DAVE BLANEY - No. 99 Roush Racing Taurus (Qualified 25th) "I was happy with it.Â Bob Osborne and the guys had a little game plan going in and they tried a few things in practice and most of them picked the car up.Â They didn't really tape it...
DAVE BLANEY - No. 99 Roush Racing Taurus (Qualified 25th)
"I was happy with it. Bob Osborne and the guys had a little game plan going in and they tried a few things in practice and most of them picked the car up. They didn't really tape it off or anything until qualifying, so that was a pretty good gain. I think that's what they were hoping for. Who knows where it will be, but that's a pretty good gain from practice so that's good."
TOUGH TO JUMP IN THERE ON JUST A FILL-IN BASIS? "Here it's not too tough on qualifying day. You just kind of ride around and do what it will do, so here it's not tough at all."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 6th)
"That's great for this car. We kind of wanted to get a little bit more than that, but you always do. I know how good that car is gonna be in the draft. I loved it at the Bud Shootout. We had it in Daytona in February and it's gonna race good, so I can't wait until we start the ultimate equalizer tomorrow with some drafting. The M&M's Ford Taurus is fast. It was a good lap for us, but I'm looking forward to drafting practice tomorrow."
HOW HARD IS IT TO HARNESS A DRIVER ON SUNDAY AT THIS PLACE? "It's tough, but a lot of the guys that have great success on this track do that and my teammate is one of them. They understand what's going on the whole race and know where to put themselves in a position so they'll be good at the end of the race. I don't know what to do yet. We haven't gotten that far. We definitely want to be somewhere near the front towards the last of the pit stops for Sunday and to do that you've got to get kind of aggressive during the middle of the race. We haven't played that card yet. I don't really know what to do and I probably won't know what to do until we're halfway into the race on Sunday. But we definitely want to try to get up there and lead some laps and run up front some, but if it gets too dicey, we'll definitely be patient and make a run there at the end."
WAS IT IMPORTANT TO GET COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR ON A DAY LIKE TODAY? "The racing doesn't start here until Sunday. This is qualifying, you're all by yourself and there's really not much here at Talladega. We know we're gonna have a fast car. I know it's gonna drive good and it's my favorite speedway car, but so many things can happen here that aren't of your doing. We know we've got a good car. We know we've got a good motor and a good package, we're just gonna do the best we can and hopefully run all 500 miles and go from there."
HERMIE SADLER - No. 02 East Tennessee Trailers Taurus (Qualified 11th)
"I'm ecstatic. I have to give a big thank you to Robert and Doug Yates, Eddie D'Hondt and everybody at Robert Yates Racing for allowing us to lease this car from them. It's been a pleasure to unload and be competitive all day. My guys are having fun and everybody is smiling. That will get us a decent, solid starting spot and I'm looking forward to doing what I can to help the other Yates cars out on Sunday. I'll be trying to finish all 500 miles and get us a respectable finish also."
IS IT NICE TO SEE GUYS TURNING THEIR HEADS AND SEEING YOU GO SO FAST? "Especially at a place like Talladega, where it's all in the driving skill (laughing). That really makes me feel good, but it's been great. We've had a lot of fun and we're gonna have a good time with it this weekend. I'm glad to be a part of starting the process of getting Robert Yates Racing back to the top of the charts on the superspeedway races, so it's been a good weekend for us so far."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 17th)
"That's a good run for us. This is just a great race team. They reached into the trick bag and pulled out a little bit. That will be a middle of the pack start, but that's OK. We're right up there with a bunch of good race cars. I guess there will be 43 good race cars out there, won't there?"
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Tools Taurus (Qualified 7th)
"We're real happy with that. The guys working on the Ford engines have done a great job giving us a lot of power - Doug Yates and those guys. Robbie and the guys that built this car - the people in the fab shop - and the people that go to the wind tunnel and do all that stuff have done a good job with this car. This is the fastest speedway car we've ever had and that's pretty exciting."
IS IT REALLY THAT EASY TO DRIVE THIS TRACK? "For qualifying it is. I always thought we should draw straws and let different crew guys qualify them, so qualifying is pretty easy for a driver here and pretty uneventful. Racing is a different story when you get 43 cars out there and it's three and four-wide. It gets pretty busy out there and pretty hectic, but qualifying is usually not too exciting here."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Rent-A-Center/Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO BE THAT FAST? "We really didn't know. We didn't get all the practice in that we would have liked because the lines just were not working out like we wanted to. We needed one more run to find out what we really had, so going into qualifying we didn't really know exactly how fast we could run. I think we ran a 50.80 in practice, but we knew we could run at least three or four tenths better. We didn't know we'd run five or six tenths better."
YOU SAT ON THE POLE IN APRIL, DID YOU NEED IMPROVEMENT AT THESE PLACES? "Our qualifying effort on these restrictor plates, the one thing that wasn't broke was our qualifying efforts. The new rule changes where everybody has to run the same springs has sort of set some of the teams back a little bit. It hurt us and it hurt everybody, but Fatback was able to adjust to it pretty quickly. I'm real pleased on how fast this Rent-A-Center Ford ran today. We never could get the car to drive good in race trim and it was driving exceptionally well, so I'm thinking not only do we have the speed, but I think we've got the drivability to run up front."
IS THIS THE SAME CAR YOU WON THE POLE WITH HERE LAST TIME? "Yeah, but we did quite a bit to it. Body-wise, it's pretty much the same. They worked on the chassis quite a bit to get it to where it would drive good for the race. The car would always pick up a push and they got into it and dissected it a little bit and pretty much figured out why it was pushing and they fixed it. So it should race well as good as it qualified, but we'll see."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus (Qualified 12th)
"Here it's all the guys working on the race car - the crew and everybody has worked hard on the National Guard car. This is the same car we sat on the pole at the 500 with and we've been running this restrictor-plate car all year. My gut feeling was we were gonna be a little bit better than that - maybe just sneak into the forties, but, still, that's a pretty good lap for us. The car seems like it's running real good, so I'm excited for Sunday."
WHAT'S THE CONFIDENCE LEVEL OF THIS TEAM AT A RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACK? "It's really good. When we ran here in the spring time, we had a bad radiator and there was nothing we could do to get it cooled down enough. We couldn't run in the draft. We had a really fast car then, so we got the radiator problem fixed and we're looking forward to being able to run up in the top five most of the day with this National Guard 16 car."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"We knew in practice that we had left a little bit there. There were a few things that we wanted to save just in case somebody else was and I guess the 21 saved a little bit more than we did. I'm a little surprised. We did some work on this car and, really, everything we did was to make it drive better and handle better in the race. I wasn't really thinking that it was gonna be something that would make it go faster, but it seems to be driving better and it's going faster too, so that's a good combination."
AND YOU'RE UP FRONT, WHICH IS THE PLACE TO BE. "Yeah, that's a good place to start. You're gonna be in most of the positions at some point during the day, but if you can start up front and maybe get a lap led or a number of laps lead - I'd like to keep it out front all day, that would be the ultimate. A lot less happens up there at these places, even though I've seen the front group wreck before. We'd like to keep it in the front if we can, so, hopefully, when we get into drafting practice we'll see that this car is driving a lot better than what we did here the last time and that will allow us to run up front."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus (Qualified 8th)
"That's a great improvement from where we used to be and now it's the same old deal - we just go into race trim and do the best that we can. You either get the pole here or you're not anything."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SUNDAY? "You just hope you miss the big one. It's just very difficult to know when things are gonna happen out on the track. You just have to look ahead and absorb all the rest of it in your peripheral vision."