Ford crew chiefs Bill Wilburn, Ben Leslie and Matt Borland, along with car owner Jack Roush, spoke about the results of Friday's NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying and what that might mean for Sunday's race. JACK ROUSH, Car Owner --6, 17, 97, 99-- ...
Ford crew chiefs Bill Wilburn, Ben Leslie and Matt Borland, along with car owner Jack Roush, spoke about the results of Friday's NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying and what that might mean for Sunday's race.
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner --6, 17, 97, 99-- Roush Racing Tauruses
"It looks like NASCAR is really quick to look at any situation where it looks like a Chevrolet can't win and fix it. The Fords would have to wait past the time when a championship would be decided to get a consideration like this."
IS THERE SOME COMFORT THAT THIS MIGHT ONLY BE FOR ONE RACE? "That's the good piece of news. If they were going to see the kind of dominance they saw in qualifying, the impression I had was they would be willing to visit the issue of moving it (the kickout) back. I don't know what kind of pressure they got from Chevrolet or anyone else, but I got a phone call from John Darby the other day and he said he had bad news and good news. The bad news was they were gonna give the Chevrolet that consideration at this time, which, from my point of view, was without warrant, but they weren't going to make it a permanent thing. He said they were going to do it for one race and see how it worked out. If the Chevrolet guys were smart, what they would do is just hold back now and get an advantage for the rest of the year."
DO YOU FEAR A CHEVROLET DOMINATED RACE SUNDAY? "I wouldn't predict a Chevrolet romp. The cars are so close, but if the key Chevrolets are off 50 pounds on a spring on one corner, it won't be a big thing. The Fords may have the advantage on setup or the Dodge may have the advantage on setup, but, if they're all equal in setup -- with the advantage Chevrolet has been given in aero -- they'd be gone."
NOTE: All four of Roush's teams are in the top 15 in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. Mark Martin is second, Matt Kenseth 10th, Kurt Busch 11th and Jeff Burton 14th.
BILL WILBURN, Crew Chief --2-- Miller Lite Taurus
"I don't know exactly how Chevrolet played this game, but, obviously, the help they got was a big plus for them. I just think it goes against everything we've been talking about for the last year as far as looking at taking downforce off these cars and here they are giving something to somebody else who was pretty good to begin with. We're in the middle of this points race, but all we can do is look deeper into it and talk to the NASCAR people and see what direction they're headed. They tell us it's just a one-race deal and, obviously, that's about all it should be because, right now, if this race track stays cool and calm like it is now and we get some rain to keep it clean, we'll be hard pressed to keep those guys in sight come race time. With that extra downforce on the nose, they'll be able to do things with their car that we just can't do. We just have to work hard in practice and see what we can come up with, but Chevrolet getting that one-inch kickout is a pretty big hurdle to overcome."
QUALIFYING IS A LOT DIFFERENT THAN THE RACE. WILL THE CHEVROLET STILL FIGHT THE AERO PUSH LIKE EVERYONE ELSE? "They will fight aero-push like everyone else, but when you give them that much more front downforce they're able to overcome that a lot easier. If we could put an inch more on our Ford, we'd be a lot better. I've seen a pretty even mix among manufacturers as far as results and I don't know that one make has won anymore than another, so an inch for one brand right now seems a little over the limit as far as I'm concerned."
NOTE: Rusty Wallace goes into Sunday's race fifth in the point standings, trailing points leader Sterling Marlin by 106 points.
MATT BORLAND, Crew Chief --12-- ALLTEL/Mobil 1 Taurus
DO YOU FEAR CHEVROLET MAY DOMINATE THE RACE ON SUNDAY? "No. I think the Chevy's have a pretty significant aero advantage and I think they're gonna be pretty tough tomorrow, but I think there are things we can do to try and catch back up. It's unfortunate that we've got to do that, but NASCAR made its decision and we'll just run the best we can. Hopefully, we can find something and be competitive."
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS RULE BECAUSE YOUR TEAM IS BATTLING FOR THE RAYBESTOS ROOKIE AWARD WITH A CHEVROLET TEAM? "Well, they've got two teams that are third and fifth in the points and that's pretty substantial. It didn't appear that Chevrolet needed any help. A Dodge has been leading the whole season followed by a Ford and a Chevy and a Pontiac, so it's pretty even. I don't know how many wins Chevrolet has this season, but NASCAR hasn't done anything to slow them down on the speedway tracks. It's up to NASCAR, though, and we'll just run the best we can. Whatever I say isn't gonna change anything, so as a team we've got to find another way to get another step up on everybody else. This puts us a step back, but that means we just have to work a little bit harder to try and find the next step to help us out."
NOTE: Ryan Newman passed Jimmie Johnson in the race for Raybestos Rookie of the Year after a second-place run at Watkins Glen last weekend. Newman has a three-point lead over Johnson going into Sunday's race.
BEN LESLIE, Crew Chief --6-- Viagra Taurus
"I don't really understand why NASCAR gave the Chevrolets and Pontiacs an additional kickout. Both of them have been awfully competitive. Tony (Stewart) won at Atlanta, Jimmie Johnson won at California and Dover, and (Kevin) Harvick won at Chicago. I guess I just don't understand it, but the only thing I can do is concentrate on my car and make it the best it can be."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACE SUNDAY? "I believe that kickout will help them more in race trim than it will in qualifying trim. It will be interesting to see. I would be awfully afraid of it. I'm afraid that the Chevrolets are gonna be awfully good tomorrow and we're gonna have our hands full."
BEING SECOND IN POINTS, DOES THE TIMING OF THIS HURT? "If you're me, yeah. But if you're the 48, no. It all depends on what perspective you're looking at it from. Like I said, I don't really understand why they did it. The only thing I can do is try to race with them and make our car better."
NOTE: Mark Martin is second in the point standings, 53 points behind first-place Marlin, but only three points ahead of third-place Johnson, 51 points ahead of fourth place Tony Stewart and 53 points in front of fifth-place Jeff Gordon.