BILL ELLIOTT (No. 91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge) -- Qualified Second "I'm just trying to keep up with Kasey. He's been running awful well lately, and I'm proud of what he's been doing lately. I think that shows how well Ray's organization ...
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge) -- Qualified Second
"I'm just trying to keep up with Kasey. He's been running awful well lately, and I'm proud of what he's been doing lately. I think that shows how well Ray's organization came together at the end of last year. Jeremy (Mayfield) and myself either finished in the top five or top 10 every single race. He's got some good equipment and parts and pieces and some good people. That's what it takes to run this sport.
"I'm just proud to be here. This is only my second event this year, and I'm just proud to be as competitive as we are this weekend. We don't have anybody on the car, so if you want to throw in a couple of bucks I'm sure Ray will talk to you. I don't know how low he'd go. You look at the guys who run each and every week. Kasey has run well, and a lot of the other guys are coming on. That's just going to be part of the sport. Eventually it keeps weeding the older generation out. I still feel good physically from that side of it. I'm enjoying my role and basically just taking it a step at a time.
"The first couple of times I didn't fare well here. IT was kinda like my first couple of experiences at Homestead. We came here and tested before the race in '99 and finally figured some things out. They came back and redid the track a little bit, and that seemed to help. I think between that and figuring out what the car needed at these kind of places brought it all full circle for me. Last year we had an exceptionally good car. It went straight to the front and we led right away. We ended up tearing a motor up and we got to go home early. That's all part of it, but I was very pleased with our qualifying today and hopefully we'll keep that up through practice.
"The last I talked to Ray after this race I think we're kinda in the hold mode for awhile. If things don't change, I think Indy will be our next race. If things change, we'll address it from that standpoint. Regardless of what happens sponsorship wise, I'm pleased with the way Ray's organization has progressed. This is an in-house car and it seems to have a lot of potential to it.
"I haven't been in a car since Vegas. We were one of the few cars that stopped at the end for fuel and we ended up 20th. I really think we had a top 10 car at Vegas. We had a good car, but I feel like this car is quite a bit better. I've been running the late model dirt cars at home and just playing around. I don't think you get too far away from this, and I've been doing a lot of testing, too. From a racing standpoint, the basics are still the same."
"I really sat down during the winter and evaluated the feelings I was going to have when the season started in 2004. Honestly, I thought I might be jealous or I might be this or I might be that. I'm truly happy with what he's doing. He's a good kid. He's got a good future in the sport. This sport will chew you up and spit you out. That's where you've got to roll with the ups and downs. Right now he's on the upswing. I'm very proud of him, and I'm proud of Ray's whole organization.
"Honestly, I don't even feel like I've missed a race from my standpoint. This is no different than it being the second race of the season rather than the seventh. There are things I miss. I miss some people, but after listening to some of the comments after Bristol last week, I don't miss the going home angry over certain things. That I don't miss. I miss the competitive side of it, but the emotions of that up and down roller-coaster as the day goes on, I don't miss that side of it.
"I don't know how he (Ray Evernham) wants to progress it (in-house chassis). Right now we're running it to see where it's going to fit in. From my standpoint, I think it's going well. I think it's probably ahead of schedule. This is a second generation car.
"It doesn't feel any different from me than running a Busch race or any other race. I've really trained myself hard not to think about I'm missing a race. I look at it like it's just another race. I just don't think about it.
"I think a lot of people underestimated his (Kasey Kahne's) potential. Putting him in good equipment right off the bat and giving him confidence with what he needs. I've tried to help him every way I can in every area, but there are certain things he's going to have to learn and grow himself. Just like patience at Bristol, from what I saw wasn't his fault. As hard as he works, he'll be a force to be reckoned with sooner than later. Looking at him in his Busch days last year, a lot of people would overlook him, but I feel like he's almost there."
"Those guys (crew) have a way of giving you inspiration. I'm very pleased with the car. Going out second I think was a little bit of a negative, but we'll see where we end up. It was decent depending on where everybody else runs. There are a lot of good cars here, and I don't know where we'll end up. When they came back and redid this place, they made the track a lot better. Still, to me it's more of an unforgiving place, a lot moreso than Atlanta. Atlanta has multiple grooves, and this place just doesn't seem to have one. Maybe we'll see more of that second groove as the Busch race goes along on Saturday. It got a little more racy here last year. Normally you'll see a guy make the pass and go on and not run side by side. That's just due to the racetrack configuration. I feel that was a good lap for the time we went. It'll just depend on where the temperature goes here in a little bit. I'm sure that'll have a lot to do with it. It's one of these places that if you hit it right, somebody is going to beat you. If not, you've got a chance to sit on the pole. I think as the temperature goes down that's going to be the determining factor."