First-round qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway began shortly after 1:30 p.m. EST under a clearing sky and escalating temperatures, and all five Roush Racing drivers circled the 2.5-mile oval with one car locking into the top 25, ...
First-round qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway began shortly after 1:30 p.m. EST under a clearing sky and escalating temperatures, and all five Roush Racing drivers circled the 2.5-mile oval with one car locking into the top 25, guaranteed of a starting spot in Saturday's 400-mile race. Matt Kenseth was the first of 49 entries to qualify, Kevin Lepage 10th, Jeff Burton 23rd, Mark Martin 36th, and Chad Little was the 41st competitor to make his one lap of qualifying.
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford Taurus (41st quickest, 50.663 seconds):
"We weren't happy at all with that lap. That was almost two tenths slower than practice. That's not going to get us in the top 25 in first round, and we were hoping to do that. It's a long race, we'll get a spot tomorrow and got to work on it in race trim and get it to run good in traffic."
Kevin Lepage, No. 16 FamilyClick.com/TV Guide Ford Taurus (46th quickest, 51.248 seconds):
"We brought a brand new car and we tested it in July. We thought we were making progress with it, but that lap wasn't good at all. We need more laps on the track and we've got a lot of work to do. Looks like we'll have to go after it during second-round qualifying to try to get a decent spot in the show."
Jeff Burton, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford Taurus (31st quickest, 50.358 seconds):
"That run pretty much speaks for itself. It was pretty ugly. We didn't have a good lap today, and we'll be working on things the rest of the day to try and get it better. This doesn't mean that we're going to have a bad race, because I've had experience here starting in the back and working my way up. So if we don't do well on Saturday, it's not because of our starting position, it's because we weren't able to run 400 miles. I didn't feel that good at practice, and the car just never felt like it needed to feel. It's definitely not the lap we wanted."
Mark Martin, No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Ford Taurus (12th quickest, 49.970 seconds):
"We lost a little bit from practice, but we closed the gap to the fastest cars. The sun hurt us there a little, but we still turned a pretty good lap. The Valvoline/Cummins Taurus is competitive and that lap will give us a good starting spot on Saturday."
Chad Little, No. 97 John Deere Ford Taurus (42nd quickest, 50.833 seconds):
"The car handled good, we just didn't have quite enough speed. We're about one tenth off in every corner, so that will be our focus over the next day and a half. This is a new car, but we tested it here three weeks ago. We feel that it's a competitive car, we just need to get the right setup underneath it."