STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) â€œWe were pretty good in practice all day. I thought we could run a little faster in qualifying. The guys did a great job. We were pretty quick off the truck. We got the motor tuned...
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We were pretty good in practice all day. I thought we could run a little faster in qualifying. The guys did a great job. We were pretty quick off the truck. We got the motor tuned up real good, and this is the same car we’ve had a lot of luck with at a lot of different tracks. This is the best group of guys I’ve ever had behind me, and I’m just tickled to be with them. I think anywhere we go we’ve got a good chance to win. We’ve had a couple of real good finishes the past two races, and I think we’ll be in good shape for Sunday.”
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We picked up about half a second from practice, but that’s still not near where we’re capable of running. The car is just not handling properly. We’ve made some progress since we got here today, but we need to unload better and make progress quicker if we’re going to be in the ball park.”
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We broke our qualifying motor this morning, and we spent a lot of time getting out stuff right. The guys worked hard and changed motors, and we only got two hot laps of practice, so I can’t complain. We picked up about four tenths from practice. That was a good lap for us. I’ve missed races with a lot worse lap than that and a lot more practice. It was an incredible effort by all our guys at the track and all our guys back at the shop. That’s what Team Petty Enterprises is all about. It worked out fine today.”
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) “I don’t know what to do. We can’t seem to go any faster. We’re loose in one corner and tight in another. For some reason we’re too loose in one corner and too tight in another. We should be able to get closer than that. We picked up a little from practice, but we’re not good enough.”
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We knew we had to pick it up. The guys made some smart calls, and we made little adjustments all day. I think last week was a wake up call. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Any time we made a change today, if it didn’t work, we’d go back. We picked up half a second from practice, and we needed to. I baled hay all day last Sunday (after failing to qualify at Michigan). I needed to do something to stay busy. I didn’t want to watch the race. I listened for just a little while, then I went to work.”
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) “That’s a lot better than I’ve been running, but it’s a long way from that 52.785 (Ricky Rudd’s lap). We were struggling with the car early, and we kept working on it and got a little better as practice went along. We just needed more time. We’ll go back to the setup book now and see what we’re going to do tomorrow. We wanted to pick up half a second from practice, but we didn’t quite get that.”
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Marlin matched his best qualifying effort of the season. He also qualified second at Bristol and Talladega. It’s Marlin’s second best qualifying effort at Pocono. He won the pole here in ‘99 and finished fourth. “I don’t know if you can call half a second challenging for the pole. He (Ricky Rudd) is in another time zone. I’ve always enjoyed racing here at Pocono. This car we’ve got here we’ve run a lot this year. It’s led every race for us and ran in the top five a couple of times. It’s a good race car for us. We’re going to try to pick up where we left off last Sunday and go out there and get us a win. “It’s more aggravating when you’re running 25th and driving as hard as you are now. Now we come to the race track and the guys at the shop give us a good race car. Every week we’re pretty much a top five or a top seven car. It feels real good just to come back and have a chance to win. “We pretty much knew it. You look at the practice sheets, and he (Ricky Rudd) was pretty much half a second faster than everybody. There wasn’t any way to touch him. “All of ‘em (turns) are hard. You go into turn one and it’s banked more. The tunnel turn is pretty tricky in traffic. It’s really a one-groove deal to shoot through. Everybody pretty much gets back in single file before turn three. It’s pretty much impossible to run two-deep in three. Every corner here is pretty tricky.
JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We picked up a little bit from practice, but it’s not what we wanted. I thought we could qualify better. Sterling’s got a good car and he’s driving it well, so it’s probably just a matter of experience. We tested here last week and ran a lot faster than we tested. We’re in the race. The last couple of weeks we’ve been starting way in back. Maybe we can take this Cingular Dodge to the front Sunday and get some experience at Pocono.”
BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We came here and tested, and we qualified a little faster than we tested. We had a little mixup in our practice qualifying run. We didn’t get to see what the car was really going to act like. I’m happy with that because we picked up from practice. As long as we can keep picking up, that’s all we can ask for. It seems like all three turns are pretty tough for me.”
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T) “Obviously that wasn’t the lap we wanted. We were really good in practice. We cut a really good lap in practice, but that’s about all we had. If we were going to cut that lap again, it probably would have been a little bit of a miracle. It’s disappointing because we didn’t run as quick as we did in practice, but we’re in the race and that’s one step.”
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) “We’ve got a good starting place, so we’re happy. This place fell right into my lap. I liked it here when we came to test. It seems like one of my race tracks. I’m ready to race. I feel real good about it. I haven’t been here before, but it’s a flat track and I seem to run good on a flat track. We’ve got a good starting spot and we can work out some more of the kinks tomorrow. We came off the truck pretty fast, I think we were second fastest and then we fell back a little bit at the end. We’ve got a good starting place now, and we won’t have to come up through the field. “I haven’t run this track in traffic yet, but I’m having the most problems through turn three. I’m real loose through there. I feel pretty good through one and the tunnel turn, but I get pretty loose through three. “We tested here for two days a couple of weeks ago, and that helped out a lot. I didn’t have to go out and make a bunch of laps to become familiar with it. It’s a flat track, and I’ve always run good on the flat tracks. Some of m y best runs came at Homestead and places that are similar to this. We’ve been struggling a little bit lately, and it felt pretty good to come off the truck and know we had a pretty decent car.”
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) COMMENT ON CREW CHIEF MIKE FORD WHO WENT HOME TO BE WITH HIS SICK FATHER. TEAM OWNER RAY EVERNHAM WILL SERVE AS ELLIOTT’S CREW CHIEF UNTIL FORD RETURNS “Our thoughts go out to Mike Ford and his family. It’s tough dealing with situations like these. He’s doing the right thing being with his family. We wish them well.”