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NASCAR WCUP: Chevy Driver Notes and Quotes, Bud Shootout

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
Dale Earnhardt, No. 3 GMGoodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Monte Carlo (noting last year’s race, BillFrance Sr. would be rolling in his grave): “But I’d say he’d be jumpingaround this year about this kind of racing. Well, it was pretty exciting. But he (Stewart) had too strong a car. He got back by me down the back straightaway. Just couldn’t keep side to side withhim. If I could have stayed side byside with him, I could have raced him. But I just couldn’t do that. Wewere on older tires because we pitted early. And our tires were all worn out. So we were just sort of sliding around the top.”

Richard Childress, teamowner, RCR: “I really like the new aero package. It put racing into it (the race), it put a lot of passing intoit. The fans seen of passing – probablymore passing in this Shootout than they’ve seen in the last two or three. All day long, we run faster than wequalified. Both our cars were reallyloose, but they just hung on to it. I feel better this year than I did lastyear. Last year, we knew it was a Fordevent or a Pontiac. This year, we feelChevrolet’s in there with them.”

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DupontAutomotive Finishes Chevrolet Monte Carlo: “I just know that we came in too soon. I shouldn’t have came in to pit when I did. I wanted to stay with Earnhardt (Sr.), and Ishould have been staying with the other Earnhardt (Jr.). We were on old tiresout there it put us way behind.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo: “I couldn’t run up top where my dad was‘cause my car was real tight and it’d just push up there. So I kind of had torun to the middle and the bottom at turn one and it opened a hole up there forhim and he took it. I was lucky to get back, I thought it was going to be worsethan that. It was real tight up highand would just slide and I’d have to get off the gas. And you’ve got to runwide open to be up front. I had to hangthe left front fender out from inside of Tony (Stewart) to get my car to turn.If I run behind him or high, it’d push real bad. The aero (rules) wasn’t thatbad. I thought we was going to be a lotworse than that. The start of the race, we were three wide there for a couplelaps and that was kind of scary. And I think everybody realized and they kindof calmed down. Some of the guys willdo that in the 125’s. I think you’llsee a lot of that. Once the race kindof calmed down, and once the tires get hot like I said, everybody was kind ofsliding around, so you can’t run side by side and get anywhere. Everybody kindof stayed in the high lane and waited for somebody to jump out and make a moveand you saw a lot of guys pull out and not get no help and that’s why ‘causeyou can’t work down there.”

Joe Nemechek, No. 33Oakwood Homes Chevrolet Monte Carlo: “It was a pretty boring race from mystandpoint. It was bad. The No. 36 caroiled everybody’s windows down at the start of the race and no one couldsee. I mean you couldn’t see. So youjust had to kind of fall back and gauge who you were around and who you couldfollow. You couldn’t even see to get in the pits. I think NASCAR should havemade a different call there. After they black-flagged him, he came back outthere right in front of me and oiled me down again. It was a big letdown for us. We thought this Oakwood Homes Chevywould run a lot better than it did. I’ve got a fast racecar, it just wasn’t inthe right spot.”

Steve Park, No. 1 PennzoilChevrolet Monte Carlo: “We gotcaught in that oil. Unfortunately. Wehad a good racecar, we got so much oil on the windshield, we just couldn’t seewhere we were going. There’s not muchyou can do when you can’t see. It hurtus because guys were pitting and I slowed down because they slowed down. I didn’t see no hand wave coming into thepits and I’m sure they were (waving). Just a lack of visibility. So we lost a lot of momentum when those guyspitted and we got jammed behind them. It just ruined the whole day for us. Welearned a little bit to make us a little better in the 500.”

Terry Labonte, No. 5Kellogg’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo: “We got behind Schrader and the windshieldwas all oiled up. I literally couldn’tsee. We pitted on lap 25 and changedfour tires when most everyone else only took two (tires), and that cost us sometime. But the car was way too loose. Weput two rounds of wedge in it on that stop, but it wasn’t enough to tighten itup.”

Mike Skinner, No. 31Lowe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo: “Wegot caught in that oil, bigtime. We couldn’t see. We knew it was early in the race so we slowed down and we justtried to hang on until we came in and pitted. We pitted fairly early with the others and I couldn’t see at all. It took me a long time to get in the pitsbecause I just couldn’t see at all and they had to talk me down into thepits. Our Chevy got awful loosetoday. We were fortunate to be in thisrace, and now we know what not to run. So now we know what not to run inthe 125. Maybe we can make the cardrive a little better in that and then we’ll get in even better for the500. We were much better at the startof the race. We wasn’t going to show our hand. I planned on staying in the back or in the middle, and when it came downto 10 to go, if we had anything, we were going to try to get in the top fivewith five to go, and we were going to try to shake up the apple tree with threeor four to go, or two to go, or whatever I could do. I had my own personal strategy and I told everybody else I wasgoing for it. And I lied to all of them. I thought I had a good idea, but as it worked out our car just gotextremely loose. And we wasn’t the only ill-handling car manufacturereither. I think the Dodge and a couple of Fords was loose too. So we’ve all got a little bit to learn. We’re going to change the set-up on thething and change the spring package in the front and see if we can’t help it.”

Mike Helton, president ofNASCAR, comments regarding the No. 25 car and the disallowance of itsqualifying time for the Daytona 500: “Typically on Sunday, when something goes wrong, we can go back onMonday morning and focus in on it. Well, yesterday’s situation, we felt like it was necessary toimmediately react to the qualifying time which we did by disallowing it. Thebalance of any penalty that will come of that, we will sort by tomorrow in atimely manner. We’re running out oftime today.”

Text Provided By Nancy Wager

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