BUSCH: Ford Racing Nashville qualifying notes

KEVIN LEPAGE-71-State Fair Brand Corn Dogs Ford Taurus (Qualified 20th) - "I really thought that we could pick up more in the State Fair Corn Dogs Ford, but for some reason the tires just didn't come in. They got real tight right in the center;...

KEVIN LEPAGE-71-State Fair Brand Corn Dogs Ford Taurus (Qualified 20th) - "I really thought that we could pick up more in the State Fair Corn Dogs Ford, but for some reason the tires just didn't come in. They got real tight right in the center; it's the first time the car has done that today. It must be the tire combination because when we went out this morning we were much better than that. It's a starting spot and we'll just have to work our way up the field on Saturday."

DID LAST NIGHT'S RAIN HURT THE TRACK CONDITIONS?

"I don't think it hurt it much. That's the one good thing about concrete, it's got a lot of grip, and if your car will grip to it, you don't have to worry about the rubber because it will come eventually."

DO YOU PLAN ON WORKING IN A SECOND GROOVE DURING HAPPY HOUR?

"I don't know, there isn't much of a second groove right now. I'd like to see them work in a second groove, and NASCAR said that they are going to drag some tires later and I think that will help us work in a second groove later."

WHAT ABOUT IN THE ARCA RACE?

"I don't believe that that's going to help."

MARK GREEN-55-Davis & Weight Motorsports Ford Taurus (Qualified 19th) - "We picked up a couple of tenths from practice, and I don't know whether the cloud cover helped us or not, but our car was a little loose practicing, so we made a couple of adjustments on air. I thought our second lap was going to be faster than our first, but it got a little tight coming off of (Turn) 4 and I didn't want a Texas reoccurrence, so I kinda got what I had and let it go. That's not going to put us in the top 10, but that will set us up pretty good for tomorrow."

WILL STARTING POSITION BE IMPORTANT TOMORROW?

"I think it will. The track is so new, so slick and one groove that if you can start up front and hold your position, it's going to make a big difference a the end of the day." DO YOU TRY TO FIND A SECOND GROOVE IN HAPPY HOUR?

"I don't know, that's a tricky deal. It's kinda like in practice, you don't want to be the first one out there because there is no rubber down, and the race scenario is going to be the same - nobody is going to want to get up there unless they get pushed up there. And then, we'll find out if it's going to be any good or not. We don't know. It's a beautiful race track, but it doesn't have any grip yet."

GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus (Qualified 4th)

ANOTHER SOLID QUALIFYING RUN. "It was and I'm pretty happy with that. It should get us in the top 5, I'm hoping. The 92 is good, the 10, 2 and 57 are all good and they're all after us, so we'll just have to wait and see how it does for us. There was a little bit left there, but I was real unsure because we didn't get a lot of practice this morning. The track has been slick to us, so I wasn't able to run a 30-flat like some of those other guys were. I'll just take what I got, and that will give us a good starting spot. I'm anxious for Happy Hour to see how our chassis is."

WILL TURNS 1 and 2 BE THE TRICK TO RUNNING WELL HERE TOMORROW?

"Just getting through there right will be key. It seemed like at the end of practice yesterday with all of the guys running, it got pretty good, but now it's like starting over. I'm sure after Happy Hour it will be pretty good down there."

WAS YOUR EARLY QUALIFYING DRAW A DISADVANTAGE TODAY?

"Definitely, and the sun is going to play a major factor because it's temperature in the tires that you need here. You know how everyone always says, 'the sun came out, now it's going to be not near as fast,' it's totally the opposite here with concrete and cold tires. The hotter the tire gets and the more laps you put on it, the better it's going to be. If the track temperature raises 10 degrees between now and when the 10 and the 2 go, they're going to have a distinct advantage in terms of grip."

WILL ONE HOUR BE ENOUGH TIME TO BREAK IN A SECOND GROOVE?

"I think so. I think it will be enough time to put some rubber down there. And then with the ARCA race, I'm not sure how that works, but it should help, and as long as we don't get any rain tonight, we'll be good for tomorrow."

ELTON SAWYER-98-Starter/Hot Tamales Ford Taurus (Qualified 11th) - "That wasn't bad. Actually, we're a little disappointed, I thought we would be a little faster. I think we have really good race car and we'll keep working on it and get ready to run 300 miles."

HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION AT A NEW RACE TRACK?

"I think it's going to be real important. There are a lot of good race cars and fast race cars, and it's a lot easier to pass on pit road or when you beat them in qualifying."

WILL YOU WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO BREAK IN THE SECOND BEFORE YOU GO UP THERE?

"If we run more today, we'll get some rubber on the outside and it will be fine."

WAS AN EARLY QUALIFYING DRAW A DISADVANTAGE TODAY?

"With the race track the way it is, I think it's going to give them more confidence when they see us laying laps down like we've been doing. They'll have more confidence by the time their turn comes." DID THE RAIN SET THE TRACK CONDITIONS BACK?

"It's the same for everybody."

JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 12th) - "It wasn't what we wanted. We've been practicing better than that, but our qualifying efforts haven't been that great all year long. It's not a bad one, but it's not what we wanted. We'll have to see where it stacks up. The only bad thing about it is I think it's going to be a one-groove track."

WHAT'S GOING TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE TRACK TOMORROW?

"The whole track. It's just going to be one groove all the way around. I don't think we've run enough in traffic to know where you're going to pass. It'll be tough, but I hope we get up into the top 10 so we can at least have a shot and do some pit strategy. "

STEADMAN MARLIN-95-Sadler Racing Ford Taurus (Qualified 34th)

IN THE BIG PICTURE, THAT GETS YOU IN THE RACE.

"We made the race and that's was our first obstacle. I know there were only 43 cars, but you need to keep your car in one piece to the field. I thought we were going to have a lot better lap, but it got a little squirrelly on me getting into (Turn) 1. I ran up the track and had to hesitate getting into the gas, but I thought that's the best that we've run all day." YOU'RE ALSO RUNNING THE ARCA RACE. IS THAT HELPING YOU THIS WEEKEND?

"It going to be big plus. The more seat time that I get, the better off I'm going to be. Every time I get in the car, whether it's the ARCA car or the Busch car, I pick up my times with every lap. It's all a matter of seat time."

YOUR FATHER WAS GREAT AT THE OLD NASHVILLE SPEEDWAY. HAS HE BEEN ABLE TO HELP YOU THIS WEEKEND?

"He's been trying to give me a few pointers, but most of the time he gets on the radio and raises his cane at me and tells me to drive it in deeper, so I'm not that experienced yet."

SO HE'S ENJOYING HIS VACATION THIS WEEKEND.

"I believe he's enjoying it and I ain't."

BUT YOU'RE HAVING FUN?

"I'm having a great time."

JEFF GREEN-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 2nd) - "We've got a couple of more bullets that we have to dodge yet. It's a little bit faster than we practiced, and that's what I'm supposed to do as a driver. We made the changes to our Ford to what we thought we needed to qualify and it worked out perfect for us."

ARE WE STILL SEEING THE TRACK CONDITIONS IMPROVE WITH EACH PRACTICE SESSION?

"I think it's kinda leveled off. I think it's going to get better when you get 43 cars on it. I don't think one car at time is going to help it much, but laying rubber down is what's going to help it, and Happy Hour will tell us a lot about that."

WILL ONE HOUR BE ENOUGH TIME TO WORK IN A SECOND GROOVE?

"I really think that they are going to be two grooves in (Turns) 1 and 2, but I don't know about (Turns) 3 and 4. It's almost two grooves in 1 and 2 right now, so once you get to racing, the guys out there racing on it, it's going to come in pretty easy. I don't know if 3 and 4 ever will this weekend, but I think it will in the future."

THERE ARE SOME STRONG CARS THAT DREW LATE.

"I don't think that's going to help them that much. The good thing about concrete is that it doesn't change. The sun doesn't do a lot to it. If it was asphalt, it might help them a little bit. I don't the sun or the clouds really does anything to a concrete track."

DID THE RAIN CHANGE THE TRACK THIS MORNING?

"No, I thought it would make it looser again like yesterday, but it really surprised me this morning that it didn't do a lot. Maybe the running we did yesterday helped cure the track. I think the cement dust coming out of the tracks, I think that's what was making the cars slide around a little bit. Hopefully the hard rain last night and the running we did on it yesterday really helped that."

JEFF GREEN PRESS CONFERENCE

TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN. "My lap was as good as I thought I could ever get. We ran a 19 (30.19 seconds) in practice and a 17 in qualifying. Kevin was about a tenth quicker than we were in practice and he is about a tenth quicker in qualifying, so I guess both of us did our jobs. I don't think I could have gotten anything more out of my Nesquik Ford, but I'm just happy to be in the top 5. I haven't been able to come in here very often to talk you after my qualifying; my qualifying hasn't been that good this year. We're figuring it out and we're getting better with our Ford, and hopefully our race will go the same as our practice and qualifying. I don't want to finish second, don't get me wrong, but we feel like we have to opportunity to win, too."

THE TALK YESTERDAY WAS THAT THE TRACK WAS SLICK. HOW WAS IT TODAY?

"My car has been gripping pretty good. The first lap or two yesterday was slippery, up off of (Turn) 2, there's a patch over there that they ground on and hadn't gotten it rough enough, it's too smooth. The tires just won't grip across that patch, but I haven't seen any of that today. We're working on our car and making it better, so hopefully that's making the bite better over those patches."

WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF GREG AND KEVIN?

"They make it hard on an old guy. Greg, and Kevin last year, Kevin I think stepped everybody's pace up a little bit. He had a few problems over the year that kept him away from the points championship, but he definitely made me drive harder and the guys around drive harder. We all learned together and we all we respect each other and we all get at each other's throats every once in a while, but we're racing and we're competitive so that makes us that way. Greg Biffle has come in and turned the wick up this year. We all respect everybody, and we're kinda like teammates because he's from Roush and we use Roush motors and we're both Fords, so we can rely on each other for information. That helps both of us. He's not a rookie, he's a rookie in the Series, but he has a lot of laps around the places that we go to, and that makes it easier for him. We race together, but sometimes it's same 15 or 20 guys every week, so it's not like we're racing all 43 guys every week. It seems like the cream rises to the top, and hopefully all three of us are one of those guys."

WHAT KIND OF CHANGES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE BEFORE HAPPY HOUR?

"I'll leave that up to my crew chief. Last year we would change the whole car with our Chevrolet, but for some reason, the Ford doesn't take that much change to go from qualifying to race mode. We'll change a couple of springs and shocks, and a sway bar or two, but for the most part it's just pulling that tape off and going racing."

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TOMORROW?

"Well, the race pace isn't going to be near as fast as we qualified. That's going to help everything. You seem to relax a little bit more in the race and you're not on pins and needles as much as you are in qualifying. You've got to get everything out of the car in qualifying, and you seem to pace yourself more in the race, and that should help to keep guys from spinning out and wrecking."

GREG BIFFLE PRESS CONFERENCE

YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF YOUR QUALIFYING RUN.

"It was probably as good as I expected. Yesterday we were a lot stronger than we were today. I was having a little bit of trouble getting a hold of the track today. I'm not sure why, but we weren't as successful as we were yesterday. It was a decent lap. It stuck a lot better in (Turns) 3 and 4 than I planned it to, and I was a little late to get back in the throttle and left at least a tenth or more on the table, which looks like it would have been about the pole. It's kinda hindsight, and you can always figure where you left little spots out. Overall, a pretty good lap for us, starting fourth and I think that's going to be a great place to start, in the top 5." T

HE TALK YESTERDAY WAS THAT THE TRACK WAS SLICK. HOW WAS IT TODAY?

"The first lap it slid a little bit in (Turns) 1 and 2, and the second lap, I probably waited a there a little too long to get back in the gas. I just wanted to get two solid laps in, more to target the top 5 than try to put it on the pole today. We weren't that fast in qualifying trim earlier, so there was no sense in trying to put up the best lap and take a chance at wrecking our primary car. We're pretty excited with fourth and we're getting ready for Happy Hour, and I think it's going to be a good Happy Hour for us."

COMPARE THE GRIP TO DOVER AND BRISTOL.

"I think that Dover and Bristol have a bit more grip than this does right now, but I have a feeling that this track is going to gain over this Happy Hour and our race tomorrow and then the races to come. I think the grip at that point will be pretty comparable to the other concrete tracks."

SOME PEOPLE HAVE CALLED IT SLIPPERY.

"There are a couple of spots where maybe they've ground on the track or something down in (Turns) 1 and 2. I'm not sure what it is, but it seems to have made a couple of slick spots. What tends to happen is the front tires go across it and slide and then get traction on the other side where the rear tires are going across the slick spot. It tends to make the car loose when you go across. Other than that, as the practice went on yesterday, I felt that that got a lot better. I felt that spot got a lot better toward the end of practice yesterday, which seemed like we were kind of starting all over today. Now whether that was our setup or the way we adapted, but I was having a little bit of trouble in that same corner today."

IS IT A RELIEF TO BE STARTING UP FRONT?

"It's definitely a relief to be starting up front. It's going to be tough to race side-by-side with no second groove worked in yet, but I'm sure that Happy Hour will produce a second groove pretty quick. We don't have Michael Waltrip here that likes to run up there high all the time, everywhere we go, but there will be some guys driving up there and we may even start to look up there later in Happy Hour and see if there's any better grip up there in 1 and 2."

YOU'RE A ROOKIE, HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU WITH THE OTHER COMPETITORS?

"Myself, I just had to figure out who I could race with and who I couldn't, how much room to give them and whether they'll give you room. I think that's a lot to be successful in this Series, knowing the guys you're racing with and how to get by them, and sometimes you can develop a pattern of their weaknesses or where you can intend to pass a guy when you're coming up on them. I've been pretty fortunate so far that I've run near the front at a lot of the races and have felt pretty comfortable around all of the guys that I'm racing with. I've learned a lot from them and I think they've given me a lot of leeway knowing that I haven't raced with them before. I feel really comfortable racing with all of the guys up front, and hopefully they feel the same way racing around me."

WHAT KIND OF CHANGES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE BEFORE HAPPY HOUR?

"I must have missed the qualifying setup because we have some wholesale changes between our qualifying trim and our race trim. Maybe that's why I'm fourth and these guys are first and second. We're changing a fair amount, and we felt that we were pretty good yesterday on race runs, or at least as good as 10, and I think that's where we need to be. I'm hoping that we can get back there again in Happy Hour, and hopefully our car will be a little better than qualifying."

-Ford Racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Greg Biffle