , Mike McLaughlin , Andy Belmont , Bobby Dotter , Chad Little , Jeff Purvis , David Green , Hermie Sadler , Steve Grissom , Phil Parsons , Greg Sacks , Randy Po , Stevie Reeves , Mark Martin , Johnny R