KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 12th) "We're OK. The track picked up quite a bit of speed from the session earlier in the daytime, so now with the cloud cover and the way the temperature is gonna change for the rest of the...
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 12th)
"We're OK. The track picked up quite a bit of speed from the session earlier in the daytime, so now with the cloud cover and the way the temperature is gonna change for the rest of the session, I think we'll end up top 15, which is where we need to be on Sunday. It's not the pole car we had at Fontana, so we know we'll be in the top 15 somewhere. We're looking alright."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 7th)
"This car has been very, very fast right off the truck we just messed up on gear selection. I told Pat I was sorry. I got them to put a little more gear in it for qualifying and it cost us, but the car was perfect. The guys worked their butts off. It's the same car we qualified second with at Charlotte and Texas, so it's a great race car. I'm looking forward to Sunday."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 6th)
"Overall it was a good run for the ALLTEL Ford. We picked up quite a bit from practice, which I think everybody will, but hopefully that will get us a good starting spot for Sunday. That's what it's all about."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Qualified 9th)
"I wish we could have done better. I got it (the engine) hot and I shouldn't have done that. I should have quit after the first lap. It was just a bonehead move, but I just wanted to do better. I really came here wanting to do better than running a .26. That's not gonna be anything but middle of the pack. I never should have run a second lap. It didn't hurt anything, but it didn't help either."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo Taurus (Qualified 32nd)
"It was terrible. We unloaded this morning and the first run we made was a .14 or something and ever since then we've steadily gotten worse and worse. The car just drives bad right now. The first lap it made on the track was great, but we've done nothing but mess it up and we never could get back to where we were. I don't know why that is, but we've got something going on that we just can't seem to figure out."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 1st)
"I saw all of these guys running fast laps and you couldn't have better conditions to run under. This race track is very temperature sensitive and when you get cloud cover it's gonna be very fast. Our car was very good. I probably left a little bit on the table down in one and two, so somebody can possibly run quicker than that, especially now if the rain quits and they still have cloud cover. It's possible for somebody to run faster, but that's a really good lap."
WILL THE RAIN HURT THE TRACK? "Maybe for the first few cars it might not be quite as good, but it's gonna be quite a bit cooler than even what I had there. But that's a good lap for us. If somebody beats that, that's fine because we're gonna have a good starting spot."
YOU WON LAST WEEK, WHAT CAR DID YOU BRING THIS WEEK? "The car that won. What else are you gonna do? If it runs good at Pocono, you can pretty much count on it being good somewhere else. The car makes good downforce and that's what you need here is a car that will go through the corners good, plus not give up anything on the straightaway and we've got the power plant under the hood not to do that."
WILL THE POLE BE A BIG ADVANTAGE HERE OR DOESN'T IT MATTER MUCH HERE WHERE YOU START? "Basically, winning the pole would be for morale and pit choice. Those are the only things really. I honestly feel that if I started 43rd here, that I could win this race as long as you have a good car. Obviously, if you don't qualify well, it's indicative that something isn't exactly right, but as far as if you just had to change engines and go to the back of the field, I wouldn't consider that a big blow to my chances of winning here because it is a very wide track. You can run on the bottom and you can run on the top and anywhere in between, so I think that's why most guys would classify this as one of their favorite tracks. If it's not their favorite track, it has to be near the top."
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FOR ON SUNDAY? "This is one of the places where I won't say you can necessarily run totally side-by-side through the corners, but because you might have a guy that's running the top groove and another guy that's running the bottom, the air won't necessarily affect them that much. They might be side-by-side with a lot of room in between them, but then get side-by-side down the straightaway. This is always a very competitive race and I don't see that it's gonna be any different this time around. The tire is an awfully good tire that we have and tire wear is not a problem. I think pit strategy could come into play, but it should be a fantastic race." IS CLEAN AIR IMPORTANT HERE? "Yeah, absolutely. It's important to get your car in the front. It seems over the past few years the guy in the front has a bigger advantage than what he used to and it's ever more so now, so, yeah, that's gonna be important late in the race -- getting yourself positioned to where you can be out front."
WHAT ABOUT THE MOOD THIS WEEK AFTER WINNING? "There's nothing like getting a payoff or a reward in the middle of the season for all of the hard work and effort that's put forth, so it makes a difference. We're bringing the same race car, so that gives everyone the idea coming in that this might happen again. As I explained to the guys, 'I hope last week showed you just how perfect of a race you have to have,' because we were sitting there having a perfect race and it looked like with six or seven laps to go that we weren't gonna win it, even though we basically had a perfect day. So, not only do you have to have a perfect day, you have to be a little bit fortunate and lucky at times too. I think they understand that a little bit more now than even what they did before. We're pretty excited about getting back closer to the way we feel we need to be running and, if we can have a good day here, that will mean a lot heading into Sears Point."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO RICKY SINCE SUNDAY? "I haven't talked to Ricky today. He called my house the other day and congratulated me on the win, but I was already gone. I know they have to be a little bit disappointed, obviously. They've had two races in a row where they had a good chance of winning and didn't get that either time, but they're professionals and they know how this business is. The guy has been at this a long time and he understands the ups-and-downs of it and the things that happen. As I was told a long time ago in this business, 'you just hope that all of those things even out sometime.' They usually do, but it's hard to forget those and remember whenever something good might have happened too. I can think back to races at Pocono that I felt like we should have won, so now we kind of got one that maybe we shouldn't have won, even though we ran good enough all day to win the race. You like to think those will even out and I'm sure, coming to Michigan, they know they ran well here last year and they've got another good chance."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Havoline Taurus (Qualified 26th)
"Our car got a little too tight. The front end wouldn't turn like I needed it to. It's been one of those deals that when we saw the overcast, we were a little loose before this happened, so our guys worked hard to tighten things up a little bit. It was one of those deals where I wish we could have undone those changes before we went out there. Right now the track is really fast, you just need to make sure that your car is loose enough for the track conditions."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 8th)
"The guys just bailed me out again. They know how to tune up the Tide Ford and we expect to run better qualifying -- we always do, but I'm proud of the guys. Every week we seem to be top 10 in qualifying and there is definitely a correlation between qualifying well and running well and we've run well. If we continue to do this enough, we're gonna get our share of wins."
GEOFFREY BODINE --26-- Discover Card Taurus (Qualified 17th)
"I'm pleased with that and I think Travis, Donnie and the whole team is pleased with that. I haven't been out here in a while. I'm not trying to make excuses, but I've sure had a lot of fun today. Tomorrow morning I'll turn the car back over to Todd. He'll get it set up for the race and come back here and race it on Sunday, but I've had a lot of fun. I appreciate Travis for letting me drive the car and for Discover Card for letting me get in here. I'm even wearing Todd's uniform, so this has really been a family affair and a little bit of brotherly love. He's filled in for me in the past and these last two weeks I've done it for him. Hopefully, we won't have to do that anymore in our racing careers, but it sure has been a lot of fun."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Hooters Taurus (Qualified 21st)
"I'm really pleased to pick up that much. This part of our program has been pretty weak. We came here and were pretty slow, but Buddy and all the guys just kept digging and making the right changes and getting the car to where I could drive it better and the speed kept coming. That's actually a little faster than I thought we'd run, so I'm happy with that. I think qualifying was pretty consistent for everybody considering it was really cloudy earlier. I don't think there was a big difference between one session and the other."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 25th)
"I feel like I got everything out of it that I possibly could. Evidently, we just didn't get the car low enough to the ground. It handled good and it's the best tire build ups we saw all day long, but we just needed more speed out of it. Right now we're 22nd and that's a decent starting spot. I'm not concerned about where we start at because the last time I had this car here it was really, really strong, so I feel good about tomorrow morning's practice session. I feel really good about Sunday. I wish I could have qualified it better, but that seems to be my hang-up all year long -- trying to get these cars running faster."
WHAT IS THE KEY FOR VICTORY ON SUNDAY? "I think the key is you've just got to get the car handling good. We've got a great car, we've got strong engines and a fast pit crew. Everything is there. My nemesis all year long has been trying to figure out Goodyear's new tire, trying to get back to where I was in the last year or so with my qualifying. I went from nine poles one year to no poles, so I've got to figure out what's causing that. The neat thing is that we're really good in the points right now. We've been real consistent all year long and, hopefully, we'll have another really, really good run on Sunday."