CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Claritin Ford Fusion (Qualified 16th) "That was pretty good. It's so early that it's kind of hard to tell how we're gonna stack up, but I'm proud of my guys. That's what I've got and hopefully we can have a good race...
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Claritin Ford Fusion (Qualified 16th)
"That was pretty good. It's so early that it's kind of hard to tell how we're gonna stack up, but I'm proud of my guys. That's what I've got and hopefully we can have a good race with this Claritin Fusion. Right now, we're at the point where we just need to have a good, solid points run. Obviously, you want to be on the pole, but it's impound and you never know what people are doing, so hopefully it races well."
HOW GOOD OF A RESTRICTOR PLATE RACER DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? "Well, I'm alright. We've run pretty well at a lot of these. I've learned a lot. What is it they say? Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted, so I've got a ton of experience and we'll see how it goes."
SOME GUYS WILL HAVE QUALIFYING SETUPS AND SOME WON'T. IS THAT WHAT CAUSES THE START OF THE RACE TO BE MORE HECTIC? "You just never know what people have got. You never know if somebody is doing something that's not gonna last or if they're doing something that's gonna make their car hard to drive. More than ever in practice yesterday this thing was like a six-lane interstate. You can driver wherever you want. Nobody is having any trouble with handling and no one can get away from anyone else. It's the Aaron's 499, I guess 498 will be just surviving and the last mile will be the race."
DO YOU WANT TO BE THE LEADER BEFORE YOU GET TO THE WHITE FLAG? "I learned that last year at Daytona with Kyle Busch. We're side-by-side and I'm thinking, 'How are we gonna get this to the start-finish line,' and all of a sudden they're like, 'That's the race,' so you've got to be cognizant of that for sure."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IT? "If it weren't a points race maybe I would be. Racing is racing. I have fun when I'm in the car, but this is a different type of racing. This isn't something where you can do some driving and get away. You're part of the mess and you hope that it works out."
JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 33rd)
"It would be more fun to get to practice, but I think the impound rule they have here is wonderful because qualifying is so irrelevant that it certainly saves the teams a lot of work. We ran a lot slower today than we ran yesterday, but it's so hard to tell when you get a different plate and then with the way the winds are and everything. It's just not worth getting worked up over here because by the time you make it back to the start-finish line it's typically irrelevant."
PAUL MENARD -- No. 98 Turtle Wax Ford Fusion (Qualified 24th)
"Obviously, you'd like to start in the top five or something and stay up there, but you can gain or lose 20 positions in a lap, so it doesn't really matter a whole lot. We basically backed up what we ran yesterday, so that's what we've got, but I'm happy with how the car is driving and sucking up in the draft, so it should be fun tomorrow."
YOUR BEST CAREER FINISH WAS HERE LAST YEAR (2ND), SO DO YOU LIKE THIS KIND OF RACING? "Actually, this is my least favorite type of racing -- Talladega probably being first and then Daytona -- but it's part of what we do and you learn as you go and pick up things everytime you go on the track."
IS IT BECAUSE YOU'RE ALL RUNNING THE SAME SPEED AND ALL STUCK TOGETHER? "It's just really frustrating because you don't have any power to make any moves. You can't stomp on the gas and squirt by somebody, and you're at everybody else's mercy. If somebody makes a mistake and you're two or three-wide, there's nothing you can do about it. It's just a very frustrating type of racing."
BOBBY LABONTE -- No. 96 Ask.com Ford Fusion (Qualified 12th)
"This is way better than last weekend so far. I didn't seem to struggle through qualifying like we did last week. Really, I'm excited about the race tomorrow and know that we've got a good race car. Yesterday in practice it was good and hopefully we'll qualify in the top 10 here before the day is over and I just feel good about that. I'm just gonna make sure that we have a good race and stay as safe as possible. Obviously, if you're in the truck on a flat bed or laid up in the hospital or whatever the case may be, you need to be going in the right direction on the last lap and you've got to make sure you've got yourself in a position for that. I've been upside-down and I've been going forward on the last lap, and I've been up front all day and still finished 16th, and I've been in the back all day and finished in the top five easy, so you just have to make sure you stay out of trouble and do the best you can. I think we've got a great chance at it and a good qualifying position will pump the guys up because they worked real hard on this car, so I'm excited about it."
IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A RACE THAT MAYBE WASN'T THERE AT MARTINSVILLE OR BRISTOL? "Definitely. There's no doubt that this places lends itself to that. If you're two-tenths off at Martinsville, it's gonna have to be something pretty tricky to happen to really beat those guys at the end of the race, if it comes down to a lot of green flag laps or if they're on your butt for a green-white-checkered type of things. A lot of things can happen and a lot of things can happen here. We always see the chance of an effort there at the end that's like, 'Where did you come from? How did you make that happen?' So it's definitely an opportunistic race track."
ANY STRATEGY TOMORROW LIKE HANGING BACK? "No. I don't ever really try to have that strategy before the race because I think that's a pretty set notion. You just kind of go see where you end up, see what you've got and how you feel about it. I think that's what you have to keep on and make that work for you. We'll just see how that goes and plays out, and what other people might do. Other people might have a strategy already set before the race ever starts. They might say, 'Hey, we're gonna go to the back. We're gonna go to the front. We're gonna drive this way. We're gonna drive that way.' You just kind of play what everybody else gives you."
DAVID RAGAN -- No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 10th)
"We obviously did all race runs in practice. We came down to get our Ford to handle and be fast in the pack, so we didn't really know what to expect for qualifying, but I'm pleased with that and we're happy to see some of our other teammates in the top 10 as well."
IS THIS AN OPPORTUNISTIC TRACK TO WIN AS OPPOSED TO SOME OTHERS? "Every race for our UPS team is an opportunity race. We feel like our team is as strong as any team at any of the tracks from short to big and everything in the middle if we're on our game. We just haven't been on top of things with our race cars and with the speed on the race track, so going to Richmond and going to Darlington, we have the same confidence we have here at Talladega. Up to this date, we haven't performed like we should have, but this is absolutely a race we can win. This is a race that any Ford can win and so is Richmond and Darlington, so we've just got to stay focused and take care of our UPS team and hopefully be around at the end."
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (Qualified 13th)
YOU, DAVID AND GREG ALL RAN FAIRLY CLOSE IN THE QUALIFYING ORDER AND YOU'RE CLOSE ON THE GRID RIGHT NOW. ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE LAP? "I'm not sure where that will end up because all of the laps feel the same here. It's just a case of running whatever the car will run. I don't know where David and Greg are in relation to us, and there are still a few cars to go, so we'll just have to see where we start."
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd)
"I'm so thrilled. That just goes to show you how hard these guys work because that certainly has nothing to do with me -- that lap out there. It's all to do with the engine and how hard these guys worked on preparing the car and the body work and all the guys straight-line testing out in Arizona for a week or two. I don't know how many times they've been out there the past year. A lot of hard work pays off when stuff like this happens."
CAN ANYBODY GET BEHIND THE WHEEL TO DRIVE ONE OF THESE CARS? "I think so for qualifying. It takes a little bit different skill set when you put more than one car up there at a time, but, really, one car out there at a time it's like driving really fast on the freeway -- it's relatively easy to do. You can still make mistakes, but you want to be real efficient about how you turn the steering wheel down in the corner and not bind the car up and slow it down any, but, right there, that was mostly all race car. I'm real happy for them."
-credit: ford racing