Qualifying for Saturday's Jani-King 300 took place at Texas Motor Speedway this afternoon at 3:30 CST and amid dark 44 competitors circled the 1.5-mile speedway for their two laps of qualifying. Eleven Ford teams made the field with Jeff Green ...
Qualifying for Saturday's Jani-King 300 took place at Texas Motor Speedway this afternoon at 3:30 CST and amid dark 44 competitors circled the 1.5-mile speedway for their two laps of qualifying. Eleven Ford teams made the field with Jeff Green leading the way, taking the second spot on the starting grid.
ELTON SAWYER -98- Starter/Hot Tamales Ford Taurus (Qualified 21st)
THE FIRST COUPLE OF TIMES WERE A LITTLE SLOWER THAN PRACTICE. HAS THE TRACK SLOWED DOWN?
"A little bit, but I think a lot of that's because the cars have sat for an hour and it's pretty cool here. But, I was pretty pleased and we ran about what we ran in practice. Obviously we would have liked to have been a little faster, but Ricky (Viers, crew chief)and all of these boys have done a good job working on this car. I couldn't be more proud of them. We're not a well-oiled machine right now, but we're working on it, I promise you."
HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR STARTING POSITION HERE?
"Well, it's going to be important but if you have a good race car, you're going to be fine, you're going to be able to come from the back to the front, whatever you need to do. Hopefully we'll get in the top 20 and work really hard on the race setup tomorrow morning and have a good day on Saturday."
-9- Gain Ford Taurus (Qualified 23rd)
"We haven't been very good since we've been here, I just haven't felt comfortable in the car. That's actually the best that we have run, so that's not a bad thing, it's just not near fast enough. Hopefully we can make it feel better for the race, and if we can't, it will be ugly."
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION TO START THE RACE?
"I don't think that it's that important. Obviously, the further up to the front that you can start the better you are. If we get our car to drive well we can do whatever we need to do from wherever we've got to do it from. Our stuff from the past, the stuff that we used to do, just isn't working. We're just going to have to try some different stuff, but we only get an hour tomorrow to try it. I've got to go try and dream something up to put in it right now and hope."
DO YOU HAVE AN ADVANTAGE GOING INTO THE CUP RACE SINCE YOU WILL HAVE BUSCH HAPPY HOUR BEFORE THE CUP CARS EVEN GET ON TRACK, AND IN EFFECT TWO EXTRA PRACTICE SESSIONS?
"This car doesn't drive like my Cup car, but they are more similar now than they used to be. I don't know, I've only raced one Busch race. I certainly think that if it was ever an advantage, it would be now. Before, I don't think it was ever an advantage. It could be now, but it definitely wasn't before."
IS THERE ANY INFORMATION TRANSFER BETWEEN THE TWO TYPES OF CARS?
"I think for me it's a good thing because I'm able to run some more with the new tire. I've struggled with the new tire. It gives me another chance to run the new tires and get used to it, and I think that that's a good thing."
MARK MARTIN HAS DOMINATED THIS TRACK ON THE BUSCH SERIES. DOES HIS ABSENCE GIVE YOU GUYS A BETTER CHANCE AT WINNING?
"That gives everybody a much better chance."
RYAN NEWMAN -02- ALLTEL Ford Taurus (Qualified 39th)
NOTE: Newman tagged the outside wall coming off of Turn 4 on his first lap, and brought the car back in the garage before completing his second lap.
YOU'VE HAD A CHANCE TO LOOK AT THE CAR. WHAT'S THE ASSESSMENT?
"We're going to go to a backup car, it's safer that way. We hurt a couple of things on that one, some moving parts that we don't want to run with after being hurt. I guess I pushed it too hard coming off of (Turn) 4, I don't know if I got into something water-wise, or what, but it got turning right faster than I could turn left and caught the wall."
KELLY DENTON -77- PRW Racing Ford Taurus (Qualified 29th)
THAT WAS A PRETTY SOLID RUN FOR YOU.
"That's not a bad run at all. That pretty much backs what we did in practice. I was a little worried about it at first, when we first got here I hadn't made a lap on this track, and with what practice we had this morning I think we ran 15 laps. And that was doing bonsai runs. I had to catch on quick and try to pull a good lap out. We took the unsponsored PRW Racing Ford and did the best we could."
YOU DIDN'T MAKE ANY RUNS OTHER THAN QUALIFYING THIS MORNING?
"We were in qualifying mode every run. We would have liked to have done more race runs, but we really didn't have time. We got a late start this morning going through inspection, but we fixed those things up, came back and I think we'll be decent."
JASON KELLER -57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 27th)
"It wasn't great lap and it wasn't a bad lap, we've just been running OK. The car has good balance so hopefully when we un-tape it, we'll be good."
WAS THERE STILL OIL IN TURN 4 FROM MARK GREEN'S ACCIDENT?
"There's oil out there, but hopefully they don't fix it now, so it doesn't help these guys behind me."
JEFF GREEN-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 2nd) - "My hat's off to my guys, they never give up and we got a lot better in qualifying than we ever have in the Ford Taurus. We found some things out in Atlanta and it's carrying over to here and we even found some more things out over the last couple of weeks. I feel like our race program can be even better, too, and we haven't been too slouch in that area, either."
DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING FOR THE POLE?
"I thought I could run a low 50 (28.50 seconds), but when he (Kenseth) ran a 44 (28.44 seconds) I thought that I'd rather have second than a wrecked car. I went for it there, and that was the best I could do on the first lap. I got a little tight on the second lap because I was trying a little bit too hard, I guess. It was a good run for us, it wasn't bad. At least I can see the pace car."
MARK MARTIN ISN'T HERE IN THE BUSCH SERIES. DO YOU FEEL MORE CONFIDENT THAT YOU CAN WIN?
"Well, all these guys are professional. Mark just had a great car every time he came here. It's going to be a new winner because I know that Mark won a couple and Dale Jr. won one, so it's definitely going to be a new winner, and hopefully the Nesquik car will be the one to do it."
GREG BIFFLE -60- Grainger Ford Taurus (Qualified 16th)
"That little bit of oil down there may or may not have made a difference, I just shoved the nose coming off of (Turn) 4 and I had to get out of the throttle. Other than that, we would have been sixth or seventh quick, but we'll start from where we're at and work on it during Happy Hour."
YOU HAD SUCCESS HERE IN THE TRUCK SERIES. IS THERE ANYTHING CARRYING OVER TO THE BUSCH CAR?
"Not really. It's being pretty funny right now, we're doing a lot of things to try to keep our car turning that doesn't seem like we should have to."
IF HAVING JEFF BURTON RUNNING THE BUSCH RACE HELPING YOU?
"It is, and Matt's (Kenseth) our teammate, too. We're kinda putting all of the pieces together, and hopefully we get close."
MARK GREEN -55- Davis & Weight Motorsports Ford Taurus (Qualified 10th)
NOTE: Green completed his first lap, but on his second lap, he hit the wall coming off of Turn 2. The team opted to pull out the backup car after assessing the damage.
"It took off on me. I was trying to get off the corner there and ran out of room. It hadn't done that all day. It was almost like something was on the race track, but I can't say that for sure."
JEFF GREEN PRESS CONFERENCE
"It wasn't that fast, but it was as fast as our Nesquik Ford Taurus was going to run today. It was a pretty uneventful lap. It was pretty cool to run that fast and be that comfortable. Texas is a great race track, it's got a lot of grip and it invites you to run way down into the corners without letting off. It's very comfortable to run around, and Matt (Kenseth) just had a great lap. The looks of the trophy out there, what they're giving away for this race, it's going to make us all race pretty hard on Saturday, so it's going to be a great race."
YOU HAVE A LOT MORE ROOM HERE THAN AT BRISTOL.
"Yes, thank goodness. It's a great race track, and in years past it's been a one-groove race track, and hopefully the motor rules and the tires will let us run like we did at Atlanta. That's what we want, where we can have a lot of racing grooves. I don't think any driver wants to follow another one and I'm sure the fans don't want to see that either." -Ford Racing