RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 3rd) "It didn't drive quite as well as we would've liked to have it, but that car's great. Those guys worked hard. We got a fast race car, we just got to work on it just a little bit better just to...
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 3rd)
"It didn't drive quite as well as we would've liked to have it, but that car's great. Those guys worked hard. We got a fast race car, we just got to work on it just a little bit better just to get it to drive just a bit better."
IT LOOKED LIKE STAYING IN LINE WAS THE PLACE TO BE. "The outside line, for some reason today, didn't work. It was working in practice for everybody, and anybody that went out there went backwards. I think that kept the race kind of calm, because anybody that went out there went backward, and everybody said, 'I can't afford to get out there,' so nobody did. I think a lot of people stayed in line. It was real important for a lot of these guys to get in this race, that transfer spot, I darn sure didn't want to get back there. I had a couple of runs at the 30 car, and wasn't the time to make a run."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY? "I learned that the outside line didn't work at all, and the wind kind of got these cars moving around a little bit today, but it was a lot calmer race than I expected, I think, mainly, because the outside groove did not work. Anybody that got out there went backwards and it tended to keep everybody single file."
IS YOUR CONFIDENCE SKY HIGH? THIS TEAM HASN'T HAD A HICCUP ALL WEEK. "It's been good. This whole race, the whole goal is to come in and try to win the Daytona 500. We qualified fifth on overall speed and run third today in the 125, right there in the thick of things, and just sort of sneaking up on it, and don't want to peak to early, and getting ready for Sunday. We've got a good race car."
YOU GOT TO RUN AROUND UP FRONT. DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM THAT? "We've been chasing a little bit of handling problems and we gained on it a lot. We're pretty good. Nobody was really racy out there on the outside. Our goal was to stay in line. We don't need to try and be a superstar and go back to 20th, and that's what it looked like today. If you made a move, everybody was in line enough, that if you made a move and it didn't work, you went to the back, and we couldn't afford that."
LEARN ANYTHING FOR THE 500? "Yeah, we learned a little bit. We got a good race car, I know that, got a fast race car. Work on the handling just a little bit, we weren't real good the other day, but each day we get a little bit better with this race car. Fast, but we got to keep it under me all day."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Finished 5th)
"We just didn't have a fast car. I think we can make it better after today. I think I know how to make the car based on the way it drove. Just make it a little better, they'll know we're there."
LOOKING FORWARD TO SUNDAY? "It's going to be a long race. Handling's going to matter. The car's out there lost the handle pretty good, and being able to get the car to handle well is really important. We handled pretty good, we need to make it better. Start with that, and this car drives no where good as that other car. They were going to know we were real with that other car."
HAPPY WITH THE RUN? "Yeah, I'm really happy with that. We fought a lot of adversity this week, and to get a top-five, that's kick-ass. I mean, that's a great effort. Great stop on pit road. This team has been doing a lot the last two weeks. We had a new right-front tire changer that had emergency surgery, so, luckily, we have really good people in our shop, and he went in there and did a great job today. Pit road was big for us. We made up a lot of spots."
WOULD YOU CHANGE ANYTHING ON THE CAR FOR AUNDAY? "We still need some speed. But, make that thing handle and try to find a little more speed, and we'll be fine."
YOU STARTED TOWARD THE BACK AND MOVED UP. "There were a couple of keys in the race. A great pit stop got us some positions, and there at the end, Sterling stuck in there with me, went everywhere I went, and that was a big deal. It was real close to a wreck on the back straightaway, a bunch of people got crossed up, I could stay in the gas, and got under them. That was probably the biggest point in the week for us."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 6th)
"We got to where I couldn't keep the car down. I couldn't keep it down through the tri-oval and that's how I got shuffled out to start with. Then I couldn't keep it down in the corners and off the corner I just had to find a spot until we fixed it. Fortunately, I didn't wreck it or somebody else. We made as many big adjustments as you can make on a 10-second pit stop, but we made it better and I was able to work with Jeff Burton and Sterling and we were able to make up some ground. That gives us a little hope."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SUNDAY? "You can make some passes, but you know you're taking a chance. The only way you can take a chance is to the inside and they're gonna protect that. I thought the other night the outside groove was showing that you might be able to go there, but it certainly wasn't showing that today. Towards the end of the run, if the guys get bottled up on the inside you can go to the outside and make a pass or two, but it's gonna be tough. It's gonna be tough to pass these Chevrolets. I didn't see them get passed all day until they jumped out of line and started trying to make things happen. We were kind of following along, but we'll work and see if we can get better. It's our job to do that. They've worked hard to get their cars where they are and now we've got to work hard."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Finished 14th)
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO MAKE YOUR FIRST DAYTONA 500? "I'm really excited. The car drafts up fairly decent. We just need to get a little bit better. I learned a lot drafting out there with these guys and I'm just excited to be able to start the 500."
DID YOU STAY IN LINE? "No, I didn't. I should have stayed in line because if I would have, I would have been fourth. I tried to make a move there at the end to get a little bit better and it cost me some spots. I was getting greedy."
YOU WERE CONCERNED AT THE TEST. DO YOU FEEL SOME RELIEF NOW? "The relief was when the 17 gave us one of their cars to bring back. I really appreciate their help and effort by giving us a car. That's what got us into the 500."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 16th)
THAT WAS A BIG FIGHT FOR THE TRANSFER SPOT. "Yeah, it was a disappointing race for us. I made a mistake early and got in the back of Steve Park. I feel bad about that. I had a run on him and I thought I was gonna get turned under him and didn't, but then, after that, with this yellow line and out of bounds thing, nobody wants to pull out of line and take a chance. If you do, nobody wants to go with you. If you drive underneath them, they drive you over the yellow line and cut you off. I mean, I was three feet under Spencer and he drove me over the yellow line. It was either stay in the gas and cause a big wreck or let off and not pass anybody, so I guess they don't want you passing anybody."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 9th)
"We had a really good race car, but I just wanted to make it through the day. Everybody used their head and everybody did some good, clean driving. It was a good job. We had a good car and it passed well. The handling on it was neutral, so we think we've got something to build on for Sunday."
WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY? "We learned what we needed to do to get our car working a little bit better in the middle groove, so we'll work on that a little bit. At least we made it the whole run. The guys had a great pit stop. I messed up a little bit on pit road, but they had a great pit stop. We'll take that finish right there."
DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 21st)
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE PIT STOP? "I don't actually know if it ran out of fuel or if I just stalled it when I took off. All I know is it just quit running as I was trying to take off. Before that the car was fair. It would run along the outside pretty good, but we were way too aggressive on some of the shocks and springs. It was just all over the place anywhere but on the top of the race track, so we were just seeing what we could get and it was nothing."
TODD BODINE - No. 54 Army National Guard Taurus (Finished 3rd)
"That's great. I tell you who I'm happy for - all the guys back at the shop - the guys here too - but we came down here and tested and had two cars that were just terrible. We went home and the fab shop worked seven days a week, 14 hours a day and built this car. It didn't qualify that well, but we knew it was gonna run well in the draft and it did."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 24th)
"A lot of events led to the final outcome. The only real thing that we need to explain is that I'm sorry for making the mistake that I had made. And, I hope that all of the people on pit road are safe, and that everybody that deserved to be in the show are in the show. So, I'm sorry to have that outcome."