STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) "That should get us close to somewhere in the top 10. I think the best we've ever qualified with this car is ninth or 10th. It's a racer, not a qualifier. That was a lot better than we ...
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"That should get us close to somewhere in the top 10. I think the best we've ever qualified with this car is ninth or 10th. It's a racer, not a qualifier. That was a lot better than we practiced. We were off all morning. We put our heads together again and came up with a little deal. I held my breath and made it. I don't usually qualify good here, but I race good. This is chassis 115, so maybe the Coors Light Dodge will come through for us again. This car hasn't finished out of the top five in six starts, so we're going to try to keep that streak alive."
BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I honestly thought we were going to go a little faster than that. As long as we back up what we do in practice, we'll be all right. Hopefully we'll end up in the top 10. The car got a little bit too tight. We cut the skirts a little bit, but maybe it wasn't the skirts. It was still pretty good for us. We've had a lot of problems qualifying, but it seems like we've got that turned around pretty good. These motors are great, and Petty Enterprises is starting to click. We've still got a long way to go, but we're making a lot of improvements. It feels good running good on your home turf, but it feels good running good no matter where you're at. To come back here and run good means a lot."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T)
"We didn't run as good as we tested here, but I think the track has changed a little bit. I'm real happy. This Dodge Dealers Dodge is running good, and we qualified faster than we practiced. We just keep making progress and making it better. I'm real proud of these guys. They're working hard to get the feel I'm looking for, and we're getting closer every week. We're just not as fast as we were in testing. We'll find it. I'm still pumped up after last week, but that was last week. Here we go again."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I'm happy with the car. I'm not happy with that time. I've been real happy with the car. It's the first time since Daytona I've been excited about the car. We weren't that good at Rockingham and I hated what we did at Las Vegas. We should have got some rest last week because we certainly didn't show up there. I feel like I've got a good race car. At Vegas, I had to hold my breath to qualify in the back of the field. Here, I ran a race lap basically, and I feel pretty good about that. I feel bad that I didn't try to get more. I thought that if I tried for more I might push it up or something. We'll be happy with what we've got. I think it'll end up being a pretty decent starting position."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T)
"It ain't about me. It's about the crew. It was a good run. I'm proud for the guys. They work so hard week in and week out on this deal. To come here to Atlanta and run good, that's one part of it. We look at this deal as kind of a building block for what we need to do. It threw some stuff at it that was pretty much a gamble. We ended up practicing at a .40, and we knew that wasn't going to be good enough regardless. We decided to gamble and try a few things. They threw it at it and I drove it out there and it was pretty good. It was good. The car was good. This team is making me look better and better. I do it (hold my breath) every week. The new configuration of this track has kind of eluded me. If we can just get a decent start, we'll be in pretty good shape. This race track has been bad and good to be through the years, but if we can just keep whittling away at this deal we'll be in pretty good shape.
"I haven't qualified that well here the last several years for whatever reason. Mike Ford and all the guys have worked really hard. We didn't test down here. We changed some things after practice, and that was fine with me. It paid off.
"I still feel like I can contribute to this race team. Ray has been very supportive of me. He's done a great job. He's worked hard. I feel for him week in and week out. It'll probably hit me later how big this really is. It's been a long time (11 years) since I've been on the pole here in Atlanta. To come back here and run this well, that's part of what it's all about. It's not about me. It's about the guys on this team. They've worked their guts out. We had a good run last week at Vegas and I think that's carried over to this week. If we can just keep that up, we'll be in good shape.
"This is great. The fans here have been fantastic to me throughout the years. When they reconfigured the race track I've had a hard time getting hooked up to it. Today the guys found the setup. I drove it off in three and it felt pretty good. They did what they needed to do. I did what I needed to do and here we are.
"I look back on my career, and it's been a great career. All these guys have worked hard. Up until I came on with Ray, I didn't know if I should keep doing this or not. Days like today make it all worthwhile."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We never got good in practice. We were always a little bit off. We had a team meeting and we threw some stuff Buckshot had done and some stuff John had done at it. We made a couple of changes and it helped us pick up about three tenths. Buckshot had a good lap and John had a good lap. Buckshot has been good since he got here. This is his hometown, so he has to be good."
SHAWNA ROBINSON (No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We made a lot of changes before qualifying. I struggled in practice on feeling the car. I communicated with the guys and we went over our notes. We made a lot of changes on it and we got in a good lap. I've got plenty of horsepower, and I'm a different type of driver. I'm a gear driver. The gear changes the whole way I feel about the car. My choice of the gear is a little different than most people in the garage. We're learning. We're a new team, and after Vegas I came here with my head hanging a little bit. I don't need to do that. I'm a good race driver or I wouldn't be out here. Now we race. We're going to race in Atlanta. We're not going to get out of the way all day long. We had a reason why we were getting out of the way in Vegas. The car wasn't right, but we'll be good here."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The team has been able to give me some good cars here, and I've been able to stay out of trouble. We don't usually qualify that great here. I feel confident going into Sunday. We'll work hard on race setup Saturday. We learned a ton from the spring race to the fall race last year. We won't be back there in the back too long after they drop the green flag."
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The car drives real, real good. We just can't get any speed. We picked up a little from practice, but everybody picked up. I think we've got a good handling car, and it should be good in the race."
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We've got a good race team. I couldn't ask for anything better. The motors are fantastic. Give a driver a good motor and a good car and his confidence will go up every race. I'm sure mine will. I'm looking forward to the rest of this year. I hold my breath as soon as I start turning the steering wheel. I feel like if you hold your breath it makes a nice line through the corner. It's just something I've done my whole life. I knew my car was good, and I messed up in the first turn. I never got myself situated right in the corner. My car rolled up off three and four real free. We had a really good car down here testing. I think we'll have a top 10 car on Sunday.
"I think Atlanta is probably one of the best race tracks we go to right now. It almost reminds me of the old Atlanta. There's two distinctive grooves. You can run high or low. You've got throttle response and you can back off if a guy is pressing the issue on you. You can get in a rhythm here and run well. We qualified fourth last week and fifth this week, so I feel like we're gaining on it. We got a top 10 last week, so maybe we can work our way up to a top five on Sunday."