JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) "The guys did a great job of coming back and making some changes on the car, and I think that's going to be all right. We ended up 15th, and that was a good effort. We went out early, but...
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
"The guys did a great job of coming back and making some changes on the car, and I think that's going to be all right. We ended up 15th, and that was a good effort. We went out early, but it was still pretty hot. The main thing is the track temperature. It kept getting hotter as the day went on, and that was bad for the guys behind us, but we've gone out late here, too. This is a huge deal. Everybody likes coming here, and we're looking forward to it. The weather is going to hold out for us, so it should be a good weekend. It's not that humid right now, so it should be good."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Tire Kingdom Dodge Charger)
"That was a pickup for us of a ton. The last lap we ran on the racetrack yesterday was a 51.49 in qualifying trim. That's almost a full second quicker than we were yesterday. We had run faster, but in qualifying trim that's a full second so I can't complain at all. We've been off since we've been here in qualifying trim, but we spent two days here doing race stuff. We made six or seven runs. I know you should do more qualifying runs than that when you come to Indianapolis. We do more when we go to Daytona, but really we're focused on the race stuff. We've got to get some points and get back up where we need to be. We had two bad races at Pocono that really killed us, and it's more about the race here than qualifying. We came straight from Chicago and tested here with this car, took it home to the shop and painted it and brought it back. We just got it ready to run here.
"The draw really matters here. Of all the places we go, the draw here can really kill you. The 9 car probably had a shot at the pole and the draw takes him out of it. That's a shame when you work that hard to come to Indianapolis and sit on the pole or go anywhere to make an effort to qualify and then the luck of the draw takes you out of it. I don't know any way to do it fair here unless we qualify from 7-9 at night or 6-8 in the morning. That's about the only time the race track is fairly consistent. It's not a fair race track, but it's not the only track we run like this. Charlotte is the same way. The draw is critical at Charlotte. I'm not criticizing anything. It takes a full minute to get around this race track. It takes a minute to get the cars back in, so you're only running two cars every five minutes. That makes qualifying take an incredibly long period of time. With a late draw, you could be two and a half hours from qualifying.
"Here's the way I look at it. If you qualify on the pole and you go out in the second half of the field you ought to lap the field here. You've got to be that good to really do something. It's got to be an absolute spectacular lap of a lifetime that will never be duplicated ever anywhere as seen on TV don't try this at home that kind of a lap to be able to sit on the pole, especially if you're past 30th. If you're past 30th, you're out of it I think."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) - 3rd fastest
"It's hard to balance the tire pressure and go into one right away and still have it good in turn four to finish the two and a half miles, but to be that close, it hurts so good. I know what I have on my side, and that's to drive for Roger Penske at Indy. That will help us for Sunday. The cell phone rang first thing Friday morning when we came in, and he (Penske) likes this track. You can just feel the intensity he brings here. This team has brought that car and to be in a position to be capable to get the pole, that's all a driver can ask for. I had that today, but we were that much short. Maybe if we'd had the Indy-style format and gone out at 5 p.m. or 4:59 we could have got it. It's cool to be that close, and we'll go for it on Sunday with the Miller Lite Dodge.
"It's bittersweet. We were so close, but it feels good to have a shot at the pole like we did. It's been great. The team went to work during my honeymoon hiatus and they brought me a great car to drive this weekend. I thought we had a shot at the pole. We went for it. We had to do it in the heat of the day, but we made a valiant effort. To be third right now is great. It was right there, but I had driving for Roger Penske on my side Sunday and I hope that comes into play for us. The phone call that came in Friday morning from Roger reminded me they won here in May. We've got a little work to do, and hopefully we can pull off the double he's talkling about on Sunday."
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge Charger)
"We've got a lot better race car than 12th place qualifying. We had a good enough car to have a shot at the pole and I didn't get it. I left it laying there. I didn't realize the car was going to be that good off the corners. We made some adjustments and got the car really good off the corners. I didn't see how good it was going to be until we got off four and that's too late. I just hate it. The guys worked awful hard giving me a great racecar and I didn't get it all for 'em. I was concentrating on the wrong things for qualifying instead of getting on the gas sooner. I feel great about our race car. I think we've got a good shot at winning the race. I need about an hour to cool off for qualifying so I can get my head back thinking about the racecar."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger)
"I knew we were better than 13th yesterday. We could have been a little bit better today, but we got a little tight off turn four. It was a good lap for our Alltel Dodge. The bottom line is we made it better, and that's something we've been searching for a lot this year. We've been getting pretty good at it in qualifying. We just need to make it better in the race. The late draw hurt us no doubt. We would have been a lot better if we had gone out earlier, but that's just the way the track has always been here. It's the luck of the draw.
"That's part of the game. You live with it. Sometimes you get the advantage and sometimes you don't. You've got to put yourself in the right position at the right time and at the right place. I feel better about Sunday now. We're getting better. We need to make it better in race trim. I wouldn't say it's more difficult than any other racetrack (to get the car dialed in). The way the cars are now and with how sensitive they are, it's more difficult now than it's ever been. We'll do as much as we can in practice this afternoon. It's crunch time for a couple of hours. The tire life isn't what we expected it to be or what we wanted it to be, but the track isn't filled in with rubber yet, either, so we'll see how that plays out."
DAVID STREMME (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Charger)
"I was trying to be a little cautious, but that should give us a good starting spot. I want to get back in the top 35. This is nerve-racking."
CASEY MEARS (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
"We never did any qualifying runs in the test. We've been tight in every qualifying run. We made some changes last night and the car was just as tight center off, but we got it loose in. It was horrible in qualifying, but I think we've got a good race car. I'm looking forward to practice this afternoon to see how the car is in race trim."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) 4th
"The car was awesome. The guys did a great job. It was the best car out there. It felt real good through the corners and down the straightaways. We just ended up fourth. It was a good qualifying run for going out last. We've got to get ready for the Allstate 400 now. That's what we're here for, to win tomorrow. We came close the last two races. Maybe if we don't have any problems tomorrow it'll be our day. I remember last year's race like it was yesterday. I've got notes and things on my computer to remember different things throughout the race. We'll be ready tomorrow.
"The guys worked hard and gave me a great car. Our Dodge Charger was as good as any other car out there today. We just ended up fourth. I'm looking forward to practice and getting ready to contend for the Allstate 400 tomorrow. I was slipping and sliding out there a little bit today, but that's just Indy. That's the way things go. Fourth is good for us and we're excited about tomorrow. Last year's car was good here and this year's car is better, so we'll see what happens. You never know come race day how things are going to play out and how the car is going to handle around other cars. These cars change so much with aero and things that go on out there, so we'll see what happens, but we had a good car today. We're going to make a lot of laps in practice and try to dial the car in. We'll make some longer runs. There's rubber on the track so we can probably make 10-15 lap runs and feel out the track. Four hundred miles and a long straightaway is hard on the engine a little bit, but we have a bunch of confidence in our engine shop.
"I usually sleep pretty good in my motorhome (the night before a race). I wait for it and want it to be here. It's just like a vacation or anything. If you have a vacation you really want to go on that vacation. Before you know it it's gone. I've been looking forward to this race all week long, all year long really. Hopefully tomorrow night when it's gone we'll have a victory. I'll be pretty pumped up.
"I went over to Eldora last night and Joey Saldana (Kahne's World of Outlaws driver) passed the leader with one lap to go and ended up winning the race. It was a really great race, and it was cool to be there. That's there seventh or eighth win of the year. He's second in points and it'll be tough for him to move up there. The guy who's leading is doing a pretty good job, but they're doing a good job."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) Backup for Busch
NOTE: Busch qualified third fastest in Saturday morning time trials and then wrecked his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the first practice session Saturday afternoon. He'll have to switch to a backup Dodge Charger for Sunday's 13th annual Allstate 400 at The Brickyard and move to the rear of the 43-car field.
"We were on a seven-lap run with scuffed tires and just blew a left-front tire. Obviously, it was unexpected. The team has already pulled out the backup and gone to work. It's not our best foot forward because that was a great car, almost a pole-sitting car. We'll have a good backup and give it our best effort."
CAN YOU WIN WITH A BACKUP? "We certainly think we can. You put so much emphasis into one car to make it better. Obviously one is an A car and one is a B. I work for Penske, and they build great cars. We tested the backup car here, and it shook down OK. We should be all right. We'll get some laps on it in Happy Hour and see where we stack up."
CHAD CHAFFIN (No. 34 BRUT/citigroup Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Gregg Jackson, a local El Paso, Texas, businessman owns the Charger that Chaffin qualified 25th for Sunday's race. El Paso neighborhoods have been evacuated due to floods, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has asked President Busch to declare El Paso a federal disaster area. "Chad qualifying is a bit of good news for a community which has had a lot of tough hurdles this past week," said Pifas Silva, Communications Manager for the El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It's given us a sense of pride for the city we proudly call home."