BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram) - Second: NOTE: Lester will start a career-high second place in tomorrow's Chevy Silverado 150 - just one-thousandth of a second from today's pole position time. Lester's fastest lap of 28.054 sec.
BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram) - Second:
NOTE: Lester will start a career-high second place in tomorrow's Chevy Silverado 150 - just one-thousandth of a second from today's pole position time. Lester's fastest lap of 28.054 sec. held him in the No. 1 spot until the last qualifier of the day, Rick Crawford, edged the Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate with a time of 28.053 sec. Prior to today, Lester had started third three times this season (Kansas, Kentucky, California). He has been the top-qualifying rookie in 11 races this year, the most by any 2002 Raybestos Rookie of the year candidate.
"I'm trying to get over the fact that we lost the pole by just one-thousandth of a second. The lap was one of those where you can definitely say that there was no more left on the table. I did everything I could to extract all I could out of that No. 8 Dodge. It was a breath of fresh air to have Bobby (team owner, Hamilton) work with the No. 8 team, work with my crew chief Jeff White, and work with my pseudo-crew chief Kip McCord who's gone on to some larger responsibilities. It's really relieving for us to have picked up, essentially, four-tenths of a second over what we practiced both yesterday and today. I don't think anybody would have expected us to do what we did. It's really a big vote of confidence to the guys to take what I've told them - with as little experience as I've had - and turn that into a Dodge that did just about everything that I asked of it.
"It's hard for me to really hang my head here even though it's heartbreaking. Going into this deal, I don't think any of us expected to come out of it like we've had. It's refreshing. It's good. It just encourages us more. We know we're going to get a pole. We know we're going to get a win. It's just going to be a matter of not if, but when. We're hoping to roll off real strong, and finish maybe just a little bit stronger.
"The fact of the matter is that I couldn't even stand it (watching to see if his qualifying time would hold). After I realized that I picked up as much as we did after practice, I basically went to the lounge of the hauler and just waited it out. I couldn't even look at the scoreboard. I didn't know that we got taken until the last spot, and needless to say Crawford did and I congratulate him. I can't take anything away from Bobby Hamilton Racing, Arrington Engines, the Dodge Dealers and Dodge Motorsports for giving me this opportunity that I've worked so hard for. It's meant everything to me to be here competing. As a professional I worked at this since starting out in 1984-1985, and it's been a long hard road to get here. I'm hoping this is just the beginning.
"We've qualified well this year, but it's been dicey come race day. We're really focusing in on tomorrow. This is all great. We've qualified third three times this year, and we know we're fast. But we've got to be fast over the entire race distance. That's what it really comes down to. While this is all great, it's really tomorrow that counts. I'm just being cautiously optimistic about having a truck that's just as good in the race as it was in qualifying."
"I think my communication with the team is getting better, but I still don't know enough about these trucks to say that I'm getting better at really setting them up. That's not the case at all. These guys are able to interpret what I'm trying to tell them, and they give me what I need."