SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger) Qualified 2nd *Career Best "It was a good qualifying run for us for sure. The Mobil 1 Dodge was on the free side which was what we had in practice, but I didn't want to push that hard. We did make a...
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger) Qualified 2nd *Career Best
"It was a good qualifying run for us for sure. The Mobil 1 Dodge was on the free side which was what we had in practice, but I didn't want to push that hard. We did make a pretty big jump from where we were in practice. I'm really happy with the effort all the guys are putting in on the car. It makes race days go by a lot easier when you get to start up front.
"We spent a lot of time today in practice doing our race-run stuff. Obviously, we would like to get the track time tomorrow, but we also know that we spent time today in race runs. We know what we have for the race. We just need to keep it from getting so tight throughout the run. If we don't get practice in tomorrow, I still feel pretty good about what we have as far as a race car right now because we spent all that time in race trim.
"We're real close now to where we were at in Atlanta (performance wise and handling) even though we have the spoiler now. I was real happy with our car at Atlanta. If we have a car here that runs anything like what we did at Atlanta and starting where we are this weekend, we're going to lead some laps. So, I'm looking forward to Sunday for sure."
HOW HAS YOUR YEAR TURNED AROUND? "I think if you really look at how we've run, our results really don't match what we've been able to do this year. We started 38th at Atlanta and worked our way all the way into the top-five with 50 laps to go and had a valve spring break. At Bristol, we get into the top 10 with about 40 laps to go and we have a coil go bad. Daytona was its own thing. We had a teammate blow a tire and got collected in that mess. We've had some problems being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's kind of been luck for a while. We just kept our heads up, kept doing what we needed to do. The good thing is at least our results were from bad luck, not running bad. We know what we're capable of doing. At Martinsville, we would have qualified inside the top 10, but it got rained out. I just feel like we've learned a lot of things from the last year or so. We just need to finish some of these races."
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) Qualified 11th
"It was an eventful lap for sure. It was hard to judge how far to step the car out with the new spoiler versus the wing. We were on the loose side and didn't want the tight side that's for sure. We made the right adjustments, I just felt like I couldn't keep my foot planted on the floor because the car wanted to step out. We just didn't get everything we wanted out of that lap in our Miller Lite Dodge."
HOW'S THE NEW TIRE? "The left side tires are basically something that Goodyear made since January. Add that to the equation that we didn't have the shark fin on the back of the car and we're still learning about the difference in downforce and side force."
BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 12 Mopar Dodge Charger) 37th
"We were OK in our Mopar/Penske Dodge. It felt good. I may have under drove the car a touch. The track lost a ton of grip when the sun came out and it just loosened the car up too much. I just slid the back end and that cost us a bunch of time. Texas is a long race and it's a track where you can pass and gain positions."
MICHAEL NELSON (Vice President of Operations, Penske Racing)
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE TIRE THAT GOODYEAR BROUGHT TO TEXAS? "We got a chance to come to Texas with Kurt (Busch) and the No. 2 car to do a test with Goodyear. We got a chance to talk with Goodyear on what they were looking for and what they hoped to get out of the test. We're looking forward to see what we learned."
DID GOODYEAR BRING BACK THE SAME TIRE FROM THE TEST? "I believe it's a variation of the tire that we tested. I don't think it's exactly what we tested, but the final product is based upon what they brought to the test."
A NEW TIRE HAS BEEN ADDED ALONG WITH THE "NEW" REAR SPOILER AND DECK FIN. HOW DIFFICULT IS THE CHALLENGE? "There are a couple of variables there for sure. What we tried to do with all of our Dodge teams today was attack the track condition, all the changes for what they were and just try to work on the car. If it was tight, we loosen it up. If it was loose, we tighten it up. We took what the track gave us today and worked to find a combination."
DO YOU HAVE TO THROW AWAY ALL YOUR OLD NOTES FROM THE WINGED CAR? "I don't think so. I think that we were close (with the wing) and I think that we'll have a better package overall with the new spoiler. It really looks good. We'll just start to build a notebook."
DO YOU HAVE TO STAY EVEN KEELED WITH THE RESULTS THIS WEEKEND? "We'll take what it gives us. We'll be strong either way with our Dodges."
IS IT REALITY THAT YOU WON'T KNOW HOW THE CAR WILL REACT WITH THE SPOILER UNTIL YOU GET INTO A PACK OF CARS ON SUNDAY? "I think that's the most interesting thing about the spoiler -- how it interacts with other cars on a mile-and-a-half track. We'll be a lot smarter after the race on Sunday."
-source: dodge motorsports