ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus (Qualified 11th) -- "I'm not real happy with that. Just a little freer than I wanted to be. I got loose off of two and that slowed me down a lot. I just want to get on the frontstretch. I know that's gonna be...
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus (Qualified 11th) -- "I'm not real happy with that. Just a little freer than I wanted to be. I got loose off of two and that slowed me down a lot. I just want to get on the frontstretch. I know that's gonna be close, so we'll just see what happens."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 9th) -- "We were seventh-quick in practice, but all we want is to get in the top 10 or 15 here. It's still early, but we were a little better than what we practiced."
DID THE RAIN CAUSE ANY TROUBLE WITH HAVING TO GO OUT EARLY? "We were a little bit better with a greasy race track, so it may have hurt us just a little bit but the race track has a lot of grip."
KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- FamilyClick.com Taurus (Qualified 10th) -- "That's the best lap we've run all day, so we've just gotta work on it and get it better for racing. Here in the spring we had to take a provisional to get in the show. Hopefully right now we'll be in the top 25."
IS THIS THE MOST STRESSFUL QUALIFYING SESSION? "Oh for sure. You just make one mistake as a driver and you're gonna be in trouble. Fortunately enough for us we had our best lap out there and we've just gotta work on it and try to get it better for racing. We didn't really do well in the race in the spring, we just really need to work on it."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 1st) -- "That was a pretty good lap, but I got startled. I was coming off of turn four going for the white flag and I almost got to the start-finish line and the throttle broke -- the actual gas pedal broke on it -- and I thought 'what in the heck happened here.' I tried to go ahead and run a second lap and it felt funny, so I said 'no, I'm not gonna run.' But it was quick enough the first lap to get the pole for now so we'll see what happens."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus (Qualified 7th) -- "I wanted to make sure that I didn't wind up on the backstretch. We ran real good on the first set of tires in practice. The second set of tires didn't work well and I couldn't take a chance on it, so I just had to make sure I got a frontstretch lap. We ran real good and were a pole contender on set one, but set two we were junk. I didn't want to take a chance of being on the backstretch so we made sure that we got a frontstretch stall. The car worked good. It could have run faster, but I could have blown it too if it would have been another set of tires like set two, so we just had to take what we could get there."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Qualified 35th) -- "In practice on our first set of tires we were like fifth or seventh fastest. We put a set of tires on to make a qualifying run -- didn't change the car at all -- and ended up 20th-fastest in practice pushing real bad. So we said, 'well, it's probably a set of tires that are a little bit different or something' so we didn't change anything from when we ran our best in practice and then we were too loose. So, I'm not smart enough to figure it out."
THE FIELD IS SO CLOSE HERE TOO. "You can't be off as far as we were there. Certainly we'll be starting on the back straigthaway with Jarrett and Labonte and it's gonna be a big gang of us back there."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Qualified 31st) -- "It was just a bad lap."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Qualified 22nd) -- "It was an OK lap for me, it's better than we ran all day so hopefully that will get us on the front stretch. I missed the Busch race and that was the first race I've ever missed in my life, so that was a bad start to the day. We haven't really run that great today (in the Cup car), so I just hope that's good enough to get us on the frontstretch so we can hopefully have a decent run on Saturday."
ROBBY GORDON --13-- Menards/Turtle Wax Taurus (Qualified 13th) -- "We're pretty happy. I guess we ran a 15.42-something so for us that's really, really good. If we can qualify in the top 25 -- that was one of our goals because we've been really struggling in qualifying. The guys have been working really hard and my hat's off to them for sticking with it. If we can qualify in the top 25 and if we can finish -- I know this sounds crazy saying this -- but if we can be one or two laps down at the end of it with a clean race car, I'll be really happy."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Qualified 18th) -- "I'm real happy. You always wish you had better, but to come here not knowing what was gonna happen and stuff I'm happy. We know we've got a great race car. We don't ever really qualify good here, but we always race real good so I'm excited about it. We've got a good race car."
HOW IS QUALIFYING HERE? "The whole field is gonna be within a couple of tenths and I the whole goal is to be on the front straightaway. You've just gotta give it all you've got and hope you're fast. You can't overdrive it, so you've just gotta make sure your car is fast."
DAVID GREEN --94-- McDonald's Taurus (Qualified 26th) -- "That's about what we ran this morning, but everybody has picked up. The car is turning really good and it's fast. For qualifying though we needed to be a little tighter and we were afraid of that. We were afraid to go too much, but, hey, we got the most out of it. The car is good and it's gonna race real good. I just wish we could have run a little bit faster, but it's about the way we've been all day long."
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU GOT THE CALL ON BILL? "I had to make sure that was a true call and not a fake one. Bill and I have always been pretty good buddies, I feel like, and hopefully he's respected what I've been able to do behind the wheel so it's a pleasure to be in this car. They tested here a couple of weeks ago and they obviously had a good test. The car is really good and I wish he could be here to capitalize on it, but we'll do the best we can. I think it's really gonna race good because it's turned good all day long."
IT'S ALSO A GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU, RIGHT? "It is, but you have to do this every week, week-in and week-off. It's tough to come in here on a one-off deal and without Bill's situation I wouldn't be here tonight, so maybe I can help him out and he'll be proud."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Qualified 38th) -- "I'm not really sure. We were slow in practice and right at the end of practice we got going again and ended up running like 15th-quick. That's just a tick slower than what we ran in practice and we didn't pick up any, we slowed up just a little bit so we've got some work to do I guess."
ON THE BACKSTRETCH ISN'T GOOD HERE IS IT? "It definitely makes your night very long, there's no other way around it. It's one of the last places on the circuit that we have a front pit and a back pit, so we're real disappointed about the pit situation than I am anything."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus (Qualified 14th) -- "That was a good run for us. Anytime you can get on the front straightaway here is good because qualifying is so close it takes just a little slip. We've got some real good cars that are gonna start way in the back -- the two guys running for the points -- and it's just so important not to mess up and get all you can get."
WALLY DALLENBACH --75-- WCW Taurus (DNQ) -- "I just got loose. That's all there was too it."
DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus -- "The car was different than it's been all day. It was loose in and loose everywhere. We picked up a tenth and a half, but we're still a tenth short."
STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus (Qualified 21st) -- HOW DO YOU FEEL? "Pretty good. I'm actually a little disappointed with that lap. We ran quicker than that in practice and we just got a little loose. That's something we didn't want to do, but we'll take it. That will be pretty close to the frontstretch, so it's a good start for us. We're in a rebuilding mode right now and the Kodiak Melling team is capable of a lot more than we've been doing and, hopefully, this is a sign of things to come."
HOW ABOUT YOUR SHOULDER? "We got loose in qualifying and we didn't need to do that. That's the only time it's been bothering me. We'll see what happens for tomorrow. We've got us a good starting spot. Let's see what this team is capable of, if it's better than what I can do then we'll put somebody else in it."
RUSTY WALLACE PRESS CONFERENCE -- HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "It was a good run. I guess the only exciting thing we had happen was the car handled great but coming at the start-finish line the throttle broke and it broke about three car lengths before the start-finish line and I coasted across it. I never thought we'd run that quick not being on the gas pedal, so that was a real strange deal to happen a little while ago. But it ran quick enough through the corners to get the pole, so that's all that counts."
DID THE THROTTLE BREAK OR SNAP? "What happened was there's a throttle stop underneath the throttle and the stop broke and the gas pedal...you had constant pressure on your foot going down the straightaway and all of a sudden it just fell off from underneath me. When that happened I jumped off the throttle because I thought it stuck or broke and when that happened I coasted across the line and though, 'Man, I can't believe I just did this' because it felt so good through the corners, but evidently it had enough speed coming off turn four that when it broke it didn't slow me down much. I thought the car should have run a 15.20 or something and it ran a 15.29, but that was a close call. Gordon almost had me on that one."
ONE AND TWO IN THE POINTS ARE ON THE BACKSTRETCH. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND CAN YOU GAIN? "I don't know, everytime you think you're gonna gain off of somebody's misfortune you end up getting involved in it yourself. I don't wish anybody bad luck I just did the best job I can. Those are good teams and I'm sure they'll rally from where they're at."
HAVE YOU FOUND A KEY TO TURNING YOUR LUCK AROUND? "Just a lot of hard work and consistency. Knowing when to put two tires, no tires or four tires that's a tough decision. I won this race here last time by not doing anything with tires. I just believe we all stayed out there with 50 to go or something and won the thing. You want to be on the pole. You want to be in the front and it's just been a coincidence that if I've been on the pole and finished second a lot or lost a couple. But I'm still gonna try to sit on all the poles I can. We've got eight right now and that's a lot of fun getting those poles."
HOW FAR FROM THE START-FINISH LINE WHEN THE THROTTLE BROKE AND HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU BEFORE? "No, this has never happened to me and it was just real startling. It broke about three car lengths before the start-finish line so I would have loved to have been able to run it on through and see how fast it would have really went, but it was real fast through practice. This is a new car that we built especially for Bristol and hopefully we can name it tomorrow night."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE POINTS RACE? "I think it's wide open for the top five drivers right now, I really do, or six. Who knows? I'm not gonna discount anybody. Stranger things have happened and I just hope that I'm one of them that can make enough points to be as far up to the head table as I possibly can. I'm going for the championship just like a lot of drivers are, but Bobby is gonna have to have some bad luck and so is Dale Jarrett. Those guys have been so consistent, but you never know what's gonna happen though."
DO YOU FEEL GOOD FOR TOMORROW? "Yeah, I feel like we've got momentum on our side. We've got luck on our side too because luck was just what got me across the line today. I shouldn't say that. I mean, we had a fast car. I guess the speed of the car was good enough to win the pole even though we had to shut down a little early, but I'm excited about it. This is my favorite track. I've got the four car dealerships up in Morristown, Tennessee and over in Newport, Tennessee and I've got a lot of friends and family here so it's exciting and I like coming here."