RICKY RUDD - No. 21 - Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 14th) "That's about what we ran in practice. We were ninth-fastest going into qualifying and pretty much backed that lap up. I'm a little disappointed. I thought we had a little more speed,...
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 - Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 14th)
"That's about what we ran in practice. We were ninth-fastest going into qualifying and pretty much backed that lap up. I'm a little disappointed. I thought we had a little more speed, but we just couldn't quite get the front end to turn like I needed it to. There were a couple tenths left there on the table that we just didn't get, but race setup is a different setup. The good thing about it is it's a brand new race car and it's running good. This should be a good race day car for us on Sunday."
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS PLACE FOR YOU? "It's just one of those tracks I've come to over the years and I've run well at. We've got a few of those grandfather clocks sitting around the house to remind you that you've had some good Martinsville races. I'd say what I like about Martinsville is it's not aerodynamics, it's just about good old short-track racing. Which teams puts the best chassis under you on a given day is gonna be the guy to beat. Pit stops are a big deal also and track position, but it's got nothing to do with aerodynamics so I love it."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 9th)
"I'm very happy with that. This is not my strong point, qualifying at Martinsville, and I just told the guys on the radio that that was the most nervous I'd ever been in my life for some reason in qualifying. But I'm happy with that. The car was good. It was probably better than the driver was, but, hopefully, that will get us in the top-10. That's all that matters for Sunday. I know my guys on pit road will get me the extra spots that we need, so we think we'll run good here."
WHY NERVOUS? "I think it was because I knew I had a good car and I've never qualified good here. I've just been worried to death the last few hours. We were in the top-10 in practice and I know my guys wanted a top-10 in qualifying here so bad. I don't know if that'll hold up for a top-10, but doggone, I hope it's close."
IS THERE SOMETHING TO MOMENTUM? YOU WON AT TEXAS AND NOW THIS. "What do you think? I've only made one race here in my life at Martinsville and right now we're like fifth-quick, so what do you think? (laughing)."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 Roush Racing Taurus (Qualified 27th)
"It's been a struggle all day. That was actually a little quicker than we ran in practice, but we just can't get it to turn. That's what we fought all day and we fought it in qualifying too. When we made changes to try to make it turn, that only made it loose and didn't turn any better. It's real disappointing. This is one of those places that I expect to qualify well and run well and we haven't gotten off to a good start."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus (Qualified 7th)
"It wasn't bad. I really like qualifying here because you never know what you're gonna get. Is the track hot? Is your car dialed in? This place has so many variables. When you're in practice, you're just going lap after lap and it's repetition. When you sit a little while, it's hard to get back in the car and run a good lap, but Gordon knows how to do it here and I was shooting for it."
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE AS THE POINTS LEADER? "We've got a long regular season and we have to put ourselves in contention for the playoffs at the end of the year, so it's a whole new way to look at the points this year and right now we've got a good start so we'll take it."
DOES BEING FIRST MATTER? "It does. It's like having the best record in baseball, it's a stat to have and, hopefully, we'll bring home the pennant for the 97 team and go in to the playoffs leading the points. That way you have as much of an advantage over the 10th-place guy as you can get, but there's a long way to go. We're just at the second short-track race of the year."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 25th)
"We were maybe a hundredth better, so we picked up but as close as everything is you need to make a big gain with a tenth of a second. We made the car different than what it was in practice. We made it turn in the center and usually when you do that, you hurt your exit a little bit and we did that. It was a little bit of a trade off, but that will give us something to go off of."
GETTING THE CAR TO TURN SEEMS TO BE A COMMON PROBLEM HERE. "When we were here testing we only did race runs, but that wasn't what we fought. We had a good test, so, hopefully, everything that we learned there is not gonna be out the window. I think we've got a pretty good race car, but we fought getting the car to turn through the center trying to carry speed for most of the day."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 19th)
"That's OK because we've been backing up recently in our qualifying. We picked up a little, which we haven't been doing. Right now I'm just happy to not give up spots for practice. When I practice I practice as hard as I can. A lot of these guys are able to pick up more."