DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 22nd) "That's the fastest we've been. We've gained on it, but we just missed a little something on our qualifying deal, but that wasn't bad. We'll look forward to Sunday. We've got a good race car, so...
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 22nd)
"That's the fastest we've been. We've gained on it, but we just missed a little something on our qualifying deal, but that wasn't bad. We'll look forward to Sunday. We've got a good race car, so hopefully everything will be all right there. It drives good, so maybe we can put that in our favor on Sunday."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"It was kind of hairy at times because the car got sideways a couple of times, but I was just trying to keep it going forward. It's fun to be here at Darlington. It's a really fun race track for me and I just wanted to be able to get a good starting spot for Sunday."
YOU'VE BEEN NIPPED FOR THE POLE THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. "Yeah, I want the clouds to stop right where they are and bake this race track, but it's just another good run for us in qualifying trim. We need to keep working on our race setup and I need to get more experience, but we've been good here. We've had some good experiences in the past and it's just fun to be sitting on top of the pylon right now."
IS THIS THE SAME SETUP AS WHEN YOU WON THE BUSCH POLE HERE TWICE LAST YEAR? "It's actually real close to the same setup we ran with the Busch car. When you hit something it feels like you can hit it anyplace, like you can take any car there and do the same thing with it. I'm just happy to have a good combination for qualifying here."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Hooters Taurus (Qualified 33rd)
"That's the best lap of the day. It's not going to be very good, but we know where we went wrong. We're just a couple of practice sessions behind, but we've had a great week on the sponsorship side on getting Hooters for another race and working on a long-term deal. Now as an owner and a driver, I can focus more on the driving side and just try to get this race team going back in a positive direction. We've been on a downhill slide since the end of last season, but having Mr. Brooks and Hooters Restaurant's, Naturally Fresh and Jackaroo's Sauces coming on board is going to make our program whole again and now we're looking to start building it back up."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Qualified 31st)
"I'm a little disappointed with that, but that's all the gas I could give her. We'll take that and get ready to race."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 18th)
"We're ninth. I was hoping to be up in the top five, I really was, but I ran a .31 in practice and that was a .20 so we picked it up a little bit. I thought the car handled good, maybe just a little bit tight in some spots but it wasn't loose anywhere. We're okay. We'll get the old hot-rod ready to race and then get after it."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Havoline Taurus (Qualified 21st)
"We've been off pace qualifying all year. Last year I think we were like second or third-best qualifying average and this year we're like one of the worst, but we're gaining on it. I think I learned some things this week about these Tauruses that maybe we need to make a few changes on, but this is one of our better runs in quite some time. I think we're gonna race really good because the car doesn't seem to fall off on the tires like some of the other cars do. I guess anytime you qualify mediocre you've got to say something about raceday, but I'm definitely looking forward to it."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 6th)
"We had problems with it getting bound up in practice. When I'd go into the corner, the steering would lock up and we've been fighting that all morning. The guys changed the power steering pump and all the lines and it really paid off. The car turned normal and this is a good race car. It's my favorite one, so I really like coming to Darlington. This is a driver's race track and it's pretty cool to qualify that good after struggling all morning."
WHAT ABOUT FINALLY QUALIFYING WELL? "That's our biggest problem, we qualify so far in the back all the time that we have to race through so much stuff. Hopefully, this will keep up us in the top five or six. Man, so far so good. That was a great lap. I didn't even breathe the whole time through one and two. I held my breath the whole time, I missed the wall by a little bit and it paid off."
IS IT FUN TO QUALIFY HERE? "I don't know if you can really call this place fun or not for qualifying. I mean, you're on the edge of your seat and it is probably a little bit of fun for one lap because it's all you can do. You know the tires are just gonna last for one corner, but that was pretty cool. I don't want to do it again. I thank the Lord I'm in here safe and the car is in one piece. I'm sure I'll have enough stripes on it by the time Sunday is over with, but right now it's in one piece."
WHAT ABOUT THE YOUNG GUYS AT THIS TRACK. SOME THINK THEY WON'T DO WELL. "I don't know, they said that about Kurt Busch last year and he qualified great and ran good the entire race. I don't think this young guy, old guy stuff is gonna play out. Whoever has the best car and has great pit stops and does a good job on Sunday will win the race, no matter how old they are."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 34th)
"That's the same as we practiced, but, unfortunately, everybody else is picking up. It didn't feel like a terrible lap from where I was. I thought I would have picked up some time, but qualifying isn't my strong point here, so we'll just see where we end up and work on the race."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 13th)
"We're excited about it. This place is so much fun to qualify at because it's challenging and it's a driver's race track. You can do a lot of wheel movement and a lot of pedal movement. Obviously, Newman had a great run and we're happy with where we're at. We were on the pole with a .26 (last fall) and it was the easiest lap I ever drove. We just ran a .17 and I worked just as hard as I did all year."
HOW WAS ONE AND TWO FOR YOU? "That's where I made a mistake on our qualifying lap. When I was on the pole it was perfect, but the time was slower, so times have picked up due to downforce and figuring out these tires. I got on the gas too soon in turn one. Normally you get in it in turn two, but you've got to get in it in turn one at Darlington and hold it all the way through. We just got a little loose when I stood on it and got a little bit too tight up off of four, so we just didn't have that fine balance like we had when we were on the pole."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo Taurus (Qualified 14th)
"That's not bad. We kind of had a weird deal. We were the fifth-fastest on the first run out on tires this morning and then we put another set of tires on and we couldn't run at all, so we didn't know what to do with the car. We just kind of made a guess at it and I'm pretty happy with the guess."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 1st)
"It was good. The guys hit it right on the money. It's always about getting the car right and the team has gotten the Tide Ford right for me several times in the last 14 months. Things are just getting better and better. You look at this whole program and the longer we're together the better we seem to get. The great thing about this is that you can never count us out. We're always in the hunt."
DID THAT SURPRISE YOU? "I didn't think we could run in the 28's, but boy they did a good job. The balance was great. I don't think I'm very good at practicing, but we're always able to step it up in qualifying and we did it today. I'm really focussed on the start we've got. We've had two top fives in the first four races and sort of legitimizing ourselves and we're beginning to look like a real contender."
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD A GOOD LAP GOING? "I knew coming off one and two I had a shot. Three and four had been my strength all day, that's not been the problem, and we hit it again today. Again, it goes back to the guys working on this Tide Ford. I can tell them what I need, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna get it. For whatever reason, they keep giving me what I need."