Daytona 500: Ford final practice notes, quotes

Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, will be starting from the pole in Sunday's Daytona 500. He provided some final thoughts after Saturday morning's one-hour practice session. DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus YOU HAD SOME...

Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, will be starting from the pole in Sunday's Daytona 500. He provided some final thoughts after Saturday morning's one-hour practice session.

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus

YOU HAD SOME CONCERNS AFTER THURSDAY'S DUEL ABOUT THE CAR. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS NOW? "I think we've helped our car, but I don't know that we've gotten it to the point that I can say, 'Man, I really feel good about this.' We seem to have some issues, especially in traffic, of trying to keep the front end of the car down and it's being more difficult than what I wanted it to be. We made it better and more drivable, but we still need to be a little bit better to win the race. Mike and I have some ideas and we're going to put those in place and see if we can go out and race for 500 miles."

I'M SURE YOU HOPE HISTORY REPEATS. THE LAST TIME THIS RACE WAS RUN ON FEB. 20 YOU WON IN 2000. "If we have to rely on history for that to happen, that's cool, too. I don't care what we have to rely on. We'll bring up all the history we can and if that gets us to Victory Lane, so be it. I don't care what it is as long as we get there."

THINGS HAVE BEEN KIND OF AGGRESSIVE TO THIS POINT. DO YOU THINK GUYS WILL SETTLE IN TOMORROW ONCE THE RACE STARTS? "No, I think it's gonna be pretty aggressive racing all day. I don't see it calming down much. I think that as long as there are plenty of cars left at the end that the end is gonna be pretty wild."

Mark Martin got back on the track for the first time since his crew made repairs to his No. 6 Viagra Taurus, which was badly damaged in Thursday's Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race. He spoke about how the car felt after Saturday's practice.

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus

HOW IMPRESSED ARE YOU THAT YOUR CAR WAS 11TH AFTER PRACTICE? "I'm just honored to be a part of this team. It's an honor. These guys will do anything. That's why I wanted them back this year. I really love these guys, so it's really an honor to have them back."

HOW MUCH DID THIS PRACTICE SESSION RE-ENERGIZE YOU? "I'm happy. I'm happy right now. We missed a day of tuning on our car, but it's a good enough car. Sometimes you don't have a good car and you tune on it and it doesn't help. It seems like this car runs good no matter what we put in it."

WHERE ARE YOUR EMOTIONS NOW COMPARED TO THURSDAY? "Last night got me over my frustrations of Thursday. I had 100 percent confidence in the team. They said they were gonna fix it and that meant it would be right. I told them I didn't care if we practiced or not. If they could fix it, we didn't need practice. If they couldn't fix it, all the practice in the world wasn't gonna help us win, so this is a good thing."

HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING SUNDAY? "Better than they would have been if they hadn't fixed that car."

CAN YOU PUT A NUMBER OF WHERE THE CAR IS NOW VERSUS BEFORE THE WRECK? "I think it's where it was right now. I don't know how much better you can get it and we certainly didn't have a lot of time to work with it, so it's where it was on Thursday and I'm happy with that."

PAT TRYSON, Crew Chief - No. 6 Viagra Taurus

"That was pretty good. It's pretty close to where it was. The track is obviously a little different, but that was a pretty good practice and now we'll just tweak on it for the race."

HOW BIG WAS IT TO BE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE AS FAR AS REPAIRS WENT? "I was hoping they would give us a little more time to work on it, but we still managed to get it done. We've still got some work to do. It's not 100 percent yet, but it's closer than it was so we'll see."

WHAT PERCENT WOULD YOU SAY IT IS RIGHT NOW? "It's probably about 90 percent right now. We've got some more work to do tonight to finish it up, but it'll be ready for tomorrow."

DID YOU KNOW? - The last time the "Great American Race" took place on Feb.20 was five years ago when Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, led a Ford sweep of the top five positions and claimed his third Daytona 500 crown. Jarrett, who will start from the pole on Sunday, also won the pole in 2000.

RACKING UP THE MILES - Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus, cane move into the top 5 all time for miles completed in the Daytona 500 if he makes it at least 411 miles. Rudd will enter the race having completed 11,142.5 career miles while fifth-place Bill Elliott has 11,552.5 miles.

GOING THE DISTANCE - Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Taurus, will be making his first Daytona 500 start, and he has an opportunity to join a select list of drivers who have completed all 500 miles. There have been 475 drivers who have participated in the Daytona 500, but only 96 of them have gone the entire distance.

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett , Carl Edwards , Mark Martin