Dodge Joliet qualifying notes

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Elliott led all Dodge qualifiers with a fourth-place run. "I ran better than I did in practice today. The whole deal is yesterday we were pretty good, but a couple of cars...

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Elliott led all Dodge qualifiers with a fourth-place run.
"I ran better than I did in practice today. The whole deal is yesterday we were pretty good, but a couple of cars were quite a bit quicker. I was pretty concerned with the race track. We put a little better engine in today, and they kept working on the car and getting it better and better and better. We had one particular set of tires I really liked, and that's what we ran. I was pleased. To come here for the first time and get everything going is great. We need to be a little bit better, but we'll keep working at it. We'll learn a lot from the Busch race tomorrow. We haven't run with any other cars on the track, so we'll know more after first practice tomorrow. Every step NASCAR makes seems to be significant, and racing here is another milestone."

DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I guess I was trying too hard and messed it up on the first lap. It wasn't a wave off, but I guess I gave it away. The bottom is the fast way to go. It's got a lot of rubber down there. Everybody is going to be in the same tire tracks in qualifying. It's just going to depend on how hard you can run.

"For me it would be special to win any race. Tracks like this will be around for a long time. It would be great to win at a place like Chicago. Amoco will have a bunch of people here, so that would really be a good day. The radius of the corners here seem like Texas, but it's not banked quite as much. The straightaways are different shaped than Texas. It's got its own little personality. It's really fast in the corners, and if it gets widened out on race day it'll be a great race. The backstretch has a little kink to it all the way back. I don't know why they did that, but it makes it wider that way. You should be able to pass anywhere when it gets wider. Everybody's got rubber down in the same spot now. The bottom is faster, but it'll start creeping up. By Sunday it'll be two lanes."

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We made some progress on the race car. We got through one and two pretty good, and the backstretch was good, but three and four it was junk. We've been junk there all day. I'm real loose getting in that corner. I'd lose the nose after I'd get in there, and then I'd get loose again. I just don't have the grip and security I need right there. It's not going to be the starting position I wanted, but we'll take it and work hard on Sunday. The track is kind of like New Hampshire and some other places we run. Not having people run on it, it's gotten real slick and oily. I think the longer people run on it, the quicker it'll get."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The Cheerios Dodge was pretty good. Yesterday we didn't run very good at all and this morning the guys in the engine room gave me a lot more power and we got better, but I didn't sleep very good last night, and I haven't been comfortable today. I'm comfortable now."

BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Our car was really good yesterday, and today it's like a whole different car. The track is changing and we just didn't get it changed good enough today. This is a great facility and it should be a good race."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"That was pretty good. It's the fastest we've run since we've been here. We made our last run in practice and we were 17th, but I thought we could do better than that because I figured a lot of guys would slow down. That's about where I figured we'd be (ninth), somewhere in the top 10. This track is pretty neat. It's got a whole lot of grip to it. I wish we could put some cones out in practice and work in a second groove. We need that. Hopefully the Busch race will help bring in another groove. It's good to be up here in Chicago, and we're looking forward to the race. The Coors Light Dodge is pretty good. This track is kind of like Vegas. The straightaways at Vegas are longer, but it reminds me of Dover. You really go through the corners quick. I just really hope they get a second groove worked in for us so we can do some passing."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The lap was all right. We had gone faster in practice, but the track got hotter. Everybody looked like they were a little bit off. Our car was just too tight, but it's not too bad of a start for the first time. This is a fun track. I liked it from the start.

JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"That wasn't a bad lap. It was a good qualifying effort, the best we've had in awhile. Maybe we'll run up front and get everybody some publicity. The crew did a great job. We had a good test at Kentucky this week and it paid off. I like this track. It helped having that practice day yesterday. You don't have to worry about going out cold.

STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The track slowed down a bunch. It's lost some grip. We bottomed out a little bit in one and two on the second lap. It was slick. The guys compensated for it great. We wanted to back up our practice lap, but not today. The track got a little greasy and lost grip. I feel sorry for the Busch drivers tomorrow.


"If you win a race, you win a race. It really doesn't matter if it's the third largest market or the smallest market. You still get the TV time. Any race you can win would be positive as long as you win. We just want to run good. We want to run good for Chad (crew chief Knaus, a Rockford, Ill, native). He planned to go watch his dad race late models tonight in Wisconsin if we qualified in the top 25. We ended up 25th, so I might have to talk him into going now since it was so close. He might want to stay in the room tonight and think about ways to make us go faster now."

-Dodge Motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup