KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie Taurus (Qualified 2nd) "It was really a good race track. I was surprised. I drove it in deep and it stuck. I'm glad you're interviewing me now because I'm still on the pole. I might not be later. There goes Greg...
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
"It was really a good race track. I was surprised. I drove it in deep and it stuck. I'm glad you're interviewing me now because I'm still on the pole. I might not be later. There goes Greg Biffle. We're having a great time with our team and making the right adjustments and trying to search for what we need. Here at Pocono we've been close - two second-place finishes - we'll see if we can get the Sharpie Ford dialed in on Sunday."
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION HERE? "It's still key. With the gear change rule it's definitely gonna be different in understanding how you're gonna be able to pass cars, whether it's off of one, two or three. Whoever got off of three the best down the front straightaway was the car to beat, but now since we're not shifting all of the corners are up for grabs on who can get the best run to pass a car. I still think track position is key, especially with these tires."
DO YOU FEEL IN POSITION TO BE UP FRONT WITH THAT LAP? "I hope so. We were quick yesterday, but I didn't think many people made their 'q' runs, and then today we made some small adjustments and got her freed up. It was definitely on the free side, which is good because with this impound system you have to be loose for qualifying."
DOES THE CAR FEEL SLOW COMPARED TO LAST YEAR? "It's tough. I don't know what the actual tenths of seconds that we're behind last year's speed, but you're given a new set of rules and you have to balance it out with the best that you can feel it. So if you're tight on all the corners because you can't shift, then you loosen the race car up and now you're more sideways through the corner, so you have to work just as hard. It's not necessarily with the gearing, but now it's with the setup of the car."
THERE'S BEEN CONTROVERSY THE LAST FEW WEEKS. CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? "It's one of those deals where everybody is racing hard. The guys that are locked in, but they're not locked in, and then there are guys on the outside looking in just trying to make the chase. It's tough competition right now and it's very difficult to win. If you hit the setup just right like Greg Biffle is hitting it right now, you ride that wave."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Qualified 23rd)
"I think we got a little cloud cover, but the car was just so loose I couldn't really get a lap. I about wrecked going across the tunnel coming up to speed, so that will sort of take the wind out of your sails to lay down a lap. But this is a great race car. It's really fast in race trim and I just wanted to not wreck the race car. It didn't really matter if we qualified here or not because the track is so big. We're gonna be deep in the field, there's no question about it, we're gonna be 25th or worse but that's what we've got."
IS THERE A LOT OF GRIP ON THE TRACK NOW? "Yeah, I think so. You've got to be pretty tight to run fast right now. That's just all there is to it. How tight do you want to be to run as fast as you want to run right now, and how are you gonna be in the race?"
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 16th)
"I wasn't loose. We worked hard on this car between two different setups in the two practices yesterday and we think we got something that was the best of what we've been so far. We made it, obviously, very adjustable so if you need to under a caution you can make a lot of changes and change a lot of things if you need to. I think we're a lot better and a lot faster than what I ran yesterday with the track hotter. I know other people are running faster, but it was a pretty significant pick-up for us. I feel pretty good. It'll be interesting to see where this goes tomorrow and what direction we have to go with it."
ANY URGE TO SHIFT OUT THERE? "Yeah, it was difficult. I felt like I wasn't doing my job yesterday. I'm riding down the straightaway here with two hands on the steering wheel and that's not normal. I'm supposed to be doing something. When you get to the corner all you have to do is brake and then turn and that doesn't seem right. It's been a long time. Five or six years ago we qualified a couple times and didn't shift and that was strange, but yesterday in race practice I didn't do anything but drive the car. I guess you can't say you didn't hit your marks because you had all this other stuff to do. That excuse is out the window now."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Stonebridge Life Taurus (Qualified 29th)
"That was extremely loose. The Stonebridge Life Ford is really great in race trim. I had a blast yesterday. Bob Osborne and I both knew it was gonna be a little bit free, but that was pretty wild. Trying to get back to the throttle is just really difficult, but, hopefully, that's a sign of a great car for the race on Sunday. I think it's gonna be a lot of fun."
YOU WERE ON THE EDGE? "Yeah, it would be fun if they weren't timing those laps, but they are. I think to qualify really well we would have had to have our car really tight in race trim, otherwise come up with some sort of trick and we don't have one in our bag. We just went out there and qualified the best we could. I think we're gonna race really well, though. Stonebridge Life is on board and it should be a fun race for them, too."
YOU ARE GOING TO NASHVILLE AND THE RAIN AFTER QUALIFYING HERE TODAY. "Yeah, Jack Roush is gonna fly Sterling Marlin and myself down there. We're gonna try to run the Charter Ford. We had a great test there. Hopefully, they get the race in tonight. It looks pretty bad and if they don't get it in tonight, we're gonna be in a little bit of a predicament unless they have rain there tomorrow. So if it rains tonight, we're praying for rain on Sunday in Nashville so we can run that Busch race on Monday."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 25th)
"We kind of knew we were gonna qualify a little bit worse than we used to here, but we think we're gonna be good in the race. We just need to keep working on these impound races qualifying. It's not what we wanted, but we think the car will be good for Sunday. We don't really know what's gonna happen with the new gear rule and stuff. I think it's gonna be a little bit harder to pass, so the guys are gonna have to make some great decisions on pit road. We'll be fine. The M&M's Ford drove good yesterday and now we just have to wait for the race to start."
WHAT SEEMS TO BE THE ISSUE WITH THESE IMPOUND RACES? "I don't know. We're just struggling with our qualifying. We're not getting enough runs in, maybe it's hurting me a little bit not knowing what to expect. We just need to keep working on it. The Goodyear tire is a little bit different. At each track we go to they're calling for something different and maybe we haven't hit on it yet like some of the other guys have. We'll just keep working at it. We've got a long road to hoe ahead of us Sunday, but maybe we'll be OK."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Qualified 10th)
THESE IMPOUND RACES SEEM TO AGREE WITH YOU AS FAR AS QUALIFYING. "Yeah, I like the idea of impound races. I mean, to come to the track and work all day just on qualifying is kind of silly, so it's nice that we can just come and think about racing and work on the race. It seems to be working out OK for us. We usually have an easier time getting our race setups decent than our qualifying setups for some reason."
HOW WAS YOUR LAP TODAY? "I think if you're tight enough to go really fast, I think you're gonna be way too tight for the race. Our car was really loose and still ran a reasonable time, so I was real happy with that because it was real, real loose. But I think if we would have been any tighter, I don't think we would have raced very good so you just have to compromise a little bit."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 13th)
"The Viagra team did a great job on our Ford there getting it tightened up. It wasn't really bad loose. I had to watch myself there and I drove a little bit over my head there in turn three and lost a little bit of speed, but it's so spread out right now that it's not how fast you drive your car it's how fast your car will go, really. My car was good enough that even with a small mistake it's gonna be a top 15 start. I know it's gonna race a lot better. We still have brake problems. I'm incredibly concerned about the problems that we have with our brakes and now we can't work on the car, so we're gonna have to try to suffer through it. We made it through Phoenix with this same problem. I hope I can make it through this one and maybe we won't have to again."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Qualified 32nd)
"I don't know what to say. These guys have busted their butt all week we just haven't hit it very well here. We've been good every week. We had a great run at Charlotte and were gonna have a great run at Dover, and I guess you can't get greedy, you can't have it every week. In practice we were like 23rd-fastest and I knew we weren't good for race trim so they just changed the complete setup under the car for qualifying. The balance is quite a bit off for qualifying. I was pretty loose, but you've heard a lot of people talking about it. I think you want to be loose when you un-tape the grille, and that will put you about neutral when it comes time to go. But I don't think we're quite as bad as the picture looks here because we weren't good yesterday. The car was very violent over the bumps. There's no way we could have run 500 miles like that. Today the car is more conventional. It drives right. It drives good. The balance is just a little bit off, so I think they've got something they can tune during the race."