Dodge Racing Michigan qualifying

DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 BP/Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Blaney qualified fourth fastest for Sunday's race. It tied his best starting position in 53 NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying attempts. He also qualified fourth for last year's...

DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 BP/Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T)

NOTE: Blaney qualified fourth fastest for Sunday's race. It tied his best starting position in 53 NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying attempts. He also qualified fourth for last year's Pepsi 400 at Daytona and the 2000 season finale NAPA 500 at Atlanta. Blaney scored his career-best finish (sixth) earlier this season at Texas.

"It was a good lap. It surprised me a little bit. We were really good in turns one and two. We did a tire test here, and it definitely helped me. We tried some stuff in race trim, but we still learned a few things. We were pretty close this morning, and I think we kind of went the wrong way at the end of practice. We knew which way to go back.

"We'd been pushing the front end pretty bad in one and two in practice, and we just got a lot better on our qualifying lap. My time out of the throttle in one and two was cut in half from the way I'd been practicing, so that does it right there. We had some pretty big changes before qualifying. We had gone the wrong way toward the end of practice. The car was hitting the race track, and the fenders were hitting the tires. We went back to basics. I knew we could run better than we did in practice, but it kind of surprised me we ran that fast in qualifying."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"Something started fluttering in the carburetor about halfway down the back straightaway, back around to the start-finish line. We probably lost about two or three tenths. It went through one and two good, and we had good corner speed. It just laid down. We had tried a bunch of different stuff, and we almost spun on our banzai lap in practice. It's a brand new car. That should be good enough to get us in the show. We'll get if ready to race for Sunday, and we're going to Iowa to do a little dirt racing tonight."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"We picked up a little bit from practice. I don't think I've ever qualified for a race here. I've taken a provisional every time I've been here (in Busch Series). We're in the race now, and we'll see what we can do Sunday. Our second lap was faster than our first lap. In practice, our first lap was loose and we were picking up a little bit on the second lap. The same thing happened in qualifying. We just couldn't get hooked up on the first lap. I think this car is a little better than the one we tested here. We tested here under some bad conditions, so it's really hard to say. The car feels really good. It's a brand new car, and everything feels pretty balanced on it. I'm pretty excited about our chances to run well in the race."

BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"It was a pretty good lap. We've been kind of struggling all year. We ran faster than we did in practice, so we're happy with it. As long as we can keep gaining, that's all we can ask for."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"It was a decent lap. Everything went well. We picked up quite a bit from practice. It seems like a lot of guys did, and that's what you've got to do here. Michigan is a typical place. It's a wide race track. It's a more forgiving race track. You can get away with a little bit more here. The guys did a good job setting up the car. The motor ran well. Now we've just got to keep expanding on this and get better for Sunday. Muhammad Ali and Action Performance got together with Dodge doing a diversity deal. It was a cross-promotion, and we'll see what happens. We've got to have something to change our luck.

"Qualifying really doesn't mean that much these days. It does as far as picking your pit position, but if you've got a good car you can get to the front. Michigan has always been a good race track for me. I've always enjoyed racing here. It's been good to me in the past."

JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"We're not really that happy with that qualifying effort, but at least we're in the race. It was kind of a slow lap compared with everybody else, but we picked up from practice, so I guess we can't be too disappointed. We've struggled since we unloaded. We made some gains through practice, so now we'll just see what we can do in the race. Our cars have been handling good, and the motors have been running good. Maybe it's aero or something, but it's just one of those weekends. We'll be fine once the race starts."

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"That was a good lap for us. We want to do good. We've kind of struggled the past couple of weeks. Chris Hussey's (crew chief) stepfather died Monday, and he's been gone all week. The guys have worked really, really hard to come up here and do something for him. It's just been a bad week for everybody at the shop, but that was a really good lap for us. I told the guys that we were going to be here racing Sunday for a change. They had been getting used to playing golf, so it's big for us. We didn't get a good lap for practice. Practice didn't indicate how we were running. We'd run a bunch of .20s and .30s in practice, which we thought we pretty good. Then we got ready to go do our last deal and broke our transmission. The guys changed it in about 10 minutes. They did an incredible job changing the transmission. We got back out and ran a lap, but we didn't really press it too much. We wanted to make sure the transmission was running and everything was working and there weren't any parts and pieces in anything. It worked good for us."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"That's a pole. I don't care what anybody else says. If Budweiser doesn't recognize us with an award, then they're foolish. Everybody says their guys work hard. You talk about team organization that's been beat down and all three cars come out and qualify. This track has usually been pretty good to me, but then you've got Kyle who hates it and goes out there and runs really good. I was real excited for him. I think that helped me in qualifying. We made a couple of changes to my car and it worked good. Greg (crew chief Steadman) made a couple of changes I didn't know about, and that's when you know you've got a really good crew chief. I told The King I thought I could still qualify, but it's been frustrating this year. I know how much Kyle hates Michigan, and to go out there and run the lap he did was really a great job. It helps the 43 when the other two cars run well. I hated the track this morning, but I love this place. I love racing here, and I love the way the track is. You can race up and down and all over the place. There isn't a groove that's right. Your car can work everywhere, and my Cheerios Dodge worked good today right in the middle of the track."


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Series NASCAR Cup