Homestead: Ford qualifying quotes

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 34th) "It was terrible. We weren't prepared for the sun like this. We're not used to this qualifying time, practice and everything and we missed it. But we've got a great race car for the race and...

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 34th)

"It was terrible. We weren't prepared for the sun like this. We're not used to this qualifying time, practice and everything and we missed it. But we've got a great race car for the race and this is just one part of it."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT MIGHT BE AN ADVANTAGE BECAUSE IT DIDN'T GET ANY HOTTER? "It doesn't matter what kind of advantage, I ran so bad that we're gonna be terrible no matter how much advantage you try to give us. That was a bad run for us, but it's just a starting spot. This is a great race car and this is a great race track, so I look forward to getting out there in race trim and this race on Sunday. We've got a great car and we had a good test, so we'll be OK."

RUSTY WALLACE - No. 2 Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 18th)

"It was a pretty good lap. The car was real loose down in three and four, pretty good in one and two. I pretty well anticipated that it was gonna be loose down in three and four, but everytime I worked on it I could never fix it. I think that's a pretty solid qualifying run. That should get us a great start on Sunday and I'm looking forward to the race. Now we're gonna go back and put a race setup in it and try to make it the best we possibly can."

ARE WE MAKING TOO MUCH OF THIS STREAK? "No, you're not making too much of it, it's really big to me. I hope I get it done. There are no 'ifs', I just hope I get it done. I'll deal with it if I don't and be joyful if I do. It'll be a good week if I can get it done. I'd hate to not get it. I'd hate it for the team and hate it for Billy if we can't pull it off, but we've got a good car and, hopefully, we've got a good qualifying position so we'll see what happens."

KIND OF A WACKY SEASON? "It's been wacky for everybody really. Everybody has given the championship away all year long and, there again, Tony's been pretty good but he hasn't had great races at the end either. But other guys have had more problems. I look back at the year and I go, 'My God, if we wouldn't have done this or done that,' we lost over 250 points all by ourselves with some of the pit decisions that Billy and I together have done and not really with the performance of the car. Both of us screwed up - Watkins Glen, Dover, lugnuts coming loose at Sears Point while we're running third. Crazy things like that, but, boy, the performance has been there. I just hate to give all those points away, but we did."

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 19th)

"It's pretty slick. This place never has a lot of grip anyway, but the sun has been beating down on it. I just hope the sun stays out because if these guys get some clouds, then it really makes a difference in the race track."

YOU'VE GOT A BATTLE TO STAY IN THE TOP 10 THIS WEEKEND. "Yeah, we've got a battle. It's there for us if we just do a good job on the weekend, but we could end up outside the top 10 if we don't do our job right. We still have to race hard."

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST PROBLEM QUALIFYING AT THIS TRACK? "It's just that the race track is slick. This race track doesn't have any grip to begin with and then you get 80-degree temperatures and the sun beating down on it, you get even less. It just makes it hard. Our job is to go out there and try to run a fast lap, but things have slowed down since this morning. You're always a little disappointed if you can't back up the time you ran in practice."

RYAN NEWMAN - No. 12 ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 15th)

"We got better, no doubt. We worked on it a little bit at a time because we struggled really bad at the start. The ALLTEL guys did a great job as far as pinning the race car to the race track. The race track is really tricky here because it's so flat."

DID YOU HAVE TO BACK OFF ON THE SECOND LAP? "You go in just as hard and see if it will stick the second time. If not, you take your first lap and walk away. That's pretty much what we did. I know the second lap was slower, but you've got to try just as hard and, hopefully, there's something out there you might have left on the table."

RICKY CRAVEN - No. 32 Tide Taurus (Qualified 27th)

"It's just really slick. I hope it doesn't cloud over because I think it would be a real big advantage. It's really slick, but that probably helped us because we were really sliding around in practice. So it wasn't that much different for me, but I know some of the guys really dropped off."

DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 25th)

"We struggled a little bit this morning, but Ryan and the guys made some changes right before qualifying and that lap felt pretty good to me. I felt like I gave up a little here and there. I don't know how Junior and Biffle ran that fast, but it was a great lap for those guys. We'll take it wherever it ends up and go to work on race setup tomorrow."

IS THIS THE SAME CAR AS LAST WEEK? "Yeah, it's the same car and we tried to use a lot of the same stuff we ran last week in qualifying. Tomorrow, we'll go back into race trim a lot like Phoenix, so, hopefully, this Jasper car will give us two good races."

WHAT ABOUT RYAN LEAVING?  "That's the
nature of the business.  I've got a lot of respect for Ryan and I think
we mutually do.  I just hope he does well."

WHAT'S YOUR SITUATION FOR NEXT YEAR? "We're locked into the 77. There has been a lot of stuff floating around and I've talked to a lot of people and having owners that have some interest is nice, but I've got a contract with these guys. We've put together a solid year this year and we definitely have to build on it."

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR AS FAR AS YOUR NEXT CREW CHIEF? "We're just gonna look for the best all-around guy. I think the owners at Jasper want to go more toward an engineering type of guy and that kind of crew, so I think that's what they're looking for a little bit, but I don't know. We're talking to a lot of people here and, hopefully, we'll find a guy."

JEFF BURTON - No. 99 Citgo Taurus (Qualified 7th)

"We're really happy with that. We ran some eighties in practice on really old tires and then when we put on new tires we ran a .69 and we just stuck with that. We knew we could go better than that, so we didn't really make any changes. I'm real proud of my guys. I think the track has gotten a little faster too. We got the clouds and that provided a little benefit, but our car has really driven nice today."

ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 24th)

"We were just missing it a little bit. I was a little bit tighter than I thought we were gonna be. The guys got me a great race car. It's real fast in practice and it's driving real good. We know it's gonna race really well, but I just wanted to get a better qualifying starting position than that. That will be somewhere between 20th-25th, so we've got a little work cut out for us on Sunday, but we'll see what we can do with this Motorcraft Ford Taurus."

KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 1st)

"I just kept trying to put in my mind what Fontana was earlier this year - on how we picked up a lot of time and I didn't know where it came from. I knew we had some clouds coming, we had a decent pick, and I'm gonna have to ask Newman what it's like to start on the pole because this Ford ran awesome just like his has done all year. Friday's have been the worst day for me, trying to get a pole, trying to qualify well, trying to make sure we got a good pit selection, but it's all about getting in that Bud Shootout and I hope we do it."

YOU WENT DOWN TO THE LAST WEEKEND. "May as well. It's just drama left and right for us, we can't get away from it. We're not gonna get on the defensive side this weekend. We have to keep putting offense down and make sure the 24, the 48, the 2 and the 12 are behind us at the end on Sunday."

MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 13th)

"I'm really, really happy with our time. Qualifying is kind of weird for me sometimes because sometimes I'm happy with my lap and disappointed with the time. Other times I'm happy with the time and disappointed in my lap. I didn't feel like I did a very good job, but we still got a good time out of the car. For the lap feeling as bad as it felt and to get a good time, I'm real happy with that."

RICKY RUDD - No. 28 Havoline Taurus (Qualified 9th) -

"We were third-fastest in practice, but we were really, really fast when the track was cool and overcast right out of the box. When it got hot and the track temperature came up, we went from being one of the best cars to one of the worst cars, so we ended practice not very fast on our sticker tires. We were one of the worst cars, but they made some changes and came back. I was pleased. You can say, 'Well, you ran third and ended up ninth,' but I'm pleased with the progress they made on the hot track. We went from one of the slowest to a top 10 car. I'm real pleased with that. They worked good together as a group and Raymond's done a good job."

-ford-

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Series NASCAR Cup