Atlanta II: Dodge drivers qualifying quotes

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid) "It feels good to know that no changes are being made and Ray (car owner Evernham) and I are staying together. It's a good feeling. It's something you can look at and say that it's behind...

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid)

"It feels good to know that no changes are being made and Ray (car owner Evernham) and I are staying together. It's a good feeling. It's something you can look at and say that it's behind us now and we can go on and race. We've had a lot of distractions the last year and a half really, and now we can put all this behind us."

"We knew the potential was here. We knew we could get the job done. It was just a matter of putting it all together. We've had good cars and good equipment. We just weren't communicating well as a team. That's from me all the way down to the bottom. We kept working, and we all pulled together and made it work. Everything is cool."

"We still have weights on our shoulders. We just got rid of one. We all want to win races and run good. It's a relief to know we don't have to go through all these changes again. We can just race. Ray and I pursued other options to see what was out there, and it was close. He was going to do something different, and I was going to do something different. It was no secret. He knew it, and I knew it. It came right down to the wire, but I'm happy with it. I'm happy for the team and excited about moving on and going forward."

"Ray and I talked about three or four days ago and decided this is what we were going to do. It wasn't one deciding factor. He and I are strong-minded at times. The more we talk the better things are. When we don't talk, they're not good. That's what we had to do."

"We've been about as low as you can go. I've been mad at the team. The team's been mad at me. We made it through all that, and now we can sit here and cut up. If I feel like there's something wrong, I can tell Ray about it. Once you make it through that, you've got a good race team. I don't want to go through it again."

"There's a huge difference in the morale of the team. Everybody knows what we're doing. They know the direction we're going in and they know the plan."

"The 9 team's future was a big concern of mine, but we've finally got something that's working for us. When you've got your chemistry going right, anything can disrupt it. We're not going to tear apart the 19 to fix the 9. We've got to walk a fine line as team members. I've been the junior, sophomore, whatever member of this team for a long time. Knowing the chances of being the senior member one day is real important for me. Hopefully I can step up and use the experience I've got to do that and do it well."

"That's all we've got. We had a good day. That wasn't the best, but it certainly isn't going to be the slowest. We picked up from practice, and that's all you can hope for. We had a bad draw. We went out third, but that's the way it goes. It was free. I like Atlanta. It's always been good to me. We'll see where we end up, and we'll get ready to race tomorrow."

JEFF GREEN (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid)

"That was just a blink better than we practiced, and of course we were hoping to pick it up. We'll take what we've got, see where we end up and get ready to race."

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid)

"We moved some lead around in the car. We changed air pressure and we changed the rear gear. We made three big changes and it really woke it up and made it feel better. I was a little loose coming off turn two, but going into one had been my big problem and we fixed that. It's bottoming out real hard, and it ended up being the side skirts. We cut the side skirts up about half an inch on the left side and about a quarter inch on the right. It made it a lot better. I just wish I had known that at first. I think I could have fixed that little looseness off two and picked up some more speed. I think the later it gets the faster it'll get tonight. We raced this car at Charlotte and ran really good. We went from 14th to fourth in nothing flat and ran anywhere from second to seventh all night long and had a pit stop problem and fell back to 11th. It's the 43 car. We don't have a name for it yet."

"I pinch myself all the time (wondering what I have to do to get a break). My butt is red right now from pinching it so much. I've just got to get all the moons to line up. You've got to have the right pit stops, the right calls because it's all strategy racing right now until we get the new rules next year."

"It's absolutely more dramatic qualifying at night. I understand that. I'd rather race at night, too. My guys are only going to get about six hours sleep tonight, and they've got to be back at work early tomorrow morning to get the cars ready for practice. I don't like that, but I do like the night qualifying. It's dramatic for the fans. It's cooler. I like it when it's cool out there, and my car doesn't slide around."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light/St. Judes Children's Hospital Dodge)

"This is a new type car for us. It bottomed out on our banzai run in practice, so we had to make some changes. We didn't pick it up very much at all, and we're probably not going to end up with a very good starting spot. We'll get it ready to race and see if we can give 'em a run for their money on Sunday."

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) NOTE: Newman's ninth pole of the season clinches his second straight season-long Bud Pole Award. Newman won seven poles last season as a rookie en route to the Bud Pole Award. He now has 16 career poles in 77 attempts.

"That was a strong lap. I really like this racetrack. It's been good for me. We've got a good qualifying history here, and our race history isn't bad. We'll do what we can to get the ALLTEL/Mobil 1 Dodge better in race trim, but it sure felt good in qualifying trim. My first lap out on the racetrack, I hit everything right and the balance was right. My second lap, the 6 blew up in front of me, so we couldn't back anything up. The car was really good right off the truck, and that makes it easier for me. It'd be cool to win the Bud Pole Award again, but we're just out there doing the best we can each and every time whether it's in qualifying or in race trim. The guys did an awesome job, and I'm just proud to be able to qualify like that."

WHAT DID YOU TELL BRIAN VICKERS RIGHT AFTER HIS RUN? "I just wanted to see if his hands were shaking after his lap because mine were. To me it's not as much scary fast. You've just got to hit your marks right. If you miss one a little bit, six or 10 inches on entry, it could be two or three feet on exit. It always wants to go toward the wall. It never wants to go to the infield. Your hands shake a little bit, but it's not too bad."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid)

"I'm just glad it's over. I didn't lift. It's so much different from qualifying to racing here. It's a different world. Qualifying at night didn't bother me, night, day, whatever it takes. I'm glad we're not racing here at night."

COMMENT ON FUTURE PLANS "If I had something to say, then I'd tell you, but there's really no reason to. It wouldn't be fair for me to do that to everyone involved right now. Like I've said before, I don't have all the answers. When we do, then we'll be able to say something."

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid)

"We unloaded good and went backwards. I would have been happy with a top 10 qualifying run, but we didn't quite make it. I gave it all I had, but the good thing is this car is just as fast when we untape it. We've run it at Indy, Pocono and Charlotte, and it's really been a good car."

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid)

"That was a pretty good lap. Everyone did a good job. The guys worked hard on the car all day, and it paid off. Now we'll get it ready to race. I hope we can do that Sunday."

CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid) - Fastest rookie qualifier. Starts 14th

"It was a better qualifying effort than we've had all year. We picked up a lot from practice, and the guys did a good job getting the car right. Hopefully that directly relates to the race tomorrow. We had a good Busch car in Happy Hour, and we're correlating a lot of stuff from that to the Cup car. Hopefully we'll be good tomorrow in race trim, but it was definitely a good lap for us."

"No doubt, and I'm not really hiding anything when I say we've had a tough year. I stepped into Winston Cup Racing I feel a little bit too soon. It was a great opportunity. It's a good team, and they've supported me all the way through. I've learned a ton. I can't believe how much I've learned from the beginning of the year until now. I'm feeling more and more comfortable, just like running that lap around here tonight. I qualified here once before, and we came back and did better. Last week in Martinsville. I think we were like four or five laps down the first race at Martinsville this year, and we came back and finished on the lead lap 17th. Some of our results haven't shown it and some of them have. I'm really looking forward to getting the rest of this season under my belt, and I'm looking forward to next year."

JIMMY SPENCER (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid)

"We've been battling a tight race car since we unloaded. We weren't real good in practice, but we picked up a little in qualifying. It's still not where we'd like to be. This is a track we qualified really well here in the spring (fifth). We brought back the same car, but it isn't working through three and four like it did here in the spring. Hopefully we'll get it figured out before Sunday. We finished seventh here last time, and the Sirius boys could really use another top 10 this weekend."

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Series NASCAR Cup