GEOFFREY BODINE --09-- Miccosukee Indian Gaming Taurus (Qualified 2nd) YOU TESTED HERE. HOW DID THAT HELP AND WERE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? "This is great. I said this in a couple other interviews, but I wish I could say as a...
GEOFFREY BODINE --09-- Miccosukee Indian Gaming Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
YOU TESTED HERE. HOW DID THAT HELP AND WERE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?
"This is great. I said this in a couple other interviews, but I wish I could say as a driver it was all me, but it wasn't all me, it was all the team. They've worked really hard as you can tell. We qualified 35th in February and now we're second in July with the same car. They just worked on it. It shows how good Marc Reno is and all the people that are underneath him. They've worked really hard. When we unloaded the car and took it out the first time, we ran a 48.80-something and we knew we had a good car right then. We came here and tested last week and ran OK, but it was nothing special. We didn't really find anything to make the car go faster. We found a few things that slowed it down, but what testing does a lot of times is you are able to eliminate a lot of things you want to try on your race car. You don't have time when you come to race and get ready to qualify. Most of the time you don't have time to try 20 things. You're lucky if you try two things, so in testing we learned a lot of things we didn't need to try -- that didn't work. We learned a few little things that helped a little bit, but nothing big. But we eliminated a lot of things that didn't work. It doesn't sound like that's important, but that's very important because we could have come here and tried it and thought it helped when it might have hurt and we didn't know it before qualifying. But when we unloaded the car, it was great. It was fast and I told everyone that we had a chance at the pole, and we did. We just got beat by a little bit."
WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT MISSING THE RACE IF QUALIFYING HAD BEEN RAINED OUT?
"We knew we were ahead of at least two cars in points and we thought maybe one other car didn't have any provisionals, but we weren't certain how NASCAR was gonna determine the lineup for the Pepsi 400. Sometimes it changes, so we weren't sure and we didn't go ask. We were very glad when they rescheduled qualifying for this morning because we thought whatever happened we were gonna be able to make the race by our time. But with a late draw -- the 35th car to go out -- last night we thought that was a good draw -- that it would cool off and be a better run for us. This morning, we said our good draw turned into a bad draw because we figured it would get warmer and the track would slow down some, but I don't think that happened. I think it was pretty fair for everyone. The track temperature and all that stayed about the same and that didn't bother us today at all. But, yeah, we were uncertain if we were gonna make the race if they didn't have qualifying, so we're glad they decided to have it this morning."
CAN YOU REMEMBER THE LAST TIME YOU SAT ON THE FRONT ROW?
"Where's my brother, Brett. He remembers more about my career than I do. I'm not sure when the last pole was. I'm sorry but I don't remember."
DO YOU THINK NOT BEING A REGULAR WILL HURT TOMORROW NIGHT AS FAR AS DRAFTING PARTNERS?
"I believe it did in Daytona in February and I believe it did in Talladega. Hopefully, these guys have learned that we do have a good car and that I'm not a weapon out there. I keep it going pretty straight most of the time, so, hopefully, that won't be a situation that I have to deal with tomorrow night. Starting up front, it really allows me to change my race strategy. When I started in the back in February I said, 'Well, guys, I'm gonna run back there for a long time' because it's so hard to get through that traffic. You take so many chances and you know there's gonna be a wreck, there is, so you just want to be able to avoid it and be ready for it. So we rode around in the back, missed the wreck, went racing and finished third. Now, starting up front, hopefully, we're gonna be able to stay up front, race up front and not have to worry about missing a wreck. If there is one, hopefully, it'll be behind us. Let's hope there isn't one, but if there is it'll be behind us. Now, my strategy has changed already and we haven't even practiced for the race yet. My strategy is now to try to stay up front -- to race up there all day and I believe we can. This car is definitely capable of doing that."
DO YOU THINK ANYONE WILL DRAFT WITH YOU?
"Call 'em on the PA, get 'em all in here and line 'em up and ask 'em if they'll do that. I don't know. I just don't know and I don't think they could tell you. If we have a good car and it's fast, they'd be crazy not to hook on and let's go racing. But if I'm in the way and I'm a weapon, it would be crazy for them to do that. I don't think anyone can tell you exactly what they're gonna do when the green flag falls. I know I can't, but I'm just hoping that through our performance in the last two restrictor plate races that they realize we're OK, we have a good car and good equipment, and we will get some help if we need it."
PEOPLE HAVE TALKED ABOUT JAMES FINCH, BUT NOT YOU. DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE GETTING THE RESPECT YOU DESERVE?
"Why should it start now? I've never gotten it as far as I'm concerned, so why should it start now? It hasn't changed and that's OK. Actions speak louder than words. I've always believed that and lived by it, so I'll just go out there and do what I can do and, hopefully, it'll be good. That's all I care about. What people think or say, I can't control that."
COULD YOU HAVE WON THE RACE IN FEBRUARY?
"In February, for the last restart, my car was wounded pretty bad. When Sterling hit Gordon, something flew up and I ran over it and it knocked the left-front valance almost back to the left-front tire, so we were wounded. We didn't need anymore laps in that race and that's partly how Elliott (Sadler) got by me. The car just wasn't as fast as it was and I was just fortunate enough to get in behind Elliott and draft back to the line and stay there. But a few more laps and I might have lost some more positions. Now, if we hadn't had that last caution and red flag. If the car hadn't gotten wounded, I thought I had a chance at winning, yeah, I did. The car was extremely fast at the end of the race. I told Marc and Johnny, we tried to adjust it throughout the race. The driver has input, but nothing was working right. I said, 'Look, do something to this car. This is what it's doing. Just do something. Don't even ask me what. Don't tell me what you're doing, just do something.' And they did. They made some adjustments to air pressure and a little wedge and it took off. It was flying. It was a rocket. It was on rails and that's how we got up to where we did. Like I say, I really thought without a yellow or anything like that at the end of the race, I had a chance of winning -- even if Jeff Gordon had stayed up front and Sterling and all those guys. It didn't matter. We had a fast car."