RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) "The track is really smooth. I think they've done a good job. I don't think anyone can say it's a great job until we get to see some racing. I think the potential is there for a lot of good racing, ...
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid)
"The track is really smooth. I think they've done a good job. I don't think anyone can say it's a great job until we get to see some racing. I think the potential is there for a lot of good racing, especially for a track that has fresh pavement. That's usually a one-groove track no matter where you go. It looks like they've done their homework and applied a lot of thought. I'm real happy with them putting up the safety barriers here before our first race back. That means a lot to me as a driver.
"We're going quite a bit faster than last year, probably five or six seconds. I think it's going to be good. Until we get in race situations, we don't know if it's going to be great.
"In a way I'm ready to wrap up the season. Only the strong survive, so if we could keep going I think we could do well. It matters where we end up, money and bragging rights. We finished sixth here last year. We weren't great. We got a lap down and got it back and we were pretty decent. The track is more conducive to my driving style now."
WHAT IS YOUR DRIVING STYLE?
"Fast. Fast and smooth. You don't have to be aggressive as long as you're fast and smooth."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid)
"The track is great. I don't know if you can race on it or not, but we'll see. It's a lot faster. It's nice. They did a great job on it. Until we get in the race we really won't know what to expect. We ran about 50 laps on a set of tires, so we'll check more for tire wear this afternoon. We'll have a little conference and figure out what we need to do."
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid)
"It's a nice racetrack, and it's got a lot of grip to it, but it's not as fast as I felt. When we're at Atlanta running around the track, you're stuck like hell and it feels like you're screaming around the racetrack. I don't feel that here. I can get off into one and I can get the front end pushing on it and I've got to feather off the throttle. You're definitely off the throttle quite a bit here, a lot more than I expected. The trucks almost run wide open around here, but the Cup cars can't do anything like that. It's nice, and it's grippy. It looks good. To me it drives a little like Kansas City and Michigan.
"I'll be a couple of different grooves. A lot of guys will sneak on the bottom of the track. I ventured down on the bottom and found quite a bit of grip. All the way at the very top, I'm not up there yet. It seems a little too far up for speed. The middle of the track and down toward the bottom seems to be the quickest. Getting into turn one is definitely different than getting into turn three. I feel really good through three and four, and I'm tight in one and two. We're fighting a push in one and two and the car feels great in three and four. Tire wear hasn't looked real bad yet. I've heard blisters and all kind of stuff, but we've got 35 laps on a set and we haven't had in big problems yet.
"We're just going to keep working on getting the car turning and hoping by the last couple of hours of practice I can get to qualifying runs.
"I'm going to go play a little golf tomorrow. I might go over to Doral or maybe to Ocean Reef with a couple of sponsors.
"Stupid stuff has been happening to us all year long. We were sitting there running fourth last week and the caution came out and we were in the pits and got two laps down. It's just poor luck. We've had it all year and we can't get out of it. Sometimes you just think it's bad luck. I had a good car, but it wasn't great, and I couldn't maneuver myself out of the problems.
"It made me feel good to see Bill Elliott win at Rockingham. He's so happy right now. His car was perfect, and it's hard to get them that way. He's been strong. The runs he had at Kansas City and Rockingham were really strong."
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid)
"It's a lot faster racetrack. I think it's going to be a pretty good race. I already see two grooves in the track, and I think almost everybody is trying to figure it out, me included. How high can you go in to make a late apex or do you run in really low and let the car run up and come back and diamond it. No one has figured it out yet. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running really good, and the 18 looks like he's pretty good.
"There's a lot of trouble getting turn one. It's real slick. When you drive into the corner I think a lot of it is the sun looks like it heats it up more. It's just a characteristic of the way the track sits facing the sun. The wind is playing a little havoc there, too. I think it's going to be a heck of a race. I think they did the right thing. I was saying they didn't. I wanted it to stay flat, but they did a real good job on the transitions exiting, entering. It's the first time I've been to a new paved track that you see guys moving around and move up opposite of Texas and Kansas City where we stayed on the bottom all day. I think it'll be a good race."