STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus "I'm awful pleased with the lap and awful pleased with the guys on this Cougar Melling Taurus. We've got a new crew chief, Chad Knaus, the guys have really jelled and this is a brand new car. I tell you...
STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus
"I'm awful pleased with the lap and awful pleased with the guys on this Cougar Melling Taurus. We've got a new crew chief, Chad Knaus, the guys have really jelled and this is a brand new car. I tell you what, it's a good run and I think it's the start of a lot of good things, so we're awful excited. We picked up about three-tenths and that's the way it needs to be. We're looking forward to the race and looking forward to next year. It's gonna be a lot of fun."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus
"The Valvoline Taurus has really worked good today. It hasn't been the fastest car by any means, but I've been so happy with the way the car's working. It really feels good and that lap felt fantastic. If I start 15th Sunday with that, so be it. I'm tickled to death with the way the car is working, it feels like a real race car and I can work with that." WILL THE CAR MAKE A DIFFERENCE SUNDAY? "I sure hope so. I think if the car will work in race trim like it has in qualifying trim, will stay with me on the long runs, and I think I can race with something like that. My race car last week just never did talk to me, it never told me what I needed and I never found anything for it. It was a struggle. This thing this week has felt good from the get-go. We were 15th-fastest in practice, but the car felt good. That was a real good lap and I think we'll qualify better than that, and then hopefully in race setup it'll be sweet."
KURT BUSCH --97-- John Deere Taurus
"It was a great lap, very comfortable. The car was right on that edge and it's just a tribute to this John Deere team. We're working well together. We tested well here and it was an excellent lap for the team. We're having a good time just learning these Cup cars." HOW MUCH DID THE TEST HELP YOU HERE? "It's a wonderful tribute to what is about to come. We tested well here and it just gives me a comfortable feel and it's something where I know what to expect when I come back. Coming to all these tracks for the first time, it's hard to get a handle on them the first time, so testing is a good way to go at it and get familiar with the track. I ran here in the spring with the truck and struggled a little bit. The cars fit this track a lot better. I enjoy the flat tracks, so we'll see if it holds up for a top 10. If we can get more experience on the banked tracks we'll be alright."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus
"I had a little bit too much on the left-front shock and got it pushing. The car's been too tight ever since unloading it and I just had it too cushy. I put some more shock on the left front and tried to get it so it would get in the corner better and turn better also and I just overshot."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus
"We ran a .60 in practice and that was good enough for second. This car has been fast since we've been here. This is the car we thought we destroyed at Phoenix last week. The shop jumped in there and worked around the clock and, as always, put a great car under me and with that Yates horsepower, what can you say?" YOU LIKE THESE TYPE OF TRACKS, WHY? "They're fun. You slip and slide around a little bit. Everybody is slipping and sliding a little bit and I think what it does is there's a little extra finesse element in there and if you sneak up on the tire pressure a little bit or a small chassis change can make a big difference. Michael McSwain, Raymond Fox, all these guys know how to put a good chassis under us. A lot of guys worked hard on this chassis and it really shows up on a flat track."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus
"Mike Hillman and his staff have done just a wonderful job getting me around flat tracks. I took a provisional here last year and this is just a great feeling to come here and be this competitive. We did not come and test here and for us to be this competitive really, to me, shows how strong this race team is. This is the car we ran at Phoenix and the boys had about a day-and-a-half to get it turned around. They did a lot of body work on it and this was a team effort qualifying deal."
CASEY ATWOOD --19-- Motorola Taurus
"I knew we were gonna be a little bit better with this cloud cover, but I'm real happy with that. I'm really excited for everybody. This is only our third race together -- a rookie driver -- and it's a new team, but Ray has worked hard for us and so has everybody on the team. It's gonna be a good start for us, probably our best start yet, so we'll see what we can do Sunday."
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus
DID THE CLOUDS HELP? "I'm sure it didn't hurt anything. We fought tightness all day. When we were here testing we worked mostly on race setup and, hopefully, that will show up come Sunday, but we didn't do any qualifying runs and the 28 crowd really helped us out in qualifying setup and worked with us all day. We got it freed up, but still not quite enough -- just a little bit too tight there, so it was a pretty decent lap. We've been improving all day and every time we went out we got faster."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Tauru
"We struggled all day and just haven't run as fast as we needed to run in qualifying trim. We've been loose all day and we made a few adjustments to try and help that and then I pushed."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus
"I thought we were gonna pick up. A lot of people picked up and we didn't, but we'll take that and go. We finally got going qualifying on banked tracks, but we haven't been able to qualify on flat tracks. We have to figure that out and try to get that going now before next year, but I'm real happy with it. We tested for two days down here and did nothing but race setup, so I feel once we get into race trim we'll be in good shape here."
DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus
"We made a big change on the car because we didn't test here. It felt really good in one and two and I said, 'OK DW, you can go for it now,' and I over-did it just a tad down in three and four, but the car was good enough that it only scared, it didn't get away from me." HOW WAS THE LAP? "If I could just hold my breath. If these races were a little bit shorter and I could do that all day I'd be alright, but I run out of air after a while. That's all I can do -- about one lap at a time. I have to take a break and get my breath back and then try it again. That was one that I needed real badly because that gives me my provisional going to Atlanta and I've struggled a little bit at Atlanta. I wanted to be able to go there with some assurance that I'd be in the last race and now I will be, so that makes the year complete." WHAT ABOUT THE JUMP IN TIME? "This is the car I wrecked at Charlotte and we didn't get it fixed in time to come down here and test. Jimmy came and tested and he had a good test. We took some of the notes that he had and we applied some of the things to this car. This is also the car we had at Indy and we did some of the things from Indy, but we ran out of time. We only had two hours and there were some little tweeks we had to do to the car that took time. If I could have got on the race track a little bit more, I think I would have been right there. I believe I could have been as good as anybody, but that's a great improvement. We made a huge change from practice to qualifying."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus
"We ran really good during out test and we've got a really good car for the race. We qualified fourth at Charlotte with this car and I just made a mistake. I went through one and two really good and I did the same thing I did in Charlotte, I drove into turn three and left a tenth or two there because I really felt I needed to run a .50 or better and we missed it. But the Kmart guys have worked hard this year and we just really wanted to get on a pole. We've only got one race left, so we've got our work cut out for us." WERE YOU THINKING POLE AFTER ONE AND TWO? "I was thinking pole all day when we knew we were real fast unloading. I had a really good test. I saw the track was getting to our advantage and I had a great one and two. I came off the corner with the most RPM's it had all day and I knew that going down into three. I probably just didn't get on the brakes enough and get the car to where it needed to be and it was my own fault. I drove into the corner and by the time I realized it, it was too late. This team has run really well this year, we just haven't had any finishes to prove it. We're looking forward to next year."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus
"That's not what we wanted. We went on a set of lapped scuffs and that may have hurt us a little bit. We were better than that in practice. The first and second corner felt good, I got into three real good, but right off of four I just let things push up on me too much."
RICKY RUDD PRESS CONFERENCE
"At Homestead it's kind of hard to tell if it's a good lap or a bad lap until you're finished and you look at the speed. Based on that it's either good or bad, but it wasn't like a real wild ride or anything." DID YOU THINK ANYBODY WAS GOING TO BEAT IT? "I didn't know. It was a good lap, but I didn't know if it was gonna hold up or not. Park, I guess he ran pretty good. We had it on top of the truck, we were clocking everybody with hand watches across two or three trucks, and we didn't have it that quick but the official clock is down here at the start-finish line. It was a good lap, so he ran just a little bit better I guess." IDEAL CONDITIONS? "It's a little bit hot. We'd prefer it to be overcast a little bit more. The cars every year get a little bit better on aerodynamics and get a little bit better on horsepower and each year we come back we usually run a little bit quicker." WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD CAUSE 8 OF THE TOP 10 AT PHOENIX LAST YEAR TO FINISH IN THE TOP 10 HERE AT HOMESTEAD LAST YEAR, AND DO YOU THINK THAT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN? "They are somewhat similar track conditions. I mean, you would run the same car at Phoenix as you would here and that's probably the most disappointing thing about not winning the pole is that it would have been a good chance to thank all of our guys for working around the clock on this race car. This was our Phoenix car that got beat up last week. You lose at least a day travel time getting the car worked on and then you come down here so early, so they really burned a lot of midnight oil. But I guess what I'm getting at is the car you ran at Phoenix is the car you want to bring here. Even though you do set the chassis up different, it is the same race car." CAN YOU WIN ONE OF THESE LAST TWO? "I don't know. Certainly, we'd like to have one and we'd like to be talking about our win last week, but it's just not meant to be I guess. All I can say is that I'm real happy that every week we go to the race track we can be a factor. We can be a threat at almost any track we go to and I don't think I've ever been with a team or a setup that we could say that. Even when I was winning races every year, we might be hot for one race and then be cold for 15-20, and then be hot again. This team is on every week and we have a good chance to run good or win at any given race track, so I'm more excited about the progress the team has made since the start of the year to get to this point than I am disappointed with not having a win yet."
DOES THE LAST GUY KNOCKING YOU OFF MAKE IT TOUGHER? "Like I say again, I feel for the guys that worked in the shop so hard. Second is nothing to sneeze about, but we were all joking about it a while ago, we want to see a recount. We didn't get it that fast on our watches and I'm not sure if something fell in front of that light beacon at the last minute, but we didn't catch it that quick. Again, it's more of a disappointment for the guys because I guarantee there isn't a team out here that worked any harder to get to this race track than ours did, but finishing second is nothing to sneeze about." PARK HAS RUN WELL SINCE WATKINS GLEN. "Nobody is gonna question that his team has run well. They floundered around there the first part of the year, but they've gotten going lately, so they're a pretty good team." DID YOU THINK HE WAS A THREAT IN PRACTICE? "Really, we're so busy racing our own deal that we didn't really pay too much attention. I mean, you look at the monitor and you see where you are and you see where your competitors are and you try to get a gauge on who to watch for when it comes time to qualify. In this day and time you don't rule anybody out." HOW LONG DID LAST WEEK STICK WITH YOU? "It's a good thing we've got a fast airplane because we got home in a hurry, so I didn't have time to think about it on the airplane. Then the first thing Monday morning I took my little boy to school and I was on a bulldozer all day, so I tore up a lot of dirt on Monday and Tuesday. I moved a lot of dirt and some of the dirt I didn't even need to move, but I was moving dirt. I was doing something to stay busy, but by about Tuesday afternoon I had cooled off enough, so it didn't bother me too much." DID YOU LOOK AT FILM OF IT? "No, I just know that it didn't really look like it was gonna be a wreck. I saw it more as a car had a bad situation with a tire going flat and started drifting up the race track. I really didn't think the caution was gonna come out and I guess I didn't anticipate Bliss running in the back of the 14, but, in hindsight, I would have done everything I did again. It was more of a surprise to me that there was a wreck. There shouldn't have been a wreck there -- not so much my wreck, but the 27 and the 14 getting together. I'm not quite sure how that happened to be honest with you."