The Nextel: Rusty Wallace qualifying press conference

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) On the pole with 12.6-second stop "It's four segments you've got to get right. You've got to get the first lap right. You've got to get down pit road, and you've got to have a good pit stop. You've got to...

RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) On the pole with 12.6-second stop

"It's four segments you've got to get right. You've got to get the first lap right. You've got to get down pit road, and you've got to have a good pit stop. You've got to get off pit road, and the whole team was able to get it all done, so it was great. We do have a lot of momentum. We had a couple of bad races lately, but could have won Bristol and we did win Martinsville. We could have won a couple of wins. The car has been flying all year long, and now we've got our pit stops taken care of. Larry Carter has been doing a fabulous job. I'm excited, and I'm excited for the guys. It's fun to watch 'em be pumped up and excited like that."

"We spent all day working on race setups. We never put the car in qualifying mode, although we've got a pretty good idea where it needs to go from past experience. We spent all day doing race stuff, getting ready for tomorrow night. We made all the changes for qualifying, and when I hauled it down the backstretch and into turn three, the car stuck a lot better than I ever anticipated. I actually got the left front tire on the apron, and it shot up the track. Sparks flew everywhere, but I stayed in the throttle when all that was going on. I had a pretty good first lap. I knew I had to make it all up coming down pit road. I came down pit road real hard and put the pit road speed limit right to the max just like I did in practice. I spent a lot of time following the pace car to know exactly where I needed to be on the pit road speed. I felt real confident with it. I got it there, brought it down and got it stopped. The guys knocked down a (12.6-second) pit stop. I left hard. The car didn't spin the tires much. I stayed in the concrete a lot leaving so I could get maximum traction. I got up on the racetrack wide open and when it was all said and done I knew that was all I could do. Maybe I could have got it to the line a little better because of where I messed up in three and four coming to the line, but it felt really good, and usually when it feels good you've got a good, fast lap. I'm just real proud for the team. We're looking good right now.

"I think this is the third time I've been on the pole for this event. It's very important to get track position and get out front and come through the gears quick. Everybody knows these cars run better in clean air. If I can get out front and get gone, I feel a lot better for my chances in this race. We did a lot of practicing today, and I feel like I've got a good car.

"I was a little surprised (with pit road speeding penalties) until I came off turn four and saw where that cone was parked. I came off turn four at 170 mph and hit that cone and starting coming down through the gears and locked up the brakes and slid across the cone. My pit road speed was supposed to be around 4,000 rpm's. I crossed the cone at about 4,800. The car slowed down to about 3,200 before I exited pit road. In my mind that balanced out to be the correct pit road speed. Then I punched the throttle real quick and kept my eyeballs on the tach to get all I possibly could out of the pit road. When I got it down there, it all worked out good. I can see how if you get in hard it was going to be hard to get the baby slowed down. A lot of guys came down quick and locked up quick and they couldn't wow it down enough.

"When I'm out there running I'm not thinking million dollars, I'm not thinking that. I'm thinking do the best job you can for your crew. I wanted to see them get the money. I've

got a lot of new guys. When I looked behind me in victory lane I didn't know I had that many guys. They were all smiling and happy and it does a lot of morale boosting. Just going in there knowing you're going to try to win the race and you're doing a good job and your crew is happy, that's a lot. When your adrenaline is going wide open and you're trying to win, and then after you win and it's 'guess what?' You've just won a million.' That's when it really kicks in. I'm not out there running lap after lap thinking I'm going to get a million dollars. It's just not in my head. As a race car driver you might be thinking that under cautions or stuff, but you're trying to hit your marks, you're trying to get aggressive, you're trying to give the right feedback to the team.

"You're going all out right here, there's no doubt about that. The best thing you can do here is pull your seatbelt tight and make sure your safety gear is good and make sure everything is right. I've been to this racetrack before. I've broke my right foot. I've gone through the wall. I've torn the suspension off. I've won it. I've finished second in it. I've done a lot of dramatic good things, and I've done a lot of dramatic bad things. I remember the night Michael Waltrip won it and I finished second. I thought I had that one won. Then in '89 the deal between Darrell Waltrip and I was dramatic. I don't think this race will be any less dramatic. I feel good about my chances in it. I like the format. I got real vocal about the format. I wasn't for eliminating cars. I think you're going to see a lot of good racing tomorrow night. I'm just happy I'm in front of all that stuff right now."

"I had a lot of confidence in the brakes. I didn't even practice pit stops today. My big deal was to follow the pace car so I'd know exactly what pit road speed was going to be. I followed it for two laps. I really studied it.

"They've got really, really good. I'm glad we kept fiddling with them. I knew I had to surround myself with really good people. I knew you just couldn't take something that was just OK. You had to have something that's the best. You've got to have a good pit crew. I'm glad I didn't give in to saying it's OK, we'll get 'em next week. I did that a couple of years and it bit me for two years. I've got a good, fast pit crew now, and I've got a good leader with Larry Carter. The guys love working for him.

"I'm always motivated to be No. 1. I really didn't think about that (Ryan Newman on the pole) at all. I just went out and drove as hard as I possibly could. I knew getting in pit road and getting off pit road was important. I've done this thing a million times and that's where I really tried to exceed doing."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Ryan Newman