STACY COMPTON-59-Kingsford/Bush's Beans Ford Taurus (Qualified 7th) WAS IT A DISADVANTAGE TO HAVE AN EARLY DRAW TODAY? "Qualifying this late, the track doesn't change a lot, but the temperature does, and I think the later you go the better...
STACY COMPTON-59-Kingsford/Bush's Beans Ford Taurus (Qualified 7th)
WAS IT A DISADVANTAGE TO HAVE AN EARLY DRAW TODAY? "Qualifying this late, the track doesn't change a lot, but the temperature does, and I think the later you go the better you're going to be. It was slick. We got real, real loose off of two, and we hadn't been loose off of two all day. I certainly think the speeds will pick up the later the day, but it was a good lap for. I'm awful proud of these guys. I kept telling everyone we're getting better and better every week and these guys are working harder and harder, and it's just a matter of time. We keep digging and the first thing you know, we're going to show up to the race track and be good and we're going to be good the rest of the year."
HOW IS THE TRACK SURFACE AGING? "This place is concrete and it doesn't change a lot. I think some other tracks need to copy this place because this place is pretty sweet. They've done a good job with it. They came in here and ground it and it just has a boatload of grip right now."
IS THE CONCRETE SURFACE MORE OR LESS HARSH ON THE TIRES, AND HOW DO YOU SEE THE NEW TIRE COMPOUND IMPACTING THE RACE? "I think it may be a little more harsh, but not a lot. Goodyear has brought such a good tire. Everybody was talking about these tires slowing down at the beginning of the year, but these tires don't slow down as bad as we were thinking. We were certainly hoping that you wouldn't see a lot of two-tire stops this year, but they've got such a good tire right now that I'm not so sure you can't run further on these tires than last year."
IS THE WEATHER FORECAST FOR TOMORROW IMPACTING YOUR STRATEGY? "We sort of took that approach this morning. We knew that there was a good possibility that it was going to be a lot cooler, so we tried this morning as early and as quick as we could to simulate what it's going to be like when it cools down and rains. The weather doesn't look real promising right now, but we'll do what we've got to do. If we've got to stay late, they've got lights here; I don't think any of us want to run on Easter Sunday. They've got lights here and we'll stay until they run us out."
GREG BIFFLE-60-Charter Communications Ford Taurus (Qualified 16th)
"We just can't find the speed to get around the corners like we want to. We've got new tires and I haven't been here in a year, but we'll just keep working on it and we'll get there. Everybody is going to pick up from the tire; it's got a lot of grip."
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION HERE? "I think it's going to be real important because it's going to be hard to pass like Texas with the cars being aero tight. We're not going to be that good in qualifying. We'll end up probably 15th. I think our car is OK, but we're a little off right now on setup. I haven't been here in a year and the track has changed a lot and I haven't raced a Cup car here. Coming here, I'm a little off from where I need to be right now."
IF THE WEATHER FORECASTS CALLS FOR RAIN TOMORROW, WOULD IT IMPACT YOUR STRATEGY? "It can, but more than likely we'll wait and see what the radar looks like and get a better idea of what the weather is going to truly be. Then we can gamble, but with only three sets of tires total and needing to stop at least twice in the race, it's going to be hard to get off sequence. The segments of this race are pretty short and that's why it's pretty hard to do."
BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"Whether we get beat or not for the pole, the car is tremendous. We're learning these tires and I think we found some stuff on them and it's showing from Texas to here. There are still a bunch of good cars to come, and we came down here to get the pole, but if we don't, our main thing is to win this race and we brought a race car that I think we can do it."
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT WHEN YOU'RE RACING AT YOUR HOME TRACK? "For one, you really stayed pumped up on this whole deal coming home. You're with your family, you're with your friends and I love this race track. The new tires give us a ton of grip and we've got a little bit of testing here, too. Everything is working out. We've got a brand new race car. We built the race car just for this place. Everything that bit us in the past as far as during race-run stuff, we went back and looked over our stuff and built the race car just for that type of stuff. Harold and all of the guys are really pumped up and gave me a great race car."
HOW BIG WOULD IT BE TO WIN A POLE AT YOUR HOME TRACK? "Just to win anything here. We've been so close to winning something, but the weekend starts on Friday. The first thing we can win here is practice and then qualifying. I'm just tickled to death with my guys. We've been so itchy on these tires not really knowing the feel, and just Harold Holly is magic. The things he does with a race car, he makes my job so much easier. You go in there and turn the wheel, it turns, you hit the gas and it goes. Robert Yates motors, the Marines, and Ford - it's just tons of downforce. I'm tickled. Whether we get the pole or not, I'm loving how it rides. The car is driving and everything is going right now. A lot of people have already counted us out or whatever, but I don't think they crown the champion until the 36th race, so they better watch out because we're getting our stuff together now."
IS THIS WHAT YOU EXPECTED OUT THERE TODAY? "Yeah, I wish I had a bigger crutch as far as the time, a two or three-tenth gap to second place. If we get outrun here today, we just got outrun. We did everything we could do as far as speed, as far as the car, as far as the way it drove. We did everything we could. The car was perfect and if we get beat, we just get beat." HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO START UP FRONT TOMORROW WITH THE FORECAST CALLING FOR RAIN? "With the weather coming in, and that's another good thing we learned during testing, the track was green and there was no rubber on the race track, so either way we'll be fine. NASCAR will give us a break if we have a green track tomorrow because it does eat the tire up here. They're going to have to because when we tested after 15 to 20 laps we almost had the cords showing in the left-front because of the speeds. I'm sure NASCAR will work in a caution for us to make sure our tires are all right."
JASON KELLER-22-ppc Racing Ford Taurus (Qualified 4th)
"These guys at ppc have been doing a great job. We've been struggling a little bit, and it really surprised me. I drove in there real hard and was waiting for it to slide up the race track and it never did. I got behind on my throttle a little bit, but all in all, it was a great run. We picked up a little bit from practice, and that's what you always want to do - pick up. We've got Miller High Life as an associate this week only, so we're looking for somebody to come on this hood and starting around the top five is going to be the best way to do that."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE TO COME TO A PLACE LIKE NASHVILLE WHERE YOU TYPICALLY RUN WELL? "I've said all along that I think it's right around the corner, but the biggest thing for me is to feed back to Wes Ward (crew chief) like I need to. I feel like coming to a concrete race track and being able to feed back to Wes exactly what I need, and him being able to relate to what I need, that's all we're trying to do - bridge the gap. I love this race track and Wes has done his homework because we came here and tested last week and we were just OK. He's gone back and he studied my notes and his notes and really thought about how I'm trying to communicate, and he's really made the best of it. We're just bridging the communication gap and it looks up there; it's the way it's supposed to be."
WITH THIS BEING THE FIRST STANDALONE BUSCH SERIES EVENT, IS IT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL OF THE COMPETITIONS? "It kind of shows because those Cup guys aren't beating up on us quite as bad when they don't have twice as much practice."
HOW IS THE TRACK SURFACE AGING? "It's good. They've ground the race track really good and made it a really good surface. I love this race track. More race track builders should come and look at these race tracks and look at this type of race track surface. I think you're going to see two grooves out there, too. The groove is widening out the more we race on it. It's a great track."
HOW IS THE NEW TIRE COMPOUND ON LONG RUNS? "We haven't made the 25- or 30-lap runs yet, but we'll try to do that this afternoon. They're calling for it to be cooler and cloudy tomorrow, so I don't see any issues."