MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Tools Taurus (Qualified 37th) "I was really pleased with our Smirnoff Ice car when we unloaded it today. It had pretty decent speed and we built it more to race than we built it to qualify, so I think Robbie and all...
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Tools Taurus (Qualified 37th)
"I was really pleased with our Smirnoff Ice car when we unloaded it today. It had pretty decent speed and we built it more to race than we built it to qualify, so I think Robbie and all the guys did a good job of building a car that's gonna be really competitive here Saturday night. We knew it would probably struggle a little bit qualifying, but I think it will be great when they drop the green on Saturday."
HOW BIG IS HANDLING HERE? "It's usually hard to get your car to turn here and usually it's real slick this time of year when it's this hot out - even at night. So we tried to really focus on building something a little more balanced where we keep the front end turning the whole time. Hopefully, that will pan out for us."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 Roush Racing Taurus (Qualified 27th)
"I'm real pleased with our effort. The guys on this Coca-Cola C2 car have really worked hard. I'm proud to be part of the Coca-Cola team down here with this new C2 car. That will get us a decent starting spot. We worked really hard the last few weeks on working on this car to make it drive well. Don't worry so much about how fast it is in qualifying, make it so it drives well. This race is about handling and we've done everything we know to do to come here and make the car handle well and, hopefully, we've done the right thing."
HOW DO YOU MENTALLY GET READY FOR THIS RACE? "You don't watch past races (laughing). These restrictor plate races are pretty wild to be part of, although the race here is much more like a normal race. Handling is so important. We don't see as much three-wide racing because the race track doesn't allow you when it gets hot and slick. So you really approach this race more like you would any other race that we go to throughout the year because handling is so important everywhere else and it also is here, too. When we go to Talladega it's a totally different ballgame, but as you saw in February the cars that handled well ran in the front and that will be magnified even more on Saturday night."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 4th)
"I'm really happy with that and the credit goes to these guys - Mike Ford and his guys here. They did a really good job of tuning everything up and getting the most out of this car. I'm really happy with that and I think we've got a good race car for Saturday night and that's the main thing. Hopefully, it's a car I can drive and be aggressive with in the draft."
WHAT ABOUT GETTING READY MENTALLY FOR THIS RACE? "I don't know that you ever get ready for it. I think you just set your mind that it's gonna be a dogfight all night and you just climb in and go after it and make the most of it that you can. We've been very fortunate over the years to have a lot of success at these restrictor plate races. The racing has changed, but you still have to go at it the same way and you've got to position yourself right for the last 50 miles and that's what we'll try to do Saturday night."
BIFFLE RODE FUEL MILEAGE TO THE WIN LAST YEAR. HAVE YOU DISCUSSED THAT WITH MIKE? "Not really. We're trying to get through this part to get a good qualifying spot and see what we can do tomorrow in practice, but Mike is really good at running the pits and running the race on race day. He does a good job in making those calls, so I'm very confident in what he'll do there. With the Fords, I don't know if fuel mileage is our best weapon but if it comes down to that, hopefully, we can use that. The main thing is we want to be able to run fast and keep up. They're still the guys to beat - Michael and Dale, Jr. They're the guys that you shoot for and, obviously, Jeff Gordon has won his share of these things, too. So those three guys will be guys that we'll look at, but, hopefully, we can take this UPS Ford in there and be a part of it."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 22nd)
A DRIVER DOESN'T DO A WHOLE LOT HERE FOR QUALIFYING DOES HE? "He can hope and sometimes wish. I'm real impressed by this race team. It's such an honor to work with these guys and I just love 'em. We're gonna have us a good race car on Saturday night. That's what we're here to do - to go racing."
HAVE YOU GUYS WORKED MORE ON RACE SETUP? "We don't have the slipperiest race car here. We have huge horsepower and when you get 42 other race cars out there, there's not a super premium on having a slippery race car. We do a good job of setting these cars up to handle. This team will do a good job on pit road and I'll try to do a good job on the race track with it and if we do, we'll be a top five car like we were at Talladega."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Keep It Genuine/Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"We're actually a little bit quicker than practice, so we're really happy. They had it cranked up here tonight. At Talladega we sat on the pole there, so I knew we could be a factor. We were seventh or eighth in practice and we ran good. I'm a little disappointed we didn't get the pole, but heck, with the way our season has gone so far this is the next best thing."
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE WITH THE RESTRICTOR PLATE PROGRAM? "It's just that all these guys work really hard. We got some of the guys who came over from DEI and that probably didn't hurt none. Ben Leslie is really smart on these restrictor plate engines and that new Roush-Yates motor combination, you can't go too wrong when you have that motor under the hood."
A GOOD LAP? "Yeah, it was pretty uneventful. I mean, the thing went. When you put the gas pedal down it took off and ran. We were real fast off the truck and this is the same car we sat on the poll with at Talladega, so we knew it was gonna be a factor to come here to Daytona and run really well."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT PRACTICING AT THE SAME TIME OF DAY YOU'RE GOING TO RACE? "That would be the smart thing to do - to test and practice under the conditions you're gonna be racing under. We're gonna come out here tomorrow and a lot of it is gonna be under the daylight. This track gets very slippery in the daylight and gains a lot of grip at night. It always has. It's kind of like you do at Charlotte. You've got to work through the daylight. If the car is slipping and sliding a little bit, don't hit the panic button because it's probably gonna be OK at night. You just have to be real careful and think ahead."
WHAT DO YOU LEARN FROM PRACTICE IN THE DAY? "You can work on some of your setups. You need the car to pull up good. It needs to be able to pull up in the draft and pull up to the cars in front of you. You know that's a given. That doesn't make any difference whether it's daylight or in the dark. Sometimes when you do the things it takes to pull up in the draft it doesn't drive so well, so you're probably just gonna have to get it to run fast and pull up and the heck with the way it drives. It'll be OK at night."
IS THIS A BOOST? "It definitely helps. We got the pole at Talladega and we've come here and that will be somewhere in the top five. We've got the new Coca-Cola C2 colors and it's kind of exciting. We're looking forward to an exciting night on Saturday."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 9th)
"We'll be fine. We kind of knew the car wouldn't run fast by itself. What we've done is built a lot of downforce into it. It'll be good for Saturday and that's all that matters to us. We want to be good Saturday night, so we think we're gonna have a great race car. It's the same chassis I had here for the Daytona 500, we just did a little work on the nose and tail of it. Todd knows what's going on with these speedways, so we'll be fine come Saturday night."
BALANCE IS THE KEY? "Yeah, we've got such a great package. We're gonna start with everything just like we had here in February and adjust to the track conditions here in July. Hopefully, we'll hit it right. We'll see what happens. We've got our fingers crossed."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Qualified 10th)
"We thought we had a chance at the pole. I'm not sure why we didn't pick up. We pretty much went the same speed as we did in practice and I'm not sure what the deal is with why that happened. We think it's possibly warmed up since Jeff Gordon went or it's gotten more humid and the air isn't quite as good. Still, it's not two-tenths worth so we're off a little bit. We'll get it going and get it driving good in the race."