Ricky Rudd Joliet qualifying press conference

RICKY RUDD WHAT ABOUT YOUR RUN? "It was pretty much uneventful. It was about like our practice runs. It's a really nice race track. It's an easy track to adapt to. We chose not to come here and test strictly for the reason that we wanted to ...

RICKY RUDD

WHAT ABOUT YOUR RUN?

"It was pretty much uneventful. It was about like our practice runs. It's a really nice race track. It's an easy track to adapt to. We chose not to come here and test strictly for the reason that we wanted to save our test dates until the end of the year -- to keep them under our belt in case we need them for our championship points run. So we knew NASCAR was gonna have an extra day of practice, so we decided to go ahead. We felt like we might give up a little bit in qualifying, but by the time race time rolled around we'd be in pretty good shape. We're real pleased with it. It would have been nice to have been two positions better, but that was the best effort we could put out there today. That was a great run for Jimmy Spencer and Todd Bodine, so I'm happy for those guys."

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A ROOKIE GOING INTO THIS RACE?

"I think when anybody mentioned this race track, the guys that tested we quizzed and spoke to all of them to get some insight on what to expect when we got here and the two words that came up were fast and grip. The race track had a lot of grip and was very fast. There's nothing wrong with fast if you've got a lot of grip and this race track has that. The Winston Cup cars have adapted very well to this race track. The only thing I'd say is let's watch and see how the Busch race progresses. We need a second groove in the race track. I noticed the black where the rubber is is getting wider and wider. You can almost squeak out two grooves in the middle of the corner right now, but it still looks like it's about a lane-and-a-half wide getting into the corner. The only thing I would say if we were to start this race right now would be, 'Let's go about it a little cautiously until we get some rubber in that second groove.' That may or may not happen. I believe it will happen and, if it does, it's gonna be a really great and exciting race. If it doesn't happen, you'll see passing, but it will be more like Texas style where you have to set the guy up from the center to the exit of the corner -- drive up underneath of him on the straightaway and usually the guy on the outside doesn't want to be there when you go into turn one and turn three. It will probably be that way at the start of the Busch race. Hopefully, the race track will widen up where that's not a concern."

IS IT A SURPRISE TO SEE YATES ENGINES 1-2-3 AND 5 OF THE TOP 11?

"As far as the engines, is it a surprise? Yates horsepower shines on tracks like this, but this race track is a little bit different. Yeah, it's fast, but a lot of the speed comes from corner speed -- corner grip. Obviously, you've got to have a motor to go down the straightaway, but there's not a lot of straightaway here. It's kind of like Atlanta -- you've got a lot of corner. If you go through the corner good, then if you've got a good motor they complement each other. If you're not going through the corner, there's not a motor in the garage area that will pull you through that. I don't think anybody needs to take anything away from the Todd Bodine-Jimmy Spencer effort because they had to go through the corner awfully well. But it was complemented with a great motor program. Those guys work awfully hard. They came here and tested and put more effort into this pole than we did. They probably deserve it, so, again I'm kind of happy for those guys. Again, the Yates motors, this is a good track for them but not as good as a Pocono or a Michigan."

IS THERE ANY PLACE THAT THIS COMPARES TO?

"I don't think so. This place is sort of unique. When you come off of turn four and start up the front straightaway, it seems like Las Vegas once you roll out into the straightaway. You have sort of a turn really and drive downhill and drive back out. That whole front straightaway is like they just carbon-copied it out of Las Vegas and maybe stretched it a little longer. It seems very much like Las Vegas just the way you arc into the corner into turn one. But that's about the only comparison you have to Vegas. Then, once you get into the corners, to me, three and four seems very much like three and four at Texas -- other than when you exit the corner. They did a better job on the exit of the corner here than they did Texas. It looks like the race track, that they forgot they had to build grandstands. The grandstands are actually closer to the race track than they need to be, so they sort of used their head here to build this facility. They took some of the best things from the better race tracks we run and put them all together. I haven't heard a negative comment yet. Like I said, the only thing we need to watch is to make sure the race track moves into a two-groove race track. Right now it's not that way, but, again, I see no signs that that won't take place. If it becomes a very good two, two-and-a-half-groove race track, it could very well be a lot of guys favorite race track."

HAVE YOU BEEN ENTERTAINED OR DISTURBED WITH THE DISTRACTIONS FROM THIS WEEK?

"It really hasn't concerned me. Obviously, it concerns Dale, Jr. and that team, but I've sort of been out of that loop. It doesn't concern be so I'm not gonna get in the argument or that fight. It doesn't belong to me. I'm gonna mind my own business. It's a little absurd, some of the accusations and such. I was telling someone the other day, I've been in it almost 26 years and I even added three or four or five extra phone lines over the years waiting for that call and I'm still waiting for it. I haven't gotten it yet."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Todd Bodine , Jimmy Spencer