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NASCAR BGN Series Gateway 300 -- Quotes from Thursday Practice

24 July 1997

MADISON, IL - By Gateway International Raceway Public Relations

TIM FEDEWA (#33 Kleenex Chevrolet Monte Carlo) - "You've gotta give a little 
bit up in (turns) one and two and try to get it all back in (turns) three and 
four. It's kinda like Darlington (S.C. Raceway) will be in the fall (after 
the front and backstretch are flip-flopped). One and two are a lot like some 
of the short tracks we've raced at. The entrance speed is real high because 
of the long straightaway, so you've really got to brake pretty hard. Then 
getting into (turn) three, you're running pretty fast there also, but you've 
got a little more room, more like Milwaukee or Loudon (New Hampshire 
International Speedway). Because one and two bogs you down so much, you need 
more gear to get you going down the straightaway. I think some people are 
shifting in the turn so it'll give them more pull coming off the corner, and 
that gets 'em down the backstretch quicker. I don't think it'll be as 
critical as it is at Darlington, but we don't have a second groove worked in 
right now. Hopefully, by race time, there'll be a little bit more of a groove 
out there. I'm not real worried about (turns) three and four, but (turns) one 
and two are gonna be real tight if you try to get in there two-wide. You're 
gonna have to respect this place or something's gonna happen. We've been 
working on a little bit of both (qualifying and race setups). We've never 
really worked on a qualifying setup, per se -- we just get the car 
comfortable. It's a little slippery out there in places, but it's a hot day. 
The more your tires heat up, the slipperier it gets. But it's nice and smooth 
out there."

MIKE MCLAUGHLIN (#34 Royal Oak Charcoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) - "It's 
different. (Turns) one and two are real tight, and (turns) three and four 
aren't bad. It's more like a sweeping corner. It's kinda like a flat 
Darlington. The corners there are that much opposite. You're gonna have to 
run hard here to go fast, that's for sure. But I'd just as soon be up front 
all day than running in the middle of the pack. It's not bad running in the 
groove, and the more laps we get on it, the better it'll get. It's a little 
different than anything we've run on, that's for sure. A lot of people have 
been here and tested, so that puts a feather in a few caps, but the ones who 
didn't test are pretty much on equal ground."

ELLIOTT SADLER (#29 Phillips 66 Performance Chevrolet Monte Carlo) - "We did 
test out here and learned a lot. This track is so unique because the corners 
aren't alike. One and two are so tight that it's kinda like Martinsville 
(Va., Speedway) only with a little more banking. Three and four are a little 
bit flatter, but it's a little bit longer and you've got a whole lot more 
momentum going in that it kinda reminds me of Las Vegas (Motor Speedway). 
This track is so different in both corners that you've got to find that happy 
medium. We think we did that during testing, and we ought to have a good car 
for the race. It looks a lot like Darlington, but there in three and four you 
run right up against the wall, while here you can run down on the bottom of 
the turn. It's gonna be a tough race track. This new asphalt has a lot of 
grip, and that's gonna put us on the edge more. I'm looking forward to it. 
Nobody's got an advantage here because nobody's raced here before. That puts 
us all on equal footing, and that ought to make for a better race. We've got 
a 300-mile race here, and that's plenty of time to tune your car during the 
race. We ought to see an awesome race on Saturday. It's gonna be pretty hot, 
so there could be a lot of mental and physical fatigue, but I'm still looking 
forward to it."

TERRY LABONTE (#5 Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Chevrolet Monte Carlo) - "I don't think 
we've run anywhere like this. It's like a frontstraightaway at Atlanta (Motor 
Speedway) with a Martinsville turn down there (in turns one and two). Then 
you run down that back straightaway, but I can't really describe what that 
turn (three and four) is like."

DALE SHAW (#4 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo) - "I really like this 
place. Turns one and two are really tricky -- I haven't really figured it out 
yet -- but three and four really remind me a lot of Loudon, except faster. I 
guess that's because I can drive the car down into the turn the same way I 
can there. I have a pretty big advantage coming here, because I'm not the 
ONLY one who hasn't raced here before. The Winston Cup guys have a lot more 
experience because they race more laps every week, but we didn't come here to 
finish behind them, I'll tell you that. Johnny (Allen, crew chief) told me he 
was gonna set my car up to run a little tight since it was our first time 
here, but the car's not right. Whatever he's doing seems to be working. We're 
really running better in three and four -- I can drive the car in there 
pretty deep, and I can still get on the throttle way early. We're making some 
changes to help us in one and two, so we'll have to see how that works out."

STEVE PARK (#3 ACDelco Chevrolet Monte Carlo) - "Anytime you can go test, 
it'll help you. The conditions today are nearly the same as when we tested 
out here (July 15-16), but it feels a little bit hotter because of the 
humidity. We've kinda pleasantly surprised with the way we've run today 
because we're running a little bit faster than we did during the test. Then, 
it seemed like the hotter it got, the slower we went. We're pretty happy with 
the way the car's handling now, and it's only gonna get hotter as the weekend 
goes on. We're pretty satisfied with the way the car's driving right now. I 
don't know if we're the fastest car, but it's driving real good. We'll just 
have to wait and see how the weather goes the next two days. The track's only 
gonna get better, and the groove's gonna get wider. That'll also take some of 
the slipperiness away from the track. Right now, everybody's running into the 
'new-track blues' because the IndyCars don't put that much rubber down 
because they're so light, but things ought to get better and better, not only 
this weekend, but in years to come. This place has two completely different 
corners, and it's almost impossible to get the car to handle good in both 
corners. We're just taking the corners apart and trying to get the car where 
it'll accelerate the best and make up the most time. What do I compare it to? 
Three and four is like New Hampshire, and one and two is like turns three and 
four at Nashville (Tenn., Speeday USA, where Park won his first Busch Series 
race in mid-March). Then you throw New Hampshire's straightaways in between 
the turns."

RANDY LAJOIE (#74 FINA Chevrolet Monte Carlo) - "It's gonna be the same for 
everybody -- it's got two straightaways and two corners, and both corners are 
completely and significantly different. The track's pretty smooth, so we 
should be able to put on a good show. This place ain't even close to being 
like Darlington; there's no comparison. It reminds me more of Miami (the 
Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in South Florida), but the corners 
are all different. But this place has it's own personality -- there ain't 
nothing else like it."

TODD BODINE (#36 Stanley Pontiac Grand Prix) - "No momma taught 
me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."