KEN SCHRADER, No. 49 Microsoft Small Business Toyota Camry, BAM Racing Starting Position: 7th Can you talk about driving a Toyota for the first time today? "The car was good all day and we were good here last year too. I'm just excited about the...
KEN SCHRADER, No. 49 Microsoft Small Business Toyota Camry, BAM Racing Starting Position: 7th
Can you talk about driving a Toyota for the first time today? "The car was good all day and we were good here last year too. I'm just excited about the Toyota deal and working with Bill Davis some. I've always been a big fan of Bill Davis and Dave Blaney. New name on the car with Microsoft Small Business and a new manufacturer -- we're still one of those hooligans who doesn't have their truck in here (infield), but we'll pull it in tonight."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 8th
What were you fighting on your qualifying lap? "It was a fine lap -- just steady. We've been fighting brakes and been fighting how the car turns all day. I just tried to go out there and put in a solid effort for our M&Ms Toyota and that's what we did. Just able to get it somewhere towards the front and we'll see where we end up."
TONY STEWART, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 9th
How was the handling of your car during the qualifying run? "The Home Depot car was still a little tight in the center, but we are within a tenth of our teammate right in front of us. We picked up a bunch on the second lap. That's going to put us a lot better than we ended in practice. I don't normally gain time from practice to qualifying, but here we gained almost two-tenths. Track position is usually important here, so it will be nice to start towards the front on Sunday."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 15th
How strange is it to climb into the 44 car today versus your normal 00? "It's hard to even look up on the scoreboard and figure out where you are sometimes because I'm so used to seeing the 00. It was an okay lap today -- we picked up a little from practice. Everybody did a good job and I'm happy we're locked in no matter what happens. It's a little better feeling rather than having to wait around and see what happens."
Can you talk about the comfort of being locked into the field? "It was because the car slipped up a little on the second lap and normally panic would set in at that point because you knew you had to make it. It felt good to not have to do that. It was a decent lap -- not a great lap, but we did pick up from practice so that's a plus. We'll keep working on it for the race."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 16th
How hard were you able to run on your qualifying lap? "I got after it as hard as I thought I could and it almost got away from me on the first lap so I was a little conservative on the second lap. I just wish I could have been a little tighter. But I'm very proud of the team and where we're at -- we have a competitive car and we'll work on it tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to the race."
How does it feel to know you were locked into the field before qualifying? "I can't explain it. There's a really big difference between wanting to do good and having to do good. I wanted to do good really good, which meant I was going to be calm and aggressive and do my job. I knew I could mess up and it wouldn't be the end of me so I wasn't timid -- I wasn't nervous -- I was focused. That's the biggest difference. Even when you qualify and make the race, which we got better at last year obviously, even when you did your job it was still very hard because you knew you had to be right. Today I was just able to focus on the job at hand and not worry about any other issues."
Can you comment on Jack Roush's comments earlier today? "I'm going to have to let Jeff Gordon be my spokesperson on that subject -- I think he said it pretty good. Whatever Jeff said, write me down for the same thing. I don't know how many of you reporters even know what a sway bar is because when the race is over they tear the motors down and look inside of them. A sway bar is basically a hunk of metal that is either solid or hollow -- it's either little or big. NASCAR really works hard to make sure there isn't any proprietary pieces and parts on these cars. Whatever Jeff (Gordon) said, I agree with that. As far as Jack (Roush) and Mr. Henry -- Jack helped define what ownership in this garage ought to look like. He was the first one to really, truly embrace the multi-car team and understand that more people working on the same project -- the better you could do. I've always looked up to Jack and hate that he's all spun out about this. To me, anything that I understand how to make can't be too proprietary and I think I could make a sway bar in an afternoon if I was forced to do so."
Do you feel like the finger is being pointed at your team in the accusations? "I don't know his motives and I don't want to comment on them. I read his comments that he was upset at Atlanta and he's better now. I understand getting upset -- it happens to me sometimes. I don't have any ill will towards him or anything he said."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing Starting Position: 18th
Have the track conditions changed today? "They seem fine -- I think it's been pretty consistent all day. The speeds have been close. It's the same old Martinsville and I think it's going to be a good race on Sunday."
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 34th
Was that the qualifying lap you were expecting? "Not at all. We thought we could pick up some time there from practice and we only did one qualifying run. We were just a little too loose -- we were really tight all day and we made a little adjustment there for qualifying and we just went too far. I have to thank everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota for giving me this opportunity. It's great having Aaron's on the car this week -- I'm really excited that they came on for another five races. I hope we can do a good job for them in the race -- this qualifying effort didn't help us for sure, but we just have to keep plugging away."
How long will it take for you to adjust to the Sprint Cup Series? "It's a learning process for me too. It could be a matter of weeks, but who knows how long it will take. The best thing is that we're in the top-35 now and we just have to get good results so we stay there."
-credit: toyota motorsports