KURT BUSCH - No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus (Qualified 10th) WHAT'S THE SECRET TO DOING WELL HERE, MONEY? "At these superspeedways I guess the number of teammates helps and all that research and I guess money doesn't hurt either. It always takes...
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus (Qualified 10th)
WHAT'S THE SECRET TO DOING WELL HERE, MONEY? "At these superspeedways I guess the number of teammates helps and all that research and I guess money doesn't hurt either. It always takes the whole program. We've been good at the plate tracks with solid finishes. Now can we crack that win barrier and see what we can do, whether that's working differently with teammates or if it's just a matter of getting our Ford a little bit quicker. These Chevys have been good and now it's a matter of seeing if we can get a win."
IF YOU HAD TO PICK A DRIVER TO WIN OTHER THAN A ROUSH DRIVER WHO WOULD IT BE? "That's a hard question. I don't want to show favoritism towards one or another, but our Roush guys are solid. We've seen Gordon win three out of the last four at plate tracks, and of course you've got Dale, Jr. and Michael Waltrip and somebody that's always been right there are the Ganassi cars, so look out for them."
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "I knew we'd get the pole but now it's a matter of people bumping us off, but going out first was something I hadn't done in my Nextel Cup career. We went out first today and we'll see if it sticks, but there are a bunch of great cars coming after us and we just hope we did the right job with our Irwin Industrial Tools Ford to get a decent starting spot and go into drafting practice tomorrow."
DO YOU LIKE THIS KIND OF RACING? "I enjoy it. I think it's fun. There are those rough days when you get collected in the big one and you say some things, but coming to Talladega and looking at all these fans, it's fun. These fans are excited about their plate racing and there's no other place like Talladega."
IS IT TIME TO START TALKING ABOUT YOU GUYS IN THE MIX HERE? "We're right there. We've made some big strides over the past couple of seasons in plate racing and working with the wind tunnel numbers and race track data. We've been good. I think we've had a couple of top fives each year at the restrictor plate races and now it's a matter of seeing if we can break through for a victory."
DEI AND HENDRICK HAVE BEEN SO STRONG HERE. HAVE YOU GUYS CAUGHT UP? "We've made some good strides in catching up to that program over the last couple of seasons. To finish second at the Daytona 500, we thought we were a car that was right there. We need some small tweaks here or there and we'll try those out here at Talladega and see if we can win."
THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA. "The biggest thing here is all-out speed. How you can get the car lower to the race track and how you can get it slick through the air. At Daytona you have to balance that but along with a big setup. The setup is really what dictates how well you do at Daytona, but here we're going for speed."
IS TALLADEGA LIKE A SIX-LANE EXPRESSWAY WHILE DAYTONA IS A TWO-LANE HIGHWAY? "It just has that intensity where you're always three-wide and sometimes four. When you have that you have to know which lane you're in and when one guy slides out or one guy adds to it, whereas at Daytona you're only three wide for a little bit. The thing is you slide around so much more at Daytona than you do at Talladega, so you only want side-by-side at Daytona. Here you can handle three-wide, but it is a different mentality."
WHEN YOU'RE IN THE SEAT DURING THE RACE HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU DO IS FEEL AS FAR AS HAVING THE OTHER CARS AROUND YOU? "The momentum that you have when you pass somebody or you can actually feel the car slow down when somebody puts air onto your spoiler or when they pack it into your fender. It's just a matter of knowing how you're running. If you're riding single file in a group, you want to hang there for a little bit because it's a breath of fresh air."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 14th)
"It's a big pickup from what we were doing in practice. We made some changes to this car from Daytona, which will hopefully benefit us on Sunday. That's what we're looking at is the big picture here of trying to get back to Victory Lane. Even though we knew those changes would slow us down qualifying, we feel like it's gonna really help us on Sunday so it should be a lot of fun. These guys did a great job of getting the car to this point for qualifying. That was actually faster than I thought it was probably capable of running, so credit goes to Mike and his guys for making those changes."
HOW MUCH DIFFERENT ARE THE CARS FROM QUALIFYING TO RACE TRIM? "They'll make quite a few changes. Today is about just running a lap here and then seeing what you can get. Tomorrow we get into the real nuts and bolts of this and seeing where you can go on the race track, how well your car works up in the draft, can you lead in the draft - finding out all of those things so you'll be prepared for Sunday." IS IT HOW THE CAR COMES OFF THE HAULER OR CAN YOU TWEAK IT? "You don't have much. What you have aerodynamically, obviously, is what you've got so you can't do much there. You can find some things that may pick it up a little bit in the draft and we'll find that out in Saturday morning's practice and see if we can help it in any way there, but you just make the car as fast as you possibly can, but yet when you get out in a pack it's got to be something you can maneuver with."
ARE YOU CONFIDENT THE FORDS WILL BE UP FRONT? "It's kind of hard to be confident when nobody has won in a Ford here since '98. We haven't led a lot of laps. I saw for the last four races here that I think Elliott has led the most laps and that was like 24. Those are races combined. I think maybe he did that in one race, but we have issues with the aerodynamics here or what it takes to get out front and lead laps here. We have great race cars that Ford provides us, but for some reason the other makes are a little bit better than we are at this place. You know that going in, so you position yourself to try and lead when it counts and that's on the last lap."
HERMIE SADLER - No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus (Qualified 30th)
"That was a good lap for us. We knew we had some stuff back in practice. This is the same car that I ran here last fall. We wrecked at Talladega, so thanks to all the folks at Yates. We bought this car from them and that's gonna be a good, solid start for us. Now we've just got to turn it into a good finish."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT QUALIFYING BETTER THAN DALE EARNHARDT, JR. WITH ALL THE SUCCESS HE'S HAD HERE? "Well, qualifying is one thing and racing is another. I think I'd probably make more headlines if I out run him in the race, so that's the goal now. But that was just a good, solid lap for our guys. We're happy with that. It's gonna be a whole lot more fun this weekend than last weekend."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Ortho Taurus (Qualified 21st)
"I'm really happy with it. We changed transmissions earlier today so we knew going into qualifying today that our Ortho Ford was gonna have to start in the rear either way, so this was just a pride thing for Bob Osborne and our whole Ortho crew. We just wanted to put as good of a lap down as we could and we picked up four-tenths, so I'm really proud of the guys. I hope they're happy with that lap."
IT HELPS FOR PIT SELECTION, RIGHT? "Absolutely. The pits here are a little bit crazy from what I've seen on tape and that one race I ran here in the Cup car, so pit selection will be a big deal and this will help with that, too. We're just having fun. That was a fun lap. It's neat to get to run these cars this fast around such a great big race track, so I'm having a good time."
NOT MANY DRIVERS SMILE AFTER QUALIFYING OR THE RACE BUT YOU DO. "Yeah, I just have a good time. It's Friday. We're at a race track and I get to drive a race car. That's about as good as it gets. I get to go over to the dirt track tonight and run a match race tonight with some guys, so we're just having a good time. I'm looking forward to racing this weekend."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 16th)
HOW DID YOU PICK UP FROM PRACTICE? "I don't know. I think Pat Tryson and the Viagra team took that car to the doctor or something after last run there. It was a different race car. I was pretty discouraged after practice and didn't really talk to them much, but they did something. It's a great team and they show that real often. They definitely pulled a rabbit out of the hat today and it would be nice to be strong Sunday and have a good outing here and maybe be able to stay out in front of the wrecks."
YOU'VE BEEN OPEN ABOUT YOUR DISLIKE FOR RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING, BUT YOU'VE HAD SUCCESS. WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT TO? "I drive good cars and that's the main thing. You have to have a good car to do well here. One of the races I won here was no cautions. I'd like to see 500 miles on Sunday without a yellow flag."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus (Qualified 23rd)
"That was good. We were real slow in practice and we qualified better than we practiced, so that was good. Last fall this car qualified really well and then it didn't race very good. It seemed to be a little slower in qualifying this time than we were last time, so hopefully we'll be able to figure it out and it'll draft decent."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Qualified 29th)
"It was a pretty uneventful lap. I don't know where the speed went in the Guard car, but it's kind of unfortunate. Hopefully we'll find it back for happy hour or something and get that thing going again. We're kind of scratching our heads. We don't know where we lost the speed at. We expected to be better than that and maybe be in the top 10 or top 15 at least because that's where we were in practice, but we really don't know where the speed went."
DOES THIS RACE CONCERN YOU? "A little bit. You can get caught up in somebody else's wreck pretty easy here, but we think we've run good in the draft and things like that during the race, so if just keep our nose clean and not wreck on pit road, I think we're gonna be OK for the day."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"A Ford hasn't won a race here since 1998 and we hardly even lead any laps when we come and everybody in the fab shop wants to change that. They've built me a brand new race car. It's never been tested or anything and we brought it right down here and it's probably gonna qualify in the top three or four. That says a lot about our program. We want to get it up there. We want to be recognized as another DEI or another Hendrick, but we've got to win some races and run up front and lead some laps and this is a great place to start to do that at here at Talladega."
DID GOING OUT LATE HELP? "I don't know. I think the wind pretty much stayed the same all day long. I think it's kind of an advantage to go out early because the oil and everything is still hot, but I don't know. We don't know if it's an advantage or not. We brought a brand new race car down here. It's never been tested. A Ford hasn't won here since 1998, so I really want to get one in Victory Lane Sunday and I can't think of a better place to start. That will probably be in the top three or four so we'll see where it ends up."
DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY? "If you've got a fast car, those guys will get in line and go with you. We know the 24 is gonna be strong, and the 15 and the 8. We just need a Ford up there. I think all the Roush guys are working real hard on their bodies and stuff. I know Dale Jarrett and the 88 team and my guys are working really hard. The guys in the fab shop have done a great job. This is by far the best race car I've had here at Talladega since I sat on the pole here a couple years ago, so I've got something that can run with them on Sunday - just gotta be in the right place at the right time. I just want to get a Ford in Victory Lane. I'm tired of those bow ties hogging up all the show here, so I'm gonna try to go out there and lead some laps and do what we can."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Qualified 7th)
"We wished for more. In practice we ended up fourth-fastest on the board, but we knew then we didn't have much left. That was pretty much everything. The car was blocked up, taped up. I think they had a few things to do with the lighter weight fluids and stuff you use for qualifying, but we pretty much ran just a tick quicker than we had practiced. I kind of wish we were at the top of the board. This is the car that qualified first and second at both of these races, so it pretty much kind of got moved to the side and the guys prepped it, but not a whole lot has been done since then like trying to make it better. They went to work on a second car that we took to Daytona and it got destroyed, so we brought this one back here to Talladega."
THE WOOD BROTHERS HAVE BEEN STRONG AT RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS. "When I came on board with these guys their stuff ran pretty good right off the bat. I remember when Elliott Sadler was over here it seemed like he always ran good at restrictor plate tracks. I'm not really sure. It's probably the years of knowledge there and, of course, Fatback McSwain brings something to the table. The cars have always been fairly quick, but now they're driving good in race trim. I have to pat Fatback on the back for that one - getting the cars to race good. We're gonna know tomorrow in happy hour how well we're gonna race, but I think we're gonna be like everybody else. We're gonna find our way at the front and we're gonna find our way at the back tomorrow. Who knows, we might have found our way at the top of the board, I just didn't get my hand out the window far enough I guess. That's the problem."