NASCAR NEXTEL Cup notes, quotes from Golden Corral 500 Qualifying at Atlanta and EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Qualifying from Atlanta. RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- On the pole again. Newman ...
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup notes, quotes from Golden Corral 500 Qualifying at Atlanta and EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Qualifying from Atlanta.
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- On the pole again. Newman wins third straight Atlanta pole, second of season and 20th of his career.
"We gave them something to shoot for for sure. It's pretty close to what we ran here last year. We'll have to see what happens. Some good cars are coming out later, and we weren't the fastest on the speed chart in practice. It's not the most fun thing going out first, but at least my job is done for the day. It wasn't a perfect lap, but I'm not going to complain. I'd be really, really picky if I said it wasn't perfect.
"You run 200 here and it feels like it's 400. It's not me. I'm just the lucky nut behind the wheel. It's a team sport, and qualifying is no different than the race. It's just how you get it matched up. We're learning. We got our butts spanked last weekend, so we'll see what we can do to come back this weekend.
"I wouldn't say the track picked up speed. We picked up a little bit. It was a good run for the ALLTEL Dodge. I really like qualifying here, and I know some other guys do, too. Labonte is always good here, and so is Brian Vickers. Harvick was fast in practice, but it was a good lap for the ALLTEL Dodge.
"You don't really realize how fast you're going until you hit something, and that's pretty much from 140 on. When the car jumps loose here, it's like hitting something. You can deal with tight here. You just don't want to deal with loose. In qualifying it's pretty fast. When Bodine ran that 197 or whatever here, I'm sure he was thinking about it the next couple of days."
"It's good and bad at the same time going out first, but it doesn't really matter when it comes down to it. The ALLTEL Dodge was fast, faster than when we unloaded. It was just a good lap for us, a lot of speed. It's definitely fast here.
"We were slower than we qualified here last fall. I don't think it felt much different. I think it was a 10th slower. We had a .54 last fall, and I think we had a .64 today. One was at night and one was in the day. The true test of the tires will be in the race when the tires fall off and the track gets a little greasier.
"NASCAR has a minimum speed, and I'll let them police the slower cars. There is a definite worry there, but the bottom line is it's up to them to control that. I'm sure they won't have a car out there that's slower than the minimum speed.
"There's a different tire here than the one we had at Vegas, and the one we had at Vegas was different than the one we had there last year. We missed the boat pretty big, and when we got two laps down that was pretty much the end of our day. We never did make up a lap so we could benefit from the Lucky Dog rule. Our car was OK for about five laps and then it seemed like someone threw it in reverse. We just missed it. That was basically it. It was a combination of everything.
"You're not going to see a tight field here, I can tell you that. The rule changes aren't going to make a tighter field. It might make the race a little better as far as aerodynamics or whatnot because the cars are going to have a smaller hole. There won't be a night and day difference from what you saw last week. I was a little disappointed in the fact that the track got a lot of marbles on it last week. The track wasn't as wide as it had been in the past, and that won't be good for the rest of the year.
"I've always said a good racecar driver can adapt to anything. He (Kasey Kahne) has proven that he's a good racecar driver.
"We struggled with the balance at Rockingham, and we struggled with it last week at Vegas. We just haven't hit the setup quite right, but it's coming around. Part of it is from the tires and part of it is from other things. You've just got to learn how to stay ahead of the game."