Daytona 500: Dodge teams qualifying quotes

DODGE CHARGER AT DAYTONA -- The Dodge Charger last attempted to qualify at Daytona in 1977. Bobby Isaac (1971 and 1972), Buddy Baker (1973) and Neil Bonnett (1977) won poles in a Dodge Charger for the Daytona 500. KYLE PETTY (No. 45 ...

DODGE CHARGER AT DAYTONA -- The Dodge Charger last attempted to qualify at Daytona in 1977. Bobby Isaac (1971 and 1972), Buddy Baker (1973) and Neil Bonnett (1977) won poles in a Dodge Charger for the Daytona 500.

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge Charger) -- 12th fastest. Fastest Dodge in qualifying.

"That was good. I thought yesterday when the 43 ran a .23, I thought we could run a .20 or .30. That's where we had been. We had been about a tenth slower than them all during all our practice stuff. People were trying to tell me I didn't get any help on that fast lap. I'd been a tenth of a second slower than the 43 every time I ran and all of a sudden I'm six tenths faster. How's that work? We didn't make a spring change or anything, It's kind of bittersweet. It's good because that's where we're at, but the 43 could have been in front of me. That means we would have had the two fastest Dodge Chargers here maybe, and that would have been good for Petty Enterprises and good for Evernham because those guys really worked hard to make it happen for us. The engines have been good since we've been down here testing. We've had no problem. The first thing that happened with the 43 broke, Ray and all the Dodge guys were there on top of the 43. It's good to know you're part of something a little bit bigger than you've been part of in the past. Most of the time we'd break and people didn't even know we'd broke. We're in here for the long haul. We'll get it fixed and go from there. I didn't learn much from watching the Budweiser Shootout last night. I learned that Ryan Newman is as good a racecar driver as everybody says he is. Ryan Newman drove the wheels off that thing last night. Other than that, it was night time, the track was tight and everything works good. I don't have any strategy for Thursday. My strategy was being in the top 35 in points so I would be in the Daytona 500, and I did that last year."

TRAVIS KVAPIL (No. 77 Kodak/Jasper Dodge Charger) -- 47th fastest

"We slowed down almost a second from yesterday. That's pretty disappointing. We didn't really do anything to the car except change oil, so that's pretty disappointing. We don't know why we slowed down. All those laps yesterday were clean and legit. I guess that was yesterday, but the motor didn't seem like it turned the rpm it did yesterday. We did something to slow the car down. It wasn't real windy yesterday, either, so we felt like we were going to be OK. It doesn't really matter. We were actually running better yesterday than we anticipated, so it was kind of a plus. This was more the speed that we had anticipated. It's disappointing after running so well yesterday, but it doesn't matter.

"It wasn't good at all. We don't know why we slowed down. Those laps we ran yesterday were clean. We didn't turn a screw on the racecar, so we're definitely confused. It's no big deal. We came here to run the 500 and I think we're going to have a good car in the race. I can't wait to run the 150.

"The first week here as a rookie has been a lot of fun. It's been a big learning experience, and it's kind of neat to be out here on the qualifying grid. I think we've got a great racecar, and that's where we've put most of our emphasis.

"I went on the backstretch last night (during Budweiser Shootout) and scanned Ryan and Rusty. I watched from the scorers' stand. I knew some of the good things they were doing, and I saw some bad things. I listened to how they communicated with the spotters and crew chiefs and things like that. It was good to have an ear out there and hear how all the drivers communicate with their teams.

"It's all going to depend on the circumstances of where you're at, if you feel like you need track position or if you need to work on your handling. I guess that's the crew chief's call, but I'll have some input and that's all part of the game. You have to gamble sometimes. Sometimes they pay off, but you've got to be smart. I think between myself and (crew chief) Shane Wilson communicating well together, I think we can be smart about it."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Charger) -- 34th fastest

"We picked up about three tenths from yesterday. These cars just won't qualify. Once you get in the draft, they drive good. The plate is too small. I talked to Joe Nemechek and he said it's hard to pass. They need some extra power to make it so you could pass. Biffle led a ton of the Shootout and nobody could pass him. Once the 48 got in front, they couldn't pass him. Those are two good cars, but still, I liked it when we had some power. I think Goodyear has a really good tire. Last year everybody's stuff would fall off and you couldn't drive it wide open. Now it seems like the tires are so good that everybody is right there in the pack."

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) -- 17th fastest

"We gained on it a little bit. It looked like a good race last night. The guy out front was hard to pass. I talked to Casey a little bit. He said he could run into people pretty easy, so that's always fun. That's a highlight for us. You can bump draft and run into each other. We're going to go for it Thursday if we've got a shot to win. The car in the trailer is just as good as this one. The Charger is the best superspeedway car I've ever had. It's only my 10th superspeedway race, but for the most part, the car is really good."

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Charger) -- 29th fastest

"It was within a hundredth of what we ran yesterday, and I think everybody else was pretty close. We wish we could have been faster, but we stayed consistent and didn't lose any speed. We're doing the best we can, so we'll just keep going. This car should be better than our Shootout Charger. If we go by the numbers it should be. It was a good run. It obviously wasn't what we were looking for, but we look forward to coming back in race trim and see what the cars are like. It's a totally different race when you get the cars back in a different aero package. We had a pretty good car last night. We'll see what we've got with this one. Four tires are still better than two. There's no doubt about that. Jimmie Johnson drove a great race. We just had to put ourselves in a position to win. We did that and hopefully we can improve on that one spot in the next couple of races."

CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger) -- 35th Fastest

"That's about what we expected. We're just not very fast. Hopefully this car will be a little bit better than my Shootout car, but it's hard to tell until you get in the draft. Last night that car wasn't very fast by itself, either, but in the draft you can work your way to the front. The draft is so huge here you can take a car that's not very good and still get up in the mix. It's just harder to stand alone beside guys. Last night I went to the grass and told 'em I'd found a shortcut and would try to use that for qualifying. I didn't use that. I had a blast last night. It's unfortunate where we finished. We were up front a lot of the time. Right there at the end I got really tight and Jeff got underneath me. We backed up what we did in practice today, but we wanted to be a little quicker especially after seeing what the 42 picked up. We've got qualifying out of the way now and we'll focus now on race setup. I'm looking forward to this season. I'm happy with the new Dodge Charger. Now we've just got to see what we can do with it."

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- 21st Fastest

"We ran a little bit quicker than yesterday and honestly I thought I'd run two tenths faster than we ran yesterday. I feel confident we'll have a good run. I think I had a pretty good run. You can pretty well expect to slow down from where you tested because of the winds and stuff like that. I really expected more speed the way it was looking on the tach. That'll give us a good starting spot in the 150s. The guys in the engine shop did a great job. This is the best car out of the bunch we've had at Daytona. I believe it's better than the Bud Shootout car and the car we tested here with. We've just got to make sure that baby handles good in the 150s because I can't have it pushing like it did last night. We're going to spend a lot of time on that handling package. If I'd had it handling better I could have driven right through the center and gained some positions. We'll have it right by the time we get to the Daytona 500."

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- 15th Fastest

"It felt pretty good. It drives nice. It's just a matter of getting more speed out of it. They draft fine. We've got to work on our handling a little more. We were a little too tight up off the corners. We couldn't exit as well as some of the other cars. We can work on that and get it straight and we'll be in good shape. If you have to choose between qualifying and drafting here, you obviously want to choose drafting. Qualifying isn't a big deal at all compared to the Daytona 500."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- 22nd Fastest

"That's pretty good going out cold like that, so I'm pretty happy with it. It's driving a lot better than the Shootout car, and I think we're going to be pretty good Thursday. I learned a lot last night. I learned not to speed on pit road, if I was. It amazes me how things happen sometimes. We took two tires, so we were going to beat those guys out anyway. The two-tire deal left me all alone on pit road and made me look like I was speeding.

"I'm real happy with qualifying. All the guys worked hard on the car. We struggled in both practice sessions, and to come back and have a lap like that is pretty cool. We changed quite a bit of things and worked hard to get ready for today.

"The car handled great last night after taking on those two tires. Track position will be everything, so we might take on two tires again before we leave Daytona. Usually everybody plays it safe on Thursday. This is our good car and we don't want to take any chances with it. If we can win, we're going to win the thing, but we're not going to do anything crazy."

JEFF GREEN (No. Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger) -- DNF

"Something happened and the motor started tightening up. I thought we hit a big gust of wind, but something must have broke. I thought we had a shot at the pole or at least a top five. We've got enough points for a provisional, so we don't have to work about Thursday anyway. I know this car will draft good. We've got two good cars, and I'm not going to sit here being sour about something that happened. I hate it happened and we've got to figure out why it happened, but we've got a good racecar. That's for sure.

"Something just went bad in the motor. We had just got the green. We only ran it twice yesterday, and everything went well yesterday. I didn't see any problems. They'll have to decide what happened. I couldn't tell but something started tightening up. I don't know if it was the wrong time to do it. It could happen next Sunday. Maybe that's a fortune for us instead of a misfortune. Now we'll have to start in the back Thursday, so we can just kinda of hang out and see what it's like in the 150s and hopefully make it as good as we can for the 500."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Joe Nemechek , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Buddy Baker