JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus (Qualified 34th) "We haven't run fast since we unloaded and we still haven't run any faster. We don't know where the speed is at in it and we're pretty bothered by it because the last three years we've spent a...
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus (Qualified 34th)
"We haven't run fast since we unloaded and we still haven't run any faster. We don't know where the speed is at in it and we're pretty bothered by it because the last three years we've spent a lot of money. Travis and Carl have spent a lot of money and Donnie has put bodies on, but we have not had a good superspeedway car in a long time. It bothers Donnie, it bothers me a lot, it bothers everybody on the team, but we're not gonna give up."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 45th)
"That's pretty bad. The DEWALT guys have been working really hard and I feel real bad for them. We had the fastest two cars - our primary car and our backup at Daytona in testing - but we were real slow at Daytona. We brought our second car here that was fast and it was real slow here, too. So, for all the money we spend in the wind tunnel and R&D we should be a lot better than this."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 43rd)
"We're gonna be alright on Sunday. We went home from this race last year, but thanks to some good runs this year the Motorcraft Ford Taurus will be here on Sunday. We tried some stuff for qualifying because we knew we were up in the points, it didn't work out, so we'll go home and try to make it better next time. It doesn't matter where you start here on Sunday. We'll get shuffled front and back many times before the end of the race, so we're looking forward to then."
THE WHOLE KEY WAS THE FIRST EIGHT RACES THIS YEAR, RIGHT?
"That's right. We tried coming down here with real soft springs and bump rubbers and all of that, just to see what it would do. We had never done that before, but because we were up in the points we could afford to do that. We tried it, but it wasn't any good. It was too late to switch it back over, but that's okay. We'll take a provisional and we'll be alright."
MIKE WALLACE --7-- NationsRent Taurus (Qualified 41st)
"There's really not much to talk about. The car doesn't want to qualify. It didn't run good at Daytona. We tried to change some things in the car for here and you always hear that story 'it races good', but we can't get it qualified and the way we're going right now we may not even be able to race. I think we're pretty much in trouble. Unless some act of magic comes about for us, we probably won't get to race here."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus (Qualified 5th)
"We have a really good car here this weekend. I don't really know anything else to say, but Jimmy and the guys on the team have just done a really good job with this stuff. This stuff is not much different than what we had at Daytona and we weren't sitting nearly as pretty on the grid. I think it was just the right little massaging and having all the pieces in the right places."
WERE YOU WORRIED COMING HERE AFTER DAYTONA?
"That's past tense. I'm still worried. I'll be glad when this one is over on Sunday. Hopefully, we'll get through the thing and we'll have a great race. It would be wonderful if we could win, but it would be alright if we just all get out of here Sunday night."
HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Qualified 44th)
"We ran a good bit faster than that in practice, but we had some help. We felt like going back and tuning the engine up and changing the oils and fluids and stuff - things you do to qualify - we felt like we could at least get back to where we were. I hate it for all the guys. They've worked awfully hard on this car trying to get it better from Daytona. I think they've made it better, but we only really got two runs to try to sort the thing out and really didn't have enough time."
YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT THAT AREN'T YOU.
"I am. I was hoping we could run around a 52.6 or 7 and we could feel safe, but I don't think that time is gonna make it. I hate it for all the guys who work on this Hills Brothers Coffee Ford. They've worked awfully hard on trying to make the body better and we just fell a little short. I think we had a good car and a good engine today, but we didn't have the time to really sort the thing out like it takes to really run good on these types of race tracks."
TODD BODINE --66-- Route 66/Kmart Taurus (Qualified 20th)
"That's all we needed to do. I'm a little disappointed we didn't pick up more. We thought we'd pick up another tenth-and-a-half from that maybe, but being comfortably in is all we need. Our speedway program is suffering a little bit. We're not quite on the ball. We're missing something, but the guys have worked awfully hard on this car from Daytona and it's picked up a lot of speed. That's all we needed to do. At Daytona we didn't get a quick qualifying lap and then got basically taken out of the 125. With one lap to go we were fifth and didn't make the race, so to be comfortably in all we had to do."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 4th)
"We've got a great car. This Tide Ford is a bullet. I knew it leading up to this race because it was strong in Daytona. We broke a rear-end gear in Daytona and we were sitting in the garage when they had the bad wreck on the backstretch. That may have been a blessing for us becuase we were able to bring our primary car here and it's been a breeze. I wish we would have won the pole. I thought we had a good shot at it and I would have liked to have won it for the team because they deserve it, but I'll trade it for a win on Sunday."
IS THAT POSSIBLE? "It is possible. I'm surrounded by a lot of talented people. They're very intelligent and doing a great job. I'm having the time of my life."
ANDY HOUSTON --96-- McDonald's Taurus (Qualified 24th)
"From what we ran in practice, we were quite a bit better than that with the McDonald's Ford. We had a little bit of a vibration when I left pit road. I've been fighting it a little bit in practice and they made some changes trying to get it better. I don't know if it was the rear end gear or drive shaft or something, but I can't complain too much. The McDonald's Ford is solidly in the field and the way this deal is here, it doesn't really matter where you start. I mean, you can go from leading to last and back to leading all in just a lap or so. We'll just look forward to a good race on Sunday."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus (Qualified 22nd)
We haven't been overly fast since we've been here. We ran a sixty-something in practice and we picked up from what we ran in practice. When you can do that, that's good. That will get us 25th or so and that's gonna be okay."
DOES IT MATTER WHERE YOU START ON SUNDAY?
"It's the same Talladega it's always been -- miss the wreck if it happens. Missing the big wreck is the main thing. If your car will run, you'll go to the front. If it won't, then you'll hang out in the middle. You've got to choose the right lines at the right time."
WHAT DO YOU TALK ABOUT HERE TO GET READY?
"Once you get here it's done, in all honesty. All of the work is done in the shop. Frank and everybody spent a lot of time in the shop getting this thing ready. This is the car we wrecked in Daytona, so a lot of effort was put into getting the car back where it could run. That's about how we qualified at Daytona and I thought we ran really well at Daytona, so I'm optimistic."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 26th)
YOU DIDN'T PICK UP MUCH ON THE SECOND LAP, WHY?
"I don't know why I didn't. The car didn't run as fast as it did in practice. I really thought it would run in the teens and maybe a twenty or something like that, but it ran a fifty so it slowed up at least two-tenths from what I thought it would run."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACE? "I feel real good about that. Qualifying doesn't mean anything here. I think every driver will tell you that. You've just got to put yourself in the right position in the race. It's gonna be a long race. You're gonna have to trust a lot of people and not trust some."
ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 28th)
"We're pleased. We're in the race. We were really worried about qualifying here. We know this Jasper Ford is gonna be good in the race, but we were just really worried about the qualifying. We're in it, so now we can go to the race setup and get ready."
CAN YOU TURN YOUR LUCK AROUND THIS WEEKEND? "These last two weeks have been real bad, so this is a good place to turn it around."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Qualified 32nd)
IS THE ENGINE TROUBLE IN PRACTICE WHAT LED TO THIS? "We got two laps of practice and didn't come here to test, so that made it kind of hard to get it dialed in. That was all we had right there."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Qualified 42nd)
"We've struggled with our qualifying here. It's weird. Sometimes you come here and run good and can't understand how you can run that good, and then you come back and run bad and don't understand that. We'll do the best we can and get this Mobil 1/Sony/Vega Ford Taurus somewhere up front on Sunday, but I don't think we're gonna end up too good here today."
HOW DOES GETTING TO FRONT HERE COMPARE TO DAYTONA? "It's about the same. You can be in the front in no time and you can also go to the back in no time, so it ought to be a good show on Sunday. I know the race fans are gonna enjoy it and I know the drivers and teams are kind of excited about getting it on too. We'll see what happens."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 27th)
YOU HAD A GREAT SECOND LAP.
"It must have been slow on the first lap. It was something I hadn't done before, running the top groove on that first lap, but that's what both Mark Martin and Jeff Burton recommended, so I thought I'd go with it. It's a little disappointing. We ran quicker in practice, but at least the Sharpie car is in the race."
WHAT ABOUT SUNDAY?
"I'm always looking forward to big race tracks like this. With the restrictor plate it's a little bit different and the package we have now is gonna make it three-wide all day long. At Daytona it was two-wide and three-wide sometimes, so it's a different program here."
BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Taurus (Qualified 23rd)
"I'm ecstatic. We came from a long way back. We had some problems this morning with the carburetor and we just couldn't pinpoint it. The guys at Yates Racing and the engine program did a great job of getting this thing tuned up for qualifying. You've just got to run fast when it counts and that's what we did today. I'm really, really happy. I thought we were in big trouble. I'm just thankful we found that little problem before qualifying."
YOU HAD A PROBLEM AT DAYTONA, BUT PRIOR TO THAT YOU WERE IN THE TOP 10.
"This car has shown great numbers in the wind tunnel and, of course with that Robert Yates horsepower that's gonna make for a good combination on Sunday. I'm looking forward to it."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 6th)
YOU'VE BEEN RUNNING AT THE END IN EACH OF THE LAST 12 TALLADEGA RACES. HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE A STREAK LIKE THAT?
"A lot of luck, I think, and we'll need a some more of that on Sunday. I'd like to congratulate Stacy Compton on his first pole. That's great for them. Hopefully, we can have some luck Sunday. It's gonna be an exciting race and I just hope we're a part of the finish again." WHAT ABOUT YOUR LAP TODAY? "It's kind of hard to excited about qualifying here because it's just the car and the way the guys have prepared. My job is to just get it in high gear. It was a good run for us. It was nothing spectacular, but I think we did a good job. This was basically our back-up car at Daytona. We hurt our other one in the big wreck in the race and haven't had it on the race track. We've done some work to it and had it in the wind tunnel and it's definitely quite a bit better than when we were here testing with it back earlier in the year."
HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING OUT TO RUN THIS RACE?
"It's exciting for the fans. I don't look at it as being dangerous, I just look at it as a very difficult day from a driver's perspective because you can't make any mistakes throughout the day. Usually, at any other race track, you can get into the corner a little hard and save it or something like that, but here you can't make a mistake and something not happen and it be pretty big because all of the cars are right together. I think that's our concern as much as anything. With the speed you're going, obviously, things can happen and they happen in a hurry. So, hopefully, everybody will use good judgement and we can get through 500 miles of this and it'll be another exciting Talladega race."
IS IT MENTALLY DRAINING?
"Absolutely. You're worn out at the end of this. It's not so much physically, even though I know it's gonna be extremely hot and that wears on you, but, mentally you just have to be on top of things all day. You can't put enough mirrors in the car. The Lord didn't give us enough eyes to keep up in this race, but you do the very best that you can and, hopefully, everybody will do that."
AS THE POINTS LEADER DO YOU RACE MORE CONSERVATIVELY HERE?
"Bobby Labonte and I were laughing about that yesterday. We hung around in the back at the Daytona 500 and ended up right in the middle of the wreck, so I don't know. If you stay far enough back, maybe that would be the way to do it, but we're race drivers and that's just not our mentality. We came here to race. Hopefully, we can get out front. We'll probably do our best to do our normal racing and be where we can and try to get ourselves in a position at the end to win."