JEFF BURTON-9-Gain Ford Taurus (Qualified 15th)
THAT LAP PUT YOU ON THE TOP OF THE LEADERBOARD. "I don't think that that time will be fast enough to stay there. The track has lost a lot of grip since we ran this morning. The Cup cars ran, and in addition to that, the sun has been out more, so the track has lost some grip. That's about two tenths slower than we had run and I suspect that most people will lose a couple of tenths, but we were behind about three tenths from where we needed to be. We need a little bit of speed in the Gain Taurus, but it was a nice, clean lap. It was a little bit out of control, but that's the way it goes."
YOU RAN BOTH RACES AT PHOENIX AND IT PAID DIVIDENDS IN THE CUP CAR ON SUNDAY. IS THERE ANY CORRELATION BETWEEN THE TWO CARS? "There's a lot made of that, but I'm not sure of how much you can take from the Busch car to the Cup car. Whatever it is, we need to take advantage of it, but we're just not real sure what that is."
RYAN NEWMAN-02-ALLTEL Ford Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
YOU KNOCKED KEVIN HARVICK OFF THE POLE. "He surprised me there in qualifying, but I think Jeff Green and Kenseth were holding up a little bit in practice, so we'll have to see what they can do before we can start enjoying this. It was definitely a good lap for the ALLTEL Ford
HARVICK CALLED YOU THE ONE-LAP WONDER. WHAT HAS MADE YOU SUCH A GOOD QUALIFIER THIS SEASON? "It's the team, not me. Anybody can drive this race car for two laps in qualifying. It's just a good combination of crew chief, driver and all the guys on the crew. They all do a good job and work real hard, and this is the result. Harvick surprised me in the lap he knocked off. Hopefully we can hold on to it, but it should at least put us in the top five
YOUR CAR GOT LOOSE COMING OFF OF TURN 4 ON YOUR SECOND LAP. "I was just hanging on, trying to push the car as hard as I could and I got a little loose and had to let off of it a little bit. It was definitely a good run for us, and our first lap was fast enough
YOU'RE FINISHING YOUR SEASON BY RUNNING THE FINAL TWO BUSCH RACES, BUT ARE THERE ANY REGRETS THAT YOU'RE NOT ENDING THE SEASON IN THE CUP CAR? "We based our plan off of what Cup races we wanted to run, and since we're running for Rookie-of-the-Year honors there next season, we were limited to seven races. We didn't have those limitations in the Busch Series because we knew that we weren't going to run there full-time and Rookie-of-the-Year wasn't our ultimate goal; we're here to gain experience for next year. I think we picked the seven best Cup events, and where we could fill in the blanks with Busch races, we did."
JEFF GREEN-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 1st)
"We ran quicker than that in practice, but the winds have picked up and the sun is out from behind the clouds. I knew that I was going to have to have a quick lap to beat Ryan, and this was a good lap for the Nesquik Ford. It drove really well, and I was a little concerned about going back and forth from both cars. I really concentrated on what this car did before I got out of it and then tried to remember that when I got back in it. We did all the right things. We're at the top of the board right now, and hopefully we'll stay there
HOW IS THE CAR FOR SATURDAY? "It should be great. We tested here and we're going to try some new stuff at this last race and I think it's going to really pay off for us. We've got a Yates motor under the hood and that thing really made some steam in qualifying. I'm looking forward to racing that thing to see what it can do. I think we have a great chance at winning. We want to go out with a bang and starting on the pole will certainly do that for us
YOU'RE RUNNING A YATES MOTOR WHILE JASON KELLER HAS A ROUSH MOTOR THIS WEEKEND. IS THIS A FIELD TEST? "We've been testing them a little bit, but we were just the guys that got it. It's been running really well. These guys, it's not their first trip into these kind of races, so it's nothing really new to them. They've built some great horsepower so far. The whole ppc Racing team is going to Yates next year, so it's just a race for them to get under their belt. I'm really excited about it; I think it will give us another opportunity to win a race."
GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"That was a great run for the Grainger Ford. We didn't come down here and test like a lot of teams, and that was better than I expected. I was hoping to get in the top five and hopefully that will keep me in the top five; we still have a few fast cars left to go. We'll see where we end up
YOU'VE GOT FOURTH PLACE LOCKED UP IN THE POINTS. HAS THIS BEEN A GOOD YEAR FOR YOU? "I think it has certainly been a good year when you look at our five wins. We accomplished a lot this year and learned a lot. We're anxious next to win a championship. I was putting pressure on myself because I thought we could win four times this season. We wanted to match what previous rookies have done, and that's three, and we've gone above our expectations.
ELTON SAWYER-98-Univ. of Miami/Starter Ford Taurus (Qualified 10th) - "That wasn't a bad run. The Miami Hurricanes car was a little free in 3 and 4. I just couldn't use the gas pedal like I needed to. All of the guys did a good job and I'm proud of them. We were hoping for something a little better, but that should end up in the top 10
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS RACE FOR YOUR TEAM TO GAIN ATTENTION FOR YOUR LACK OF SPONSORSHIP IN 2002? "Obviously, we need to run well and stay up front all day because this is a great race team. Right now, we need a sponsor next year, so we're no different from a team that is 20th or 25th. We need to run good and show people that this is a great program, although we've already done that for 32 races. The goal was to come here and sit on the pole and win the race, and now it's just to win the race. Last week was a big boost for us. We made a good call at the end and got in the top 10. We worked really hard on the race car this morning and we'll work hard on it this afternoon. These guys never give up; I don't have any doubt of that in my mind. Sometimes circumstances arise that you have no control over. We'll go out and try to be as smart as we possibly can be, and hopefully we're a contender."
JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 5th)
YOUR FIRST LAP WAS YOUR FASTEST. WAS THAT THE PLAN? "That's just pretty much the way it worked out. I was really going for it and the car was pretty loose and I tried to drive it a little too hard. I'm just lucky that I brought it back in one piece on that second lap. You have to drive it on the edge if you're going to be on the pole and I did that. It just didn't work out for the pole, but it will get us in the top five
HOW FOCUSED ARE YOU ON THE POINTS RACE FOR SECOND PLACE? "We know we have a shot a second, but it looks like Jeff is going to start on the pole, so it's going to be tough. We just need to race the race, and whatever happens in the points will happen
YOU HAVE A ROUSH MOTOR UNDER YOUR HOOD THIS WEEKEND WHILE JEFF IS RUNNING A YATES MOTOR. WHO HAS THE ADVANTAGE? "It's going to be as close as it possibly can get. We're just figuring out where we are and where the motors are. We're still running this points deal, and it pays a whole lot more to finish second than third. We can still do it and that where our focus is. We know that it's going to be tough, but we want to give ourselves a shot at winning the race. That's what we've done. We came here and tested for two days and didn't put a lot of emphasis on qualifying, so I'm happy to finish where we did. We just need to be real smart and we'll be fine."