JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus -- "I got through one and two really good. I didn't get through three and four very good at all. I just lost some speed through the middle of the corner. The car drove really good, I just drove in a ...
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus -- "I got through one and two really good. I didn't get through three and four very good at all. I just lost some speed through the middle of the corner. The car drove really good, I just drove in a little bit too deep. It had so much grip that I thought I could go get more than I should have tried to get."
IS IT RAINING AGAIN?
"Yeah, it's raining a little bit. I don't know how much it's affecting anything. I don't think it affected me any, but the first lap I was a little bit cautious because it was hitting the window. The second lap I said, 'I've just got to go.' It looks like it stopped now."
LAST WEEK IT WAS DARK ON YOU AND NOW THIS.
"Yeah. We would have had a bad draw if we would have qualified on time, but it may end up that this wasn't a bad draw afterall, so things go up and down. That's the way it is."
MIKE WALLACE --7-- NationsRent Taurus -- "I'm not happy with it all. I'm very disappointed. With the temperatures being as cool as it is and everything else, we'd have had a better lap. Unfortunately, for one reason or another it didn't run that. It seemed like it was gonna be a better lap, but it just didn't come."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "I'm really disappointed. We ran really good in practice and were like second quick most of the practice. We bottomed out really hard all the way through the corner and just couldn't run fast because it was bottoming out. I think it will race well, but as fast as this race track is right now I think we just didn't have probably enough spring to hold the car up."
ANDY HOUSTON --96-- McDonald's Taurus -- "I think that'll hold up pretty decent. It's gonna be interesting now to see if the track is gonna get better or worse when more rubber gets put down. It seemed like the track had a whole lot of grip. I don't think anybody thought that they could come close to a time like what Elliott ran there, so we'll take it. The McDonald's Ford was pretty good and I think that'll end up decent. We'll just get ready for Sunday."
TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus -- "When you've got a million bucks on the line you've got to go for it. When I saw Andy go out and cut a real good lap there after the rain, I knew it was gonna stick real good. I just let it hang out and the car was right on the money that first lap. That's all we had. I don't know how I could have made it any better."
DID YOU KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT?
"I didn't really know what to expect but I knew Bill went quick right away and then the rains came and it slowed down a little bit. But when Andy went out and ran pretty decent, I knew it was gonna be pretty good. It was just a matter of how good the car was, but we made some changes for qualifying and hit it right on the money. The car was really good."
NOW YOU HAVE TO BACK IT UP ON SUNDAY?
"That's exactly right. We needed a good qualifying run to start toward the front on Sunday. There is a million dollars up for grabs. We ran really well last week. We learned a lot. This is one of my best tracks and, hopefully, we can get it all together and pull it off on Sunday."
HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus -- "The track had just tremendous grip. It's just unbelievable how much grip the race track had tonight. When I saw what Bill ran I said, 'Man, this thing must be pretty good.' I said, 'To heck with it. I'm gonna go for it all. If I bring the car back in a basket, I'm gonna bring it back in a basket.' I gave it everything I had and it was a good lap for us."
THIS IS A BOOST FOR THE TEAM.
"It really is. I wanted to be in this race really bad and the guys did too. This is a big race for us and big race for Hills Brothers Coffee and we need to be in it."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus -- "It felt really good. I was just about wide-open all the way around the race track. I'm real disappointed with the time. I can't imagine what could have been done to go faster than that. The car felt fantastic. It was really good. It was hooked up."
DID YOU GET EVERYTHING OUT OF IT?
"I think so. I'm disappointed with that lap time and I can't imagine how you could go faster than that. The car was just fantastic. I was hoping when I finished I could look up on the board and see it on the top of the list, but I couldn't imagine what we could do to the car to make it faster than that. I was really happy with it."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus -- "The race track is in excellent condition. Ryan Pemberton and the guys got together after practice because we weren't that good. They rebuilt this car and went out and put a little bit of a lap down. It's pretty decent and I think it'll be a good starting position on Sunday."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus -- "I'm fine. It was on the very bottom in three and it bottomed out right there and got me a little sideways and I just couldn't correct it from there."
COULD YOU TRY TO QUALIFY YOUR BACKUP SINCE YOU NEVER TOOK THE GREEN?
"No. That's considered an effort, so we'll just have to use a provisional."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus -- "It wasn't quite as good as we wanted. The track's got so much grip right now and we could have benefitted from a couple of adjustment. That should put us decent, though, and we'll go at 'em on Sunday."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus -- "This is a better race car than qualifier. I just messed up qualifying there. I got pretty loose in one and two and I thought somebody could run a 29-flat and we tried to do it. It's a good, solid run for us. I know this car is a good race car. It's the one we had at California. We've led a lot of laps and races with it and ran good with it at Darlington. The thing is, when you're that close to the pole you want to sit on the pole, but I think the Kmart guys have done a great job."
RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus -- "I'm just pushing the pedal. It ain't me. That was a great lap. I don't know if it was the first one or the second, but it was just an awesome lap for the ALLTEL Ford. The Penske engines are great and I just hope it'll hold up."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACE?
"I hope it's a lot of good racing. Six hundred miles, 400 laps is gonna be a different deal for me, but we'll just see what we can do. My crew chief, Matt Borland, has done an awesome job. He's given me a comfortable race car here so I can push the pedal."
DID YOU IMAGINE THIS?
"I never imagined it. The weather conditions helped a lot for the speed. I knew we had a fast car in practice, even though we were sitting 10th, but I still knew we had a great race car. My hat's off to Penske engines."
"We started off the truck really good. I think our first lap was second on the pylon, so, obviously, we knew we had a good race car. We just kept working on it and put a set of stickers on to finish practice this afternoon and didn't get to go as fast as we thought we would. I think a lot of the speed you saw in qualifying this evening was due to the temperature change. The grip in the race track really picks up when the sun goes down. I didn't expect to get the lap that we did, but I knew we had the potential to do it. It's the same race car we had at that ARCA race last year and it's the same race car we had here last week at The Winston Open, so it's definitely a fast race car and, obviously, I like this race track."
HOW DO YOU QUALIFY SO WELL AND RUSTY AND JEREMY QUALIFY MUCH LOWER?
"I think a lot of it is just driver-car combination. I really, really like this race track and I think with my background I might drive it different than most drivers. There aren't any R&D or experimental pieces in the race car. We have the same pieces that Rusty Wallace and Jeremy Mayfield are running with the exception of the setups. Those are a little different and they're gonna be different because every driver drives a little different. We do the best we can to help each other and that's how we ended up."
"To qualify as good as we did is great, but 600 miles is a totally different issue. It gives the team as much momentum as it does me and to have the thought that we are actually the fastest race car here and can take that and change our car into race trim and do the best we can -- this qualifying round is a victory for us this weekend no matter how good we do on Sunday. At the same time, we want to get those 600 miles in."
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?
"The plan is to do a full Winston Cup schedule next year. That's still the plan."
ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT RACING IN CART OR IRL?
"There hasn't been any talk, but I think it would be something I'd like to try and do provided they were the right circumstances -- similar to what Tony Stewart is doing this weekend. At the same time, my goa9l all throughout my racing career has been to be a stock car driver and anything I do to deviate from that just takes away from accomplishing my goal."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR CREW CHIEF?
"His name is Matt Borland and he came from Indy cars. He was an engineer with the Pac West team and he's got a lot of engineering experience. I think that helps a lot for us to communicate."
WHAT ABOUT SITTING ON THE POLE FOR THIS RACE WHEN YOU'RE SO YOUNG?
"I don't think there's any rules for that, but maybe I guess I'll show more emotion when I'm back with my crew because we know what we accomplished together. Me sitting here, I've won poles and had track records before, but, like you say, this is the Coke 600. I guess overall I'm not a person that shows much emotion when it comes to that."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JEFF GORDON WHEN YOU RAN ON THE SAME SILVER CROWN TEAM?
"It's pretty ironic. The car owner that Jeff and I had was Fred Ede and this is the first stock car race that he's been to of mine. He's here and the sponsor was M & L Plumbing. That's his family business back in Fresno, California and he looked at me after Jeff qualified and he said, 'It looks like it's gonna be an M&L front row.' Jeff, I think, helped pave the way in the 90's era of open-wheel drivers to come to stock cars. Obviously, people like Ken Schrader and Tim Richmond have done it before, but, at the same time, I guess eras do happen for a reason. My parents were a big help in getting me involved in racing and, basically, they did everything for me to be involved in racing."
HOW AWARE ARE YOU OF GUYS LIKE MARK DONAHUE AND ALAN KULWICKI?
"I don't know a whole lot about Mark Donahue, but I was always a great fan of Alan Kulwicki's -- not to the extent that I was of Dale Earnhardt's, but I always admired what Alan accomplished in his career with the funding that he had. I really don't pattern myself off of anybody like that, but I think it's great to be able to know that it can be done."