BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger) "We went out fourth and knew we were in store for a long wait. We weren't the fastest yesterday and weren't a threat for the pole. Obviously we're not a threat for the pole today,...
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger)
"We went out fourth and knew we were in store for a long wait. We weren't the fastest yesterday and weren't a threat for the pole. Obviously we're not a threat for the pole today, either, but that was a good pickup from practice. We got through the inspection room and were able to pick it up. Our goals were achieved, so now wherever we end up is where we end up. I think the best we ran yesterday was a high .20 (48.20) It was a good run for us today. We didn't know how much the weather change was going to affect our car. It was relatively good.
The guys tuned on it well and got good power out of it. I think picking up from yesterday is a big plus and hopefully it'll get us a good starting position for Thursday. I hope it will hold up, but that time shouldn't hold up for the pole."
DAVID STREMME (No. 40 Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge Charger)
"We're not really happy with that, but it's just a starting spot for the 150. We knew we didn't have a shot for the pole, but we've got it set up more for race runs than qualifying. I feel pretty good about all the Lone Star guys and how they've got this Dodge running. The wind was a little tricky out there. I didn't see the rpm's I did yesterday, but so many of these teams throw so many things at it for qualifying. I just hammer it down and point it. My real job was start next Wednesday and Thursday.
It's been pretty laid back down here so far. I'm probably a little too relaxed here. I'm ready to get going. I can't wait to race on Thursday."
CASEY MEARS (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
"Either there wasn't enough charge in the battery or we had a problem with the starter. It just wouldn't turn over fast enough to get it fired. It finally caught fire, so we got kinda lucky. We spent all that time messing around with it, and it might have got the engine a little bit too hot. We might have lost a little there, but I'm glad we ended up where we ended up. To run a .30, I couldn't be happier. The wind was the same as yesterday. It affects the car, but not driving wise. I gave myself plenty of room and it worked out good. So far things have been going well, and I'm excited about the season."
REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger)
"At least we didn't slow down, so that's a good thing. The car drove good. It's the best we've been since we got here. We haven't got to do a lot of drafting yet, but we'll have 500 miles to get together next Sunday. We tested here and nothing crazy happened. We tested at Vegas and things went pretty smooth out there, so we're looking forward to getting to some tracks where we can see where we stand with the rest of the field."
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger)
"It seemed like we had some kind of gear failure. That's an area we didn't push very hard. We were pretty conservative. I thought we had a good car. The guys worked hard, and I'm proud of everyone. The guys in the engine shop worked day and night to get us good horsepower. Everybody at Evernham Motorsports has done a good job for us. I'm proud of Valvoline and Stanley coming on board for us.
Qualifying was pretty disappointing for us, but we'll just have to go out and get it the old-fashioned way now and that's race our way in on Thursday. I'm confident in my team, confident in all my guys, and I know Ray Evernham gives everyone the best equipment to put this car in the show. I think we'll be able to do that."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Wells Fargo Financial Dodge Charger)
"We had some kind of trouble in the drive train, but I don't know where it's at. There was smoke inside the car on both laps. I don't know if we had transmission trouble or what. That's all I can figure. It basically ran the same speed both laps, so whatever was doing it was progressively getting worse. You didn't pick up speed on the first lap, but it really bogged you down on the second lap. Today is the day that counts. Yesterday doesn't count. I think if you look at the way we ran yesterday and you look at the 43 and a bunch of these other cars are, we'd be right in the hunt. That's why it's not such a big issue. You know you've got a good car.
You hate it for the guys at the shop and the guys that have worked so hard in the engine room to have something like this happen. Bobby's lap was really good. I'm pleased with that, and I think everybody else is, too. That excites our crowd, and those guys at Evernham engines do a great job and should be excited , too."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
"I'm so happy with this Miller Lite Dodge. It was an awesome run to start off with these guys. I was so nervous I didn't know what it was going to do. I'm ready to get started. That should be a great starting spot for our 150 and then we go race from there. It's been fun to drive this Miller Lite Dodge so far, so thanks Rusty. We've been testing non-stop, so this is good to get some actual timesheets under way that mean something. It's fun driving this car. I think the car will draft good. When we were here testing the final day in January it seemed to show strength and it would maneuver.
That's what you need to race at Daytona. You need a maneuverable car. I finished second here last year with my other team, so if I can bridge some of this information to this team, look out. I hope we can do it. We ran a little bit faster than I thought we would. We're very happy with that. In the Shootout tonight, you have to go with the steady-Eddie guys that have been together for awhile. I'd go with our champion right now, Tony Stewart. My teammate Ryan Newman and some other Dodges have shown strength. I'd say there's a bunch of wild cards."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Kahne will leave Monday afternoon for Washington, D.C. He has been appointed to be a member of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, and there will be a council meeting at the White House on Tuesday morning.
"It was a pretty good lap for our Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger. The guys picked up five or six tenths, and I didn't think we'd be able to do that. All the guys on the team did a great job. The Evernham engines are definitely better than what we had last year. I can't wait to draft tonight in the Budweiser Shootout. That's going to be a lot of fun. We'll see what we have for next Sunday. I think we'll learn a lot tonight."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)
"We'd like to be first obviously, but there are different processes here for qualifying compared to other tracks you go to. I don't think we're dissatisfied. It's a little bit faster than we were yesterday. The most important thing is how it handles. When we tested here it was fine, but it'll be totally different come Wednesday and Thursday. That's about what we expected today speed wise. I'm pretty happy with that Penske/Jasper horsepower. We're not good by ourselves, but we're pretty good in a group of cars and that's good. We've got a fast Alltel Dodge that's got a shot at winning tonight, and I think a lot of other guys know that, too. Hopefully we can do it by ourselves and stay up front. I felt really confident yesterday in practice."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/Dodge Charger)
"Qualifying is over, so now it's time to get down to business and get ready to race. We've done a lot of testing in the offseason, and the team has really been working hard. We'll get ready to race Thursday and see how we stack up for the 500."