KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- finished 7th, top Dodge "We're not concerned about the aerodynamics right now. We feel like we need to advance our front end geometry. We've done a lot over the off season. I'd say on a scale of...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- finished 7th, top Dodge
"We're not concerned about the aerodynamics right now. We feel like we need to advance our front end geometry. We've done a lot over the off season. I'd say on a scale of 1-10 we chopped off five points and we need five more points to be hanging with these guys. We had a nice solid day today, no mistakes, no slow pit stops. At the end it was smart for us to stay out and we got a seventh-place finish. We ran 11th and 12th most of the day. We got seventh and that's what it takes to rebuild and get your points built back up, especially with all the questions now about how the Dodge is going to work and then with the car of tomorrow in a few weeks.
"We feel good about the team. Everybody is slapping high fives. We finished seventh, and we'll slap high fives when we win and finish second as well. We've got a little bit of work to do, but we're very happy with the Miller Lite Dodge and all the work Dodge has done in the off season with the aerodynamics. We just need to get the chassis a little better right now.
"We're cool with a finish like this -- nop mistakes all day and we didn't get caught up in traffic and get bottled up. To come home seventh and race our way to that position felt good. We didn't just hang out and get it. We got caught by an early yellow, and that put us on the tail end of the lead lap for the longest green run of the race almost. We raced our way back into the lucky dog spot and got our lap back and raced our way back through the pack. We feel like we made a lot of progress this off season.
"We wanted to do what we could with building power and reliability, and this is probably the best power we've seen out of Penske/Jasper even with the unleaded. I feel like we've got the upper hand there, and now if we get the chassis and aero to match it, look out.
"Each time you have a bad race you're always motivated to get two or three good races backed up behind it. That's what it takes to erase a bad race in points. For us the Daytona 500 was what it was and now this is the first race of the year. We'll test next week at Bristol and then probably test some more. We got a lot of busy work ahead of us right now."
DAVID STREMME (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Charger) -- 19th
"We got caught on pit road and that's disappointing on the first green stop and got a lap down and we couldn't get it back. We ran with the top 10 cars all day and just couldn't get our lap back. It would take a lap or two to get going, plus I want to run this car at Vegas. It's a good one, and I kinda wasn't into proving anything. We needed to finish and not tear up anything. It was a good day. We didn't have any trouble with the tires or anything. It was a good day. We just came up a little short."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) -- finished 12th
"I'm just happy to get the finish we did. It was a decent run for us. We had a good car for the majority of the race. We just didn't have track position there at the end. I think we had a lot better racecar than where we finished, but I'm happy to be on the lead lap. That's a good start for the year. I don't think the red flag hurt us. I think it played out about the same. Either way, it was a good run."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger) -- 28th
"We had a top 10 car today, but I screwed it up. I hit the wall. It got too tight and it jumped sideways getting back in the gas. It flat spotted in the wall, and we just sort of survived but then when Reutimann wrecked I hit Ricky Rudd. They gave me a good car, but I just messed up."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- 24th
"We worked on the car all day trying to get it to handle. We made some progress, but the untimely caution during the green-flag pit stops was a huge setback. We worked hard trying to overcome that setback but just never got in position to do it. We did all we could in the final 20 laps, picking up every position against the cars in the same lap. Ray (Evernham) has done a good job filling in for Josh (Browne, the team director) the last two races and the team has responded well. Josh will be back with us for the next race at Las Vegas. The week off will be helpful. Then, we will be ready to race with our team full strength. We worked all day today to get every point we could under the circumstances. We'll take it and head to Las Vegas. Maybe we'll find some luck out there."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- 38th
"We lost power and it started smoking. It was a good car. We had a shot to run in the top 10. We led some laps early, and we were working our way to the front. Everybody was off on pit sequence, but I think we could have worked our way back to the front and we would have been just fine. There was plenty of room, but the left-side tire would slide all over the place and it was hard to get grip, whether it was front grip or back grip, it's hard to get any of that. I don't know if it's fuel or what. We'll keep working on it and make our Dodge Charger better."
YOU HAD TO BE EXCITED WHEN THE RACE STARTED AFTER JUMPING OUT TO THAT BIG LEAD. "Yeah, I was real happy. The car was great. Everything was fine, but something happened to the engine. We got behind on that pit stop because of people pitting and not pitting. We were just waiting for everybody to get back on the same sequence and get us back up front where we belonged and see what happened from there."
DO YOU THINK THE UNLEADED FUEL WAS PART OF THE PROBLEM?
"I don't know. It's definitely different the way it runs, the way it takes off on restarts and how it shifts. We've got some things to work on and figure out, but I think the unleaded fuel is fine. We've just got to learn how to make it work."
REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target/Energizer Dodge Charger) -- 43rd
"I'm not really sure what happened, but something happened with the 26 and 10. I think I had it missed and then somebody hit us in the right rear and it was all over from there. We hit the outside wall. It was a short day here for us. We'll try to get back out there and pick up a few points if we can and then head on to Las Vegas."
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge Charger) -- 41st
"The car was really tight on me there. We've been working on the car all weekend. We've been on both sides of the spectrum -- loose and tight. Everybody did a good job trying to get this Stanley Tools Dodge better all weekend, but we were really tight there at the beginning of the run and had a lot of wheel in it and in the throttle hard. I just got loose. It snapped loose with me. I had a lot of wheel to the left and turned back to the right and it hooked back to the right. I hate it for everyone."
-credit: dodge motorsports