GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Qualified 14th) "I'm not real happy with that, but those were the cards we were dealt. That's racin', I guess." YOU STILL HAVE TO RACE ON THURSDAY, SO UNLESS YOU'RE ON THE FRONT ROW DOES IT...
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Qualified 14th)
"I'm not real happy with that, but those were the cards we were dealt. That's racin', I guess."
YOU STILL HAVE TO RACE ON THURSDAY, SO UNLESS YOU'RE ON THE FRONT ROW DOES IT REALLY MATTER? "It does matter to us. It's kind of unfortunate. I don't know what all went on. It just seems like our season isn't starting out like we need it to."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GOING OUT AFTER THE CAR CAUGHT FIRE? "I knew that there was gonna be some of the fire extinguisher chemical inside the car and it was the worst taste ever in your mouth - that dry chemical going though the car when I took off and for about the first lap. That was the most thing I was worried about making my qualifying laps was that it smelled so bad inside the car with all that chemical in there - under the seat and everywhere where they couldn't get it all out. That was probably the worst time I've ever been in a race car. Other than that, it was kind of a disappointing lap for us. It felt like we were gonna run a 47.90 or maybe a 48-flat at the worst and we ended up 48-twentysomething, so that's not the lap we were looking for. We felt like we'd be able to get in the top 10, but, obviously, that fire and those problems on pit road may have affected how fast of a lap the car did. It may not have, but we certainly have to figure out what happened and what went wrong. Maybe somebody obviously made some kind of mistake for something like that to happen or maybe it was some kind of failure that we don't know about."
HOW MUCH WILL LAST NIGHT HELP FOR THURSDAY? "It will help some. Getting some laps under our belt last night taught us a little bit about our race cars. This car is a little bit different than the Bud Shootout car. I feel just as good about this car as I did the Bud Shootout car, so I'm looking forward to Thursday and getting this qualifying day put behind us."
DOUG RICHERT, Crew Chief - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus
WHAT HAPPENED TO MAKE THE CAR SMOKE ON PIT ROAD? "We've got several oil tank heating probes in there and one of them shorted out and caught on fire. The flames were under there rolling around and then they came in and shot it with the fire extinguisher chemical and the rest we went back to the garage was we wanted to make sure we didn't burn the oil lines or anything stupid. We took the time to go back to the garage and double-check and make sure we don't do something stupid. We tried to take a bad thing and make sure we don't do something any worse than it already was. Hey, it happens."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Qualified 9th)
"That's what we ran in practice yesterday. We figured we'd pick a tenth or two - the wind is blowing harder today. I think the biggest thing is we had too much water temperature. I'm not sure - maybe we missed our tape just a little bit and got hotter today. The thing was running like 265 degrees on water temp and that's where the speed went on the second lap. I'm a little disappointed we missed the tape, but we backed up what we ran yesterday. That will probably put us 10th to 15th."
YOU KNEW THIS WASN'T A POLE CONTENDER. "When we made the decision to bring this car we knew we waved off on a chance for the pole. The car we sat on the front row with at Talladega, we brought it here for the test and it was quite a bit quicker than this car, but it didn't race and drive as good. So with the new format, we said we want to race good and we knew we were locked in on a starting position so let's get a car that really races good and that's what the decision was on this car."
WHAT DO YOU FEEL BEST ABOUT THIS CAR? "The wind is blowing a little bit and the car really bogged down on the backstretch more than it had been and the wind is somewhat responsible. We misjudged our tape on it and got the motor a little bit too hot and that hurt us some. If everything would have gone perfect we would have run a 47.85 and we ran a 48-flat, so we left about 15 hundredths on the table and a lot of that was the weather change."
JOHN ANDRETTI - No. 14 VB/APlus at Sunoco Taurus (Qualified 18th)
"I think the wind is really picking up and the track is slowing down, so I just have to hope that it slows down for those other guys that have us in their bullseye."
WHERE DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO BREATHE EASIER TONIGHT? "Just be in the top four of the guys that aren't in the race. That's all you've got to do. It sounds easy, but some reason those other guys just won't go away. We're gonna know by the time the guy that goes out 20th goes because those are all the bullets that we had to face. Right now it looks like we'll be fifth-fastest of them if everybody we thinks can beat us beats us. Hopefully, the track gets really evil for them and slows them down."
THURSDAY YOU'LL GO HARD NO MATTER WHAT? "I'm only gonna drive hard because I want to start good in the Daytona 500. That's the reason why I want to have to drive hard. I don't want to have to drive like a maniac just to make this race."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 1st)
"This is a really good race car. These guys have been working on this race car since last October. It's been in the wind tunnel a lot and we had a good test back here in January. The engine room has been working night and day in making these engines even better than what we've had before. It's just a great testament to the work that the guys do because the driver's job is to get it in high gear on this day, and I think we've got a really good race car."
IT'S BEEN 12 YEARS SINCE YOU FIRST RAN AT DAYTONA. DOES IT SEEM THAT LONG AND WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN ANOTHER ONE? "It's hard to believe. A lot of good things have happened in those 12 years and one of the good things is being associated with Robert and Doug Yates and their entire organization. Having sponsors like UPS and Coca-Cola and Citi Financial means a lot to us. But it would mean a lot to me - probably as much or more if I could get another Daytona 500 at this time in my career and at this time in our sport. Those have all been great wins and I wouldn't trade anything for them, but if I could get another one next Sunday that would be fantastic."
HOW HAS THIS EVENT CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? "It's changed a lot and the racing has changed a lot in that point and time. It's become so competitive - trying to get yourself positioned in the right place toward the end of that race has become so critical. If you don't get yourself in that top 10, then you're not gonna give yourself a chance. Look around here at what we have here in the infield now. It's just unbelievable what's changed and at the number of fans. The fan support is just incredible, so a lot has changed but all for the better."
HOW ARE YOU FEELING NOW? "That certainly helps things, but I'm still a little bit under the weather. The biggest thing is my voice and the coughing. I'm trying to get rest at night, but I'm doing alright and things like this certainly make that healing process a lot better."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Qualified 46th)
"I don't know. I think we hurt a piston or something like that. We were running a little bit better than we were in practice and the DeWalt guys did their job. It just slowed down and it felt like maybe we hurt a piston."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus (Qualified 8th)
"It's a good lap. It was a different feeling being able to have a shot at the pole. Normally we come here and we're a 10th-place car, but that was a great lap. That puts us fifth overall and that'll give us a great spot for our 150. The car has been showing strength ever since we unloaded it here in January testing and it continues to do so."
HOW BIG IS IT TO START UP FRONT FOR THE 500? "It definitely helps with the 150s, just being in front of the trouble but now there are two pit stop sequences during the 150. But to have a car that puts down a number like that - to be in the 47-second bracket - that's a good car."
THOUGHTS ON THE LAP. "It was a good lap. I expected to challenge a bit more closely, but with the way that the winds and temperatures have picked up today, we may have been slightly off in our calculations, but, overall, it was a great lap and we're excited."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 23rd)
YOU HAVE TO RACE ON THURSDAY ANYWAY, RIGHT? "We didn't come down here to qualify. There are qualifying cars and race cars. Pat and I brought what we thought we could win the 500 with and that's the best piece we've got to win the 500 with. We start where we finish on Thursday."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 10th)
DISAPPOINTING? "Yeah, it is because I really thought we had a great shot at the pole or even somewhere near the front row, but we'll have to come back and get them on Thursday. I'm not sure if the wind is what got us on the back straightaway or not, but we lost around 100 rpm or so, but the car is driving good. We just have to go get them Thursday."
YOU WOULD LOVE TO SEE DJ KEEP THE POLE. "I'd love for him to be on the pole. I think that would be great. That would be a great boost for that team to get started on the right foot this season and that's gonna be a tough time to beat. I think with the wind like it is, a .79 is gonna be pretty good."
HERMIE SADLER - No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus (Qualified 44th)
"We knew we had some problems yesterday. We've been fighting some valve train problems since we've been here and thought we had them corrected, but apparently we didn't. Now we've got to focus on the job at hand and that is to try to get our car to drive good and race good and get it in on Thursday. It's not over yet. We'll keep our heads up and keep working and, hopefully, something good will happen."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts Taurus (Qualified 25th)
"We brought this race car because we think it's gonna be a really good race car. To be honest with you, we didn't really plan on going that fast so we're pretty happy. That's the fastest we've run with this car all winter. It's great to have Scotts on board for the 150s and I think Office Depot will be really happy with how this thing races. It's gonna be a lot of fun."
EVERYTHING GOING ACCORDING TO PLAN SO FAR? "Absolutely. I'm really excited to get into the drafting part of this and see what kind of spot we can earn in the Gatorade 150. Then we'll go onto the race. Hopefully, it'll be a really hot, greasy day and everybody will be sliding all over and this car will run better than most of the other ones. That's what we're working on."
John Andretti, driver of the No. 14 VB/APlus at Sunoco Taurus, qualified for the Daytona 500 as a result of being the fourth-fastest qualifier among those drivers that were outside the top 35 in the point standings. Andretti spoke about making the race shortly after the final car completed it's qualifying run.
JOHN ANDRETTI - No. 14 VB/APlus at Sunoco Taurus
"My first Daytona 500 was way back when and I was in the 14 car and I don't think anybody thought that we'd make the race. I didn't understand the rules, so I qualified everyday I could qualify trying to go faster. I found out I had to start at the back of the 125 and then we raced in. We finished seventh that day and I feel that same weight off my shoulders now. The team did a great job. The fact the 23 went out there and jumped in front of us was nerve-wracking."
SO YOU FEEL LIKE 1000 POUNDS IS OFF OF YOU? "Yeah, absolutely. We've got so many things going on. We've got a show we're doing with Sunoco over in Orlando and VB is gonna be there. You've got all kinds of stuff going on. To us this is like winning the Daytona 500 because we're in and it was such a small window to get into. It's so competitive. No matter what happens to us in the race, I mean we still want to have a good race, but it's gonna take a lot more to get us down. I saw Jeff Gordon and it looked like he was pretty dejected because he was after the pole. So I feel like the other side of it. We're pleased. We're 18th, but we're over the moon."