DALE EARNHARDT, JR. WILL START ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE FRONT ROW AT DOVER; THREE IMPALA SS DRIVERS CRACK TOP-10 IN QUALIFYING Dale Earnhardt, Jr. No. 8 Budweiser Impala SS, captured the second quickest qualifying time and will start on the outside...
DALE EARNHARDT, JR. WILL START ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE FRONT ROW AT DOVER; THREE IMPALA SS DRIVERS CRACK TOP-10 IN QUALIFYING
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. No. 8 Budweiser Impala SS, captured the second quickest qualifying time and will start on the outside of the front row in the Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Visa on Sunday at Dover International Speedway.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, will roll off sixth with Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS starting in ninth.
The 400-lap/400-mile race is set to start at 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday afternoon with live coverage on FOX TV, MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED NINTH:
ON QUALIFYING LAP: "We were really good on lap two, we were really good getting in to three and I decided to get more than I should have. Just used up too much race track coming off of four. Good lap nonetheless and we will take it."
ON FEELING LIKE HE WILL BE OK ON SUNDAY: "Well, I feel like we are, I think we are. The one thing that concerns me, especially with the new race car, actually mainly with this new car, I have thought we were good going in to the race Sunday and then we have really struggled during the race. There is just a whole lot we don't know about this car and I think there is always the opportunity to be surprised. That concerns me the most. "I think Dover is the biggest test so far for the Impala SS. We continue to build the test and I think this is the biggest thus far, without a doubt. From what I have seen so far, it is going to be ok. I don't think we are going to have any major problems. I feel pretty good about it."
ON RACING DOVER: "It is pretty intense. You feel as fast here as you do anywhere, the speed here is pretty intense. The difference between getting it all and not getting enough is a lot. And then the difference getting too much and getting enough is a lot too. It is really easy to overdrive but the worse thing you can do is underdrive. If you underdrive this track trying to go fast, you can't go fast. It is just an edge. I think it is one of the most difficult places that we go. The cars get really tight in race trim, so you have got to be pretty free, but you don't want to be loose here. It is a real razor edge."
ON IMPORTANCE OF QUALIFYING HERE AT DOVER: "Pit road here is one of the biggest challenges we have all year in my opinion. This even more so than Bristol so having a good pit selection is really important. It can make or break your day. We see a lot of things happen on pit road here. Every year somebody gets their fenders knocked in or gets some kind of beating and banging. It can have a major impact on the race."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED SECOND:
ON HOW TODAY HAS GONE SO FAR: "We had a pretty good practice. It doesn't feel as bad inside the car. It was a good qualifying run, I am really proud of it. We have been working really hard; Tony Gibson and the guys are doing a great job. Really proud of them. Our motors have been really great the last two weeks. I don't know that we have done anything different, but the motors just feel a little stronger to me. Everybody I heard was fighting a real loose race car, my car rolled down through the center good, has a good yaw, the right rear is hung out real good. Not too bad, enough for me to get around the corner in to the center. I was able to get back in the gas, was just real patient on the gas, trying not to pick up a push. I matched that perfectly with rest of the corner to get back down to the bottom. It was a solid, clean lap I feel like on my part. Normally, I feel like I make a mistake here and there, but I feel like I did a real good clean lap and my car was handling great."
ON DOVER BEING MOST DIFFICULT RACE TRACK ON CIRCUIT: "I don't think it is. It is a track you have to respect a lot. You have to back everything up here. The easier you run, normally the better you run. A lot of guys overdrive it, myself included, all weekend up until the race starts, then when you get the race car in the race, you realize how much deeper in the corner than you should have been, then you find out your car was handling better than you thought it was because you overdrive it in practice and make it tight. And of course complain about that. The concrete surface is kind of tough in our old cars, really slick, easy to get loose and wreck. The Busch guys are still dealing with that. These cars here seem to be easier to drive around the track. I always felt like the Impala SS was an easier car to drive, and point and shoot where you want. It just doesn't handle the greatest, but just because it handles bad, doesn't mean it is hard to drive. It is still easy to drive. They are slow, cumbersome and heavy feeling. They have a lot more grip. The other cars really sit on top of the track and slide around here, a lot more comfortable. It is still frustrating when you are trying to get it to turn and get it to do things through the setup and not be able to get any results when you are changing a lot of things. I was really surprised to come here and run as good as we did. I guess I shouldn't be, I need to give somebody some credit for once. They are doing a great job and I am really, really proud of them."
ON STATUS OF DISCUSSIONS WITH TEAMS FOR 2008: "Things are looking good. We are making forward progress everyday and I am getting really excited. I think the time frame that Kelley wants to have something done is going to be ok. I think that is what is going to happen. I thought it would take a lot longer than that. I am bad about sitting on this decision, and taking a lot of time to make this decision to make sure I make the right one. Once I am pretty clear on what I need to do, I am pretty excited to announce something. I don't want to get specific but we are happy with the situation. Happy with being in the situation. We have had some great talks and some great discussions that have been enjoyable. I have never been in this situation. i have to tell everybody I am in discussions with to give me like three days to decipher things. I wish I could be more proactive and prompt, but I really want to think about it am make sure I am not going to leave a base uncovered. When we decided what we want to do and say here it is and present it to everybody, I want to make sure it is what I want and not someone steering me in this direction or somebody talking me in to that direction. We are pretty patient, but at the same time I am anticipating and anxious to be positioned somewhere I will be very excited."
ON LAP: "The car is really really good. It handled great. I am really proud of my guys. To come in here without any testing and feeling a little bit limited on our knowledge of this car, my guys are doing really really good. I give them the credit for how that thing drove today. I just tried to go out there and do something clean and not make any mistakes, I was able to do that and get a good lap."
ON THE HEAT: "The track is not really slick, but it is hot, really really hot. The track has some grip. These cars being a little bit wider, seemed to gobble up that grip. I was sort of surprised, we get frustrated with these cars not turning and trying to do stuff to the setup and nothing happening and car continues to push. They are easier to drive, doesn't make them more fun, butt they are easier to handle and keep out of trouble. That is a good thing. We will try and take advantage of that, we have been able to that and have a good run there. Looking forward to Sunday."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 18TH:
ON QUALIFYING EFFORT: "It was ok, it wasn't stellar, but it wasn't terrible by any means. We were loose in, loose off and tight in the middle. It wasn't completely disastrous, it wasn't completely great.
ON DOVER BEING THE BIGGEST TEST FOR IMPALA SS: Not. Really, I think Darlington in my opinion was the biggest test, just to see where it drug and didn't drag and where we got grip and didn't grip. I think it should be easier here than Darlington was. It is so much slower, just trying to get your car to handle up off the corner, to get the forward bite and make it turn in the center, is the biggest challenge."
ON PRACTICING TO RUN THE NEXTEL PRELUDE TO THE DREAM AT ELDORA: "I practiced for about two hours the other night. I went and did a little race in Macon, Illinois. Not done a whole lot, but looking forward to it. It is going to be fun! I am positively optimistic. My goal is to just not get lapped."
-credit: gm racing