Fontana: Dodge teams qualifying report

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) -- Starts 11th "The car was just a little too loose. We were hoping to get in a good top-five qualifying run and carry over the momentum from Daytona, but we'll take what we got and get ready for the race. I...

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) -- Starts 11th

"The car was just a little too loose. We were hoping to get in a good top-five qualifying run and carry over the momentum from Daytona, but we'll take what we got and get ready for the race. I think our Alltel Dodge will be good on Sunday. It's great to see our teammate Kurt Busch win the pole. He had a good run going at Daytona and didn't get a chance to finish it, but it's nice to see Kurt start up front."


DAVID STREMME (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Charger) -- 41st fastest

"We did mostly race practice this morning. We only did two qualifying runs in practice. I wish we could have been a little faster, but that's OK. I think going a little early hurt us, so it really didn't matter what we posted. One thing is me just getting more seat time in these cars. I've never been here in a Cup car before, and I probably wasn't as aggressive as I should have been, but we'll do that on Sunday. We unloaded in race trim, so I'm really looking forward to the race."


JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- 21st

"I always like coming here. I like the atmosphere. It's pretty cool coming here. I don't know if it's still my track or not, but I've got to make it my track again. I think we've got a good car. We've been coming here a long time, but it really seems like only yesterday we started coming here. You can race two-wide, three-wide, whatever you need. We were a little bit tight in qualifying, but we had a good day together. We got an early draw, but I think we'll be all right."


BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge) -- 27th

"We unloaded and it really wasn't what we wanted, so we had to make some changes. On our qualifying runs we really didn't get our car right. We picked up a second from practice. I'm not a good qualifier here. If I could make a good qualifying run in practice maybe I could do better in qualifying, but all in all it was a good effort. It's not going to be what we looked like we were going to be in practice.

COMMENT ON '04 VS. '06 DODGE "I could maybe tell you the difference if I was sitting here today with both cars. I can't tell you nothing about them because it's not the same. It's a different race track, different tire, different day. I can't compare them."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- 13th

"We were pretty good in practice, but I thought we might be able to pick it up in qualifying. It felt better than it did earlier in practice. You overdrive the center and get tight off the corner and push the nose. I think I left a little bit out there. If you underdrive it you feel like you should have got back on the throttle a lot sooner. I think I could have gone a little faster in our Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger. That's still going to be a good run for us and it'll be a good starting spot for us Sunday. I'm really looking forward to it. It's good to be with this new team. They've done a great job, and I'm excited to be working with Kenny Francis. Hopefully we'll end up with a top 10 starting spot and we can go to work on our race package tomorrow. I'm excited to come back and get in a good practice tomorrow and try to get this Dodge Dealers/UAW Charger as good as possible. I'm happy. I feel like the Daytona 500 was the best of my whole weekend, so I wouldn't have minded having a race after that. I felt like we kept getting better with the draft, so I'm looking forward to getting back to Daytona in July."


CASEY MEARS (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) -- 20th

COMMENT ON THE BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL SEGMENT "We did a day running around Bakersfield talking about the places where I grew up and the house I grew up in and the school I went to and my favorite places to eat. They did some interviews with my family. It's kind of a neat deal. It's one of those deals explaining where you came from, what type of person you were growing up and how you got to where you are today. It should be a good show. I haven't seen any footage of how it was put together, but the idea sounds pretty cool. They said it might air some time in April, but they're not sure."

ANY SPECIAL THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU COME BACK TO CALIFORNIA? "To see my niece and nephew and brother and sister and sister-in-law and those guys. The next thing that's a must is Luigi's, my favorite restaurant. It's in downtown Bakersfield. In the not-so-good part of town is one of the best restaurants out there. We stop by there and hang out a little bit."

IS THERE ANY HOME TRACK ADVANTAGE AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY? "There's no advantages in this sport, there really isn't, when it comes to being your home track or not your home track. Extra incentive because you've got a lot of friends and family here and it's close to your hometown. At the end of the day every one of these guys are trying to win this race, but there's no advantage. NASCAR makes sure of that. I'm looking forward to it. There's extra incentive to go out and run well."

DOES THIS START THE REAL SEASON? "We're driving totally different cars when we come here. The cars we use at Daytona are built slick just to make it through the air fast. We've got three-wide, four-wide packs. California is totally different. We'll have a lot better read of where this race team is at this place and Vegas. Typically we run well at these places. I'm not too concerned, but we'll see how these places play out. Every track is different. You can probably go to every track and say this is an indication of how you're going to run all year long. You could come here and run good and not run good at Vegas. I don't think it's an indication of how you're going to run all year, but I think it's a good indication of your downforce package and that's the majority of the racetracks. The mile and a half tracks seem to be the tracks where we excel, so if we run good here we'll feel good going into Vegas and Atlanta."

ARE THESE TRACKS TOUGH ON ENGINES? "Knock on wood our engine program has been pretty solid when it comes to the open motors. We haven't had a lot of issues and the cars always run good and we get to the end of the race. It always makes me nervous to talk about it, but our engine program has been pretty reliable."

IS THERE A DECOMPRESSION TIME BETWEEN DAYTONA AND CALIFORNIA? "Daytona is one of the only places you go to where you get butterflies. It's because of all the prestige and hoopla that goes around the whole race. When you get through driver introductions and you're waving to everybody when you're going around the track, you've got this feeling it's so huge, it's the only one you get butterflies about. Don't get me wrong. I get excited about every race, but it's probably the only race that grabs you like that. To have that three-week buildup to the event, you're so excited to start the season, you can't wait. You get on the plane to go down there and there just isn't a whole lot to do as a driver. It gets a little bit stale for awhile and then you get this huge event. You go through this big range of emotions at Daytona. To get it over with, it's something you're excited about on one side of things and you're almost relieved at the end to get it over with and got through it OK so you can focus the rest of the year."

DOES THE DAYTONA MOMENTUM CARRY OVER TO CALIFORNIA? "Momentum in the form that the guys are holding their heads up high and we've got a lot of confidence in our program right now, but as far as momentum translating into the technical side of things, not a whole lot. There's momentum in our communication. That was the first real race Donnie (crew chief Wingo) and I worked together, and that went real well. Coming out of that race positively is momentum internally for the team, but as far as the technical side of things it's a whole new ball of wax."

COMMENT ON YOUR SENIOR DRIVER STATUS "On race day it doesn't appear to be any different. If there's anything I can do to help out Reed and David I'm going to, but as far as working with the car and crew chief it really doesn't feel any different. I've got to focus just as hard as I did last year. Fortunately maybe there's a little bit more attention going in our direction."

-dodge motorsports-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch