Todd Bodine Joliet qualifying press conference

TODD BODINE WHAT ABOUT YOUR RUN? "The car was real good. It went through one and two great the first lap. For us, the first laps have been the first all day. We were one of the few guys that went on sticker tires. The first corner was real...

TODD BODINE

WHAT ABOUT YOUR RUN?

"The car was real good. It went through one and two great the first lap. For us, the first laps have been the first all day. We were one of the few guys that went on sticker tires. The first corner was real good and I messed up in three. The car drove so good I drove across the apron and lost a lot of time. I think we ran like a .63 the first lap. Larry said right then that it was third and it was a good lap, but I knew that if I didn't mess up we were gonna be a lot better. I went ahead and took a second lap and got a good one. The car was right on the money. The guys did a great job and the Yates horsepower was there as it usually is and it just went for us."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET THE POLE?

"It's pretty big for us. If you consider where we started the season and the way things have been going, we've had a lot of bad luck but we've had good race cars. For us to come through and finally get the pole is important for the guys. They know that we've got a good race team and Travis and Carl have done everything they can to help us. It kind of puts a little bit of closure on that part of the season. Everybody wants to get a pole and get in the Bud Shootout and now we've got closure to that. Now we've got to just complete the whole thing on race day. We've had a problem doing that with a lot of bad luck. We've made some mistakes early in the year with good runs that cost us and we've stopped making mistakes now. It's just the luck factor, we haven't had any good luck. Hopefully, we can carry through on Sunday and have the whole package."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE TEAM?

"It's a little bit of closure. I've always felt like I can compete in this series and run well and do okay. To be able to get the pole, a lot of people -- the Tabasco deal and the Tabasco fiasco, we didn't qualify for half of the races we went to. It really hurt, I think, my reputation as a qualifier. It's only natural that they're gonna lay it off on the driver. 'Well, he can't qualify.' We've qualified well this year with this car. I've qualified well with the Busch car, so it kind of puts an end to that, hopefully, that I can't qualify. To get a pole and do as well as we've done qualifying, I hope kind of puts and end to it."

HOW MUCH OF QUALIFYING IS DRIVER AT THIS TRACK?

"Right now it's just one groove. There's no variation in that groove, but I think a lot of it is in the driver's hands. This race track is very deceiving in how hard you can drive it. When you're going off in the corner you think you can drive off in there a mile and just let off the gas and the car is gonna turn. Well, you get down in there and it's not gonna turn because you're just carrying too much speed for the actual radius of the corner. I think a lot of guys have had that problem just overdriving the corners. Fortunately, Jimmy came out here and tested and I got some advice from him. Both of my brothers were here testing and I got some advice from them. The biggest thing that all three of them said was, 'just don't overdrive the race track.' That's what I kept concentrating on. All the way through practice I did have a little bit of a problem. I think I was getting into three too deep and I started backing that up a little bit and we picked up some time and the car got better. It's a great race track. I can't wait for the second groove to come in because it's gonna be really neat to race on."

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOUR CAR AND JIMMY'S?

"I think the biggest common denominator is under the hood. We've got Robert Yates horsepower out of the Mooresville (N.C.) shop and the horsepower is incredible. At this place I would guess you're probably in the throttle for 90 percent of this race track and that's key. I think Ricky ended up third and I don't know who ended up fourth. It's obvious that horsepower makes a difference. The differences in the setup were just the differences in the way Jimmy and myself like the car to feel. But, like I said, Jimmy came and tested which did help us. That gave us a good baseline to start with -- of knowing the limits on the springs, the limits on the shocks, and that helped us get a jump-start on some of the competitors that maybe didn't have any information to go by, even though our cars are totally different right now."

TRAVIS CARTER, Car Owner -- 26 and 66 Kmart Tauruses

WHAT ABOUT HAVING BOTH CARS ON THE FRONT ROW?

"Obviously it's great. The first time at a race track and in a different area of the country, it's a tremendous position for us and Kmart and all of our teams. We think we've had some pretty good equipment this year and have failed to do with it what I think we could. Maybe this is a sign of better things to come."

TODD BODINE:

WHAT DOES THIS TRACK REMIND YOU OF?

"It's got little bits of a lot of different race tracks. I really believe the reason we ran so well, one of the things that Larry (Carter), Jon (Plyler) and myself did this morning was we were talking and I said, 'You know, getting into three is just like getting into California.' Well, Larry and Jon said, 'Well, wait a minute, let's go in this direction like we did at California and see if it works.' Well, low and behold, it did work. The car got better, so the California-type thing worked for us, but it does have a little bit of a lot of race tracks. It is unique in that it has a lot of different characteristics throughout the whole race track, but it's gonna be a lot of fun."

DO YOU EXPECT A SECOND GROOVE?

"For this race, we've seen it at a lot of our new race tracks. The first race or first race-and-a-half or two races are pretty much one groove. When the race track starts getting worn out in that groove, when the weather becomes a factor and baking the track for a whole summer and a couple of summers, then you see the second groove come in because the actual asphalt grips better there. That's only natural. Unfortunately, I think that's the same thing that's gonna happen here. It's gonna take a while to get a second groove in. The only thing I'm hoping maybe for Saturday and Sunday that we'll see guys start pushing up off the corner and start widening the groove out there, so at least you maybe can set a guy up and pass him up off the corner. Otherwise, it's gonna be difficult to pass. I tell you, in the future, this is gonna be one heck of a race track to race on."

TRAVIS CARTER

HOW HARD WAS IT TO KEEP EVERYBODY AT THE SHOP FOCUSSED?

"You just carry that big stick around (laughing). No, you guys that have seen me around kind of know my nature and my approach to things. I'm kind of an even keel guy. We try to have that throughout our team. When you're having problems, you can't fall apart. We don't get overly elated if we do well. I think that's just a reward for good performance, but that's our nature and that's our philosophy. 'Just keep your head. Set a good course and stay on direction and keep doing the things you believe are right.' If you do that, you'll be successful and that's what we've tried to do."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Todd Bodine , Robert Yates