Ford Racing Richmond qualifying

ANDY HOUSTON-96-McDonald's Taurus- "Our laps were a lot slower than we had been in practice-we run like an .84 in the McDonald's Ford. But, I don't know. Pretty disgusted right now. Felt like we should have been a lot better than that, the car...

ANDY HOUSTON-96-McDonald's Taurus-

"Our laps were a lot slower than we had been in practice-we run like an .84 in the McDonald's Ford. But, I don't know. Pretty disgusted right now. Felt like we should have been a lot better than that, the car was just too tight, center off the corner. I hope the track has changed, I hope the track has slowed down a lot and we'll see some other times back there, but right now that's not looking too good for the McDonald's Ford."

JIMMY SPENCER-26-Kmart Taurus-

"When you're waiting an hour to qualify, it makes it hard on you, you know? We've never qualified in these conditions at Richmond in a long time, we always did in the evening. I think that lap will be a decent lap, it's not as good as we wanted to, but it would be nice to in the top 10 like we were last week at Fontana with the Kmart car. If we are, we're happy with that. We're really qualifying a lot better, running a lot better, the whole team, and this is just a sign of good things to come."

THIS IS SHAPING UP TO BE A GOOD SUMMER.

"We're just going to keep improving every race we can, every day we can. Our pit stops hurt us a little bit last week, our fuel mileage, so we have to work on that. We feel like our cars weren't as good as they needed to be last year, and Donnie and the guys did a lot of work, diligent work, hard, over the winter, made the cars better. Everything is getting better on the race team and that's why we're running a lot better. I real feel like we should be in the top 10 in points , and really be in nice shape for the rest of this year."

IT SEEMS LIKE YOU'RE A FACTOR EVERY WEEK.

"Well, we've had some problems, though, you know? We had bad finishes at Daytona and Talladega, stuff breaking that we shouldn't have had happen. Then two accidents, Rockingham and Texas, that were not our doing. And 36th or worst four times, not good. We don't need that to keep happening. My confidence is up, my crew's confidence is up and we're going to keep trying to qualify really well and run real well in the races."

BRETT BODINE-11-Ralphs Supermarkets/Red Cell Taurus-

"We just didn't get a hold of the race track. That's going to be everybody's problem, having qualifying after a Happy Hour practice for the Busch cars just doesn't make a lot of sense. We set up to a race track that didn't have that many laps run on it and they go out there and run an hour of practice, make a lot of long runs, put a lot of rubber down, and the race track is just totally different."

DALE JARRETT-88-UPS Taurus-

"We haven't been exactly on it all day. I was probably going to have a decent second lap, but it got loose off of four. We're just missing it somewhere on the qualifying set-up here the last few times. We race well, and hopefully that will be the case tomorrow night."

YOU HAVE RACED WELL HERE, EVEN THOUGH THE QUALIFYING EFFORT HASN'T BEEN THERE. "Yeah, it's been a couple of years since we really have put together a good qualifying effort here. We're going to be way back, so we're just gonna have to be patient and see if we can there whenever lap 400 gets there."

JEFF BURTON-99-CITGO SUPERGARD Taurus-"We certainly slowed down some, more than I wanted to slow down. The track's real slick right now. I hope everybody slows down more."

KURT BUSCH-97-Sharpie Rubbermaid Taurus-

"It'll be one day before I figure out what we ran in practice and what it's going to get us in qualifying. It's tough backing off that far. It just doesn't seem to be consistent with tire to tire. We'll throw on four tires and it won't be the same car anymore. We need more of a more adjustable car, I guess, so we can adapt to these tires that just don't seem to work anywhere."

MARK MARTIN-6-Pfizer Taurus-

"I just told Jimmy here, these guys have kept the faith all through all the heartache and the disappointment that we've been through here. These guys are just awesome, and this car's worked so well the whole practice, been real happy with it and I look forward to racing this thing. It's a brand-new car, and like I say, these guys have just rallied all around all this heartbreak and disappointment and I'm really lucky to be driving for them."

RICKY RUDD-28-Texaco/Havoline Taurus-

"It's been a long time since we qualified good at Richmond. All the guys on this Texaco/Havoline Taurus, they work awfully hard, the motor department is exceptionally good, like they are every week. We're happy with that. It's about what we had run in practice and a lot of guys had slowed down so we were able to duplicate our lap. It would've been nice to have two more one-thousandths of a second or something and have something for Mark here, but it wasn't meant to be, but it's going to end up in the top five, we're happy."

MATT KENSETH-17-DeWalt Power Tools Taurus-

"The pole-sitter ran the same time, so, I don't know, it just didn't get a very fast lap, I guess. It felt okay, it was just a little bit slow."

ELLIOTT SADLER-21-Motorcraft Taurus-

"It's very frustrating. The last month we can't figure out how to qualify, can't figure out to do anything, really. It's just frustrating. I always want to come to Richmond and run good, but just way off again. Just same old song and dance."

RUSTY WALLACE-2-Miller Lite Taurus-

"The first lap, I got in too deep and I really flubbed the first lap up a little bit, but I knew I did that so I had to bring it back the second lap."

"We just got beat today. Threw up a .67 to Mark's .667 so I lost by three one-thousandths of a second. But it was a good run. I was way too tight the first lap, I drove it in too hard, got it pushing way up and had to recover with the second lap. But, I'm happy with that run, that'll be a good starting position for tomorrow night's race and that was it. We did make a lot of changes today because of the tire and the race track and things like that, but it all worked out for us." WHAT ABOUT THE TIRE? "It didn't seem like it made a big difference, but it was a difference, there's no doubt about that. It felt a little different to me but not as much as we'd been to other race tracks. Other race tracks the tire tends to be real tight and not hooked up real good. This one here was hooked up pretty decent." ON QUALIFYING LATE IN THE DAY. "I was hoping so. When I got that late qualifying run I was really hoping that would help and I probably think it did help a little bit, it certainly didn't hurt anything. Although, I was watching some guys get loose out there and so I changed some air pressures around before qualifying and I think I went a little too far. It was real good in one and two the second lap and then three and four, coming to the flag, I got a little too tight right there, which cost me some time. I just overshot on my decision right before we went out to qualify. As soon as we were out on the line, I watched everybody doing their deal, spinning out and stuff, and I said let's snug it up a little bit. I just overshot a little bit."

Mark Martin:

"We had a pretty nice day today. My race team has had to endure a lot of disappointment and a lot of heartbreak this year. And through all that they haven't gotten their chin down, they've never given up, we haven't had any cross words between us, and they've just kept on working and working and working and working and putting that stuff out on the race track. Today, this is a brand-new car and every lap we turned on the race track just felt good. The times were good, the car worked spectacular. We've never tested it, never made a lap before today. It just kind of felt like the old days to me. I mean, I used to go to the race track and drive cars that felt like this all the time. We haven't had that some of the time the last year or sixth months, for sure. I'm just very grateful. Believe me, this sport is humbling and I know lucky I am to be driving for this race team and to have these sponsors and to have an owner and everybody that can look and be patient and say, 'I know it's a tough time, and I know that things are going to get better.' This was a shot that my team really needed. It didn't show, yet, but they need to know that if they work hard and keep their chin up, that they'll get the result that they deserve, so this makes it really nice."

COULD YOU FEEL THE WEAR AND TEAR STARTING?

"No, I couldn't feel it. There was no sense of any problems in our team regardless of what the media had said earlier in the year. There hasn't been one ounce of stress or strain. All of us have learned, I think, and matured a lot through the last year or so, even though, between Jimmy and myself, I think with our age we should be fairly matured, with all the years of experience that we've had. I think that we all have learned not judge our self worth based on today's results, but judge it, our self worth, on today's effort, and that's a very important lesson, and that helps glue a team together. We've all had tremendous success together, so we know that we all can do it. You just can't be on top all the time, and that's just how the sport is. And I guess if you could be, it wouldn't be as interesting for the fans."

ON A NEW TIRE ON A SLICK TRACK.

"Basically what that comes down to is experience, seat-of-the-pants kind of stuff, not only behind the wheel but making calls on set-ups and stuff. The track is definitely different today than it was last year, when you consider the tires and the sealer and everything. I, personally, am not smart enough, I can't do it anymore, I can't beat the engineers myself, you know? I can't beat them guys. There are so many people in this sport smarter than me, today, that it makes it very difficult, so, therefore, we have to rely on people and we have to all pull together and educate one another to build a strong enough team to be able to beat everybody. When you mix it all up, then it comes right back in the hands of the crew chief and the driver. I felt it was a little bit of a mix-up today because things changed. I think when you go to the new race tracks this year, it'll be the same thing. When we went to Vegas the first time, I think, we won the race. When we went to Texas the first time, we were leading and broke and then the next time we went I think we won. So, I look forward to going to new race tracks because that puts everybody on an equal keel. To me today felt like things were sort of mixed up, like you put everything in the hat and shook it a little bit-and you had to figure it out. Your set-up from last time may not have worked. I didn't run last year's set-up stuff, we worked something out different. I like that. I like it when it's just the little guys, working on the cars, driving them and talking to their crew and making the little adjustments. When it starts getting out there and beyond that, it's different for me."

ON THIS MORNING'S MEETING.

"They had a couple of explanations to us about things that they have learned, which I, personally, I already knew. And there was some open discussion about some different issues. Some of the issues related to things that they had already tested and learned and know about, and also, informing us about the things that are in the works and being tested that they don't have, you know, conclusive answers on yet, which is going to take quite some time because, the world just doesn't stop and rush and figure out all this stuff for us. I mean, we have to fit our testing in for all these different items and analyzing all the different situations and scenarios. There's not a whole lot to talk about right now, unfortunately, other than I would like to say that I personally don't appreciate the bashing that has been done to NASCAR along the lines of you know what I'm talking about. I don't appreciate that. I think that they're a great organization and I think that they've been wrongly-they've been portrayed in the wrong light by some of the fans and by some of the media, and it's basically due to frustrations because people don't understand that you can't answer every question in one day. There are people working on safety-related issues in every motor company-Ford Motor Company, GM, Dodge, everyone. By the way, those people are building safer cars, passenger cars, and saving lives. We have to fit our stuff into that. You have to build the stuff, you have to get it to the testing facility, you have to test it, you have to analyze it, and there's a lot of stuff going on. There's a lot of stuff going on that a lot of people don't know about. And we don't have time to explain it to you. If we did, they wouldn't have time to run a racing organization and we wouldn't have time to figure out how to make a car go fast enough to win a pole. In the meantime, while we're all trying to do our jobs, we all are holding hands together, all the motor companies, all the NASCAR, a lot of the teams, owners, safety manufacturers-everyone is working together to make racing safer. And it's going to be a while before you see the results. It just doesn't happen overnight."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin