DAVID GILLILAND-38-M&M's Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st) YOU POSTED A FAST TIME EARLY IN QUALIFYING. "The car felt good and I don't feel that I could have done any better of a job. It was perfect on my end and the car was great. Todd and the guys -...
DAVID GILLILAND-38-M&M's Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st)
YOU POSTED A FAST TIME EARLY IN QUALIFYING. "The car felt good and I don't feel that I could have done any better of a job. It was perfect on my end and the car was great. Todd and the guys - and Yates track record speaks for itself here - and it's just a pleasure to drive this M&M's Ford Fusion here today."
YOU ONLY SLOWED DOWN SEVEN HUNDREDTHS OF A SECOND FROM HAPPY HOUR PRACTICE YESTERDAY. "Todd and the guys just prepared a great car. They threw a curveball at us this morning with the restrictor plate, and Doug Yates wasn't worried at all. He put the super-tune on it he told me and the thing ran great. I'm just real proud of the guys. The M&M's Ford Fusion has run good all weekend. It's a pleasure to drive one of their cars, especially here. They've got a great track record here and it's just a pleasure to drive one."
DALE JARRETT-88-UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd)
"We have a great program and we always have at Robert Yates Racing for these type tracks. This looks like a totally new place and feels that way. I kept waiting for those bumps out there in practice yesterday that you knew were there for almost 20 years that I raced here, but they've done a fantastic job of repaving this race track and it should make for some great racing tomorrow."
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING LAP. "We have little to do with this lap. There's nothing I could have done different. I got it in high gear as soon as I could and then held it wide open. It's a good race car and Doug Yates and his people, we only run four of these races a year with restrictor plates, but they're continuously working on that program all the time all through the year and it seems that each time we come back to one we've got a little bit more horsepower than what we had. I have a really good race car. I was happy with it just yesterday and I'm looking forward to the race."
DID YOU FEEL THAT NASCAR NEEDED TO MAKE THE RESTRICTOR PLATE CHANGE THIS MORNING? "No, not from my perspective a changed didn't need to be made. But, looking at why they're doing it, yes, I guess we did need it. The whole idea, it's not that we can't drive these race cars at 198 or close to 200 mph. That can happen and we have a great, nice, smooth race track to do that on, but the liftoff point of these cars is what we have to be cognizant of, and that's what they're looking at. We have look out for these race fans that are going to fill these stands tomorrow to watch us - not up close - and take any chance that our race cars, if should anything happen that they would get up in the stands. It wasn't much of a change, and I know that Doug Yates and his people are right on top of that. I'm sure that they were prepared for that a little bit. It's nice to be with an organization that is that well prepared for things like that. I don't think it's going to change the racing any. It's going to be wild just like it always is."
CARL EDWARDS-99-Office Depot Ford Fusion (Qualified 17th)
DO YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD OR LUCKY HERE? "Definitely a little bit of both. If you have a great car, it makes it really a lot more fun to run here. Our Office Depot Fusion seems to be pretty good. The new surface, the new plates, all of the stuff is going to make it an exciting race, I'm sure. Hopefully we have a little bit of luck to go along with that good car and end up with another top-five or something."
HOW IS THE NEW RACING SURFACE? "You can drive the cars anywhere and that's going to make the last couple of laps, I think, really exciting to say the least. I think you'll see things happen that you normally couldn't do on a track that's as bumpy as it was. Now it's so smooth. It feels like you're going 55 mph don the interstate and we'll see what happens."
MATT KENSETH-17-DeWalt Ford Fusion (Qualified 19th)
THE ROUSH-YATES POWER PLANTS QUALIFIED WELL EARLY TODAY. "We have got a lot of power. Doug Yates and those guys do a great job on the engines, so I'm not worried about that part. It looks like we'll be somewhere ion the middle. It's not as much speed as what you hope to have with it, but when everybody gets in the draft, that's the great equalizer. The track is really smooth and there's a lot of room out there, so I think regardless it should be a great race."
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE RACE TOMORROW? "I look forward to it. We ran pretty well here the last couple of times. Our speedway program has been much better than it used to be. The last year and a half or so we've done OK. I look forward to the race, but this is a race track where you can certainly get caught up in a mess rather easily, so hopefully we have a good enough car that we can stay in the lead pack and stay out of any trouble, if there is any. It's really smooth and it's got a lot of grip. It was getting pretty bumpy before and it had a lot of character. Your car had to handle just a little bit, but now everybody's cars are going to handle good because there's so much grip. It should make for a real big groove and it should make for competitive racing."
DID YOU FEEL THAT NASCAR NEEDED TO MAKE THE RESTRICTOR PLATE CHANGE THIS MORNING? "I don't know. I think we can we can run at 198 mph, and run like that all day, but if there's going to be a wreck it doesn't matter if it's at 192 or 198 mph. I always think it's a little bit better to go faster because I think it gives you a chance to get away from some people and spread out the field."
KEN SCHRADER-21-Motorcraft Ford Fusion (Qualified 23rd)
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY NASCAR'S DECISION TO CHANGE THE RESTRICTOR PLATE SIZE THIS MORNING? "I think it was probably a good move just because the times were getting where they don't want them. The times were getting where they don't want to see them, so they had to do something."
HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT WILL THE CHANGE HAVE IN THE RACING TOMORROW? "It ain't going to make much of a difference."
MARK MARTIN-6-AAA Ford Fusion (Qualified 30th)
"Our AAA Fusion was good in the draft yesterday and so far I really like the new surface here. Our game plan is to try to survive this thing tomorrow. In the last several races here we hadn't even gotten to make a pit stop. I wrecked out of here running fourth, fifth sixth, seventh, something like that. Obviously, we're not going to start up front, so maybe we can be around when it comes time to push the button."
WITH YOUR CURRENT POINT STANDING, DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS COULD BE YOUR BEST CHANCE TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "What we're counting on is a great effort from everybody, Pat Tryson and everybody on this Roush Racing team. Our hearts are in it and we're going to give it our best. No matter how it shakes out, it's been a great year for me and for everyone at AAA. I had the opportunity the work with AAA on teen driver safety issues, which are very important to me, and the fans have just been incredible with their support. I'm going to enjoy these last seven races no matter how it turns out, and obviously we're going to try to come out on top."
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY NASCAR'S DECISION TO CHANGE THE RESTRICTOR PLATE SIZE THIS MORNING? "I always mess up. It's harder to predict, I guess, what NASCAR might do. I predicted they wouldn't do that when it came up yesterday. It's not a big change. It's a small change and if that makes them more comfortable then so be it. It's OK."
GREG BIFFLE-16-National Guard/Charter Ford Fusion (Qualified 5th)
"It was a really nice lap. The Yates-Roush engine certainly means a lot to us. I know that everybody has worked really hard on that program. Tom Ghent and everybody has done a great job with our engines here, and to see the two Yates cars on top of the board is really a salute to our engine program and how good it is. And, we have a good piece under the hood and we have a great race car. The guys did a good job on it overnight trying to figure out the right front springs to put in it to get the travels right for the race, and they've done that and I think I'm going to have a good car."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SURFACE? "This race track with the way that they've resurfaced it, it's so smooth that my hat's off to guys that did the job of paving this place. They did a fantastic job and it feels like you're just on a Sunday drive out there. You have no sensation of speed because it's so smooth. When you get to the corner you can kind of feel it sit you down in the seat a little bit and you feel the cars flatten down on the race track, but that's a neat feeling going around here that fast."
HOW FOCUSED ARE YOU ON GETTING TO 11TH IN POINTS IN THE FINAL SEVEN RACES? "Certainly finishing the highest in points is what we need to do. We're a little ways out of 11th, but if we just keep digging and do the best we can - we have some races left to try and get there and it's a lot of distance to make up - but certainly we're trying to make 11th in points and get ready for next year and hopefully make The Chase again." WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARK'S ANNOUNCEMENT YESTERDAY, AND WHAT DO IT MEAN TO YOU WHEN JACK CALLED YOU THE HEIR APPARENT? "We knew that he was leaving anyway, kinda. We knew that he was going to step down from full-time Nextel Cup racing. Even though Matt Kenseth is older than I am, I've been here longer than he has. Matt and I kinda joke about that back and forth - who's the veteran guy at Roush when Mark leaves? I'm honored to carry the flag. I think we have a great Roush program, and we're refocusing for next year on getting all of our programs up to speed, especially Jamie, and we're forward to this homestretch and we have some big plans to get everybody together as a group. Not that we haven't been doing that, but we're going to focus more on that to see if we can't catch up with all these guys coil binding and all of the things that they're doing to make their race cars faster than ours right now."
ARE THERE ADDED RESPONSIBILITIES TO BE THE SENIOR MEMBER OF THE ORGANIZATION? "Well, I don't know. Possibly. The thing is that we all give our input and we all try to make educated decisions with the best information that we have. It really doesn't matter who it is, whether it's Jamie or Carl or myself or Matt, we're all going to do the best that we can and express ourselves with what we think we need to do as a company. I think mostly what's important about it is that all the drivers are working together and working with the engineers and the crew chiefs to be the best we can."
-credit: ford racing