Fontana Ford post-qualifying notes

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Taurus -- "I told the guys on the radio that I left a little on the table the first lap. I could have done a little better in one and two. That's a great run for us. The best we had run...

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Taurus -- "I told the guys on the radio that I left a little on the table the first lap. I could have done a little better in one and two. That's a great run for us. The best we had run was a 40-flat and to pick up three-tenths -- the tune-up on the motor with this Robert Yates engine and the guys getting it ready to qualify made a big difference in this Ralphs/Red Cell Taurus. I'm just tickled to death. That was a great run for us."

MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus -- "We picked up a little bit with the DEWALT Taurus, but everybody else is gonna pick up too. We have made some gains and that's the best lap we've had all day, so we'll just have to take that and move on and, hopefully, we can hit it in race trim."
WERE TRACK CONDITIONS THE SAME AS PRACTICE? "Yeah, I think it's okay. It's the same as it's always been. There are no new bumps or anything like that. Everything is going okay, we just need a little more speed in qualifying trim as usual so we've just got to work on race setup and hopefully we can get that to work as good as we did last time."
DID YOU HAVE A PROBLEM ON LAP TWO? "No, I knew I couldn't do much better than that. I tried to run through one and two the second lap, but it was worse than it was the first lap. I knew it was gonna be slower, so I just shut her down."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "I think for the heat of the day that's pretty good. We were the fastest in practice, but we ran that lap real early in practice. We ran a .50, so it's a little bit slower than what I ran in practice early, but the track has slowed up a little bit. That's gonna be close to a pole, but I feel like it's gonna be a top three or four. Track conditions deteriorated a little bit. We think that's gonna be good, but who knows. The way our luck goes, I'd hate to predict it."
MIKE MCSWAIN SAID THIS KIND OF TRACK SUITS YOU. "I hope he's right. He's gotten something started. Everytime I go to sign autographs somewhere, I bet you I've gotten 500 stuffed roosters that people have been bringing me, so maybe that's what's bringing us the luck here so far this weekend."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "That could have been a lot better. It's pretty good through three and four, but we've been fighting a tight race through one and two for a long time. We made some changes before qualifying, but it wasn't far enough."
IS IT HARD TO GET THE HANDLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TURNS? "Yeah, it really is. It's a real smooth track, it's real flat, and these tires this year are real, real hard and there's not much grip to 'em, so you've got to get the balance just perfect and we missed a little bit."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus -- "We're very disappointed.  We
don't know what's wrong with it.  It's been a turd since we've been here.
It feels like something is just not working.  It feels like the front end
is on cement blocks.  It won't turn, it won't respond, it won't do
anything.  I don't know.  We've got a lot of work to do."

TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus -- "It was a good lap. It pushed a little bit off of four, but we kept the momentum up. That Yates horsepower pulled us through pushes like that, but we really didn't know what we had. We ran the sixth-fastest time in practice, but we did it early and the track slowed down and changed. We never really caught up to it good, so we made three major changes for qualifying and it worked. The car was a lot better and a lot freer. That's what you've got to have to go fast here, a good, free car and that's what we had so we got a good lap."

SHAWNA ROBINSON --84-- Aaron's Taurus -- WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE CAR? "We broke a rear end coming off of two. I got into one just like I wanted to. In practice we struggled just because I wasn't comfortable and couldn't get what I wanted right, but I know how to get around this race track from testing. When I tested here, I ran the same as Jeff Burton. We ran real good times and I'd be like fifth or sixth-fastest, if I was running what I ran in testing, so I'm thinking, 'I can do this.' I drove into one just like I wanted to and got off into two and as soon as I got off of two it felt like it went into neutral, but it didn't go into neutral -- the rear end broke."
IS IT MORE A FEELING OF DISAPPOINTMENT OR FRUSTRATION? "Honestly, my dream is crushed. I can't even tell you how disappointed this is and if I start to tell you about it I'll get real upset. This is my dream. It wouldn't be better if you didn't qualify, but when you get an opportunity taken away it's tough. I want to do this more than anything in the world and now I've got to wait until Michigan and that's hard."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus -- "We're really disappointed with that. That's about three-tenths off of what we ran in practice. As it got hotter today, our car changed a lot and we had to make a guess on what the car was gonna do and we overcompensated. We were fast the first time out and we were fast the second time out. On the fifth time out we were so loose I couldn't run the whole lap. I don't know why that was, we must have had something else going on, so we compensated for that run and we shouldn't have done that."

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus -- THIS CAR HAS BEEN REALLY GOOD ALL YEAR WITH ONE POLE AND TWO WINS. "It's been a good car. Everywhere we've taken it we've run well. I tell you, they worked hard on this car today because we weren't very good in practice. We kept making changes and then made a big change with our shocks before qualifying and a couple of other things. That's what makes Todd and our guys so good, they work together so well. I missed turn one a little bit. It probably could have been a little better, but we didn't lose enough time to beat Todd (Bodine), but I was a little bit surprised we got that far up."
DID YOU MAKE A MAJOR EDUCATED GUESS BECAUSE OF THE TRACK CHANGE? "Yeah, we kind of thought back to the way Michigan is and the way it used to be, where the track temperature went up and things would get slicker. We tried to adjust in that direction to try to get more grip for our car and that seemed to really make a difference."

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus -- "I think it is gonna be close. I know it didn't feel too good to be honest with you. The car has been really tight since we've been here and we made a lot of changes before qualifying. That's as fast as we've run, so that's a good sign but we've still got some work to do with this Hills Brothers Ford. Hopefully, if we can beat one more car here today I think we'll be in on time, so that's all we need."

ANDY HOUSTON --96-- McDonald's Taurus -- "That's the slowest lap we've run all weekend. I'm really disappointed. We were good in practice, a top 15, and the car was just too tight off the corner. It's partly my fault because I felt the thing was gonna be pretty good and they've got to go off the information I give 'em. We were too tight off and it killed our straightaway speed. I think we'll get in okay, it's gonna be close, but I believe we'll get in and have a good day on Sunday."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus -- "Whew, I about killed myself. We fought a push the whole practice session and that was a young and dumb lap right there."
DID THE TRACK CHANGE A LOT? "I don't know. All we did was put one pound of air in the right-rear and we went from quite a bit too tight to quite a bit too loose, so that wasn't one pound of air. It was either a difference in tires, a difference in the track. This car has not been worth a darn. That's the brightest spot of the day right there. If we would have been tighter we would have been pretty pleased with that lap because I was just hoping to get in the 90s. I spent some time out of the gas with the back end trying to pass the front, so to run what we ran spending some time out of the gas is a pretty good run."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus -- WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR PRACTICE ACCIDENT? "The car had been real, real tight and we just got it loose. When I went up in there she started spinning going into the corner. I knew we were gonna go around, I just didn't know when it was gonna happen. It was just right there at the last minute she just broke and when I corrected it she went up (into the wall)."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus -- "We struggled when we unloaded. We got the car bottoming out and stuff and we finally got it fixed. It really just pushed bad in one and two, so I didn't even run a second lap because of that. I think the reason why was that the driver forgot to lift. I think I thought I was still at Talladega. I made a little error there and I really drove in too deep. I turned a little more RPM than I had turned all day and it was because of that. It was just a little mistake on my part, but it was a big team effort. It would be pretty neat if we can finish in the top 10."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- YOU'RE SHAKING SO DOES THAT MEAN IT WAS A GOOD LAP? "Oh yeah, that means you had it on the edge and everything went good. That's a good run for us. I'm real happy with that. We kind of figured it was gonna take us a little while to get our cars where we needed to be. We had a bunch of new stuff coming and we just hadn't gotten it yet. We had one at Vegas and I wrecked it. This is the same car we had there, so we've finally gotten our new cars back in order and I think from here on out you're gonna see us pretty good."
HAVING WON LAST YEAR ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE HERE? "I think so. We came here with a lot of confidence and know we run well here. We've got a good brand new car, great motor, everything is here and when you've got all that it's just a good feeling."

RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus -- "We made some tremendous gains. Twenty-fourth isn't where we ultimately want to be, but some days that's what you've got and today that's what we had given the amount of time we had to work with. I've got confidence that if we would have had another hour or even a half-hour we would have been top 10. We changed the whole complexion of the car in those two hours. We went from A to Z and that's a tribute to the guys. Mike (Beam) and Roy (McCauley) and I flew out here and we talked and had a basic setup under our car. We looked and it wasn't working, so we went to a completely different setup and it was like lighting a fuse -- it came alive. I'm a little discouraged because it was like, 'Gosh, if I could have nailed turn two better', it would have been a very, very sweet lap. I made it about a two-and-a-quarter-mile race track because I lost the nose and just had to keep chasing it, which made it such a big race track. I'm having the time of my life and it's just awesome to be back and having so much fun, especially when you're surrounded by such talented people. Good things are coming."

MORE SHAWNA ROBINSON -- HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THIS DISAPPOINTMENT? "I don't know, you just think about Michigan -- that's all I can do. I mean, I didn't make this race due to not going fast enough, I didn't make it because I broke. It's unfortunate. There's nothing that we really could have done differently. It wasn't like we didn't have all of our parts and pieces together, it just wasn't our day. Too bad there's not round two. Second-round would be good right now, but there is no second round."
WHAT ABOUT THE WAY PRACTICE WENT? "You just scratch practice. That absolutely didn't mean a thing because I never got a good lap and I never felt comfortable and I did in that qualifying lap. I did exactly what I wanted to do and it felt just like when we tested here. It was gonna be a great lap, and I'm not just saying that because I didn't get a time. If you were watching, I got into one the way I needed to get into one and I got off two just like I needed. The times I ran in practice were just getting all the bugs out. There was a lot going on and just trying to get a rhythm going. In that short amount of time I think we got like four runs and we changed a bunch of stuff. Qualifying was where I needed to be and that's when I felt the most comfortable." WAS THERE ANY WARNING? "Right after I got out of two it acted like it popped into neutral, but it was still in fourth gear. I kept checking the gear and it was broke. The frustrating thing is I have got to get through this step to get to the next one and now I have to wait for the next opportunity to get through this step to get to the next one. I've got everything else on my side. I mean, the fans are pulling for me so bad. It makes my heart break because I don't get to go out there for them. I'm not gonna get souvenirs until I get that kind of a deal to get souvenirs. People come up to me and say, 'How do we get your stuff?' They want to pull for me and I want to be out there for them, but it's just not happening."
THAT MUST BE FRUSTRATING. "That is the frustrating thing. They're still cheering and yelling and I'm sure if I walked out there they would still support me, but the hard part is I'm not carrying it to Sunday now. The good thing is I do have another chance."
WHAT WAS THE BUILD-UP LIKE FOR YOU THIS WEEK? "It's been spectacular. It's been absolutely amazing. There's only a first time once. I just hope they all know that I'll be back."

JEREMY MAYFIELD PRESS CONFERENCE -- WILL HEAT BE A FACTOR ON SUNDAY? "Anything will be cooler than last year. We had a little trouble last week too, but most of it is just how well your car is prepared as far as the heat goes. Last year we had an oil tank that wasn't really insulated that well, which sent all the heat inside the car and right to my seat. I think it'll just be a normal day for us. Yeah, it'll be warm, but I'm sure Bobby's car and our car is pretty well prepared for the heat, so I think we'll be okay."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR COMFORT LEVEL HERE? "I think it's a nice facility and a nice race track -- smooth and big. It's just one of those tracks you naturally adapt to. Unfortunately, it seems like every track I feel that way, this guy (Bobby Labonte) has the same thing, so we always find ourselves racing here instead of other places. I just like California. It's a great place to race -- smooth, big, fast, you can race and I'm just real confident and real comfortable here."
HAS WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR HELPED YOUR PREPARATION FOR THIS YEAR? "I definitely think so. If I said no, I'd be lying to you because coming here last year it was like I really didn't know if we should be here or was going to be here. It was a pretty emotional week-and-a-half there and it was a tough deal for us. We've come here this time feeling 200,000 times better. You can't imagine the feeling we had coming here last year, so I think it's definitely helped our preparation -- me mentally and the whole race team. I never want to go through that again, I can tell you that."
WHAT ABOUT THE SCHEDULE. SHOULD THERE BE TWO RACES EACH YEAR AT PLACES LIKE CALIFORNIA? "I'm gonna say it would be cool if you had three or four more here, that would be real good, but I'm not sure how the scheduling works. Anytime you find a driver or a team, and you go to places you like, you like coming back to them, especially when you've won there. Here, Pocono and Darlington, I'd be real happy, but I think it would be great to see some of the bigger market race tracks have two races. I think that would be pretty good, but, again, I don't know how that works as far as scheduling goes."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Robert Yates