FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Cracker Barrel 500 Qualifying March 10, 2000 Atlanta Motor Speedway STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak Taurus (Qualified 17th) -- "That was a good lap for the Cougar Melling car. We had a good car...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Cracker Barrel 500 Qualifying March 10, 2000 Atlanta Motor Speedway
STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak Taurus (Qualified 17th) -- "That was a good lap for the Cougar Melling car. We had a good car in practice we just didn't know about going out first after that rain. NASCAR did a great job getting the track dried off, it was a little bit dusty, but, all in all, they did a great job. The track is in good shape, but it was a little bit nervewracking going out as the first car." DID YOU THINK IT WOULD BE THAT QUICK? "We felt like it would be. We almost ran that quick in practice and we had a little bit left, we felt like. We may have still had a little bit left in the driver, but, like I say, going out first it was a little nervewracking. It was a good run for us and it was a lot quicker than the last time we were here."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus (Qualified 16th) -- "It was a real good lap. The guys made a real nice change on the car before qualifying and I've gotta thank my body shop. This car was kind of re-worked from our test and it looks like we've done the right thing and gone the right direction. This is the first real race car we've brought to the race track. The other ones were just four wheels and a steering wheel. We came here and tested and we learned an awful lot about our aero program and it looks like what we learned paid off. This team has struggled so bad and I just hope this gets us in the top 25."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 12th) -- "The race track is just gonna keep getting faster and faster. If we would have gotten us a late draw I think we would have had a little bit for them, but right now it's still a little bit dusty. That's faster than we've run all day, but we want more. The race team has been great. We've just had a couple bad breaks, but everything is going real good right now. We're getting a little bit better, so we're just gonna see what we've got."
SCOTT PRUETT --32-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 20th) -- "This is just a new deal for us. The Tide car ran well, but I'm just not getting everything there is to get out of the car. I left a lot of time on the table and it's one of those deals where we're just gonna keep working at it. The exciting part is that I feel like we're leaving time on the table, we're running competitive speeds, now we've just gotta keep working at getting it better."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Qualified 4th) -- "I'm gonna be happy with what I've got there. That's gonna get us in the first day and the way we were running this morning it wasn't looking good for that, but we made some good decisions on the car. Robbie and the guys did a good job. We didn't run that good in the first hour and we used up all our tires, so the second hour where we were on the sheet didn't show how good we were because we didn't have anymore new tires. I knew the new tires would stick a lot better and we just put a big spring in there to hold the car up when we ran in the corner and just drove in there as far as I thought I could. That really surprised me. I thought maybe we could run a 10 or a 20, that would be pretty good as far as the speeds everybody was running, and I just drove it as hard as I could."
KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- FamilyClick.com Taurus (Qualified 5th) -- "That was the best lap we ran all day long and Pat Tryson and all the guys, again, I've gotta take my hat off to them. They put their heads together. We struggled here this morning, but we put a lap on this FamilyClick.com Taurus and we're pretty happy about it. This is the same car we had here last year (when he won the pole) but just a different sponsor. The car was real good in one and two, it just got away from me a little bit in three and four. If not, we probably had a shot at the pole."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus (Qualified 11th) -- "We were off a little bit there in the beginning of practice and I told the guys we were in trouble, we weren't gonna be able to get a whole lot better, but we actually did. We ended up sixth-quickest in practice and then this is gonna get us a top 15 starting spot, I think and that's gonna be better than probably how we started off practice."
BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus (Qualified 10th) -- "I wish we would have gotten a little more out of it, but I'm very pleased. It's hard to out-guess what the weather's gonna do today and we just want to get a good, solid run in and see where we end up. There are a lot of good cars left to go and we'll just hope for the best."
WALLY DALLENBACH --75-- Cartoon Network Taurus (Qualified 21st) -- "We wanted to be better but considering this car never turned a wheel until this morning I'm pretty happy. We're gonna be behind for about the next three or four races, we're gonna be showing up to the race tracks with brand new cars and it's tough. You either have to unload and be lucky that you're gonna get in first day or you're gonna struggle. The guys did a good job on this car. It unloaded good and that should be top 25. I know it's gonna race good. It's a building year for us and I know we're all anxious, but we're going in the right direction."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Qualified 33rd) -- "I'm not sure if we didn't get the oil hot enough or what. I'm not sure. We practiced really good and thought we had a shot at showing them something. It handled great. We're going to have a really good car Sunday. Look at last week, we had a good car just didn't start as close to the front as we wanted. We were running in the top five pretty quick and in a normal race we would have finished in the top five."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 30th) -- "We need more speed. The car drove pretty good, but the speed's not there for some reason. I don't know what it is. I wrestled with it all morning long and I'm tired of messing with it now. It's time to get ready to go racing now."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Qualified 1st) -- "That's incredible. That's just an awful good race car and that's what you have to have to make something like that. I always heard that two eights beat one eight, but I wasn't sure that was gonna happen today because Junior put up lap. These guys started tuning on the engine and Todd made some changes before qualifying. We got a late draw and that helped a whole lot. It really cooled off here and the car stuck perfect." IT WASN'T THAT GOOD THIS MORNING WAS IT? "No, I scared myself the first time out this morning. I was really loose and we got the car tightened up and actually went a little too far, but then we were able to loosen it back up. Again, the late draw allowed us to loosened it up just a little more to make it go fast, so all of those things helped us."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Qualified 29th) -- "I went really good through one and two, went real fast through one and two...got into three and felt good but off of four it picked up a bad push and I had to get all the way out of the gas. We had three-quarters of a really good lap, but that don't count for much."
CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus (Qualified 13th) -- "This car at Atlanta has been really good. It's the only place this car has ever raced, it's tested a couple other places but it's raced here and it's three-for-four in top 10s and I think the one it wasn't was an 11th, so it's a pretty good car. It seems to like Atlanta and I like Atlanta, so, hopefully, it will hold true for this weekend too."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Qualified 34th) -- ALL GOOD STREAKS MUST COME TO AN END? "Yeah. I'm not really sure what happened. We unloaded and haven't been fast since we've been here. That's about as good a lap as we've run. It's not like we ran fast and all of a sudden messed up qualifying, we just haven't been any faster than that. We're not really getting through the corner like we need to right now." NOTE: RUDD HAD STARTED ON THE FRONT ROW FOR EACH OF THE FIRST THREE RACES THIS SEASON.
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus (Qualified 19th) -- "I really felt we'd run better than that. The car was really good too. I thought going out last would be a little help. We slowed down that last practice and put the car back to when it was the fastest and we backed it up because that was the fastest lap (qualifying lap) that we ran today. But, I mean, I don't know what we could have done to be a little bit better, probably just free the car up a little more, that's the only thing I can think of."
DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE
YOUR QUALIFYING LAP WAS MUCH DIFFERENT THAN YOUR PRACTICE SPEED, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? "When you get as old as I am you can't hold your breath but one time of day and that's basically it. You get the car feeling good and this is the most exciting lap is the best way to put it that you'll make anywhere that we go. I told my son Jason that before he came here this weekend and Mark Martin and I have talked about it all day. This is just a very, very hard lap to make and you have to have a very good race car, one that you can really depend on. It helps to have the horsepower that we have at Robert Yates and I think that's shown up this year as Ricky and I have both been qualifying well. We weren't very good when we got here this morning, but we kept improving on it and making it better and as we made it better I got more confidence. Then, seeing the draw that I had, which was a late draw, that helped a lot and even having an extra hour delay there made it an even better situation for us. We just got the car to where it drove extremely well and I was able to take advantage to all that." TWO POLES THIS YEAR AFTER NONE LAST YEAR AND WHAT ABOUT THAT STRONG CHEVY SHOWING? "I don't have an answer as to why we've got two poles other than good race cars and good engines versus last year. We came close a couple of times last year, but we've worked extremely hard -- Doug has in the engine room with his people in providing Ricky and I with extremely good engine. I think that has shown up. Scott Pruett has done a good job and his engines come out of our shop and I think that shows a lot of where our qualifying effort is, but you have to have a good race car. Todd's worked hard. He's had our guys working late nights this week to get this car prepared for this week. I haven't seen a rundown, but I know that the Chevrolet guys are good. Did that help them? I'm sure the change that was made was to help those guys and to help the racing that all of you all keep writing about how bad it is. I really haven't seen that, but you all seem to think it's pretty bad racing. I guess we'll get into that another time, but, hopefully, it's gonna be better and we're gonna see a good race and all the manufacturing squabbles are gonna stop and everybody is gonna be happy so we can just race and put on a good show this weekend." WHAT IMPROVEMENTS DID YOU MAKE ON THE CAR? "I was extremely loose the first time that I went out, so we started making adjustments to tighten it up. I was still loose the second time out, we made more adjustments to tighten the car up and then we actually got the car too tight the third time out today so we made some adjustments to go back from there. When I made my bonzai run in practice I knew that the car was a little bit too tight still for a qualifying effort, especially with the late draw that we had, that I was gonna be able to loosen it up. This is a different tire than what we've had here before and we had to do some different things than what we were accustomed to doing, but we had to do what the car was calling for and we were able to hit it right, get a good draw, and get a little bit of a cloud there late this afternoon." YOUR THOUGHTS ON HAVING EARNHARDT, JR. STARTING NEXT TO YOU? "I feel fortunate to be starting up next to him. He's done a great job of qualifying and racing. He's just a great race driver. It doesn't matter how young or how little experience we might talk about that he has in these cars, he obviously has a very good feel and likes to go fast. He's gonna be somebody we're gonna have to contend with here on Sunday, there's no doubt in my mind."