BUSCH CLASH DRAWING QUOTES TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet, starts first) -- "That may be an omen (after he won his first NASCAR Winston Cup championship in 1984 Labonte won the Busch Clash of 1985). Since they invert the field after...
BUSCH CLASH DRAWING QUOTES
TERRY LABONTE (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet, starts first) -- "That may be an omen (after he won his first NASCAR Winston Cup championship in 1984 Labonte won the Busch Clash of 1985). Since they invert the field after the first segment, that makes this (starting on the pole) a little bit different. We ran pretty good in testing down here. The competition's going to be tough and it's going to be hard to win. It doesn't matter where you start, so we'll just do our best."
MARK MARTIN (No. 6 Valvoline Ford, starts second) -- "I've got to explain something. I figured out a new strategy for me. I've been in a lot of these races, and I've never started better than third from last. So today, I thought 'I would really hate to start up front, because I know I'll get passed a bunch. If I start from the back, I'll pass a few cars like I always do.' That's why I'm starting up front this time, because I didn't want to."
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, starts third) -- "I'd like to thank Busch beer for this opportunity -- Dale (Earnhardt) told me to say that. I really appreciate being in this event. It's something I've been in for a long time -- didn't make it last year, but I'm glad to be back in it. It's a great tune-up for the (Gatorade) 125. We'll try to put on a good show. I'm more confident this year than I've ever been in my life, so everything's looking great right now. Testing went good down here, and everything's been going good. I've got my fingers crossed."
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford, starts fourth) -- "At least I can see the front from where I'll start. Last year I couldn't see the front in either the first or second segments (he went on to win). It's an exciting race. A lot of people ask about strategy. There is none. You get to the front. Nobody ever remembers who finishes second in this race, so it's just go all out. It's a great event for us and a great way to start the season. It will get the fans and drivers excited a lot. I think we're definitely more prepared. This will be the same car that we had in the Busch Clash last year. We made the changes to it to meet the rules, and I think it's a good race car. I'd like to have the car we had last year for the 500, but it's sitting in DAYTONA USA. I think we've got one that's just as capable."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac, starts fifth) -- "I've been here twice, and I started second both times. I told Mark (Martin) I always start up front and get passed a lot. Starting fifth is right in the middle of all of them, so I guess that's OK. We'll take it. The Interstate Pontiac ran pretty good in testing, so we're looking forward to the Busch Clash. This is my third time, maybe this will be a charm. I feel like Mark -- I got outrun going into turn one last year. We'll make this one work."
JOHNNY BENSON (No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac, starts sixth) -- "It was pretty exciting to be able to come down here during my rookie year and get a pole. Starting in the Busch Clash will be fun. I haven't talked to anybody about the Busch Clash, but I've watched it for a lot of years. I don't think there's any strategy. You just go as fast as you can and see what happens."
ERNIE IRVAN (No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford, starts seventh) -- "It doesn't really matter what kind of strategy you have. It just matters what happens on the first lap. It depends on the draft and different things that go on. It doesn't really matter where you start, either. Obviously, I wouldn't like to be starting where Jeff's (Gordon) at, because you just automatically think you won't be able to get to the front. I'm sure Jeff's going to be towards the front and somebody in front is going to be towards the back. It doesn't really matter."
JEFF BURTON (#99 Exide Batteries Ford, starts eighth) -- "It's good to be here. Everybody's excited about the Busch Clash, and I'm excited to be here. It doesn't really matter where we start, it's all a matter of being here. I'm not a very good qualifier, so to sit on the pole during the year meant a lot to me and my team. It's just a pleasure to be here. (Commenting on personalized gas grill presented to each driver by race sponsor Anheuser Busch.) My wife (Kim) is allergic to cooking utensils, so I don't know if I can have this around our house. But (pointing to Busch logo) she likes beer so I guess that'll work."
DALE EARNHARDT (No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet, starts ninth) -- "The odd years have been good to us in this race (Earnhardt has won three of his six Busch Clash victories in the odd years in the 1990s: 1991, 1993 and 1995). This is our kind of race. I've had a good test. I'm ready to go."
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 16 Family Channel/Primestar Ford, starts 10th) -- "If you start in the back, you can get to the front. I've seen that in previous years, although this year with the new rules it might be a little tougher. It looks like we might have some new friends starting from the back. I have a lot up front, but I don't have any in the back. We'll make friends real quick. Any time you're in the Busch Clash, it's a real privilege."
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet, starts 11th) -- "I figured (teammates) Terry's (Labonte) on the front, Jeff's (Gordon) last, so I would be somewhere in the middle. Honestly, I'm just glad to be in it. I'm pretty excited about the race. I know how important it is for the fans. Before I came down here, I remember being up in Maine with 24 inches of snow and just couldn't wait for the Busch Clash because it's the first race of the year. It's the same from a driver's perspective. It's the first race of the year, and you don't want to watch it."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 MBNA America Pontiac, starts 12th) -- "I'm sure I'll have a lot better car than I did my first time here. Rick Mast and I started last in the first segment and ended up last. They put us up front and NASCAR asked if we wanted to go to the rear and Rick and I said no. But by the time we got to turn four, we were last again. Hopefully, the MBNA Pontiac will be in better shape this time. I feel good, I think I'm 100 percent (after sinus surgery in January) and ready to go. No more headaches. I've fired my shotgun about 100 times and that noise didn't bother me. It's pretty quiet in the car with earplugs."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 37 Kmart/RC Cola Ford, starts 13th.) -- (Mayfield missed the Busch Clash drawing Thursday morning and would have had to fall to the back regardless of his starting draw) "It's a long story why I missed the breakfast, just a lack of communication. I hate it, because this will be my first Busch Clash and I'm really looking forward to it. Sometimes things happen. It wasn't because I wanted to miss it, I can tell you that. Thirteenth's fine. They (John Andretti) drew 13th last year and had a good car all week, so maybe it's a good sign."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 Dupont Refinishes Chevrolet, starts 14th) -- "Same old thing. It seems like I draw this number (last) every year, either here or the IROC race. I'll be able to find out if I can come from the back, and we're certainly going to be trying all the way. Last year I think we had 17 cars, and it was tough to come from the back. We still tried, but we didn't make it all the way. Fourteenth? Who knows, we might be able to win it from there. The whole race is won when the green flag drops. You put your foot to the gas, and if you can keep your momentum going and get up to speed, you can pass a lot of cars. If you don't do it there, you're in big trouble -- especially if you're starting 14th."