A total of 16 cars got on the track to qualify before rain moved in and cancelled the remainder of the session. The field for Sunday's Sylvania 300 will be set by points. MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Tools Taurus "I don't know. That ...
A total of 16 cars got on the track to qualify before rain moved in and cancelled the remainder of the session. The field for Sunday's Sylvania 300 will be set by points.
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Tools Taurus
"I don't know. That was terrible and definitely disappointing for me. We ran pretty decent in practice. My car felt solid, but the lap times aren't very fast. I must not have driven it hard enough, I guess. Usually smooth here is fast and we just didn't quite have the speed there."
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO GAIN POSITIONS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE GOOD TRACK POSITION? "Have a great handling car so you can pass everybody in front of you. That's the thing. Our car is pretty good in race trim, but qualifying bad is really nothing new for us. I sure wish we could do better than what we do, but I think we have a great race car here. It was really great last week. It's the same car and, hopefully, we'll get it running good on Sunday."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus
DID IT RAIN WHILE YOU WERE OUT THERE QUALIFYING? "There were some small sprinkles, but nothing that that affected our lap time. We just wanted to pick up a half-a-tenth and we slowed up a half-a-tenth. In NASCAR Nextel Cup racing that will hurt you. This car doesn't abuse tires, though, so we're anxious to get it into race mode and go to work for when it really counts."
WOULD YOU BE HEARTBROKEN IF QUALIFYING GOT RAINED OUT AND YOU HAD TO START ON POINTS? "That would be the best thing that could happen to us right now because we won't be any better than seventh with that lap. We were just slipping and sliding too much. If they've got to start us by points, then we've got to be very careful at the beginning of the race because we've got everybody around us that we're racing."
A LOT WAS MADE OF THIS CAR AFTER YOU WON HERE IN JULY. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU WITH THIS PIECE? "It seems to have picked up a tenth or so since we've been here last time, but we'll know more when we get it in race trim. The car just has that good feel to it. We didn't touch a screw on it or change a bolt. They did the normal routine as we went through the car, but now we've just got to wait until we get it into race trim tomorrow."
WHAT ABOUT THE CHASE? "At this time of year you usually have two or four guys maybe running for the cup and this time around we've got 10 and we're one of those 10. That was the objective from the get-go and now we've got tests saved up and we've got a whole new outlook on things. Who knows, we could be the points leader come the end of Sunday."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus
HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN PRACTICE? "It was about a 15th-place car, maybe. I think we wound up 14th on the speed chart. We did some race setup and I was pretty satisfied with that. We did three short runs and then we went into qualifying trim and all the runs were real decent - certainly not a threat for a pole or a top five, but real reasonable. This is a race track that I've had a good bit of success on, but, at the same time, I've also struggled at as well. I'm pretty confident that we can come in here and have a reasonable showing, but this is not gonna be our strong suit. When we get to Dover next Sunday, if we can't go out there and contend, I'm gonna be sorely disappointed."
ARE YOU ON CLOUD NINE RIGHT NOW? "Our team has done that. The last 10 races have incredible. What we can do in the next 10 races, I can't tell you, but all I know is it took everything that this team had and they did it. They did the job and they got us in. It was incredible the last 10 races and the next 10 are gonna be fun to watch and whatever we get is gonna be just a bonus. If we can put together 10 like the last 10, we will contend for that cup but, boy, that's asking a lot."
WHAT HAS BEEN THE DIFFERENCE? "They've made more horsepower with our engines with the Roush/Yates combination. They picked us up since the beginning of the year a good bit and that has really helped. They've also fixed up the reliability issues that we had at the beginning of the year, which has been real important, especially going into these last 10. But the main thing is they've figured out the springs and shocks that feel good to me and make the race car to where I can drive it. I can drive it hard. I can drive it fast. I can get in there and race with these guys. When you've got a race car that can't do it, you just can't do it. And when you do have a race car that will do it, it's not that hard. The hard thing is to try to take a 25th-place car and run in the top 10 with it."
ARE YOU STILL HAVING FUN? "I didn't have that much fun Saturday night, but we got in and that's what counted. It was a tough race for us and we fought all the way and wound up with a great result with a mediocre car, so that's a good thing. It's certainly more fun than I had last year. I was really treated by Nextel and NASCAR with a red carpet, along with Jeremy and maybe Ryan Newman, but, for sure, Jeremy and I really enjoyed yesterday - getting equal billing to all the other top 10 drivers in New York. It was a real special time. That may not happen after a few races into this thing, but right now we're all sort of treated equal and that's a nice thing."