MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (DNQ) WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD AN ISSUE WITH THE TIRE? "Right when I took the green the left-rear tire just exploded for some reason. Robbie said he thought it looked low when we left and it did spin...
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (DNQ)
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD AN ISSUE WITH THE TIRE? "Right when I took the green the left-rear tire just exploded for some reason. Robbie said he thought it looked low when we left and it did spin a little funny when I left pit road, but it was so cold out that I didn't really think much of it. Once I crossed the start-finish line I just exploded the tire and it was too late to do anything about it then."
JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 8th)
"That's kind of where we felt we would run. Jimmy (Fennig) said he thought a 48-flat, so I guess a 47.90 is good. The Crown Royal Ford Fusion has been good since we unloaded it. For some reason the wind seems to hurt our car more than it does some of the others, but it drafted really well in testing here and it's obviously our better car so we'll just have to wait and see what we have when we put it in race trim."
WHAT KIND OF AN ADJUSTMENT IS IT TO CHANGE MANUFACTURERS? "Ford has been very helpful and obviously Roush has been with Ford forever. They have incredible race cars and great engines with the Roush-Yates power, so it's been a pleasant change."
MARK MARTIN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Qualified 27th)
"I really appreciate the monumental effort that went into our AAA Ford. We didn't put any effort into shining today, it's all in shining on Sunday. We should get a glimpse of that on Thursday, but the full effect should come in on Sunday. We've got a race car here, not a qualifier."
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (Qualified 26th)
"That's fine. That's the fastest lap we've made so far, so that's the time to do it. It's real windy. Hopefully the wind doesn't become advantageous in any way later in the qualifying because it seemed to be just a little more of a detriment there on that lap than it was in practice. I think it was a little better down the back straightaway, but it's definitely windy. You can feel it out there. You wouldn't think that the wind would have that big of an effect but it does."
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion (Qualified 25th)
"It wasn't bad. The car ran really good, but I just didn't get the speed down the backstretch that I was hoping for from the wind. I was just waiting for it to pick up and it just never picked up. Then about halfway down the backstretch I felt it. It was like somebody just gave me a big shove and bump-drafted me, and that was the wind I was looking for, but I didn't get it until halfway down the back. It's in your face all the way down the front, but you get it back going down the back, but I never got the push. It could have probably picked up another tenth, which would have gained us a lot of spots, but we'll be OK."
KEVIN LEPAGE -- No. 61 Amp Energy Drink Ford (Qualified 31st)
"We were just real thankful to have Amp Energy Drink on the car for this weekend. We still have another shot at this thing. Last year we had a car that didn't qualify that well and we raced our way in and I think we've got the same kind of race car. We never showed a lot of speed during testing and we ran this car a little bit last year and even though it didn't show a lot of speed, it races very well. Greg Conner and the guys will put a race setup underneath it. We've got all day Wednesday to see how good we can get it to race and we'll see where we are in the 150's."
DALE JARRETT -- No. 88 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 3rd)
"I'm extremely happy. That's actually faster than I thought that we could go with this car, but the guys worked extremely hard with it to be able to make it go fast, but we also think that this car is gonna draft well. That's what we were after in coming here testing, but I think my teammate's got something for those guys. If I can run that fast, I would look for Elliott to run somewhere in the 47.40 range and get his first Daytona 500 pole."
HOW STRONG IS THIS RYR PACKAGE? "We have a lot of unknowns because we made a lot of changes, but if you look at it on paper, we've installed a lot of good people in a lot of places that are very important for us. Tommy and Slugger work well together and Elliott and I feel very strongly about our race teams right now. The thing that makes us go fast here -- good bodies, yeah -- but Doug Yates and his people in the engine shop do a terrific job. There's just no substitute for that kind of horsepower, so we have a lot of optimism. Some of it may be guarded because we know that we have to prove it on the race track first to get everybody's attention."
IT WAS A GOOD LAP FOR THE FUSION. "Yeah, it was nice. We know that the Fusion is a good race car and a better balanced car than what we've had here in the past, so it gives us a lot of optimism that we may be able to contend for a win. Poles are something that we've done. I didn't really care how fast we might go today. My biggest objective is to get something that I can drive and be competitive with for the 500."
POLES ARE NICE BUT THE RACE IS THE BIG THING. "Yeah. The 500 trophies are a lot bigger and nicer than the pole trophies are, and that's what we worked hard on. Again, I didn't really expect this car -- from where we tested with it -- to be this fast, but they went back and did some things that we can do for qualifying and, obviously, horsepower always helps that too. So hopefully we have a great package for next Sunday."
ELLIOTT SADLER -- No. 38 M&M's Ford Fusion (Qualified 4th)
"We got all of it, I think. We're just having a question about the brakes. I think my brakes were dragging the whole time, but as far as the car, the car drove great and the engine felt good. We were really shooting for the pole and we just missed it. Third is nothing to sneeze at. That's great to have two Yates cars in the top three, so we'll try to go get 'em on Thursday."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THURSDAY? "I think we've got a really good race car. I swear. It's driving good. I think the guys are fired up and I just really think we're gonna have a really good week. We're gonna go into the Twin 150 on Thursday and do the best we can. The Ford Fusion is driving good and we've got a lot of people from M&M's coming in this weekend so we want to run good. But I think we've got something for these guys this weekend. We'll see what happens."
HOW DO YOU APPROACH THURSDAY? "We're gonna go try to win the race. I won here a couple of years ago and it felt really good going to Victory Lane. We need to try to start up front in the Daytona 500, so we go this Thursday and run as hard as we can. We'll draft a little bit and see how it's gonna do in real racing conditions. You're not gonna learn anything riding around the back, so we're gonna ride up front, be aggressive, and see what it gives us."
KEN SCHRADER -- No. 21 Little Debbie's Ford Fusion
"We didn't know what to expect. We changed the rear-end and everything this morning, so we did not know what to expect. The general consensus was we would have been happy with a .50, so we were happier with a .37.