NOTES & QUOTES FIFTH ANNUAL PENNZOIL NATIONALS VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK RICHMOND, VIRGINIA MAY 3, 1999 PRO STOCK Richie Stevens (Valspar Racing Pontiac Firebird) The first two wins were both ugly as could be but they got us through to the...
NOTES & QUOTES FIFTH ANNUAL PENNZOIL NATIONALS VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK RICHMOND, VIRGINIA MAY 3, 1999 PRO STOCK
Richie Stevens (Valspar Racing Pontiac Firebird) The first two wins were both ugly as could be but they got us through to the next round. That's all you can do - win them one race at a time. The good part was that we were able to get some good data on the car and the track so we could tune the car right. It seems like were getting closer to perfect every time we go down the track. We're really getting excited over here in the Valspar Racing pit. In yesterday's opener and in today's quarterfinal round, the car was basically shaking from the time I launched until the time I shut it off. Fortunately, both Greg (Anderson) and Mike (Edwards) were shaking too. I just had better luck. In the last race against John (Nobile) the car handled much better. Although at the finish line he said he was right off our rear quarterpanel all the way down. It was a close one but the Valspar Pontiac Firebird came out on top. We have one more round to go. If I do what I need to do, I know the car will be there. We definitely have the capability to win. Now we have to go out there and do it. Lost in Final Round to Allen Johnson FUNNY CAR
Cruz Pedregon (Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird) I was really excited about racing today. When I woke up this morning I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to be racing Force, so I was really up for him. He's the guy that everyone needs to get around if we're going to win the championship. As a driver you have to lay it on the line and that's what we did today. If we can get the car and the driver on the same page, then this Interstate Batteries Pontiac team is going to be tough to beat. If I would have had that reaction time (.489) last week, I think we would have been standing in the winner's circle. But you win as a team and you lose as a team, and I don't plan on letting any more slip away from me for the rest of the year. We've had a little bit of a slow start this season, but this Firebird is running pretty good. It doesn't matter where you start winning races whether it's at the beginning, the middle or the end of the year, but the pendelum is on the verge of swinging our way. The car's consistent, it's getting down the racetrack and Wes (Cerny) was just doing what he had to do to put John (Force) away. Aggressiveness is what wins races, and in a contest like that you don't want to leave anything on the table.
We're going to Atlanta, we'll put everything back together and be ready to go. I wish we were racing next weekend to tell you the truth. I feel like I'm out of my slump and I'm feeling good about our chances. We still qualified No. 2 here, and this is the third time in a row that we've advanced to the semi-finals. If this were NASCAR, that would be another top-five finish and a pretty good indicator of your team's ability. So we have another top-four finish here, we're solidly in the No. 3 position in points and the best is yet to come this year for this team. Lost in round three
Cory McClenathan (MBNA/Pontiac) The NHRA and Safety Safari did a great job coming in here this morning and getting the track back in shape. They were really able to bring that left lane around and it contributed to some great side-by-side racing. We thought we were at a small disadvantage going into the final because Larry Dixon's car had been running so well. They did have the right lane through lane choice. But it was sure nice to prove everyone wrong by winning in that left lane. We would have liked to have run faster and quicker than what we did, but the MBNA/Pontiac locked up immediately off the pad, it didn't smoke the tires and when I got to half track I thought we actually had a chance to win this race if we didn't spin the tires--and we didn't. We ran 310 mph and that was pretty good in the left hand lane. Yesterday was different, the left lane was real tricky and today, it came around. The weather and cloud cover came in for us and we needed that to win. It's one of those deals when you know you're racing a good car, Larry's a good driver, and with Armstrong (Dale) tuning it you never know what's going to happen.
Do drivers do better at some tracks? There's always a mental factor, and when you talk to the drivers out here, most of them would agree. It's just one of those deals where I feel good about coming to a race where we've won before. We won last year and this is two years in a row for us. With that one and the inagural race that makes three. But anytime you come into a race where you have good records, you've won lot of rounds and you've won the race, you're going to feel more comfortable - and I was. Being stuck in that lane where we hadn't run all day, I was being more carfeul as far as staging and that type of stuff. So, yes it does play on your mind a lot of times.
Was it an advantage to get two rounds in yesterday? Last night was an advantage because when I went to bed I got a good night's sleep. Everybody else had to come in here and make a pass this morning and we got to watch. That gave us some more time. The disadvantage came when they got to make a pass on the track today and we didn't. So we weren't sure how to set the car up for that semi-final contest. Really to us, it made a big difference being able to come in today and not having to win that second round. We had done that already and that was one less thing to worry about. Race Winner