How was your qualifying lap? "It was a good lap. Our Red Bull Toyota has actually been really good yesterday and today. I felt like I was sliding around some, but I think everybody probably was. The track is cool, the tires are cool and kind of got through the corners pretty well. I was pretty happy. It should be close to my best start here -- it's probably my best start here. It's good. I look forward to tomorrow. I think the tire thing is going to be interesting on how it works. Hopefully the rubber lays down pretty quick and we can make some long runs. I think that's when this race is at it's best is when you do make those runs and the speeds change of everybody's cars. So, we'll see how that goes. But, at the same time the rear tires falling off is going to change everybody's speed too so it will be interesting. I think it should be a pretty good race."
What do you think a fuel run will be if you do get to go a whole fuel run on one set of tires? "I know yesterday right about lap 40 or 42 my car would just basically lose about seven-tenths on that lap and you just kind of ride around there from there out for us. For another 10 laps I stayed out and we ran about the same times. So, that's to lap 52. You get slowed down so much, but everybody's going to be. I could see a fuel run being -- it's tough to say. I would hope that there would be some rubber. It should be a warmer day so hopefully the rubber will get in the race track and the rear tires will not fall off as quickly and maybe be able to go 80 laps or so on tires. I think that would be a pretty good run."
How close will you be watching the Truck race and how the tires react in that race? "I think everybody will be watching it pretty close, but I also noticed in the past in the Truck race a lot of the guys can -- somebody will pit one time as early in the race as they can and stay out the rest of the race. In the Cup cars, with the power, the weight, it just wears the tires down a little quicker. Tires a really big change for us. They help a lot here after 30 or 40 laps. I could see the trucks being able to go a little bit longer. I don't think that would be as much of what we're paying attention to as if the track starts getting some black and the tires start sticking in the groove a little bit more."
What are the differences between this year and last fall at this track with Red Bull Racing Team? "Actually last fall we were pretty decent. Just kind of battled the front bouncing pretty bad getting into the corner so we got rid of that this year. The car feels better and it was a good qualifying lap. I'm pretty excited. I think we have a good shot at being pretty strong tomorrow."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 4th
Are you happy with your lap with the backup car? "It's just goes to show how hard the guys that are working back at the shop to bring a backup car that's that good and qualified like that. That's good for our Home Depot team. We're excited about that and hopefully get a good pit stall with that and a good spot. That's a big deal here as well as staying out of trouble. We'll see what happens in the race. I think everyone is kind of a little bit of a guessing game right now."
Are you happy with your car? "Not bad. We just ran this car in Phoenix and it's the car that finished sixth last time I raced here with it. It's a good Home Depot Toyota and it's pretty awesome to get a good qualifying run with it. This car, we only had about a half hour of practice with it and I was never able to make a qualifying run with it. So, hats off to the guys who are working on this thing and giving me a really good piece."
What happened yesterday in practice to force you to a backup car? "Basically, I screwed up in practice. Just got loose and spun out. The guys did an awesome job getting this car prepared and getting it as good as the other one was. I'm pretty excited about that -- we didn't even do a qualifying run yesterday. I've got a really good Home Depot team behind me for sure."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 5th
Was it old-school from your short track days for you to jump on the brakes at the start of your qualifying attempt? "Yeah, I used to it a lot at Southern National Raceway. Just trying to get these tires worked in a little bit. Someone should run a lot faster than that I would think because we didn't get off of (turn) four. We had a lot of things about that lap that I wish I could do over again, but our car was extremely loose so it was hard to get a hold of. I'm still proud of our effort here. Mike (Forde, crew chief) and those guys."
Are you happy with your lap? "It was pretty decent. I wish the time were a little bit better, but for the lap that we cut it was pretty good. I am not going to be too disappointed with that. Just going to hopefully get a decent starting spot for tomorrow and make our way to the front."
How much did you worry about qualifying and how much did you worry about race setup this weekend? "We did spend one practice working on qualifying, but we changed everything since then. The track is a little different, but I'm happy with where we qualified. I wish our time was a little bit better. We left a lot out on the table."
What is the biggest difference with the tires? "The biggest thing is that it's amazing to see how much tire wear there was yesterday. It was more than what we have ever seen here before where you had to stop on the race track. So, the tires are different. I thought the fall tire that we had here was good. But this tire does wear out and as a race driver I love that about it. But I'm just a little concerned there's no rubber actually on the race track."
Are you confident with your car for tomorrow's race? "That's what I look forward to the most it the race part of it. Qualifying has never been my strong suit. But, here at this track we're hot and cold. We've won starting 30th, we won starting on the pole."
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Lance Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position: 7th
How has your car handled this weekend? "Yesterday, we ran pretty good in practice and during our qualifying run. Last night, I was a little bit nervous. This is such a rhythm track. To wake up Saturday morning and get to the racetrack and try to lay the fastest lap you have laid all weekend. It's a little bit nerve wracking because you don't have that hour and a half where you just got out of the car like we normally would have before qualifying. We tightened it up a little bit from practice because we felt like we needed to. It didn't feel like a fast lap just because the tires don't have any grip the first two or three laps. I babied it the first lap to get the right amount of heat into it. I almost under drove it too much. The second lap it stuck in there really good. I was pleasantly surprised it did what it did. It's going to be crazy for tomorrow because the tires do not seem like they are taking to the track like normal."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Outdoors Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 8th
How was your car in qualifying? "It was okay. The car turned well. We just struggled for a little bit of forward bite. Overall, it was a decent lap. We just gave up a little bit on exit, but we made the car turn better in the center, which is what we need to do during our qualifying run. Overall, it was okay and we did okay."
What have you experienced with the tire wear? "I see them wearing pretty excessively. Everybody is going to be watching the Truck race tonight and really, really paying close attention to see what the track does. If it starts to take any rubber or not -- if not then it seems to be about 20 green flag laps and the right rear tire is getting worn pretty good. Obviously, it will go longer than that, but I don't know it will go a lot longer than that. It will go longer, but then the cars become pretty unstable and very difficult to hang on to. Then the problem you run in to is the marbles build up so much just outside the groove that if somebody gets underneath you and moves you out, it takes three laps to get the rubber burnt back off the tires. It's a difficult deal, but we'll just have to see how it shakes out."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 11th
How was your qualifying lap? "Our lap was a tad disappointing, but still not too bad for our Pedigree Camry. The car was pretty good -- just needed a little more lateral grip. I haven't qualified well here in the past, so we can see the front from there and adjust on our car."
What have you experienced with the tires in practice? "They're wearing out. They just go away really quick. It's unfortunate that we're not seeing rubber laid down -- that's what we're worried about. If there was rubber laid down, we would see better tire wear. I don't know why it's not. Goodyear sent essentially the same tire, but what does that really mean. I have heard that before and I think we've all heard that before. We'll see how the Truck race plays out. If the rubber lays down in the Truck race then we should see more tomorrow."
Do you feel that Goodyear should have allowed the teams to test the new tire? "It's so hard to do that. It takes a lot of money to test and it takes a lot of money for the teams to go test. We would do it, but the thing is you come here with five teams, you're not running 43 Cup cars and 36 Trucks around the race track. It's going to take you six days to get rubber to lay down. You're almost wasting your time. It's almost best to make and educated guess. For as many educated guesses as we've had that haven't worked out, I think it's about time that we just leave it alone."
How many laps were you able to run on the tires? "Trucks we ran 37 laps and saw the little wear dots all gone. The Cup cars we ran about 25 laps and they really, really felt bad -- just loose everywhere. The wear dots were pretty close to gone."
How challenging is the wear on the tires? "We haven't seen horrible wear. We still have wear dots with the Cup cars, but the tires are just gone. The grip in them is just gone. Essentially you feel like you're running on cords, but you're not. We still have more rubber to wear off the tire, but the tires don't adhere to the surface well enough to get any grip to wear them. You're just spinning them."
How was your qualifying lap? "It was one of our better ones. We rolled the dice a little bit this morning and it didn't work out. I was hoping we would be a little bit better than that, but that was still a good lap for us. Probably one of our better qualifying efforts here. We were happy with that."
What have you experienced with the tires this weekend? "They're very different. I'm not going to say they're bad tires. I think they will make for a very good race. I talked to a lot of guys in the garage -- everything that worked for everybody last year didn't work at all this year. If you put in your last year's setup and you won the race or we finished sixth -- you were all over the place. The tire seems to have good starting grip, it has good fall off, which I think is great. It falls off a lot, which is not a bad thing. I think it will make for a great race. My only concern is that it hasn't laid down a lot of rubber. That could be too because it's so cold. Sometimes the track being really, really cold like this can play a role in that. We'll see where it ends up."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Starting Position: 18th
How was your qualifying lap? "It was okay -- it was a little pick-up from practice. The car hasn't had super speed in it on new tires. We were pretty happy with it yesterday on longer runs. With the tire situation, that's what it's going to be all about. It seems like everybody runs about the same for 15 laps and then some guys get real bad -- some guys just get bad. We worked hard on our car to try to keep the tires on it. I think it's going to pay off for us tomorrow. We'll just have to wait and see."
How many laps could you get from your tires? "Everyone's about 15 (laps) before you really slowed down a lot and took a big jump in speed. Our car was really bad at the beginning as far as the balance going away and getting loose -- wearing the rear tires out. We got that a lot better. We'll just have to wait and see how we stack up against everybody tomorrow."
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position: 30th
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP Racing LLC Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Starting Position: 35th
MIKE SKINNER, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position: 38th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Starting Position: 43rd
-source: toyota motorsports