Charlotte: Riggs, Mayfield post-qualifying interview

SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools/Cars 2 Dodge Charger) "The car was absolutely awesome. All the guys on the team did a great job. We learned a lot from last week and thought we had a real good car last week. We got a lap down in the...

SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools/Cars 2 Dodge Charger)

"The car was absolutely awesome. All the guys on the team did a great job. We learned a lot from last week and thought we had a real good car last week. We got a lap down in the all-star race. We stayed in the back and learned what we could. Everybody is working together well. There was a lot of grip out there tonight, and I didn't know if it was going to hold up for the pole or not, but I got all I could out of it. I don't think I could have gotten any more out of it. We had a good car last week, and when you've got a good car you want to get the most out of it. All these guys did a good job of making sure we didn't tune ourselves out of it. We just kept making small changes and everything worked out.

"We didn't get a chance to make many qualifying efforts today in practice. We only got a chance to make one run and we came in, made some adjustments and went back out. The caution came out on the backstretch so we didn't get a chance to cool the car back off and make another attempt, so we didn't know what we really had. We knew we had a good racecar. I'm proud of all my guys for working so hard and making the right decisions and taking their time and making calculated decisions.

"This is not the car we had last week. We were going to bring that car back, but Rodney Childers, my team director, knew this was a better car and knew that if we came back and didn't run well we would be mad at ourselves thinking we could have been better if we brought a better car so we brought our best piece to the racetrack and made good decisions on it all day long. The track was really greasy and sliding around a lot today in practice, but the good thing no one got excited. We didn't start thrashing on the car and making a lot of changes because we knew the car was temperature sensitive. The track was dark in color and absorbing a lot of heat and getting really hot, so we just did a good job all around.

"Sitting on the pole tonight definitely helps our chances of having good track position as far as a good pit stop position on pit road. I'm still in question of why the small fuel cells. It is going to be tough on all the guys with all the pit stops we're going to be making. It's going to give everybody a lot more opportunities to make mistakes over the course of the evening. Six hundred miles is a long way and 400 laps will be a lot of opportunities to make those mistakes. We have a good car obviously for qualifying, but we need to make sure we all stay cool, calm and collected and not make any mistakes. If we do make mistakes, make sure we can overcome that mistake. Whoever makes the fewest mistakes with a good car is going to be the one that comes out victorious. We just want put ourselves in position to be there at the end of the race.

"If any pole this year is going to be important as far as the course of the race, this is going to be the one because of the pit selection, because of the longevity of the race. We didn't come out here to win the pole. We came to win the race. Sitting on the pole is just one step in that direction to help us, to give us a little bit of an advantage. We know we have a good car. We just have to make the fewest mistakes come Sunday. We always want poles. We want to win races. That's what we really want. They can have all the poles back if we can win some races. That's what we're shooting for and this is just the first step in that direction. Last year I did get a pole personally. We got a pole at Martinsville and both of these guys up here were with me by my side when we did that. This pole probably means more because it's a pole on a track that's fast. It's not about mechanical grip only. It's about mechanical grip and also about aerodynamics and horsepower. It's about the entire package, so to sit on the pole here for the big race at Charlotte means a lot.

"I know that Jeremy has been down the past couple of weeks. He's been pretty frustrated. It's not a lack of effort on his side. I think his team has the most amount of new members. The way I described to him if you went to a new organization and had to start a third team and you knew the new guys you were going to put together would have a learning curve and some times to gel with chemistry and communication to come around, wouldn't you put your person that has the most experience, the veteran driver into that position? I know it's not an easy task. I know it's probably not one he wants to go through again. Now that the team's running well and coming around, they qualified good today and ran well last weekend, that's a lot of relief off everyone's shoulders on the 19 car just because you don't know how long you can run and not run competitively before you start pointing fingers at people on the team. I think Jeremy and all the guys have held together strong to this point and now they're to a point where they can start making headway and their confidence in each other is going to start building. Instead of pointing fingers in a negative way they're going to start pointing fingers in a positive way. I think that team will start running pretty fast."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

"It was a good lap. It was all we had and obviously we had a fast car. We had a good practice, but it was in the heat of the day. I knew some people had been able to pick up a second or close to that. My teammate put a lap down that couldn't be touched. Scott did a great job, and it's great to have an Evernham front row for a change.

"I guess everybody knows we switched teams and all that stuff. It's been a hard struggle for me, coming back and starting all over again pretty much with not a new group of guys, but it pretty much is. Chris (team director Andrews) has been there and done a great job, but I've never worked with him much. Basically we started a new race team and we've been trying to figure each other out, and that's pretty much been the problem. The way I talk, the way I speak and the way I tell him what the car is doing is probably different than anything he's ever heard before. It's taken a little time to get going here and get the most out of our Dodge Charger. We got Josh Brown (team engineer) back a couple of weeks ago. He understands me about as much as anyone does. It's nothing about not having good stuff. It's just about getting the most out of your racecars. When I say the car is loose or tight, the crew chief or engineers are the ones that have to fix the car. It might be looser than what they think or it might be tighter than what they think. I feel like last weekend was the turning point for our season really. We finally found out what each other were talking about."

"You've seen the Dodge Chargers run a lot better this year than they did last year. A lot of it is the attitude of the car. How you perceive that and how you get it is a different story. You can get it two or three different ways. You can run stiff springs, soft springs, there are all kind of ways you can achieve the same goal. We had to find the right balance. It's no one certain thing. It wasn't a matter of it wasn't comfortable to me. It was a matter of being scary as hell sometimes. We're seeing nowadays that it can be a good racecar and you can screw it up in a heartbeat."

-dodge motorsports

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup