DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 5th) "That was good and it's only appropriate that Ricky win because they came and tested last week and gave us the setup as to what we needed. We worked on in it a little bit from that, but the cars...
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus (Qualified 5th)
"That was good and it's only appropriate that Ricky win because they came and tested last week and gave us the setup as to what we needed. We worked on in it a little bit from that, but the cars are very close in setup. Thanks to them, we've been able to come here and run good."
HOW IS THE TRACK SURFACE? "It's very smooth. It's a great surface. They did a good job. It'll be interesting to see how everything holds up after 300 miles tomorrow with the Busch race and then 500 on Sunday, but they've done a fantastic job -- a lot of grip."
WHAT ABOUT TODD REASSUMING CREW CHIEF DUTIES? "Todd has still been in charge of everything, but it was kind of confusing as to who I was talking to and giving information to and getting information from, and the guys were the same way. It's nothing against Jimmy, it's just a situation that we had two people wanting to do the same job. Todd thought he was ready to give that up, but he wasn't -- the competitor in him is coming back out. He's got our team, hopefully, back in order and we can move on from here."
YOU CAN'T BLAME JIMMY FOR WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS RIGHT NOW, CORRECT? "No, Jimmy Elledge has been only a benefit to us and trying to help and do things. No, you can't blame him for where we're at. He was doing a good job calling the races and making everything work as good as it possibly could. Again, it's just a case where you have two people wanting to do the same job and that doesn't work in this. I hope that Jimmy can stay with our race team in some way because he will be a benefit to us, but whatever he decided to do, I wish him the best in doing that. But, no, you can't put any of this sitting 24th in the points on Jimmy Elledge because we had ourselves in the top 10 most of the races until something happened."
SOME DRIVERS HAVE SAID THIS MAY NOT BE MUCH OF A RACE BECAUSE THERE MIGHT BE ONLY ONE GROOVE. IS THAT TRUE? "That's certainly a possibility that it could happen. Anytime you get into a new racing surface you're gonna look at a one groove race track. Obviously, as long as the bottom has the most grip that's where everybody is gonna run, so it's gonna make it difficult to pass. I said this the other week, it might not be one of our better races from a spectator standpoint, but you have to understand that we didn't come here and pave the track so they can't blame us. I understand why it was paved, but, along the same lines, it took us two or three or four years to get this place to where we had two grooves in it before. I think you're looking at the same thing unless things totally change on Sunday and the bottom starts giving up a little bit and you have to move up."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 28th)
"I'm OK with the lap right now. It's not as good as I wanted because I've struggled a little bit getting the speed out of it. Our test session went real good and I was happy with that, but I've been having a problem getting into turn three a lot. In my race stuff, everything goes good -- the car feels great in race condition -- but in qualifying, charging it hard with the different tire pressures and the style you have to use for qualifying upsets it a little bit. If I could gain anywhere it would definitely be in my entry to three, but other than that I'm pretty happy with it. The whole field is gonna be tight again."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Havoline Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"I actually felt like I left a little bit on the table. I got a little loose getting into turn three and that was about the first time I've been loose all day. I didn't let it slow it down though, I jumped right back in the throttle, so, evidently, the track is slowing up. We had run in the eighties in practice and we ran a ninety when we qualified, so I think the track may be giving up a little speed -- at least I'm hoping."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACE ON SUNDAY? "I don't know, it very well could end up being like a big Bristol where we follow each other, but they've done a great job on the entrance to the corners here. They've changed the entrance to the corner itself and changed the angle of transition a little bit, so I think you'll see these cars drive into the corner side-by-side. I think you'll be OK through the middle of the corner, but I think you need to be single-file by the time you exit the corner. If not, you can go through there side-by-side, but you're gonna be really slow. I see it more of a typical Texas race, just with more grip and a faster race speed."
EVERYBODY HAS BEEN SAYING, 'WHAT'S UP WITH THE YATES GUYS.' HERE YOU ARE BOTH AT THE FRONT. "That's great. All of the press turned around and got us all mad and got us all fired up (laughing). Everybody went to work is what happened. Everybody rolled their sleeves up and pulled together as a group and identified our problems and our weaknesses and made some huge adjustments and major changes, but they were definitely in the right direction."
DOES THIS SHOW HOW IMPORTANT TESTING IS BECAUSE YOU CAME HERE LAST WEEK? "This is the first race track all year long that I have tested. The team had tested twice on the speedways and they had pretty good results -- we were the fastest Ford -- but we didn't test at any of the downforce race tracks. We had scheduled Atlanta, but then I ended up having back surgery over the winter and couldn't test. Dale Jarrett was gonna run the test for us, we got behind on speedway cars so that test got cancelled. We didn't realize that we were gonna be this far behind when the season started. We had no idea. We figured we would pick up where we ran most of last year. Things changed over the winter. Teams got better and we basically did not, we got worse. At least they quickly honed in on what our problems were and built some new race cars and here we are."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Qualified 8th)
WHAT ABOUT THE RACE ON SUNDAY? "I think it'll be a challenge. It's nice, it's just new pavement on a race track like this is it's so fast and so one-grooved that it's gonna be a challenge for everyone I think."
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "We had a pretty good car in practice and picked up in qualifying which is what we needed to do. We haven't done that lately, we've been using a lot of provisionals and we really wanted to qualify good here. We didn't test so I'm real proud. These guys have built me some good cars this year and we're getting to know each other. This was a good outing for us. If we can run any better on Sunday than we've been running, then we're certainly gonna be looking good. We've had some really good stuff on Sunday, but we've started in the back and that's made it kind of difficult on us. If we do a good job this Sunday, we should have a crack at it."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
YOU LEFT SOMETHING OUT THERE? "I did and that's why I don't think that will be fast enough for the pole, but I'm so proud of my guys. It was a great decision on what set of tires to go on -- these Goodyear scuffs. We've got a lot of people here from Motorcraft Quality Parts and a lot people here from the U.S. Air Force. I don't think that's gonna be good enough, but that's gonna be a great starting position for Sunday and that's all we're worried about."
THIS IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TRACKS. "This has always been one of my favorite tracks -- here and Bristol. It's a great, fast place and it's a fun place to race at. Where else can you come and have 70,000 people watching qualifying. That doesn't happen everywhere."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus (Qualified 10th)
"I'm really proud of the guys. We really struggled off the trailer and I couldn't find my way in the corner. The great thing about this group is they're 100 percent behind me. I told them, 'If you can help me getting in the corner, then we'll be fine.' And I'll be a son-of-a-gun, they fixed it again. It's really a lot of fun racing with these guys because I feel like if I tell them to put a new roof on the car, they'd do it. They've just got that much confidence in me and, as a result, I've got a tremendous amount of confidence in them. I think the start of this season has been a reflection of that, we've really had a very good start."
SMOOTH AS GLASS OUT THERE? "It's very, very smooth. It's smooth as glass and the fact that the cars are stiff makes it very difficult to feel the race track, but the faster you go, the more you get down in the race track. It's really an interesting place. I'm not sure what to expect on Sunday."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 19th)
"We seemed to make the right adjustments all day and picked up speed every time we made the right adjustments. That was one of those changes where we just didn't get time to run it in qualifying practice, so we had to make it in qualifying. I had no idea it would make it that loose. I guess we're to the point where we can make mistakes like that as far as qualifying and we'll make sure that we don't do it during the race so we can be good on Sunday."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 36th)
"Loose, loose, loose. We've been trying to get a hold of the race track, but we just couldn't get the car down in the race track all day. We'll go back to the drawing board for tomorrow, I guess."
SADLER WAS SWEATING IT OUT. "He's just playing games. I didn't know he was that fast, but that was good for them. I know they came down here and tested and were one of the earlier ones to test, so, hopefully, they'll get their pole."
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO RUN GOOD SUNDAY? "Track position. The race track is so fast that it's not made for racing, it's made for speed. It's good if you want to go fast, but it's not built for these race cars."
FRANK KIMMEL --26-- Advance Auto Parts Taurus (Qualified 32nd)
"I guess I got in a little bit high, I don't know. That was very surprising. The car has been very stable all day and we had run faster than that in practice, so I don't know -- maybe I jerked on the wheel a little too much or something, but it surprised me a lot. I don't really know why it came around like that, but I just hate it for Travis and all the guys. They've worked really hard to be here, along with Advance Auto Parts and Pork. We wanted to get them some PR and stuff, I guess we did but that's not the way we wanted it."