Brian Vickers - ...
Brian Vickers - #25 Garnier Fructis Chevrolet
GOOD QUALIFYING EFFORT HERE LAST YEAR, SO NO SURPRISE YOUR TEAM WOULD BE GOOD TODAY? You know, I wouldn't say we came here feeling like we had anything in the bag, but yeah, I've always felt like this track has been pretty good. This team team right now is just really clicking. The GMAC Chevy team. We're real happy with the car in race trim, taped it up and a pretty decent qualifying car.
YOU SEEMED TO GET LOOSE A BIT ON YOUR SECOND LAP. WHAT HAPPENED? Yeah, the car was just out of tires. The engine, tires and track are all really hot right now. It was just all they had and I was asking too much of them. Pole right here is really special so I was just trying to push it a little bit more and I pushed it too far.
Jeff Gordon - #24 DuPont Chevrolet
ON HIS LAP BEING AN ADVENTURE It's always an adventure around this track. These stock cars on this flat, fast race track always trick you. I'm really proud of these guys on the DuPont Chevrolet team. We drew a great number and that certainly played a role. I'm real happy with the information that we gave back and forth and the adjustments we made for qualifying. This being an impound race and as good as I felt like our car was for the race, to qualify up front like that, I'm really excited about this weekend.
WERE YOU IN RACE SET UP? Most guys are in race set up and then they're just making big adjustments to air pressure and different things. That's the way we were. We were full race mode, just playing around a lot with air pressures and track bar and adjustments that we can make. I felt a lot better for the race than I did for qualifying so that's certainly encouraging. The lap was a good lap. The car was balanced. I got a little bit loose over in three. It cost me who knows much time but it did cost me a little bit of time. To be sitting where we are at right now, I'm pretty happy.
SINCE THIS IS A CRITICAL RACE FOR YOU, IS IT A RELIEF AFTER HAVING A SOLID QUALIFYING RUN? That was a big step up man. Just looking at the faces on the guys on this team, you can tell how excited they are and how much that meant to put a good, solid effort out there and get our weekend started off right. I felt like our car was pretty good in race practice for the race. To qualify that far up front makes me excited. Maybe it's a good thing they ended up making this a impound race. We haven't been qualifying too good on those impound tracks but this is certainly encouraging.
HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING ON SUNDAY? I think our chances are always good everywhere we go. We know how to put behind us what's gone on over the last two months. I'm glad that a lot of people are counting us out and writing us off. I'd rather do it in our own style and fashion without anybody looking at us or putting a bulls eye on us. That just puts on more pressure. The pressure is off of us right now. It's just all about the Chase.
WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU ANTICIPATE TOMORROW? It's going to be typical Brickyard. It's tough to pass. Track position is going to be really, really important. And then it's going to come down to pit strategy. I hope if it comes down to fuel mileage or two tires that we have all the right moves to make it happen.
WAS THIS A TYPICAL INDY MAGIC RUN FOR YOU AFTER SEEMING TO BRUSH THE WALL TWICE? You can't pay too much attention to our practice speeds. I guess it looked like I touched the wall but I don't think I did. I felt like we had a little bit left from practice. The track was really fast in the morning and we drew a good number. I think the track temperature coming up maybe caught some guys by surprise. We were able to actually pick up from practice this morning. That's what we set out to do. It's a good one.
DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE YOU FOLLOW HERE THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE IN INDIANAPOLIS? Not really. It's such a hectic weekend for me with everything that's going on with sponsors and it being Indy and being a past winner and a four-time winner of this race. We just have a lot on our plate. I like just something relaxing. I typically just hang out in the bus and have dinner there. I think I'm maybe going to go out and eat somewhere in the city and then come back.
HAVE YOU SEEN RICK MEARS OR AL UNSER SR. OR A.J. FOYT OR ANY OTHER OF GUYS THAT HAVE WON HERE FOUR TIMES? I hung out with Rick (Mears) in February in Daytona which was really a treat for me. He was down in Daytona with Casey. We got to hang out. It was probably one of the coolest experiences I've had in a very long time. He's a hero of mine that I was able to sit and have a conversation. It'd be like having a conversation with just anybody. I even told him, I said 'Rick I can't believe I'm sitting right here, right now having this conversation with you. This is the coolest thing.' We talked a little about his wins here and my wins. He was very, very complimentary as I was to him because I got to see a lot of those wins that he had. I thought that was one of the most awesome experiences that I've had. There aren't too many race car drivers that I would be taken back with like I was with him. I'll hold on to that memory for a very long time.
IF YOU WIN TOMORROW, WOULD IT IMPRESS YOU MORE THAT YOU'VE WON FIVE IN INDIANAPOLIS OR THAT YOU'VE WON FIVE IN TWELVE RACES? Both. Those are impressive statistics at any race track. When you look at where we are at and the history here and how tough this place is to win and how everybody wants to win here and everyone puts so much effort into it. Just the four is really impressive. To do a fifth would be unbelievable.
ON MAYBE NOT HAVING THE FASTEST CAR BUT HAVING A CAR THAT DRIVES REALLY WELL We've been working real hard since the test to really get a car that is balanced well and they did that. I thought the car went through the corners really well. We knew we weren't going to necessarily be the best in qualifying but I feel like we have one of the best ones for the race.
Kevin Harvick - #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet
HOW WAS QUALIFYING? Wasn't bad. We were just a little too free but wasn't that terrible. We ran the same thing we ran in practice. It's good considering everyone else has slowed down. The car is really good after a couple laps in race trim. Pretty happy with it.
Kyle Busch - #5 Kellogg's / Delphi Chevrolet
It was good. Practice today and then when we were testing, just trying to get a good feel for the race car on the race track. Just working on that trying to find that. Not too bad. I'm pretty optimistic about the race tomorrow and I think we'll have a good shot for it. Hopefully the qualifying effort right there will put us within the top 10, top 15 and a good starting position just to be up there for the race.
Martin Truex, Jr. - #1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Chevrolet 17th position
It was good. I was real nervous coming into it. A lot of the guys we had to outqualify to make it into the race were a little faster than us this morning. Our car was really good off the trailer in race trim, but we went in qualifying trim and it got real loose. The guys did a bunch of work on it when I was at IRP and they made it a lot better. I was real happy with the way the car drove just now.
Jason Leffler - #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet
It's alright. The guys did a great job and we've been working hard. We're one of the few teams to pick up. A good draw, it turned out, with the new change in schedule. The car is good in race trim and will hopefully get us a top 10. It would be awesome.
YOU HAVE A GOOD CHANCE FOR THAT? I think they're really good. You're off a little bit and you fall off, but all you have to do is gain a little bit and you can go way forward. Mike Ford and I and Spider and everyone on the crew is working overtime and things are getting better every week.
Scott Riggs - #10 Rally's Chevrolet
It was good for us. Got out there and qualified and it was okay. I feel like we slowed down a bit because the track temperature was so hot. About 20 degrees hotter. Our #1 draw was the best we could do yesterday. Unfortunately with the rain changing the schedule, it ends up being the worst we can do, but we'll be okay in the race.
Tony Stewart - #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet
RE: QUALIFYING LAP It wasn't what we wanted, but it's still a good race car. I got a little bit tight in (turn) three and couldn't get back in the gas. The cloud cover helped us, but then it ended up biting us too a little but and got us too tight.
It cooled off a little bit. It was more like what we ran this morning. We tightened the car up to compensate for everybody being loose. It was pretty good through (turns) one and two. I just got too tight in (turn) three trying to push too hard.
It was alright. It wasn't anything spectacular. We slowed down. It was one of those situations where everyone was playing the sun game. We caught the clouds when we needed to. The track temp came down about nine or ten degrees, which tightened us up quite a bit and I just got too tight. Zippy (crew chief Greg Zipadelli) did a great job of trying to get the car tight enough so that I could go out there and try to improve my time from practice. I'm pretty excited. We were still loose in part of the track and I just got tight in (turn) three just trying to push too hard. The good thing is that guys that are loose today, which you heard a lot about people being loose, they're going to be a lot better tomorrow when we pull the tape off. So, I'm pretty excited about tomorrow.
DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT YOU'LL BE ABLE TO PASS TOMORROW? We've done it in the past. There's no reason we can't do it tomorrow too. We'll just keep doing what we've been doing.
IF YOU COULD ONLY HAVE ONE - INDY 500 OR BRICKYARD 400 - WHICH ONE WOULD YOU TAKE? Since right now I'm only running a stock car, I'll take this one. I mean, I'll take anything at Indy. I don't care if it's an IROC win. I just want to win one of these races. I'm not greedy. I don't have to win four of them. I just want one.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - #8 Budweiser Chevrolet
HOW WAS QUALIFYING? Well, we went late so that helped us with our time. But, I'm still pretty happy with it. We ran a 90 in practice and tested here and ran a 50 and we were real happy with that because it was the middle of the afternoon. It was real hot. I expected to be better when we unloaded today. We weren't, but we definitely improved from this morning.
ANY HELP WITH PASSING GIVEN MARTIN IS ALSO OUT THERE ON SUNDAY? Well, it's just hard to pass anyway. So that won't help us that much. Where that helps us is when one guy is fast and another isn't. You can swap information and that helps. Michael was pretty good today.
RE: TRACK SURFACE, TEMPS It's still real humid. That has a lot to do with it, I believe. The track with the added surface, you'll have guys that will be able to run comparable speeds within an hour before what you run, so it closes the gap a little with the old surface and the temperature and stuff.
HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR CHANCES SUNDAY FOR WINNING? We're a darkhorse, but that don't bother me none. We tested real good. We were real happy with our test. We rolled off the trailer and we couldn't find the speed from the test session, so that was disappointing and we were working on it and my qualifying run was a little bit better than what we ran in practice-it was two tenths off of what I tested. So, we still got a little bit to go. The one thing that I feel confident about is that if I just need a couple tenths I know these guys can find it in the race. They've been real good at that. Hopefully we don't have to change the right front spring to do that tomorrow, but just a couple more adjustments and I believe we'll be right there.
WITH YOUR POSITION IN THE STANDINGS RIGHT NOW, HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THIS RACE? I'm going to drive every lap for the win, but if I could come out of here with a top 10, that would be awesome. I feel I could go to Watkins Glen and run well there. I feel we've got two short tracks with Richmond and Bristol where I've always been good at. California is probably the biggest worry for me, because I haven't run good there in a long time. We'll have to see. Top 10 will be great, but we're going to go for a win.
IS IT MAKE IT OR BREAK IT TIME? It's time to show what you got. You can't hold anything back now. It's do or die.
Jeff Burton - #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet
Ah, it sucked. The car was good in race trim and we made a qualifying run today and it was a little too loose. We wanted to free up some to get ready to race and it's just too loose to qualify. Just couldn't hustle it at all. That's going to put us in the back and we'll have our work cut out for us.
Bobby Labonte - #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet
DID HEAT PLAY A BIG FACTOR? No, it wouldn't have mattered.
DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED IN A PLACE WHERE, GIVEN PIT STOPS TOMORROW, YOU CAN MAKE SOME CHANGES OVER THE COURSE OF THE RACE? Yeah, I'm sure we will. It was good in race conditions. Just today, for impound conditions for this car isn't good for us today.
Terry Labonte - #44 ditech.com Chevrolet
HOW IS YOUR CAR DURING QUALIFYING? We're not very good. We weren't very good in practice. Our race practice was pretty good and we got ready to qualifying and we weren't that good.
EARLY DRAW NO DOUBT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THAT Yeah, that's the way it goes. Can't do anything about the weather.
Crew Chief - #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
Note: Did not make a qualifying lap, and will start the Allstate 400 at the rear of the field because the car did not make it through inspection and get to the line in time.
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH PASSING INSPECTION? We just had a little problem with the chain that holds the droop on the right rear. NASCAR didn't like the way it was. It wasn't a big deal. We were trying to fix it; we just didn't have time. We didn't come up here and test, so we spent a lot of time after practice trying to make sure we had the exact shock and spring package on the car that we wanted. It put us behind from the getgo. We left the garage about 15 minutes later than we were supposed to and that put us behind. And then when we had that issue with technical inspection, we just couldn't recover from that and get out there in time.
HOW DO YOU RE-FOCUS YOUR TEAM KNOWING YOU HAVE TO START FROM THE BACK IN SUNDAY'S RACE? It's all good. I've got a great team -- the best team in NEXTEL Cup competition by far. I've got the best driver and the best sponsor. We are in a good situation. We're a team that does well in adverse situations. I really feel like even though we're starting in the back, mid way through the race you're going to see us somewhere in the top 15 and by the end of the race, you'll see us in the top 10.
HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TALK TO JIMMIE JOHNSON? No, I haven't talked to him yet. I'm sure he's probably a little upset. But I'll go over there (Jimmie's motor coach) and talk to him and everything will be fine.
CAN YOU GIVE US A LAYMAN'S EXPLANATION OF THIS CHAIN AND HOW IT GOES THROUGH INSPECTION? When you watch the guys do pit stops and they jack up the car, there's a chain that holds the axle housing to the chassis, and that's what picks up the tire. NASCAR just didn't like the way that was. It was a little bit too snug for them. So we had to adjust it.
DID YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE GARAGE TO CHANGE IT? We had to pull outside the technical inspection line and work on it. We worked on it a little bit and came back through. They still weren't pleased with it, so we had to do some more adjusting on it.
DID YOU AGREE WITH NASCAR'S DECISION TO NOT ALLOW YOU TO TAKE A LAP? Oh, yeah. We didn't make it, plain and simple. They've got a five-minute rule and they hold to that pretty true. I don't think we were the first one. I think the No. 38 car maybe even had than happen here a couple of years ago, I don't know. It happens from time to time. When you're in a compressed schedule like what we've got here because of the weather and then putting it into an impound situation. And then we weren't able to test. We were really trying to dot all our i's and cross all of our t's and we just got behind.
WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THIS? Well, me. I'm the crew chief. Ultimately. Look at the rule book. Everything is my fault.
HOW CLOSE DID YOU COME TO MAKING IT? As soon as they put us on the five-minute clock, I knew we were pretty much done. There was no way we were going to be able to make it back through the technical inspection line and go through everything and get Jimmie buckled in the car safely with his HANS to get out there and complete the lap. It was pretty much known once they put us on the five-minute clock that we weren't going to make it. But they were gracious enough to give us every opportunity, but we just didn't make it.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN YOU'RE ON THE CLOCK LIKE THAT? It's hard. It's very difficult. What you've got to do is put the time frame out of your mind and just try to get it done.
Boris Said - #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet
Qualified 32nd, will start from rear
Note: Since this is an impound race, Said, who hit the wall during his second qualifying lap, will be forced to start the 400 miler from the rear of the field because of repairs made to the CENTRIX Financial Chevy following the qualifying run.
I think this is the most pressure that I ever felt in qualifying. I wanted to make this race so bad. At the Daytona 500 -- one of the biggest races in the world -- it was all car in qualifying and I had a great car there. Here, it is so easy to mess up and miss your marks. I don't have that many laps around this track so to be able to out qualify someone like Bill Elliott -- I mean I feel like I won the race so far. I'm in the show now and I'll get some experience and that's what I need. There's nothing left now in the world where I can race that I would even put on my list. I've done them all -- all the big ones.
Mike Wallace - #4 Lucas Oil Chevrolet
Did Not Qualify
I couldn't get the car to turn in practice the way I had it the whole time. We had heard everybody else saying their cars were loose so we tightened it up a little bit. Couldn't get it done like we needed to do. Disappointing run and a horrible lap. Unfortunately doesn't look like we'll make the race so we'll go from there.