ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Saturday, July 26 TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota): "It's obviously better if you can get a good starting spot here, but the nice thing about Indianapolis is that the pit boxes are...
ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Saturday, July 26
TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota): "It's obviously better if you can get a good starting spot here, but the nice thing about Indianapolis is that the pit boxes are big and you don't have to worry about getting trapped in your pit boxes. But track position is always really important here. If you can get up there early and stay up there the rest of the day, you can get yourself in a position to win. But you have to get up there before about halfway through the race."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge): "It was an interesting lap. We were a little tight in one corner and a little loose in another, but overall I felt like we had a good lap. Not as good as my teammate, who had a perfect lap, but I'm happy with where we are right now. We hope we found some things that we've been missing. Hopefully we caught up with a few things, but it's still a long road to go, but Penske is still giving that 100-percent effort."
(About the COT and its differences): "It's a different game, but also it's still one in the same. We still have excessive tire wear on the right-hand side. This car is going to be very tight in race traffic, so qualifying is going to be very important. We have to make sure that we protect our right front tire, but that's the same as it has usually been."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 26 Crown Royal Ford): "The lap was really good. It seems the tires we have here, at least the way the track is right now, if you drive too hard, the tires chatter and you lose a ton of speed. I probably didn't drive hard enough. It had a lot of grip, and when I look back at it, I think that if I could do it over again, I would have driven a little harder. Still, it was a pretty solid lap for our car."
JIMMIE JOHNSON (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet): "It certainly was a good lap for us. We had a car that I could really be aggressive with. This track is kind of inviting and it sucked me into a few small mistakes when I was out there, but to put up a time like that, I'm just thankful for all of the hard work my guys have been doing. I'm very proud of my guys. Yesterday, the car was really balanced, and just from experience I knew that coming into today, the car would have overall grip. If you could get your balance right yesterday, come in today, the car would just pick up speed on its own because of the track temperatures. Experience definitely helps, especially on a track like this that you don't get the chance to test at and you only race at once a year."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet): "I would have liked to been a little happier right now. We have a respectable lap time down, though."
(About the COT and its differences): "There isn't much of a difference. However, I think you'll find that once you get in traffic, there will be difference. This car seems to be struggling a little more with front downforce in traffic. I've heard some comments from the other drivers to look out for that and to try to improve it. The motors have been great so far. There are certain tracks where motors will show up, like Michigan and Indianapolis. I was anticipating getting here and seeing what the motors would be like and if it was going to be a huge advantage."
KYLE BUSCH (No. 18 M&M's Toyota): "I'm not very happy about my run. I missed three of the four corners, maybe all four of them. We didn't have a very fast car yesterday, and we're trying to make the most of today. I guess we'll take it because we have to, and we'll go on into tomorrow."
JEFF BURTON (No. 31 Prilosec OTC Chevrolet): "It wasn't very good. We struggled yesterday in qualifying trim. We just weren't good at all. We're just behind right now. It's our fault. It's not the car's fault."
BRIAN VICKERS (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota): "When you're running by yourself, it (new car) isn't that big of a deal. It's going to be tough to pass, and track position is going to mean a lot."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge): "It was a pretty good run. The car was great. Lost a couple hundred rpm on the motor, though, and we're not really sure what happened on that. But the car did good. I think that's a pretty good lap for going out that late in the session. I'm pretty happy with that. So far, so good. We've been very happy with it so far. We'll keep plugging along. We got today behind us. Now we need to work on some race trim stuff and hopefully get it pretty consistent and fast in the long run."
CARL EDWARDS (No. 99 AFLAC Ford): "We're pretty good. This AFLAC Fusion is actually pretty good. I babied it around (Turns) 1 and 2 and went pretty hard in (Turns) 3 and 4. It's a long race, and I think we're going to be pretty good in the race. It's real hard to pass here. I don't think anyone's made long runs yet. I think what's going to happen is once you get about 10 to 15 laps in the books, there will be some comers and goers. The setups are so wild on these cars. Hopefully ours is one that will keep turning and go fast."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Wrigley's Big Red Slim Pack Dodge): "The lap was good. Yesterday when we were doing the qualifying runs, we made a mistake on the setup, and we had the wrong wedge on the car. It was a handful. I went out and scrubbed tires around a 50.9, put stickers on and couldn't break 51 for practice, so it was a little frustrating. Today we had a good clean lap, but it was hard because actually the car felt bad. It felt like I could maybe run one or two more tenths out of the car, and when you don't, it's a little frustrating."
(How much of a blessing is it to go out early?): "It always helps, always helps, but it's a draw every week. Some weeks it's good to be late, some weeks it's good to be early. This week it was good to be early, and we got a pretty decent draw. Some weeks you get a horrible draw, but this is how racing goes. Every week changes, but that is what makes it interesting."
(Do you still enjoy coming back here?): "Yeah, it's always cool. Its go od memories, I have won the Indy 500 here, my last Formula One race was here, and I finished second last year. So, there are a lot of cool things to be around here, so it's pretty cool."
(Do you know the track really well?): "It's four corners; it's not like you are looking at 50 corners, and they are pretty similar at both ends. I don't know, I like the place. I think I've got it figured out, but I guess because I think I've got in figured out, it looks pretty simple to me."
(You've driven a F1, NASCAR, and IndyCar, how do you rank them in your mind?): "I don't think I want to answer that question. Each one is completely different. The Indy 500 has got a lot of history behind it, I love driving stock cars, Formula One was cool to drive the cars the racing here, when the racing wasn't that great. Each one has its own thing, I really happy right now that I'm in NASCAR."
(Who are the toughest three drivers?): "I don't know. In Formula One, you have to say Schumacher. Here, you have Tony (Stewart), Jeff (Gordon) and Jimmie (Johnson). I ! ran agai nst Sam (Hornish Jr.), Jimmy Vasser and all those guys when I ran the Indy 500. It's pretty interesting."
(Have you talked to Dario Franchitti about losing his ride?): "I haven't really talked to him too much. He's been in his thing. I've been in my thing. It's hard, what do you want me to say? I'm really sorry for what happened to him, but it's that simple. I think if Chip didn't do that, two years from now or a year from now we would all be looking for jobs. I think it was needed, and you can see as soon as that change, the performance of the team started getting better. Not that it's Dario's fault; it's just that we had money for two cars, not three cars."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge): "Something is not quite right with it. It really makes the car hard to steer when it's like that. We have kind of been fighting that problem the last couple of weekends and trying to figure out exactly what is causing that. It's just a little bit irritating that it just doesn't allow you to steer the car properly because of how much it is hopping. We'll work on it. We have two more practice sessions today, so hopefully we'll get running a little better."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser/Lifelock Dodge): "It was a good run. I took too much time getting down to the white line in Turn 2, but other than that, the car felt really balanced in the racetrack, so it was good. It was the perfect chance to get the pole. We just barely missed it. I think the car was handling really well, though just a little bit in Turn 2. We have to keep working on that; we'll have a good one."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet): "Well, he put up one heck of a lap, and I knew it was going to be really tough to match or beat that lap, and I knew in the first couple of corners, before I even came to the green, my car was a little bit too loose. We got everything we could out of it, and it's still a good lap. But it has got to be perfect; you have to hit four perfect corners like he did in order to be up one the pole. I'd be surprised if someone can be what that 48 ran, he put four great corners together. As a whole, Hendrick Motorsports and this DuPont Chevrolet team came so well prepared for this weekend. I'm really proud of them and having a lot of fun out there."
(John Andretti said, 'I don't know how he (Jimmie Johnson) did that with the sun out.'): "Yeah, I know. That tells you how good they were and whatever adjustment they made. We were a little tight all day yesterday, and we freed it up, and I wasn't expecting it to be as free as it was. The front end was just turning too good."
MARK MARTIN (No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet): "The car wanted to go. It sure did. When I came out of Turn 4 and came down to take the green flag, I thought, 'Man, we've got something here.' I'm just so grateful to the U.S. Army and DEI for letting me drive their car. It's just phenomenal. It's really a lot of fun. It's really nice. There's been times when I thought times like this were done forever, and this is real special. It's real special because DEI, this race team, really, really deserves this. They're putting out great quality race cars on the racetrack and a great effort and people with big hearts that are really devoted to Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, and I'm glad to see and be a part of their success."
(About being surprised with good late day run): "Late in the day, yes. I'm not surprised in the performance of the car. I didn't expect to qualify this well, you know, with this kind of draw, but I knew we would have a great race car. Tony and the guys gave me a great race car at Phoenix and Richmond, and I felt like they would translate well into these flat corners, as well. We have a little bit of work to do later this afternoon to get it that good in race trim, but if we can get it that good and the stars line up, you know, this race team is due a win, and I'd sure like to go with them and see that on their face."
(About coming to terms with retirement): "I don't think I have because I haven't quit yet. I'm not sure I've reconciled all of that. The 8 car has given me new enthusiasm for the passion for the racing that I love. I love racing, and I'm not ready to quit yet. Being with these guys has given me the confidence and enthusiasm and has rejuvenated my love for this sport, and I am definitely enjoying it. It's a real privilege to drive their car. I can (relate to Brett Favre), and unfortunately it's not going as well for him as it is for me. I'm not much of a football fan, but Matt Kenseth tells me he's pretty darnn good at what he doe s. I think that when you've devoted your whole life's work a! t someth ing and you're really, really good at it, and you're still really good at it, it's hard to find anything to fill that void. I have very few regrets, and the couple of regrets that I do have, I don't have to think about. Right now, I'm awfully happy to be driving the Army's car for DEI. Gosh, they give me good race cars, and it's lots of fun."
ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 Menards/Johns Manville Dodge): "Yeah, it was good. Lost is all in Turn 1 and 2. Made a big change last night, and didn't know what to expect. If you look at the lap graph thing, we were good on the back straight and (Turns) 3 and 4, but gave up a lot getting into (Turns) 1 and 2. It gives us confidence, though. What we change is going to be good for the setup, in general, and start things out in race practice. We went out early, so this isn't going to be too bad."
(How difficult is it to drive this year's car compared to last year's car?): "Looking at a couple of them, we didn't have enough yaw. We'll have to go back to work and figure out how to do that. They are back to where they were before; we've got some work to do on that. As far as this track, it means a lot to me, it's one of my favorite racetracks. Came close to winning here in an IndyCar, and now I want to pull it off in a stock car."
REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge): "I think we'll qualify just about where we were running in practice yesterday."
(About his brush with the wall): "I knew it was going to be close. I just stayed in it because we were so slow already, and I could tell that it was a bad lap."
(On the new car): "The cars are different, but I'm sure some of the cars aren't as different as ours. We're struggling badly on these faster tracks, so if we could just get better on these bigger tracks, we wouldn't be that bad. The short tracks don't seem to be as bad for us, but when we get to these faster places, that's what hurts us."
DAVID GILLILAND (No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford): "Our FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion was the best it's been all weekend. So I'm proud of the guys and the adjustments they made. Overall, it was a good lap. Our qualifying draw wasn't in our favor today, and with the sun coming out. I'm very, very happy with our qualifying lap."
(Do you look at qualifying differently when a couple of cars in front of you hit the wall?): "You just have to do what you do. You would rather that it didn't happen, but it does every now and again. It's just a part of the deal. Part of what happens."
Continued in part 2