ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines/HotJobs.com Taurus -- "That wasn't as good as what we ran in practice. I don't know if it's the weather or what, but at this point we thought this Jasper Engines Ford would be a little bit better than that,...
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines/HotJobs.com Taurus --
"That wasn't as good as what we ran in practice. I don't know if it's the weather or what, but at this point we thought this Jasper Engines Ford would be a little bit better than that, but that's what we've got and now we'll go to work on the 125."
WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER? "It's a little warmer than it was this morning, but we'll just wait and see how it pans out here."
HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus --
"It was a good lap for us and it's about as fast as we've run since we've been here. At least we were able to back that up because everybody has worked awfully hard on this Hills Brothers Coffee team. We've got a ways to go, but at least now we can go race in the 125."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus --
"It handled fine. Qualifying here is pretty uneventful compared to how it used to be. I think our car is gonna run OK once we get racing. We're a little disappointed in our speed. We lost a lot from testing somehow, but we'll be alright once we get in the Gatorade 125. We'll get racing with everybody else and that should level the playing field pretty good."
DID YOU GET ANY DRAFTING PRACTICE? "No, we didn't draft at all yet, but I think everything will be fine once we do that. With these big spoilers, restrictor plate and that whicker on the roof, that's a huge equalizer. You can take a car and if you're in the right place at the right time have a shot at getting a good finish or even winning."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus --
"I feel good. Like I've said before, when you're running good you get selfish but I think that will respectable. I'm proud of the guys. You have no idea how hard they've worked. It's unbelievable."
HOW WAS THE LAP? "That's nice, a nice job by the guys. They've done a great job since we've been here on Thursday, but the real effort is back at the shop. You think about two straight months of working on these Daytona cars. My teammate is gonna run well, so, hopefully, that'll be respectable for both of us and we can run good on Thursday."
HAVE YOU PICKED UP FROM TESTING? "We have. Everytime we've gone out the Tide car has gotten a little bit better. This team is a joy to work with and that makes it a lot easier for me."
TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus --
"That's the best we've been testing and practice here. We haven't been that good, but it's not from a lack of effort at all. Everybody in this garage area works hard all winter, but nobody has worked harder than my crew all winter. We've actually bondoed this car seven times, gone to the wind tunnel and tested. They've just worked their guts out and it's a shame it isn't going any faster. This is one race and we'll just try to get through this 125 and qualify through that. The rest of the year we're looking forward to."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus --
"I think that's all we could expect. We haven't been as fast with the Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus as we need to be, but everyone kept working. Frank did a great job and we've done all we can do. That's just what we've got and we'll get ready to race."
WHAT DO YOU CONCENTRATE ON NOW TO ELEVATE THE SPEED? "What we need to do is make sure the car drives well in practice. If it drives well, then we can run well. It's just one big pack of cars. Whoever you're running with is how fast you can run. Missing the big wreck that is gonna probably happen and making sure your car drives well so you don't cause a wreck, I think those are the two most important thing."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus --
"I really feel bad for my guys. They have really worked hard all winter long, just like every other race team and we missed it a little bit. We'll have some hard work ahead of us. Thursday is very critical because in the 125s you have to be in the top 15 and if you're not fortunate to be in there you might go home. That's something we're gonna really work hard on is getting the car to handle. This is the same car we had at Talladega and the same car we finished fifth and we've cut on it. We built two new cars and they weren't as good as this car, so my heart really goes out to my guys at the race shop. They're not gonna give up. We're in good shape for Rockingham and all those other race tracks, but we've just got to get a little bit better for Daytona and Talladega."
ANDY HOUSTON --96-- McDonald's Taurus --
"That was expected from our team. That's about as fast as we've run all weekend. We felt like we could do a little better than that. The car got a little hot at the end of that run, but this says a lot about our team. We've got a lot of new guys and this is my first year in Winston Cup. Hopefully, that will give us a good starting spot in the 125."
HAVE YOU AND RICKY TALKED A LOT THIS PAST MONTH? "It's really a two driver, one team concept that we go for. Both cars are built and speced really close to each other. We feel like we've both got great race cars. Mine drives really good and I feel like it'll race really well in the 125 and, hopefully, the 500. We just work hard to keep everything as even as we can and to take advantage of having two guys out there working hard."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus --
"I'm still pretty optimistic. This is a good running race car in the draft. We ran very well with it at Talladega and we're gonna be pretty good Thursday. This is one of the most comfortable cars I've ever had. The guys did a great job getting it that way and I want to thank all the guys for working hard. It's not the best run we've ever had, but we're satisfied with that. That will give us a good starting position and I'm looking forward to having a good time the rest of the week."
WHAT HAS PAT TRYSON BROUGHT TO THE TEAM? "Team morale. That's the biggest thing I can say. He's really got everybody working together and that's the first time that's happened since I've been at the Wood Brothers and things are working pretty good. With Motorcraft coming on board and giving us a good kick in the butt and getting us going in the right direction, everything is looking good. We're looking forward to a good year in the 21 car."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus --
"I ran around the high side trying to get a lot of temperature in that thing. We've been pretty slow since we've been here, but that race team of mine really pulled a rabbit out of the hat. I know that's not fast, but it is compared to what we've been running in practice. I'm really proud of the whole team."
IS THIS INDICATIVE OF HOW THE TEAM WILL RACE? "I'm not a crazy fan of these rules, but they're gonna really benefit me because they help out the guys with the slow cars. We don't necessarily have the fastest car here this week, so the aero rules are gonna play in our hands, I think. We're gonna go out there and race 'em and, right now, what's left on the table is who out drives who, so we're gonna see what we can do."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus --
"We've run the same speed all day yesterday and all day today and I really don't know what to tell you. We've changed everything on it, we've changed motors. This car, the last time we ran it out here it was in the test in January and we ran a 50-flat pretty easy. Now we can't do anything with it so something has changed and we're gonna have to find out what it is."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus --
"That's about what we thought we could run -- a high .70 or a low .80 -- but these guys have done such a great job. This team has come a long ways since last year and I'm just so proud of them. Ralphs and Red Cell Batteries as our sponsors are just making a great program for us. This is just the start of the season and we'll come into our strength here shortly."
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU GAINED SINCE LAST YEAR? "We've gained quite a bit. We worked hard and went to the wind tunnel an awful lot. The guys have just continued to improve the program and that's what we just need to do is keep improving."
MIKE WALLACE --7-- NationsRent Taurus --
"We need to gain a lot of speed. We just haven't run good the whole time we've been here. I guess we'll have to go get us one of those NationsRent bulldozers and plow our way through the field in those 125s. That's the only way we've got to do it right now, but we've raced our way through the 125s in years past and I'm looking forward to it this year."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO PICK UP A TENTH OR TWO AS A DRIVER? "To be honest with you I don't know what it is. I've sat around frustrated for two days because I don't feel like I have any input in what the car is doing. Our job actually starts on Thursday when you've got to draft and race hard. Until right now it's motor and body and the team. The guys have worked extremely hard, we're just off. We'll continue to work on it and, hopefully, get it in a good race mode."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus --
"That's all I could do. We ran a .50 in practice and I sure thought we could do it again, but we went to a .76. I said yesterday if I can get to .70 or below I'd be happy and that's a .76, so that's pretty close."
DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT THURSDAY? "Yeah, I feel comfortable with that. I think we'll be fine. We'll get a good look at the Bud Shootout tomorrow and see how it goes."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Roush Racing Taurus --
"This is a team that's come together over the off season and we're really excited about things. As far as things go on the race track, we're gonna be looking better on that side of it. We've got to prepare for the 125s, but we knew we were a little bit behind by ourselves."
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE HERE AT DAYTONA COMPARED TO OTHER TRACKS IN A CUP CAR? "In a Winston Cup car it's completely different. The truck series ran here last year and we had a good finish with that truck, so, hopefully, we've got one position to improve on with that deal with the Winston Cup car."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus --
"I guess we got spoiled last year. Really, it was a very easy Speedweeks, at least going into qualifying. These guys have really worked hard at the shop. Everybody on the Texaco Havoline Taurus put in a tremendous effort and we just came up short. I'm really pleased even though it might sound slow. We've been struggling to get under a 50-flat the whole time. We know we're gonna race good. We've been out in the Bud Shootout car and it's real racey, so we're just having to suffer through this qualifying effort a little bit, but we'll be there on race day."
YOU THOUGHT THE DODGES WOULD BE WELL OUT OF THE BOX, BUT ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THIS? "I knew they had to and I just knew they would. Here we are at Daytona and they're up front. I'm not surprised and I don't know anybody that is probably too surprised about it."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus --
"I think we picked up from practice. Our engine guys did a fantastic job of putting another engine in this morning and doing all the little things there. Todd has worked extremely hard on this race car, and all the guys in the fab shop. It's just a tremendous amount of work put forth. It was just a really good effort for a really good race car and, hopefully, that will translate into some victories before the week is out."
DO YOU LIKE THIS PACKAGE? "We'll have to see. I think the fans are gonna like this package. Whether the drivers are gonna like it...but that's what's important is that the fans like it. We just have to adapt to it."
ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THE DODGE PERFORMANCE? "We're not, no. We've said all along that if you give Ray (Evernham) and those type of people that long to build a car, and then they weren't hollering when they were down here running 180 miles an hour or 179 in the test. I told my wife and my dad, I said, 'They're gonna be in good shape when we get back.' If they were seriously that bad off, they would have been hollering and we didn't hear anything from them. They've got a good car. They used the Taurus templates to build it off of and took what was wrong with the Taurus and made it better, so they've got a good race car. That's just smart business on their part. You can't blame anybody -- NASCAR or anybody -- because you had no idea. They've never been out here in competition, so you didn't really know what to expect but they've done their homework. The thing that I see that makes the difference in their cars and all the other cars that I've watched is they've been able to really pin the nose of the car down with a lot of rebound in the front shocks. It's a violent ride, but if you can do that you can really pick up some speed. If you do that with the Fords and, apparently with the Chevrolets too, all it does is pick the back end of the car up into the air and create drag. So, the Dodges have worked that out and that seems to be working to their advantage."