Daytona 500: Dodge drivers qualifying quotes

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) -- qualified 11th "We really thought we'd be about three tenths slower than that. That's really the best we've run since we unloaded. I think the track slowed down quite a bit. I can't believe how ...

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) -- qualified 11th

"We really thought we'd be about three tenths slower than that. That's really the best we've run since we unloaded. I think the track slowed down quite a bit. I can't believe how close our cars are. (Ganassi Dodges qualified ninth, 11th and 12th with Casey Mears, McMurray and Sterling Marlin, respectively). It seems like every speedway race we're that close. Casey and I will be in the same 125, and it's just unreal how close our cars qualified. I really didn't think it was that fast of a lap. As hard as the wind was blowing on the backstretch, you can see that flag. It was blowing right at us. I got a pretty good lift down the frontstretch or we wouldn't have run that fast. I don't know what they did to pick it up so much, but they found something. I think we learned some stuff last night that will make us race better. I'm really looking forward to the 125."

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) -- qualified 16th

"I'm really happy with it believe it or not. This wind was terrible, and I was concerned that something crazy was going to happen, but we basically backed up what we did yesterday within a tenth, and that was pretty good with all this wind today I thought. It's amazing how much wind I felt on the back straightaway and then when I came down the front straightaway the tach just took off. We've got a good starting position in the 125, so I'm happy."

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) -- Fastest Dodge, fastest rookie, seventh fastest overall

"That was a real good lap. We picked up a little from yesterday, and that's good for the way the wind is blowing. It's pretty cool to qualify for the Daytona 500. We've got some real good race cars and we're looking for a lot of fun. Our car drove about the same. We went with a different gear and it worked out. It's exciting. I was a lot more nervous than I thought I'd be, but we can look forward to getting ready for the 125 now.

"I think it (weather conditions) played out well for our lap. The wind got down a little bit when we went out. We made a lot of changes from yesterday, and it was better than I expected. We had a real good lap. To run in the 47s it was pretty cool.

TOMMY BALDWIN (Crew chief No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)

"We threw everything we could at it. We'll take it. It's our first race together. We take a look at a lot of stuff when we're not racing. We look at everybody's tire wear. Really, we watch TV. I watched the race on TV and learned a lot there. I was probably sitting back watching just like you guys. We had two teammates racing in the race last night (Budweiser Shootout). Jeremy wrecked battling for the lead and Bill was just hanging on trying to stay out of a wreck. That's our backup car for the week. We learned a lot. We'll work a couple more days gaining the drivers' trust with Kasey.

Hopefully we'll gain some momentum in the 125s and get some people that will work with us on Sunday. That's our goal.

"The competition in the upper level is a lot higher. Speeds were a lot closer. It's probably the closest top 20 speeds we've had in a long time. Hopefully we'll get some more teams here as the year progresses. It started getting like this at the end of the year (2003). Two or three teams lost their sponsors and haven't been able to recover from that since. Look at the 99 and 1. Those are two top-level teams and they still don't have sponsors. It makes us all a little nervous.

"You either have to spend a lot of money to find sponsors or you've got to spend a lot of money keeping sponsors. It's not easy. A lot of it is connections. You've just got to keep your eyes and ears open all the time. A lot of the top teams spend a lot of money working on sponsors every day. It's pretty difficult."

BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 77 Kodak Easy Share/Eckerd Drugs Dodge) -- qualified 19th

"It's about the same we did in practice, but we had a lot more wind today. Our Dodge has been struggling in the wind, so to hit the same number we're pretty happy. With any luck we'll be able to catch the top 20 and have a good spot for the 125. Being a Raybestos rookie it's not like I have a lot of experience in the car, but in the truck it moves around a lot more in the wind because of the body. You can feel when a gust of wind hits the car. The cold weather was good for horsepower. The Penske/Jasper engines are arguably some of the best engines in the series. The motor was fine. Everything was fine. We thought when we came here we were going to be a little better for qualifying. Instead, we got it where it's going to race better. All-in-all it was a decent run. It's qualifying for the Daytona 500, but you've still got to put a lap together. I wanted to make Buddy Baker proud and get that perfect lap. He's been working with me. The Dodge drove the line I think I wanted it to. I didn't like how I went through three and four, but I don't think it was that much of a time difference."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge) -- qualified 12th

"The wind is the same for everybody, but it's about 300 rpm's off from the front straightaway to the back straightaway. It really hurts when the wind blows down the back. We'll be fine for the race. After watching the race last night, it looks like you're going to have to go with four-tire stops in the race. We wanted to qualify on the front row or be on the pole, but everything didn't add up. Once we went through the room of doom, everything didn't add up."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) -- qualified 18th

"Our Dodge ran good this morning, and we feel good about it. I'm proud of these guys. They worked hard on the car and we're in pretty good shape. We learned a lot last night. We were a little too loose and the guys made a good call in the pits and got us out front. We had a shot to win, and that's all you can ask for."

"That was a real good lap. We picked up a little from yesterday, and that's good for the way the wind is blowing. It's pretty cool to qualify for the Daytona 500. We've got some real good race cars and we're looking for a lot of fun. Our car drove about the same. We went with a different gear and it worked out. It's exciting. I was a lot more nervous than I thought I'd be, but we can look forward to getting ready for the 125 now."

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge) -- qualified 24th

"It worked the way it was supposed to work. It was just the luck of the draw man. It just wasn't good. I don't know where the 16 came from with that time. That's a little amazing when everybody else slowed down half a second and he picked up half a second."

JEFF GREEN (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge) -- qualified 25th

"We just want to have a fast car so the other guys will have to help us. I think our Cheerios Dodge will be that way on Thursday and Sunday. We thought we'd be a little bit better today, but we just came up a little bit short. The wind hurt us like it did everybody. We sat on the pole last year and everything was grand until Sunday. We're going to try to reverse that this year and make it grand come Sunday. Kyle and I were about the same, and that's these ways these Dodges have been from the get-go. That's the way we built them, but we want to be 1-2, not 17th-18th like we are right now. Hopefully we can get in the same 125 and help each other. This won't make our season, but we want to get out of the box good. What we thought would help us yesterday in practice didn't help today. I thought it would help, but it didn't."

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) -- qualified 42nd

"I'm ready for Thursday. I think we've got the sticky decals on instead of the slick decals. It is what it is. We'll try to find some more speed, but we'll see how it drafts. We were average in the draft last night. We weren't the fastest by far, but we weren't the slowest thing out there, either. We were able to work our way up to the front with strategy. We knew we weren't going to be super fast, but we didn't think we were going to be that slow. We were 41st here last year."

-dodge motorsports-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Buddy Baker