Ford Darlington Qualifying Notes

Ford Darlington Qualifying Notes
Mar 18, 2000, 11:45 PM

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES 400 Qualifying March 17, 2000 Darlington Raceway MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Qualified 16th) -- "We didn't get many laps on this DeWalt Taurus. It wasn't the lap I was ...

March 17, 2000
Darlington Raceway

MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus (Qualified 16th) -- "We didn't get many laps on this DeWalt Taurus. It wasn't the lap I was looking for, I didn't have a real good smooth lap. I was real good in one and two and had a real bad three and four, so I'm just hoping that will make it in the top 25. We struggled a little bit today and didn't get a lot of practice, so considering all of that it wasn't too bad of a lap." NOTE: KENSETH BLEW A MOTOR EARLY IN THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSION THIS MORNING.

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Qualified 21st) -- "That's the fastest we've been since we've been here. That's four-tenths quicker than we were in practice and that's all we can ask for. I feel pretty good about it."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus (Qualified 24th) -- "That wasn't the lap. That's the fastest lap we've run, but the track is cooling down right now and it's not gonna be that good. The track is gonna get a lot faster. We didn't get the lap we wanted. We were a little off in one and two and that really hurt us."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus (Qualified 6th) -- "We're really happy about that. That'll definitely get us in the top 10 and that's what we wanted to do. We're gonna be happy with that. We wanted a good starting spot. I messed up a little bit in turns three and four, but we're not gonna complain about that a bit. We're just gonna take it and see where it ends up. We had a shot at the pole. I did all I could do through one and two, got into three a little bit too hard, but how about that Earnhardt. He's something else coming off a win for the pole (at that time in qualifying). We got close, but we're gonna take that. I think that'll be in the top six or seven and that's what we wanted to do, we wanted a good firm starting position for Sunday's race and we got us one."

SO YOU GOT EVERYTHING OUT OF THAT LAP? "Yeah, I got about all I could get without hitting the wall down there. I definitely don't want to do that lap again. I love coming here to Darlington, we qualified sixth here in the fall and hopefully we'll be around there today. It's a good race car. Every time I run this thing good things happen, so, hopefully, we'll have some good luck on Sunday."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 13th) -- "Ryan is the one who did this, all I did was drive it. I mean, we were terrible when we got here and we've been terrible, but Ryan just never quit. These guys, I can't say enough about them. This is the first week we really unloaded bad and it just goes to show what kind of group of guys we've got now. They wouldn't quit and if I don't go out there and suck it up I ain't doing my part. I'm just proud of them."

WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS DID YOU HAVE TODAY? "I really don't know what the problem was. We had changed everything but the driver and that was next."

KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- Taurus (Qualified 2nd) -- "I can't say enough for Pat Tryson and all the guys. This was a brand new car at Vegas and we came here. We were off a little bit this morning, but tires are such an issue here we just figured we'd do what we can in practice and leave it up to me and the team to make something happen here in qualifying. I can't say enough about, they came aboard a few weeks ago. They had a lot of confidence in this race team and it's shown in the last few weeks."

IT'S A GOOD STARTING SPOT. "We just wanted a starting spot. It would be nice if it was on the pole, but I doubt it will be. The biggest key is victory lane and this team wants it. They've been working real hard and maybe this weekend is the deal."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Qualified 17th) -- "It was a good smooth lap. We made some changes, I had been a little bit loose, and we tightened the car up and then got some cloud cover so it was a little bit snug. I made it around this time and that's something I couldn't say in September. I'd been loose in practice and we tightened the car up, but we got some cloud cover on top of that, so we just got it a little bit too snug."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Qualified 27th) -- "We're not happy with that at all. We were a lot faster than that in practice. We thought the track would tighten up quite a bit and we loosened it up, but I was just way too loose. We'll start in the back."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus (Qualified 5th) -- "It's been a good Friday. We really didn't run that well in practice. We were 12th-fastest. We had a real nice draw today, going out 39th probably helped us some. The Valvoline team did a great job preparing the car and we saved the best lap for right then. We hit it just right. We probably took a 15th-place car and got her up in the top five."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BEING ON THE BUSCH POLE SATURDAY? "That's the best place to start, but it really doesn't matter. We started last here a few years ago and if things go well you can get right through the field here, so really qualifying is not a premium. It's certainly the best place to start, but it's not the only place. The key is having a good handling car for the race."

YOUR BUSCH PROGRAM IS REALLY ON A ROLL? "Well, it really is. I'm not gonna apologize for it. We've got 10 more races to go and we'll try to win 'em all and maybe they'll remember that."

AND THEN APOLOGIZE FOR IT AFTERWARDS? "Well, they'll be glad when we're gone I'm sure, but Tony and all the guys with the Winn Dixie team have done a good job. I've worked hard for a lot of years, 12-13 years, in the Busch Series and won a few races and lost a lot of 'em. This year it looks like we're a little bit stronger than we used to be."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Qualified 22nd) -- "That's about what we ran in practice. Really, I thought it was a faster lap than that. I expected it to be about a .60 or something and it was an .80. I didn't really see any difference in the track from practice to qualifying, so I don't know."

HOW ABOUT HAVING ONLY ONE PIT ROAD HERE NOW? "If I'm not mistaken I think we ran it this way the last race here and it does make a difference. A guy that doesn't get particularly a great qualifying lap still gets a chance to win the race whereas before you had to really be lucky to win the race from the backstretch."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 20th) -- "I drove it way too deep into turns three and four. I had a good turn one and two and tried to really get better through three and four. Once I got down in there I couldn't get it to stop, it just took off at the wall and I was out of the gas way too long. I was way too high on the race track and it just killed me. I should have gotten out of the gas a little earlier and I would have been a little better, but I just got too aggressive."

HOW ABOUT THE RACE? "I feel real good about the race. This is a great car. We finished eighth last time pushing all day long and we've made some changes that should fix that, so I feel good for the race."

BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus (Qualified 8th) -- "I'll take that any day of the week here. We struggled a little bit in practice. This is the car we ran at Las Vegas and I just felt like it ran a little bit slow and I said I've got to go. These guys did a great job and here we are."

HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "I can't say that I lost anything or gained anything. I just drove it as hard as I could go and it came back in one piece."


KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- Taurus -- THREE MAKES IN THE TOP THREE SPOTS. IS THIS TRACK MORE CHASSIS THAN AERO? "I think for this place here you've gotta have real good handling. We have two different corners. One and two is a wide sweeping corner and three and four is pretty tight, so I don't really think aero plays a big part. I'm sure in NASCAR's eyes they think they did a great job with all the changes and I'm happy to be part of a great organization that is not just sitting letting teams build cars without trying to improve to make parity, so it's been pretty good."

YOU WERE WAITING ON JEFF GORDON TO QUALIFY. WHAT WAS ON YOUR MIND? "Jeff Burton has been the rain God and I was up on the trailer doing a sun God, hoping that the sun would come. Jack (Roush) was in the trailer and we were watching qualifying and he said, 'You've got one more bullet to dodge and I don't think you're gonna dodge it today because Jeff has been real strong.' But, hey, I'm tickled pink right now. To have the car on the outside pole here, it's disappointing that we didn't get the pole but our team has been strong. Pat Tryson and I have been working real good. It took us thirtysome races last year to even get to the front row via the pole at Atlanta and it's only taken us five races to get to the outside pole. The poles will come, but one of the things I'm working real hard on as a driver for the 16 team is to get the Ford in victory lane and we're working really hard on that."

DO YOU SEE MORE CONSISTENCY WITH YOUR TEAM? "If you look at the last 11 races of last year when Pat Tryson came aboard we were pretty consistent. We were up and down a couple races, but we kept getting stronger towards the end of the year. This year we kind of stumbled out of the blocks with some problems at Daytona and Rockingham really wasn't that good. If you look at the other races, Las Vegas we finished 11th and last week we were in the top 10, I think we were sixth, when we broke a wheel bearing in the rear end. Our team is strong. If it wasn't strong Jack would have never given us the commitment that he did that we were gonna run all year long with or without a sponsor. He sees that we're growing week in and week out and what we need to do as a team is to run and finish every race. Here at Darlington, starting up front is gonna make the day easier on Sunday."

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK THAT SEEMS TO SUIT YOUR STYLE? "I fell in love with this place the first year I came here in 1994 in a Busch car. I struggled for the whole practice and I talked with Harry Gant and he gave me a line around here. When I went out to qualify I ended up qualifying 11th. This is a track that I like. It's hard on tires and it's hard on equipment, so you've just gotta roll in easy and save the tires. We've got a real good setup. Last year we had a car that we thought we could have won the race with. We weren't as good as the guys up front on new tires, but on long runs we were really strong. This car is the twin of the car we had here last year. We're gonna put the same setup in it tomorrow morning and we're hoping to have a little bit better success than what we had last year."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Harry Gant
Article type News