MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- QUALIFIED 2ND DALE EARNHARDT JR, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD / AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS -- QUALIFIED 3RD: YOU'VE GOT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOUR CHANCES TOMORROW NIGHT MARTIN: "You know, a lot of times you don't...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- QUALIFIED 2ND
DALE EARNHARDT JR, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD / AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS -- QUALIFIED 3RD:
YOU'VE GOT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOUR CHANCES TOMORROW NIGHT
MARTIN: "You know, a lot of times you don't put a whole lot of importance on qualifying, but what this means and what this says here to me today, is that we have really great engines and kudos to the Earnhardt Childress Engine program for the gains that they've made since February here. We had a very good qualifying, I thought, being something like 18th for the 500 and obviously this is a whole lot better. So it is mostly done in the engine shop so I really want to give those guys credit. It's just awesome to be driving this No. 8 car. My point was that in practice, it reminded me of watching this guy (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) in this car. I caught cars, passed them on the outside, which is not my MO by any means, and without help and was able to pull away from a bunch of them. So at the end of practice it was pretty spectacular and I hope that the car races like it practiced toward the end of practice. If it does, we're going to have some big fun tomorrow night."
ON HIS LAP
EARNHARDT JR.: "First of all I'd like to congratulate Paul (Menard) for his run and Mark (Martin). They do a great job at (super) speedway, getting the good cars out there. I don't know if the car is good. It was practicing good yesterday. I was really happy with my engine, and just overall craftsmanship on the race car itself and preparation was good. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
GOODYEAR BRINGS A LITTLE HARDER TIRE ON THE RIGHT, AND THEN YOU SEE A TIRE FAILURE IN PRACTICE. COMMENTS?
MARTIN: "I'm concerned a little bit, not for me exactly. My car is loose and if I have a tire problem it'll probably be a right rear. At least I'll go in backwards instead of head-on (laughs). I really feel like we certainly won't be the first to have trouble. But yeah, I'm concerned. I don't know if the Nationwide cars are the same tire."
EARNHARDT JR: "It's the tire we ran last time on the Nationwide car. It's still slick."
MARTIN: "Yeah, it's just a little bit concerning. We'll have to keep our eye out and see if that was an isolated problem with the No. 2 car yesterday, or if there is going to be some slight durability issues or not. We didn't see any trouble, but we only went 25 laps in practice."
JEFF GORDON SAID YESTERDAY THAT HE THOUGHT THE NEW GENERATION RACE CAR IS BEST SUITED TO THIS TRACK AND COMPARED TO OTHER PLACES WHERE YOU CAN'T PASS UP FRONT, THE CAR SEEMS TO WORK WELL HERE. HOW DO YOU THINK IT WILL RACE?
EARNHARDT JR.: "I think we've seen how it races on the plate tracks. I mean really, I think Jeff's got a really, really good driving car. I think if he drove 75 percent of the rest of the cars in the field, he might not have that kind of opinion (laughter). But I've seen some cars out there and I've had some cars at the plate tracks that were a handful. So it'll be a fun race. It always is. I love racing here. It's a great race track. It's starting to wear out a little bit and starting to be a little more harder to handle, but it kind of makes it fun, you know. So, we'll just have to hope. The only thing is, is the cars are slicker and so you're finding yourself in more precarious situations down in the corner around people than you used to. And you just have to be aware of that."
IS IT STILL GOOD TO SEE, AND DOES IT FEEL GOOD TO HAVE DEI DOING THIS WELL HERE?
EARNHARDT JR.: "Yeah, I knew Mark would get in the car and run well. I thought Martin (Truex,Jr) would have had a better year up to this point. But they just seem to not be able to shake the bad luck. And Paul (Menard) has really turned it up. He's run so much better this year if you really look at the overall statistics and his average in qualifying and finishing order and how he runs over the distance of the race. He's doing a lot better. And Regan (Smith) is showing why he got hired to do the job he's doing. So, it's tough to field four teams for any organization; and even tougher I think, for DEI and the situation they are in, or we're all in really, with the economy. And so their stretching the buck and man they're doing a great job really, financially, budgeting themselves to be able to compete like they are. I'm not really surprised, but it is nice to see."
WHEN YOU SEE THE NO. 1 CAR GO THROUGH WHAT IT DID YESTERDAY, KNOWING THAT YOUR CAR WAS BUILT IN THE SAME SHOP, DOES THAT CONCERN YOU? WAS IT SOMETHING THAT MIGHT AFFECT ALL THE CARS OR WAS IT AN ISOLATED THING?
MARTIN: "Our car has not been touched since it rolled on the trailer after the Bud Shootout. So it had been through all the processes and everything. Aric (Almirola) did not race it at Talladega. So it's been in the shop and it was in the top of the trailer at Talladega, so no, there was no concern from that standpoint. It was not a new car or a re-build. Fortunately it didn't get tore up when we last raced it. So, I don't know the ins and outs. I do know that was a new car for the No. 1 team; but for us, I wasn't concerned."
-credit: gm racing