MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Finished 25th) "We shouldn't have lost that lead draft, but we got in an unfortunate predicament where we just about got in a wreck and lost the lead draft. Then we broke it anyway, so, hopefully, that will...
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Finished 25th)
"We shouldn't have lost that lead draft, but we got in an unfortunate predicament where we just about got in a wreck and lost the lead draft. Then we broke it anyway, so, hopefully, that will teach us something for Sunday's race and we won't have that problem and maybe the guys won't be so reckless. They were doing pretty good, but you get caught up with rookies that think they need to make this race and they've got a lot on the line, but at least we still have a great car for the race. We've still got some more work to do."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Finished 10th)
DID YOU TRY TO SAVE YOUR TIRES EARLY ON AND THEN MOVE UP? "No, I was just in the wrong line. I was hung down on the bottom and that was the wrong place to be. It just doesn't seem like that works well, especially not with a Ford. You've really got to keep the momentum going. It just really took me a long time before I could ever get to the outside and then I just wanted to make sure that I didn't make the wrong move to go backwards. I tried to stay in line. When our cars get side by side with another car, it just kills it. When Ryan Newman and I caught the 09 car, he held us up there and instead of letting us go, we lost that draft and it was all over for us."
DID THE QUARTER-INCH HELP? "No."
DO YOU THINK IT'S THE GREENHOUSE? "I'm not smart enough to know what it is. You'll have to ask these guys that work on these things all the time, but we've got a lot of work to do if we're gonna have a chance." HOW DID THE CHANGE WORK? "I wouldn't have ever known that you had changed anything if I hadn't seen them cut it off myself."
DO YOU THINK ANOTHER CHANGE IS NECESSARY? "I'm not gonna say there should be another change. We've got work to do somewhere. I can't tell you exactly where it's at, but we're obviously not very fast."
JOE NEMECHEK --26-- Kmart Taurus (Finished 12th)
"This has it's pros and cons. It's kind of disappointing only because the racing pretty much stunk. I liked it better the other way because at least we mixed it up. Now if you step out of line, you're going to the back. I don't know, we're gonna have to work a little bit harder to see if we can get our car a little bit better. Everybody just stayed in line. Matt Kenseth made a move on me to the outside when I was a little bit snug and the whole line got by me, but, other than that, that was about it. It was pretty uneventful."
YOU MOVED UP FAST EARLY ON. WERE YOU JUST IN THE RIGHT LINE? "Yeah. I mean, we were just dicing and the guys were going back and forth. I don't know, somehow I can always get to the front. It seems like it always happens and I get to the front, but they just didn't stay boxed up enough to get me far enough ahead."
BUT YOU LIKE LAST YEAR'S RULES PACKAGE BETTER THAN THIS YEAR'S? "Boy, the way that race went, yeah. It's a little bit more stressful, but (last year) it was a little bit easier to make moves and do things. Now, you're pretty much stuck in line."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 7th)
"We're in the show. It worked out fairly well -- to be conservative and stay on the high side. It just seemed like the low line and the middle kept plugging up, but yet you'd see a lot of cars rifle through there and make it. For us, just taking the conservative route and saving our tires enabled us to handle at the end of the race and hold on to the two cars in front of me so we could make it to the lead draft. We actually had one lap to mess around with them and picked up one spot there on the last lap."
WHAT ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE RACING? "You had to stay in line and you have to have a more methodical mindset when you come into this. You know when you can pass and you know when you can't pass, so it's very difficult too. It changes it around. It's very different from the two years I've done before because I never did this before. It was a big change for me to adapt to, but, for me, I really don't care as long as we're racing cars on Sunday."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Wells Fargo Financial/Timberland PRO Taurus (Finished 13th)
"The last two years we haven't given ourselves our chance. We've had mechanical troubles in the 125s and, finally, we gave ourselves a chance to finish a race. Thank God, we had enough car at the end. It wasn't much, but it was enough to get us in there. My hat's off to Bill Elliott because when I finally got by him, he hung with me and pushed me through a lot of critical spots. It helped him too because I was able to pull him along pretty good. We mutually worked together and that got us up in there to where we finally chased down a couple of those stragglers that lost the draft from the main pack. That got us in the 500. That's a tough way to do it right there, but we're in and we've got a really good race car. I'm sure you're gonna hear this out of a lot of other people, but we need to get it to turn better. We're gonna work on it. It's 500 miles on Sunday, but we showed the last 20 miles of this race was real important for us."
YOU MOVED UP THE SECOND HALF. "I don't know what happened. We were much faster than this yesterday, but the thing just didn't run like it was in tune. It just didn't have the zip, but, fortunately, the tires on everybody else went away and we were able to do more with a little bit less there at the end. Still, you've got to have a partner and I had a great one in Bill Elliott."
WHAT ABOUT THE QUALITY OF RACING? "I don't know. I wasn't paying attention to the lead pack. All I know is I was passing a lot of cars there with about 10 to go."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Finished 15th)
"We ran alright for how we've been running all week. We got a little bit tight but never had to let off the gas. I don't know. Brett (Bodine) was pushing me and we caught his brother, who was two or three laps down, and he went with his brother. I got shuffled back out of a transfer spot and lost three or four spots, so that kind of hurt us right at the end. If he would have stayed with us, we could have caught some cars and I thought we could have got up to about 12th anyway, but that kind of messed it up at the end."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO PASS? "At the beginning it was exciting. When everybody was on new tires you could run three-wide and the middle was fast. You could kind of run all over, but at the end it was pretty single file. If you had clean air by yourself in the one line you could hold it wide open on the bottom and you were gonna be okay. It was tough for me anyway to get a run and pass anybody."
WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU SEE FOR SUNDAY? "I don't know. I'm more worried about making the race than anything. If we make the 500, I think it's gonna be a lot like what you saw here. You might see two or three groups and you might see some side by side racing, but it's probably gonna be more single file than side by side."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus --
WHAT WAS IT LIKE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK WITH TRAFFIC? "At the start of the race it was pretty hectic. We were three and sometimes I think we got four-wide, but the cars still do crazy things when yuou get three lanes of three-wide traffic. Once tha5t kind of sorted out, it was time to get back to single file. We tried to move up in the pack and just kind of maybe sell it out later in the race, but it seemed like most of the guys back in the mid-pack fought being tighter and tighter and tighter as the race went on."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE FINISH? "I'm happy we finished in the top 15, but I'm not happy with the finish. It just means we've got a lot more work to do as far as preparing for the 500 and as far as trying to make the car a little faster. You look at that pylon and I feel you're still fighting a manufacturer's battle. We'll just have to work the best we can and as hard as we can and, hopefully, come away with a good finish."
RICKY RUDD-28-Havoline Taurus (Finished 4th)-"I was with that lead pack and they just drove away from me, broke the draft, and drove off. I just didn't have the straightaway speed to run with them."
DID YOU GET HELP AT THE END TO MOVE FROM SIXTH? "No. I had Sterling behind me, I had the 97 behind me, and we were catching that front pack and we just caught 'em at the right spot, caught those guys trying to make some moves and got a couple of spots there at the end. We got a little bit of work to do, but, I guess, fastest in the class, we got a little massaging to do."
GIVEN WITH WHAT YOU HAD, ARE YOU HAPPY WITH TODAY? IF YOU WERE TOLD THIS MORNING YOU'D GET A FOURTH, WOULD THAT HAVE MADE YOU HAPPY? "Oh, yeah. That would've been one of them days - I'd have definitely taken it. You know, we're not like we need to be. We need to be better. We need to handle a little better and we need to run down the straightaway a little better. But, considering looking in my mirror, evidently, a lot of guys were struggling."
RYAN NEWMAN-12-ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 11th)-"I'm just happy to be in the 500, qualify 11th. I don't have to use a provisional or take a chance of using a provisional, and happy to learn a lot of stuff. I got to work there pretty good with Dale Jarrett, and he's won these races a few times, the 125s and the 500, so it was just great to be able to follow somebody like that and work with and learn."
HOW BIG OF RELIEF IS IT TO GET IN THE RACE? "It's a big relief, but we've got to make the car better. We finished 11th in 125 miles. We got to make the car better, make it drive better through the longer runs and see what Rusty's car does, too. We got really similar set-ups and maybe he's got some kind of ideas of what to do better, maybe drive his car a little bit different on these banks."
A NUMBER OF DRIVERS WERE STOPPED FOR GOING OUT OF BOUNDS. DO YOU THINK WE'LL SEE A LOT OF THAT ON SUNDAY? "If they go out of bounds, probably, yeah. NASCAR's doing a good job as far as I know to police that and we've got all kinds of race track out there to race on, we don't have to be going underneath that yellow line." HOW WAS THE CAR? "Pretty good, it just got tight. It wouldn't turn."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO QUALIFY FOR THE 500? "It's a big deal. It was pretty exciting there at the start of the race - three and four wide. It was just a great experience, great learning process with Dale Jarrett and drafting back and forth with him." OVERALL, WHAT WENT WELL? Just getting in. It's really great. Now I think we can start 22nd or whatever instead of relying on our qualifying position. I'm just looking forward to the race."
ELLIOTT SADLER-21-Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 20th)
ANOTHER FORD DRIVER SAID THE QUARTER INCH DIDN'T HELP AND HE'S JUST PUZZLED. "Yeah, we're pretty puzzled, too. I was pretty awful. We got the car handling good - I never lifted the whole time, we just weren't going anywhere. The 28 seemed to have a good finish but seemed like he was about the only one who could run up there with them. The rest of us are just kinda hanging on to whatever we can hang onto. We got a lot of changes to make for Sunday, so we'll just see what happens."
WHAT CAN YOU DO BETWEEN NOW AND SUNDAY? "I don't know. That's what we were just talking about. If I knew, I'd have fixed it for today. We just don't know what to do. The most frustrating Daytona I've ever been at. We haven't been able to run with the guys all week. Maybe we'll hit up on something between now and Sunday."
WHEN YOU PULL UP FOR A PAST YOU JUST CAN'T GET PAST THEM? "I just can't keep up with them. I just can't keep up. I have people push me and I can't keep up them. I don't know. We got a lot of work to do."
DAVE BLANEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 26th)
WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME? "Yeah, definitely. I thought I saw some smoke come out of the 4 car. I don't know what happened there, but the 44 got into him and shot up across and collected me. I was dreading something like that happening. I wanted to get it spread out a little bit and go, but that's too bad. It was a short day for us."
GREG BIFFLE --16-- Roush Racing Taurus (Finished 22nd)
"There was nothing we could do. We had a good enough car to get in, but something happened to the engine. I was light-footing it. I was better than the 14 and some guys in front of me. I was trying to get some guys lined up behind me to go, but there wasn't really anybody behind us that could really keep up. I was just waiting for an opportunity and then we lost the engine."
YOU WERE ONLY GOING TO TRY AND RUN A HANDFUL OF CUP RACES, SO THIS MUST BE DISAPPOINTING. "Yeah. This is a really hard race to come to because your restrictor-plate program, meaning the cars and engines and bodies, you've got to be a really good team to come here and make it into this show. I don't think we were strong enough to come here for the first time, but we learned enough that we'll get in next year. That's the key thing."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 16th)
"That was a tough one. We'll just have to bring the old backup car out. It ran real good in the Bud Shootout. We'll be fine in the 500. We just came off of turn two and the 4 car slowed down. He stopped coming off of turn two and when he stopped everybody piled up, flew up the race track and got me in the side and got in a big wreck. I don't know what happened to him, but he completely quit running, it looked like. That's what caused it. We had a big wreck. We've got to get the other car out right now and it looks like we have to go get a third car too."
YOU WANTED TO DO SOME FACT-FINDING OUT THERE I'M SURE. "Well, my car handled really good. I was real happy with the way the car was running early in the race and I was just waiting for them to break up, but they never broke up. They stayed hooked up together all day long. We'll see what happens in the 500, but it's not off to a good start for me. Still, I've got high hopes for this week."
WHY DIDN'T THEY BREAK UP IN THE SECOND RACE? "I think because of the caution flag. I think the caution flag screwed everything up about halfway through."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo Taurus (Finished 18th)
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO NOW? "All we can do is make our car drive really nice. We're not fast enough to go be aggressive and try to win. We just have to be smart and try to get ourselves in position so, if something happens, we can be there late in the race."
YOU MUST BE ASKING YOURSELF WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT. "I feel a little snake-bit right now, but this sport is tough and you've just got to roll with it. You can't get down about it. You've got to keep digging and eventually it will turn. When it does, we'll be there."
DID YOU BLOW A RIGHT-FRONT TIRE? "Yeah, there was a lot of debris on the track and we must have run over something and cut a right-front. We got ourselves in a pretty good spot, like seventh or something, and my game plan was working pretty good. I just wanted to get track position and just stay in line. That's what we had, and just blew a right front. I guess, at the end of the day, we got lucky we didn't hit anything -- blow a right front and going into one at Daytona and don't hit anything, that's probably a good day."
DID THE REST OF THE DAY GO ALRIGHT? "Well, all the the Fords are slow. I know that people are tired of hearing that, but it's just the way it is. You just can't go. All you have to do is be real, real smart. But as far as being aggressive and going out and trying to win the race, that ain't gonna happen for us."
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING TODAY YOU CAN USE ON SUNDAY? "I think we learned some stuff. We just got to worry about handling. We're not fast enough to worry about going fast, we just have to make it handle good and hope that pays off for us."
TODD BODINE -- 66 -- Kmart Taurus (Finished 11th)
"We did what we had to do -- you know, race our way in. The car handled really good. Still, that quarter inch was just a bone they threw us because it didn't do a thing for my car. But, we raced our way in and that's what we had to do."
YOU RAN ANYWHERE BETWEEN SEVENTH AND 13TH. JUST HOWMUCH MOVEMENT WAS GOING ON? "With a Ford, it's so draft sensitive that you gotta be careful what you do, and if you get out of line or someone gets under you, you just gotta be careful. It's hard with a Ford right now."
DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO GET OUT IN CLEAN AIR? "Yeah, I led a little bit of the draft on the inside lane and it wouldn't lead at all, wouldn't lead a lick. Ford's still pushing too much air."
CAN YOU APPLY ANYTHING FROM TODAY TO SUNDAY? "Oh, yes, definitely. I learned our set-up is real close. That's one thing. We just got to work on trying to figure out how to make it go through the air better."