Friday, March 23, 2001. Bristol Motor Speedway. Food City 500. Bud Pole Qualifying. STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) "I saw Mark run his lap and he had us beat about a tenth all day. I thought we could run a .28 or...
Friday, March 23, 2001. Bristol Motor Speedway. Food City 500. Bud Pole
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I saw Mark run his lap and he had us beat about a tenth all day. I thought we could run a .28 or a .30 if we hit everything just right. We had run a .32 in practice. Some guys slowed down and we picked up just a tick. I love racing here. We had a real good test with our race setup, so we'll see what happens. If we can stay out of trouble we'll be OK. "I want to thank all the guys on the Coors Light team and Dodge. We came and tested last week and felt we had a real good car. Mark was just a little quicker than we were all day. I figured he was going to be tough to beat. We've got a real good race setup. I'd sure love to win here at Bristol. This is my favorite short track, and they've got the prettiest trophy going. We'd like to get that thing. "We've been close all year. We've been knocking at the door, so maybe we can get us one here at Bristol. I really enjoy racing here. It's a fun track. It's in my home state of Tennessee, and we've had some real good runs here. I know the fans really enjoy watching the races here. They pack 'em in. Hopefully we'll give 'em a real good show Sunday. "We could run faster than Rusty here last year, but we were pitting on the backstretch and couldn't get to him. Every time we'd get to third or fourth, we'd pit and come out 15th. You're really starting 30th then with the lapped cars. He'd be coming off two and we'd be going in three. Fifty laps later, we were going in one and he was coming off two. We'd gain that much on him, but you couldn't get through all the race traffic. "I'm fired up. I felt like before the season started this was the best race team I've ever been with. We've got a lot of resources. Chip and Dodge have brought a lot to the table, and Coors Light is sticking with us. We've got the prettiest race car. We had the ugliest and now we've got the prettiest. This is the best we qualified this season, so we're pretty pleased with it. I hate it that my teammate (rookie Jason Leffler) is going home, but it's tough for those rookies in qualifying at places like this they've never been to before. "I think we're going to run good everywhere. I was worried about not running good at Daytona. A lot of people thought we were sandbagging when we were testing there, but we weren't. We left down there and the boys went home and built two cars. They had to do something or we were going to be a 25th or 30th place car. They worked their guts out and then get it taken away from 'em. We'll just have to work a little harder on our speedway stuff. "I don't think much of the changes (made for Talladega this week). The same template fits a Ford. Them guys can pick some tools up and go to work and quit crying. I thought we were going to have to mop the floors in Vegas after the post-race interviews in the press room, but we got out of there in time."
EIGHT DODGE INTREPID R/Ts QUALIFY FOR FRONTSTRETCH PITS
Led by Sterling Marlin's lap of 125.387 mph, good enough for the No. 2 starting spot, eight of 10 Dodge Intrepid R/Ts qualified in the top 21 positions and consequently will pit on the frontstretch. Kyle Petty (7th), Dave Blaney (8th), John Andretti (11th), Bill Elliott (12th), rookie Casey Atwood (16th), Ward Burton (18th) and Buckshot Jones (21st) will pit on the front.
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Any time you can pick up from practice, you're doing good. This is Bristol. It doesn't matter where you start. It's where you finish, but I'm glad we'll be pitting on the frontstretch.
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We slowed down a little bit. The motor was missing out of the corners a little bit, so that hurt us. We made the race, we're pitting on the front stretch, so we're happy." WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We didn't have the throttle wide open in practice. We changed everything but the steering wheel and we thought about changing that. Now we've got the power back to it, but it's just way too loose."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I ran quicker in practice. I hate slowing down in qualifying, but we've messed up so much here in qualifying that I just wanted to get a decent lap in. It got me on the front straight. I always want to beat the boss (Kyle Petty), but I don't think the boss has ever lost to me here. Kyle is really good at this track, and he's going to teach me how to out qualify him here one of these days."
BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"That's as loose as we've been since we've been here. We tried a few things John and Kyle were doing in practice. We weren't where we needed to be, but we were still about a tenth faster than we were in practice. I thought we could run a .40 and we ran a .46. I'm not happy with it, but we've been making gains and that's what we've got to do."
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I just got a little loose over in one and two. I'm not really sure what happened. I guess I was trying too hard." KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I finally got with a group of guys that I've got a lot of confidence in and they've got a lot of confidence in me. We ran a .48 in practice and then a .55 on tires. Chris Hussey (crew chief) made a couple of adjustments right before qualifying. He learned a lot working with Adam I guess because I'm not teaching him anything. I didn't know we'd end up seventh, but I knew we had made the race and the way things have been going, that's all that really mattered." DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We're real happy with that. That's about what we ran in practice. I just tried to back it up. It seems like I usually try too hard here and screw it up. We just tried to back up what we had. That'll be a good spot. We qualified eighth, and that's great. We came here hoping to qualify in the top 10 and get a good front stretch pit. I've never qualified good here in a Cup car, so that was our first order of business."