Rockingham: Ford - Blaney qualifying press conference

DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 1st) ON WINNING HIS FIRST POLE: "It feels great. I just feel so good for the whole Jasper team. They put in so much work this winter. We've got all kinds of new guys come in on top of the...

DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 1st)

ON WINNING HIS FIRST POLE: "It feels great. I just feel so good for the whole Jasper team. They put in so much work this winter. We've got all kinds of new guys come in on top of the guys we had and we're really excited about the whole year. We thought we'd come out looking good. We didn't think we'd come out and get the pole, but it is definitely a great deal. I thank Bootie and everybody back at the shop for building these cars. It was a great day." YOU MADE A LOT OF CHANGES. "Yeah, we have different kinds of cars, different people building them. We just have a whole bunch of new things. We're just trying to improve our team a little bit everywhere. On paper I was real excited because I felt we did that, but you never know until you come out and race."



"I was so pleased with our car the first run of the day. We went out and did some race trim and went out and made 15-18 laps and I was just so impressed. I was a little apprehensive coming down. The guys just built this thing brand new. It was a different kind of car, type of body, everything from what we've been used to and we didn't do any testing with it, so I didn't know what we would have. I was very, very happy with it and then it was more of a bonus that it qualified well. Right now I know it will race well Sunday, regardless of what happens tomorrow, so we're thrilled. Bootie has just re-energized our whole team. The owners did a great job bringing new people in this winter all through the shop, and the pit crew, and Bootie's got a great attitude instilled in them. I thought we were a greatly improved team on paper, but you never know until you come out and race."

BOOTIE BARKER, Crew Chief - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus:

"I feel great about the race car. The race setup, I was really happy with, it did what Dave and I wanted it to do so I guess I'm more pleased with that."

MARK HARRAH, Co-Owner - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus:

IS THERE ANY CONCERN ABOUT THE PENSKE-JASPER ENGINE SITUATION? "Actually, it was not a question at all about it because Jasper owns 33 percent of Penske engines - call it Penske-Jasper South. We talked about it and there was no question and no doubt in my mind that Penske-Jasper engines could do the job this year. They've done a great job over there. We've got a lot more horsepower. We went down to Daytona with a lot and we're looking forward to this year with the engine program we've got."


"I don't know, maybe we had one of those Ryan Newman qualifiers from last year."


COULDN'T IT CREATE SOME PROBLEMS, THOUGH? "If you ever get a chance, Penske-Jasper South down in Concord is an awesome facility. It's second to none. If you ever go by there, you'll understand why we can do both and still be on top of the horsepower game. They've done a great job. Scott Corrier has replaced Larry Wallace. Larry retired and he's obviously doing a good job for them."


HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE IS RACE AND QUALIFYING SETUP? "There's a good amount of difference, but everybody kind of knows how much they need to change it to get the setup right. The main thing we were looking at is we had new equipment and had never been on the track before, so we wanted to get a feel for what it was gonna take for us to get going Sunday and not start the race way off, so that's the main reason we did it. A lot of guys didn't do it, so we kind of did what we needed to do for us."

HOW IS IT TO WIN YOUR FIRST POLE? "It's pretty cool. Sunday is when it really counts, that will be really cool. Man, like I said, I knew we were gonna be a lot better team this year, but I sure didn't expect to come out and win the pole at Rockingham. It's gonna be fun. We've got a lot better team this year and we're gonna do some damage I hope."

IT MEANS A LOT DOESN'T IT? "It does mean a lot. Anytime you can get one of these things, it puts you in that group for (the Bud Shootout) and it's a big deal. These Jasper guys have had a team for a long time. They deserve some poles and wins and we're gonna get after it."

DO YOU CARE WHERE THAT FIRST WIN COMES? "I don't care where that happens. Here is fine. Anywhere would be fine for me to get that first one and get over the hump. Man, that's a huge hump to get over, but I think once you do it comes so much easier. I know I've been through that in different forms of racing. I don't know what it is, but it's in your head and you just can't get over it until you win one."

IF THERE IS NO PRACTICE TOMORROW IS THAT GOOD FOR YOU? "Like I said, we feel good about our race setup. We're good enough to start and comfortable to start where we're at, so it's probably good for us. I don't know how many guys ran race trim today - 10 or 12 - so we feel good. Either way we feel good."

AFTER YOUR RUN WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE RAIN? "Yeah, I was worried. I knew it would rain with five guys to go and start me 19th on points. I knew it, but then all those guys were messing around at the end and wouldn't run, but that's alright - a little stress does you good."


THIS IS THE TEAM'S FIRST POLE. "I think it's a surprise to everybody but ourselves. Dave and Bootie and I worked hard through the winter time with our team to get it where we were and we have high expectations for ourselves. I don't think this will be the last time you see us here. It was obviously no surprise to us that we came here and unloaded well. We had the confidence to pass several tests the last couple of weeks. We came here with a brand new car and knew that we would probably do good. The choice of getting Bootie here has been awesome. He's done a great job this winter and the guys at the shop have been working 16-hour days getting cars done, so we felt like this was probably our weaker car of the cars we have done, so we're getting real excited about Vegas and Atlanta now that we've shown what we can do at Rockingham."


IS IT A RELIEF TO GET HERE AFTER DAYTONA? "It is for me, basically because we didn't have a very fast car at Daytona, so it was a struggle. Daytona is cool too, it's such a big race, but you're there for such a long time that it gets you down a little bit. Here, you get after it. You race the car. You're tight, you're loose, you work with your crew and you fix it. It's just back to racing and I think all the racers enjoy it."


HOW TOUGH WAS TECH TODAY? "We actually went and got our sticker last night. Pat built it with Mike and the rest of the guys and it fit the templates pretty well. There were just a few minor things Billy made us fix, but, like I said, last night we had a sticker."


DOES THIS POLE MEAN A LOT FOR SUNDAY? "The pole means a lot to me, but it probably won't mean a lot as far as what happens Sunday. I'm in total agreement on that, but, to me, it just means our race team is going in the right direction. We've got better race cars and I think a better mix of people throughout. That's what's exciting to me."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman