ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Saturday, July 28 REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge): "It's not good going out as early as we did, but that's the best time I could post at that time. I didn't mess up. The guys did a good...
ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Saturday, July 28
REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge): "It's not good going out as early as we did, but that's the best time I could post at that time. I didn't mess up. The guys did a good job getting the car ready, and it's all great. Our draw was good if we would have qualified this morning. The track wasn't a whole lot different from what it was in practice. But the track lost a little bit of grip, and we ran about the same time as we did in practice. At least we didn't slow down any." (More Sorenson quotes to come in press conference transcript)
DAVID STREMME (No. 40 Target Dodge): (About the Chip Ganassi cars qualifying well): "They've done a good job on the cars building them before they came here. We were a little too free qualifying and cost us a few spots. We'll be all right Sunday. I wish we would have had a little bit better starting spot than that. They've done a really good job with the engines and all of that." (How is it returning home to Indianapolis?): "It is pretty cool. I haven't spent a lot of time here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Coming back to Indiana with a lot of friends and family makes for a really good time. I want to do well for them and our sponsors like Target and everyone else, too. We've made it through qualifying, and now get ready for tomorrow." (How will your starting position affect your race strategy?): "It will be a lot better than last year. Last year, we had a pretty good car and started in the back and never got to the front. It is important to start toward the front. As long as we have a good car here Sunday -- and I think we do -- that's what matters the most."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 26 Crown Royal Ford): "We essentially brought a brand-new car here, like a lot of other teams. You never know when you go out with a new car if it's going to drag or if the tires are going to hit the fenders. Fortunately for us, it wasn't that big of a deal. We unloaded it, and it was good right off the truck. I actually enjoyed this schedule today. I told them if they wanted to show up every Saturday and do three hours of practice and qualify that most of the teams would be willing to do that. This race is really big. It seems like every year it becomes more and more important mainly because the competition gets closer together every year. I got out behind Matt (Kenseth) today in practice, and I lost a half second a lap. It's really tough to pass here. I led this deal for like the last 30 laps in 2003 and the way the circumstances were I wound up ninth on a restart. You never know. Lapped traffic is a bear here, and the races are long. When the track gets hot, it gets slick, and you don't really know what to expect. Usually when you come to Indy you get two one-hour practices before qualifying, and then qualifying is all you work on. Most of these guys (today) just worked on race trim like we did. You kind of just take a shot in the dark for what you're going to have in qualifying and hope that you hit on something."
KEVIN HARVICK (No. 29 Reese's Racing Chevrolet): "I got three of the four corners. I got really tight off Turn 4 and wound up losing a lot of time there. For whatever reason, our car hasn't been really fast on the first or second lap. It really stays consistent on long runs. We just haven't had big numbers pop up. We'll take long, consistent runs any day." (How does the condition of the track compare to previous years?): "It's not much different. Obviously, the tire wear is not quite as good as you want it to be. It got better every time we went out, so we were able to run 12 to 15 laps in a row during the last practice. Other than that, driving-wise, the car is the same."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge): "We thought we could get a little more out of it. We knew there were going to be cars stacked up in the '0's'. We go by lap time, we don't go by speed. We were just a little bit shy. The car stuck really good. It turned in really good, and we just came up a little bit shy with our Miller Lite Dodge Charger."
JEFF GREEN (No. 66 Haas Automation Chevrolet): "It drove really, really good. We were just lacking on speed a little bit today. All the Hendrick cars, you know, those guys are off a little bit, too. We basically got the same package, same motor that they got, so I think we're just hurting there a little bit, but the car drives well, so that's nine-tenths of the battle right there. I think we're good that away. We were wearing tires out just about as fast as we were putting them on (in practice). It will come tomorrow, but it's just going to take a few laps with everybody out there together and the track will rubber up, so it will be a little different for a while. I don't know what NASCAR is going to do. They're probably going to give us a mandatory caution, so hopefully, after that's over, there'll be enough rubber down that you can run a full-fuel run on the tires. That's what we're fighting, the full-fuel runs."
JIMMIE JOHNSON (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet): "We really haven't been as fast as we want to, but we know we have tonight to work on things with some good information to pull from our teammates. That lap was the only one we made in qualifying trim all day, so we were kind of focused on race trim. Last year going into the race, we didn't get a good night's sleep because we didn't think we were that close. We hit the right setup overnight, and I also think I learned a little bit come race time. I am better racing at this trap then I am busting off a lap qualifying. Hopefully we can find that same magic tonight, and can carry it over into race time."
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge): "We needed to run good. We needed to get in the show. That is for sure. I can't say enough about the guys who worked extra hard this week to totally rebuild this car. They did a lot of extra work and a lot of hard work. They had to make a lot of tough decisions back at the shop to decide what we were going to do when we got here. I think we made the right decision to do what we did. The car wasn't as fast as it was in practice. It was a little loose there. I don't know what kind of adjustments. I didn't want to screw up my part of the bargain out there on the track."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet): "We found some speed at the end of practice, and we kind of backed out. We're a little bit too tight; we would like to have been a little freer. I am really happy with the grip that we had in the car." (About winning from the back at Indy): "You always want to qualify the best that you can. We've qualified in the front here, and we've qualified in the back. I still think we've got a great shot at winning this race, whether our day was good today or bad today. I am always optimistic; we're here at Indy. I felt we had a pretty good race car earlier today, even though today was really a big wash with all of the rain we've had. The amount of rubber we need to put down on this track where we can run more than five laps in a row. A lot of unknowns for us right now. We are just going to make the best of it."
CLINT BOWYER (No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet): (About his qualifying run): "It wasn't very good."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge): "It felt good. It was balanced, and the whole lap felt really good. I think the Dodge's are pretty strong. That's a good thing for us, and I'm looking forward to racing tomorrow. This is the most race-able car we've had in a while, and it seems we always run good at this track. This is one of those tracks where it's really tough to pass, but if you have a really good car, you can pass. (The rain) didn't affect us much. We had to do the same thing today we would have done yesterday. It's not an impound race, so everything's good. We had a lot of rubber on the racetrack today, so I think when the race starts tomorrow we'll be fine. It should be a good, exciting Allstate 400. It's one of my favorite racetracks. The biggest difference is you learn how tough it is to win here. Even if you have a really good car, you still don't always win. There's a lot of different situations that go on."
TONY STEWART (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet): "We picked up two-tenths, so that's good. I normally am one of those guys that either breaks even or loses time. I find ways to make myself slower during qualifying. I had a good run, and picked up a couple tenths, so we are pretty happy with that." (About today's schedule changes): "(In) a 38-week schedule, you know to always be ready to adapt and change with the weather. It's the one variable in the equation that you can't control. You always learn to know that you need to adapt at times. When you run 38 weeks a year, you're used to it. All these teams know what to do on days like today when the schedule gets kind of twisted around from what it normally is." (About tire wear): "Hasn't been an issue in our camp. We're not even worried about it right now. It kind of makes me feel good that other guys are worrying about that, and we aren't." (About racing at Indy): "It's hard to run your qualifying lap without watching the people. It's such a cool feeling seeing all the people pulling for us here. They know how much this place means to me, and I think that just gets us more support here."
RICKY RUDD (No. 88 Snickers Ford): "I guess with the weather, it was a lot different type of Indy. It was a lot calmer. We had a little time to sit around, and then it got really busy today. We're really happy with our Snickers Ford in race trim. We haven't run good all year in qualifying trim. We just can't seem to get the handle on that part of it, but we're pretty happy with our race setup. You have to get through these corners here, these flat corners. It's easy to get around them, but to get around them fast, there's not really a whole lot of room for error on the chassis setup, and the guy who gets the right combination and gets track position at the right time of the race is the guy that you'll have to deal with. The straightaway speed is going to be important, but the corner speed is even more so. It's typical Indy. Big flat corners, and you'll have to be careful when you try to dive down underneath somebody that you don't slide up and take them out. Usually at the start of the race here, the adrenaline is flowing pretty high here, just cause it's the Brickyard, and you get some guys who get a little over-aggressive and get a little antsy here. But it usually takes two or three laps to settle into the real race, but this place and the Daytona 500, for some reason the adrenaline flows a little bit harder here, so you tend to see a lot of guys make mistakes here in the beginning."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge): "We were just a little bit tight. I really wanted to try to make a shot at the pole. We were really fast in practice, but the car tightened up on me. All in all a good day; to come from where we were in Chicago to now. My guys have really worked hard, and we've got us a good piece for tomorrow."
JEFF BURTON (No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet): "Pretty disgusted with myself. We probably had a reasonable shot at it (pole). I just didn't hit it. My guys gave me a great car. I just didn't hit my mark." (How were conditions out there without having much rubber down on the track surface with everything dusting up?): "It's really tough. It knocked us off our rhythm for practice. Without rubber on the racetrack, you can't run enough to really get a feel for where your car is. Tomorrow really feels like a crap shoot to me. I'm not real sure what to expect, and I don't like that. I like knowing, having a better feel going into Sunday than where we are right now. Same for everybody. Some people do it better than others; it's just our job to do it well. That will be determined by how well we do tomorrow." (Any guess to how much slower the cars will be running tomorrow with the expected increase in ambient temperature?): "It will be a lot slower. Tomorrow the forecast is for mostly sunny and much warmer. This racetrack is extremely sensitive to temp. You are going to see laps in the 53-, 54-second range." (How hard will it be to adjust for this added temperature for tomorrow in the setup?): "It's really hard. If we could have run old tires today, you know low fuel and old tires. We'd have a much better understanding of where the cars are going to hit. But with no rubber on the track and the excessive tire wear, because of no rubber on the track, but we were never afforded that opportunity. So it is a guessing game. The key is guessing right."
SCOTT WIMMER (No. 33 Holiday Inn Chevrolet): "Actually, I think we were a little bit better than that. It is such a fine line between qualifying good here and going home, so we opted to make the race." (About the weather affecting his preparation): "It just kind of get all fired up to drivem and it gets thrown on the wayside. Then you get going this morning, and we had a little break there."
DAVID RAGAN (No. 6 AAA Insurance Ford): "It wasn't as good as we wanted. I would have liked to pick up another few tenths. We practiced at a 49.9 (seconds). I wish we could have picked up at least four-tenths. We picked up three. It's better than we ran in practice, but not where we wanted to be. It's a long race on Sunday, and certainly a lot of stuff can change between the first of the race and the end of the race. Hopefully we can keep up with the track. The more laps I run, the more comfortable I get. I just wish we were a little bit better." (About the heat affecting the track): "The track temperature was 25 degrees hotter than it was today at practice, so the last thing I wanted to do was take a chance jeopardizing our race car and tear it up for no good reason." (About the track condition): "I always feel like I leave a little bit out there. I didn't get through Turn 1 as good as I'd like to, and that probably hurt me through Turn 2 and the back straightaway. There are a few spots that I would have liked to have picked up on a little earlier. I have 37 laps around here now. The more laps I make the better we'll be. I just wish we were a little bit better."
MARK MARTIN (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet): (Any advantage qualifying later?): "I don't think so today. The way that the sun played, it was pretty straight up. It was the most even it could've been. Maybe the guys in the middle got hurt a little bit. I think early was good, and I think the very last guy is going to be a little bit better. That is probably the consistent qualifying session that I remember here at Indy. I was really bad at 10 a.m. At least we wound up even. We had a real fast car and I got loose in (Turn) 4 and lost a good bit of momentum."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet): "We had a good car all day in practice. We were really fast. Going out early was going to cost us a little bit. I had a good lap going. I think I could have run a 49.70 running flat. I messed up in Turn 4 and got down in the corner too soon. Got loose, and had to lift a little bit off the corner and lost about three-tenths. It's kind of frustrating for me because my guys gave me such a good car. We had a really comfortable car. It's fast. We put up a great lap in practice and I felt our draw was good, had the weather been the way it should have. But it made for an easy day yesterday. You have to look at the positives to make yourself happy. We run a good lap. I should have done better. I'm frustrated about that a little bit. To have a good car is all you can ask for. I'm pretty positive about tomorrow's possibilities. I think we got a top-five car if we treat it right."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge): "This was a good run for us. I told the guys they did a better job with the car than I did driving it. We have something to look forward to tomorrow. Track position is going to be so important. And tire strategy is going to be playing out as the race goes. It's a long race, but if you have a good opportunity to stay up front, you have to take it." (More Newman quotes to come in press conference transcript)
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 36 OTC Toyota): "Yeah, I am very disappointed. I am disappointed in my whole year. Today just sucks. We always qualify well here, but that's the way my whole year has been. We come here and can't make a race. That's pretty bad."
KEVIN LEPAGE (No. 37 Dodge): "It was pretty pathetic. It was mostly on my part. When you outside of the top 35 (in driver points), you have to try to get in the show. I tried to give it more than the car was ready to do. I slid the nose in a couple places, and you saw the speed. We'll try to get them next week." (About the track conditions affecting his attempt): "Our deal is that we are underfunded. We don't come here and buy the allotment of six sets of tires, so we basically only made two qualifying runs today and this one while the other guys were allowed to make five. That hurts us. It is the biggest-paying race, and we're going home. It is just another race. We'll see what we do in the future."
GREG BIFFLE (No. 16 Dish Network Ford): "The car was faster than I was right there. I don't know why I was so nervous. I was nervous about getting back over here and getting over to the Busch race and getting back in time to qualify. When I buckled down in the car, the 84 hit the fence coming off (Turn) 4, and I was like, 'I've got a good, good race car; I don't need to screw this up.' So, I was probably just off a hair in (Turns) 1 and 2 and then just off just a little bit in (Turns) 3 and 4, but that car is probably capable of dang near that pole speed, I'll bet. You can make up a lot of time here in a hurry, but what I'm excited about is that it's a solid top-10, top-five car in race trim. I just didn't do the guys justice there, quite. That thing was probably a third or fourth place. That's where I should have been, but hey, I'm excited. I've got a good race car."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Totino's Pizza Rolls Dodge): "We've been off all day and really haven't found the speed we wanted to find, and it wasn't as good as we needed to have it. There's still a lot of work to do, but it's definitely getting better. We had it at Chicago last week. We're going to have to play catch-up, starting past mid-pack, so we're going to have to work on it. I feel like if we make the right changes tonight for tomorrow, then it will be better."
KENNY WALLACE (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet): "I am really devastated that I've missed the race." (Did the lack of testing play into it?): "It may have for our team. We went to Kentucky with one car and thought it was decent. We've been searching for speed the whole time we were here. We've been pushing really bad. We just couldn't get in or off the corner. We've been slow all the way around. I've started 10 races here, and this is the second race that I missed here. We'll just have to get over it and go home."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge): "It's nice to be back here and be competitive. It was a good run. I was a little bit ahead of Reed coming out of the last corner. I got a little bit loose and had to get off the gas. It's good to see both Ganassi cars up there. I think it's a good start for the weekend. I have a lot of really good memories from the past here. Hopefully I can get something done tomorrow. I've been pretty comfortable. We started out bad and worked on the car. The car runs good. In the corners it's really good." (More Montoya quotes to come in press conference transcript)
PAUL MENARD (No. 15 Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet): "We just concentrated for once on race practice. I am pretty happy with how the car drove on old tires and race runs. We switched over and did two qualifying runs toward the end of practice. We weren't that happy with it. We made a lot of changes and went out and picked up a half-second in qualifying. Pretty decent. From what I hear, there is going to be a lot of aero push, track position and to keep the car turning in traffic. We have 400 miles to work on it. I've never raced here before. I've watched a lot of races here, though. It's a dream come true. When we start the race tomorrow, it probably is going to be the best race I've started ever; hands down."
CASEY MEARS (No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet): "The guys did a great job. We kind of fought getting the car good in race trim. Made a lot of progress toward the middle of practice because we were working so hard on race trim. We kind of got a little bit of a rush and couldn't quite get the couple of good qualifying runs in (practice qualifying runs). Just a little bit rushed there at the end. But it worked out good. I'm happy with our qualifying and tomorrow hope to stay in the top 10." (Your right rear quarter-panel is missing some paint. What happened and at what corner did you touch the wall?) "Off of Turn 4, I just got a tad loose in the (rear) end, then getting tight in the center (of the turn). Resulting in me getting out of the groove a little bit and got a little loose late exit and touched the fence." (It looked very like a very light contact, could you even feel it in?): "Yeah, I felt it. I just touched it real light."
KEN SCHRADER (No. 49 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge): "It was nothing. We made a lot of changes after practice because we weren't very happy with it. They made right changes, and I've worked with Dean and David enough to know that when they feel confident that they made the right changes, they convey that to you and then when I saw what everybody was running, you know 50s and stuff, I thought, 'Well, hell, I need to just not mess up.' There was a lot more there, but I just knew a solid lap would get it."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 21 Little Debbie Ford): "We are gaining on it. We just needed a little more time. We needed to get out and make that other run. We are nibbling at it. From where we're coming at in here from where we're at in points, really made us work more on race set-up. Every time we come at it, we nibble at it a little bit more, and a little bit more. I think that says a lot for this race team. The ingredients are coming together. It's a good race team, we just need some luck and breaks for it to come all together.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet): "We made a lot of changes during practice to the car. It was actually a lot better. I just got loose down there in Turn 1 and lost a bunch of time. It's tough when you only get one lap. You mess up one corner here, and it's big. I just messed up one corner and got loose, and the car was really good in race trim today and we're going to race well, but it's tough to pass here, so we're going to have our work cut out for us here. We just missed it a little bit today."
JOHNNY SAUTER (No. 70 Radioactive Energy Chevrolet): "I just screwed up Turn 1 a little bit getting in. I definitely screwed up Turn 4 and got in a little too high and never could get it to the bottom. It probably hurt our lap about three- or four-tenths, but that's the way it goes. It's a place I don't have a lot of laps at. It's better then being last. Tomorrow, I will essentially be going to school and getting educated. Hopefully when we come back here next year we will be way ahead of the curve from where we're at. I just need some seat time. This place is tougher then a lot people think. Laps will do more than anything for me right now."
TERRY LABONTE (No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota): "It (qualifying run) was a little disappointing because we were faster than that in practice. We made some changes to try to pick up speed, and we thought we could get a few more tenths out of it and we lost some. I think our race setup is pretty good. We spent a lot of time on that. Of course, the conditions are going to be a lot different than they are today. But unfortunately our qualifying was disappointing, our car was a little tight, and that will kill you here."
DENNY HAMLIN (No. 11 FedEx Kinko's Chevrolet): "We picked up from where we were from when the track was hotter. So I'm definately happy about that. Some guys were picking up a little bit, and others were dropping off a lot. We struggle so much in practice that we'd pretty much take anything that we could get. We were so far down that we were second-from-last in practice. We are slowly but surely making progress on it."
CARL EDWARDS (No. 99 Office Depot Ford): "It was just way too tight. We ran race trim for a long time in practice. We made two qualifying runs in practice. They were both really tight. It was just as tight there (in actual qualifying). That's all I could do. That was a good lap for me. It just has to be freed up. It is just such a fast race track here, you know." (With the lack of practice this weekend, how is that going to hurt you on race prep tomorrow?) "We had plenty of race practice. I think we are going to be pretty good."
MATT KENSETH (No. 17 DeWalt Ford): "Well, terrible if you look at the charts. Just not very good. We were just slow. We've been missing it all day so far. The car drives perfect; I just don't want to go any faster."
J.J. YELEY (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet): "The car was awesome. I wished that I would have run harder. The tires that we have this year are different from what we had last year; they have a lot more grip. I was just trying to base everything off of last year. Obviously, didn't have a lot of laps today. Obviously after you wreck one car, you are going to be a little more gun-shy. Because there are no more bullets left in the trailer, after the first car was spent. The car was really good. I just appreciate all my guys working their tails off. Working so hard to get the backup car ready and getting it back out to run some more practice. This is the car that ran at Charlotte; it's an excellent race car. We have really good cars; we'll get it done on Sunday."
DAVID GILLILAND (No. 38 M&M's Ford): "We didn't run as fast as we'd have liked. I don't really understand where we lost our speed. The car felt pretty good but don't really know what happened." (Being that you ran toward the end of qualifying, was there rubber on the track or was it still very dusty?): "It started to get a little bit of rubber on the track." (With the forecast tomorrow being hot and sunny, how far do you think the times will fall off?): "Quite a bit. We've been having some tire trouble, too. So everybody's still concerned about that for tomorrow. I think you'll definitely see the speeds drop for tomorrow." (What are you fighting out there is it loose or is it tight?) "I think the tendency of this track that everyone is going to fight is, tightening up and getting too tight."