TODD BODINE - No. 54 National Guard Taurus (qualified 41st) "It's a lot better - we'll have to see how much better. The track's obviously faster, everybody's going a little faster. Joe went two-tenths faster, Jeremy went a tenth faster, so we'll...
TODD BODINE - No. 54 National Guard Taurus (qualified 41st)
"It's a lot better - we'll have to see how much better. The track's obviously faster, everybody's going a little faster. Joe went two-tenths faster, Jeremy went a tenth faster, so we'll just have to see."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (qualified 25th)
"We had farther to go, obviously, because we hadn't fun a faster time, but we're pretty happy with that. We know that the cooler weather everybody's going to pick up some, but we made some adjustments that made the car drive better and I could get it more where I wanted it to go on the track instead of me having to follow where it wanted to go in practice. So, we made good adjustments, that's the main thing."
YOU KNOW THIS TRACK WELL. DO YOU HAVE A CAR THAT YOU'RE COMFORTABLE WITH
"Oh, yeah. This is a good race car. Obviously, you'd like to have speed with that, but I think that we'll be okay."
YOU'RE A TRADITIONALIST. DID IT STING A LITTLE BIT TO SEE THE SOUTHERN
"It does a little bit. I understand the economics of this sport and continuing to grow this sport. It makes sense to be in California twice with that being the second-largest market, but did it have to be on Labor Day? I'm not sure, but that seems to suit everybody. Everything is not gonna be exactly the way we would want it to be, but I'm glad to see Darlington is keeping two races. I think the competition there is tremendous and that's what our sport was built on is good competition and we don't want to lose that. So even though we're losing a race from a time that, from a historical perspective has always been there, we still have to understand that we have to move forward. I'm just glad we're still at Darlington twice."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (qualified 29th)
"We really needed about tenth more, and I was thinking that I could do about a tenth more. But, going early is going to hurt us because the temperature is dropping fast right now and the guys that go out toward the end are really going to go fast. That's unfortunate that we have to go out early. But, we're getting bits and pieces of speed out of car, and it keeps getting a little bit better, a little bit better. We're dragging a little bit right now with the sway bar arm hitting the race track a little bit, and we can't get that to stop. We stringing it up stiffer and that it doesn't handle as good. So, we need to work on that some. It's nothing we're going to be able to fix here but it's unfortunate. We're okay."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (qualified 32nd)
"We're pretty pleased. We picked up from where we practice and it seems like lately we've always qualified slower than we've practiced. Another three-tenths-of-a-second would have been really great, but you can't get greedy. I actually think we picked up a half-second, so I'm pretty pleased. I think we're gonna race really well. We came up here and tested three or four weeks ago and worked on nothing but race setup and I felt like if it rained out today, for the first time all year we'd be fairly competitive for the race. I can't say that about the previous races."
DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (qualified 42nd)
"We've just been slow all day and we were slow there. It doesn't feel that bad, but we're just way off the pace."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (qualified 15th)
"Ben Leslie and Wally and all the guys on the Viagra team pulled a rabbit out of the hat. I was hoping to just not use a provisional there and they really gave me a lot of race car. I thank them for that and that will be a good starting spot."
THE FIRST LAP IS FASTEST TODAY. WHY?
"The tires are backing up for whatever reason. It's pretty much pointless to try a second lap."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DARLINGTON RACE MOVING FROM LABOR DAY?
"I hadn't really thought about it and I really don't have a huge comment on it. I understand, but the old diehard in me wishes it wasn't, but I understand."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (qualified 7th)
"I don't think that will be good enough for the pole. I think the 8 or the 18 or the 20 will beat us, but that's definitely good enough for a top five. It's been a great day so far and we'll try to get 'em on Sunday. We tested here and did a lot of race stuff, so I think we'll be in good shape when we start on Sunday morning."
DO YOU NEED TO BE UP FRONT TO HAVE A SHOT?
"Oh yeah, I mean I think you've got to be up front everywhere you go. People that say it's wide enough to pass just don't have the track position they need, so I think track position is very important and it helps us a lot."
HOW DOES MICHIGAN RANK FOR YOU?
"It's not one of my favorite tracks I've ever had. I've never really run that great here in the past and that always reflects how you feel about a place, but I think they've got so much motor and work so hard on these race cars to come to Michigan. It was so important to Ford Motor Company and everybody around that it might soon be one of my favorite places to come to."
YOU SHOULD BE UP FRONT.
"That's all we wanted was a top-five starting position. I left a little bit on the race track. I don't know how bad Junior beat me, but the Ford Taurus was very good and we'll get 'em Sunday. I know I won't start on the pole, but we'll be able to see 'em when the green flag falls. Track position is very important here so we'll see what happens."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Taurus (qualified 17th)
"That was alright. The track was real fast at the time. I think a lot of people are running fast. Nobody's been picking up the second lap, we picked up. I sort of messed the first lap up a little bit, you know, and got a better second lap. There is a little left out there, but that'll still get us a halfway decent starting spot."
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION AT MICHIGAN?
"It depends. If it goes green all day like it has, you know, three or four years ago, if it goes green all day long, track position is real important. But starting 15th or 20th in a normal Michigan race, it's not hard to overcome. It's a real easy track to pass at. The groove is really wide. It's actually fun to race. We've had some fast cars here, so it's been a good track for us."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (qualified 23rd)
"We has some trouble in qualifying practice and we had to kind of guess on it a little bit. We've been just a little bit tight all day, we've been a lot tight all day, and right there it was still tight. The car drive's really good. We're just a little tight in the middle of both corners, so it's rubbing speed off. But, we'll start the race and see what we can get."
DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON THE CHANGE IN THE SCHEDULE?
"I'm a big fan of the Southern 500. I like tradition, and I like the fact that the Southern 500 has been on the weekend, you know, forever, and I think that's cool. At the same time, I support going to as many places as we can go. And if you look around, it makes sense to go to California twice. We need to put this sport in front of as many people as we possible can, and to me, going to California twice makes a lot of sense, and you can't let tradition stand in the way of progress. I wish we could find a way to do both. But, when you look at the crowds and look at all the people that are watching on TV, Darlington has been lagging behind, and Rockingham also, so we got to continue to bring the thing to the fans that they want. I wish there was a way that we could do both, but obviously we can't."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Taurus (qualified 4th)
GOOD START TO THE WEEKEND?
"Yeah. We unloaded, and it's our California car so it's a very solid car and it's something that I hope we can build more of so that we can race it at many other race tracks. I enjoy the two-mile race tracks, and this being close to Ford's home ground up there we want to do well, so hopefully Sunday will go just as well."
BRETT BODINE - No. 11 Hooters Restaurant Taurus (qualified 27th)
"This is important for us. We need to go out here and perform, and this race team can perform. We needed a sponsor that had a little bit more patience to give us some time to get to where we need to be. We're headed in the right direction. It's all about patience and confidence in each other, and this race team's gaining confidence and we just needed a sponsor that had a little more patience to kind of wait for us to get to the point where then they were happy with our performance."
WHAT ABOUT THIS CAR ON SUNDAY?
"I think we got a good race car. This car raced really well at Dover. We were able to stay on the lead lap all day until we got in a wreck. That's what we needed to do at Dover. Unfortunately, we got in somebody else's mess. Hopefully, this Sunday, this car will race just as well as it did at Dover and we can finish the race in one piece."