FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Brickyard 400 Qualifying August 5, 1999 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 94 BILL ELLIOTT - McDonald's Taurus - "I feel good about it. That's three-and-a-half tenths faster than we practiced and that's...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Brickyard 400 Qualifying August 5, 1999 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
94 BILL ELLIOTT - McDonald's Taurus - "I feel good about it. That's three-and-a-half tenths faster than we practiced and that's what you have to do. You have to keep picking it up. I'm sure a lot of these other guys are gonna pick up, but, still, from the standpoint of where we unloaded to where we were at, these guys worked their rear-end off on this thing. They just make my job easier every week. That's what we have to keep working toward. We're pretty much a fresh group here and if we just keep digging, I think we'll be in good shape." YOU GUYS HAVE PICKED IT UP. "We have. We've come a long way and we've still got a lot to learn and a lot to do, but if we keep picking away at it week in and week out we'll be where we want to be."
6 MARK MARTIN - Valvoline/Cummins Taurus - "I'm real happy with that. This Valvoline team is the best in the position. I'm just so lucky to be working with Jim Fennig and the whole Jack Roush team." HOW ARE YOU FEELING? "I'm not beat up anymore. I don't need to wreck this weekend, but as long as I don't get in an accident I'm gonna be in good shape. I'm feeling really great and it's not hurting at all to drive the car, I just have to be careful because everything's a little tender yet. Maybe we can go racing here Saturday. We've got a good car and a great race team and this could be our weekend."
2 RUSTY WALLACE - Miller Lite Taurus - "I didn't feel that good going into it, and the guys made a rear swaybar change and some air-pressure changes and went out and picked up four-tenths from what we practiced. I feel really good about that. I was concerned going into it, but I have a lot better outlook on life at the moment."
12 JEREMY MAYFIELD - Mobil 1 Taurus - "The track has changed a whole lot. This morning we were good, but the last two runs have been the same way -- we just can't get going now. That's pretty good, but it could be better. We were about the same. We didn't pick up a lot, but we weren't way off either. I'm sure the track has changed a little bit, but who knows. Everytime we go to qualify something weird happens."
58 HUT STRICKLIN - Turbine Solutions Taurus - "We've made so many gains since we tested here that it's unbelievable. We fought a tight race car all through the test and we worked and worked and today we unloaded and were loose. We kind of went overboard a little bit, so now we've kind of gotta go back the other way. We were a little tight in qualifying and that hurt us a little bit, but I feel we know what we need to do and the direction we need to go. I feel really good about things."
10 RICKY RUDD - Tide Taurus - "That's quicker than we ran in practice. Anytime I go out there and run faster in qualifying than I did in practice I'm happy. The car was actually a little bit too loose. In our go-fast run in practice the car was pushing a little bit. Mike McSwain decided to make a small chassis change and, even though it was really small, the car really responded. The car was too loose and too steering sensitive and it probably gave up a little too much speed." IS IT EXTRA INCENTIVE TO WIN THIS RACE? "It's definitely important. Even though we've been fortunate enough to win here, we've run well here in years past. There's a lot of money on the line, a lot of prestige. Every one of these race teams goes 120 percent to come here and run well, but we've probably got a little extra incentive. We've got a taste of what it's like to hit victory lane and that's a place you definitely want to revisit."
99 JEFF BURTON - Exide Batteries Taurus -- "As competitive as it is, any time you can be in the top 15 there's nothing in the world wrong with that. We may or may not end up in the top 15, but, regardless, we'll be close to that and that's OK. We're really displeased when we don't qualify in first round because we're a better race team than that. We're working hard on our qualifying program, but it just eludes us. It just isn't there for us, it doesn't come natural but we're working hard to fix it." IF YOU START IN THE TOP 10, THOUGH, LOOK OUT. "I go back and look and everytime we start in the back we go up front and everytime we start up front we don't, so I don't think it matter where you start. As long as your car is fast and you can mash the gas and go where you want to go, these races are long enough that you can get to the front." HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "That's not a bad lap. We ran well in practice this morning, but when we put stickers on we didn't run well at all, so we picked up about four-tenths from our sticker run but only about a tenth from our best run. We've got a long way to go from where we put on our stickers, so we can't be too displeased with that."
88 DALE JARRETT - Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus - "It just seemed the set of tires...I guess it probably has more to do with track conditions because it's pretty hot right now and I just couldn't get the grip and the side bite that we were hoping we would have and it just made the car slide out a little bit. But it was a good lap for us." WHEN YOU WON HERE YOU STARTED 24TH, SO DOES IT MATTER WHERE YOU START? "I do know it's a lot easier to start up there and run the race you want to run, so, hopefully we've got a top 10 starting spot. We had a good car that day, I just hit the wall coming off of turn four in qualifying so I tried not to do that today. We're excited. What happened last year was a learning experience for us. Like Todd said the other day, 'We may not win this race, but it will be because we stopped too early and not because we waited too long.' We've learned some things. We're hard-headed, but we do catch on after awhile." HOW TOUGH IS IT TO QUALIFY HERE? "It is tough. You're going awful fast and it only takes a slight bobble and you've basically wasted the whole lap. If you start trying to make up, then you're in trouble. I pushed out in turn one a little bit and from that point it's just hard to make every corner exactly like I wanted, but we had a good lap. I knew when Jeff Gordon ran a 50.10 that that was out of our reach, so the next thing was to just get a good solid lap where we could start in the top 10."
21 ELLIOTT SADLER - Citgo Taurus - "That's a pretty good lap. We wanted to be the highest qualifying rookie, but I messed up a little bit. I got a little tight off of four, but we're real happy with that. We've been struggling a little bit with qualifying here in the past and we really want to get in on first day. I think we've been able to do that today. The guys are happy, so that means I'm happy. I ran a lap like that during testing and I told the guys, 'I might run one more lap like that without hitting anything.' I got pretty close to all the walls, it was a little bit tight, but, man, I tell you, I'm as happy as I can be. It was a good run for the Citgo Ford. We're in the field solidly the first day and now we can start working on the setup. Once again the old blue car came through for me." HOW IS YOUR FOOT? "It's great. I behaved last week and stayed at home like I was supposed to. I kept it propped up and my mom and dad took care of me. I came back this week 100 percent wanting to do so well here at Indy. This is a race I've always dreamed of running in and so far we've got a good starting position."
75 TED MUSGRAVE - Remington Arms Taurus - "It was kind of just boring for me. I got a little bit loose getting in and then it pushed a little bit up in the center. When we tested we really didn't learn a lot. We didn't have a lot of the stuff we needed, so this was almost like a test this morning. We pretty much threw away everything we had for those two days and we're trying to catch up right now. We're close, but we just needed a couple of more tenths to lock ourselves in the top 25, but now we're on the hinge trying to figure out what's gonna happen tomorrow." WHAT ABOUT YOUR REACTION TO BUTCH'S ANNOUNCEMENT? "It's a great deal. I've known about it for quite a while. Everybody's been hounding me and asking if something was going on, but even though I knew it's not my place to say anything. That's between Butch and Darwin and the corporate team that we've got. It's great with me. It's a neat deal for Butch and everybody involved. Darwin is an excellent owner and he knows about racing. Right now it'll maybe just shake us all up a little bit and perform a little better."
9 JERRY NADEAU - Cartoon Network Taurus - "That's about what we ran in practice. We've got a good race car and I think it's a better race car than qualifying car. I'm still sore from last week and that's holding me back a little bit. My ribs are really hurting. We know we've got a great race car. If we can get in the top 27 or 28 we know we're gonna be safe for tomorrow because I don't think that many cars will go faster tomorrow."
28 KENNY IRWIN - Texaco Havoline Taurus - "We watched everybody on the monitor and I saw a lot of people loose, so I tightened it up and that hurt us. I really we could get in the top five but we kind of just missed it a little. I'm happy to be in. At least that way we know we're in and that's what's really important on Saturday. We were tight in the first practice and we were tight in qualifying."
66 DARRELL WALTRIP - Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus - "We needed that run and one more. We made a wholesale bunch of changes to the car to make that qualifying run and everything we did was a plus. We should have gone a little further, but when you're going out to make your attempt you kind hold your breath as to just how far you want to go with some things. Everything we did was in the right direction, but we needed a couple of tenths to be comfortable. That's a borderline case right there. It really makes you stay up all night whether to go over or not." YOU'RE 32ND, WILL YOU BE HOLDING YOUR BREATH TOMORROW? "Thirty-second oughta make it. We've been seeing second-round cars -- two and three cars -- bumping into the race but that's been about it, so 32nd oughta make it but I don't know. We'll have to sleep on it a little bit." WHAT HAPPENED AT THE START? "The battery cable was off the battery. It's a brand new car and somebody was probably putting the battery in they tightened one up, put the other on and somebody hollered at him and they turned around and it stayed on up until it was time to go qualify."
MARK MARTIN PRESS CONFERENCE 6 MARK MARTIN -- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- "It's a totally different scenario than qualifying (race setup), but we've had great races here in the past. The Valvoline team is really strong right now. They're strong on pit road. They put me in durable race cars that are pretty fast and, hopefully, we'll race smart and we'll race good." HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP TO START UP FRONT HERE? "I don't think that it's important to start in the front. I just think that it's better than starting in the back. But I don't think that it makes a big difference. At Pocono, I started on the front row and after the first pit stop, I was dead last. I came back to finish third. This is a race like that. It's like Jeff Burton said earlier today in an interview. It's much more important to drive a fast car than it is to start up front. If you start up front with a mediocre car, your best shot is a mediocre finish. If you start at the back with a really fast car, you've got a shot at something better than mediocre. We look at the pole as a competition within a competition. You know, everybody wants to win everything. So we try to qualify the best that we can and then we try to race the best that we can, too." YOU TESTED HERE ON JULY 13. WHAT KINDS OF ADJUSTMENTS HAVE YOU MADE SINCE THEN? "We're exactly like we were when we ran 50.49 in the test on the first day. As far as set-up goes, except for some shocks that we decided we liked at Pocono, so we used them here. Of course, we've got a little bit better engine, thanks to Roush engine department. That's it." HOW ARE YOU FEELING, BY THE WAY? THAT DAY YOU WERE IN QUITE A BIT OF PAIN "I feel a whole lot better than I did that day. A whole lot better. That was a tough test to do, but it had to be done." HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN HOW WELL JEFF GORDON RUNS AT THIS TRACK? HE HAS AN AMAZING RECORD HERE? "He's a better driver than at least most of us, if not all of us. And I think he drives a better car than most of us, if not all of us. So when you put that all together, it's a hard combination to beat. I meant that as a compliment in both respects, not only for the team, but for the driver as well." DO YOU GUYS GET MUCH CHANCE TO APPRECIATE THE HISTORY AND THE TRADITION IN THIS TRACK WHEN YOU RACE HERE? "I try not to see those things. I try to see the competition and the performance. For the winner, it's huge. But I don't know about that. So I don't need to be messin' around trying to figure out how much the tradition or the history really means. I need to figure out how to win this thing. Then I can rock in my rocking chair and tell my grandkids what a great champion I was. But until then, I need to keep my eye on the target. That's my approach." HOW DO YOU PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY FOR THE NEXT 12 WEEKS OF RACING WITHOUT A WEEKEND OFF? "Well, I plan on getting into an argument with, you know, my wife and my son, everybody that works on my team, three or four drivers on the race track between now and the end of 12 weeks straight. (LAUGHTER) You know, how else can you vent your frustrations? You've got to take it with a light heart. Like David (Green) said about the pressure cooker to get in these shows, you know, that gets to be more. Anything that is pressure for you, just gets to be more and more and more. And if you have bad days or frustrations, they tend to fester and get sorer before they get well. We all just have to work on it. The relationship with the drivers on the race track is important to maintain throughout. The relationship with your crew and team is important to maintain throughout. You need to not take your stuff home with you, your tough days home with you. So I try to do that. I try not to take the tough days home or the good days home. I just try to leave them behind.
During practice after qualifying, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace were involved in an accident on pit road. Neither car sustained major damage. Wallace suffered minor damage to the right front while the driver's side of Martin's car had only sheet metal damage.
2 RUSTY WALLACE -- Miller Lite Taurus -- "There were a lot of cars on pit road and they stopped as the caution flag came out. They were letting everybody out off of turn one so all the cars on the infield could pull out. These guys here (on pit road) took off like I would normally do and then they released us down there (toward turn one) and as we pulled out I don't think they ever thought we were gonna be pulling out. It was nobody's fault. It wasn't Mark's fault, it wasn't my fault. If anything, you could maybe put the blame to the stop and go guys at the end to say hey stop and then let them go. Those guys were coming down pretty quick and we were pulling out like we normally do and it just came to a collision. I hate it for the guys because I had one spring change I wanted to make yet, I wanted to try it out and I didn't get to do that today. We do have three hours of practice tomorrow and the car's not hurt, except for the right-front fender. They're making some precautionary changes with putting all new suspension on the right-front corner. It did tear a spindal up, things like that, but you can't blame nobody. My heart goes out to my team right now because now we've got a lot of sheet metal work and we had a really pretty car sitting over there. Every now and then throughout the year there are some weird things that happen. I can remember I was on the race track at Dover, Delaware one time coming down the back straightaway on like my 20th lap of a run and a car pulls off the race track and drives into the side of me. Stuff like that happens. It gets your blind side and you don't see it happen. Mark didn't expect me to be coming out and I didn't expect him to be coming down pit road."