CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "It wasn't a perfect lap. Our car got a little bit loose, but it was good enough to win the pole. That's what we needed. It had a great motor in it and ran down the straightaways really well.
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It wasn't a perfect lap. Our car got a little bit loose, but it was good enough to win the pole. That's what we needed. It had a great motor in it and ran down the straightaways really well. It was really hooked up, just a little bit loose. It looked like everybody else was, too. I'm real proud of everybody on the team. Dodge got another pole (sixth of the season). I'm proud of all our sponsors and hopefully we'll have a good race Sunday. We started off good, but there's a big race Sunday. We need to get our car as good as we can get it then and hopefully pick up a win.
"The first half of the season we struggled a lot. The second half we actually picked it up. We qualified third at Indy and ran up front there. We ran 10th at Michigan and that's a place I've never run good at. We've just really stepped up our program. I feel like I get along with all the guys on the team. The Dodge has really improved a lot. We've improved our Dodge package a lot with the engines and aero package. We feel like it's been going really well the second half of the season. We just haven't had the finishes to show it.
"When I first came in, I never really set a goal to win a pole. That was just going to be a bonus if we did that. My goal was to win rookie of the year, and even that turned out way harder than it seemed at first with all the struggles we had at the beginning. I definitely feel like this has made up for a lot of our struggles. Hopefully the team is happy and pumped up and we can have a good race.
"I think at first it was up to the driver to make up his mind. As soon as I found the HANS device that I liked, I was wearing it. I was wearing it long before they mandated it. I just wanted to protect myself, and I don't feel like you're safe without a head and neck restraint. I've been wearing one for a long time. I've tried the Hutchens device, too. I've been wearing much pretty much all year. I didn't start out the year with one, but besides that, the way they build the cars, the seats and the neck braces and the headrests, all that is top quality.
"It's been great (working with Ray Evernham). He's really helped me a lot. This has been a struggling year, but I've learned more this year than I've learned my whole racing career."
"Ray is an obvious winner and champion, any time you can gain knowledge from him it's very helpful.
"We have run this tire before in a couple of different places. We look back at some of the air pressure stuff we did on this tire at other places and it worked for us. We weren't that great. It was pretty comfortable when we first went out, but it wasn't that great. We kept making changes. The tire felt fine. It's a brand new car for us this week. The tire feels fine for me. It was a little bit loose, but we'll just try to stay out front Sunday. We've got to be there at the end.
"It's always pretty hard to pass on these tracks. Anywhere in the top 15 or 20 is a good starting place, but there's no better position to start than out front. Hopefully we can stay there all day. If we can stay in the top 10 or top five all day, and keep our car running good, we'll have a shot to win.
"It's a little hot, but it's not too bad. We've had some hotter races than this this year. Where I'm from it's hot, but the humidity is really bad. It's not that bad here. I'm glad the conditions were just like this. Now we can be in the Bud Shootout next year. That looks like a fun race, and I'm really glad we are in it."
JIM JULOW (Vice President -- Dodge Global Brand Center)
"It's pretty nice whenever a Dodge is on the pole, but Casey has done a great job for us this season. He's part of the development team. He's part of Ray Evernham's crew and I couldn't be happier. We got here just in time from Detroit to see him finish his laps, and I'm thrilled. We've got a race to run Sunday, and we've got the trucks today. We've had a great year there, and I'm thrilled the way we've performed our first year in Winston Cup. It's more than I hoped for."