Ford Michigan Qualifying Notes and Quotes

2 RUSTY WALLACE -- Miller Lite Ford Taurus -- "It was a pretty good lap. I'm pretty happy with it. So we'll see what happens. I don't know whether the track's gonna get faster or slower. That was a pretty good run for us. I gave up a little too...

2 RUSTY WALLACE -- Miller Lite Ford Taurus -- "It was a pretty good lap. I'm pretty happy with it. So we'll see what happens. I don't know whether the track's gonna get faster or slower. That was a pretty good run for us. I gave up a little too much down in (turns) three and four. I got a little too tight. (Turns) one and two were good, and I kinda screwed it up down in the other turn. But we'll see how it turns out."

12 JEREMY MAYFIELD -- Mobil 1 Ford Taurus -- "I'm really happy with (that lap). We've got a great race car here. The Mobil 1 team, again, has shown up with a fast car. It wasn't the pole, but we really weren't shootin' for the pole. We wanted to come here and get a good starting spot, and I know we've got a great racecar. This is an every week thing now. We don't worry about qualifying. We just come right in to Sunday with a real good car. Hopefully, that's what we're going to do this weekend."

17 MATT KENSETH - DeWalt Tools Ford Taurus - "It was okay. It was way faster than we practiced. I was hoping it would have been a little faster; it looks like we're gonna be in the middle of the pack again. We just worked on it and got a better setup. That was the best lap we ran all day, so I can't be too disappointed. I could have run a little faster. I didn't have an excellent lap; it was an average ol' lap. I probably could have drove it a little harder than I did.

94 BILL ELLIOTT -- McDonald's Ford Taurus - "Well, it's pretty close. I got pretty loose. We should have tightened the car up a bit better. I underestimated the racetrack there a little bit. I'm just glad we ran that speed. You can always go into these deals and back up a bit, but we gained just a little tick. I'm proud of these guys. They've done one heck of a job on this McDonald's team, and we'll see what happens on Sunday."

75 WALLY DALLENBACH - RotoZip Tools Ford Taurus -- "That's the best we've run all day. We've been stuggling here today and this is a good racetrack for me. So we changed everything, including the paint job, for the last practice, and the car was a lot better. I just wish we had one more crack at it; I think I could find two more tenths of a second. That was the best we'd been. Like I said, we've been chasing it a bit today, but we'll be fine on Sunday. Hopefully, that will be top-25. If not, I still think we've got a good racecar for Sunday."

99 JEFF BURTON -- Exide Batteries Ford Taurus -- "It was a good lap. Didn't pick up quite what we needed to sit on the pole, but we're generally not a pole-contending team anyway. We were fifth quick in practice and we're going to end up qualifying in the top 10, so that's okay. It was a good lap. It felt good. May have driven in a little hard in 3 and 4, but we're happy with it. The track doesn't feel any different to me than it did this morning." 97 CHAD LITTLE -- John Deere Ford Taurus - "Not very good. Certainly not where we need to be. It's warmer than this morning, but you look at the guys going around you ... and they're faster. We still have work to do. Qualifying, this year, is not the key, but the key is being able to move up once the race starts. But qualifying well definitely helps. It's been a nemesis for me for awhile, and it's not for lack of effort. We just have to keep working at it."

28 RICKY RUDD - Texaco Havoline Ford Taurus - "It was a good lap. I know my teammate, Dale Jarrett, had a little trouble right before it was time for me to go out, so I tried to just block it out. These guys worked really hard on this Texaco/Havoline Taurus. It's been getting better and better, and faster and faster, and I'm just the guy benefitting from it today. This team is starting to come around. It's been a bit of a rebuilding process. The old guys are now clicking with the new guys ... it's just coming together. I was concerned about oil on the track. I knew whatever Dale had on his motor I probably had on my motor, so it kind of rung a bell there ...I said, 'hey, I've got the same parts on my motor,' so I had a little concern, but I was more concerned with the oil on the track."

88 DALE JARRETT -- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford Taurus - WHAT HAPPENED? "Going into turn 3 I felt it and then it just let go. Everything was great right up until then. STARTING BACK IN FIELD: We don't want to, but we have no choice now, so we'll just get ready to race. It's a long 400 miles, so if you have a good car, it won't matter where you start.

66 DARRELL WALTRIP -- Route 66/Big Kmart Ford Taurus - "We've made some gains today. This car has run fast before (qualified seventh at California). We just have to drop back and find a little more speed."

16 KEVIN LEPAGE - Ford Taurus - "That's the best we've run all day with this Family Guide Taurus. Pat Tryson and all my guys made a change right before qualifying and it was a change for the better. It's a starting spot, so now we'll see what we can do on Sunday. We've had good qualifying efforts here and there this year, but our races have been a little bit sub-par, so we're going to put a lot of effort in here for the fans in Michigan. It's close to home for Jack Roush, so we're going to put a good race together."

6 MARK MARTIN -- Valvoline/Cummins Ford Taurus -- "That was three-tenths better than I expected. I don't think anyone will run a better lap than that today. They may be going faster, but they aren't getting better laps than that, you know what I mean? I've very pleased."

32 SCOTT PRUETT - Tide Ford Taurus - "We crew was awesome. We had a great 1 and 2, but we just got too tight through 3 and 4. It pushed up, we had to get off the throttle, and we left a couple tenths on the racetrack. But we'll keep working at it."

13 ROBBY GORDON - Burger King/Turtlewax Ford Taurus - "We were pretty good this morning, and I don't know why we haven't been able to get back to there. I know the track got hotter. We just don't know why we didn't get back there. Got part of it back, but not all of it. We were sixth quick this morning, and everyone picked up from there and it put us back a bit.

WAS MICHIGAN ALWAYS ON YOUR SCHEDULE? Oh, yeah, we were always coming to Michigan."

28 RICKY RUDD - Texaco/Havoline Taurus (post-qualifying press conference): "I think we're looking good. Our race set-up is pretty close to our qualifying set up. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes we have to make major changes to the car. This weekend I think we're real close to our race set-up. I'm really happy about that ... that we don't have to go out and search and find something that it going to work on the car for the long run. This team's been knocking on the door. Someone told me this team has four or five outside poles this year, so this kind of goes along with par.

CONCERNS ABOUT DALE JARRETT'S MOTOR: I really don't know about that with the motor department. Not that it's secretive, it's just that they're busy doing they're own thing, and every time we go to the race track we've got great engines. Now, when Dale did break, we did wonder whether we were on borrowed time here ... how many laps did he have in practice? I think it was a freak thing that happened to him. It wasn't something where they had something really radical. I understand Rusty had instructions to not make but three timed laps on his motor. It won't stand a fourth or fifth one. Our motors just weren't that way. It was just a freak thing. They're going to get into it and find out. With a qualifying motor, you just take what you've got. The motor tuners tune it right to the edge.

CLOSE TEAM RESEARCH BETWEEN TEAMS: I can only speak for our team. You look at morning practice and Ricky Rudd is number one and Dale Jarrett's number two, and I say, 'we ought to take that sheet and frame it.' It doesn't happen very often, and it looked like in qualifying we were going to run right together. Not that we knew we were going to win the pole, but that both cars would probably be in the top five. As odd as things turn out, Dale goes out and blows up and oils the track down, and then I'm the next guy to go out. It almost went from almost all at the top to almost all at the bottom, because it looked like we might run on an oiled-up race track. But it all worked out. I think you're seeing the strength of the 28 team coming on. Part of that is because of the 88 team's cooperation. And I know we've helped the 88 on some of the shorter tracks. That communication ... and I wouldn't say for the first time ever ...but while I've been driving the car I've only seen it get stronger and stronger. It's only going to continue to get stronger. Our two teams are getting along better than they ever have. We started the year ... and I wouldn't say there was friction, but I do think the 28 team tended to be a little bit of friction to the 88 team because it was a one-way street of information and it probably got to be a burden to Todd Parrott. Now, we're able to help the 88. We can go out and try stuff, and Dale's able to go out and try stuff, and we can say, 'hey, don't do this. It just cost us two-tenths. Don't go there.' That's the kind of communication we're starting to have. Our shop guys are even talking back and forth.

COMMENT ON HOW MUCH THE DRIVING COMES DOWN TO THE WORK OF THE CREW: "I feel like Robert hired me to be one link in that puzzle. It's all about communication. You can take the best driver in the world, put him in a race car, and if the car's not there, it's just not going to run. It's a two-way street. You have to have a good driver who gives good feedback, and then you have to have a crew who understands what that driver is saying and interpet that, make changes, and make it better. When I say my crew made a difference, it's because that communication today clicked like clockwork.

"We came off the truck, went out and were about 16th quick, we looked at everything, didn't rush back out right away, we analyzed everything, looked at all the travels, looked at the tire temps, and we said 'I think this is what it's doing,' so then we made a change and we ended up fastest in that first session. What you're seeing there is that communication. The driver is excited because he got out and he knew the car did what he wanted it to do, but he didn't do it by himself. He had the crew support to make it handle.

DID YOU GET EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR LAP? "Yeah, I think I did. Sometimes you get out of the car and you say, 'Man, if I knew it was going to stick that good ... if I knew that set of tires was going to grip like that, I would have driven it a little harder in the corner.' There's been many a day where I got out and say I wish I had done this or that, but today I felt I hit the corners and well as they could have been hit. Bobby just hit them better. And that's something we have to be concerned with if he's going to hit them that good during the race.

RACE STRATEGY HERE: "I think every team goes out and works on fuel mileage during practice. They usually try a couple of carburator combinations, they'll try some different gear ratios, they'll try to conserve some fuel, and then they'll watch that stopwatch. You keep trying to do some things that will conserve mileage until it hurts that stopwatch. You get to Sunday morning, and then you stop and think whether you think it's going to go green. You have to get to that 50-lap mark. I know Bobby Labonte has won this race on mileage before. He's had a good car, but he's also won on mileage. The magic lap is lap 50 before you have to pit. And most teams will do whatever they have to do to get to lap 50, even if they have to let some horsepower out."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Jack Roush