HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus -- "I tell you what, that was a fun lap, it really was. The car did just about everything there is to do. It was a little bit tight, but we kind of took a gamble. We didn't get to run a banzai lap in...
HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus -- "I tell you what, that was a fun lap, it really was. The car did just about everything there is to do. It was a little bit tight, but we kind of took a gamble. We didn't get to run a banzai lap in practice and kind of had a miscue there with tires, but Goodyear came here with a good tire today and we're just looking forward to Sunday's race. I think it's gonna be a good race."
DID THE TRACK CHANGE FROM PRACTICE? "It has a lot more grip. I was a little concerned, especially being the first one out. I felt like I was gonna give up a little speed going first, but my car stuck pretty good. I expected the track to be somewhat sandy, but it was pretty clean."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus -- "Everybody is picking up a lot more than I guess I anticipated. That was a little bit better than what we ran in our mock-up run. I was really happy with the lap, but I don't think we're gonna end up pretty good. I think the lap was okay, but obviously the speed wasn't there. We were a little bit too loose and we didn't pick up as much speed as we hoped to going into the night, so I don't know where that's gonna end up."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus -- "That wasn't too good. The car got real loose and I don't know what happened. I went off in the corner and the car got real loose. I can't believe we ran what we did and we're not happy with it. In practice the car was right on the money. Usually, you get a little tight here but we got a little bit loose. We don't know what happened. We'd been good in turn one all day, but I got real loose up there and never recovered. It just wasn't what we wanted."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "That's actually a little bit quicker than we had run in practice, but Hut just put up such a fast speed. I don't think we're great, but I think that will put us somewhere in the top 10. It's usually not a good advantage to go early, but we'll wait and see. Considering all the circumstances with Fatback breaking his arm today. I guess he had to try and outdo our guy who does the tires when he fell off pit wall when we run at Richmond. As far as the race goes, I think we'll be good. We came here and tested and mainly made long runs. We didn't do too much qualifying, so I feel real comfortable about our race situation."
MIKE WALLACE --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "The car was better than I did the first lap. It was just unfortunate, but I think the left-front caught the apron do there getting into one. It bottomed out pretty hard and I tried to come back and get a second lap and it wasn't that good. We'll just work on the car. It's a great opportunity here in the Mobil 1 Ford Taurus and we'll make the best of it."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "It drove real good. I was just a little tight in the center, a little tighter than I wanted to be. It's amazing how when you're a little tighter you lose a lot of speed. I think that'll be a decent qualifying run, but it definitely hurt me in the center of the corner."
WHAT ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO TEAM WITH MIKE NOW IN THE 12 CAR? "That's my brother, obviously. I hope he does real good because I'm pulling for him. They've got a long way to go because they've had a lot of trouble with that car. The guys are gonna have to get all of the crazy parts and pieces off of it that they've had on it in the past and get kind of normalized. Hopefully, it'll work out good for them."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus -- "This is the drivingest car I've had here in my entire life. I don't know why it won't run. It's the same motor we tried to have at Kansas City last week. I'm not saying it's the motor, but we just cannot get it to run for one or two laps. We'll just have to get ready for Sunday. I hate to do that, but it's the first one in seven or eight races. The guys did a hell of a job. This is a damn good race car."
KEVIN LEPAGE --7-- NationsRent Taurus -- "I don't know where to begin, but my hat's off to all the NationsRent Ford guys. Jim Smith, Buddy Barnes and Scott Lepage -- all the guys did a great job preparing this NationsRent Ford. I love this place. We were fast off the truck and, man, these Yates motors really run down the straightaway. I'm just glad to be here right now."
YOUR ADRENALINE MUST BE PUMPING? "Man, I can't wait until Sunday comes. It's been a long time since I had this much fun in a Winston Cup car. I'm just real excited right now." HOW SWEET IT IS. "I can't tell you great this feels. They called me at about 8:20 last night and said, 'Hey, I need a driver for this weekend. Can you fill in?' I'm telling you, these Yates motors run and this car is really good. I'm just looking forward to Sunday."
TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus -- "We didn't get a good lap in practice. Our qualifying run got messed up there at the end of practice. We made some changes and the car was right on the money. The car bottomed out real hard in one and two. If it didn't do that, it would have been a little bit faster but I've been in this position before. Unfortunately, that 02 still has to go and he's knocked me off two poles this year and one last year. That kid's good and we'll just have to see what he's got in him." SO THE CAR BOTTOMED OUT? "It went in there and bottomed out and I just stood back in the throttle. If it stuck, it stuck. If it didn't, I would have just had to let off, but, fortunately, it stuck. The Goodyear tires were right there."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Taurus -- "That first lap we bottomed out really bad. That's the first time we bottomed out all day and I had to learn from that and go in easier the second lap and just get the best lap I could. There is more there, but the car was bottoming out. It was a good lap for us and that should be in the field solid. We haven't been qualifying very good lately and it looks like we're taking a step in the right direction."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus -- "I wish it was all over. I know there are some really good cars left in Jeff (Gordon) and Ryan Newman. The track is absolutely incredible. The weather was perfect. Everything was awesome. I think I messed up in three and four again. I did it in the spring. This is about a second-and-a-half quicker than I ran in the spring, but I still think there's another tenth-and-a-half or so left in three and four. I feel like someone's gonna run in the 28's."
WHAT'S THE TAKE ON THE CARS GETTING BETTER. "I think the teams are so good and the aerodynamics of the cars are so much better. This Robert Yates power was incredible tonight. It turned about 9300 (rpm). It was just absolutely incredible, it just pulled so strong. I got through one and two incredible. I just left too much in three and four to be on the pole. I don't believe we'll be on the pole, but we gave it all we had."
RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus -- "I didn't hit it perfect, there's no doubt about that. We ran faster here in the spring, but Jimmy had a great lap. We had no really great reason to get the pole here. We got the pole in the spring and got our pole for the Bud Shootout and Daytona, but just starting in the top five is a big deal for us here. We'll just keep continuing to learn as a team."
WHAT ABOUT SETUP. "Racing is what pays the big bucks and that's what we're here for -- to win that. Qualifying and getting the pole is really nice, but starting in the top five is pretty nice too."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus -- "We had a couple problems and missed some of our practice. We knew we didn't have the car where we needed to be at the end of practice, but unlike a lot of times, there was a handling problem that could be corrected. A lot of times, we have been in spots where it's impossible to go faster. I've known that this car has had potential to go better and I knew it had potential to do even better that that, but I'll have to say that with that lap that's all I knew how to find today with the car. That's better than practice and the car has been competitive considering the problems we've had that we can fix. A lot of the times the problems we have, we can't fix."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus -- "Not bad. I thought I could run down in the 50s and would have gained quite a few spots. We made a change because the car had been a little bit tight through the center and I guess the track got really cool and freed the car up more than we anticipated. I was just a little looser than I wanted to be, but I wanted to bring it home. We got a starting spot and a good race car, so we'll just make the most of it."
HOW DO YOU FEEL AFTER RUNNING A FEW LAPS? "I feel good, like nothing ever happened really from that standpoint. Physically, from the other side, I've got another day of rest and then a pretty easy day on Saturday, so I should be alright on Sunday."