RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Qualified 16th) "We tested here a couple of weeks ago and ran really well, and today we were lost. We came in and for some reason we just couldn't get hooked up. We changed a lot of stuff in...
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Qualified 16th)
"We tested here a couple of weeks ago and ran really well, and today we were lost. We came in and for some reason we just couldn't get hooked up. We changed a lot of stuff in an hour-and-a-half and finally Fatback hit on something right there late in practice and then everything was back to normal again, so I think we're gonna race good but it didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked. The good thing is that at the end of practice he hit on something and it seems to have carried over to qualifying. I think we're gonna do OK. This early draw is probably not the best situation, but it's gonna work out."
EARLY IS USUALLY NOT GOOD. "No, not when the track is cooling down but that only affects your starting position. I'm proud of the guys. They did a good job - for them to come back when we weren't very good in practice to being pretty good."
HOW IS YOUR RACE SETUP? "Well, like I said, for a two-hour practice an hour-and-a-half of that we weren't very good. About the last 20-30 minutes they got it dialed in and it was pretty good then, but we were on a real old set of tires. I liked what I felt, but it just seemed like it took us a while to get there, but at least we got there."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 19th)
"The car was a little bit too tight, but I think it's gonna run good. This car ran pretty good on long runs here in the spring, so we're looking forward to tomorrow night. We know what we've got to do, we just have to go ahead and try to do it."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 9th)
"We weren't holding anything back. I'd like to say that, but, no, we're not in much of a position to hold much back. We just made some air-pressure adjustment there. We knew the car was pretty good. We worked really hard on our race stuff and I saw some things last night in the truck race. I got up on top of the truck this morning and watched some things with Busch practice and saw some guys that were pretty fast with the things they were doing, so I worked on my car to kind of make that happen today and they made the right calls there. At least we'll get a reasonable starting spot and see what we can do tomorrow night."
DOES THIS GIVE YOU SOME FIRE AND EDGE FOR THE RACE? "We've got plenty of fire in us. I don't think we have to worry about that, but we just need a good run. We haven't had one in quite a while. We've put ourselves in this position and we just have to go and have a good race. Whether it's good enough to get us in, it's probably not gonna be regardless of what happens, but we just need a good run for our sponsors and for these guys that work on this race team, and for our car owner Robert Yates."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
"The car is looking really good. I tell you what, the National Guard Ford here has been fast right off the truck and I'm just really excited about it. The guys have been working really hard on it and it's just a fast, fast race car. I'm excited."
DO YOU FEEL LOST IN THE SHUFFLE. YOU'RE LOCKED IN THE CHASE AND THERE'S NOT MUCH ATTENTION ON YOU. "Yeah, we are but we've got a great car. The people that are lost in the shuffle are those people in the gulf coast. We're thinking about them a lot, the American Red Cross and the National Guard. The soldiers down there are trying to help everybody. Maybe we'll put it in victory lane and they won't forget about us."
ARE YOU READY FOR THE ONSLAUGHT THAT WILL HAPPEN AT LOUDON? "Yeah, I'm ready and, hopefully, I'll be taking this race car here. This is a great race car for us. The guys did a phenomenal job preparing this car. They really did their homework coming here. This is the best race car I've ever had at Richmond before and the fastest I've ever gone here, so I'm really excited. I can't wait for tomorrow night."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Qualified 13th)
"You always wish you'd go faster, but I was happy with it from the seat. We were just free off the corner and that was as fast as I could go, so I got everything there was. We were just a little free off the corner, which is kind of what I expected. We kind of had it set up like that because we think it's gonna get tighter tomorrow night, so we kind of had it like that and kind of expected it."
YOU WERE CONSISTENT IN PRACTICE. YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RACE? "Yeah, I feel good about it. Obviously, anything can happen, but just based solely on performance I feel good about our chances. I think our performance is gonna be pretty good. Compared to the competition I was pretty happy with our car - the way it drove and what our speeds were - so as far as just performance goes I feel OK about it."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 4th)
"Pat and the Viagra team made some changes on the car. It was pretty good in practice, but not good enough. It's nice to be locked into the chase. It's been an easy weekend. We kind of threw some stuff at it and the car is not adjusted quite right, so when we get in the race and get some pit stops we'll make it better. It might have been a lucky lap, I can't tell you. I'm not sure, but, actually, I kind of bobbled off of two, but the track keeps getting faster. I think our car will be pretty good, but it's gonna need an adjustment or two in the race."
CAN YOU COMPARE THIS YEAR WITH LAST YEAR TO MAKE THE CHASE? "There is no comparison. Everything is good. Everything is so good right now. All I wanted to do this year was do right by the fans and by all the people who helped me make this all happen and make this chase and these guys have done it for me."
HOW BRUTAL WAS IT LAST YEAR? "We just broke so much. We were so far behind that it was unbelievable and I was scared for my life. I mean, I was really afraid that we might not have a sponsor this year or whatever. There was a lot more pressure on us than you could ever imagine to make that chase. Then we made it and then we made it into the top five. It was a great year and I have no idea if we can make it again this year. I know we've made it, but I don't have any idea if we can make a better effort or get a better result. The effort is gonna be there because we've got a whole bunch of tests we've saved up. Last year we were tested out when we got here. We've got a whole pile of tests, so we'll see what we can do with it. I don't know. That doesn't always make you finish better, but the effort is sure gonna be strong this year."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Crown Royal Taurus (Qualified 5th)
"We're happy with it, but a bit disappointed. With us being locked in and with no pole it would have been nice to shoot one and go get one, but we just came up a bit short. We were about a tenth short, but a lot of people are about a tenth short."
DO YOU FEEL OVERLOOKED THIS WEEKEND? "That's exactly right and we need that too because in the next 10 weeks they're gonna be all over us. It was a good run, I just wish we could have got a pole for the Crown Royal Ford for this week. We'll work on it for the next 10."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts Taurus (Qualified 18th)
"I was just a little bit tight in the center and it was a little loose off. I couldn't really get the throttle down. I was really kind of just taking it easy. I took the first lap real easy and the second lap I hustled a little bit more, but the biggest thing to me was with the changes we made not to try too hard and screw something up. Hopefully, that will stay for a top 20 and get us a pretty decent spot."