BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram) NOTE: Lester set a career-high qualifying spot with his third place qualifying run today. He was as the top-qualifying Raybestos rookie and has been the top-qualifying rookie in six out of 10 races...
BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Lester set a career-high qualifying spot with his third place qualifying run today. He was as the top-qualifying Raybestos rookie and has been the top-qualifying rookie in six out of 10 races this year. He earned his previous top-start this year at Texas, coming in at the seventh spot.
"I've always liked the fast tracks. I knew we had a good truck here as soon as we unloaded. We tested well at Chicagoland, so we had a lot of confidence coming in here. We came off the truck good, and then we made even better progress in the second practice. We really were thinking that we had a good shot at the pole and we did, but I think that the conditions here changed a little bit out of our favor. But, it's all about the race tomorrow.
"We weren't fortunate enough to catch a cloud during qualifying, so that didn't help us much. We did everything we could to make our Dodge go as fast as it could. We're happy where we're rolling off here. Third is my career-best qualifying effort, and Dodge is one-two-three for tomorrow, so that's not a bad deal.
"We're really happy with how we finished in this qualifying finish, it was my career best. Prior to this my best qualifying run was seventh at Texas. I think it's something for us to continue to build upon. No offense to Ted or Jason, but I'm after them. I think that we've kind of indicated to everybody that the No. 8 team is going to be a team to contend with. We haven't gotten the kind of finishes like we deserve, so we're working on that very diligently. I'm happy that we're at a track like this because I really enjoy the fast tracks like here, Kentucky and Michigan. For me, the faster the better. We'll just see how it goes. It's a learning process for me. A lot the guys out here grew up on this stuff, and I didn't. I got a very late start at this, and when I did start racing, I was racing lightweight sports cars and some open-wheel stuff. This is a whole different type of drive for me. I'm encouraged by how we're doing right now, but it's still something to build upon. We're not done yet.
"When it gets real hot, it kind of robs a little engine power from you. More often than not, you're typically looking for a cloudier day.
v"I know that this sort of track suits my style. The more I can hold the throttle open, the happier I am. These bullrings are something that I just didn't grow up on, and it's a real steep learning curve for me. But when it comes to how much guts you have, how much you want to keep your foot in it, I don't think I lack the bravery. I don't know why this track may lend itself better than any others for first-time winners, but I hope this trend might continue."
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 NAPA/Orleans Dodge Ram)
"Well we were going to the back of the pack anyhow. It's no big deal. In qualifying in this series it's nice to get out of the squirrels. Hopefully we'll have our Dodge up front after about 30 laps and be running where we should be. We know it's fast. We unloaded off the trailer great. The NAPA Dodge gang thought we were a threat for the pole for a change, and we were all excited. We had a seal leaking on our motor. Instead of taking a chance, Kevin Kroyer (engine builder) has three engines in the trailer. There's no need to mess with it. We just pulled out one of the backup motors, and we'll just race it to the front. This is a brand new Dodge that went to the Dodge test at Chicagoland Speedway, and we also took it to the extra practice session in Milwaukee. We've got some miles in it, so we've got the bugs out of it."
ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 18 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge Ram)
"We were a little quicker than we were in practice. These guys have worked really hard on our Dodge all day long. We went out there today and added up all that we had. We picked up about six-tenths from practice, and that's because the guys have really picked up there and worked, worked, worked. So, now we're in the ballgame, and we've got to get ready to race. We're not too far off from Jason's pole time, so we're happy with that."
LANCE HOOPER (No. 5 Diamond Cut Jeans/Blair5.com Dodge Ram)
"Our Dodge felt real good, but we were just down on speed. We're just trying to find the little tricks that we can do to get more speed out of it right now. Every time we go out, we pick up a little bit more and a little bit more. We've got a little bit more work to do, and we feel like we'll be better for the race."
CARLOS CONTRERAS (No. 43 Hot Wheels Dodge Ram)
"I like this track, but our truck is just too tight. We ran to qualifying runs in practice and in the first one we were too tight, in the second we were too loose. We've just got to find a way to stay balanced right in the middle."
BRIAN ROSE (No. 4 Perry Connection Dodge Ram)
"We've been real tight here all day. We're going to take off the head covers of the motor and look at the valve springs. We think we could have a problem that may be kind of hurting us up there. But the Perry Connection Dodge is handling decent, so hopefully we can catch up with the everything else during happy hour."
DONNIE MORELOCK (No. 51 Ware Racing Enterprises/OOIDA Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Morelock will make his first start of 2002 in Saturday's race. He ran four races for Dodge Bobby Hamilton Racing in 2000. He ran a single race in 2001.
"For our limited amount of laps in practice, I think we have a solid Dodge for tomorrow. We ran a decent lap in qualifying. We're satisfied and we wanted to do better for the sponsors, but you're never truly happy until your Dodge is on the Bud Pole.
MORGAN SHEPHERD (No. 81 Ware Racing Enterprises Dodge Ram)
"We did well but we could do better, even with such little practice time. We didn't make any changes to the truck. We were pretty good for the first time out in the No. 81 OOIDA/Ware Racing Enterprises Dodge Ram."