Ford Racing Loudon qualifying notes

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Qualified 10th) -- "That was a little bit quicker and I'm really happy with that going early. Normally going early is a disadvantage. If we can pick up and still be disadvantaged a little bit by going...

JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Qualified 10th) -- "That was a little bit quicker and I'm really happy with that going early. Normally going early is a disadvantage. If we can pick up and still be disadvantaged a little bit by going early, we'll be happy with that. That should get us a top 18 anyway and if things go our way, maybe a top 12."

CAN YOU WIN FROM THERE? "You can win from anywhere if you get everything right. We've won here from back in the thirties and we won here from second, so getting the car right is what it takes. If we get it right on Sunday, we'll have a chance."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 7th) -- "We just threw everything at it but the kitchen sink right there and that picked us up a lot. It's amazing what momentum will do and it's running with us right now."

WHAT ABOUT THE TRACK AND THE SEALER? "The race track is a lot tackier than it was. I think they've got a good sealer, I think it's the same as Richmond, but we've been tight all day and we just freed the car up a ton and it helped us. If we would have had one more practice, we'd be right there."

MIKE WALLACE --7-- NationsRent Taurus (Qualified 22nd) -- "That's just a tick quicker than what we practiced today. We always want to go faster than that, but if the agenda stays the way it was in practice that will be okay. It won't be a top 10 or anything like that, but we just need to get in the race. We need to get a good solid race setup under this NationsRent Ford Taurus and continue on and try to have a better second half to the year."

YOU WILL BE IN THE CAR FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?

"That is correct. Jim Smith is the car owner and it's his decision on what takes place in this thing. On Tuesday evening it was decided that I will drive the car for the entire year. He went on television and made that public, so I guess that's about as true as it can be."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Qualified 14th) -- "We ran a ninety-something in practice and were third-quick, but New Hampshire does what it typically does -- at least it did for me. I'm good in practice, but when I go out to qualify it's like I overdrive the race track. I drive in the corner and end up having to wait for the front end to turn and the stopwatch is ticking on by. I tried to run the two laps different from one another and it seemed I was better to go ahead and drive it in there hard to begin with. We're a couple of tenths off and a little disappointed, but that'll put us somewhere in the middle of the pack."

TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus (Qualified 6th) -- "In practice we were having a little problem with the brakes and actually didn't get a really good lap. The car was good. It was a lot better in practice -- a little bit too tight off -- but we'll take it. That's a great run for us and we'll try to keep this qualifying effort going. Hopefully, we can get a little better in the races and make the car run for the whole race. The Kmart Blue Light Special was good right off the truck. We just made some minor adjustments and made it real good, so we're pretty happy with it."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Qualified 3rd) -- "I'm real happy with it. We needed that. We've had provisionals like the last three weeks in a row or something and we just pulled together as a race team -- like we used to when times got tough -- and it was a good run for us. I think that's the best we've ever qualified here."

HOW KEY IS STARTING UP FRONT HERE, WHERE IT'S HARD TO PASS?

"It's very important. This is one of the hardest places to pass on, so starting up front is always great here. We've never done that. Unfortunately, we've always started in the back. We know how to race here, we just didn't know how to qualify. Now, at least we'll have a starting spot up there somewhere."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Qualified 2nd) -- "I don't mean to be a hog or anything, but all I needed was about an inch or two on the race track and I'm sure that was at my finger tips somewhere there. I don't know. The car's been awesome all through practice and it was a great run. I'm sure if I had it to do over again I'd mess it up, but I sure think that one-one thousandth was out there somewhere. I could have got it somehow with one little tweak on the race car or just picking up the gas a little bit earlier. I don't think I could have gotten in the corner any harder, I was right on the verge of slipping up out of the groove at any time, but maybe I could have picked the gas up a little sooner -- maybe I could have messed up."

WHAT ABOUT THE SEALER?

"So far it's a lot better. I have high hopes that we might have us a real race here this weekend. This place has just not ever been any good to race on and if it's ever gonna be any good to race on, it should be here Sunday so I'm looking forward to it."

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 9th) -- "That's the fastest we've been, so that's the good thing. The downside to that is it's still not fast enough but the car was pretty good. I usually overdrive the car here, especially getting into one. I was really trying not to do that and I think I accomplished that, but I think I probably left a little bit there. I found myself wanting to pick the throttle up too early to get through the middle of one and off of two." WHAT ABOUT THE TRACK AND THE SEALER? "I think you're gonna see a lot of the same racing. The bottom groove is the fast way. The sealer may be a little better, but the hard thing is there are no lines out here."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 23rd) -- "I just got into turn one and two and as I was coming off of two it pushed really bad. I almost had to stop it to get it turned. Then I went down into three and four and got in hot and got in loose. Man, I just couldn't believe. I actually put the thing back in third gear and took off and still ran a .31. We barely saved it, but I thought I had a car to get the pole. Man, I'm real upset. I can't believe it."

MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 21st) -- "That's good for us. We've been qualifying terrible this year, so that'll get us 20th or a little bit better. I'm happy with that. That's what we ran in practice almost and we were just too loose for the oddball setup we had to go qualify, so that was a decent lap for us."

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Qualified 16th) -- "I have to give credit to all these guys that worked on this Hills Brothers Coffee Ford. We were really struggling pretty bad in practice, but Philippe (Lopez) and Bobby (King) and all the guys put their heads together. I was to the point where I told 'em, 'I don't care what you do because what we've got is not working.' But it was a good lap for us. I'm proud of everybody."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus (Qualified 13th) -- "I probably just slowed it down a little bit too much getting into the first turn. I should have let it roll in a little bit further that I did and it messed me up pretty good. I had a good back straightaway and stuff, but I didn't get it in the corners like I needed to. I just slowed it down too much. I was watching those cars slipping out there, but I guess that'll be a top 15 spot. That's not too bad."

RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 20th) -- "I'd like to be able to do it again, but so would 42 other guys. It's a great accomplishment by the guys. They put a new engine in and put new springs in. They basically changed everything but the roof and the driver and we made a lot of gains. It was a brand new car when we unloaded it and it hadn't seen the race track. I feel a whole lot better about it now than I did two hours ago. We'll be good on Sunday."

WHAT ABOUT THE SEALER?

"It's about the same. I think it'll be a challenge for us because at some point in the race that sealer is gonna be gone. Either that or the rubber is gonna build up on it. The track is gonna be a challenge. It's a fun place for me because it's tough and you've just gotta get tough right back."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 33rd) -- "I don't think we've taken 10 provisionals my whole life in Winston Cup provisionals and we've taken 10 this year. We've just been struggling in qualifying and we're struggling again. The car is driving good, we've just got a little problem with the front end in the center of the corner. This place is a pretty good momentum track, so I think if we can get that fixed and roll through the center of the corner a little faster, we'll have a good car on Sunday. I've got a pretty good average finish here on Sundays, so we need to get the car a little better and I think we will."

WHAT ABOUT THE SEALER?

"I love the sealer. I think the sealer is 100 percent better than what the track used to be. I think it's a big plus and a big step in the right direction."

KURT BUSCH, Raybestos Rookie --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 32nd) -- "We lacked speed in the corners and we were just a little bit off, which cost us several positions. I also need to define the chassis a bit more. Regardless, we're in the race and we've got a couple more practice session to make some adjustments to the car."

JEREMY MAYFIELD PRESS CONFERENCE -- "In practice I didn't think we were gonna end up anywhere near the top five or top 10, but we just kept working on it and working on it and got it better and better. We changed a couple of extra things right before qualifying and it seemed to help. I was kind of like Mark. After the qualifying run we made, I didn't have any idea we were second at that time. I thought we were pretty good, but not that good. I got a good lap, but it didn't feel good. Still, we ended up third somehow."

MARK MARTIN PRESS CONFERENCE -- "We were right up there close to the top of the speed chart all the way through practice. I was pleased with the car all through practice. Although we haven't been a contender for the pole week in and week out, we have won a couple of poles this year and, nowadays, you don't really know for sure if you're gonna contend or not. We just went out and gave it our best lap. Actually, it was almost a tenth of a second faster than we practiced, so I'd have to say that was a pretty good lap for us."

WHAT ABOUT THE SEALER?

"The sealer is definitely a step in the right direction. This paving job has never quite been all it could have been. The first two times I think we raced up here, the asphalt came up -- came apart and rutted in the tire tracks. I liked the track the first race or two that we ran on it, even though they were having trouble keeping the asphalt down. Then they put something on it in the corners and I don't know what it was. After that, in my opinion, you never could hardly race around it. It was just so difficult. Grinding it has smoothed it out some and I think this sealer is just awesome. I think after all the races this weekend that the groove will wear down a little bit and then you'll start moving up and moving up the race track. My hope is that you'll be able to pass here in a racing pass, instead of just the guy on the outside stopping while the guy on the inside is doing the passing. It'll be nice if we have that this weekend. I'm really looking forward to it. I believe you may see the best race you've ever seen at New Hampshire this weekend."

MARTIN CONTINUED -- ANY COMPARISONS TO THE SEALER AT RICHMOND? "It is. It's the Richmond sealer and you can tell it. I've always hated sealer, but they've got it figured out. If you have to seal a race track, this is some good stuff to use that's for sure."

MAYFIELD CONTINUED -- WHAT ABOUT ONE OR TWO LAP QUALIFYING. WOULD THAT HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE TODAY? "We still would have ended up third, but my second lap was a little bit faster for some reason. We slipped a little bit on the first lap, but we were still better the second lap. Either way we would have been third. Either way, one lap or two laps I was fine with either one of them."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jim Smith