BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Elliott finished 23rd last week at Rockingham, fourth last year at Las Vegas and ranks sixth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings (NWCS). CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 ...
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Elliott finished 23rd last week at Rockingham, fourth last year at Las Vegas and ranks sixth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings (NWCS).
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Atwood, tied for Raybestos rookie of the year honors with Ron Hornaday, finished 18th last week at Rockingham. He ranks 17th in the NWCS. WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Burton finished 16th last week at Rockingham, 23rd last year at Las Vegas and ranks 25th in the NWCS.
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Marlin is one of only two drivers with two top-10 finishes in the first two races. He finished eighth last week at Rockingham, 18th last year at Las Vegas and ranks second in the NWCS, 13 points behind leader Rusty Wallace.
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Andretti finished 21st last week at Rockingham, 25th last year at Las Vegas and ranks 34th in the NWCS.
BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Jones finished 35th last week at Rockingham and ranks 35th in the NWCS.
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Petty didn’t qualify last week at Rockingham. He finished 29th last year at Las Vegas and ranks 41st in the NWCS.
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Compton finished 41st last week at Rockingham, 32nd last year as a rookie at Las Vegas and ranks 27th in the NWCS.
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Blaney finished ninth last week at Rockingham, 22nd last year at Las Vegas as a rookie and ranks 30th in the NWCS.
JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T) Brand new chassis. Leffler finished 33rd last week at Rockingham and ranks 39th in the NWCS.
RAY EVERNHAM (Car owner Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid R/Ts) “Dodge, UAW, NTC, these people have done a lot so far, and I’m certainly impressed with the commitment they’ve made to NASCAR Winston Cup racing, the advertising they’ve been doing, the things they’re doing to make our sport a little bit better. It’s a great honor for me to represent the thousands and thousands of people in Detroit and around the country and around the world that put these cars and trucks together. We’re real proud to carry that brand on our car. We’d like to be able to carry that UAW-NTC to victory lane some day. That’s what we’re working on.”
TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR CARS ARE PERFORMING AT LAS VEGAS “I think we’re right about where we were testing. A lot of people ask us, and we’re really not avoiding where we are with the Dodges. We just don’t know yet exactly because going from Daytona to Rockingham was two different worlds. From Rockingham to here is a different world and again to Atlanta. After we get done at Atlanta, I think we’ll be better able to tell where our cars are at. Right now it looks like we’ve got good aerodynamic balance. I think we’re fighting a little bit of tightness that everybody else is. I think we’re close enough where if we find just a little bit the Dodges can be competitive. I don’t think it’s a car manufacturer thing as much as a chassis setup or tire pressure or driver combination or something like that.”
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE TEAM’S PROGRESS SO FAR? “That’s a double edge sword. I’ve very happy with everything we’ve done, but would like to have had a better performance last week at Rockingham. The program itself as far as getting here, the cooperation we’ve had from sponsors like Dodge and UAW and the cooperation with NASCAR, that’s all good. Again, I’m used to having better finishes than we’re having. It was great to go to Daytona and sit on the pole and run fifth, but Rockingham, I didn’t have either car in the top 15. That’s the bad news. The good news is we have our program built enough where only three races into season and we’re concentrating strictly on performance and that’s probably a lot further ahead of schedule than I thought.”
DISCUSS AERODYNAMIC WORK ON THE EVERNHAM DODGES “Development work is a twofold process. Each team has its own private wind tunnel time and then of course Dodge has engineers assigned. We still work on the one team concept. There’s aerodynamic development being done on a model and in the tunnel with full scale cars that’s still done by Dodge and each team has its own aerodynamic development. Right now, in house, I have some engineers that handle the 19 and 9 aero development and we work with Sandy Weinstein and people at Dodge with their program, too.”
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) “That was pretty decent. If we can just keep improving on it a little bit and get ready to race, I think we’ll be OK. We ran good here last year. I qualified terrible, but I ran good. I like this race track, but we just need to monitor the weather and see what we’re going to do for Sunday. We picked up two tenths from practice and as long as you’re going in a positive direction, that’s OK. It looks a whole lot more impressive coming from the back to the front, and that’s what we did here last year. We’ve just got to work through some things with this new Dodge program. I think we’ll have some ups and downs, but I think all-in-all things are going well. We just need to keep hammering on it to see what we can do to make it better.”
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We’re pretty happy with that lap. These first four or five races, we just want to qualify. We’ve got a decent starting spot, so we’re happy. We picked up a little from practice. If you can do that, it’s pretty good. We tested pretty good here, and the car is driving good. I think it’s going to be pretty good for the race.” WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) “That’s a decent time. It’s a little bit faster than we practiced, and anytime you can do that you’re happy. We usually race here better than we qualify, so I’m real excited about where we’re starting this race. We’ll work on it tomorrow and get it ready to on Sunday. This Caterpillar team always gives me a good car to race here. I’m looking forward to Sunday.”
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) “They asked me what happened on the first lap and I said, ‘the driver screwed up.’ I just drove in too deep in one and two and got on the brake too hard. I couldn’t believe I did that again. I came back the second lap and calmed down and hit a good lap. The guys gave me a heck of a race car, and we’ll get it dialed in for Sunday. I thought we could run in the .40s. Everybody slowed down about a tenth on their second lap, and we sped up. I guess my bobble cost us about a tenth.”
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) “Chad (crew chief Knaus) and the guys made some good changes for qualifying. That was our best lap, three tenths quicker than practice, and that’s what we need. We want a top 25 all week, and we almost made it today. We didn’t run that good in practice, made some big changes and it was a good lap for us. We knew we were either going to run fast or pull out the backup. The Kodiak Dodge has been pretty good everywhere we’ve been. We struggled a little bit this morning and went back to our notes from testing here. We made some changes and it worked. The guys worked hard to get us back in the ball park.”
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We just tried to loosen the car up from practice. We had to make some changes, and we really didn’t know we’d have to go that far. That’s a decent starting spot. The guys made some big changes, and the car came around. It was really close the first lap, maybe a little bit tighter than what I wanted, but it went away a little bit on the second lap.”
JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T) “You’re never satisfied unless you’re on the pole. It was a pretty uneventful lap for us. We’ll just get ready for the race now. We picked up two tenths from practice, so you can’t be totally disappointed, but we’d rather be starting closer to the front. We’ll be patient. We’re looking forward to the race. I’ve driven in a Busch race and an IRL race here. I like the track. I think we’ve got a pretty good car. It’s driving nice. We’ll get some laps Sunday and then just move on to the next race.”
- Dodge Motorsports