Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger) Was your run enough to stick? "Probably not. You know we went second there. That's not good you want to go about last, especially when you are qualifying at 5:30 p.m. That is about the worst draw...
Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger)
Was your run enough to stick? "Probably not. You know we went second there. That's not good you want to go about last, especially when you are qualifying at 5:30 p.m. That is about the worst draw you can get except for the No. 8 car there. It's the best I could do. The car is good. The car is good in race trim and wherever that puts us we are happy with it so we will be okay."
How nice would it be to give Ganassi a NASCAR win at Indy? "I think it would be great especially for himself and hopefully any of us drivers that race for him. I feel pretty good about it. It's a lot better car than we had last year. It was fast in race trim like I said, so qualifying trim is just part of it. You can't help where you go out so that is the best that I could do at this certain point in time. I am sure it will get faster. It takes a long time to qualify 50 cars so once it starts getting close to 7:00 p.m. it will start getting really fast."
KASEY KAHNE, (Driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
Tell me about that lap? "It was good. The car felt good. It was in the racetrack. It was really balanced in the racetrack. Everything felt really good."
How much difference does the 2006 body make? "It's the entire package that's better. The engine is better. The body is better. I don't know if it's just the nose or the balance of the car. We found a balance last year, and we hit it again for this week."
How do you feel about the car now? "I look forward to the race. This week is the first time all year we've had a car that can run in the top 10. If we do the right things we can get a good finish. I look forward to stuff like that."
RYAN NEWMAN, (Driver of the No. 12 alltel Dodge Charger)
How important is starting position here? "It's so important to start up front. We only did one qualifying run here with the alltel Dodge and hopefully it will hold up really well. I think it will get quicker as it the sun goes down or the track cools off. Anyway, it's a good run for us and we picked up a lot. We only did one qualifying run and it's nice to pick up seven-tenths with a hotter racetrack."
Were you out fishing in the infield earlier? "Yeah, me and Martin Truex went out there. We caught a couple of fish and it was a lot of fun. I appreciate the speedway letting us go out there."
Is this a big family weekend for you? "It's a coincidence that it's home. It's just a big race and it's important for us to do well. We had a good step toward that today and hopefully we'll keep that going tomorrow."
KURT BUSCH, (Driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
How was your lap? "It was a good lap, I thought, all the way around. We ran about what we ran in practice, except just a touch slower. We might fall back a little further than we were in practice with folks going out later on with the track cooling off. We're happy with what we did, we just feel like we needed to gain a little speed to be in the top 10 solidly."
Did you get enough practice time today to get a good feel for the car? "Definitely. We spent most of our time in race trim and working on the Miller Lite Dodge for the longer run, even though our long runs today were only a short time due to the tires showing excessive wear. Tomorrow, it's more of a guessing game on how long we can go on tires."
How long do you think you can go on the tires? "It's going to small early on as far as the long runs and it will open up later on. If there's a mandatory caution around lap 20 that would be a smart idea."
Kyle Petty (No. 45 Marathon American Sprint Motor Oil Dodge Charger)
Talk about the partnership with Evernham Motorsports -- it's almost like a four-car team? "Oh yeah. Through Dodge, corporate Dodge, we get our engines and work with Ray on those. If you look at Sammy (Johns) and Ray's group and you look at our group, when we sit down in the truck and start talking, we got the setups for the 9, 19 and the 10 and they have the setups for the 43 and 45. That's an alliance, that's not a partnership. It's not money thing. That's not anything business. It's just a strategic alliance from a technical standpoint. I think Dodge is instrumental in helping us do that. Ray's instrumental, and our think our guys at Petty Enterprises are instrumental. With Robby and those guys, we've got a good group that can work together for the betterment of the manufacturer Dodge and the betterment of these two teams who have struggled this year. If we all pull in the same direction, we'll get stronger faster.
"Now, the problem with an alliance some times is this: If one team starts running better, they quit sharing with the other team. With a partnership or a buyout, everybody is trying to get better or they're going to get forced to get better. So that's difference between a partnership and an alliance -- you have to trust the people you're dealing with. Ray's been straight up with us and Dodge has been nothing but straight up with us from the very beginning six or seven years ago when we started this, so we don't have a lot qualms about that."
Is that what drove the alliance is that you were struggling? "We both are. We both have trouble with the COT. We both thought we were going to be better with the COT than what we showed. And we both struggled with this year's Charger so we went back to last year's Charger to see how it works. John and Bobby both have great races in it. We took them out of the races in the pits, they weren't beat on the racetrack last week at Chicago. So they had good runs there. When we showed the wind tunnel data and some of the technical stuff that we had from those cars and showed it to Ray, he compared it to the cars they were bringing here and the cars they ran there, it was like 'Okay, you got us beat'. Aero-wise it's better. We're not going to leave that laying on the table if we've got to race against Hendrick and Gibbs and these guys. We can't leave X number of counts of downforce or X number of horsepower laying on the table. I think they worked really hard this week and we worked really hard this week to get these cars put together to bring them back up here.
How much difference can you tell in the cars? "They're totally different. I haven't driven a car in six weeks, so it's a big change for me to come from driving the '07 car to jump in to a place like this driving this car. This feels like the way we've been looking for the car to feel all year, to me. That's what Bobby said. That's what John said at Chicago. They said 'You're going to like this car because it feels like what our car felt like last year. You would think going backward to last year's is a step back, but it's not a step back when you look at the numbers. It's a step back to where we were, but it's not a step back from the numbers that we need to see."
SCOTT RIGGS, (Driver of the No. 10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge Charger)
How badly did you need this run? "We needed to run good. We needed to get in the show. I can't say enough about these guys and the job that worked extra hard this week to totally rebuild this car. They did a lot of extra work and a lot of hard work and they had to make a lot of tough decisions back at the shop to decide what we were going to do with the car we brought here. I think we made the right decisions to do what we did. The car wasn't quite as fast as it was in practice. It was a little loose there. I don't know what kind of adjustments must have done that. I though we stayed pretty close to our baseline of what we ran in practice. I'm proud of all the guys on the Stanley Tools Dodge. It's a team effort and I didn't want to screw up my part of the bargain out there on the track."
How is the car with the old nose? "We definitely have a lot better race car than we had all season this year. So it's definitely a better race car. As far as balance-wise, we were a little too free there for some reason. We put on our last set of tires there in practice and we were a little too loose. We thought the small changes we made must have done that to us so we backed up on those changes. We were still way free there in qualifying trim. It felt real free to me coming off of turn four to the green. I sort of guarded against it and tried to make the most of it. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably try to tighten it up and go for it. It's a good effort on everybody's part."
BOBBY LABONTE, (Driver of the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger)
How was your car? "We've been off all day. We really haven't found the speed we needed to find. We don't really have it as good as we need to have it. There's still a lot of work to do on the car. We had it last week at Chicago. We'll have to play catch-up starting past mid-pack. If we make the right changes tonight we'll be okay."
DAVID STREMME, (Driver of the No. 40 Target Dodge Charger)
What is Ganassi's secret here today? "They've done a good job building the cars to come here. We were a little to free there and it cost us some spots. But, we'll be alright on Sunday. I wish we had a little bit better starting spot than that, but we'll be okay. They've done a really good job with the engines and everything."
How special is it to run here? "It's pretty cool. I haven't spent that much time here on Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Just coming back to Indiana, with lots of friends and family here, makes it a pretty good time. I want to go out and run well for them and for our sponsor Target and for everyone else, too. We made it through qualifying so we'll go on from here."
How important is starting position? "We'll be a lot better than last year. We had a great car but started in the back and never could get to the front. It's important to start toward the front here. As long as we have a good car here on Sunday, which I think we do, that's what matters most."
Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
How was your lap? "We're just a little bit tight. I really wanted to try to make a shot at the pole. We were really fast in practice. My car just tightened up a little bit too much on me. All in all a really good day. To come from where were in Chicago to now, my guys have really worked hard. We've got a really good piece for tomorrow. We've got to run 400 miles tomorrow in the Allstate 400 and see what we've got."
Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
How was your qualifying lap? The lap was pretty good until Turn 4. We were right there with Reed and got a little too loose coming out of 4, and I had to get on the gas. I think the lap was pretty good. Reed did a pretty good job, and the whole Ganassi organization did an amazing job. They've been stepping up the game every week. It's good to see a team going in the right direction, and actually to get the front row here at Indianapolis I think is a big deal for Chip and everybody.
How key is it to have that track position early? I think we just got to be patient, work with the car and see what happens. I think tire wear is going to be a big thing to start with. I think my tire wear was pretty good in practice, so just got to be patient and just try to run a good, clean race and see at the end whether you have a chance of winning or get really good points. For the whole team it's important to score really good points; and being up front, it's a big deal.
-credit: dodge motorsports