February 8, 2002 Daytona International Speedway Practice, day one WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Burton led all Dodge drivers with the fourth fastest speed overall in the second Winston Cup practice session on...
February 8, 2002
Daytona International Speedway
Practice, day one
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Burton led all Dodge drivers with the fourth fastest speed overall in the second Winston Cup practice session on Friday afternoon.
"I know how hard our guys have worked. They'll earn whatever they get tomorrow (in qualifying). They haven't been given anything. I feel like we'll have a shot at the pole. Terry Elledge in our engine department has learned a lot in the last year and they've gained a lot over the winter. All the R&D group has done a great job on the aero package. This is really the first year at Bill Davis Racing that we haven't gone through a huge change. Last year it was going to Dodge. The year before that it was starting a new Winston Cup team. Now, Tommy Baldwin (crew chief) has had time to get everything in place where he thought it needed to be. Bill (car owner Davis) and his support group has pretty much let him do what he needs to do to have the backing to run up front. I think that everything looks great for tomorrow and more probably for the whole year for us.
"It's not frustrating at all to me. We've always known that Rick Hendrick has a great organization that supports racing teams. It's never a surprise to see those guys doing that well. We would like to, on the same hand, have the 23 car a little closer to the 22 car. We haven't been quite in place as long as Rick Hendrick has, either. Jimmie (Johnson) is sitting in a good place. I'd like to have been sitting in a good place like that when I came down here the first time. He doesn't know how lucky he is.
"If we don't qualify on the front row, it really doesn't matter where we qualify. What matters is the guys have worked hard enough to get the car on the pole, and I think we've got a good shot at it tomorrow. It's going to be disappointing for them if we don't. They know what they've done. I'm very confident that nobody has worked harder than they have. I'm questioning if anybody has worked as hard. We're going out third from last. If last is good, then we're going to be good, but I really have no idea. It'll depend on the weather. At least we know how fast we've got to go. You're going to get to see everybody's hand. It's not going to happen in 30 minutes or less. It's going to be a long, drawn out process. We'll be able to sit back together and watch TV after we get our car through inspection. We'll know exactly what we need to do when we go out. There's going to be some guys run high the first lap, some guys run low. I've never seen where it makes a lot of difference either way. We've changed it and done it different ways at different times. I don't know what we'll do now.
"In a lot of ways it's an advantage not being in the Budweiser Shootout. We've been able to concentrate our entire effort on one car. We're going to be able to learn a lot as a spectator. I don't think there was any question from what I saw that we had the best car down here last February in the 500. People would shuffle me back, and that car would go back to the front. It wanted to be up front. It led cars better than it followed. That's the first time I've ever had a car like that down here. It's a shame we didn't get to see what we would have had at the end of the race."