Cheez-It 250 Qualifying March 23, 2001 Bristol Motor Speedway CHRISTIAN ELDER -38-Great Clips Ford Taurus (Qualified 20th) "We picked up a little bit from practice, but we are just trying to get a good, solid finish this weekend. We're just ...
Cheez-It 250 Qualifying
March 23, 2001 Bristol Motor Speedway
CHRISTIAN ELDER -38-Great Clips Ford Taurus (Qualified 20th)
"We picked up a little bit from practice, but we are just trying to get a good, solid finish this weekend. We're just trying to improve each race. We still had a little bit left on the table, but the crew chief isn't giving it to me yet. He wants to keep it safe, get us into the race and run as many laps as we can. I've run here three time before in a Dash car and the line is the same, but the straightaways seem a lot shorter in the Busch car, though."
DID YOU SACRIFICE SOME PRACTICE TIME THIS MORNING KNOWING THAT THERE WERE
ONLY 44 CARS ENTERED AND THAT YOU NEEDED TO KEEP THIS CAR IN ONE PIECE?
"Yeah, that's what I was saying. He kept me tight all morning to keep this car in one piece so that we can make as many laps tomorrow as possible."
GREG BIFFLE -60-Grainger Ford Taurus (Qualified 5th)
"I was just hanging on. You'll probably see a 15.30 (seconds) at least, maybe a high 20. The track is really good right now with a lot of grip. I couldn't drive it in like I wanted and I couldn't get the power down like I wanted. It might give us a top five."
DID YOU WORK ON YOUR RACE SETUP AT ALL THIS MORNING?
"We worked quite a bit on qualifying, quite a bit. We were fourth on the sheet after practice and hopefully that is where we will end up."
DID THE FRONTSTRETCH PIT STALL PLAY A BIG PART IN THAT STRATEGY?
"Definitely, and then getting caught up in wrecks. You just want to try to get to the top and ride with the guys."
ELTON SAWYER -98-University of Tennessee/Hot Tamales Ford Taurus (Qualified 14th)
"That's about what we ran in practice, but we feel we have a better race car in race trim. You have to be patient all day and keep your fenders on it and have something to race with at the end, and if you do that, most of the time you will have a good finish, but it's awful hard to do at Bristol."
MARK GREEN -55-Davis & Weight Motorsports Ford Taurus (Qualified 13th)
"That's about where we practiced this morning, and here if you can do that, that's a pretty good qualifying run because it seems like the track slowed up a little bit. We were a little tight in the center but that's OK."
WE ARE SEEING SOME CLOUDS OVERHEAD. DOES THAT AFFECT THIS TRACK?
"It doesn't matter. When you get the clouds it helps the motor and the air temperature is a little cooler, but it doesn't affect the concrete."
WAS GETTING ON THE FRONTSTRETCH YOUR NUMBER ONE GOAL?
"Yeah, especially here. It's just so important to be on the front side. Just by pitting over there you can gain 10 spots on every pit stop, so that's key."
JEFF GREEN -10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 18th)
IT LOOKS LIKE THAT WILL BE FAST ENOUGH TO PIT ON THE FRONTSTRETCH.
"I'm not too happy with that to tell you the truth. We should have been in the top five, but I can't tell you what happened. We lost a little over a tenth (of a second) from practice and everybody else gained it. We're doing something wrong, either I am or we're doing something wrong."
HAVE THE TRACK CONDITIONS BEEN CONSISTENT ALL DAY?
"The Cup cars running on it before qualifying changed it a little bit, but the car drove good. I'm not blaming it on handling. I don't know whether we didn't have enough heat in the motor, but something went on. A tenth of a second isn't a lot, but it means the difference in the pole to 20th here."
YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO RACE WELL HERE.
"Yeah, but you can't keep digging holes and expect to get out of them. One of these days we're going to start qualifying better, but we'll be fine. It just puts us in a predicament, and a lot of things can happen. If we can get through the first 100 laps we'll be OK."
RYAN NEWMAN -02-ALLTEL Ford Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"This track is pretty fast. We tried to anticipate how the track would change after Cup practice and we made a couple of changes. We made a few race runs in the morning practice and it felt good; we're pretty fast."
YOU CAME CLOSE TO WINNING THREE STRAIGHT POLES. ARE YOU FEELING ANY ADDED
PRESSURE NOW THAT YOU'VE RAISED EXPECTATIONS?
"Not necessarily. I just want to do the best that I can, and sometimes that comes with a little bit of nervousness, but most of the time it's just doing the best job you can. I'm a hired driver and that's what I'm supposed to do."
WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY?
"It's pretty neat. It's kind of like what we have at home in Salem, but Bristol is still Bristol."
GREG BIFFLE PRESS CONFERENCE
YOU SAT ON THE POLE HERE IN THE TRUCK SERIES, BUT YOU SAID THAT YOU WRECKED
30 LAPS INTO THE RACE. YOU OBVIOUSLY DON'T WANT TO DO THAT TOMORROW.
"Actually, the race that I sat on pole, I spun out on the first lap and finished ninth. My other visit wasn't that great, but we're excited. I crashed here in practice (during a test session) after about 57 laps and ruined one of our best cars, but the guys are working hard. I've had that problem a few times the last few weeks, but they've been working real hard and we have a good car here for tomorrow's race, I think. We just got a little too free in qualifying. I wish I was a little better than that, but I think we have a little bit better car than that. We're anxious to get some laps in Happy Hour and see how we stack up to all these other guys. Kevin and some of those guys are going to be tough to beat here; they've got a lot of laps around here and a win. As long as we can keep him in sight, we'll be in good shape."
DID YOU TEST HERE?
"I tested here about 57 laps and pushed it in the trailer and went home."
RYAN NEWMAN PRESS CONFERENCE
TALK ABOUT HOW THIS TRACK IS TREATING YOU TODAY.
"Whatever Biffle said, I'm going to try to do one better because I think he probably anticipates on winning, so we're going to try to do that, too. It's been really great here. The first time to Bristol, we tested once, had a pretty decent test, didn't run near this fast, but it really is a neat race track. Coming from Indiana, it's kind of like Salem and Winchester, but it's still Bristol and there's only one Bristol, so it's really neat."
EVALUATE YOUR ARCA AND BUSCH PROGRAMS UP TO THIS POINT.
"I think we've had some successes and some, not necessarily failures, but room for improvement. We kinda sat down last week and looked at the first part of the year now that we've run one Cup, three Busch races and an ARCA race. We're trying to grade ourselves, and think we've done pretty good for being a rookie team with a rookie driver. I think we can do a lot better, so we'll just keep forth and keep doing the best we can do, and a third-place start come tomorrow isn't a bad place to start at Bristol."
YOU'RE ON PROBATION NOW FOR LAST WEEKEND'S INCIDENT AT DARLINGTON. WILL
THAT CHANGE THE WAY YOU DRIVE TOMORROW?
"I don't think it will. I think it will affect the way I drive after the race, maybe. I think that Bristol is definitely a tight, tough race track and there will be a lot of rubbing going on. I just have to use my head, and use it a little better than I have been and hopefully everybody will have a good race and we can keep from having yellow flags, which usually bunch us up and cause more yellow flags. I guess we'll see what happens. It will be my first race at Bristol, so it will be interesting."