Daytona 500: Rusty Wallace - Dodge interview

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON PROGRESS WITH YOUR BACKUP CAR "The car is good. I'm pretty impressed. We're taking it one step at a time. I stopped practice a little early. We'll run the session tomorrow and it'll give...

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON PROGRESS WITH YOUR BACKUP CAR "The car is good. I'm pretty impressed. We're taking it one step at a time. I stopped practice a little early. We'll run the session tomorrow and it'll give us time to sit down and think about the changes we want to make between now and then. We've got a left-front fender rub. We've got to reshape the left front fender, put a windshield in it and things like that. I feel good about Sunday. I really think we're going to have a great day. This Charger doesn't have as much straightaway speed as the one we wrecked yesterday, but it runs better through the corners. It's going to be all about handling. I don't think the fastest car is going to win. It's going to be the best handling car."

DID THE DEI CARS SURPRISE YOU IN THE DUELS AND WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRAFT WITH SUNDAY? "They proved they could work their way to the front. I'd like to draft with the whole field, anybody who wants to stay patient, but you can't really do that. The cars are slipping and sliding so much you can't expect the cars to stay planted on you. During my whole career, and it's a little ironic I guess, but Mark Martin has been the best doing that with me. Mark and I haven't talked about this being our last 500, but I'm sure we will."

SOME PEOPLE THINK YOU'LL BE BACK HERE FOR THE 2006 DAYTONA 500. ARE THEY RIGHT? "They're wrong. I got in trouble with my wife waffling around the other day. I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm going to stay on the path."

WAS THAT REALLY THE HARDEST HIT YOU'VE EVER HAD YESTERDAY? "It was 41 Gs. The one that knocked me in the air was like getting hit in the butt with a rubber ball. It shoved up underneath me and lifted me up. That first head-on hit with Harvick is the one that about knocked my lights out. That was the very hardest of my life. I've never in my life hit head-on, never. You flip and crash, but I've never hit head-on."

COMMENT ON MOVING TO THE REAR OF THE FIELD FOR THE START OF THE 500 "I don't think that's going to mean anything. It's so easy to get to the front with these restrictor-plate cars. I told my guys that we've just got to have a good handling car. What I learned in the Shootout was that I had a tight car. Then we ran the other car in the 150 and made a lot of changes and it was better. It still wasn't enough. Everything we learned in the 150 we put more yet in this car and I went out this morning and it felt great. We ran 28 laps and it felt real good. Now we're going to go a little bit further yet and try to get more downforce on the front end. I'm going for the handling instead of the speed right now."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Mark Martin