Day 1 -- Friday, Aug. 2, 2002 Post-Practice Quotes ROBBY GORDON (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet): "Both of the sticker tire runs were within four one hundredths of each other. We'll run somewhere between 49 to 50 (second laps). I think we've...
Day 1 -- Friday, Aug. 2, 2002
ROBBY GORDON (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet): "Both of the sticker tire runs were within four one hundredths of each other. We'll run somewhere between 49 to 50 (second laps). I think we've got a shot at the pole. The car is going to run a lot different in the cool morning air. Hopefully, the 97 (car) is not going to pick up as much as we did."
PJ JONES (No. 50 Conseco/Carter Lumber Pontiac): "I haven't been in a Winston Cup car in about one and a half years or in a Busch car for about eight months. The first couple times out, I had to get used to the car. I feel like I'm driving it better. I just have to figure out how to make the car turn."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet): "We normally do well here in qualifying. The car always drove pretty decent here. We just can't really seal the deal at the end. There ain't going to be no second groove, I can promise you that. We always have a comfortable car. We always run good. We get beat by pit strategy. Guys taking new tires, guys taking no tires. They've been beating us here a lot lately. Beat us here the last two years. We've got nothing to lose, the way we see it. We just go for the win every week."
STUART KIRBY (No. 57 CLR Ford): (Do you have a handle on the setup?) "No, not really. We came here and tested three weeks ago and were pretty decent. Times that would have put us in the top 25. We changed some stuff when we came here, and we're just way, way off. We think a spring might be coil binding and not letting it turn good. We're going to go back to where we started when we were here testing and see what we can do with that. We're basically a rookie team, all in all. We only made one race, Chicago. They have attempted a lot of races. We're still learning about each other and just trying to get some good notes that we can learn off of and get the car going better."
MATT KENSETH (No. 17 Dewalt Power Tools Ford): "We're ready to go tomorrow. We're going to make a few changes. The car isn't as good as it was in testing. The track is really consistent."
KURT BUSCH (No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford): "We're executing what we did in testing and applying what we learned. It's a fun racetrack because it's 90 degrees at a time. The other tracks, you see 180 degrees. I felt lucky at the pill draw, but we didn't draw as good as we would have liked. We will probably go out at 1:30 p.m. Our fastest runs have been at 3:30 p.m. We'll make one change, and we'll be ready."
MARK MARTIN (No. 6 Pfizer/Viagra Ford): "The car's running great. I've been very cautious about being optimistic, although we had a great test, and we came back here and ran even better. So I feel good about our team, and I feel good about this race car. We're going to give it all we've got. It's about what you've got in your race team, car and equipment. We've got some pretty good stuff now."
RICKY RUDD (No. 28 Havoline Ford): "We didn't have too good a go of it. We started off good, made a couple changes, and it got real bad. We made some changes and got back to where we started from. We'll see what happens tomorrow. We never really got a good chance today. We tried some things, and they didn't work. We tried a bigger sway-bar combination, and it absolutely didn't work."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge): "I know that we're not real happy. Certainly, we're not where we want to be or near where we should be, but it's where we are. Quite honestly, there doesn't seem to be any major problems, but it won't go. I ran one of my quickest laps right off, but the rest of the day we spent searching. We had a couple of other problems that cost us some track time. That was unfortunate, but gremlins come up when you just don't expect them to. The track conditions here are all new. They've ground the track, and every time I come to this racetrack it feels brand new. Here in Indianapolis, the weather changes, and it creates a new racetrack about every 15 minutes. We just need to figure out what we're going to do and try to get it qualified in a good spot tomorrow and running well for the race."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet): "We struggled in testing, so we brought a different car here, and I think we made a good choice. The car is definitely driving better, but we're definitely off the pace that we need to be for qualifying. I think we're going to have a real good race car, but we need to be a little bit better for qualifying." (About winning from the back of the field in 2001): "You don't want to do it that way, but I think we can again. We have a great team. I love this place. The car is driving good. I think our corner speeds are pretty good. We do not want to have to do it the way we did last year. But a lot of things had to factor in, a lot of things had to go our way. The type of season we've had so far this year, we can't expect those things to happen. It's hard not to have confidence when you come in here. The track has been my friend. The fans and all the support I've gotten around this facility and the state of Indiana has been great. Of course, three wins doesn't hurt. My guys always know how to dig deeper and give us everything we need to go out there and get to Victory Lane." (About the heat and the track conditions): "There's nothing like Indiana. The summers, the humidity -- it's pretty sticky out here. That diamond-grinding that they've done here is pretty amazing. The way the grip level is, the way the cars feel out there, I think the track's faster because of it. It doesn't seem to be as temperature-sensitive as it used to be. We practiced in the middle of the day, and we're going to qualify tomorrow morning, so that's going to make things interesting, but I don't think it's going to be as bad as it would've been a couple of years ago." (About the diamond-grinding of the surface): "I wish that we could find a way to do this at some other tracks like a Homestead (Homestead-Miami Speedway) or a Loudon (New Hampshire International Speedway) or something like that. They always have the best surfaces here, and the technology that they put into that, I mean, it just feels great. It just feels like it's got a lot of grip out there, and it doesn't show any signs of coming apart. I'm real happy with it." (Does the surface create a second groove?): "I don't know about that. The thing is, it's made it faster, so the bottom groove is faster than it's ever been. The top groove's faster, too, but I don't think it's going to be faster than the bottom groove. If you get shoved out there you might have something to hold on to. If you get to the outside of a guy, you might be able to make the pass. I still think the way to go is going to be at the bottom." (About the winless streak since Kansas Speedway in September 2001): "I do feel like I'm on a drought because I haven't been to Victory Lane other than a couple of go-kart races lately. That's just how it is. We recognize what it takes to win the championship and what it takes to be up front in the points, and that's consistency, finishing laps and finishing up front. We've succeeded in a lot of areas other than the win column."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge): "I think we're in pretty good shape. We were third quickest, so I think we'll be OK."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Ford): "This track is really weather-sensitive. It's good to come out of the box as strong as we were. We've got a good car in the Alltel Ford this weekend, and you know, it'll be interesting to see what the difference in the racetrack is between practice this afternoon and qualifying tomorrow morning. It's an awesome racetrack -- not just because I'm from Indiana, but because it's Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all the history here. You look at the glass here behind us (Legends Row), you've got Gordon Johncock, Bobby Unser, A.J. Foyt, everybody. Just the names around this racetrack are just awesome. I went to school at Purdue, grew up in South Bend, and there is just a lot of history for me in Indianapolis, racing here in the Midwest with USAC."
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet): "It went pretty good. We were real pleased with the car when we unloaded it. We made some adjustments, and nothing really seemed to help us any, so we'll go back to how we started and should be good tomorrow."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge): "It is a work in progress. The guys have done a great job, and I'm very proud of them. We've got some good race cars."
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 UPS Ford): "We spent all of our time today getting ready for tomorrow only. We didn't do any qualifying runs when we were here testing, so we had to spend the two hours today trying to find some things that would help us go fast, trying to make adjustments to find exactly what those things might be. Even though we found speed, we're still quite a bit off." (About the track surface): "The track is certainly different than it's been in the past. There's a lot of grip, and that should certainly enhance the racing."