Ford Racing Talladega Qualifying Report

April 23, 1999 Talladega Superspeedway CHAD LITTLE -97- John Deere Taurus -- "Everybody pulls their (brake) pads back to qualify. That's kind of a given -- a little less rolling resistance. Usually, you...

April 23, 1999 Talladega Superspeedway

CHAD LITTLE -97- John Deere Taurus -- "Everybody pulls their (brake) pads back to qualify. That's kind of a given -- a little less rolling resistance. Usually, you pump them a half dozen times and you get your pedal back. I started pumping them going down the back straightaway like the normal deal and about the time I got into turn three I was still pumping them and there was no sign of anything yet. I got real serious about it between three and four when I still didn't feel anything and then coming out of turn four when I still didn't have any pedals I figured, 'I'm in trouble here.' So I just put it in gear and let the compressor slow the car down, but what a great run for the John Deere car. That's the best we've run here at a superspeedway and we're awful pleased. If we can come away with a top 15 we'll be really pleased." JOHNNY BENSON -26- Cheerios Taurus -- "That's about what we ran in practice and that's all she's got. We'll have to see what happens, but, hopefully, it makes the top 25. We'll just have to wait and see. It was a pretty good lap, but that's as fast as it would go."

JERRY NADEAU -9- WCW Taurus -- "That was a good lap. I don't know if anybody saw that first lap through three and four, that was pretty scary. The car jumped sideways pretty big, but the guys did a heckuva job. We lost a transmission in practice and got the car back on line real good and the guys did a heckuva job. We're just real happy. We've got WCW and new colors this weekend, so we're just excited."

KENNY IRWIN -28- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- YOU DIDN'T PICK UP AS MUCH AS OTHERS ON THE SECOND LAP, WHY? "I think we just try to get everything out of it for both laps. We try to gear it and put as much motor in it so we try the first lap as hard as we do the second and we never usually pick up as much as some do. We're hoping the first lap is good and the second lap can be maybe a tenth better." CAN YOU BACK UP YOUR DAYTONA EFFORT HERE? "We think so. We brought the same car. We didn't qualify real good at Daytona. Hopefully, we can make the top 25 here today because we know what the good race setup is. The guys on the Texaco crew will come through like they always do on Sunday."

RICKY RUDD -10- Tide Taurus -- HAS ALL THAT AERO WORK PAID OFF? "They've been working hard in that area and working hard on the shock and spring combination. I really can't say this car ran well in Talladega testing before we went to the Daytona 500 and it didn't qualify good. It just seems to run good at Talladega, but the guys have been working hard on the aero package and the guys in the engine room have been working on motors too, so it all just came together." WHAT ABOUT THE BODIES? "They've been working on aero, shocks, springs. The guys over at Larry Wallace, Penske, they've been working on motors, so we'll see how the 2 car does, but we're really happy because that's kind of our measuring stick. They're gonna beat us, but our guys have made great progress just in recent weeks and I'm just tickled to death. These are the tracks that the heavy funding oughta win poles and win races and I'm just excited that these guys have worked that hard on this car to get it where it's up front. Now it's up to me to keep it up there, but it's up in the front. I don't know exactly where it's gonna shake out, but we're gonna see the flag fall anyway."

KEVIN LEPAGE -16- TV Guide/PRIMESTAR Taurus -- "I don't know if that's gonna stand up for the top 10, but I hope it stands up for the top 25. This TV Guide/PRIMESTAR team has worked hard and there are a lot of people I need to thank. I want to say thanks to the John Deere team. This is one of their cars and they gave it to us because they knew we were struggling a little bit. What a great opportunity for us right now for Sunday. We've got a great race car and we've got a great race team. If we can make it in first round, this will be the first time this 16 car has made it here at Talladega in the first round and that's what we're shooting for."

MARK MARTIN -6- Valvoline Taurus -- "I'm just proud of this team. The Valvoline/Cummins bunch is doing a great job. It's such a pleasure to get in a race car that will run, I just can't tell you because I've been in a lot of them that won't run on restrictor-plate races. I'm just relieved to be in something that will." DID YOU IMPROVE FROM PRACTICE? "We picked up a second from our test and almost a half-second from our practice. Jimmy Fennig and the whole Valvoline crew, they grabbed their bag of tricks and drew up on it for qualifying I guess. They surprised me an awful lot. I wasn't that impressed with our testing. I thought we were gonna come down here and run like usual and, sure enough, they surprised me. They've got a fast car here." AS FAR AS THE BUSCH CAR GOES, WHAT HAPPENED? "The car's too slow and that's what happens when you don't run fast enough. There's been a lot of controversy about Busch regulars not making the race and if they don't go fast enough they don't make it. That was the case on us this weekend." ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED? "Yeah. A lot of work goes into that. You work just as hard to miss the show as you do to make the show and we just didn't run fast enough."

JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "We're real happy with that. I'm real proud of everybody on the Exide team and the Valvoline team as well. That's two really good runs for us. We came here and tested and both teams struggled quite a bit. We both did some more work and came back and both teams ran a lot better. I'm real proud of the effort. We qualified well at Daytona and we've stepped it up from there. The biggest thing we're excited about is we feel like we're better off in racing trim than we've ever been as well. We still have a lot of improving to do, but I'm real proud of everybody at Roush Racing -- the body department, the engineering department, the engine department -- everybody stepped up to the plate on this restrictor plate program. Hopefully, we can get them some results." YOU GAINED A SECOND FROM LAP ONE TO LAP TWO. "That's just running the high groove on the first lap. I don't know if running the high groove on the first lap just makes you think that it picks you up, but it's such a big split from the first to the second. We ran the high groove all morning, so I couldn't hardly change from that. Had we not run well everybody would have said I changed my line. We've never tested that. I don't know if it's better or not, but I saw other people doing it, so I decided I'd do it too."

RUSTY WALLACE -2- Miller Lite Taurus -- "Everytime we show up at the track now we think we can sit on the pole. In practice we're either first or second or third and in qualifying the rest of them pick up a little bit and we fall back to top four, five or six or something like that, but still, from what used to happen in the old days that's a good run. The car got a little loose on me for some reason on the second lap. It hadn't been doing that at all. It felt like the right-front got down on it. I'm gonna have to look at the suspension and see if something gave away on it or something. This is the same car I had at Daytona. It did great at Daytona and I think it'll probably do even better here so we'll keep our fingers crossed."

DALE JARRETT -88- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- "We actually ran faster than I thought we would run. This is the very same car we had in October when we won the race and we qualified third with a 49.10. That's about all we can get out of this particular car, but this isn't one of the new high frame-rail cars that you can put the 100 pound springs in the rear and 500 pound front springs in, so we knew that coming here. When we tested in race configuration, this car was three-tenths faster than our other car that was a high frame rail car. We didn't come here to win the pole, we came here to win the race."

RICKY CRAVEN -58- Hollywood Video Taurus -- "It's not what we had hoped for but, like all the teams, we rolled the dice. We changed shocks and made some adjustments and in this case it didn't work for the Hollywood Video Ford but it will tomorrow. We'll requalify tomorrow. It's a brand new car, so the extra practice will help us."

BILL ELLIOTT -94- McDonald's Taurus -- "That's really the best we've run all day. We came here and tested and the best we ran was about a 49.30, so we picked it up quite a bit from testing. Really, we've come a long way because last time here we ran about a 49.50 or .60, somewhere along that bracket. Everytime we come back we gain a little, but so does everybody else. We've just gotta keep working. This McDonald's Drive Thru Crew has done a heckuva job and come Sunday afternoon it's gonna be a whole different game."

RICK MAST -98- Yarborough/Burdette Motorsports Taurus -- "We didn't get down here to test. We were busy back at the shop. This is the same car we ran at Daytona, the car qualified decent there and ran decent. The guys worked on it and massaged on it some and that was about two-tenths quicker than I've practiced. We hoped to run maybe a .90, I know if we would have gotten down here and tested we would have been a lot better. We had a new car we were gonna bring down here, but we didn't get it done in time. Each week this team keeps amazing me. We show up each week with no sponsor on the car and each week the car is very competitive. We're real close to getting something going. I'm real happy here it's just a matter of keeping it going. I think we can. So far, I think we've been the surprise story of the garage area so that's pretty humbling in itself."

JEREMY MAYFIELD -12- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "We ran like twenties in testing and felt like we'd come back with a lot more. We just ran slower. We're working on it, but it doesn't feel like the same car. It doesn't run the same right now." WAS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT THE LAP THAT FELT WRONG? "We've been like that all day. It's been the same way all day and we just can't figure out what's wrong."


JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Taurus -- "We're real excited about where we qualified. We came down here a couple of three weeks ago and we weren't the slowest car here, but we were pretty close. We picked up almost a second and a half compared to where we tested. The guys went home and cut the body off the car and brought the same car back but with a different body on it. The engine department gave us a lot more horsepower to come back here with, so I'm real proud of all the work the guys did because we were way behind. We were really nervous coming down here and the first lap on the track we ran better than we had the whole two days of testing, so we feel pretty good about that." LAST YEAR THREE ROUSH CARS HAD TO TAKE PROVISIONALS HERE, NOW THERE ARE THREE IN THE TOP 10. WHAT'S HAPPENED OVER THE LAST YEAR? "I think a lot of things happened. I think our engine department has really stepped up a lot and gotten us a lot more horsepower. I believe that effort we put in to our bodies to make our bodies a little bit slicker has paid off. Last year we came down to restrictor plate races with cars that weren't very good because we didn't have a whole lot of time to devote to the plate program. We spent all our time on the downforce program. Starting the second half of last year we started to spend some more time on the plate program with the bodies and I think we're starting to see a benefit of that as well as the engine department stepping it up." IS THERE MORE HESITATION THAN NORMAL FOR THIS RACE? "There aren't many races that I wake up on Sunday morning and I'm nervous. I don't mind telling you that Sunday morning at Talladega I wake up and I'm nervous. I'm not real smart, so I don't get nervous very often, but this place makes me nervous. We talk about running up front and being safe, but, man, all those wrecks I see that are big start in the front and they're big because they're in the front and there's nowhere to go. You can't hide from the wreck here. You go to Michigan or Rockingham or Charlotte and, if your car doesn't drive well you just slow down. You can't do that here, so it's wait for the wreck and hope you miss it. Then, if you miss it, you tell everybody how good of a job you did and if you get in it, you tell them you couldn't have avoided it."

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Series NASCAR Cup