GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Jackson Hewitt/National Guard Taurus (Finished 14th) "It's just really, really tight. I was really tight out front and I was pretty much tight everywhere. I couldn't keep the nose to the ground and it seemed like a lot...
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Jackson Hewitt/National Guard Taurus (Finished 14th)
"It's just really, really tight. I was really tight out front and I was pretty much tight everywhere. I couldn't keep the nose to the ground and it seemed like a lot of guys were like that. It seemed like a lot of the Fords were that way while it seemed like some of the other guys were able to get up through there a little bit. We'll work on it some more. We've got another happy hour and I didn't want to mix it up with those guys. It looked pretty hectic so I just took the high road."
ONCE YOU FELL BACK DID YOU JUST KIND OF USE IT AS A TEST? "Yeah, that's basically what I did. I just had to feel it out and see what I could do with it, and I've got a pretty good idea of what I can do."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 17th)
DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO THE CAR? "We had something that kept popping coming off the corners. When the car loaded up off the corner and you'd turn the wheel, it would pop. I don't know if it was the ignition or if it's fuel. I switched boxes and that didn't change anything, but that was only one of the problems. We've got to work on this car. It just doesn't drive very good at all."
NOTHING HAPPENED ALL OF A SUDDEN TO CAUSE THE PROBLEM? "I just couldn't drive it and when you can't go wide open, it's gonna look like something happened."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/Irwin Taurus (Finished 7th)
"A lot of adjustments that we need to make with the new tire and the rear spoiler being so tall, it's making the cars very tight. So, I don't know if it's the Fords in general or the Chevrolets - I'm sure that everybody's got the same problem. It's just a matter of adjusting our car. I mean, we finished second last year, all those notes are junk. We've got to go and search out the '97 Ford."
DID YOU MAKE A LOT OF ADJUSTMENTS DURING YOUR PIT STOP? "We went and changed every screw and bolt we could."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 NBA All-Star Game on TNT Taurus (Finished 5th)
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH A TOP-FIVE? "Oh, yeah. A little bit. I have to be pleased with that. We came into this race, we're coming into this year trying to make a statement, we want everybody to know we're a formidable race team, we've been knocked on our heels the last two years, had enough of that crap, ready to come down and run like we're supposed to run."
WHAT ABOUT THE END OF THE RACE WEN YOU WERE IN THE MIX? "I got myself in the mix at the start of the race because we had a great stop and came in fifth and went out third, whatever it was, and then I made a move on Junior on the outside and Jamie went with Junior and that shuffled us back to, I don't know, 12th, we fought out way back to fifth. So, I made a move they didn't go with me, that's okay. We're here to be aggressive, to make something happen, and that's what we're trying to do."
YOU WERE STRONG BEFORE THE PIT STOP. DID YOU MAKE MANY ADJUSTMENTS? "Our car handled okay, it didn't handle great. We need to work on the driveability a little bit. We got a mechanical issue going on. I don't know what's going on, but the engine quits running. It will actually shut off. So, we're fighting that a little bit, trying to figure out how to get through that. If we ever get the thing to run 100 percent the thing's going to be real fast. It's running about 80 percent right now. The first 10 laps of a run, it'll run 100 percent. And then it pops and misses and then it quits running. It's been doing it for three days. We can't find it. So, if we can ever find that we're going to be hard to beat."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Tools Taurus (Finished 6th)
HOW WAS IT OUT THERE? "It was alright, it was slippery. It was fun to drive. If we had bigger groups of cars we probably could've done a little more racing, but it's slippery. You definitely have to drive it, you just can't hold it to the mat and steer like you used to be able to do, so for a driver that's fun. It's fun to have to work on your setup and have to hit your marks right in the corner to be able to get around it."
DID YOU HAVE TO LIFT AT ALL? "Yeah. I think everybody had to lift now and then - maybe the leader never did - but at the end there they got all bunched up and I know somebody lifted because we caught 'em all in a hurry. The longer you ran, the more slippery it got. In a bigger group, like the 500 on Sunday, you'll for sure be lifting in the middle of the pack. The front couple of guys might not, but I think everybody else will be."
THE PACKS GOT SPLIT UP PRETTY EASILY. DO YOU THINK WE'LL SE MORE OF THAT ON SUNDAY? "The more cars you have out there the bigger hole there is in the air and the more the cars are going to stay bunched up. But, you really do have to handle now and that is going to separate the packs a little bit, so as a driver that's encouraging. I like it when the packs get spread out and the car's gotta handle good to be able to stay up front. So, we have some work to do on our car in handling. It's still tough to pass, you still can't so it by yourself, but a good-handling car is still going to look good on Sunday."
PLUS, IT LOOKED AS THOUGH CARS COULD RUN ON THEIR OWN A LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN THEY HAVE IN THE PAST. "Yeah, you have a chance. If you're handling really good on old tires and people are sliding high, you can almost clear 'em in one corner - if you can run across the bottom without pushing, but everybody's car seems to be getting pretty tight off the corner and that's slowing everybody up. So, the guy who can really keep it handling good is going to be the guy to beat on Sunday."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 8th)
"We started off really good, we just got too tight. The front end wouldn't turn, it started pushing really bad and I had to crack the throttle, and when I did that was the difference in staying out front. We've got to get the push out of it. I don't think we're terrible - a lot of guys are worse than we are, but we've got a very fast race car, we just got to get it dialed in a little bit better on the chassis."
DID YOU NOTICE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY THE CAR HANDLED OUT FRONT AND IN TRAFFIC? "We were already pushing out front, which I knew that if I ever I got in the back I would be worse, and sure enough, when I had cars in front of me, it pushed that much worse. And, that's pretty typical of Daytona. As I say, we just have to get the front end to stick a little better. I'm not sure why that's not sticking like it needs to."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 4th)
"I love Pat Tryson and the Viagra team. They gave me a great pit stop. This is just a preview of 2004 with the new Ford Taurus and the Ford power under the hood and this great race team. We couldn't win it today, but we had a great run. I think if we can find it, it's in that car - if we can just find it."
HOW MUCH DID THE WEATHER CHANGE THE CAR? "It was really slick out there today - bad. It was pretty slick on Tuesday and maybe not as bad on Wednesday and really bad today with this sun out. We had a good car. The longer we went the stronger we got and that's sort of our trademark. When you throw 500 miles in there maybe we'll be better."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ON SUNDAY? "I don't like to predict. We had a pretty strong car today, but we need to do some work if we want to be a contender to win this thing. I think it's there if we can just find it in the car."
HOW WAS THE HANDLING TODAY? "Let me tell you something, that 2004 Taurus with that Ford power under the hood is like nothing I ever drove at Daytona. If we can just get it a little bit better, we'll have a chance."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE STYLE OF RACING NOW? YOUR PACK WAS SEPARATED BY LAP 9. IT WASN'T A SINGLE 43-CAR TRAIN FOR 20 STRAIGHT LAPS. "I like the fact that the cars are faster than the handling will let them go, so it makes a real race out of it instead of some follow-the-leader, cruise control set. I big-time like that. It gives everyone an equal chance so that they're not at total mercy of the motor or whatever, although we've got enough motor now that it wouldn't matter how they had it. But this makes it fun because it sits in the racer's hand to some degree."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus - VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW
"This is big. To sit on the outside pole at Daytona with the best that everybody brings, I've just got to thank M&M's, Robert Yates Racing for giving me a chance. Raybestos, Coca-Cola, UPS - everybody that's stood behind this team. I am so proud of these pit guys. If I hadn't come out first, I wouldn't have won the race."
YOU WERE TOLD TO RUN HARD ALL DAY. "That's what they told me. Look, we're here to win this race today. Robert Yates deserves it and all of our sponsors deserve it. We were not gonna go in there and ride around. I got the OK from Robert to go out there and do what it takes to win the race. I'm just so proud of these guys. This is so emotional for me right now, it's great."
DJ WAS HERE IN THE SHOOTOUT AND YOU'RE HERE TODAY. WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY? "I don't know, maybe we'll flip for it. I'm just glad to see both of our teams back to where we need to have it. They've worked so hard in the shop this winter and it's great to see our teams working this good together and being this successful. We told everybody we were coming back because we've got a lot of Robert Yates fans to make up to."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN ON THE BIG STAGE? "I just told the guys that this is probably the biggest win I've ever had in my life. I'm so proud of Robert and everybody in the engine shop. My whole family is here to see it. I've just got to thank M&M's, Raybestos, Pedigree, Coca-Cola, Locktight, UPS, Shell - everybody that's been behind this race team. It's a very emotional win for me right now, but I just want to say thank you to all the Yates fans that stood beside me and DJ last year and we're gonna give them something to brag about this year."
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU FELL OUT OF THE LEAD? "The guys on the outside just had a great run on me and Ricky got down in front of me. I decided to stay single file and hang out behind him - he'd break away from the back. He got a good run. My pit crew got me out first and that was the difference. That's the reason we're in here today. I just want to thank Ford and everybody involved. This feels great."
WAS YOUR CAR BETTER AFTER THE PIT STOP? "It was a little bit better. I was a little tight the first run and Todd made some adjustments. That's what it took to get here in Victory Lane. I tell you what, this is very awesome - very special."