Indianapolis: Brickyard post-qualifying quotes

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge): "It feels great. I think that time is a good time. I knew that Dale Jr. and Bill (Elliott) would beat me right afterwards, and I kept telling myself, 'Don't get disappointed, don't get ...

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge): "It feels great. I think that time is a good time. I knew that Dale Jr. and Bill (Elliott) would beat me right afterwards, and I kept telling myself, 'Don't get disappointed, don't get disappointed,' but if you beat them, don't get too excited, either. That means they just had a problem. They didn't have a problem, and they beat me. It's not going to be a great starting spot, but it's going to be a spot in the Brickyard 400. That's how it goes. I think that was a good lap for us. It's the quickest we've gone here. It's not as good as you'd like to run because guys are beating you."

About the diamond-grinding of the track surface:

"The track for sure has more grip, but I don't think we get the advantage out of it that the Indy-car guys get because they're so much lighter and they've got downforce, so a little bit of grip picks them up a lot. For us, it helps. It makes the track a little less temperamental. It makes the track more consistent, it makes the cars more consistent, but it's still Indianapolis, where all four corners are identical but none of them drive the same or give you the same feel at all."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge): (About the track): "It seems like it's in good shape. They said they ground the track since we were here last year, so the track's smooth and in good condition. It's a relatively cool morning, so to speak, if you can call it a cool morning at all in Indianapolis. We had a decent drive."

TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac): (About his qualifying run): "There were two of the corners that I didn't even lift out of the throttle all the way. Didn't lift much at all, to be honest, so I knew we had a good lap. Three of the four corners I ran through better than I had all weekend, so it was a pretty good lap." (About qualifying early in the day): "It worked out good for us. You just don't know what's going to change and how much things are going to change. Being around this place as many times as I have, learning how to play into that wind is a big factor. We knew coming out this morning that the conditions were going to be different (from yesterday), we just didn't know if they were going to be better for our car or worse. Sometimes it can change the handling in a way you don't want it to change, but our balance stayed the same. We just had a little better grip today. I was honestly hoping for just something in the top 10 like we were yesterday." (About racing at Indianapolis): "When I come here, I probably put more pressure on myself than anywhere I go, and I knew that I was either going to put down a really good lap or a really bad lap. The biggest thing is that I put so much pressure on myself, with what's going on around here and having so many family members and friends and everything here. It's just one of those weekends that when I'm not in the car, I need to go sit in a cold closet by myself and just relax. I get too amped up about what's going on and being home and being back at the Speedway here." (About brushing the wall in the 2001 Brickyard 400): "I get pretty mad when I make mistakes on my own. When it's something that's out of your control, it's one thing, but when you force it upon yourself--I did it from trying too hard. As hot as it is here, I think I've lost about five pounds just in a few laps in a qualifying run. I hope it stays hot like this. It seems like when it gets hot, the track gets slippery, and the slipperier it gets, it seems like the more the mechanical balance comes in and takes some of that aero garbage that we talk about every week out of the equation. I hope it just stays hot."

RICKY RUDD (No. 28 Havoline Ford): "The track temp's a little bit cooler, which means it is a little bit more optimum for running faster than it was yesterday afternoon. What we've seen with the new racetrack surface, it doesn't seem to make the big differences like we used to see between the early morning to late in the day. We're not very happy at all with that lap. We came here, we tested, and we ran very well. We were about sixth or seventh fastest here. They took the car back to the wind tunnel and saw some things in the wind tunnel they thought could make the car better, and obviously, I think we all wish we could have it back like it was. Now we've just got to take this race car and make the best of it."

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet): "Whatever broke, it couldn't have happened in a better place, I guess, but I didn't want anything to break at all. It's going to be interesting to see what happens to us. I'm just hoping it's not a motor because that will mean we'll have to start in the back of the field. We haven't been super fast with our qualifying setup, so we've got some work to do anyway, but I think we've got a good race car." (Can you win this race from the back?): "You can win it from anywhere. It just depends on how the cautions fall and the pit strategy you use. It's possible, and we've got a good race car and a great race team. That being said, we can certainly win this race, but we're going to have our work cut out." (About the qualifying run): "I got a little bit tight off of Turn 3, and that hurt my momentum. But other than that, it was a good lap."

STEVE PARK (No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet): "We were keeping a close eye on the temperature of the racetrack, and it kind of got to what it was yesterday. It was a lot cooler this morning. We just knew that the setup that we had was going to be similar to what we had yesterday. We were real loose yesterday, so we tightened the car up. Paul (Andrews, crew chief) and the guys made a real good decision to tighten the car up. We were just a little bit loose, probably a little bit looser than I wanted to be. I gave up a little bit of time in Turn 4. I was a little disappointed in myself. It was just a little bit too loose where I couldn't hammer the gas."

PJ JONES (No. 50 Conseco/Carter Lumber Pontiac): "The track's good. It's a last-minute deal. It's pretty tough to come in at the last minute and run good. I just put the thing together on Thursday. A.J. (Foyt) had to run another car. I was talking to him about running next week on the road course (Watkins Glen). We're having some struggles, but we just tried our best and tried to get what we could get. This place is awesome. I was here when I was 2 weeks old, and I've been here almost every year. It's a thrill. I get a chill every time I run it."

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac): "It wasn't very good, speed-wise. Yesterday we were too loose and made a lot of changes to the car to get it tightened up, and we went a little too far."

KEN SCHRADER (No. 36 M&M'S Pontiac): "This is racing. Just a big production to figure out a way to line them up. We just made a lap." (About the diamond-grinding of the track surface): "It was already our smoothest racetrack. I can't tell much difference."

DAVE BLANEY (No. 77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford): "We're right about where we wanted to be, maybe a little bit slower. To tell you the truth, that's about the average for where this car qualifies, but it always races good."

ROBBY GORDON (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet): "It's good that the left ankle is sore because you don't use the brake. They (ankles) aren't giving me any trouble. The track was fast this morning because it was cool. I thought we just made the pole. I got loose in Turn 4, and I had to get off. But we're good enough to get it in the show. We have a good shot in this race. We're going to learn about the tires in the first set of pit stops. I'm proud of the guys. The grooves helped the speed a lot for grip."

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 07 Kenwood/Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge): "The car was unbelievably loose. I don't know what happened. It would get sideways on me about every corner. I just had to slow down and drive it real easy the second lap. Like I say, everything else was feeling really good. Just something got screwed up."

MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet): "I would have thought we would have won the pole, but the weather made it unfair. I'm mad, but I'll get over it. I guess if I would have drawn earlier, I wouldn't be complaining. It will be fair tomorrow: We all race at the same time. Tomorrow will be a better judgment on who's got the fastest car."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge): "The car was a little loose in qualifying, but I think we'll be in good shape for the race. It's a long day. Fifty cars is a lot of cars to qualify. It's a little bit slippery, but the job they've done on this track, the diamond-(grinding), has given this track a lot of grip. The trac's got a lot of grip, and it should be a good race. Our car was pretty balanced yesterday when we ran, and it was a little free today. It doesn't matter where you start, it matters where you finish. Starting in the front is definitely a plus for us."

DALE JARRETT (No. 88 UPS Ford): "The car was a handful to drive. We made a lot of changes, and they were for the better. We went faster than we did yesterday, and that was the main objective. This is a huge race to us. The history of this place and to see all these fans and how excited they are about it, it's incredible. We've obviously got our work cut out, but I think we can do it. There's no doubt that the draw was against us today. When you race 36 times a year, some days you get the advantage, and some days it works against you. There's nothing you can do about it. You just take that and make the most of it."

MARK MARTIN (No. 6 Pfizer/Viagra Ford): "We picked up a little bit from yesterday, and yesterday was awful good. Some people have slowed down, and a lot of people have picked it up. I wish I could do more. The track is limiting, and the car has to do it for you. You can't do anything to make it go faster, and it's frustrating for me." (About the heat): "It's so darn hot now, how much worse can it get? I've got a great race car. I knew we weren't going to qualify well. Yesterday it looked like we were, but we're not. It's a good run for us. We'll have a fair start, a lot better than a lot of them."

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet): "It depends what gear you pull, how much tape you have on the grill and things like that. You can do things to accommodate the heat and help the motor or to try and save the motor a little bit. We're pulling a little bit less gear than I think a lot of people are. You've got to watch what you do in practice as far as yesterday. With only running one lap, try not to get too much heat in the motor because when you heat the motor up and cool it off, you make all the parts that you heated up brittle."

HUT STRICKLIN (No. 23 Hills Bros Coffee Dodge): "We've been real loose since we've been here. We made a lot of changes on the car from yesterday until this morning and trying to get every ounce I could. I mean, this is the Brickyard. This is for all the marbles here. You try to get everything you can out of the car for that one lap, and I just came off (Turn) 4 and got a little bit too loose. I just tried to stay on the gas and chase it out and just ran out of racetrack. It probably hurt my time a little bit, especially on the second lap."

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Ford): "It's great to be back in Indiana. It's our best qualifying effort at Indy, that's two years in a row for us. That's important, as far as a rookie team, to be able to qualify so good and hopefully lead on race day. I knew we were a potential for the pole yesterday. I got into Turn 3 probably a little hotter than I should have. That cost me a little bit of time, but overall, it was a good run for us. It's hot. In the race car, it was super hot." (What would a win here mean to you?): "It would be awesome. It's Indianapolis, that's the cool part of it. It would be awesome to win any place. This place has got a lot of history."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge): "We've had a good year to this point. We've got four poles to our credit. I'm kind of on the pole, but I'm just on the wrong side of it. I'm proud of my guys and what they've done. The draw was an important part of where we ended up today. There are a lot of good race cars. With the swing in track conditions as much as there is, it's hard to make it an equal place." (About his performance improvement this year): "I guess I wasn't cut out to own my own race team. Trying to deal with all of the struggles, sponsors, employees and everything you do with owning a race team, I guess took a lot out of me. I didn't realize how much it was taking away from the racing, week in and week out. For now, Ray (Evernham) deals with all that, and it's been a saving grace for me. Now I can get back and concentrate on the car and try to make the car go as fast as I possibly can. It's been a lot of fun here the last couple of months. The team's come together real well. We've become more as one, and I'll tell you that's 99 percent of this game, trying to get everybody working in a good direction, keeping the morale up. We're going into a very long, hard stretch here until the end of the season, and keeping that morale going and getting through these hot months is the biggest part of what we do."

MATT KENSETH (No. 17 Dewalt Power Tools Ford): "The Dewalt car was pretty good. I got through (Turns) 1, 2, and 3 perfect. I just scraped Turn 4. I just got too tight getting in there and pushed real bad coming off of (Turn) 4. I had to let all the way off the gas in the straightaway. I think we had a good three-quarters of a lap, it's just that you have to have a perfect one here."


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Series NASCAR Cup