DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Qualified: 4th Was your qualifying lap as good as you expected? "It doesn't have anything to do with driver here, it has everything to do with the work that the...
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Qualified: 4th
Was your qualifying lap as good as you expected? "It doesn't have anything to do with driver here, it has everything to do with the work that the guys do at the shop and all the preparation they do to get here. They did a phenomenal job and that lap was a lot faster than we ran yesterday. They pulled out all the stops, which you have to do here. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and all my guys have done a great job and Toyota's done a great job bringing good horsepower -- hopefully we'll get better as we progress."
How much better do you feel about where you stand than you did a year ago? "I feel really good and I felt really good when we came in the pit gate. It's just a different mentality around our shop and a different feel than what we had in the past. All that is a part of the people that we have and the work ethic that they have. Being affiliated with Toyota and the fact that they haven't given up on us -- I'm a firm believer in Toyota and the way they do things. Sometimes it takes us a little while to get there, but when we get there we reap the rewards and it only gets better."
What will it feel like to be able to treat the 'Duel' as practice for the Daytona 500? "That would mean a lot to be able to start the qualifying race and know that no matter what happens, I will be in the Daytona 500 -- that allows me to feel like the rest of the guys feel. That way you can concentrate on the race and you don't have to take chances that you normally wouldn't."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing Qualified: 5th
How happy are you with the performance of your race car? "Our CAT cars have been fast the whole time down here. Last night's car was really good and we knew this one was good. I'm looking forward to next week's races here - hopefully we can stay near the front. We thought we had a chance at the pole. Tommy Baldwin (crew chief) and the guys brought a great car and a really good engine - hopefully it will pay off next Sunday. We're having fun no matter what. It's a lot nicer to have something that's a little speedy. A lot more peace-of-mind knowing you can race up front during the races."
Are you pleased with the improved performance of Toyota across the board? "All of us have definitely elevated our performance, no doubt. I think it showed last night when we ran well. Tony's (Stewart) car ran well and Denny (Hamlin) did until it got injured a little bit. The Toyotas will be looking for big things all year."
How have your goals changed in your second season with the Camry? "Your goals change when you feel like you have equipment that you can race up front with - that's huge. You have to take advantage of that when you can. It's up and down for a lot of teams. Sometimes teams have an edge for awhile - sometimes a short while -- sometimes a long while. If you do have an edge at any time - you need to take advantage of it. It's good for everybody. It gives everybody more confidence knowing they can come down here and compete at the front. That's a big thing."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Qualified: 8th
How much did the wind affect your qualifying run? "I definitely felt like we had a pretty big wind gust down the backstretch. It's just going to depend on your draw - it's going to vary probably a tenth or so. For the most part we backed up what we had in practice and we're pretty happy with that."
How would you rate the team's transition to Toyota so far? "It's been relatively smooth so far. Everything has driven great - we've had great horsepower. I feel like we are in a better position now than we would have been if we came back here with Chevrolets. We all know that Toyota has a lot development behind their stuff. We wanted to be the lead team for those guys. Hopefully we're going to be in that role through the whole season."
TONY STEWART, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Qualified: 12th
Do you think you could've gotten more out of your qualifying lap? "Our qualifying lap was good, just surprised by the speed of it. I thought we'd run faster than that. It is what it is. I don't know why we didn't pick up more than that. We ran about what we've been running."
Did the wind affect your lap? "It's the same for everybody. Unless it's gusting up and down and changing speeds, it's not a big deal. If the wind is 12 miles per hour during the whole session, it's the same for every car."
Do you think you got everything out of the car during your qualifying run? "Our number one goal this season is to not beat ourselves and we beat ourselves (with that run). We worked so hard and brought a good car down here. We probably had a shot at the pole and lost an ignition box going down the backstretch. By the time I switched over, the RPMs had already dropped down to 7,500. We crossed the start-finish line, taking the wh ite, turning like 8,000 when we should have been turning more. We are just going to have to do our best for Thursday and try to make car as good as we can."
JACQUES VILLENEUVE, No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing Qualified: 17th
Were you satisfied with your qualifying effort? "We were hoping to be quicker. With the wind, the balance changed and I think we scrubbed off a little bit of speed on that quick lap. We are going to need to race our way in during the qualifying races. We thought we would be quicker here today."
How difficult is it to be forced to qualify for the race? "When you have to qualify on time, it makes it difficult because even if you're quick , but not quick enough you might have a bad qualifying race and not make the show. That's a little bit tough."
Where does the Daytona 500 fit into the great races in which you've been a competitor? "It is one of the stand alone races, like the Indy 500 or 24 Hours of LeMans. It is one of the special races. A win here is one you'd want on your resume. A lot depends on this race."
How comfortable are you coming into this season with a full year of experience? "We are definitely feeling a lot more comfortable with a full year under our belt, especially with everything we went through. Everybody at Red Bull Racing has worked hard and deserve to be in the Daytona 500. That's what we are going to try to do on Thursday. We'll just have to go race our way in. I would rather have had a lot more comfortable days not thinking about it."
Was the wind a big factor during your qualifying lap? "Wind can be a factor, bu t it's the same for everybody. You can't complain about that. The car drives well, which is going to be good for the Duels. It's just lacking a little bit of speed." DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Qualified: 21st
How was your car's speed and handling during your qualifying run? "This car rode good, we just lacked a little bit of the speed we needed. It's amazing to think that at the end of five miles of qualifying, these times are going to be this close. It's going to be decided by hundredths -- maybe even thousandths -- of a second. We are just on the wrong side of those hundredths of a second. We'll have to race ourselves in on Thursday."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Qualified: 31st
Did the wind affect your qualifying run? "It didn't go the way we expected, but what are you going to do? We'll go race the 150s and go from there. The wind didn't seem to affect the No. 11 (Hamlin) much, so I don't know why it affected us. Compared to the No. 11, we have pretty much the same stuff."
J.J. YELEY, No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry, Hall of Fame Racing Qualified: 51st
What happened on your qualifying lap? "Obviously, we're a little bit disappointed with the way we qualified. This is not the fastest car we had when we tested. This car has a little more down force and we figured it would race better. We knew that we weren't really going to have a shot at the pole, but this car was considerably slower than when we made a mock qualifying run. So, we're still a little baffled by the lack of speed, but, like I said, this car has a little more down force and should race better. We're going to go into the 150s and make sure the car drives well - that's the most important thing. There are still some big concerns about the tires. The cars handle a lot different during the day than they do during the night -- especially last night during the 'Shootout'. So, having a car that is going to be stable, that is going to make long runs and not hurt the tires is going to be key."
-credit: toyota motorsports