GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Qualified 2nd) "The Grainger guys gave me a really good car here. We tested and were pretty decent. What's kind of unique is we didn't do any qualifying practice. I had to leave early and go to Oklahoma...
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
"The Grainger guys gave me a really good car here. We tested and were pretty decent. What's kind of unique is we didn't do any qualifying practice. I had to leave early and go to Oklahoma and Mark drove my car in qualifying trim and we used some of those notes, so it was a pretty dang good lap. I knew it was gonna be up to me not to make any mistakes on that lap and I made one mistake and that was coming off turn four over here. I got up on the curb and got a little sideways and lost some forward momentum. That's what cost me being on the pole today. I knew it was gonna be something. Jeff Gordon is really good at what he does and I just didn't make any mistakes today. But, overall, I'm pretty happy with our efforts. What I'm more excited about is we tested really fast here in race trim, Mark and I both tested really fast here in race trim, so we're both, I'm sure, looking really forward to this race on Sunday."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"We just ran real good. Greg and I both ran really, really, really good. That's why I do this. If I was gonna be a middle-of-the-pack runner, you wouldn't have ever saw me or heard of me because I have no interest in that. Unfortunately, you have to do that some in this business. You can't always go that well, but we have a whole lot faster race car than I've had here the past few years and, hopefully, we won't have all the awful kind of luck that we've had at so many other places here recently. We got a top 10 finish at Indy and maybe that's a start of some good things to come. We feel pretty confident about going forward from here and certainly feel confident about being fast here. That doesn't mean that things won't go wrong for us, but at least we're gonna be fast."
HOW MUCH MORE DOES THE DRIVER MEAN IN QUALIFYING FOR A ROAD COURSE THAN OVAL? "You could have asked me that a few years ago and I might have said the driver is really important, but I will tell you this - no driver can drive a slow car fast. He just can't do it. He can't take a middle-of-the-pack car and qualify in the top five. That was an incredible piece of equipment I drove here today. You might have gotten a different answer a while back when I was consistently driving cars that felt like this all the time, but I know now that without a great race car, you don't have a prayer."
DOES THE TRUCK SERIES EXPERIENCE HERE HELP? "It does. Track experience is track experience. We did run here in 2001 in a Busch car and finished second to Ron Fellows, so we had a really good run here in a Busch car, but both the truck and the Busch car - we were on the pole here in the truck and won from the pole and qualified up in the top five in the Busch car and ran real well. That experience has certainly helped me in the Winston Cup car. Commenting on the last question on the driver, there are opportunities to make mistakes here than other places and that experience has been valuable to me - running those races here in the past."
WHAT HAVE YOU DISCOVERED TO GET BACK TO FORM HERE? "It's just little things to be honest with you. We brought the car that we used here last year to the test and this car here, which was new this year. Actually, the car I used last year was really fast too, but this car was a little bit better and that little bit makes some difference. It's a lot of little things, but not a lot of anything. It's just the little things that seem to be working together. Both of my cars were real fast. Greg's car was fast. I drove Greg's car. His car was fast. Greg was real fast. Matt Kenseth was also real fast. I didn't drive his car, but I know he was fast as well, so it just seems like everything is working right now. The setup that we used in the car from last year was last year's setup and it seemed to be more competitive this year than last year, I don't know why."
A LOT OF CARS BROKE THE TRACK RECORD TODAY. WHY? "The cars are better and the car consists of engines, brakes, springs and shocks and aerodynamics. All of those things are probably improved a little from last year and the year before. Conditions were perfect too. They were perfect in the test as well."
A LOT OF CARS BROKE THE TRACK RECORD TODAY. WHY? "It's a really cool day out, there's no sunshine to get the track slick, so the track has got so much grip right now that it's unbelievable. I don't know what the conditions were like last year, this being my first time here in a Cup car, but, like Mark said, the cars are better plus the race track is in optimimum condition right now as far as speed."
YOU HIGH-FIVED JEFF AFTER HIS LAP. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT? "Not really anything. He was here at the test and he knew how fast we were. He told me at Indy that he thought he could hang with me in qualifying, but he didn't think he could in race trim with that race run we made during the test. He got a good lap. He got a better lap than we did and got a better lap than Greg did, too. I don't think that was car. I didn't need a better car today to win the pole, I needed a better lap. The same with Greg. It just came down to every inch of that race track because there were opportunities to gain or lose. Either I didn't gain enough in areas that I might have, or I lost a little bit too much in the areas that I did. It came down to laps not vehicles today."