SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger) -- Qualified 4th, fastest Dodge "It was a good lap for us. We really didn't know what we had to be honest with you. We knew we had a pretty good car and knew when the sun went down there...
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger) -- Qualified 4th, fastest Dodge
"It was a good lap for us. We really didn't know what we had to be honest with you. We knew we had a pretty good car and knew when the sun went down there was pretty good grip out there, but I think I still left about a tenth on the track. I was just trying to be careful and hit my marks. I almost slowed the car down too much in the center of the corner. To start in the top five and be worried about not making the show, we feel pretty good about it. As a whole, all of us at Evernham Motorsports are making big changes trying to get our Dodges back to the front. Some other Dodges have been pretty good here lately, and we've sorta missed our mark. It seems like every time we go to the COT, these Avengers have been doing pretty well for us. This is not the same Avenger we finished eighth with at Martinsville, but it doesn't matter which COT you bring as long as you bring one that makes it through the templates.
"I think it's going to be a typical race. It's probably going to be harder to get around each other. It's going to be a good race, but it's going to come down to mechanical grip. Aero is not going to be a huge issue at this place. There's a really fine balance you've got to walk not to hurt your entrance or exit. I think anywhere we go with this car you're going to have that trouble.
"I feel better about the race. I don't know if I'm more confident, but I feel better about the race. We've got track position, and that's something I've never had here because I haven't qualified well. Now that we've got good track position, hopefully we can have a good race."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 alltel Dodge Avenger)
"We were one of the lucky ones that got to do a tire test out here. That's nice when the car of tomorrow is a brand new one out here and we got to come out here and test with the new Goodyear tire. It was a good run for us. It's a pole contender, but I didn't think it was going to stand up for the pole. I think it'll be a top 10 start."
DAVID STREMME (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Avenger)
"We weren't very good in practice, and we didn't pick up much in qualifying. We've got some work left to do on the COT."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)
"We made some good changes. I would have liked to have made it on the second lap. I was just a little bit too loose and was maybe trying a little bit too hard. All-in-all I think that'll be in the top 12 or 13 and that's a big pickup from practice. We struggled real bad at the Richmond test, so to come in and work on our COT program we think we've got three pretty good race cars right now. I think you're going to see a lot of aero push Saturday and a lot of beating and banging until the sun goes down and until the groove widens. I've heard a lot of guys complaining about it already today in race trim. Track position is going to be the key with these COTs. I hope we get a good pit selection, and we'll go from there. We had problems turning until qualifying, but we got ours the other way. At least we know we can be on both sides of it."
REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge Avenger)
"We started out complete junk today. The first 45 minutes of practice we were just terrible, so that's better than where we were. We only did one qualifying run in practice because we stayed so long in race trim. We had to get decent in race trim before we switched over, so we made just one qualifying run in practice. We just need front grip on race trim and qualifying trim, so I don't think we could have made any more small adjustments to make it better. We need something big in the front to make it turn."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger)
"If I had known we were going to go that fast I would have driven it that fast. It seemed like the car did everything I needed it to and then some. What I wasn't expecting was the turn in. It turned in real good and I actually grabbed the apron in one and two and that kicked me a little loose coming out of turn two. There was a lot of time left on the board it seemed like. I think this is the first real test for the COT. This is a bigger track for this car and that's where we want to see the better racing action. We have no problems at the short tracks getting side by side and nose to tail. Here on a flat mile track we want to see some of that action. Hopefully the car will give it to us."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)
"We ran a decent lap, but it didn't turn nearly what it did in practice earlier. We freed it up and tried to make it turn better and it turned worse. You just never know which set of tires you're going to get."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Avenger)
"We were really tight through three and four, but it was OK. We weren't that fast in practice. We improved a little bit, but I'm a little disappointed. If the car handles bad, it handles bad and it makes your weekend horrible. It doesn't mean the track is harder or anything. This is one of the tracks I ran last year. When you have a good car everything is smiles. When you have a bad car you try to make it better. You look at California and Vegas, the first two-mile and mile and a halves, we sucked. Now we're better, but we sucked at the first few ones. You just make the car better, work on it and understand where we are."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO STEWART? "Yeah, we're cool. The thing is the press makes a fuss out of everything and we don't. He's OK with it. I'm OK with it. You guys are not, but I don't care."
-credit: dodge motorsports