CASEY MEARS (No. 19 FujiFilm Braun Dodge Intrepid) - First Pole for Dodge NOTE: Mears won the pole for Saturday's Tropicana Twister 300 NASCAR Busch Series race with a lap of 181.757 mph, and that was the first pole ever for Dodge in the ...
CASEY MEARS (No. 19 FujiFilm Braun Dodge Intrepid) - First Pole for Dodge NOTE: Mears won the pole for Saturday's Tropicana Twister 300 NASCAR Busch Series race with a lap of 181.757 mph, and that was the first pole ever for Dodge in the series.
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid) - Qualified 22nd
"I'm not real happy with it. I ran a 29.73 and ran a 29.85 in practice, so we picked up a little bit, but I thought we could run faster. The track is going to get cooler and cooler because of the late start, so that early qualifying spot isn't going to help us at all. The track is in good shape. It's a little rough going into turn one, and a little rough going into turn three. Other than that, it's pretty good. I think you're going to be able to pass in the top lane pretty good. I think that second groove is going to come in with no problem. I like this black car we've got here this week. I think every racecar should be black."
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid) - Qualified 19th
"The car drove good in qualifying, but it felt like it might have lost about a hundred rpm. I think the car will be good in the race Sunday. This is car No. 115, and we rebuilt it after Dover. This track is a little different than some of the other mile and a half tracks. You ain't out of the gas too much here. I think it'll have another groove Sunday, and it feels like it's going to have some grip. I think we'll have a good race Sunday."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) - Qualified 14th
"This is a good race car, no doubt. I think we'll be really good in race trim. I'm a little disappointed. We're known for qualifying, and then we don't qualify good. Me knowing we've got a good race car, and Matt (crew chief Borland) and the guys knowing we've got a good race car makes me look forward to the race."
"We put a new skin on the car and rewired it. It should be pretty good for this track because it's a lot like Michigan. We were battling for the win at Michigan, and it was a brand new car at Dover when we won there earlier this year. You try to bring the car with the most downforce, and this has been a good car for us. It didn't melt down the metal at Michigan, but it melted down the fiberglass and the wiring and stuff like that, so we had to rebuild it a little bit. I've always liked this track. We've got a good history here. We led the most laps last year. Harvick wasn't the guy to beat last year. He spun out and used some strategy to get track position and won the race. Maybe he'll get lucky again. You create your own luck with good people, a good team and good teamwork. You also have to have good pit strategy and a good car and a good driver. I think we've got all that."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid) - Qualified fifth
"I real proud of these guys. They've been working really hard on this Dodge. We're getting better every week. It makes it a pleasure to drive. Bill (teammate Elliott) is up there in the top five somewhere, and I feel real good about that. We're going to have a good car for Sunday. This team really made a turn for the better three or four weeks ago. It seems like we keep getting better every week. I just can't say enough about all these guys on this team. Everybody is working hard."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid) - Qualified 10th
"It was a pretty good day for the Havoline Dodge. We were 18th in practice. I think we'll end up in the top 10, and that was a good effort by all these guys. We worked a lot on the race package in practice, and it looks promising for Sunday. I like this track. We ran well here in the Busch car. Fuel mileage beat us here last year. We've got one of my favorite cars here, and a lot of guys who have been around for a long time haven't raced at this track for 20 years, so that's encouraging."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid) - Qualified third
"We've just got to keep working on this car. This business changes week in and week out. The track is real smooth. It's a little bit rough getting into turn one. It's still a nice race track. Once we run on it a little more and get multiple grooves in it, I think it'll get even better. It seems like since last year we missed a little bit with the rule changes. I think we're getting better each and every week. I wasn't very pleased with practice today, and Mike (crew chief Ford) and the guys threw everything they could at it and it paid off."
"It (Chicagoland Speedway) seems to suit my driving style if you look at it from that standpoint. Jeff (Gordon) said he tried to drive it in as far as I did, and I said I didn't drive it in as far as Tony Stewart did. It's been a good race track for me. I've enjoyed racing here the last couple of years. I'm looking forward to Sunday. I qualified third here last year, and we needed to step it up a little bit. I thought we had a pretty good lap going. Practice didn't go well for us, and we made quite a few changes to the car right before qualifying. The little rain shower probably picked the speeds up."
"It seems like here, Vegas, Kansas City, Indy, Michigan are the kind of race tracks I like. Mike Ford has been with me since 2000. He and I and some other guys on the team relate to these places. It kind of fits my style real well. It's a nice rolling, speed type. You've got to roll through the corners fast and hard, and that's the kind of race tracks I like."
"You have a particular way you like the racecar to be. Whether it's loose in the corner, tight in the corner, halfway in the middle. What Jeremy likes isn't what I like in the racecar. What Rusty likes and what Ryan likes are two different things, and I'm sure what Jimmie likes and what Jeff likes are two different things. Everybody's got their own little style of the way they get down in the corners and how they want the car to be. I think certain race tracks go with certain people. Drivers adapt to race tracks and maybe change their driving style or the way they set up the car to adapt to the race track, but I still think there are others you just fall in to. I think I could go to Darlington and get a pickup truck around Darlington. It's one of those race tracks I kinda like. Then I go to Bristol, and I kind of struggle a little bit. If you hit everything right, I can get there. It's like, you've got to have everything perfect. At some of the race tracks, you can have it less than perfect and be pretty decent."
"The team chemistry, all the guys on the 19 car have kinda of come together. Kenny Francis who went over there, who was my car boss last year is really a good guy. I think the world of Kenny. He went over to be crew chief for Jeremy, and I think they're coming together. I think the first part of the season with the body change and things we went through, we kinda moved some people around, and I think we're starting to get on track. You run into those little bumps in the race. You make a change on the car and don't get the particular feel you want. You go down the timesheet and everything is separated by hundredths and thousandths. It don't take much to be off anymore. If you get that chemistry going and be pumped up when you walk in the gate and know you've got a good race car, that's half the battle."
CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid) - Qualified fourth, best rookie
"We taped up the front nose and did a couple of other things hoping it was going to be a little tight for us, and it just screwed us up too much. I got loose and got high on the first lap. On the second lap, it was just a little bit too loose. What a day for us. To sit on the Busch pole and be fourth fastest in the Cup car. That's my best qualifying effort in Winston Cup. Jimmy Elledge (crew chief) and I are really starting to click, and the team is starting to click. I think you're going to start seeing more out of us now. We've been learning a lot. This is the biggest learning curve I've ever had. I'm happy to be here and finally do a good job and get something going. We had the car to possibly win the pole, and we were just a little bit off, but it's been a great effort all weekend."