MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus -- HOW HAS THIS LAST WEEK BEEN FOR YOU? "It was pretty good until we got here. We've really been struggling even though we've always run good here in the past. The car has just been really, really bad all...
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus -- HOW HAS THIS LAST WEEK BEEN FOR YOU? "It was pretty good until we got here. We've really been struggling even though we've always run good here in the past. The car has just been really, really bad all day. That's probably gonna put us pretty close to last and I don't know what we're gonna do to fix it."
HOW WAS THE LAP? "That's not a good lap at all. We've really been struggling with the DeWalt Ford since we've been here and I don't really know how to fix it. That's the bad news, but hopefully we can make some changes and be competitive come Sunday."
WALLY DALLENBACH --75-- TBS Dinner & a Movie Taurus --WAS IT A SURPRISE YOU RAN SO WELL? "No. The car felt good the first practice. It's the best car I've ever had here. The second practice we were just kind of trying the tires out to see what we wanted to qualify. Newt (Moore) made a couple of changes that were the right changes and that will get in the show solidly. Like I said, that's the best car I've ever had here so we're gonna have fun Sunday."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- HOW WAS THAT? "We've had the best Friday qualifying day that we've had this year. Our Valvoline Taurus has been fast. We had a good run, a good lap there. I could have done better in one and two, I didn't hit it just right. Certainly, that won't be the pole but that should get us a top five start and that's better than we've been doing, so I'm real pleased with that."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "We just bottomed out a little bit going into three, but it was good. We're happy with it. We've been fast since we've been here, but when we went out qualifying it hit a little too hard there. All in all, that's pretty good. We don't have the best record for qualifying, but we'll race good here."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus -- "When you're this far back in points you just never really get three good matched sets of tires. The last two weeks our qualifying tires have nothing like what we've been qualifying on and it changes the car. We've just gotta get better in these races to get up in points where we can get some better sets of tires and we know that. We understand how that works, it just came back and bit us today. Until we can get up to where we need to be in points we're gonna continue to fight this. There's nothing wrong with the tire, I think Goodyear makes a great tire, we're just having a hard time matching them up right now. Once we get that straight we'll be fine."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "I actually thought it was a better lap than that. I thought we freed the car up a little bit and I thought that might be in the .90s, but that shows what I know. It's a good race car, so, hopefully, we can get it in today and work on race setup for tomorrow and get ready to go."
IT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE YOU'RE TOO HAPPY WITH YOUR LAP? "I thought it was faster than that. I'm just puzzled to where we exactly missed it. It's about the same that we ran in practice but we'd like to think we can pick up when it comes down to qualifying. It's a little hotter than it was -- still it would've been nice to get that lap down in the .90s."
BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus -- DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE THAT FAST? "No, not after I came off turn four. I got up there in the middle of four and just kind of took off there and had to feather back a little to get through. The track doesn't seem like it changed a lot in one respect, but if you get a little bit off your line or whatever, it just seems to be pretty slick out of where you need to be. I got out a little bit and I said, 'Well, I better just squeeze back a little bit and save it,' but it was still a good lap. We got through one and two pretty well."
YOU WERE AFRAID RUSTY MIGHT STEAL YOU THUNDER AND HE DID. "He did. Rusty has been good in practice and he always gets around this place pretty well. I felt like up in four I slid out just a little bit there I gave up a little bit of time, but if I went back and did it again I don't know if I could have done anything better. You've got to look at this thing as just giving it all you've got and you end up where you end up. These guys have put a heck of a car under me every week and I'm so proud of those guys it's unbelievable. They're the ones that deserve the credit, not me."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "I owe it all to the team. We've got a great engine combination and we've got a good handling car. I just told them, I don't think I could have done anything different. We ran an .87 this morning when I got sideways, but now the track is slicker and slower. So that's a good run. We'll see if it holds up. I'm real happy with it though."
THIS MIGHT BE A FOURTH POLE HERE? "Yeah, our car has been fast right off the truck. This is the same car I ran at Bristol that I was real proud of, but it hasn't run since Bristol, so I figured why not bring a car that won on the concrete and bring it back to concrete. We've been fast all day and I hope it holds up. There are some good cars left to go, but I'm real happy with that run."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "I got pushing a little bit down here at this end (one and two) -- had it not we'd probably been maybe a tenth quicker, which might have been the pole, I don't know. I'm not really sure why it pushed, I might have overdrove the corner but I'm not really sure. I pushed getting in the corner and had to wait a little bit and it bled a little bit of speed off, but, other than that, it was a good lap."
STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus -- "These guys on this Kodiak Melling Taurus, they've worked their butts off and got us a good lap. That's the sign of a good crew. I had never been here before and they made some wholesale changes right before qualifying and said 'don't lift until you hit something' and we hit, but it was a great lap for us. I'm really happy with it."
WHERE DID YOU HIT? "Off of four. We had loosened it up pretty good. We knew the only way we were gonna get a good lap in was to get it loosened up and they loosened it up and we got a good lap in."
DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus -- NOTE: Waltrip did not qualify for either race at Dover Downs last season. "We're real happy with that. My guys, everybody has worked hard. Last week was real disappointing, but we came here and tested and that's really made the difference. We knew what we could do. We ran a .20 testing and felt like we could do at least that and we ran an .18 qualifying, so the testing is something I should have done a long time ago. This place has been a real thorn in my side and I should have come here and worked on this place long before I did. My guys have done me a good job, I've got a good car, I'm happy, I'll race well, I'm looking forward to it."
KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- FamilyClick.com Taurus -- "We're really disappointed. There's not much you can do when somebody wrecks in front of you and there's oil in the corners. I've gotta thank NASCAR, they did a great job cleaning it up, but, obviously, there was still some speedy dry on the track and some dust. We're in the first round, so we'll just get ready for racing now."
BILL ELLIOTT PRESS CONFERENCE
HOW ABOUT YOUR RUN? "I was very pleased. I knew Rusty would be one of the cars to beat. He was good in practice, the only problem is I'm a Wallace sandwich for the start of Sunday. But Dover has been pretty good to me the last two races. Last year we were running good the second race, better than the first race, and we had a piece of metal come through the radiator and we fell out of the race. These crew guys, Mike Ford, Barry (Swift), Kevin (Cram), all the guys -- Eddie (D'Hondt) -- have done just a heck of a job on this team. I mean, I can't say enough about what they've done. They've made it easy for me."
HOW DO YOU LIKE DOVER? "I used to not, but I'm getting to where I like it pretty well. Really, prior to the two races last year, I hadn't come here and qualified or run very well, but since I kind of got qualifying out of the way last year and got to where I could figure this place out a little bit I like it pretty well. I think when they came in and laser-ground it, it really made a lot of difference here and it didn't upset the car near as bad as it did prior to them doing that, but I'm looking forward to it."
A THIRD THROUGH THE SEASON, HOW ARE THINGS LOOKING? "I think they've progressed quite a bit. We've made a lot of crew changes toward the latter part of last year, we had a lot of people left and we got some new guys in there. It's come together quicker than what I thought. Ray (Evernham) is helping a little bit in the background. He's still off doing his own thing, but what help he can put in the deal and then what help that these guys have brought to me that do it week-in and week-out have been the biggest asset we've got."
IS IT A DIFFERENT BILL ELLIOTT THIS YEAR TO LAST? "Mike Wallace asked me a race or two back what driving school I went to over the winter and I said, 'I don't know.' It's just been one of them deals -- we're just going in the right direction. Like I told some of the guys earlier this afternoon, it's a progression. We ran good in The Winston, we came back and qualified and ran well in the 600 until we fell out and then we came here and we qualified well. If you can get that momentum ball rolling in this sport, that's 90 percent of the game."
WITH THE MOMENTUM, HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO WINNING? "That's another hard question to answer. I felt at Charlotte we had a pretty decent car. This car is the same car I ran here last year but with a new 2000 Taurus body on it, but still you've got to be in the right place at the right time and have some awful good luck because there are an awful lot of good cars as has already been seen to this point."
WHAT ABOUT 400 MILES AS OPPOSED TO 500. HOW DO YOU RUN DOVER? "You pretty much run Dover the same. It's a typical mile wide-open race track. I mean, you've gotta run hard all day long or you'll get lapped. That's always been the problem in the past. A guy gets hooked up really well and if you don't start out well, they can put you a lap down here in a hurry because it don't take but 20 some-odd seconds to run here around the race track. If you get off three or four tenths, a guy can eat your lunch in a hurry, so that's the biggest key is start well and stay consistent all day so you can put yourself in position. Still, the 100 less miles psychologically makes it easier on the driver."
CAN YOU TRANSFER ANYTHING FROM WHEN THIS WAS ASPHALT? "No. It's like when they concreted Bristol and they came here and concreted this place. Concrete takes a whole different setup than what the asphalt did. It's like you come to these race tracks when they used to be asphalt and then they put concrete on it and you have to re-learn 'em. You've gotta learn what it takes to get around the race track. They've worked really hard on this car. This car is the one I ran at Bristol and they've worked really hard on the concrete surface for these particular race cars and we've finally got the car working well -- plus you change your setup for the concrete."
ABOUT YOUR IMPROVEMENT TODAY? "We gained about a tenth in qualifying. Some guys stayed about the same. We just adjusted the car and the guys did the rest. The team guys -- Tonycola (Santanicola) and Ernie on the motor side did a heck of a job -- and the crew guys put the suspension parts together and made it all work from that end."
RUSTY WALLACE PRESS CONFERENCE
HOW WAS THAT? "Right off the truck the car was really good. This was the car I won Bristol with this year on the concrete, but we used last year's pole setting setup in it, so it was a different car and a different setup and it worked out really good. Goodyear had a different tire. I talked to them and they said the tire is a little bit harder and runs a little cooler and speeds should be a little bit slower, so between 95 and 100 degrees outside and a harder tire, that's the reason the speed was down from my pole-sitting run last year -- the 22.50. This year it was an .87, about 3.7 tenths slower -- but we put our setup in there and the balance was perfect. From when I unloaded to when I qualified, I softened the right-rear tire pressure up one pound and that was about it because I saw it getting too hot and everybody was getting slick. It made my car better, so that was about it. Right off the truck it was running great."
THE WEATHER MIGHT CHANGE THE NEXT TWO DAYS. WILL THAT HAVE AN EFFECT? "I think that's gonna be really good because the last time we were here it was 70-some degrees and the race setup we worked out was in that temperature range. I just went back over my notes now and said, 'let's put this same race setup that we were real comfortable with last time.' Last time we were on the pole, we ran really, really good and we lost an engine and fell back to 30th or something like that. That was an engine problem, but the performance of the car was really good until it blew up, so I'm just gonna use that same setup and start from there."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT DOVER? "I love coming to the track. I like the shape of it. I like how you're always in banking. To be quite honest, the concrete gives me security. A lot of guys it doesn't give them security, but I'm always hooked up to the track -- it doesn't seem like I'm sliding around on it. When I get to Bristol I feel the same way. I'm a big concrete fan. I don't like running a track that when it gets hot it gets real slimy and slick and the concrete doesn't seem to move much, so I've always like it. I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to that, but it's been good for me."
FOUR POLES? "I think I had four last year and we've already got four this year and we're not even halfway through the year. I just think that the 2000 Taurus is a little better car, it suits my style better. The engines have been incredibly more. We've got a lot more horsepower today than we had last time here and all year long, and I think that's really helped our qualifying effort and we're putting an effort into it. We've got certain things we do to get the car qualified and then certain things we do to race. We put big importance in qualifying for a couple of reasons. First of all, track position is everything in the world and getting the number one pit selection is very important too. So, when you get to start up front and get the number one pit selection, it's a better deal."
ON RACE LUCK. "I often wonder that myself because we're always so good at Bristol and places like that. But I honestly think the last race we were here when we were on the pole we had a real good shot at winning the thing and we lost that engine. We were running great. I think this year here has been super strong for us. If you look at last year, right now we've got four poles, we've already won, we've led more laps than anyone in NASCAR and I just feel real comfortable with this particular car and the chassis we're running. We're running in-house Penske chassis everywhere we go and they feel great, and my confidence level and everything is just better right now. We've gotta work harder on our pit stops, we know that. Last week at Charlotte, we're sitting there running second with 50 to go and thought that maybe if we got a good pit stop the last session I maybe would have won the thing, but the adjusting wrench got stuck in the right rear and we went from second to ninth and my day was over, but I think you've gotta admit the performance of the 2 car has been a ton better this year than last year."