RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 17th) "We've only had a few cars go, but that's a good qualifying run just based off of qualifying speeds from this morning. We didn't get to duplicate what we ran, but it was still a good run for the...
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Qualified 17th)
"We've only had a few cars go, but that's a good qualifying run just based off of qualifying speeds from this morning. We didn't get to duplicate what we ran, but it was still a good run for the ALLTEL Ford."
YOU'VE PICKED THE COURSE UP PRETTY FAST. "We did come out here and test, so I got some laps and some experience under my belt, but, overall, it's still a learning process. I'll keep learning all weekend and then be able to come back next time and do a little bit better."
ARE YOU MORE PROUD TO RUN WELL HERE AT A ROAD COURSE AND BEAT SOME OF THESE OTHER GUYS WITH MORE EXPERIENCE? "I'm proud when we can run good anywhere. The series is so tough and so competitive that you just try to take it one step at a time and you try to keep getting yourself a little bit better as you go."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Havoline Taurus (Qualified 7th)
HOW MUCH DID YOUR TEST HELP? "We didn't really work on qualifying that much when we tested here. We worked more on race setup and did very little with qualifying runs. It helps from the standpoint that the track does look different when you drive the race track and I was able to do all my learning when I was here last time. Now that I'm back here 30 days later, there is still some adjusting because the track still seems kind of new -- mainly because it looks different. The test just helped us get settled down earlier. Just about everybody here today will have run some road course, whether it be Virginia International Raceway or Kershaw (SC), but just about everybody has gone to some type of a road course to tune themselves up as much as their equipment. That's what this place is about, tuning up the driver."
YOU PICKED UP THREE-TENTHS FROM PRACTICE. "Yeah. I didn't go 100 percent in practice. I went maybe 98 percent. I left a little bit and the only reason I did was that I didn't want to get off the track. That qualifying lap was as aggressive as I could possibly go and stay on the race track. If you get a little too aggressive and you don't run off the track, you'll actually run slower. You'll start sliding your brakes and stuff like that and you'll run a slower lap than you practiced. That's all we had. If it's good enough, we'll see. If it's not, it's gonna be somewhere close to the front and a good starting spot for this Havoline Taurus."
BORIS SAID --67-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 10th)
"I feel like a ton of bricks have been lifted off my shoulder. It's hard to explain to people how tough this is, especially coming from road racing where you have 20 minutes to qualify and here you have one lap. I was pretty nervous. Everyone at Jasper who helped put this car together, that was a good run. I gave up some. I was gonna be conservative the whole lap -- to just get in the top 20 and be happy with that -- but then you get out there and you start driving and your ego gets in the way because these cars are so much fun to drive. I had a good lap going. I screwed up turn 10 pretty bad and overdrove it in. It took me a little while to get back on the gas, but I'm happy with this. Anywhere in the top 15 is better than I was last year. I have a bad qualifying record. I usually spin out or blow up or something, so it's good to get a good, solid lap."
YOU DO SEEM TO HAVE PROBLEMS IN QUALIFYING HERE. "I've come here and run fast and I've blown up motors and transmissions. I've had oil come out of the tank and last year I spun out on my own. We were just conservative the whole time trying to get laps in and I feel pretty happy just to be in the show solid."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"In practice we didn't have our best lap on new tires. We went out and got in some trouble with our new tires and then we went back out and had to make our real run on two-lappers. So our speed wasn't on the board from what we thought we could run and we made the car a little bit better too. We made some small changes just to make it a little bit better and it worked."
IS THIS THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA? "Everybody thinks we never run well on road courses, but we've run second and third at Watkins Glen the last two years. We were leading here two years ago when we broke. We finished eighth and second on road courses last year. We've run well on road courses, but we don't have a win to show for it. Unless you win, nobody thinks you know how to do it. We've run real well, we just don't have a lot of results to show for it."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Qualified 8th)
"It was pretty good. It was a little slick out there. I didn't have the grip the way I really wanted it, so we're gonna keep working on that. I was a little pushy in some areas and a little loose in others."
DOES THIS TRACK HAVE A DIFFERENT FEEL THIS YEAR? "It's really hard to get used to because the track is so different looking. It's the same track except for the front straightaway, but, boy, the visuals are way different because they tore so many mountains and stuff down around here. I still find myself hunting how to get around the place."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools/AT&T Broadband Taurus (Qualified 6th)
"That helps. Today we threw something at the car and it was amazing because we picked up a whole bunch of time. That helped me a lot. I know Jeff applied it to his car too, and I hoped it helped him out. I'm happy where we are. I think that will be in the top 10, but, on the other hand, I'm really disappointed because I messed up the lap. I had a really good lap going and I got a little greedy getting into turn 10. I missed the corner and got up in the outside groove and probably cost myself a couple tenths. I'm happy to qualify as fast as we can, but you get a little mad when you mess up a corner."
YOU WERE JOKING WITH JEFF A LITTLE BIT? "I asked one of the guys on his crew if Burton's throttle stuck because usually me and Jeff qualify in the back pretty much every week. We're both up here for now, even though there are a lot of guys still left to go and we could get pushed back. I'm really happy about the way the teamwork has been at Roush Racing this year. Everybody has really been working together moreso now than in the past. It seems like when one car finds something they're able to relate it to the other cars and it seems to help everybody. I feel like everybody is working good together. You like to see your teammates be successful and you like to be successful with the stuff that they learn, too, so it's been working out good."
SO YOU FOUND SOMETHING TODAY? "Yeah. We picked up a bunch of time this morning and I know Jeff used some of it and it seemed to help him too. We tried some things that we probably wouldn't try on an oval course and it seemed to work pretty good. It's good when we can work together and all share stuff and it works. It's good when you use each other's stuff, but it's even better when it works."
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 44th)
"It was just a stupid mistake. That's two weeks in a row. I don't know what I'm doing. I thought I had a pretty good lap going, I thought, but I went too hard through that corner and got loose getting in. I tried to save it, but I just got lucky I didn't hit anything. I'm lucky the car is in one piece. We'll have to start in the back, which really puts us in a hole, but we'll fight through it. I know my guys are gonna give me good pit stops on Sunday and we'll try to do some kind of pit strategy to get through this."
AT LEAST THERE'S NO GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. "Yeah. I never had been on Gilligan's Island, but that surely would have put me on there this year. Thank God they don't have it anymore."
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES. "Last year, we had to sit on Gilligan's Island because we spun in qualifying. Jimmy Fennig's experience is unbelievable. It's made me understand these cars more and it's given me more confidence. We're just able to click off race after race what we're supposed to be doing and that's starting up front and finishing up front."
DID YOU LEARN FROM LAST YEAR? "We came here last year without a test and I think that test this year really helped us. That gave us some track time. We knew they were changing the front straightaway around and re-paving a couple of the corners. When you come here, you only get two hours of practice time when you come to race and when there's a problem -- like an oil down -- it goes down to about an hour and 10 minutes, so you lose all that time. Testing here is vital."
WHAT ABOUT THE LAP? "I made two little mistakes out there. It's funny, us oval guys, we have our marks out there. We normally don't run road courses, so we pick out cones or pick out cactuses -- whatever we're looking at -- but going into seven, I don't know what I was looking at, but I took it in there forever. That was the slip and then in turn 10 we got a little bit tight through there. Maybe it was the 21 going off, but that was a nice solid run. This is what we need to do. We need to come here and qualify good because it gives you a whole different outlook on what the race is gonna be on Sunday."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (Qualified 12th)
"That was a conservative run, a good run. I didn't get my best lap and I didn't try to get my best lap. We slipped off the track last year and used a provisional and starting around 15th is gonna be a whole lot better than that."
HOW DOES THIS PLACE LOOK FROM A DRIVER'S PERSPECTIVE WITH ALL THE CHANGES? "It's a little bit different and I really haven't had enough time to get real comfortable and get to know it's personality as far as what I can and can't do. My car feels real different this year. The track feels different and I think happy hour is gonna be of benefit to us to get it sorted out. I never felt like we got sorted out in practice."