"This is the same car we had down here in 2001. We went through a crash on the backstretch. We went through another crash at Talladega on the last lap. The car has seen its ups and downs, but it's always been a good race car. My Caterpillar team...
"This is the same car we had down here in 2001. We went through a crash on the backstretch. We went through another crash at Talladega on the last lap. The car has seen its ups and downs, but it's always been a good race car. My Caterpillar team and Bill Davis Racing always put a lot into it before we come down here. Today is not a real reflection of how good or how bad you are. It's a learning day. Hopefully we'll get a little bit better tomorrow and a little bit better on Wednesday still.
"I'm not really sure (when drafting will start). I haven't talked to anybody about it. Tomorrow evening or Wednesday evening either one would be great.
"I'm real excited about the year. I know we're much more prepared than we were at this time last year. Car wise, motor wise, knowledge of what we've got versus guessing and knowledge of how to get the new Goodyear tire to work. We've got a stable of eight or nine proven race cars and many, many motors that Terry Elledge and his guys have build. I think our momentum we end ed the year on last year has started the beginning of this year.
"I'm not sure what it (new aero package) is going to do. Is it going to favor the Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Pontiac? I'm not sure on that when it comes to one lap qualifying. We tested this very similar package at Talladega with 18 cars or more. What we saw, it did away with a lot of cowl pressure in the middle groove, which eliminated the three abreast racing as much as we had had before, but still promoted a lot of two abreast racing. That's what we were all in favor on, eliminate the three abreast all day long and go back to the two abreast. Hopefully it will play out here, too.
"It's really not feeling any different. I'd really like to have the bigger restrictor plate with these changes we've got now so we could go a little bit faster. Get out there by yourself and we could be running 25 or 30 mph faster. It feels like you're creeping anyway. I really don't think you're going to feel that big a difference.
"Before we always knew what people ran at the end of the day from the speed charts, from MRN, Daytona news casts and people down here watching. I think this is definitely a better way to do it. There's no need to have three or four different tests. It gives everybody a chance to see where they stack up and some of us will have to go back and do more homework than others. We all prepare pretty hard for this race, and you have to to be competitive. NASCAR is doing a really good job it seems the last couple of years, really since I've been in Winston Cup racing, keep an even playing field. There's always one make at one time or another that steps ahead, but they don't stay out there for long.
"I don't think you could have a car any better than we had last year in the Daytona 500 (led nine times for 53 laps before an accident forced Burton to prematurely park his Intrepid R/T). I would be thrilled to death to have something comparable to it. It's been very rare that I had a car that would just lead. We've had cars that would run good and be competitive, but not lead the pack. That car wanted to lead the pack."