Ford Racing Darlington II qualifying notes

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Qualified 23rd) -- "It's been a big struggle, but we picked up three-tenths and that's probably more than most people will pick up. It's still not gonna be a very good run, but we made a great guess. ...

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Qualified 23rd) -- "It's been a big struggle, but we picked up three-tenths and that's probably more than most people will pick up. It's still not gonna be a very good run, but we made a great guess. Had we started there in the morning, then we might have been okay, but we just started so far off and it was just a struggle. We fought all day. I'm real proud of my guys. They fought real hard and kept working. We're not gonna have a great qualifying lap, but somewhat respectable from where we were."

WITH TIRES FALLING OFF SO FAST, DO YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY GOOD RIGHT OFF THE TRUCK? "It's real hard to learn once you get here. We were making blind guesses because if you go out on old tires you don't know what you're learning and it is hard. Unloading good is really important. This has been typical for us. This is the first time we've been here on this tire in qualifying trim and we started way behind. That's typical of what we've been doing this year. We haven't figured this tire out. We'll see what happens when we go to race. We had a good race here in the spring. We got in trouble on pit road and cost us a good finish, so I'm optimistic about the race. Wherever we end up in qualifying, we picked up three tenths and that's all we can do."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Qualified 3rd) -- "I'm real happy. I love this place. Darlington has been really good to me. I'm just real happy for the team. These guys worked hard today and I'm just glad to be here and, hopefully, we'll start up front. I think that will hold up. If it don't, we'll be somewhere in the top five anyway."

YOU WENT TWO LAPS, WHY? "The first one felt pretty good, so I just wanted to try another one to make sure we got it. I'm not even sure what we ran the second lap."

WHAT'S YOUR SECRET HERE? "I don't know, I don't think there is one. I like Darlington. This is my favorite place probably. A lot of people don't even like coming here, but for some reason I've just adapted well to it and I like it. We always seem to have a pretty good setup here. We seem to run pretty good and we've been fast since coming here."

DESCRIBE THIS TRACK. "I heard Jeff Gordon talk about it earlier and he said it reminds him a lot of the short tracks you used to race where you would run up against the wall and I think that's what it is. I just like it. It's different. It's got different corners and Pocono is the same way. For some reason, we've adapted well to them."

DO YOU FEEL THIS PLACE OWES YOU ONE FROM LAST YEAR? "Yeah, it's the same setup and the same car -- everything. It's really my favorite car. It's about the best car we've got that I really like. We just come here and put it together and make it work. Believe it or not, it's the oldest car we've got -- it's from 1998."

WHAT ABOUT THE LAP? "I was just loose. To be fast here you've got to get through one and two really well and I went in and rolled out of the gas. I probably got in a little earlier than I thought and got a little sideways. Then I went off into three and four and I was still loose, but I tried to hold it on the bottom. I got a little loose off four. Loose is fast, but that was almost too loose."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 16th) -- "We were going for the pole. Today was one of those days where we had a shot at the pole. I went off into one and got in great. I got the car turned, but I needed to wait about three more feet and I didn't. When I got on the throttle I had to wait on it just a little bit and that killed us a couple tenths. I'm happy with everything. We unloaded good and ran good, so I'm looking forward to Sunday."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 20th) -- "Not as good as we really wanted to be. We were really good off the truck, just haven't improved on it. That probably will end up maybe 15th or 16th, we hope, for the Motorcraft Ford Taurus and should get us a pretty decent starting spot for Sunday."

MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 28th)
DID YOUR ENGINE PROBLEM CUT DOWN ON PRACTICE TIME? "No, not really. We were actually done practicing. We used up all the time and they just noticed there was water and oil when we were getting ready for qualifying, so that didn't really hurt us. We always struggle qualifying and we were real slow, but we picked up quite a bit so I'm really happy about that."

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 27th) -- "We've been pretty good, but we made an adjustment on the air pressure because of the sun coming out and it just made us too tight. The car pushed off of two and off of four and you can't have that. We probably should have left it alone, but that's the chance you take. You figure the track is gonna loosen up a little bit, but I was just two tight off of turns two and four and that hurts your exit speed coming off the corner. We'll be alright in the race."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 4th) -- "I'm pretty pleased with that. That was a good run for us. We were really loose when we got here. We made a lot of changes, a lot of air pressure and swaybar work and it ran real good in practice and on that qualifying lap. I'm happy with the guys."

YOU PICKED UP FROM PRACTICE. "I told the guys on my qualifying attempt earlier today (in practice) I kind of messed up turn three. I got in a little too hot and got too high. This time I got in a little lower and picked the throttle up earlier and I think that's where we picked the time up. Also, turns one and two were pretty strong for us, so it was an all-around team effort. I think I probably needed a little bit more air pressure in the tires all the way around. The car was a little bit wobbly, but, other than that, I think air pressure would have cured that. We'll just write that down in our notes and come back next time."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Qualified 26th) -- "My car actually drove a little bit better in qualifying than it did in practice. They changed every spring under the car and everything else you could think of and the car was better. I think at least we've got a direction to go to. We weren't getting a hold of the race track. We're still off a little bit, but I think it's tuneable."

MIKE WALLACE --7-- NationsRent Taurus (Qualified 38th) -- "We ran about a tenth quicker in practice on our simulated qualifying run. It was a little hotter and we were just loose. We just couldn't really go back to the throttle as quick as we needed to, so it's gonna be close as far as the top 36. That's not as good as we wanted to be, but we'll keep digging."

ANDY HOUSTON --96-- McDonald's Taurus (Qualified 40th) -- "The car was a lot better than that in practice. We had run a little over a tenth quicker than that and I felt if we could pick up as much as these other guys picked up we'd be alright. The car was extremely loose and I just couldn't pick up the throttle where I needed to. As a matter of fact, I actually got the car loose coming to the green flag and that messed the whole lap up, but it's my first time here and all these guys worked really hard today. We made a lot of gains on it, but I don't think that will be good enough to get us in. We'll just wait and see."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Qualified 13th) -- "That's way more than we ever expected to get. We made some setup changes and I don't know if that really helped or not. The biggest thing I think that helped us there was that I knew we were gonna be close to provisional land there and I just drove it to wreck it and almost did. I'm real happy with that. A top 15 start -- we were really hurting in practice."

KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 1st) -- WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH THAT LAP? "We had a great run on about our third lap in practice today, which had us at a .75 on old tires. We put new tires on and did a .40, so I knew all we needed to do was pick it up a little bit more. The guys threw a little mojo at it for qualifying and that gave us that little extra that we needed."

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO GET YOUR FIRST POLE HERE? "If you would have told me I would have gotten it here I would have called you a liar. I had no idea that we'd be able to run as strong as a team at a place like this. This place takes a lot of team knowledge behind you and that's something that Roush Racing has with the four teammates."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus (Qualified 15th) -- "We practiced decent the first time out, but we didn't get any better. We actually got worse, but we didn't panic. Donnie (Wingo) just put the car back where it was and I probably left a little bit out there. I knew I went through one and two pretty good and when I got down into three I probably over-broke a little bit and then after that I got on the throttle too quick and it was a combination of both that cost me two-tenths or so, but I don't believe we could have set on the pole."

RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 7th) -- "I tell you what, the guys made some wholesale changes. That's the first time all day I got through turn two the way I wanted and I could not have done it if they hadn't changed the right-rear spring and the right-front shock and the bar and everything else they did, so it was great for the Tide team."

IT SEEMS YOU GUYS ARE A FACTOR EVERY WEEK NOW. "What's really cool is that we weren't running very good in practice and nobody panicked. That's where it's really cool. We made a lot of changes from practice to qualifying and it's obvious we made several right ones."

TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus (Qualified 31st) -- "We've had a problem with the car since we unloaded and can't get any forward bite at all. We've tried everything and don't know what's wrong with the thing. We're in the race, so we'll try to get a decent race setup. You basically get one chance to know what your race car has got, adjust to it and then put the other set of stickers on. It's really hard for inexperienced people here to get any good seat time and qualify good. We've struggled here this year. We struggled here in the spring and we're struggling again. We thought we had it figured out and we don't."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon