Daytona pre-race notes

GOODY'S HEADACHE POWDER 300 NOTES FOR FEB. 12 GOODY'S HEADACHE POWDER 300 PRE-RACE NOTES JEFF PURVIS (No. 4 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet) -- I got some help on that deal -- I don't have the field covered by that much (Purvis ran a lap of 188.190...



JEFF PURVIS (No. 4 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet) -- I got some help on that deal -- I don't have the field covered by that much (Purvis ran a lap of 188.190 mph to lead Tuesday morning practice). You can't get a clean run with so many cars out there and any time anyone else is out there, you're getting some (drafting) help. The car's running real good, don't get that wrong, but when they qualify, it will be a lot more even than what you just saw.

TRACY LESLIE (No. 11 Dieselube Chevrolet) -- The people we have on the team here are in Daytona because they want to be here and I think I'm going to do as good here as I used to do in the past. The car's running good. For not coming down and practicing, we came out of the box pretty good and I'm planning on running good the rest of the week. I'm not going to be able to run the full season unless we get some support. If somebody wants to market their product on the side of my car, we'll do a first-class job.

MIKE DILLON (No. 72 Detroit Gasket Chevrolet) -- I went to Charlotte last year to see what running fast was like. Coming here, running wide open is not too bad. The corners are a lot longer and you got a little bit more time to think about it. We're doing pretty good. I've got to learn about the draft. Hopefully, we'll get qualified today and I'll be able to practice drafting. Jeff Green said he would let me run with him some, so hopefully he will be able to teach me a few things (Dillon is NASCAR Winston Cup car owner Richard Childress' son-in-law.)

JEFF FULLER (No. 47 Sunoco Chevrolet) -- Hopefully, we can have the consistency that we had last year (he was the 1995 Busch Series Rookie of the Year), and move that 10th place finish in the points up a bunch. It's important to qualify in the top 25 cars, so we can get the race setup in it and see what it's like running with other cars and see what it's going to do. We should be in good shape.


JEFF PURVIS (No. 4 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet) -- That was a little bit better than I thought it would go. Some of the guys on the team were taking some bets and they thought I would go that fast. I really didn't. I figured I'd miss it by two or three tenths, but they know what they're doing and they've got some good race cars. If everything goes well and the good Lord's willing, we'll end up pretty good right here this whole week. I didn't know what I ran on my fast lap, I just hung on. That was a little faster than I thought we would go. These are the same guys that prepare all my race cars (including the one that won Sunday's ARCA 200 and another entered in the Daytona 500).

CURTIS MARKHAM (No. 63 Lysol Pontiac) -- It's kind of hard to tell what you're going to do in qualifying -- there are too many cars out there. I'm really surprised with my run. I would have been happy with a 48.60, and we ran a 48.38. I'll take it. This Lysol Pontiac has been running good since we've been here. We haven't done a thing to it. Jeff Hensley and the team have worked real hard on this car all winter and it's paying off.

JOE NEMECHEK (No. 87 BellSouth Mobility Chevrolet) -- The BellSouth Mobility car has been running good. Ever since the first time we unloaded it for testing it's been running good here. We're just making calculated moves. We put them all together for qualifying, to see what it would do, and it ran real good. I've never had a pole here. I've been outside pole two or three times and always get bumped off by just a tiny bit. Saturday, I think we're going to have a real good car. We're going to get some good cars hooked up together and we should be going pretty good.

JASON KELLER (No. 57 Slim Jim Chevrolet) -- That's a respectable lap. Coming out of turn four it got loose and tried to get away from me when I caught the wind. That's not exactly the way we planned our lap, but we'll take it. You know, it's funny. You work all winter to come down here and in two laps it's all over. This is my same race team with our new sponsor, Slim Jim.

HUT STRICKLIN (No. 28 Smokey Mountain Chew Ford) -- That was as fast as we ran in practice. We got a little bit too aggressive taping up the front. We were going for it, and we probably did a little too much taping and the engine got a little too hot and slowed down on the second lap. Now we need to work on the race setup. (Can he learn anything from the Goody's 300 which will help him in the Daytona 500?) Oh, yes. All week, we've been comparing both cars and really trying to apply everything we learn from one car to the other. Both cars have been going hand in hand with each other, so far. I've learned there's a little more added pressure when you own your own team (Stricklin owns his Busch Series team).

CHAD LITTLE (No. 23 John Deere Pontiac) -- Not too good! The motor started missing as soon as I took off. It never came up to speed, so I shut it off after the first lap to see what was wrong. We had a similar miss last year, but it was more carburetor-related, and we never did get it fixed (he used a provisional, started 42nd last year and won). (Can he do it again?) I don't know. You've got to have a lot of luck on your side, and I don't want to rely on that. Maybe I'm just destined to start near the back of the pack at Daytona. There's still a lot of time left before Saturday to sort things out. We've got a lot of work to do on the John Deere Pontiac, but we know we can perform well in the race no matter where we start.

LARRY PEARSON (No. 92 Stanley Tools Chevrolet) -- I didn't think we could run that fast but all the guys pulled together and gave me a little something extra for qualifying. We haven't been that good for practice. We didn't run too well when we came down and tested in January so we took the car back and re-did it a little bit. The motor man, Kevin Blanks, found us a little extra horsepower, so we feel real good about our chances. We're ready. I've been pumped up all winter. I like to go racing, and it's that time.

DALE JARRETT (No. 32 Band-Aid Ford) -- We're pretty happy. We ran two and a half tenths faster than we did last year and we started on the outside of the front row. The Chevrolets have picked up a lot somewhere along the line and we're no match for them, but we'll be all right on Saturday. We'll be pretty good once we get out there drafting with everybody. I'm happy with the car.

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 98 Northstar Motorsports Ford) -- I think we could have been a little bit quicker, but the car ran hot on the second lap. We just want to come here and make this race and get Daytona behind us. We've done a lot from the Cup car to the Busch car, but the Busch car is not as good as my Cup car is. That Winston Cup car is awesome. Hopefully, we'll get this car a little faster for Talladega, but right now, we're just going to be satisfied if we make this race.

STEVE GRISSOM (No. 29 World Championship Wrestling Chevrolet) -- We hadn't run this quickly. There were a lot of cars out there this morning so you couldn't really do any stuff to get a good lap in. We were trying to see how much tape we could get away with. The motor still got a little hot on the second lap. This is the same car we brought here last year, when we got to within a quarter of a lap of maybe winning the thing. We just put a new body on it. We took it to Talladega and wrecked there, too. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

JEFF GREEN (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet) -- (Before his time was disallowed for a spoiler infraction. Green's car had a 40- degree spoiler angle -- the minimum angle allowed is 45 degrees.) I never thought we'd run that fast. In fact, if somebody had bet me $100 I wouldn't run a 48-flat, I wouldn't have taken the bet. The crew gave me a great car. I just put it (the gas pedal) on the mat and let it eat. It was a good lap, but I'd like to be on the pole.

KEVIN LEPAGE (No. 71 Lepage Motorsports Chevrolet) -- I've been here three years and this is the first time I ran a lap good enough to put me in the show. For awhile, I was a little worried. When I took off, the transmission broke something and we only had high gear. Guess it didn't matter -- it worked. The crew did a great job. I'm finally learning the speedways. Now, I have to get a lot of practice in.

PETE ORR (No. 88 Farmer's Choice Fertilizer Chevrolet) -- The guys worked hard and gave me a super car. It was just perfect. Having good equipment sure makes it easy for the driver. This is our first time here at Daytona. Driving on the Florida short tracks, like Volusia County (Speedway, in Barberville), coming to Daytona International Speedway always has been my dream and this is a dream come true. We went to Charlotte last fall and qualified 13th but we blew an engine during the race. I know the crew will give me a good setup for the race. We've got good cars and a good race team. It'll really start to pay off later this year.

ANDY HILLENBURG (No. 52 AC-Delco Chevrolet) -- Now we can start working on the car for the race. That's our best lap since we've been here, so we're happy. I've been on track every day since I signed in last Wednesday. Not having a lot of superspeedway experience, to turn laps every single day here is great for me.

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 44 Shell Oil Chevrolet) -- That's better than we did in practice, so we'll take it. We're struggling a bit, but heck, it's Daytona. Sometimes you don't, sometimes you do.

JOE BESSEY (No. 9 Delco Remy America Chevrolet) -- I got a little excited. We ran a real good first lap and for some reason we were only able to pick up just about another tenth (of a second) on our second lap. Everyone else seems able to pick up two or three (tenths of a second). Maybe we got it running a little too hot, but I'm happy. This is the first trip to Daytona for Delco Remy America, and I wanted to get them in on the first day. I'm glad we were able to do that.

DERRIKE COPE (No. 26 Badcock Home Furnishings Ford) -- We just haven't had much time with this Badcock Home Furnishings Ford. We were fortunate to run as quick as we had. If it wasn't for Badcock coming on board, we wouldn't be here. That's a pretty decent lap, I'm tickled to death with it. Looking at this field (66 cars), that just tells you where this sport is at right now. There's a tremendous amount of cars here, and very competitive race cars. You have to run awful hard to get a spot in this race, and then you're going to have to hang it out all day long to see if you have a shot at winning.

RANDY LaJOIE (No. 74 Fina Chevrolet) -- That's as fast as we've been since we got here. We've got a real good race car. We really aren't concentrating all that much on qualifying, so we're pretty happy with our run.

DAVID GREEN (No. 95 Caterpillar Chevrolet) -- Terrible. Terrible. I don't know what happened, but we slowed up. We'll be in there somewhere in the middle of the pack, so we'll get ready for the race and work on drafting.

TRACY LESLIE (No. 11 Dieselube Chevrolet) -- We picked up a little bit, but I was hoping to pick up a little bit more. I got a little bound-up coming off of turn four and unfortunately I just couldn't get it back on the last lap. I was watching Earnhardt on TV the other night and he had the quickest corner speed in four. You can see that's where it's at, and I can tell I lost about 50 RPMs from where I was running. That hurt me. We're looking for a little support now and maybe we can run good in the race.

MIKE McLAUGHLIN (No. 34 Royal Oak Charcoal Chevrolet) -- We're happy with that. I thought we would be farther back than that, but the Royal Oak crew's worked hard all year and it showed today. We felt that Purvis had a pretty good race car and now we're just ready to get prepared for the race. We've got to stiffen up the car pretty good to get it to where we can race it. I've got a lot of confidence in our program this year. Qualifying is a totally different mode than racing. In qualifying mode, it's 70 percent car, 30 percent driver. The race is just the opposite. You've got to have a good handling car and you have to be smart about it.

TERRY LABONTE (#5 Actron Chevrolet) -- The car handled perfect. It wasn't quite fast enough, but it handled good. (Bobby Labonte ran over to talk with his brother after his qualifying run.) Both Bobby and I ran about the same in practice. Our cars are identical and our engines are identical, so I wanted to see how much tape he had on his car and I was wondering how hot it got. We had ours taped up about the same.

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Drivers Bobby Labonte
Teams Phoenix Racing