MIKE MCLAUGHLIN-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 19th) "That's the best I've run. This is the first time I've been here with this new track. It's definitely a lot better facility. We've been fighting tight, but they've been making it ...
MIKE MCLAUGHLIN-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 19th)
"That's the best I've run. This is the first time I've been here with this new track. It's definitely a lot better facility. We've been fighting tight, but they've been making it better and better for me all day."
DOES THE PROGRESSIVE BANKING MAKE IT AN EASIER TRACK TO DISSECT WHEN IT'S YOUR FIRST TIME HERE? "It's smooth and it gives you more than one groove to work with, so that makes it easier to figure out. Usually on a fresh track, it's a one-groove track. Last year, there was more than one groove, so they did a good job."
DID YOU WATCH LAST YEAR'S RACE TO GET AN IDEA OF HOW TO GET AROUND HERE? "I watched on TV the tape of the race from last year earlier today. Other than that, I talked to Martin Jr. and he told me a little bit about it. I tried to see what it was like, and he really couldn't compare it to anything. The best he could tell me was that it was a little like Chicago and I went off that."
GREG BIFFLE-60-Charter Communications Ford Taurus (Qualified 17th)
"That's the best we've been all day. I kept it a little conservative all day almost after losing my best car down here in practice to start with. I was a little on the tight side and it was just a little bit tight in qualifying. I had a little bit better lap, but I had to lift coming off of four on that second lap. I got a little tight on the corner exit."
HAS IT BEEN TAXING GOING BETWEEN TWO GARAGES TODAY? "Not really. I've been doing it all year. Thank goodness I don't have to drive the Cup car today, too. I could but that would just be a lot of work."
HOW DIFFERENT DO YOU HAVE TO DRIVE AROUND THIS TRACK IN THE CAR VERSUS THE TRUCK? "It's majorly different. You stay a little higher and arc it in a little bit more with the truck, and the truck is a lot slower, too. The truck is a lot more forgiving than the Busch car because of the car's short wheelbase, so that's the main difference."
JASON KELLER-22-Miller High Life Light Ford Taurus (Qualified 10th)
"We got a good draw, but we had a good car as well; we were 15th fast in practice. I think the draw helped us a little bit, but it's the final weekend and we'll take anything."
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS WEEKEND FOR YOU KNOWING THERE IS SOME UNCERTAINTY FOR NEXT SEASON? "It's a lot better to go into the off-season, especially with a little bit of the uncertainty like I have, to come off of a good run so you have something positive to talk about. We still have a long way to go, but at least we're starting a lot better than we usually do."
HOW HAS THE RACING SURFACE CHANGED SINCE LAST YEAR? "I really don't know if it lost a little bit of grip. We ran so bad here last year, I couldn't remember the groove. Everything was so black, you couldn't get a defined groove. Now that it's gotten light you can really see where the groove is. That's helped me a little bit."
MATT KENSETH-17-Alka-Seltzer Morning Relief Ford Taurus (Qualified 18th)
"We picked up from practice, but I think the cooler weather has a lot to do with it. Our very last mock-up run I didn't get a whole lot, but I just kind of scuffed the tires and got the car a little better. I thought I'd be around an 80, but I just kind of messed up. I got it going a little too fast and got a push and ran it up the track a little too much."
TALK ABOUT THE EFFECT THE PROGRESSIVE BANKING WILL HAVE ON THE RACE. "I think it will be better once it gets widened out. Qualifying, I'm not one of the faster cars, but I ran from the middle to the top. The nice thing about the progressive banking is that if you get pushing off the corner and your car's not handling off the corner, you can keep going up the track and using track and there's still grip. You don't have to stay in that one line. On the other side of that, if you're handling better you can follow somebody into the corner and turn under them and try to get a run underneath them, too. They definitely did a nice job designing it."
STACY COMPTON-59-Kingsford/Bush's Beans Ford Taurus (Qualified 25th)
"It was definitely a good lap. In comparison to where we were in practice, we picked up a half of a second. The guys are doing a good job. Every week we're sneaking up on it and I think we're getting better and better. We still have a long ways to go, but the guys on this Kingsford team are working so hard every week that I know we can get there. We've got a little work to do still, but I can see big changes and I can see us getting better and better every week and that's a big plus."
HOW HAS THE TRACK CHANGED SINCE LAST YEAR? "It went from being a ton of bite and a ton of grip and a black race track to looking like Darlington. It still has a ton of grip. Last year the groove was from the middle to the top and this year it's on the bottom. It's different, but it's still a good race track. I enjoy, I like it and it's a lot of fun to race here."