RaybestosÂ® Rookie contender post-qualifying quotes for the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, April 18, 2002. Johnny Sauter won the Bud Pole for Saturday's Aaron 312 at Talladega in his 13th career Busch Series ...
Raybestos® Rookie contender post-qualifying quotes for the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, April 18, 2002.
Johnny Sauter won the Bud Pole for Saturday's Aaron 312 at Talladega in his 13th career Busch Series start. His previous career best qualifying effort was third at Texas Motor Speedway. Sauter took top qualifying Raybestos® Rookie honors for the third time in 2002 which is tops among Raybestos® Rookie contenders. This is the second consecutive race where a Raybestos® Rookie has won his first career Bud Pole. Shane Hmiel won his first career pole last week at Nashville. Satuer is the thrid Raybestos Rookie to win a pole this season, joining Hmiel and Scott Riggs, who won the pole at Bristol.
"Richard Childress and ACDelco always have a good superspeedway car and we just put the puzzle together for qualifying. I didn't think we would run a .70. I thought we would run a .90-something. A .70 is even better. The first run this morning we did two laps and then every run after that we tried to improve upon our first lap because the first lap is usually the one that carries speed over to the second lap with these restrictor plates. Once we got the first lap where we were happy, we figured the next lap would pick up a little bit and it did. Hopefully it will hold up and we will be on the pole for Saturday."
WERE YOU SURPRISED HOW FAST YOU RAN?
"I really was. I really thought we would run a .90 or a 51.00 and anything faster than that was going to be a bonus. We'll take it."
WHAT DO YOU DO TO CHANGE THE CAR FROM QUALIFYING TO RACE TRIM?
"That's a good question. I've never been here before but we've got real good people and they are going to know what to do to the car. I would imagine not too much."
YOU HAD A GOOD QUALIFYING RUN AT DAYTONA IN FEBRUARY SO THIS MUST FEEL GOOD TO BACK UP THAT RUN HERE AT TALLADEGA.
"I knew we had a really good car coming here because obviously we were good at Daytona. We made a series of changes to the car that we felt would make it better. NASCAR changed a couple of rules and stuff that were in our favor with the chassis and stuff. I didn't think we would have a shot at the pole but hopefully it will stick up and we'll be there on Saturday."
SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 NESTLE NESQUIK FORD, QUALIFIED SIXTH.
"I'm pretty proud of all the guys on the NesQuik Ford. I think that's pretty good for the Fords here at Talladega. We've definitely stepped up our program since Daytona. I think it's showing, where we qualified at Daytona and where we qualified here."
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR CAR IS GOING TO BE ONCE YOU GET IT READY TO RACE?
"I feel good about it. I'm going to be careful in 'Happy Hour' and make sure I don't have to pull out my backup like I did at Daytona. When it gets in the draft Harold (Holly, crew chief) assures me it will be even better that what we had earlier this year at Daytona. We drafted our way from dead last at Daytona up to sixth. If we can start somewhere in the top-five here maybe we can draft our way up to the front."
SHANE HMIEL, NO. 47 THOMAS PACCONI CLASSICS PONTIAC, QUALIFIED 17TH.
"That was a real good lap. It's probably going to be something like a top-15 starting spot which is good here. We brought the same car back that we ran fifth with at Daytona. It's obviously a race proven car. It's going to be a really good day come Saturday. I enjoy restrictor plate racing. It's going to be a little easier for us to win without Dale Earnhardt Jr. in here anyway. It's a good day for us. My teammate (Kenny Wallace) and I are both pretty close. He might be in the top-20 and I hope to be in the top-15. A top-15 is where we want to be and we hope to end up there."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR LAP?
"We backed up exactly what we ran in practice and that's okay. We would have liked to have picked it up but there are some guys that have slowed down and that's definitely not what we wanted to do. My first trip around the track I screwed up a little bit leaving pit road and that might have hurt us. We're getting better and we'll be there at the end on Saturday."
DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN THE RACE?
"That's a pretty big deal. We've got a shot to run in the top-10 or top-five I know. I like this draft and I like to follow the guy in right in front of me, not trying something wild and end up 10 spots back, just ride up front all day. We've got a better chance to win at California than we do here, I know that."
KERRY EARNHARDT, NO. 12 10-10-220 CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 24TH.
"That's pretty good; better than what we've been doing in practice all day. We need to make the race like we have all year and finish the race like we haven't all year. At Daytona we didn't finish and I've yet to finish Daytona. I haven't figured that out. Hopefully we'll figure that out here at Talladega and have a good finish and come out with a clean car."
WILL YOUR ARCA SUPERSPEEDWAY EXPERIENCE HELP YOU HERE THIS WEEKEND?
"I don't think so. Like I said, it didn't help me at Daytona. I don't know about here either (laughs)."
CASEY MEARS, NO.66 PHILLIPS 66 DODGE, QUALIFIED 25TH.
"We were the same in qualifying as we were in practice. You go out and hold it wide open and see what you've got. We knew, just like everybody, that you are going to pick up a little bit because of the few little things that you do for qualifying. We'll try to get the front-end working real well in traffic in 'Happy Hour' tomorrow for the race."