This weekend marks the third straight different schedule for drivers and teams. Ford drivers Dale Jarrett, Elliott Sadler and Carl Edwards gave their views on the topic. DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus DO YOU LIKE THE FACT YOU HAVE...
This weekend marks the third straight different schedule for drivers and teams. Ford drivers Dale Jarrett, Elliott Sadler and Carl Edwards gave their views on the topic.
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus
DO YOU LIKE THE FACT YOU HAVE TWO HOURS OF PRACTICE ON SATURDAY - LIKE LAST YEAR? "No. I like the other way. I felt like what we did before all you did basically was work on your race stuff and even though that's what we did (yesterday), I feel like that idea of having that time more during race time. I mean, when we practice on Saturday we're practicing in the morning and we're finished with practice before noon, so really it's not a good indication of what the track is gonna be like. I'd prefer to have that afternoon practice and then let's go qualify them, sit them in the garage and get ready to race."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
THIS IS THE THIRD DIFFERENT SCHEDULE IN AS MANY RACES. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT THIS WEEK VERSUS LAST WEEK? "I like it because it throws us a curveball every week. I'm glad we don't do the same monotonous stuff every weekend. One weekend the driver has to be in one mindset to try to get it ready for race practice and just tape it up. This week, we had to really get it ready for qualifying Friday and then go for race practice Saturday, so it throws a curveball to us every single week. I like it. It's more nerve-wracking and stressful on the crew chiefs probably, but it's what this sport is all about - the best will prevail. So I kind of like the schedule changes."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 World Financial Group Taurus
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE DIFFERENT SCHEDULES? "It's fine. We could be at every race track for five days or we could show up and unload and race. As long as everyone has to do the same thing, it doesn't bother me. I'm up for whatever."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RACE TOMORROW? "I feel like our car is really good. We kind of had two opposite types of qualifying efforts with the World Financial Busch car and the World Financial Cup car. The Busch car wasn't really that good in race trim and it really went fast in qualifying. We ran our Cup car in race trim for a little while and it was really great, but it just wasn't that good in qualifying. Hopefully, I think our Cup car is gonna run really well. We started 19th at California the last race, so we kind of have the same situation. It was really awesome and when we got it in qualifying trim it didn't go very fast, so I think it will be fine."
IT MUST FEEL GREAT TO GET OFF TO THE START YOU'VE GOTTEN OFF TO THIS YEAR. "Oh yeah. To get started on such a really high note with good runs has everybody excited. I know I'm excited. It's fun to run well. There is a lot left to chance at Daytona, so we feel like we were very fortunate to finish where we did there, but I think California was the first real test of how our team can perform and everyone did really well. So if we can continue to unload fast and run like this, everyone is really excited about the possibilities."
WHAT KIND OF FINISH WILL YOU BE HAPPY WITH TOMORROW? "I've never raced a Cup car here, so for me to come in here and say, 'Man, we're gonna go out and we're gonna win this race,' and feel really confident, I think that would be a little bit naïve. So I guess I feel if I can go out there, it's a 400-mile race, if I can spend the first 200 miles learning and race really hard the last 200 miles and everything falls our way and we came out of here with a top 5 or a top 10, I would really be happy. I think that's the most you can realistically expect for your first time at a race track, but we just expect to perform well."
Hermie Sadler, driver of the No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus, qualified for his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race of the season yesterday. He spoke about the accomplishment before Saturday's first practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
HERMIE SADLER - No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus
THOUGHTS ON QUALIFYING FOR SUNDAY. "It's unfortunate that our season got started off the way it did. This race doesn't fix all of our problems, don't get me wrong, but it certainly is a step in the right direction. We're already two races behind everybody else in terms of working on our cars and actually just racing, but it is exciting to be in. It's exciting the way our team responded after we had some turnover in our people. We had two choices - folding the tent or regroup and keep going, and we had a bunch of guys at the shop that really stepped up. They know we still have a long way to go, but we have the potential to be a decent, competitive race team and that's what we're working towards doing this year."
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE AS FAR AS CREW CHIEF DUTIES GO? "Greg Conner, who worked a couple of years ago with Ricky Craven at Hendrick and has been in the Truck Series a little bit - he's a Virginia guy - and he's helping us for the foreseeable future. We definitely needed a leader so he came in and has been at a little bit of a disadvantage. By the time he decided to come help us, the car was already out here so the first time he got to see the car was yesterday morning. So Greg has stepped in to help us a little bit and we've replaced, for the most part, everybody who left but it was a devastating time for us. It really put a hurtin' on us being a small team. When a third of your team decides to leave at one time it makes it tough, but everybody responded. Jeff Stek and everybody at Peak Fitness has been very supportive. We've got a long-term vision for this team and we're not gonna let three people dictate what that future is."