AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 36th) "It's funny. It really doesn't matter that much where you end up in the qualifying order. It's one of those things where you're just out there kind of riding along trying...
AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 36th)
"It's funny. It really doesn't matter that much where you end up in the qualifying order. It's one of those things where you're just out there kind of riding along trying to not move your hands very much, just out for a Sunday drive. It wasn't a big deal. We'll start where we start and go from there."
HOW WAS THE LAP OVERALL? "I fell asleep at one point down the back straightaway. I took a nap, but woke up for three, luckily, just in time to make the corner. Other than that, there's some nice scenery down the back straight. There seems like a nice party still going on from last night, so that was pretty good. I was pretty excited about that. I think I know where to hang out tonight, but, other than that, that was about it (laughing)."
HOW CHALLENGING IS IT RIGHT NOW? "Ultimately, you can only control what you can control. I can control racing the car right now. I wish I had answers. I wish I could tell my team guys it's gonna be okay. I wish I could have answers that everybody wants, but I don't. Robbie Loomis is the guy to talk to about those answers. For me, all we can do is just like last week, we go to the race track and come with the guys, have fun, put our heads down and try to win a race. It's not easy. I'm not sitting at home just thinking everything is peachy. I'm a guy that stresses a lot about everything, so, in the end, we're here racing the car. Hopefully, next weekend we're at Texas racing the car, but we're here, we're having fun and it's the same goal - go out there and win."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 34th)
"Qualifying laps at Talladega are not very exciting and it was uneventful. The car feels like it's going turtle speed when you're out there by yourself and it's so big, but we'll see where it stands up. Maybe the wind will come up a little bit and it'll warm up and help us out."
WILL YOU EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR CAR AT THE START OF THE RACE TO SEE WHAT IT CAN DO? "I think so. I think you've got to try some stuff tomorrow. I didn't get a chance to in happy hour yesterday because we were working so much on the vibration, so I'm looking forward to trying a lot of stuff tomorrow."
PAUL MENARD - No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion (Qualified 38th)
"Qualifying here is never eventful, but the race makes up for it. We lost a little bit of time from yesterday. It's a lot less windy today, but we knew we weren't gonna start on the pole. Hopefully, we can stay out of trouble because we've got a really fast race car. We'll try to stay out of trouble for the first 450 miles and race them the last 50."
WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR TOMORROW? "We'll see where we end up in qualifying, but we tried a lot of things yesterday. Our Fusion sucks up really well. It can push the car in front and there's no problem with handling. I can put it where I want to, it's just a matter of being in the right line at the right time."
ROBERT RICHARDSON, JR. - No. 34 A&W All-American Food Ford Fusion (Qualified 44th)
"It was pretty uneventful. You just take it easy around this place in qualifying and try to run smooth and make a consistent lap. I'm not sure if it was better than the mock-up run we made yesterday or not, but I imagine it was. I'm about to go talk to my crew chief and see how it stacks up."
ARIC ALMIROLA - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Qualified 37th)
"That was good. It was good yesterday in race practice, so that's what I'm more worried about. I'm just gonna go race. I know there's a lot of people on a lot of different agendas, but the beauty of the situation that I feel like I'm put in is I have absolutely no pressure. I've got a great opportunity next year to go drive Dale Jr's. Nationwide car, so I'm not auditioning for a job or anything like that, so I can just go race. It's kind of fun for me, actually."
DAVID GILLILAND - No. 37 Taco Bell Ford Fusion (Qualified 43rd)
"This is the easiest track for qualifying from a driver's point of view of anywhere we go. That was our first qualifying run of the whole weekend. We obviously focused everything on race trim yesterday and getting the car to drive good and draft well. I feel like our Taco Bell Ford Fusion will be good for tomorrow and that's what's real important."
IS THIS TRACK AN EQUALIZER FOR A TEAM LIKE YOURS THAT HAS OLDER EQUIPMENT? "Yeah, I feel like we have a better chance here of getting probably our best finish of the year than anywhere else we go, just for the simple fact that you can get up there and anything can happen. I feel if you've got the car driving well, you're in the mix. A lot of other tracks it's hard to take a three-year-old car to a Charlotte or anywhere, really, and be competitive and feel like you've got a chance. But I feel like here with the way we had the car driving yesterday and the way the draft works here, and everything else that can unfold, that we actually really have a chance. It's a good feeling and I feel good about tomorrow."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 27th)
"We'll see where it stacks up at the end, but the car is still in race trim so you don't really know what you're gonna have for sure, but it seemed like the speed was reasonable, so that's good. I'm just gonna try to race for 500 miles. All of the fans pay a lot of money to come and watch us race and I think we probably need to race all day. I'm gonna go out and run hard. Anything can happen at anytime. You can wreck the last lap as easy as you can the first lap, so you try not to put yourself in a bad position, but I'm gonna go out and race and see what we've got."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion (Qualified 23rd)
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "My qualifying lap was uneventful, which is what you want. The car drove really well. I think we were competitive speed-wise and now we'll just go race and, hopefully, we can get some of these Roush Fords nose to tail and make something happen at the end of this race."
ANY STRATEGY? "I think we'll try some things early in the race, but it's still the same Talladega. There is still huge risk involved and you just want to be there at the end and then go for it."
THOUGHTS ON JIM HUNTER. "We all know Jim Hunter. I'm not too proud of the way I met him. I had a little traffic citation on the way to one of the race tracks and it was when I was running the Truck Series. I was real nervous about it because I never really had to deal with that away from home, so I didn't know who to talk to or what to do and Jack Roush said, 'Jim Hunter is the guy you need to go talk to.' So I went and talked to Hunter and he put his arm around me and said, 'Alright, we'll take care of you. We take care of all sorts of things like this.' From then on, to me, he was like a father figure, a guy I could trust when I went to get his opinion. He could always help me, and the traffic ticket worked out fine. It wasn't that big of a deal, but it was only because of Hunter."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 19 Hunt Brother's Ford Fusion (Qualified 33rd)
"That was a normal Talladega lap, you just hold it straight and hold the gas down, and where you qualify is where you qualify. We'll go get 'em tomorrow. We're definitely gonna race, at least at the beginning and see what happens, see what kind of position we're in or how wild it is, but it's gonna be a pretty wild race tomorrow with the two-car tandems we've figured out and all the bump drafting. It should be a really good race for everyone tomorrow to watch."
DAVID RAGAN - No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 28th)
"It was a little windier than when the session started, but I think we've got a great UPS Ford Fusion for tomorrow. If we could have gone out in the top five or ten, I think we would have been a few tenths faster, but it is what it is here. It's a little windier than yesterday or what we hoped it would be, but our car is fast and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We've got a lot of confidence. Our car drives well. It's got good speed, so it's a lot of fun to come to a track where we've got a good chance. Obviously, you can't control those B factors sometimes, where you get caught in a wreck or misfortune of someone else's doing, so it's tough to say where we're gonna finish, but I know we're gonna run great."
TRAVIS KVAPIL - No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford Fusion (DNQ)
"Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do to make it any better, or hurt it for that matter. When you come to Talladega and Daytona, Talladega especially, you've got what you've got as far as what the race car is capable of and that's all we had. That was the fastest we ran all weekend. We knew after our first laps yesterday that we probably weren't gonna be in very good shape today, but we threw everything at it that we could and that's all we've got. We'll see how it shakes out, but it's probably not gonna be good enough."
BILL ELLIOTT - No. 26 Air National Guard Ford Fusion (Qualified 41st)
"That's all we had. Tomorrow we'll just run and roll and do the best we can and try to survive the day. They're trying to pick up points and trying to do what they need to do on that end. I'm glad to help them get in the race from my standpoint. When Frankie asked me to do I knew Bobby (Labonte) was gonna be here and the first thought I had was if I'm not running good, then I'm pulling for Bobby. We're gonna make the best of it."
ON JIM HUNTER. "Jim was a super guy. He meant a lot to this sport and he did a lot for this sport, and he'll certainly be missed by us and everybody else. I loved his family. My wife knew his son real well. He's the kind of guy that would come up and ask you do something and you'd just have to go do it. Jim came around this sport and he understood it as well as anybody in here and I think that will definitely be missed."
HE TOLD A LOT OF STORIES. DID HE TELL YOU A FEW? "He always told stories, whether they were true or not that's totally irrelevant, but, like I said, Jim was a super guy."
-source: ford racing