GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 37th) "I slowed down in three and four for some reason. Practice doesn't make the car faster. It is what it is. Basically, when you unload here and you start making laps, that's about the speed...
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 37th)
"I slowed down in three and four for some reason. Practice doesn't make the car faster. It is what it is. Basically, when you unload here and you start making laps, that's about the speed of your car. I don't know. That's as fast as it's gonna be, I guess."
KASEY KAHNE -- No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Qualified 28th)
"I was actually really happy with it. We picked up close to a second from yesterday, so, to me, that was a great lap for our Budweiser Ford. The team has done a great job and the Roush Yates engines run really well, so it was nice. It was a good pickup and I'm looking forward to the Shootout tonight. I think it's gonna be a lot of fun. It's gonna be exciting."
HOW DO YOU LIKE WEARING THE TEAM USA COLORS? "I like it. Budweiser did that with the Olympics coming up and we're gonna do it here at the 500 and also the following week at Fontana, California. It means a lot to us and it's all for the Olympians, so it should be a good program."
CAN YOU READ ANYTHING INTO WHAT WE SAW YESTERDAY AND TODAY? "It's tough to say. We picked up a lot. Greg picked up a little bit, so I think it'll be a lot closer. It looks like the 88 is really quick again, but I'm happy with the way my car ran from yesterday. I felt like it was a lot better."
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT QUALIFYING HERE? "No, because I've never qualified good at these tracks, ever, so I don't worry about it. I just go and make my laps. I was actually pretty excited coming down here because I thought this would probably be the best I could ever qualify here and I think we should have a pretty decent spot for the 150 on Thursday."
ROBERT RICHARDSON JR. -- No. 38 Mahindra Tractors Ford Fusion (Qualified 44th)
"It was a lot better than what we had yesterday. We struggled a little bit yesterday for the two laps that we had. The car was bottoming out real bad on the race track and the side valances were bottoming out real bad, so we worked on that yesterday with the time we had in the garage. It was a lot better in qualifying, but we still need to work on some things and try to get the car handling a little bit better for the Duels next week."
IT MUST BE COMFORTING TO KNOW YOU'RE IN THE 500 NO MATTER WHAT. "Absolutely. I've got to thank Bob Jenkins and Doug Yates for giving me the opportunity to run the 38 car this weekend at the Daytona 500. They could have picked anybody in the world to run it, but I'm honored to be part of their organization and glad to have Mahindra Tractors on board for the Daytona 500."
BORIS SAID -- No. 26 Window World Ford Fusion (Qualified 48th)
"We're locked in the show, so we're kind of on a different program. We don't have any qualifying oil, qualifying rear-end -- none of the tricks that you normally do for qualifying -- so we're just really gonna work on race setup. We're in the race, so we're gonna save the car. I just can't wait until next week. Today was kind of boring."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DIFFERENCE IN HOW YOU FELT LAST YEAR WHEN YOU HAD TO QUALIFY ON SPEED VERSUS THIS YEAR? "It's unbelievable what a mental nightmare that is, trying to qualify when you're a go or go-homer. This week, we've just been laughing and joking around and having a good time. We had some pretty sad news with Todd when he unexpectedly passed away Thursday night, so that's really brought a downer for the program, but, still, his love for racing and for what he's done with St. Jude Children's Hospital, and all the charity and money he has raised, he would definitely want to see the show go on. Hopefully, he's looking down on us laughing."
DAVID RAGAN -- No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 24th)
"Obviously, it would be great to qualify on the pole today, but we've put a lot of emphasis on our race car for the races and I think that's just about what we expected. We expected to pick up a little bit from yesterday, not having a lot of practice. We changed a couple of things and Donnie Wingo and everyone did a nice job. The car looked pretty good and it's got some good speed to it, so we'll see how it is when we put our race setup in. I'm looking forward to Wednesday when we start practicing."
JOHN ANDRETTI -- No. 34 Window World Ford Fusion (Qualified 42nd)
"It's nice to be in because you can have a strategy of bringing a different kind of race car, maybe. Everybody wants to drive good here. It's not like Talladega, where it's just kind of as fast as you can go and that's all that matters. Here, you've got to handle good, too. I think we've got a good balance between both. We'll have to wait and see, but I'm excited about it. Obviously, we're going through some difficult times right now with the loss of a really good friend of mine and the CEO of Window World, Todd Whitworth. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. They're a wonderful family and that's somebody's shoes that will never be filled."
PAUL MENARD -- No. 98 Peak/Menards Ford Fusion (Qualified 23rd) -- "Obviously, you'd like to qualify well, but your focus has to be on the race. At a place like this, you kind of have to give up a little bit of pure speed to get some handling for the race on Sunday and the 150 on Thursday. We weren't planning on sitting on the pole, but being the fastest Ford to this point is pretty cool. We picked up a lot from yesterday -- everybody did, but we picked up a little bit more than most. Hopefully, that will give us a good start for the 150 and we can race and have a good handling car where we can race good."
TRAVIS KVAPIL -- No. 37 ExtenZe Ford Fusion (Qualified 45th)
"All winter long we knew we weren't really building a pole-winning car, and yesterday was kind of a fumble on our part. We really didn't get in a good effort to see where we were because we had some problems under the hood. We got that resolved, but we never got another run to really see where we stacked up. You'd like to say we've got a good race car, but we don't even know that. We knew we weren't gonna have a pole-winning car going into it. We just don't have the resources and the windtunnel time and all the things to really make a pole-winning effort, so we just put the best race car out there we could. We'll really go to work Wednesday to make it drive good. That's gonna be more important than today because where we start the 500 depends on how we finish Thursday."
ELLIOTT SADLER -- No. 19 Stanley Ford Fusion (Qualified 36th)
"We definitely wanted to run a faster time than that, but our hearts are not broken. We want to race good on Thursday and want to race good on Sunday, so, hopefully, we'll be able to do that. We'll work on getting it driving good. That's what has worked well for us in the past and being the Daytona 500 time has moved up being more in the daytime on Sunday, you've got to have it handling so we'll go to work then and see where we end up. Hopefully, we'll get a good starting spot for Sunday."
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Qualified 26th)
"It's hard to feel that extra mile an hour, but our Aflac Ford Fusion was not as fast as we wanted it to be, but it is cool standing down here with all these fans. You have a bad lap like that and you come down here and they're all pumped up ready to go racing. We've got a race tonight with our Scotts Fusion in the Bud Shootout. That should be a lot of fun, but we've just got to go race in those qualifiers and try to get the best spot we can, and then go into this Daytona 500 not thinking about qualifying. We've just got to go to be the best handling car we can be and be there at the end, and I'd say we've got just as good a shot of winning it as Matt Kenseth did last year, so that's good enough for me."
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 11th)
THE PROBLEM ON PIT ROAD DIDN'T HAMPER YOU ON THE TRACK. "Once the engine got running it was fine, so just getting the engine started was the problem. That was a really good lap for us. That was faster than the rest of the Fords so far, I guess, so that was good. Drew and Chip and everybody back at Roush in the fab shop did a good job to get some speed out of the car, so I'm excited to get it in race trim and see how it runs."
HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING FOR TWO STRAIGHT 500 WINS? "All fifty-some cars are here trying to win one, so it's tough every year. There's a lot of competition every year and this year is no exception, so there's gonna be some really exciting racing down here this weekend. I'm really looking forward to racing the Crown Royal car tonight as well as next week."
AJ ALLMENDINGER -- No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 25th)
"I think that was a little slower than we wanted to be. Looking at everybody's times and where we were yesterday, we thought we could be a little better than that. We knew we weren't gonna be on the pole, and, ultimately, that's all that really matters here is being on the front row at Daytona. Qualifying is just better for stats, but we're happy. The car is fine. We'll get here on Wednesday and get down to real business, get the thing handling good for the duels and go try to win that."
BILL ELLIOTT -- No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion (Qualified 4th)
"These guys laid down a nice lap. Everybody worked hard -- David Hyder, Len and Eddie Wood have put so much effort into this deal, Ford, Motorcraft and Quick Lane, all the people that support this deal, you can't say enough about those guys. I think that's the key part. It's a team effort. I know from the time Homestead ended last fall to right now David Hyder and these guys have worked their rear ends off to get down here and do what they need to do. They've got one of the nicest race cars out here. I'm telling you, this is a gorgeous race car, very well put together, and I'm just proud to race it come Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, we'll get in where we need to be today and then we can kind of decide what we want to do as far as the 150 goes. But the main thing is our sights are set on the Daytona 500 come a week from tomorrow."
HOW WILL THIS CAR RACE? "That's another question. We worked all of our stuff on trying to get qualified because that's our number one goal and now on Wednesday we'll work on what we need to do for the race. I think we've got a pretty good idea of what we need to do and let the guys do their magic in the garage and then see what we can do on the race track."
THAT WAS A GOOD RUN. "That was a great run. You never can tell about circumstances -- when you go, what happens, how the wind blows for this guy or that guy, but the Hendrick guys are hard to beat. Week in and week out, they're the most stable team in the garage as far as what they need to do and what they're trying to do. We worked all winter to come down here for today and now we need to work on once we leave here today, work on what we need to do for Wednesday to be as good as we can on Thursday, and, hopefully, everything works out and we'll be in the 500."
YOU'RE STILL HUGE OUT HERE. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT? "To run well is a part of that. I think from the fan's standpoint, they remember a lot of the stuff that happened in the old days and what we did and what we were able to accomplish, but this stuff is a tough deal. When you come here week in and week out, it's just like I told those guys on pit road. For the guys that are locked into this deal -- the top 35 -- it's kind of a cakewalk for them, but when you get to that 36th guy and he's got to make it on time or whatever he's got to do, and today is just one part of it. Then we turn around and Thursday will be another part of it, so you take it a step at a time. For us, we worked hard. We did our homework. We came down here and we'll hold our heads up when we leave here this afternoon."
DO YOU STILL GET GOOSEBUMPS WHEN YOU WALK INTO THIS PLACE? "This is a unique race track. I've had a lot of good runs here, a lot of success and a lot of fun. I still enjoy it or I wouldn't be here."
LAST YEAR IT WAS KIND OF AN UPSET TO RUN AS WELL AS YOU DID. DID YOU EXPECT IT THIS YEAR? "It's still always nerve-wracking because when you roll in here it's one thing, but once you do everything you've got to do and then you leave pit road on your qualifying run it's a whole different world."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS PROGRAM FROM A YEAR AGO? "Well, two years ago there's no comparison. Last year, Hyder started turning things around about this time and I feel like last season was a tribute to the Wood Brothers and the way their team should be. If we can just keep chipping away at it and getting better and better everytime we race, I mean, the problem we have is not racing every week. That's what makes it tough, but, all in all, for what these guys do and as hard as they've worked on a limited basis, that's the attitude you've got to have when you come into these race tracks."
-source: ford racing