Martinsville Ford Friday qualifying notes

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus -- "We just don't run good here. It doesn't look like we're gonna make the race. We wanted to run good for the 1,000th race of the Wood Brothers, but it looks like the 1,000th race will probably be at Charlotte.

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus -- "We just don't run good here. It doesn't look like we're gonna make the race. We wanted to run good for the 1,000th race of the Wood Brothers, but it looks like the 1,000th race will probably be at Charlotte. I don't know where we missed the boat at. I used to run good here in late models and everything else I drove, but we just can't figure out how to get a Cup car to go around here. It's pretty frustrating this close to home, but we don't deserve to make the race running like this, so we've got a lot of work to do."

STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus -- "Going out third doesn't help anything here. That's about what we ran in practice. I know the first two cars actually ran a little bit slower than they practiced, so it was a decent lap for us. We hope to be a little bit quicker, but we'll take it. It's not what we want, but I think it'll put us in pretty good shape."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus -- "We were so close on this thing and thought we had a good shot at sitting on the pole. I mean, we didn't have any cushion at all. We laid everything out there that we had, but going early the car turned too good, so we're lucky to get what we got."

CASEY ATWOOD --19-- Motorola Taurus -- "We slowed down a little bit from practice. I would have liked to have been a little faster, but, hopefully, that'll get us in. That's pretty decent. Like I say, we ran a lot faster than that in practice. Maybe the track has slowed down, so maybe everybody else will slow down too."

IS THIS A TOUGH TRACK TO TRY AND MAKE YOUR SECOND CUP RACE? "It's a rough track, but I like tracks like this. I grew up on short places like this and it was my choice to come here. We didn't have to come here, but I like the track. We've been running good all day. I don't know what happened there. Maybe the track slowed down, but the car felt the same so I don't know."

DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus -- "I had a better car than that. I locked the front tire up going into turn one on the second lap. That was gonna be my killer lap. It was a killer alright, I killed the lap and messed it up. This is a really hard place to put it all together -- the tires and the track and it's a little hotter than it was when we practiced. Overall, I'm happy. That's a good effort. We didn't mess up."

WALLY DALLENBACH --75-- RotoZip Taurus -- "Compared to where we were the first time around we're light years ahead. We've still got a long way to go, but we came here and tested and I think we learned a little bit about what we were doing wrong with the type of cars we've been running the last four or five weeks, so, hopefully, we can get this thing going in the right direction."

YOU PICKED UP THE SECOND LAP. "It's always eventful at Martinsville. It's so hard to get a hold of the race track here. You drive the thing hard through the corners and you're trying to get heat in the tires, so it's always eventful here. It's pretty slippery."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "That's faster than we ran in practice and that's all you can ever really ask for is to go faster, especially here. We had a good first lap and on the second lap we tried to get a little bit more and that probably hurt us a little bit, but that'll be a good starting spot and that's all we want."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus -- "That's the same thing we ran in practice. We've been a dog all day, so I don't know why we thought we'd be any better then."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus -- "That's the fastest we've run today, but we haven't run good today. I don't know. We've never been able to get the car balanced. We made a bunch of changes there and I give Donnie (Wingo) and the guys a lot of credit. We made some changes and it ran the fastest. We probably waited too long to make those changes, but, all in all, I don't know if that's gonna make the race or not. We may have to go again tomorrow."

BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus -- "It was a decent lap. I should have been a little better down there in three and four. I've had a little problem being a little loose in three and four. I got it a little out on my first lap and I could never make it up on my second lap."

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus -- "We really don't have a good short track car. This car is pretty heavy and if we can make the race it'll be a huge accomplishment for us. Hopefully, with the time we ran, I know it'll be close but I hope it's good enough to get in the show. We're kind of missing some things on the car, like I said it's pretty heavy. It's kind of easy to do some things to get by for one or two laps like qualifying, but to get it try to run 500 is a whole other story. We've got our work cut out for us."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "We lost a lot. The only thing we did was take a pound (of air) out of the rights and the car was really tight in the center of the corner. It looked like everybody was getting loose and we tried to make an adjustment. We probably should have left it alone."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "That's a little slower than we ran in practice. The track changed a little bit for everybody. It lost a little bit of speed and it was a little bit too tight. If we could have freed it up a little bit more, then we obviously would have cut a little bit quicker lap, but the way the car is driving it should really be good on race setup. Sometimes it's a problem getting all of this Yates horsepower to the ground, but Mike McSwain, Raymond Fox and all these guys have worked really hard on the chassis and, if anything, we're getting a little bit too much forward bite which will play out good in the race."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "We've got eight poles already this year so far and, hopefully, we'll get a couple more before the year is out. But that's a good run for us. I was on the front row with Stewart a couple of years ago and it looks like we're gonna do it again this week, so we'll see what happens."

WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE LOST SOME TIME? "I was real surprised how my first lap was so slow, but I just couldn't get the front wheels to grip the way I wanted to in three in four. The second lap everything stuck really, really good, so maybe I just didn't get going hard enough the first time on my warm-up lap, I don't know."

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus -- "For a team like ours that doesn't get to wind tunnel test and all that, when you come to a slower race track the conditions play into our hands. Ernie (Elliott) gave us a great qualifying motor and Mike (Hillman) put a great setup under it and here we are in the top 10. Our pit crew is a lot better than it was here in the spring and I'm hoping we can race in the top 10 now realistically. I think we're gonna have a good enough car to and I think our pit crew is capable."

JEFF BURTON PRESS CONFERENCE -- IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE HEADED FOR THE POLE. "I hate when that happens. We pretty much knew that unless Tony messed up somewhere he'd run faster than us. We don't come to the race track normally looking to sit on poles, we just want to get a good starting spot and we were real happy with that."

DID YOU GET LOOSE OUT THERE AT ALL? "The second lap I was loose everywhere. The first lap my car hooked up really nice, but we didn't really have any trouble off turn four."

WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY'S RACE? "Rusty would certainly be the favorite going into this race. In practice on Saturday everybody will be watching how fast Rusty can go and how long he can go that fast. This is always a good race. It's physically demanding. It's mechanically demanding on your car. People get mad at the end of this race and it's good short-track racing and it'll be that way Sunday as well."

HAVE YOU TURNED THE CORNER ON QUALIFYING? "I don't know if we've turned the corner or not. Rusty has been a tremendous amount help of help to us. He's been willing to help me on qualifying and he's really helped me a lot. We are doing it better than we ever have, but whether we will continue to do that or not I don't know. It's not a change in philosophy or we're trying harder at it, it's just we're trying different things. We were lost and way behind on it and it's taken us a while to get caught up. We qualified 21st at Dover last week and I was really happy with that. I know that's low expectations, but that's like only the second time I've ever made first-round at Dover. That's terrible to say, but that's what it is. We've changed a lot about what we do, not because we want it any worse than we used to want it, it's just that we didn't know what to do. We know a little bit more about it now than we used to."

IS THE TIME PEOPLE STOP THINKING ABOUT CHAMPIONSHIPS AND START THINKING ABOUT RACES? "I think a lot is made about championships, about the way people race trying to win a championship. I think the way Bobby Labonte's won it is to go into every race trying to do the best he could do. I think at the end of the race you kind of look at it and you think, 'Oh God, we got in a wreck or we had mechanical problems,' and it hurts really bad then, but to win the championship you've got to run well. Last week, obviously, we had our problems and it's been a hard week on us. We have to be realistic and understand that we're probably out of the championship hunt, but for us it's been kind of a weird week. We've been fighting and clawing and struggling and got ourselves in pretty good position and then in a matter of a few seconds we lost all that. So, for us, it's been an emotionally tough week because we put so much into it and we got it taken away. I think everybody is here to run the best they can run, regardless of where they are in the championship with the exception of Bobby. Bobby's here to prevent having something bad happen because that's the only way he can lose the championship."

RUSTY WALLACE PRESS CONFERENCE -- YOU ALMOST GOT POLE NUMBER 9. "We got close, but I really didn't think we'd run that fast. I was hoping for the high eighties and when Jeff laid that lap down I said, 'Man, nobody's gonna be able to beat that one.' I knew Stewart ran an .81 early, but I didn't think he could do it again and, really, I didn't think I could run that fast. Mine was kind of a weird lap because my first lap I ran a 20.05, it didn't run what I wanted to, and then the second lap it really hooked up hard and I ran a 19.85, so that was good. I believe last time I got the pole here my second lap was the quickest too, so I don't know what it is but I can't get the car to run fast the first lap. At least we're in the front row and that feels good."

DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS COMING OFF FOUR -- LOOSE?  "I can't remember if
I got loose.  I know my first lap just didn't have that stuck in the
ground feeling.  The second lap felt real good."

WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY'S RACE? "It's gonna be a real good race. I think Jeff (Burton) and I both have a great shot to win this thing. I know Stewart's up in the front row too. Jeff tested and he ran good in his test and I ran real good here last time in my run, I think we led over 350 laps, so I know I'll have a good car. I'm excited about it. It's one of my favorite tracks and it's been good to me in the past. I think I've got six or seven victories here and a whole host of poles, so I like it."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte