FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES PRIMESTAR 500 QUALIFYING March 26, 1999 Texas Motor Speedway JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "Everybody's been slower than what they ran today. I think going...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES PRIMESTAR 500 QUALIFYING March 26, 1999 Texas Motor Speedway
JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "Everybody's been slower than what they ran today. I think going early is a disadvantage. That was a good lap for us, but the track's slow right now. It's gonna get better and if we make it first round with that we'll probably be pretty happy. Even though it's the pole right now, it's not a very good speed."
JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "The track's changed quite a bit. We feel like we were pretty good in practice and kind of got a little tight in qualifying. It's gonna be different for everybody, so let's wait and see."
HOW DO YOU LIKE THE TRACK SINCE IT'S BEEN CHANGED? "It's normal. It's kind of the same layout, the same configuration, there's a lot of grip. It's in good shape."
CHAD LITTLE -97- John Deere Taurus -- "It's the track more than anything since everyone is consistently slowing down from practice. It was a good lap for us. We were just a little tight and we've been fighting that since we unloaded, but we got it better each time. It's still not where it needs to be, but we felt like one and two went really well, got a little snug in turn three and the car pushed up."
HAVE THE CHANGES TO THE TRACK HELPED? "I'm not the right person to ask because it was tough before, but I didn't think, other than the water seeping in turn one, I didn't think it was that bad. I thought it was good before, I think it's good now. If this second groove gets worked in, it'll be better now because you'll be able to race coming off of turn four and you really couldn't do that before. There wasn't room, so they've probably improved it, but, like I said, I'm not the right person to ask because I was pretty pleased with it before."
RICK MAST -98- Yarborough/Burdette Motorsports Taurus -- "The car was pretty good. Really, I don't know why it slowed up as much. My car was way too tight to qualify and we've been loosening the thing up all day long and when I qualified it was still too tight. There's still more speed there we just need to get it out of it, but we'll take it and go."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE RECONFIGURATION? "They've definitely helped it. It's definitely better. We still have a lot of trouble off of turn two, there's no way you're gonna be able to be side by side running hard there. Maybe if we can get a second groove worked in in three we might be able to go side by side there because coming off of four that transition's a lot better than it was. There's still a little problem in two, but all race tracks have problems. It's at least 1000 percent better than it was."
ELLIOTT SADLER -21- Citgo Taurus -- "It wasn't a bad lap, just a little tight. I missed my mark a little bit getting into three, I got in a little too high but that was a pretty good run. I think that'll get us in first day, get us maybe in the top 15 and get ready for our race setup."
IS QUALIFYING TOUGHER THAN THE RACE FOR YOU? "Qualifying's tough. These guys are awesome. They know how to get the most out of their cars, but qualifying seems to be our bright spot right now, so maybe if we keep qualifying good and getting in good in these shows our racing deal will come around."
ROBERT PRESSLEY -77- Jasper Engines Taurus -- "I don't know if I like this place that much, it's just that we always run good here. We've got as much experience here as anybody else, so I think we're on even terms, but this Jasper engine is running awful good. It's making me look good. I pushed a little bit getting into turn three. I guess I just got down the straightaway faster than I needed to and couldn't get it turned going in, but we'll take it."
BILL ELLIOTT -94- McDonald's Taurus -- "That was uneventful and that's the way I like them. I didn't know what to expect. A lot of these guys were kind of a little bit out of control. The sun's gone down, I was probably off a little tick, but we'll take it. The way we've been here lately and the way things have been going, we just need to be good and solid in the field. We ran good in practice and that's where we need to start the race."
DID TESTING HERE HELP YOU? "I feel like it helped a lot because it helped me better understand the race track and that's what you've gotta do. When you come in here and do everything in one day, you need a little it of help. You get help, especially as much as they changed the race track, so it was a big help for us."
RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "That's a lot more like it than what's happened the last three or four weeks, there's no doubt about that. We ran a .69 in practice and that was a .65, so it was a little quicker and that's good because I was worried the track was getting slow. A lot of guys were having problems earlier it looked like, but our car ran great. I'm real happy with it."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE RACE TRACK? "I'm real happy with the race track. The track's in so much better shape than it was last year it's unreal. It's got a lot of grip. They fixed the transition going into turn one, they fixed a lot of it coming off of turn four, so I think we're gonna have the best race we've ever had here at Texas this week."
DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- HAVE THE CHANGES TO THE TRACK HELPED? "It's definitely helped. The biggest thing that we need at this race track, basically, is a second groove. We still have no second groove right now and you can't get out of the groove by six to eight inches or you're in trouble, so that's what we need to work on next, but they did make some improvements definitely." HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "It was OK, just a little too tight in the center still. We probably didn't choose the right set of tires to go on, but we'll be OK, a decent lap just a little bit too tight."
MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline Taurus -- "That wasn't the lap I wanted, but that sure was the time I wanted so I'll take it. I was a little bit stressed out about trying to do that, but I'm pleased with the lap time. I think we had a pole-contending car outside of Geoff Bodine. Geoff had his trouble, the race track woes with the oil and stuff, I just wanted to get a good starting spot."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE TRACK? "Yeah, they've done a great job here."
JERRY NADEAU -9- Cartoon Network Taurus -- "It was a pretty good lap. We've been running 80's all day long and that's what we went there and ran, an .85 so we're pretty happy. We're in first round and now we can get ready for the race."
RANDY LAJOIE -14- Federated Auto Parts Taurus -- "We made it back. It's a good effort. These guys got a good race team and it's fun. Thankfully, they've got a good system. We came here and tested, that's the big thing. We came here and tested and when you do your homework things work out well."
BRETT BODINE -11- Paychex Taurus -- "We made so many changes before qualifying. We were very good prior to qualifying, so we made a lot of changes and the car responded. That's what it took to get us in the show."
STANTON BARRETT -90- Suburban Lodge Taurus -- "You go back and look at it (qualifying lap), and you replay it over and over in your mind. A tenth here or a tenth there, and we're really looking good. Man, if we had been able to test it would have made all the difference in the world. I don't know what to think about second-round qualifying. I was going to look at the records, but they've never had second-round qualifying before here. All we can do is sit and hope and wait. A nice rain shower about 10:30 tomorrow morning wouldn't hurt my feelings any."
KENNY IRWIN -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "Dale Jarrett just came over and said, 'How did that feel?' and I said, 'Terrible,' because it was too loose. We were too loose, we were too tight, but I guess that's how it's supposed to be when you run fast. I really had no idea we could run that fast here. Robert Yates builds great motors and, obviously, we have a great team." THIS IS YOUR KIND OF TRACK, THROUGH, ISN'T IT? YOU CAN HOLD IT WIDE OPEN? "Yes. By no means did I even come close to holding it wide open here, but it does. It suits us. It's a horsepower race track and it's kind of a gutsy race track."
KENNY IRWIN IMMEDIATELY AFTER WINNING THE POLE: "I had no idea we could run that fast. We had a great draw, the perfect time of the day and I think that meant more than anything today."
DID YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY IN QUALIFYING THAN FROM PRACTICE? YOU WERE 17TH IN PRACTICE. "We knew there was more there, but everything has to be right. Doug Richert (crew chief), he made a good call on the air pressure and everything has to go right and it did today. Everybody did a great job."
HOW BIG OF A BOOST IS IT TO START ON THE FRONT ROW SUNDAY? "Anytime you can qualify up front, especially on the pole, it's a big boost with as tough as this Winston Cup qualifying is. Our only goal now is to do something on Sunday afternoon."
KENNY IRWIN PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Taurus, earned the second Bud Pole of his career after lapping the 1.5 mile Texas Motor Speedway in 28.398 seconds (190.154 mph). He broke Jeremy Mayfield's track-qualifying record of 29.047 seconds (185.069) mph set on April 4, 1998.
DO YOU LIKE THE WAY THE TRACK IS CONFIGURED? "From the very first start that I ever ran here, in a truck, we were able to win the race. Atlanta, it seems like we always run good until the last race. But, for whatever reason, these kind of configurations are very good for Robert Yates horsepower and that's what these are, big horsepower race tracks, so it just kind of suits my driving style."
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "Dale Jarrett came up to me and asked how that felt and I said terrible. I would have never guessed we were that fast. In fact, if they would have come on and said I ran a .90, I would have said, 'Oh, man.' When you're out there, you feel like the car's loose, that it's pushing and it's not all that fast of a lap, but I honestly didn't know how good we were there."
HOW MUCH ARE THE INCREASED SPEEDS THE TRACK OR NEW RULES? "I think it's all the race track. I think the changes they made in one and two are the biggest reasons. Very little to the rules. I think the type of speeds that we get on one lap doesn't affect it as much as during the race with the five and five with the way it was last year. The track is just faster and I think you can see that by what's going on in the Busch Series and Winston Cup."
WILL THE TRACK BE RACEY? WILL A SECOND GROOVE BE WORKED IN? "I don't think so. I think over time, just like Atlanta, there's worked out to be more than one groove. I don't see that happening this weekend. I think you're gonna see a lot of racing, but I don't know if you're gonna see a lot of side by side racing."
WHO LOOSENED THE CAR UP AND DID THE OTHER CARS HAVE AN AFFECT? "We raised the (tire) pressures. We were kind of scanning the other cars. I don't know if Geoff Bodine was a good example of it, but we think he got real tight in three and four and just kind of missed the line, so from the very get-go we felt like the track was getting tighter. As the weather comes in that's what you think is gonna happen, but with the race track like this you just don't know. You could watch them up on top of the truck when the guy would miss his line getting in the corner that he was just tight and not too loose. Me and Doug had a little discussion out there on which way we needed to go on air pressure. He wanted me to give him a scenario and I told him to not to even ask me, just do it and I'll drive it. It just seems like the more I know the more it gets me in trouble sometimes."
CAN YOU TAKE US AROUND THE TRACK AND THE PLACES THAT HAVE BEEN IMPROVED? "To me, the best part of the race track now is one. Before, you would drop off into one and you felt like the rear tires were coming off the ground. Now, you almost kind of drive up into one and I think that's the biggest advantage for this race track and we can carry so much more speed. A little problem spot is right in the middle of one and two. You can see a patch on the flat and there are some ripples there. I'm not sure what that's from, but I think that's why some of the Busch cars were wrecking, that they were getting over that and they didn't have the right kind of shock package. Off of two, the track flattens off so much that you kind of loose the front end a little off. It's not a big problem, but it comes kind of back to the running side by side, I don't think you're gonna see a whole lot of that off of two. Three and four, I mean, I don't see any problems through three and four, especially not like there was a year or so ago. And, as fast as we're running, you hear everybody talking about it because that's where we had so many problems with the turn four wall coming up so close."
IS IT WIDER DOWN THERE, THE TRANSITION BETTER OR BOTH? "I'd say everything's better. I don't know that one thing that just makes it better, I think the whole thing is just racier. It's a lot more driver friendly."
DID YOU THINK SOMEONE WOULD HIT 190 MPH? "Somebody asked if I thought we'd get to 190 and, as a driver, all of us, we don't know miles per hour. We know seconds. Whether it's 28 seconds or 29.3 or whatever. That's what all the fans want to know. You went 190 miles an hour or whatever. If we could run 27 seconds that's a lot better. We don't know miles an hour, or at least I don't. I'd rather not know miles per hour, though, because you'd go slower. It's kind of like knowing more."
WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE NOW OF RUNNING WELL FOR A 50 LAP RUN DURING THE RACE AND STAYING UP FRONT? "I'd rather start 43rd and win the race on Sunday than sit on the pole. That's what it comes down to every weekend, figuring out the car so it can run 50 laps and be competitive. We don't know what that's gonna take yet. We don't know if you're gonna have to average 29 seconds a lap and what kind of spring and shock package that we're gonna have. We think we have a good idea, but to say right now what it's gonna take we don't know because none of us have gone out on race setups yet. Tomorrow morning will be the first real deal for us."
HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU GETTING NOW? "Each weekend I'm a lot more comfortable. I'm a lot more relaxed than I was a year ago, just for the fact that once you go through it once you understand what everybody expects of you and what you know you can do in the race car. Before last year, I had no idea what I could accomplish and what I needed to do to the car and what the car was capable of doing and I learn more about that each week."
ARE YOU GIVING BETTER INFORMATION BACK TO YOUR CREW CHIEF NOW? "Exactly. Today, I communicated more with Doug today than what I feel like I have ever in the past and it was more me helping them get the car set up so we could run 28.3. That makes me feel good that I'm getting better at helping them get it set up. That's what I said last year was that's why Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett are so good is because they could set up their own race car if they had to."
WILL YOU TALK TO THE OTHER GUYS UP FRONT ABOUT THE START OF THE RACE? "I haven't thought about it, but if we did it would probably be at driver's introductions Sunday morning. I think everybody that's in this race, I can say everybody is gonna be using their head but I guess a year or two ago they had a big wreck. Honestly, I doubt that me and Bobby (Labonte) talk about it. I think there's more of an understanding on what's gonna happen I would think. I don't know."