MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 42nd) "When you go slow here, you're probably gonna be slow qualifying. We picked up a little bit from last night, so I guess that's good. But it's disappointing to come down to these ...
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 42nd)
"When you go slow here, you're probably gonna be slow qualifying. We picked up a little bit from last night, so I guess that's good. But it's disappointing to come down to these speedways and really struggle all the time. We'll just have to go back and work on it again and, hopefully, we'll have a better car next time."
WILL THE CAR RACE BETTER? "They all race better than they qualify. The fastest car is gonna race better than they qualified. Today is pretty much an honest evaluation of what you have here for a car and when the race comes up, we'll do the best we can. I've got a great pit crew and, hopefully, we'll have track position when it counts at the end and we'll be able to get a decent finish out of it."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 31st)
"We've just been struggling a little bit in qualifying here at Daytona, but it doesn't ever affect the way we run it seems like. We know we're gonna have our work cut out for us Saturday night, but the guys are gonna give me good pit stops and Pat and I will get this thing good and ready in race trim. This is the sister car to the one we had here in February, so we think the Motorcraft Quality Parts Ford Taurus will be fine come Saturday night."
YOU HAD A SHOT TO WIN IN FEBRUARY. WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW NIGHT? "I don't know, we'll see. Sometimes that experience backfires on you, but I definitely had a lot of fun and learned a lot here in February. I drove the car a lot different than I ever have before and we'll try it again. We were third here last year for this race and we were second in February, so I guess first is what's left. We'll see what happens."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 5th)
YOU DIDN'T GET ANY HELP ON THAT LAP LIKE LAST NIGHT, DID YOU? "We figured somewhere between two and three tenths (was the amount of help last night) and that (the qualifying lap) was about two-and-a-half tenths slower than what we ran last night, so that was about right on. That's a good job. I think conditions are obviously a little worse today with the humidity and the heat and it's only gonna get a little worse. I think there are a couple of Chevrolets that can run faster than that, but that will give us a good starting spot."
THINGS ARE GOING PRETTY WELL RIGHT NOW. "Yeah, I'm excited about this. A lot of good things are happening at our race shop. Todd has got our guys working in a direction that is really pleasing to all of us, so I'm looking forward to these next 20."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 28th)
"By going out early it really helped us. Our efforts have been pretty good since we unloaded and we know that this Rubbermaid Ford can race real strong. We had a car here that was top five at the Daytona 500 and it was third place at Talladega, so it's the same car. We've been polishing on it and if we can put on a few more coats of wax, we'll be hauling bread during the race."
WILL EXPERIENCE HELP? "For sure. Everytime you go out here at Daytona you learn things. Just throwing different springs and different bars and different ideas to try to make it go faster. That's all Roush Racing is trying to do -- go fast."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 26th)
"I think we only made two runs in practice and that's not a lot to evaluate the Tide Ford. I felt like with what they've given me all year that they would definitely come up with some time and they did. They're just consistent. They've done it all year long. This will be a respectable improvement over February and then, son of a gun, we're going for a million bucks on Saturday night so there is some incentive."
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS IF YOU WIN? "There will be a pretty big celebration."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Hooters Taurus (Qualified 17th)
"That was a great effort by this race team. These guys did a great job getting this thing ready to qualify. You can go out there and fool yourself in practice, but these guys have really done a great job. We went through the room of doom over there and everything went well, and the last inspection process -- the spoiler angle -- they laid it back where it needed to be and the car responded."
WHAT HAS HELPED TURN THINGS AROUND? "We're just getting our people in place. We've got a new crew chief. Buddy Cisco is coming on board and his organizational skills with all the people and getting them focussed and getting them ready to go race is really helping this race team perform. When that's going right, then the driver's mind is in the right frame of mind. We're just gonna get better and better as the season goes on."
YOU WERE GOOD IN FEBRUARY HERE SO THIS IS NO GREAT SURPRISE. "Yeah, but to just keep coming back and running good. You always worry that you're gonna lose it. In this kind of racing there's a little black magic involved and sometimes you lose it and you don't know where it went. But the guys have stayed focussed and got the car prepared. It's all preparation and making sure you come down here and run a good lap. As far back as we are in the point standings, we can't be guaranteed a provisional. There are so many guys that cherry-pick these speedway races, that have good race cars and are gonna bump good race cars out of the starting field, we have to come in and really put on a strong effort. The amazing part of this whole thing is we have not tested a race track since Daytona in January, so for this team to come out and qualify as well as we have lately and throughout the season -- particularly here without testing, to me, is amazing."
DO YOU HAVE AS GOOD A CHANCE AS ANYONE OF WINNING TOMORROW? "No question. This is a great race car. This has been a great race track for me in the past. Our best finish as car owners came here last year in this race, so there's no reason why we can't be a contender to win this race."
THAT WOULD BE A STORYBOOK ENDING. "Absolutely. I just feel so confident when I come to Daytona because it does take a little bit away from the race car's importance and puts some in the driver's hands, and that's what I like. I want to go out and race these guys, but this time I've got a horse that I can ride."
DAVE BLANEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 30th)
"I was hoping we could back up our practice run from last night, but I really don't know why we couldn't. Things weren't quite up to temperature, so I'm sure that hurt us a little bit, but it doesn't really matter a whole lot. You'd rather start in the top 15, if you could, and just try to hang there but we'll take what we've got and go from there."
TODD BODINE --26-- Discover Card Taurus (Qualified 24th)
"We just never got rolling good. That's about what we ran last night, but we figured we could get a little more out of it with a tune-up and the oils and things and it just didn't go. That will put us in the race. That will put us in the back, but I've had to come from the back before and it's no big deal."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 41st)
YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR SPEED ALL WEEKEND. "All week, not just this weekend. Whatever Dale Jarrett is doing, he's making all of us Fords look bad and him look good. Overall, we're just searching for speed. We're trying to get the car to travel down the straightaways and, hopefully, we'll learn something in the draft that will make us more competitive than qualifying."
YOU RACED WELL AT DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA. ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU'RE STRUGGLING? "Yeah. We lost an advantage that we had after Talladega that shouldn't have gotten lost, but, we're just trying to search for speed."
GEOFFREY BODINE --09-- Miccosukee Indian Gaming Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
"This is all team, crew. This Phoenix bunch has obviously worked hard since February. We didn't qualify very good in February. We finished third, but this is a big improvement for this team. They did all the work. I wish I could say it was the driver out here that did it, but we just steer it and hold the gas down. All of the work is done before you get here and these guys deserve all the credit. They have a lot to be proud of."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR RACE STRATEGY? "In '86 I started second and won the 500, so, hopefully, we're gonna start second in the 400. Maybe it's time for Geoff Bodine to win again."
ARE YOU SURPRISED TO BE SECOND NOW? "No, you really shouldn't after the way the car performed in February, finishing third. The history of the Phoenix Racing teams -- not just this one but the number one car that Jimmy Spencer drives -- the Yellow Freight car. They're always fast. They always run up front. They finish up front when they finish, so I hope no one's surprised. I've got a couple laps around here, so I'm not a pure rookie."
BUT YOU DON'T RUN ALL THE RACES? "Yeah, and it's remarkable that a team that doesn't run all the races can come and compete like this. Actually, there might be an advantage to that because it gives them more time to prepare and they're not as stressed out or worn out -- so it might be a plus."
HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE BEING ON THE OUTSIDE POLE? "It allows you to change your race strategy. When you start in the back, my goodness, it's hard to get through the traffic and everything without taking a lot of chances, so, in February I rode around in the back -- missed the wreck and we finished third. Now, we're starting up front and I can race up front. That's where we all want to do it, but with these plates, with this kind of racing in big packs, it's hard to get from the back to the front without taking chances. Now we're up front and hopefully we can stay there, race there and finish there."
HOW HAPPY WERE YOU TO SEE NASCAR DECIDE TO HOLD QUALIFYING TODAY INSTEAD OF CANCELLING IT ALL TOGETHER? "We didn't even look at that possibility. We thought we were gonna make it because we had run more races than a couple of other cars and had more points, but we still didn't know the exact formula they were gonna use to line cars up. Yeah, we're happy they got qualifying in. They really did the right thing by not trying to do it last night. It was way too late. What we were concerned about today was this late draw. We knew it was gonna warm up and maybe slow us down a little bit, but I don't think it had much to do with anything today."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Qualified 18th)
"That's a little bit better than I expected and quite a bit better than I had hoped for. That's all these guys. That's spectacular. That car didn't want to go that fast, but they made it do that."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo Taurus (Qualified 35th)
"We're just slow. I was hoping for something like two tenths better than that. That would have been a great effort, but I don't know why, we're just slow."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 37th)
"I don't know what caused it. We went out and the motor and RPM came right up -- everything was right. Then all of a sudden, on the second lap, it lost almost 100 RPMs. That never happens, but it did, and the car slowed up almost four tenths of a second from what it should have run. We'll go back and check the engine out to make sure something hasn't gone in disarray there."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Havoline Taurus (Qualified 12th)
WERE YOU THE VICTIM OF A BAD DRAW? "I'm certain that didn't help us, but there were some pretty fast speeds that were run fairly late, so I'm not sure you can really blame it all on that. I'm not really sure. That's all we had. They didn't really touch the car and it ran an honest 48.90 by itself and today we ran a 49.20, so I'm sure the track temperature is quite a bit hotter."