KEVIN LEPAGE - 16 - Familyclick.com Taurus (26th) - "We picked up about a tenth, a tenth and a half, and just can't say enough of the guys. Everytime you go to the race track and pick up a little bit in qualifying from what you practiced, that's...
KEVIN LEPAGE - 16 - Familyclick.com Taurus (26th) - "We picked up about a tenth, a tenth and a half, and just can't say enough of the guys. Everytime you go to the race track and pick up a little bit in qualifying from what you practiced, that's just saying the team's doing a good job. Unfortunately, we've been off just a little bit, but it's a decent run and we'll just have to see where it stacks up with all the rest of the cars. Going out early, I think, is gonna hurt us because of the sun. I think the clouds are coming in, just look at the north. We're gonna do what we can and if it's not good enough for a top 25 today we'll work on it tomorrow and get it better."
HUT STRICKLIN - 90 - Hills Brothers Taurus (38th) - "Actually, we were pretty good here earlier and everything. We've been kinda riding around a 38-flat. I don't know. We made a little bit of an air-pressure adjustment on our Hills Brothers Coffee Ford and I don't know if we went the wrong way or something here, or the race track, the sun come out or something, but the car got awful tight coming off the corner and had to get off the throttle one time. We'll just get back and go to work, I think we got a lot more left."
CHAD LITTLE - 97 - John Deere Taurus (30th) - "It sure doesn't hurt (going early). Looking at the times right now, we're not where we need to be. The car's a little loose in the center of both ends, one and two, and down in three and four. It was a respectable lap, it's just we got more work to do. I think we can get the speed out of the car, but we just ran out of time."
JEFF BURTON - 99 - Exide Batteries Taurus (24th) - "It wasn't very good. One and two was okay. Three and four wasn't good at all, we pushed real bad in three and four. Hadn't pushed all day over there, and for some reason we pushed in three and four. I don't know why, we just did."
SCOTT PRUETT - 32 - Tide Taurus (11th) - "We were just too tight. Just got down in the turn and got back to power and was just pushing the nose off. Start pushing the nose off, you're just scrubbing speed. We made a few little changes to it, we didn't make enough changes to it, and that's one of the things we're learning."
BILL ELLIOTT - 94 - McDonald's Taurus (17th) - "It's three-tenths quicker than I ran here in the spring, but still, I was hoping for better. You know, it was just one of them deals that we give it our best shot, and we'll see where we end up."
WALLY DALLENBACH - 75 - TBS Dinner & A Movie Taurus (20th) - "Yeah, considering where we were earlier this morning. We just struggled a little bit and made the right changes for qualifying. We know the car's gonna race good, it's the same car we had at Indy, so I know the car's gonna be really good in traffic, and it's gonna run good. We're kinda struggling, this is a brand-new car, we're struggling with the qualifying set-up with this car, and what it needs for qualifying. Hopefully, we stumbled on to something, I think it's gonna be a good car Sunday."
WHAT CHANGES WERE MADE? "We just stiffened the car up. The car needed a little bit more spring. We just gave it more support in the front of the car and it helped it a lot."
JEREMY MAYFIELD - 12 - Mobil 1 Taurus (6th) - HOW ARE YOU FEELING? "Good, really good. Now that qualifying's over with, probably a big relief to me, you know, because I hear a lot of horror stories, Terry Labonte and those guys, the last two weeks, that's what's been on my mind. When I go back am I gonna be as good as I was? Am I gonna get dizzy or whatever? I've been real fortunate. I've been really good the last two weeks, my two weeks off, not having headaches, not being dizzy, nothing went wrong. My biggest fear is when I got to Michigan, what's gonna happen today? I came here, got in the car and I rode around a couple of laps, make sure I was alright. Of course, that lasted about a lap and I took off, wide open, it felt good and it's felt good ever since. It just keeps getting better and better and better. I feel great. Can't say enough about how happy I am to be here and not go through any other problems that I could go through."
HOW CRAZY WERE YOU GOING WHEN YOU WERE JUST SITTING AND SITTING? "It drives you real crazy. Not only are you just sitting, waiting, sitting out a couple of weeks, you're going, 'What if when I get back I'm not as good as I was? What if I'm dizzy? What if it takes me longer?' When that crosses your mind, it's pretty frustrating. Knowing you don't know what's gonna happen."
WHEN DID YOU FEEL AT EASE BEHIND THE WHEEL AT PRACTICE? "Probably after I made my first lap, that was like a relief. But then, at the same time, I was a little better. I still got a part of me going, 'Is this too good to be true?' so I'm not going to get really excited right now. I know we had a good qualifying run, I made changes, I felt like I always did, and everything's there. We haven't missed a beat, and that's what I'm really excited about."
A LOT OF GOOD THINGS HAPPENED HERE LAST RACE... "Yeah, we did. That's the same car and same-type set-up we had, and just feel real confident about coming here. You know, it's probably the best thing I done was to sit out Watkins Glen and not try to press the issue there. A lot of drivers haven't done that and the ones that haven't has really paid the price later, so I think right now, that's one thing that we had going for us."
WHAT DOES THE QUALIFYING SPOT MEAN, AS OPPOSED TO 25TH? "It meant a lot. Not only did we come back and we're okay and I'm not dizzy and my head's alright, but we're also running just like we did when I got hurt at Indy. That's a good sign. If we'd a come back and I felt okay and we run 30th or struggled, I'd be a little disappointed, but knowing now that we can be competitive and I haven't lost the feel that I've gotten, it's exciting to me."
RICKY RUDD - 28 - Texaco Havoline Taurus (4th) - "We're pretty happy with that. We'll see. The heat of the day is not helping any on the draw. I think Little Earnhardt's got a pretty fast speed up on the board, that'd be tough anyway, but there's some guys that run .60s in practice, but I'm not sure about today. It would take a lot of cloud to cool this track off to get the speed back, but we'll see, somebody's liable to surprise us, coming from behind." ON HIS LAP. "I got pushing a little bit down in turn one, probably trying to drive the track too hard down there and got pushing just a little bit."
DALE JARRETT - 88 - Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (2nd) - FIRST IN PRACTICE, SECOND IN QUALIFYING... "Any number of reasons. We had about a perfect lap, a great set of tires in practice and just didn't stick quite as good, which was probably brought on some by the sun being out. We had total clouds earlier in the day. So, a lot of different things. That's what makes Junior's lap that much better, knowing that he did it this afternoon. Even if I'd of run what I ran in practice, he still would've beat it. But, it was good lap for us and will get us a good starting spot."
MARK MARTIN - 6 - Valvoline/Cummins Taurus (7th) - "I could tell when I went into three for the first time that the car just wasn't sticking good. It's gonna be a combination, the set of tires that we had in practice was absolutely perfect and that it's just gotten hotter as the sun's been out, so that's what makes Junior's lap that much better. We got a little bit loose down in one and two and tried to make a decent lap and got a good starting spot."
DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE
"Things are going well, and the run was a good run, considering the conditions. We practiced, the time that we had today, mostly with cloud cover. Many drivers have said it's a very sensitive race track to the sun, and we weren't sure just how much it was gonna loosen up because the sun hadn't been out that long. What we saw the track temp wasn't up considerably, but I guess the sunlight on the track certainly changed it, and we got a little bit loose. We'd been adjusting the car all day, to free it up some because of the cloud cover, but a combination, probably of that set of tires, maybe a little looser, and track conditions a little looser, didn't run as fast as we did in practice. In fact, the practice lap was probably a perfect lap and that's kinda hard to duplicate."
WITH YOUR SUCCESS HERE, DO YOU THINK SUNDAY IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE UP POINTS IN THE STANDINGS? OR IS IT A WASH BECAUSE BOBBY LABONTE SEEMS TO DO WELL HERE, TOO? "We'll have to win if we're gonna gain any points, for sure. As good of a track it's been for us, Bobby's probably had as much success as anyone here. So, that's about the only way we know that we can assure ourselves of at least not losing any points and hopefully gaining a few, if we can win the race. Again, it's been a good track for us over the years and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to lead some laps and be up front again."
IT'S COOL HERE TODAY. DO YOU GO WITH YOUR JUNE SET-UP? DO YOU LOOK AT THE BOOK FROM LAST AUGUST? "I think you gotta look at what we experienced here the first race of this year. This is the tire that we have to go off of, so that will concern me more than the track conditions. I would rather practice in the sun tomorrow, if it's not going to be cloudy and cool race day, because we can adjust in the race, But if you practice in the clouds tomorrow, then it comes out sunny on Sunday, then you find yourself really guessing a lot. We know a lot of what happens with the race track, and I haven't even seen a weather forecast to know if it's supposed to continue to be cloudy and cool, and if it is, that will make for a competitive race, for sure."