Rockingham Dodge qualifying notes and quotes

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) "Actually the car felt pretty good this morning, but ever since the track started getting hot we just haven't been able to get the car to turn. We'll have to work on it in Happy Hour. I don't...

WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Actually the car felt pretty good this morning, but ever since the track started getting hot we just haven't been able to get the car to turn. We'll have to work on it in Happy Hour. I don't think it was a big disadvantage going out first. It could have been an advantage, but we just didn't take advantage of it."

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We ran a lot better right off the truck. We were real loose in qualifying. We came off the truck pretty good and the car drove decent. We played with some shocks and went to make a banzai run and the entire fan belt came loose. We really didn't know what we had. It was real loose. I thought we could run a 22.40 or 22.50, but it was so loose we just couldn't get in the gas, but we'll be ready for the race. We're going to put our basic setup in that we ran here before. We always run good in the race, but we never seem to qualify good. We'll get the right spring combination in and see what we've got for Sunday. "The shop sent some people (to Rockingham for security), but I think after everything is said and done and everybody has come to their senses... Dale Jr. said it. You get home and the first sentence you read in the paper Monday morning was I ran into Dale Earnhardt. That's what I told them a few minutes ago. Before you write something or say something on TV, you'd better make sure what you're saying or writing is right. I think everybody jumped to conclusions. Seeing what happened, I talked to Dale's mama and his sisters. "Now we're ready to go. I think we've got a good shot to win the championship this year. We've got a good race team. We'll race here and then we'll go to Las Vegas. We're going to focus on racing, and that's it. Everything is positive at the shop."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We didn't test here and a lot of guys did. You get two hours of practice, but with the tires at Darlington and Rockingham and places like that, you get one run and then you're kind of guessing from there on out. I guessed a little wrong. I hope most of the other guys do, too."

JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The car was tight, but I was just trying to get a smooth lap to get in the show. I was loose off, but tight in the beginning. It wasn't too bad of a lap. Now we'll just concentrate on getting set up for the race and getting some laps in. We've got a decent starting spot, so now we'll work hard in Happy Hour and try to get ready for Sunday."

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "That wasn't too bad. We'd run a .58 in practice and came back and ran a .65. We made some changes on the car. It's just slick out there, but we were pretty decent for the time we went. We made several changes. They said not to run too hard on the first lap, but the first lap was the better lap. I guess I tried a little too hard on the second lap. For us and the Dodge, it's our first outing on a shorter track. I'm very impressed. I'm looking forward to the race. We're solidly in the show, and I think the luck of the draw was a little bit against us today, but we gave it our best shot. For all the circumstances that have happened this week, it's been a tough week for everybody. I'm ready to get back in the race car and concentrate on that."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We were a little quicker in practice. If we had drawn an earlier number it would have helped us some. The tires felt a little different. They didn't feel like they did in practice, but we're happy. We're a rookie team with a rookie driver. If we can get in these first four or five races and build some points, we'll go from there. To lose somebody you've watched for so many years, whether you were a Dale Earnhardt fan or not, you can't deny that he was one of the greatest drivers out there. It's a huge loss for the sport to lose Dale Earnhardt. You don't feel like you should be here, but the sport must go on." BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We had been a little faster in practice. It seems like everybody slowed up just a tick in qualifying. We didn't really get to practice like we needed to this morning. We had a problem with the scales. They weren't reading right, so we wasted a little time here in the garage. Then when we went to go back out, somebody lost an oil line, so we sat on pit road. We really only got two runs. Being a rookie, I need to get as many runs as I can get. It's going to be real borderline. It just depends on how the cards fall."

DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It wasn't really a good lap. We were having trouble getting into the corner all morning and we got that fixed, but I was too loose off the corner. I couldn't run the throttle like I needed to. We salvaged 16th, so that was OK. We struggled the second half of practice, so that was fine. This two-day show is OK with me. You'd like maybe a little more race practice, especially with these new cars. We could use all the time we could get to learn, but we'll take what we've got and go for it." STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"This is not quite what we wanted, but we think the Kodiak Dodge is going to race good. We had a pretty good test down here. We just never could put a handle on it this morning. I think I probably drove it a little too hard getting in. We were struggling all morning and knew we had to pick it up some. As long as we race good. We need to come out of here with a top 25 and keep climbing in the points. It's been a long week for everybody, no doubt, but that's all part of it. We know sometimes that things are going to happen and you're going to have a long week. Our week wasn't near as long as the Earnhardts' and Childress'. I'm ready to race. I think everybody is ready to race so they can get this off their minds right now. Everybody needs to be here. It's just like if one of your friends dies, the best thing you can do is go back to work and get busy instead of sitting around and thinking about it. I think that's the same thing here. If we can get back here and get on the track, and get busy, it'll take our mind off of it."

-Dodge Motorsports


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt