Daytona 500: Ford practice day one quotes

The new 2004 Ford Taurus debuted in grand fashion during the first day of practice for next weekend's Daytona 500 as the foursome of Elliott Sadler, Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett and Greg Biffle were among the top 10 in speeds during both ...

The new 2004 Ford Taurus debuted in grand fashion during the first day of practice for next weekend's Daytona 500 as the foursome of Elliott Sadler, Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett and Greg Biffle were among the top 10 in speeds during both practice sessions Saturday. Taurus swept the top three spots in the afternoon session as Sadler paced the field with a speed of 189.366 mph while Rudd was second at 189.088 mph and Jarrett third at 188.739 mph.

Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M's Taurus, gave his reaction to the first day of practice while Ford's NASCAR Field Manager, Robin Pemberton, spoke about the overall performance of the '04 Taurus.

ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus

"I think it's running pretty good, especially from what we've seen at winter testing here at Daytona and Las Vegas with the new nose and tail. It feels like the Fords actually have a gun at a gunfight now instead of what we had last year. We've got the right tools to make some winning race cars and now we've just got to massage them a little bit and find the balance that they need. We seem to be on the right track."

First practice: 6th overall (187.598 mph)
Second practice: 1st overall (189.366 mph)

ROBIN PEMBERTON , NASCAR Field Manager, Ford Racing Technology

"It's too early to get over-excited, but I think it does show that the teams worked real hard. I think by getting the car into the hands of the crew chiefs and the teams early like we did has really paid off. They had their parts and pieces to work on this year's car back in August, so hat's off to the Ford guys and everyone who has gotten us to this point. Hopefully, it will stay the way it is, but if it doesn't we at least know we've made some big gains." IS THIS A BIG WEIGHT OFF YOUR SHOULDERS? "It's a huge weight off of our shoulders because you never know. When you come down and test you don't know you only suspect things. We have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours working on this stuff. We thought we were going to be a lot better than we were last year, and I still think we've got some work to do, but it's a big relief. Just about everybody is on the correct side of the computer screen now, which is on the left-hand column and up in the front. That's a big help."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Greg Biffle , Elliott Sadler