Atlanta: Dodge teams Saturday practice quotes

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) NOTE: Newman's team changed engines Saturday morning during the first practice session. "We made nine laps this morning. It started tightening up coming off turn four and we had a pretty good amount of...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)

NOTE: Newman's team changed engines Saturday morning during the first practice session.

"We made nine laps this morning. It started tightening up coming off turn four and we had a pretty good amount of oil in one of the spark plugs. Something was wrong. This is the best racetrack if you have to go to the rear. Obviously we don't want to do it, but we've got a great car. We only got nine laps on it this morning, but I think we can get back out in the second practice and shake down the new engine and go with it. Yesterday was good. I'm not going to complain at all about luck or a break. This stuff happens once in awhile. It's no fun when it happens. The 2 car had a problem at Vegas and we're having a problem here. The guys at the engine shop are working hard and we'll carry on."

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ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON NCAA TOURNAMENT "Going off yesterday's games, Kansas played very good. Ohio State is going to be good. I think Georgetown is going to be tough to beat in the East bracket. There were definitely a lot of good games yesterday, a couple of upsets. I had a ball watching TV the last few days. My Tar Heels are playing good, too, so we'll see what happens."

HOW FUTURISTIC DOES THE COT LOOK TO YOU? "It definitely looks a lot different. I think Bristol was an eye-opener for everybody, having that many cars of tomorrow on the track at the same time, but we'll get used to it. I think everybody is a little excited and a little worried. Everybody wants their COT program to be up to speed already, but we'll find out next week when we get to Bristol and everybody brings their race stuff to the track. It's a great place to race the car for the first time because there's always great racing at Bristol no matter what you drive."

DO YOU EXPECT MORE OF LESS CAUTIONS THAN NORMAL? "More, because it's a bigger racecar and it's a little harder to drive. It's Bristol. The competition is a little more stiff. Everybody runs close to the same speed. It's getting more competitive each time we go there, so we're pretty much going to be on top of each other."

COMMENT ON STARTING ON THE FRONT ROW HERE SUNDAY "I think that's a great starting position for us. Since we got Josh (team director Browne) back we qualified third at Vegas and second here at Atlanta. We got the team back in the top 10. I think we're sitting very good right now. To go through the points penalties we have and not have our team director for two races and here we're sitting 10th in points going into the fourth race of the season. I think the 19 team is off to a good start in 2007."

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A CLOSE FINISH HERE? "There's always a close finish here. This is a great racetrack, one of the best to race at as far as racing is concerned. You can run on the bottom, middle or top. You can pass anywhere on the track. I think that's why you see good finishes here. You can move around as a driver and search for speed and grip. It usually pays off for you."

WILL THE COT MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO QUALIFY? "I would think yeah. I do not want to be one of the teams right now on the bubble as far as the top 35 in points because we don't know what's going to happen with the COT yet. We can speculate a little bit, but to qualify at Bristol and Martinsville is tough anyway. Now with the COT, I'm just glad we have a little points cushion. I'm going to try to build on that a little bit Sunday. Our idea at the 19 team is to build a good foundation in the first few races, establish ourselves in the top 10 in points and then race hard from there."

DO YOU AND KASEY KAHNE USE SIMILAR SETUPS? "Our cars are very similar. Our setups are pretty much alike. We started alike today for practice in race trim. I'm learning more about the way Kasey drives at these tracks. He's got a great feel for it. He knows what he wants. Now we've got to find out what Elliott Sadler wants. That's one thing about Evernham Motorsports. We do help each other a lot. There's a lot of sharing information, a lot of open book, and I think that helps all three of our teams."

HOW ABOUT THE COLD WEATHER? "It's cold, but I'm going to have the warmest seat in the house Sunday. As nice as it was two days ago and now it's 50 degrees and freezing. I don't think that will affect the racing any. It'll give us more grip for Sunday. It might mess with the crew members. They'll have to stretch and make sure they're good and loose. To be cold like that and then have to make a quick pit stop might take a little extra, but I think as far as teh driving is concerned and the engines and the grip on the track, it'll all be fine."

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KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON RACE NEXT WEEK AT BRISTOL

"I'm excited about going to Bristol next week to see what the car of tomorrow is going to be like with other racecars trying to race on a small track with other racecars. I think it'll be similar to what we've had in the past there. It's just going to be a different race. Some cars were still struggling in the test and others seemed like they were pretty good. I hope Evernham Motorsports has some of those."

HOW FUTURISTIC DOES THE AVENGER LOOK TO YOU? "I don't know if that's the future or what it is. It's definitely different, and it looks better to me today than it did a year ago today. Future is something that looks really aerodynamic, something like an airplane or an IndyCar. I don't think that big box we're going to drive is really future, but it's going to be our future. It's going to be a cool car to race as time goes on. I don't think it's future. I think it's just different."

DO YOU THINK THE SPEEDS WILL BE CLOSER TOGETHER AT BRISTOL?

"I think it'll be closer. Teams will figure things out. Teams figured things out for the test we had up there and everything looked normal. Other teams were still bouncing all over the place. That's the difference with the front end of that car compared to the car we have now. We were in the good group. We were on the good side of things I thought. I was liking what I had."

DO YOU THINK WE'LL SEE MORE CAUTIONS AT BRISTOL? "I would think we'd see more. A lot more? Probably not. A few more, maybe. I really think it's going to be a similar race to what we've seen. There might be more people bumping you out of the way and that kind of stuff because it's going to be a little bit tougher to pass in these cars."

COMMENT ON THE AVENGER AT DARLINGTON "That will be the first bigger track we have with the Avenger. It's going to be an eye-opening weekend. It's going to be tough to make that car work there. It's going to be much different than what it's been in the past, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I think Darlington is going to be a bigger change in the way cars run than Bristol. I think Bristol will be similar to what it's been in the past and Martinsville will be similar. Darlington will be a big change, and that's when all 43 drivers and teams will figure out the cars are a lot different than what we've been racing."

COMMENT ON RACING AT ATLANTA "There's so much going on at this track. It's fast, slippery and you need to take care of your car and tires in this race, not heat the fronts up and get tight. There are a lot of things you can do to run well for a long time here. I think you have to think a lot to go fast here. I think we had top 10 cars at California and Las Vegas and didn't finish there. We made some pretty big changes this week. All three Evernham cars brought something different to the track, and so far I'm feeling really good. I was pretty happy with my car. I think right now I've got a car to beat Sunday."

COMMENT ON SPOT IN STANDINGS "I know we have an awesome team. Things have happened and we're 36th, but it's early in the year and we can move up quick. You can gain and lose a lot of positions in points. We just need to get on track and finish these races the next few months and I think we can bump back up in the top 20 pretty quick."

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KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

NOTE: Busch is among the three "judges" who critique Simon Cowell's high-speed driving abilities in a segment in Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes" on CBS-TV. "We may have been a bit harsh on Simon," Busch said. "He's known for being such a blatant and outspoken judge on 'American Idol,' but he was a pretty nice guy in person. It'll be interesting to see how the feature turns out on Sunday."

Also, Busch's No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger will carry a sticker on Sunday in memory of his wife Eva's grandmother, Margaret Krier, who passed away Friday morning in Eastville, Va.

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Elliott Sadler