ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Saturday, Aug. 5 DAVE BLANEY (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge): "It was good. I'm excited. I had a fast car. I think we have a good shot for our chances on Sunday. I'm excited about our ...
ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES -- Saturday, Aug. 5
DAVE BLANEY (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge): "It was good. I'm excited. I had a fast car. I think we have a good shot for our chances on Sunday. I'm excited about our weekend."
CHAD CHAFFIN (No. 34 BRUT/citigroup Chevrolet): "I'm tickled to death. The car ran really well in qualifying. I knew it was going to run faster than we practiced. I really put it on the edge, I don't want to do that but one time, and that's the time that it counts. I knew it had some speed in it, but I didn't know that much. The guys just did a great job getting the car prepared. It looks like we're going to be in the Brickyard, so that's a big deal for me, and I'm just tickled to death."
(Have you ever been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?): "As a child, I used to come up for the Indy 500. Me and my granddad and my cousins used to camp out in the lawn about three blocks away. But then when I started racing myself, I was always racing somewhere on Memorial Day weekend, so this is my first time here as a competitor. Man, this is like sacred ground. I love it. This has been a big thrill for me just to come up here and practice the car. Now, to come up here and race, it's one of the highlights of my career, I would have to say."
JEFF GREEN (No. 66 Inta Juice/Best Buy Chevrolet): "It was OK. We didn't know what to expect. We changed a lot of stuff. We really weren't any good yesterday. We picked up a little bit of what we ran yesterday but not as much as we wanted to. We got some more practice this afternoon, and hopefully we can get it dialed in where we can race those guys. It really doesn't matter where you start. If you can't get the pole, the rest of the guys, we're just starting. So hopefully we can get it dialed in this afternoon for the race."
(Why only one qualifying lap?): "The tires are so hard. They just give up so much on the second lap. So the race speed is going to slow down quite a bit each lap. Handling is going to be a premium. If you're car isn't handling, it's just going to wear your tires so much more. The tires give up so much. It's going to really make you look bad if you don't have a good-handling race car."
KYLE BUSCH (No. 5 Kellogg's/Delphi Chevrolet): "The car felt good, but the time wasn't there. So we don't know what happened. We qualified 38th, so that's not too good, and we're just going to have to go into Sunday and see what we can figure out."
(Was it due to going so late in the day?): "It had a lot to do with it, but we're not still where it needs to be."
(About changes you'll make tonight): "We're going to wholesale this thing and find out."
TONY STEWART (No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet): (Is the hard work over for today?): "No. We are in good shape."
(Are you happy with the lap?): "No, I am not happy with the lap, rocket scientist. It will make it more fun on Sunday because we'll be able to pass a lot of cars, so that will make it fun in itself."
(About if qualifying means much): "It is track position and pit selection. It's not going to be a very good starting spot by any means, and it is probably not going to be a good pit selection. We have nice, huge pit boxes here in Indy, so from that standpoint it won't be terrible."
(About if the car is how he wants it): "If I knew that, I'd be making a lot of money in (Las) Vegas right now. We hope so. We'll just have to wait and see."
(About strategy for only qualifying one lap): "It won't go two laps without getting too hot. You put enough tape on it to make one lap to try to make one really good lap instead of two mediocre laps, so that's why everyone runs one lap."
CARL EDWARDS (No. 99 Office Depot Ford): "Just too tight. We thought about bringing it up a little bit and we should have, but we'll see."
(About track conditions): "The track's great. Hopefully, it will get slower and slower as it goes because we missed it. We were too tight. I think that maybe the heat building up will keep the other folks from going much faster. We're lucky we had an early draw because that would have been an ugly lap 30 or 40 minutes from now."
PAUL MENARD (No. 15 Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet): "It got pretty loose on the throttle and couldn't carry the speed down the straightaway that I hoped."
(About if he is getting settled into the series): "(The NEXTEL Cup) cars are not that different than the Busch (Series) cars are, but the competition steps up that much more when you go to the Cup series. It's a tough series to be in. The cars are pretty hard to drive with the short spoilers and more horsepower. We are learning on it, and we are getting better."
(About track conditions): "(The track) had a little bit more grip. Being the first car out, it sat all night with no cars going around it. It might have a little dirt on it, but it felt pretty good. I just couldn't get to the gas as much as I need to."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge): "It's the best we've run since we've come here. We did a few qualifying runs yesterday. A couple but the car wasn't that good. We kept working on it and working on it and just didn't have enough time. We did a great job of working on it and making some changes and I feel like it's going to be all right."
(About track conditions): "It's pretty bad when you come out here at 10 o'clock in the morning, and it's still this hot out already, so I can't imagine it getting any hotter, but the main thing is the track temp. I feel like it's still warm now, but the track just keeps getting hotter and hotter as the day goes on, so I feel bad for the guys behind us, but we've had bad draws before, too."
(About importance of this race): "It's Indy. It's a big deal. It's a huge deal, and everyone likes coming here and we love racing here and what a great weekend. I've come here before and you wouldn't even want to be doing interviews right now, so the weather is going to be holding out for us and it's always good to come here and run here. I love this race."
(About weather tomorrow): "I've been here before where it's so hot out that your shoes melt on the racetrack, but the way it is now, it's not that humid, it should be good."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 Alltel Dodge): (About the late draw): "It's going to hurt us, no doubt. We'd been a lot better if we'd gone out a lot earlier. That's just the way the track has always been here. Luck of the draw, its part of the game."
(Disappointed about qualifying is setup here? Or do you just live with it and move on?): "You live with it. Sometimes you get the advantage, and sometimes you don't. You've got to put yourself in a position at the right time at the right place."
(Do you feel good about heading into Sunday?): "I feel better. We are getting better with it. We'll end up making it good in race trim."
(Is this place difficult to dial in?): "I wouldn't say it's any more difficult to dial in than any other racetrack. But the way the cars are now, how sensitive they are, it's more difficult than it's ever been."
(Can you afford much practice this afternoon?): "We'll do as much as we can. We've got a crunch time here in a couple of hours."
(Any worries about putting laps on the engine?): "No, not for a 400-mile race. It's more important to have a car right."
(Any tire situation developing?): "There potentially could be. Tire life isn't what we expected it to be or want it to be. The track hasn't filled in with rubber yet, either. So we'll see how that plays out."
REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge): "We thought we would be a little bit better than that. We weren't expecting to do something spectacular there, but we thought we'd be a little bit better than that. The motor sounded kind of flat, and I didn't get through the corners too well. Those two together (were the reason) we didn't run very good. We'll see what we got. We have two practices coming up, so we'll see what we can do."
(About changes to the car): "Qualifying setup is 180 degrees different that race setup, anyway, so we are just going to put it in race trim and do our regular deal and see what it does."
(About what he learned from yesterday's practice): "Nothing, because we wrecked."
(About only taking one qualifying lap): "The way you tape these cars up, the water gets so hot that you can't go two laps."
CLINT BOWYER (No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet): "It's going to be a big day. The first part of it is over. Qualifying is so big here at Indy, and this is my first time being here. I wanted to start up front. You know, with the draw, track position is everything in the qualifying draw, and that's important and getting to go out first. Burton got me a little bit, but hey, hat's off to everyone at RCR and everyone who's worked on this Jack Daniels Chevrolet. We're going to be a force to be reckoned with. I just need some seat time, and we'll be there."
(About Indianapolis Motor Speedway): "This place is second to none. I mean, it's Indianapolis, and this is what it's all about. You work your whole life to be able to get an opportunity to race here, and to have a fast car sitting second on the board, it's pretty cool. I'm going to race tonight over at IRP. I'm heading over there right now to practice in the Busch car and hopefully have a fast hot rod over there, too."
KEN SCHRADER (No. 21 Little Debbie Ford): "We wanted more, but being realistic, we needed a good, solid start in this thing. It would be wonderful. That is going to get us solid. We were three-tenths off yesterday, and I think that's what we are again. We'll just keep digging and worry about racing now."
(About strategy of only driving one lap in qualifying): "The tires are better the first lap. We are running so much tape on them for the less drag and more downforce that the engines can't go two laps. We knew that's what everyone would do today."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 26 Crown Royal Ford): "I didn't drive as hard as probably what the car was capable of. We were so tight in practice, I just wanted to be sure we got a good lap in and then after I ran my lap, I realized I could go quite a bit quicker. We made some adjustments after practice. The car drove better than what I anticipated, so I probably didn't drive as hard as I could."
KEVIN HARVICK (No. 29 Reese's/GM Goodwrench Chevrolet): "I think it went really good with our Reese's Chevrolet. For when we went and for the time that we ran, I was really happy with it. I kind of left a little on the table in (turns) 3 and 4, but all in all, it was a good lap."
(About running here and at IRP today): "The Busch car was good this morning in practice. We made some adjustments on it and go back for the second practice, come back for happy hour here, and go back for qualifying there. So a little bit of back and forth, but not too bad."
(About the track): "It had a fair amount of grip. It was not anything out of the ordinary. It just had more grip than it had yesterday."
DALE JARRETT (No. 88 UPS Ford): "Well, it's great to be here. This is just a special place. It's been a struggle for us. We picked up some more (speed) in qualifying. It was a great draw to go out early. We were just off. Just lacking speed right now. Hopefully this afternoon maybe we can find a little bit more speed."
CASEY MEARS (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge): "It wasn't good at all. It was probably one of the worst qualifying runs I have ever had here. We have been really, really tight in qualifying trim the whole time. We made some changes last night and got it to where it was loose in, but still just as tight center off. It was just really hard to drive. Going out late didn't help us, but it didn't put us where we are on the grid. We just needed to be a lot better."
(About changes that were made): "(We learned ) just that the car was tight. We knew the car was tight, so that's why we made changes to try to help it center off, but all we did was hurt it getting in. The changes that we made didn't help where we needed it to help. It hurt us getting in, instead of helping us coming off."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 38 M&M's Ford): "We're a little disappointed in our run. We've been struggling a little bit this weekend. We haven't had the car we had last year. The guys are working on it; we got four hours of practice to get ready for Sunday's race, and this is a beautiful race course. Everyone wants to run well at the Brickyard. It's very special in my heart and everybody here at Robert Yates Racing. We'll keep working on it, but it's not what we wanted, so we're going to have to use some pit strategy tomorrow to get up through the back. I think the worst I've qualified here over the last three years was like 13th with Robert Yates Racing, and to come here, we might be in the top 30, we'll see. It's frustrating, but not for me, for my guys. You know this is a neat thing to sit on the pole at Indy. Everybody was so happy last year after that runm and we qualified third the year before that, so we had a good string going. We've struggled a little bit this year. We've got a lot of changes. We got a new crew chief this week.We are working good together, and we'll keep working on it and go from there."
MATT KENSETH (No. 17 DeWalt Ford): "My lap was probably too conservative. This place is real sensitive to hitting the corners just right. The only corner I hit just right was corner No. 2. I just didn't get them like I needed to."
TONY RAINES (No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet): (Why are all the guys only doing one lap?): "As big as this track is, when you tape the car up to get max on speed, the engine won't take the heat on the second lap. Even there on that first lap, I'm getting hot. If you try to make two laps, you sacrifice a lot of speed so it's 'one and done,' as they say. So if you mess up a corner here, it kills you, and I got three our of four pretty good, the last corner was a little rough, but it was a good pick-up for us."
(Talk about the qualifying run): "It went better. We were 32nd in practice, so if we end up 25th or 20th we're getting better relative to the field. I've been struggling in Turn 1 and Philippe (Lopez, crew chief) made a few changes on the car and I did a better job in (Turn) 1, so both of those combined. I wouldn't say I was surprised by how the car drove, but it kind of surprised me, it was a little better. I might have left a little out there. I got a little greedy in Turn 4, and got the car pushing. Any time you improve, that's a good feeling."
(Troy Aikman, team owner, has a big weekend in Canton, have you heard from him?): "I figure, later tonight when he's having a real good time at that party we'll call him and see how he's doing. It's a big day for him, and a lot of people go out there and support him through the party and the induction. As a football player, that's the pinnacle of what they do, and winning this race would be the pinnacle for me as a race car driver."
(What would it mean for you to win here?): Standing here thinking about it, it means so much it would be hard to think what it would really mean. It would be so overwhelming and such a big deal, I don't know if I took the checkered flag first if I could make it back around. I'd probably get out and start running down the backstretch. It's just a huge race, and being an Indiana native, it would be extra special."
DENNY HAMLIN (No. 11 FedEx Express Chevrolet): "It's pretty good. I was fairly satisfied with it considering the conditions. We really got bit by the weather. A real good run for us. Hopefully, a top 15. If it ends up that way, that'll be a great run for us."
(About racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway): "It's obviously got a lot of tradition and things behind it. So it always feels good to run here. When you run really well, you definitely like it a little bit more. This is definitely a racer's racetrack."
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge): "At this point, I'm not very happy with the race car. We made a couple of small changes, and we were tight and loose out there. If I had it to do all over again, I think we could've done a lot better. I think if I could've gotten a lot more out of the car, we could've been a lot further up on the chart. I think that all the guys with the Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge did a good job with the brand-new pieces that we've got here. We got into the wall yesterday a little bit, and the guys got us right back and didn't hurt the car at all and got it fixed. We had a good practice yesterday and feel good about our race car. We just thought it would be a lot quicker in qualifying."
MARK MARTIN (No. 6 AAA Insurance Ford): "We were very close to having a great run, but the car was a little loose on me. Just had to hold back more than I wanted to. Just a little bit makes a big difference. It was a good time for as much trouble as I had. I think we have a very good car, our AAA car."
(Any particular corner the car felt loose in? Turn 3?) "I did get loose in Turn 3 but did get loose in all of them."
(Is this going to be your last year here?) "I don't know."
JIMMIE JOHNSON (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet): "I had three-quarters of a great lap, and (in) Turn 4 I had a little trouble. It got a little tight, and it cost me some speed. I'm very proud of the effort and proud of the lap, just lost a little off Turn 4. Hopefully we'll be top 10, and that was our goal for qualifying."
(It's time for a change of luck here, isn't it?): "It is. The way I look at it, last year I didn't even get a chance to make a (qualifying) lap, we didn't even make it out of tech, so this year we're already off to a better start. Hopefully it carries through the whole weekend."
(The qualifying draw is crucial here, so your thoughts on your position in the line): "Probably fifth or sixth would have been the spot to be, but 12th where we went out was still very good, and it's just going to get worse. We can all feel the heat right now."
BORIS SAID (No. 60 Sobe-No Fear Ford): "It's a long, nerve-wracking wait to see if we make it."
(Your thoughts on the facility): "It's awesome, this history here, and I can remember coming here to watch all the Indy 500s. When you walk out on the front straightaway and look up and down, there's no track in the world that gives you that feeling. It makes the hair on your arms stand up straight. It's a cool place."
(Thoughts about racing here): "I made it last year in the MB2 car, and it was an awesome experience. I just soaked it in like a dream come true. If I get to do it two years in a row, it will be a bonus. It's terrible right now waiting for the end of qualifying. It's harder than waiting to see if you get the pole at Daytona, because here, there's a lot of people at SoBe beverage company and No Fear energy drink that are counting on us to make this race, so I don't want to let them down."
ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet): "Our car felt really good. Like I said before, I keep making excuses. But we'd like to sit on the pole and came here to do that. The DEI engine is working great, John Manville/Menards, can't say enough about those guys and the support they give us to be able to do and all the guys we have assembled here on our race team. They've all worked really hard. The car is going to be force to be reckoned with come tomorrow afternoon."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge): "It's been great. The team went to work during my little honeymoon hiatus, and they really brought me a great car to drive this weekend. I thought we had a shot at the pole, we went for it, just had to do it in the heat of the day. We made a valiant effort (and) to be third, that should be a solid time and put us in the top five."
(Are you disappointed not to get the pole?): "Man, it's bittersweet. It was right there. But what I do have on my side is driving for Roger Penske on Sunday, and I hope that all comes into play for us."
(After their success May so hopefully that continues): "Absolutely, there was the phone call that came in Friday morning from Roger. He reminded me that they won here in May (laughs), so we've got a little work to do and hopefully we can pull off the double that he was talking about on Sunday."
STEPHEN LEICHT (No. 90 citifinancial Ford): "We ran a lot better in practice. I don't understand where our speed went. I don't know if maybe I took it too easy, or what. I was trying not to overdrive the corner and get in the gas early. It felt like a good lap, just no speed in it, I guess."
(Was temperature a factor in the change from yesterday?): "We had a lot more tape on it today than yesterday so it was definitely a lot freer. I don't know. I don't know where the speed went."
DAVID STREMME (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge): "We had to qualify in, and I was probably a little conservative. It's a good time to get us in. We didn't have the greatest (qualifying) draw, but I'm happy with that. It's important to come here and race in Indy being from Indiana, and I've made sure my guys know that because they've got a pretty good bonus coming if they run good."
(It's a difficult track to qualify on, lot's of pressure. How did you keep yourself in check?): "I don't know, I just kept to myself. Stephen Leicht and myself were out there on pit road. I have a tendency to kind of chew on my fingers and do all kinds of stuff. My nerves are still going right now. We just put ourselves in a bad position earlier in the year; we got ourselves in such a deep hole, and we're trying to dig ourselves out of it and we're only 30 (points) out of the top 35 and 60 out of 31st. So we're just working hard to try to get back in that top 35, so then when it comes to qualifying I can get a little more aggressive."
(Not being in the top 35 in points puts a lot of pressure on the driver, doesn't it?): "It does, because like here if you run over the rumble strips, if overshoot a corner, there's just so much. You only get one lap and our temp was already buried when we hit the start/finish line (to start the lap). You're not going to get a second chance here."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet): (Thoughts on how qualifying went considering how you received the late draw for qualifying?) "When qualifying started and we were finally up for qualifying, there was quite a difference track temps. Being it was so hot, it definitely makes the car go slower. You've got to have as much grip as possible. We ran what we did in practice. The car drives good. I ain't that much of a qualifier, anyways. I mean we qualified good, car is good, we tested good. I just ain't a good qualifier, especially here, for some reason. But the car has a lot more speed in it. I'll find it when we get in the race."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet): (Do you feel like you're in a good position to get win No. 5 here): "I think anything can happen here at Indianapolis; we've shown that in the past. We've run races here where we were the dominant car; we've won races when we weren't a factor throughout most of the race. This is a racetrack where you just have to never give up throughout the race, and I think we're in a good position, but we're not in the best position we need to be in right now. We're going to find out a lot more this afternoon."
(Could you put qualifying here in perspective? Kenny Wallace said yesterday that if you don't draw 20th or higher you don't have a chance at the pole, so what you did is pretty good?): "We get the luck of the draw every weekend, but here at Indianapolis qualifying is so crucial, it's hard to pass here and it's a big, hyped race, so all of us want to be up front. We knew as soon as we drew that number that we were already behind the competition, so all we could do is get our best run. But like I said, we've won this race from mid-pack before, and we can do it again."
(How easy is passing here?): "When you've got a good car, it's easy, but we're going to rely a lot on our pit crew, and we're still yet to find what this tire's going to do. This tire's been very temperamental, and we've had some issues with it, so we're going to find out a lot more this afternoon."
(You got a lot of cheers today, how nice is it to be appreciated by the fans at this track?): "It's awesome. We go to a lot of places throughout the year and I don't get that kind of reception, and it's great to come here to Indianapolis and have this kind of a crowd here for qualifying and get that kind of reception. It makes me feel really proud to have grown up in Indiana and have the success we've had here at the Brickyard."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge): (Fiftieth in the qualifying order, not a good draw, but you made the most of it): "Yeah, we did. The car was perfect, couldn't have asked for anything more. We've made a lot of really good changes since we've been here, and I feel like our Dodge Charger is as good as anything out there."
(How does this set you up for the race?): "Good, I mean, top five is really good, especially going out when we went out. I'm happy with the car has been. We've got two practices now to get ready for it, and all we want to do is win tomorrow, that's the goal."
(What would it mean to win?): "Everything. It would probably be the biggest race I could ever win, so we're going to do everything we can and we need to get these practices done, put the car back in the garage in one piece and wait for tomorrow."
(Knowing what happened last year (finishing second), how do you take that and plan for this year?): "Well, you try to make things better. We were really good last year. A lot of things can dictate how this race ends up, and without that caution last year would have ran out of gas and not even finished in the top 15, so we needed that caution. And that's when Tony (Stewart) got back by me, and we ended up second. We had a great run. I think I learned some things, and I don't think he'll get by me this year if we have a caution late in the race."
(What did you learn?): "I hope I learned how to hold him off, that's the main thing. With 11 or 10 to go, whatever it was, you need to hold him off somehow."
(You've always run well here): "Yeah, we've had two races here, a fourth and second, and the race we ran fourth we blew a right-front tire and the whole right side of the car was smashed, so we've had some fast cars here. Ray Evernham's always had fast cars here, and working with Kenny Francis and my team, this is probably going to be the best car I've had yet."
(So this place owes you one): "No, it doesn't owe me one, but it's a track we'd definitely love to win at."
(Can you describe what it's like driving that car and dealing with the heat?): "You just get used to it after a while. Some day's it's really hot and you're not used to that, and you overheat. You just get dehydrated, feel like crap on Monday and pretty good to go on Tuesday."