Daytona Dodge qualifying notes

STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) “My hat’s off to these guys on the team. They worked really hard. We had a hard day today. We changed a motor this morning. It wasn’t quite as good as we thought. We didn’t get to...

STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) “My hat’s off to these guys on the team. They worked really hard. We had a hard day today. We changed a motor this morning. It wasn’t quite as good as we thought. We didn’t get to make quite as many runs as we wanted to this morning in the practice session. There were a lot of unanswered questions. We went back to a lot of the notes we had done here in testing, and it looked like it paid off. It was a good lap for us. If we hadn’t had so many problems, I felt like we could have been a little quicker, but we’ll take it. It’s a great lap for this team. It’s not in my right shoe (sand), it’s in these guys’ hearts. They worked as hard as I’ve ever seen a group of guys work for the last two months, and it paid off today. “We put a qualifying motor in this morning, and it didn’t run as good for whatever reason. We’re not sure what happened, so we put our practice motor back in and got back down pretty quick. We’re not sure if it was something we did to the car or something with the motor. It wasn’t where it needed to be so the only choice we had was to put the practice motor back in and it paid off. “We struggled to get the motor changed, we struggled to get through tech. It was just a long day. We didn’t even know if we were going to make a lap today, but it was a good lap for us. It was an easy decision to change the engine. We had to go back with what we knew. The only thing we could do was go back to the way we ran fast. Yesterday we ran fast. We never ran as quick this morning. We had a lot of things in that should have made us quicker, and it didn’t. The only choice we had was to go back to where we were yesterday. “This means a lot to me, and it means a lot to this team and it means a lot to Dodge. These guys on our team worked hard to get where we are right now. All the teams are working good. Our new crew chief (Chad Knaus) has absolutely turned this program around. We’re getting along good, better than I ever anticipated this early on, and they’re dedicated. They’re working as hard as I’ve ever seen a group work. “After testing Las Vegas and Rockingham, we were real confident coming here. We thought we could come here and be competitive. After testing, we were pretty good. We went to Talladega and got a little bit better. Yesterday we thought we were in good shape. We made a motor change and slowed down. It concerned us a little bit, but our confidence is probably higher than it’s ever been as far as me as a driver, and this team is probably as pumped as I’ve ever seen a team. “Bill (Elliott) can certainly get it done. He knows how to get around this place, and he knows how to draft. That’s going to help, but a good car also helps a tremendous amount. “It takes a little bit of everything. I know we certainly wouldn’t have been able to come here and be as competitive if we didn’t have some numbers to go by. If we hadn’t gone to the wind tunnel and the Dodge rep said, ‘look, this is the number you’ve got to shoot for.’ He didn’t tell us what we needed to do. He told us this was the number we needed to shoot for. This is what some of the best Dodge cars are. That’s the Dodge one-team concept. We would have gotten that before. We never would have known what kind of numbers we needed to shoot for. The reason this car is sitting in third place right now is a lot of hard work by these guys. They’ve worked two shifts the last two weeks, 12-hour shifts a day. Our car was ready two weeks ago. All they did was finessed and fine-tuned and made sure there was nothing else we could do. These guys worked today before inspection, after inspection to get to this point.”

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T) “Like everybody else is saying, that’s as quick as we’d run. I think the way the wind is blowing it’s helping that. Some picked up a lot. It makes you curious about what they were doing in practice because you certainly don’t want to run like that in practice and then come out and do everything in qualifying. That gets a little bit confusing. Everything we had, we had in in practice. We just came back and basically the weather picked us up. All you care about is what the stopwatch says when you come to Daytona and Talladega. How it drives it really doesn’t matter. Now in the race, we’re going to have to get it handling good. We’ll work on that now. “We thought if we got in the .50s it would be pretty good, but obviously it’s not good enough. It should be safe for the Daytona 500, which is the most important thing obviously. We’ll try to get through the 125s, but I was hoping we’d hurry up and get through this interview. The longer I stand here, the further I fall back. I’m hoping once we stop, I’ll stop running backwards. The car will run fine in the draft I think. We haven’t done any drafting, but that’s no problem. I think we’ll be OK with the Dodges in the draft. Obviously some of them are pretty quick. We’re working to get there.”

BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T) “From where we tested to where we have come today, we’re pleased with the effort. Obviously we wanted all the Petty Enterprises Dodges in the top 20, but we got one there. We will just get ready for the 125s now on Thursday.”

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) “I wish we could have been better, but if you go back to when we started this program in the early part of 2000, if we had said we could come here and qualify in the top 10 we would have been tickled to death. I’m just really proud of this team and all the members of Bill Davis Racing. They’re worked hard for this moment. I think we’ll be good in race trim. We just need to keep the fenders on it and be there at the end of the race. I thought what we ran would have been really good, and it is good, but it’s nothing compared to what Bill Elliott. He picked up eight tenths on his second lap. That’s amazing. Collectively the Dodge teams have worked so hard. We’ve been working for seven or eight month for this. Some of the hard work is showing up now, and we’re proud of that. We’ll see how it goes in the 125s.”

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We wanted to pick up some. We wanted to get in the top 25. I want to congratulate Bill. They did a great job. We just need to get ours a little quicker. He’s just good at these tracks. We’re a pretty close team, so maybe he’ll give me some of his secrets. We’ll make the best out of it. Everybody at Evernham Motorsports is very proud of what we accomplished in a very short time. Congratulations to everybody over there.”

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T) “Buckshot and I ran about the same, and that’s the way we’ve tested all winter. We’ve been pretty close, and the 43 car has been a little faster. That’s OK. We’re just a little bit behind, and we’re trying to catch up. I think we’re like everybody else with our stuff. We just ran out of time to get ready, but we’ll keep struggling at it. We all work hard as a team. All the guys work hard at the shop. The guys back at the fab shop do a great job. This is just one of many races, but it’s an important race.”

STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We learned a little bit about practicing down here. It was a good run for us. Dodge has worked awful hard for us to come out of the box and be this competitive. “You know they (9 team) weren’t sandbagging. They were just looking. Bill has a way of always qualifying good down here, and Ray has a way of always being right there. I figured they were going to be OK. I didn’t know if they were going to be pole potential, but they were pretty good. They stepped it up this morning. We knew they had a shot at it. We figured Ward Burton and Dale Jarrett had a shot at it, but Bill came out on top. I knew they had potential. They worked awful hard. They worked hard developing this thing. “Right off the bat we had motor problems this morning. We put a motor in yesterday evening and we’re not sure why we didn’t run quicker. It showed that it was better on the dyno. I’m not sure if we had a problem or whatever. We had a little problem getting through tech. They rated our springs again this morning. Everything checked out OK. We went through tech and there were questions on the spoiler. We went back and worked on the spoiler a little bit more and were able to get it exactly like they wanted it. We went back through tech again. There were just a lot of little things, nothing major. We went through tech the first time and maybe there was just a little question on, but we went back and there wasn’t any problem. It spooked us a little bit, because we knew we were going to be a little later. “This morning when we got to the garage and there were seven NASCAR inspectors there, we figured we were doing OK yesterday. Our new crew is really good with the bodies. He’s worked on getting us a good car, and everything you do, you do it on the limit. Everything we do, everything Ray does, everything Yates does, everything is right on the edge. You push it as far as you possibly can, and you’ve got to to run with these guys every week. We have a lot of things right on the edge, but 99.9 percent of them got through. You know you’re not going to get through tech the first time.”

- Dodge Motorsport

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett , Chad Knaus
Teams Bill Davis Racing