Rockingham: Ford drivers qualifying quotes

GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Qualified 13th) "I just knew the lap times picked up a bunch and I knew I had to be conservative. I was being too erratic out there on my practice runs, so I laid down what I felt was a pretty conservative...

GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Qualified 13th)

"I just knew the lap times picked up a bunch and I knew I had to be conservative. I was being too erratic out there on my practice runs, so I laid down what I felt was a pretty conservative first lap. I got a feel for the race track and I had a beautiful second lap going. I'm telling you, it was nothing but nice and I got into turn three and got it sideways and lost a couple tenths. I'm pretty disappointed with myself. I'm excited about the guys because they did a great job. The Grainger Ford ran really well in qualifying trim, but I left at least two tenths on the table down in three and four. That kind of gets me because maybe a .50 would have been the pole, but we'll see."

KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 27th)

"We thought we had a good handle on it. We unloaded like we thought we needed to and made just two small adjustments and that completely threw the Rubbermaid Ford off. I don't know why. It's just qualifying, though. It's no biggie."

HOW IMPORTANT IS PRACTICE TIME HERE? "You need time here. You just can't go get a feel with four or five laps like you can at other places. The car feels like a million bucks here for 10 laps and then it feels like you've got banana peels under you from lap 10 to lap 60. After lap 60, you want to come in and get tires, but you still have to go a little bit further so you don't short yourself on fuel and create an extra pit stop throughout the race."

THERE'S TALK OF ROCKINGHAM POSSIBLY LOSING A RACE IN THE FUTURE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? "I really enjoy racing here. It does have a unique feeling about it. We come here the second race of the year and then not until the third race from the end, so there's a wide spread between races. It's a great race track to race on because you have to conserve your tires, you can race three-wide, pit strategy really comes into play and it's close to home. I really can't pinpoint a track that deserves to lose a date, so I've just got to say that this is a great place to race at and it would be tough to see them lose a date. It seems like all of the tracks we're creating lately are just single-groove type race tracks that are tough to break in, so it would be tough to lose this one."

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

"We had a really good car in practice. We went out for the first 30 or 40 minutes in race trim and we were good. Then we made a sticker run in qualifying trim right at the end of practice and we were as good as anybody's second tire run, so I knew we had a shot at it. Hopefully, that ends up in the first three or four rows and we'll be good."

ARE YOU PLEASED? "We're really pleased. We were a little bit scared coming in because we had a brand new car that we had never tested or did anything with, and we had a lot of different stuff than we're used to running. Everybody did a great job on it. We ran a lot of race trim stuff early this morning and I was really impressed with that, so it was a bonus to get a good qualifying lap."

IS IT GOOD TO BE HERE AFTER DAYTONA, A PLACE THAT MIGHT SUIT THE TEAM MORE? "Yeah, it's more fun for us. When you drive it, you're lose, you're tight. You can sling it around and it's a lot more fun."

JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Qualified 43rd)

"I honestly, really and truly cannot tell you what just happened. I was coming up to speed and wasn't going hard when I lost the rear tires. The rear tires starting spinning so I got off the throttle and I just couldn't catch back up with it. I don't know."

YOU SURVEYED THE DAMAGE. "It didn't hit that hard, I don't think, but it hit hard enough in qualifying to where the wheels are bent and I'm sure the ball joints are bent. I just don't know what else to say."

RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 28th)

"We worked on race setup most of the morning. We started the morning with a qualfying attempt and the car was too tight. They freed it up when we did make our qualifying run and that helped put some speed in it, but we needed a little bit more. It was just a little bit too tight and that probably hurt us a tenth in each corner, which is two tenths and that's a bunch today. But I feel pretty good about deciding to go on race setup. I think half the field worked on race setup, so we learned some things on that which will help us if we don't get a chance to run because of the rain tomorrow."

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 3rd)

SPARKS WERE FLYING OFF THE TURN. "Yeah, we were going fast enough to drag. We got a real nice lap. I scared myself the first lap, probably a little bit too much because I was about shook up by the time I got done with the second lap. I was really surprised the second lap was faster. It's real fun for me to go after it all the first lap. I like one-lap qualifying. I like doing that to myself. That's how I do my deal. As cold as it is, the tires are not really in so I had it on the knife edge for sure."

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 9th)

"We picked up a lot in qualifying. These guys did a great job working on the car and making changes. I think it just shows the communication between the two teams with Brad and myself and Chris Hill. Everything is going really well, so I was glad to see it picked up. When I first went out this afternoon I couldn't even drive this thing, so we're pretty happy with that. It will be a decent starting spot and I think the race package will be really good Sunday."

QUALIFYING IS PRETTY CLOSE HERE. "Yeah, I've never seen it this close. I'm sitting there in ninth and it's only eight-hundreths off what the pole speed is right now. That's generally more of what you would see at a half-mile track, but not at a place like Rockingham where it's so hard to get around. It might be a pretty incredible race come Sunday."

MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 18th)

"I'm really happy to be 17th. That was a great job by the DEWALT team. I think we've got a good car. We didn't do any qualifying practice at all and the way NASCAR had tech today and we were in the tech line and got out there so late, I was just out of sorts. I tried to get too much and screwed up my second lap or else we probably could have been a little better, but, overall, it was a great effort for us."

ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 11th)

"I'm so happy with that. We were really worried about qualifying here. We didn't really test down here, but the M&M's Ford Taurus was very good. I'm proud of these guys. We were only 20th-quick in practice. They tuned the motor up a little bit and made a few changes and they definitely went in the right direction on every step. I messed up the second lap going for it, but they did good."

ANY PROBLEMS GETTING TO THE LINE? "I think everybody was slow there at the end. I think NASCAR is just trying to be so thorough with this being the first time at a short track with these body rules, so they were just being thorough. We went through OK."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup