CARL LONG, ...
CARL LONG, #59 CHECK INTO CASH DODGE, QUALIFIED 43RD. LONG DID NOT QUALIFY FOR THE RACE.
"The car really pushed bad from the center of the corner off. I left a good two-tenths (of a second) at both ends of the racetrack. We probably could have ran a .50 and I just ran a .90. I doubt that will make the race."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, #48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED SEVENTH.
"That was good. I was really surprised at how little grip there was for the front of the car and finally by our third lap we got enough temp in the tires and I knew what I needed to do to get a decent lap. I'd be a little smarter if I would go out and do it over again right now. This isn't bad so we're excited."
IT SEEMED LIKE A LOT OF DRIVERS WERE STRUGGLING COMING OFF THE CORNER IN PRACTICE. DID THAT HAPPEN TO YOU?
"We worked on it and made it better and in qualifying we didn't have any issues there. It was more of not enough grip through the center of the turn to make the car turn good enough for us. I just think it was more temperature related. You get sucked into thinking you've got all the script in practice because you got out run after run and the tires don't cool all the way down. There's a lot to that in the tire temp. We need to be a little bit better prepared next time to build a little more front tire temp for qualifying."
IS THE TRACK RADICALLY DIFFERENT THIS RACE VERSUS THE APRIL RACE?
"It's so new to me that I can't tell any different. I know I will be able to in the race. We're going to have a lot more tire wear so I don't see it being the first one with enough gas to go to the end is going to be the winner. It's going to be more of a traditional race where you have to put fuel and tires on it quite often."
RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE CONTENDER RYAN NEWMAN IN THE #12 ALLTEL FORD WON THE POLE FOR SUNDAY'S RACE AT MARTINSVILLE. THIS IS HIS FOURTH BUD POLE OF THE 2002 SEASON AND THE THIRD TIME IN THE LAST FOUR RACES HE HAS BEEN TOP QUALIFYING RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE. THE MARTINSVILLE EVENT MARKS THE 17TH TIME THIS SEASON NEWMAN HAS BEEN TOP QUALIFYING ROOKIE. THIS IS HIS FIFTH CAREER BUD POLE.
"I said in my interview with television that Gordon has had the pole at the first three half-mile racetracks, two at Bristol and one here at Martinsville, I believe. Knocking him off the pole here was pretty big. I'm happy to do it and I'm happy for Alltel."
DID YOU HERE THE CROWD'S REACTION WHEN YOU TOOK THE POLE?
"No. My dad came down and told me that 'You should have heard the applause.' That's cool. It's good to be here. The track is a little different but it's the same for everybody and we're just out there trying as hard as we can."
IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE GOOD OFF THE CORNER ALL DAY, BOTH IN PRACTICE AND IN QUALIFYING.
"It's kind of a half and half deal. The driver has got to have finesse for what the racecar has got grip for. Matt and the guys did an awesome job. We have a good car and that part of it was good today."
HOW MUCH DIFFERENT WAS THE TRACK TODAY VERSUS THE APRIL RACE?
"About three-tenths (laughs). I mean, that's the bottom line. It's grip in the corners and mostly grip coming off the corners. It's something that we will have to work with but like I said it's the same for everybody. We'll see what the racetrack does. I told my crew chief Matt that it took a 20.10 to sit on the pole here in the spring and now we're trying to get down into the .40s. It's kind of wild how things can change so much."
YOU WON THE POLE BUT YOU HAD TO WAIT.
"It's tough bumping Jeff Gordon off of a pole. He's definitely tough. I'm happy for Alltel and Ford to be able to get the pole today. The guys did an awesome job. Matt did an awesome job getting what it takes to get around this place. It's definitely a different racetrack for us."
HOW DIFFERENTLY DID YOU HAVE TO DRIVE THE TRACK TODAY?
"The walls are in the same spot and the curb is in the same spot it's just a matter of how hard you push the pedal and that's what we fought with today. We got the best two laps today."
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS HAVE BETTER LUCK THAN THE LAST TIME YOU WERE HERE.
"I punched a hole in the radiator. That was a rookie deal there. We have a better stating spot now and that's going to be the big thing come race day."
WAS IT A PERFECT LAP?
"It was good enough and that's all that matters. I wouldn't say perfect. We're trying as hard as we can. It wasn't like we were going for a .42; we were going for whatever we had, if it was a .20 or whatever; run as hard as we can."
WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK THIS WEEKEND FROM THE FRONT ROW?
"Pretty good from the front row, always (laughs). It's one of those things where track position, pit stops, all that stuff is going to be important just like every other race this season and for the last 20 years. We'll have to see how things go."
MATT BORLAND, CREW CHIEF, #12 ALLTEL FORD:
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT YOU WON THE POLE?
"A little bit. We were hoping we could do it here. We wanted to get the pole here. It's a new car and we wanted to be able to run that well. It's always nice to be able to put in a lap and it count. That was nice."
A LOT OF DRIVERS WERE STRUGGLING TO GET OFF THE CORNER IN PRACTICE. WAS THAT EVER A PROBLEM FOR YOU?
"At the beginning of practice it was real bad. I think the track came in a little bit better. I think a lot of the dust cleared up and we also had to work on the car quite a bit to try and fix that."
YOU HAVE A GOOD PIT SELECTION FOR SUNDAY. HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT?
"The biggest thing is going to be trying to stay out of trouble and hopefully keeping good track position all day. Here, obviously, there's a lot of beating and banging that goes on so if we can stay near the front most of the day we can hopefully keep out of that."
WITH THE TRAFFIC AT MARTINSVILLE, DOES STATING UP FRONT HELP YOU? IS THAT A BIG FACTOR?
"Not as much, like most tracks, it's the big factor for downforce but here it's a matter of keeping out of the wrecks that happen. When stuff happens in front of you there's not much you can do so it helps."
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