Pocono II: Dodge drivers qualifying quotes

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid) "We ran just about what we ran in practice, so I'm pretty happy with it. It was a little loose, but that's better than having it pushing. I hate it when it pushes. We led the most laps here in...

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid)

"We ran just about what we ran in practice, so I'm pretty happy with it. It was a little loose, but that's better than having it pushing. I hate it when it pushes. We led the most laps here in June and the most laps last year. Maybe we can lead the lap that counts this time. We brought a different Dodge back for this race. We're saving the one we ran here in June for Indy next week. We had a real good test there with it. This Pocono Dodge really reacts to what you do to it, and we think we know what to do with it for the race. The car we had last week at New Hampshire, you could put the body on backwards and it wouldn't change."

CASEY MEARS (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid)

"That's almost a second faster than we've been today. This is the same Dodge we had here last time, and we ran well in qualifying trim. We struggled a little more in practice with it this time than we did in June. I'm not sure how that lap is going to hold up. I imagine some guys will pick up a lot. We're happy that we picked up from practice, and hopefully that'll put us somewhere near the middle of the field.

"The track was better in qualifying. Sterling and I were really close in practice, and I couldn't get it to work, so we made some changes. We went the right direction for qualifying. We're getting better all the time, and I'm getting more comfortable everywhere we go. Obviously I've still got more to learn, but it's a matter of us making everything work right now. If we can get the chassis right, me on key where I need to be, if we can time all those things together we're going to have a real good run. From the beginning of the year to now, it's night and day different. I feel like I"ve run four years of Busch. I've learned so much to this point. Hopefully we can go back to Happy Hour tomorrow and get the car close to where we had it here last time. We had a top 10 car here last time and ran out of fuel. That's something that's definitely not going to happen again.

"There's always a corner or two here where you can improve. We're definitely not right. Turn one felt OK. The tunnel turn felt real good and turn three felt horrible. It's hard to get it all put together, but I think we came up a fairly decent balance in the three corners."

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid)

"That's about a tenth faster than we practiced. I guess it's been about six months since we picked up from practice (said in jest). It's not all engine when we don't pick up. Most of the time it's driver. We ran our fast lap this morning right off the bat, so we're really about three tenths quicker than where we practiced. We were 20th fastest in practice, so I hope we end up somewhere between there and 36th. We don't want to use another provisional."

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid)

"I'm real happy with that. That was a big gain from practice. The bell housing really bottomed out in practice and was really upsetting the car in turn one. The guys got together and worked real hard on it. We dreamed up a setup and loosened the car up a ton for qualifying. It fixed a lot of the problems we had in practice. It woke it right up. Turn one was killing me in practice, and that cost me a lot of speed. We got some clearance and got it where those front springs could travel. After you get through that you get greedy. You want the tunnel turn to be great. One of the other important turns is turn three. If you don't have speed getting off you're not going to have any speed in the straightaway. We put some more gear ratio to it to get the motor wound up in case we did make a little mistake. Gear ratio is real big here. You've got to have really good luck in the pits (to win Sunday). You've got to have good track position, fuel mileage and obviously a great handling car, but nowadays you can have a great handling car and still lose it on fuel mileage or maybe a two or four-tire stop."

RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid) - immediately after qualifying lap

"It wasn't the best lap like I wanted, but we got it pretty close today. It's important to start out front, but if you can't get to the end it doesn't do you any good. We picked up about four tenths from practice. I think a few clouds helped us in qualifying because there were no clouds out during practice. I know Bill Elliott is good at pulling out a lap here, and I think Jimmie Johnson has a shot. He won the pole here last time and we were second, so the plan is to switch those this time around. It's the same Dodge we had here in June. We didn't dent it in last race and we had a pretty fast car. We got caught back in the track position game and still came home in the top five. We'll see what we can do to make it better for the race."

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid)

"Our cars have come a long way from the beginning of the year. Our race team has come a long way, too. I'm really proud of all the guys. We struggled the first race here and so we brought back a different Dodge. We put in the setup that Sterling raced in June, and we were pretty quick right off the truck. I can't say what he told me or everybody would pick up."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid)

"We came here and qualified terrible in June. We've made huge gains since then on our cars and team chemistry and everything else. To come back and qualify in the top 15 was our goal. This is a great start, and I'm proud of these guys. This is a different Dodge, and we keep getting 'em better. We've got an even better one next week at Indy. I know I can win here, and we'd sure like to win both of 'em. That'd give everybody something to write about for a week or two."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid)

"We picked up from this morning, but the car had a lot of push. I lost a lot of time in turn one and a little at the tunnel turn. I have two races ahead of me this weekend. I have the ARCA race on Saturday, and I'm starting third in that one. Then on Sunday, we'll see what we can do in the Cup race. This will be my first Cup race at Pocono. The track is pretty unique. It reminds me a little of the track at Rio when I used to race there. It's definitely going to be a challenge. I'm enjoying it, but I'd be enjoying it more if I could have gone a little quicker."

JIMMY SPENCER (No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid)

"We thought we were going to be pretty good and then we started to struggle. It's a big improvement from the last time here. It's the same car. We're still working together. Tommy (crew chief Baldwin) and the guys are trying to give me what I want. It's not as easy as everybody thinks it is. You don't have a lot of time in practice. You don't have a lot of new tires, so the guys just kept on working hard today. The confidence level of my guys is up. Once we get that click, we're going to really run good. We're running good now, but we're not that consistent. We'll get it. We ended up 21st. That's not bad. That's better than the other half."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid)

"Unless you're on the pole are you ever satisfied? We picked up about four tenths from practice, but that's still not enough. We just need to figure out what Ryan's doing."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jimmie Johnson