Michigan Ford Friday Qualifying Report

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400 presented by Meijer August 20, 1999 Michigan Speedway BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus -- (Qualified 14th) "I hate to be the first guy out. You don't know really...

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pepsi 400 presented by Meijer August 20, 1999 Michigan Speedway

BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus -- (Qualified 14th) "I hate to be the first guy out. You don't know really where you stand because it seems like so much has changed when we practiced last. The Busch cars went out there and then we ran again and you don't really know where you're at when you sit down to really go. I feel like that was a good time, we'll just wait and see where it ends up. I know it won't be good enough to be on the pole or anything like that, but if we can be in the top 25 we'll be where we need to be." THIS WAS A GOOD PLACE FOR YOU IN THE SPRING. "We had a good run here in the spring and we just have to keep digging at these places. The biggest thing is we're trying to turn this deal around and if we can just keep nibbling at it week in and week out we'll be in good shape."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- (Qualified 36th) "We're not pleased at all. The Exide Ford has been fast all day. We were seventh-fastest in practice, but going down the back straightaway something seized up. Then, when I got in the gas in the middle of three and four I had a bunch of smoke from something and it quit running. It was off about 400 rpm at the start-finish line. There's grease running out of the rear-end right now, so it looks like the rear-end may have locked up."

KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- TV Guide Taurus -- (Qualified 43rd) "We came here a couple of weeks ago and tested with this TV Guide Taurus and were pretty happy when we left. Obviously, something went on between the time we left and the time we came back. The track got a lot freer for us and we just haven't been able to get ahold of it. We've got a great team and we'll work hard and get this TV Guide Taurus better and go at it again tomorrow."

JOHNNY BENSON --26-- Cheerios Taurus -- (Qualified 34th) "That's better than we practiced, so that's good. It's not as quick as we wanted, but that was the best lap of the day for us. We just need to get a little bit better. That felt good. I figured that would be the 38-second bracket, but it wasn't." YOU'VE BEEN ON A POLE HERE BEFORE. DO YOU GET AROUND HERE BETTER THAN SOME OTHER PLACES? "I used to think so (laughing). We have got around here good. I've finished good here. I've been on the pole, but we're just struggling a little right now."

TED MUSGRAVE --75-- Remington Arms Taurus -- (Qualified 11th) THIS CAR WAS FAST AT LAS VEGAS, SO THIS ISN'T A GREAT SURPRISE IS IT? "No, you're right. We should have utilized this car a little bit more through the season, but we haven't. It's been sitting around and it's probably one of the best cars we've got. At Las Vegas we were a top-five car and I messed up qualifying there, but since then the car's been sitting around in the shop. I kept looking at it saying, 'We should run this,' but we never did. With the little bit of a shake up in the organization, I was able to say, 'OK, here's what we're gonna do,' and we ran that car and there it is. This car feels more balanced on downforce from front to rear and it's something we didn't have with the other cars. When you get a car like that, you can really drive it whereas the other ones weren't sticking to my liking. You've gotta commend the guys. They've stuck behind me and they worked on that thing all day today. It's been fast off the truck and it's good to see smiles on these faces again."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- (Qualified 7th) "That's pretty good. I'm pretty happy with that. That was a pretty good lap. The Valvoline team has done a great job with the car today. I left a little bit on the table. The car was spectacular. We'd been having a couple of little problems down in turn one and with this sun and everything I just didn't have the confidence. After the lap was over, I never slid a tire anywhere. If you never slide a tire, then you probably might have left a little something. But it's gonna get us a good starting spot thanks to having a really fast race car today."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- (Qualified 10th) WILL WE SEE FASTER SPEEDS AS THIS GOES ON? "I don't know if we will or not. The temperatures are pretty constant all day long. The tire is better this time than it was last time. I don't know if it's any better, but it's faster. The speeds are up because of that, so we'll see what happens." HOW ABOUT YOUR RUN? "That's the quickest we've run since we've been here -- a .51. Although, in my simulated bonzai runs I did a lot of 51s. We had a .52, a .53, a .51 and I was hoping to get it in the 38-40 second bracket, but 38.51 is all I could do. I told them that this is four times we've blocked this car up to do a qualifying run and it keeps running the same speed, so that's all she's got for right now."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus -- (Qualified 26th) "That's about what we ran in practice and it was 20th-best, so that's exactly what we ran in practice. Everybody else is gonna pick up a little bit, we're just a little bit loose in the center of the corner here and can't find it, but I think it's good enough."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- (Qualified 5th) "It's been a great day for us. We came back and brought my favorite car with us. We ran real good with this car early in the year and it's nice to qualify good for a change. It's helped us a lot. We've had good cars, either something went wrong qualifying or I didn't get a good lap and we needed that today. We were real good right off the truck. We made a few little changes. This is one of my cars we had last year that we worked on and I feel like we're going in the right direction now. It seemed like we just veered off in the wrong direction and now we've come back. This is where we need to be right here."

JERRY NADEAU --9-- WCW Taurus -- (Qualified 28th) "That's the best lap we ran all day. I thought it was a pretty good lap. We had some sort of problem leaving pit road, I wasn't really sure. The thing just wouldn't turn over and we finally got it going. It might have been lacking just a little bit, but the guys did a good job. I think that will hold up for the rest of today and we'll just keep working on the car for the race on Sunday."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- (Qualified 3rd) "The car is still good, the tire we have here is different, certainly. It's gonna make it a little bit of a challenge. It's gonna be interesting to see what happens when we get into race runs. It took us all day to figure out how to get the car running fast and exactly what it needed. That's a pretty hairy ride. That's fast around this place. My hat's off to Mike Skinner and Ward Burton for going as fast as they did. That's about all we wanted to do right there." SAME CAR SAME RESULTS FROM LAST MICHIGAN? "Same car and we hope the results are the same. We know that it's gonna be a lot tougher. Even though you bring the same car back and the same setup, we have a new tire and that could throw a little bit of a difference into it, but I like our chances." IS IT REALISTIC TO EXPECT A SIMILAR RESULT AS LAST TIME? "No, I don't think it's realistic to expect that. These guys have had time to evaluate that race and work on their cars and know where they need to be better. Goodyear has helped a lot of people out with this tire. It's gonna make it easier for them to get their cars to turn and that's what everybody had a hard time doing last time, except for a few cars, especially ours. So we'll have to work and maybe we can make ours better as we go too."

RICKY RUDD --10-- Tide Taurus -- (Qualified 6th) "We're real pleased with that. We came up here the last Michigan race and struggled. Mike McSwain and all the guys on this Tide/Whirlpool Ford worked really hard to try to come up with something good. This is the car we ran at Indy, it's only the second race for us. The Pro Motor under the hood, man, that thing was a rocket ship, so all the guys back at the shop have been working hard and I think we've got a good race car here." HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "Pretty uneventful. Maybe I left a little bit out there. It seems most of the time I come here I talk about what went wrong, but, actually, the lap was pretty comfortable. I really don't know what I would do to make it go any faster, so I'm tickled to death."

STANTON BARRETT --90-- Donlavey Racing Taurus -- (Qualified 33rd) "I don't know if I screwed it up or what. It was a little tight in practice and we didn't want to make too big of a change, especially after Busch practice and everything. I just had to breathe it just a hair coming off of turn two and it affected our lap a lot. Fortunately, we had a good motor in this car with Larry Wallace. Turn four was pretty good and I think we got through that corner pretty fast. Turn two just killed us. We got into one real good, got through it and it started pushing. It was doing the same thing in practice, but I didn't have to breathe it."

DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Big Kmart/Route 66 Taurus -- (Qualified 39th) "I hate to say this because it makes me mad, but it's a new car. It's different. We spent all of practice, which, fortunately, we had a good bit more than normal, getting it where it is but we know we can do better. There's a lot of potential in the car, we've just gotta keep working on it. Time is the big issue." LAUGHLIN CHASSIS VS. HOPKINS CHASSIS, IS THAT THE MAIN DIFFERENCE? "Yeah. Early in the year we ordered cars from everybody just trying to get cars because we didn't have any. This is one we got and it just sat and sat. They finally finished it and you've gotta run 'em somewhere. You don't know if they're any good until you run 'em. I believe the car has some potential, but I just hope we don't run out of time to get it."

CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus -- (Qualified 16th) "It's what the John Deere team needed right now. A big thank you to all the fabricators back at the shop and all the other guys for the extra effort that went into building this car. It's one of our newer cars, so we're real pleased with it. The lap felt really good. We've just gotta keep going and build from here."

RICK MAST --98-- Universal Studios Taurus -- (Qualified 30th) "That was a little bit slower than what we practiced. We had a little something go wrong during the qualifying lap, I'm not quite sure, we puffed a little bit of smoke out. The car felt excellent in the corner and it felt good down the straightaway it was just a slow lap, so we'll disect it and get it fixed for Sunday."

ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Citgo Taurus -- (Qualified 31st) "We're gonna be real close to the bubble. We're just real tight off. There were some changes I wanted to make this morning that probably turned out not to be the right way to go, but that's just the way it goes. We've got a good car that we think will race good. We've got a good engine here from Roush, so we've just gotta say our prayers and hopefully it'll hold up. It'll be real hot and slick and everything else tomorrow and be hard to get in second day, so we'll see what happens."

HUT STRICKLIN --58-- Turbine Solutions Taurus -- (Qualified 13th) "That's a good run for us. That's as quick as we've been since we've been here. My hat's off to all these guys who work on this Turbine Solution team. Mark Smith gave us one heckuva motor today in this car and all of his guys have done a great job. It's a great opportunity they've given me here and, hopefully, I can cash in on it."

KENNY IRWIN --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- (Qualified 29th) "We changed the setup there before qualifying and I still think it was OK, we just didn't run that good."

MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Tools Taurus -- (Qualified 25th) "I guess we were 25th and I'm happy with that. It was an awful lap, the car didn't handle nearly as good as it should have. I still can't believe we ran that fast, so we'll be satisfied with that. That was my main goal. At least we're in the race." ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE PROGRESS YOU'VE MADE FROM YOUR TEST? "I haven't been happy with the whole day. We basically started over. We found a couple things in the car we changed and really couldn't get it right, so I'm happy to be in the race. We can work on race stuff tomorrow. I was afraid of going home." HOW ABOUT MAKING IT IN FIRST ROUND? "Yeah, I'm really surprised. I pushed real bad off two and I had let off the gas pedal and everything. I came close and then I thought for sure we were gonna have to go home, so I'm real happy with that. We've only got a few guys working on this team and I'm really proud to be a part of Mark Martin Racing and Roush Racing and the DeWalt Ford. I'm real happy to be in the race." HOW MUCH PRESSURE IS OFF YOU KNOWING YOU'RE IN THE RACE? "I had more pressure that one lap than I've ever had in my whole life and I didn't feel like I did a very good job at all. I'm really happy that we ran that lap and got in the top 25 because I felt I messed it up."

DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE (QUALIFIED 3RD) YOU MUST FEEL GOOD ABOUT COMING BACK HERE, RIGHT? "I certainly look forward to coming to Michigan each time. Today, it's just incredibly fast around here. The laps Mike and Ward turned were just incredible. I had no idea we could even run as fast as we did and I didn't know if I wanted to go that fast to be quite honest. It turned out to be that we made the right decisions. We kind of chased it all day. We came here kind of like we were last time for qualifying and we qualified fourth, but that wasn't a very comfortable feeling when we started out today with the new tires, so we had to work and work. We made changes every single time and we made a change when we went to qualify, so it was a good days work and it worked out for us to start out front. That allows you to run the kind of race you want to run and I think that's important here -- that you're not having to battle right from the very beginning and that you can kind of set a pace that feels good to you and just kind of see what the track is gonna be like as we start the race on Sunday. It's the same race car we had here last time and I'm sure we'll start tomorrow morning's practice with the setup, but, again, this tire seems to be quite a bit different. That's gonna probably put us to work and, again, the track has been sitting here all summer long with a lot of heat, so it's gonna be a different race track than what we saw here in June. Hopefully, we can adapt to that and have a good race car again on Sunday." THE TRACK RECORD FELL AGAIN. WAS IT BECAUSE OF THE TIRES? "I think the tire probably has as much to do with it as anything. It turns better and that's something Goodyear was trying to do. They were trying to help the majority of cars that were here and most everyone has that problem when you come here -- that's getting the car turned in the center of the corner. You can work and work and make changes with the chassis, but a lot of times it seems you can still be a little bit tight in the center or then you get it loose and be sideways and that's not a fast way around here either. Goodyear helped a lot of teams with that and it should probably make for better racing on Sunday because it will allow more people to be closer on the setup. You won't have to have a loose a setup to make the car turn. You're gonna have the tire helping you and I think that's what definitely contributed to the speed."

WHAT ABOUT FUEL MILEAGE AND ITS IMPORTANCE? "You'll see a lot of times that if you're car is handling good you're fuel mileage improves too because it allows the car to roll and to run fast times without having to be in the gas quite as much. One breeds the other. It is important here. The first race and every race pretty much, the 50-lap mark is what's important. You've got to be able to go those 50 laps to have a good shot at it and that's what we were able to go -- 51 or 52 laps last time -- and once again that will be important. There are some guys that, I think, can go 54 and 55 and that gives them a little bit of an advantage if we get a late caution to where it's marginal, so it is important. The most important thing, though, is getting you car to handle because that's gonna benefit you more in a majority of the races than what fuel mileage is."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Mike Skinner , Mark Martin