GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Qualified 2nd) WAS THAT A PERFECT LAP? "No, not even close. I got big-time sideways off of four. I debated second gear. Everybody has been coming off - I'm the only car here using first (gear) coming...
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Grainger Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
WAS THAT A PERFECT LAP?
"No, not even close. I got big-time sideways off of four. I debated second gear. Everybody has been coming off - I'm the only car here using first (gear) coming onto the main stretch. I tried second coming around. I didn't think it was as fast, so at the last minute I decided to use first and I got sideways and up on the curb. I probably left a tenth at least on the table coming back to the checkered flag there, so I'll probably get beat and that will be the reason why. I'm really proud of these guys. We came up here and tested and it was really good. They've got me a good car to come back here with and I'm still shaking from that lap so maybe I'll be on the pole."
IS IT A NEW CAR?
"No, it's the car we ran at Sears Point. We were off a little bit there. We went and tested Road Atlanta before we went to Sears Point and that kind of got me into some bad habits because they're not a lot alike. We decided to come here instead to test and I think it's gonna work out for us. What I'm excited about is it's just as fast in race trim. It was putting down one minute 12-flat laps in race trim when we were here testing, so I'm pretty excited about that."
DOES IT SHOW HOW MUCH THE TEAM HAS IMPROVED?
"Yeah, it is and we've always been pretty good at road racing, Randy (Goss) and I. I love to road race. I don't have a big background in road racing, but I like it."
YOU MUST BE SATISIFIED WITH THAT LAP.
"Well, if you saw me coming off of four coming to the start-finish line, I certainly wouldn't be satisfied, but it's at the top now. The track has a lot of grip right now. There are some cars that will probably be faster, but I hope not. I made a small mistake coming onto the main stretch. I was undecided on what gear to come back to the start-finish on, but I'm really proud of the guys. They've given me a good car here to race this weekend and we're pretty good in race trim, so I'm excited."
ANY REASON WHY SPEEDS ARE FASTER TODAY?
"No, other than Goodyear has some really good tires for us right now. The track is really cool as far as temperature right now. It's unseasonably cool for this time of the year up here and there's no sun, so the track has a lot of grip right now. Good tires, a lot of grip, and these guys are making good downforce with these cars nowadays and that, obviously, has something to do with it."
TODD BODINE - No. 54 National Guard Taurus (Qualified 17th)
THAT'S A GOOD PICKUP FROM PRACTICE.
"Yeah, that was about a half-second pickup, so we're real happy with that. The car was a lot better. Gary (Cogswell) made some changes right before we went out and it was definitely better. We need a little more, but we'll take that. That was a pretty good run for the National Guard Ford. We went down to Kershaw (SC) this past Tuesday and tested and we learned a lot. We're trying to incorporate what we learned here, but it's a little different. Kershaw is a tight little race track and this place is real fast, so we're getting there. We got a lot better right there and, hopefully, we'll be better for the race with the National Guard Ford."
IS IT SPECIAL COMING HERE WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
"Yeah, I love Watkins Glen. First, I love road racing and Watkins Glen is an awesome place to race. To come here and have all family and friends, hometown, it's just awesome. The only thing that could make it better is if Geoff and Brett were racing with me."
YOU MISSED YOUR ORIGINAL QUALIFYING SPOT TO CHANGE THE TRANSMISSION. WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?
"In practice the transmission stuck in third gear twice getting into one, so, instead of taking a chance we went ahead and changed it to make sure it didn't happen in qualifying."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 8th)
"I respect Biffle the most out of anybody in the garage area just because of how much he taught me with the Truck program. It's great to see him right there on the pole. If I would have knocked him off, I would have felt as guilty as anybody would. But we gave it our best shot, we picked up time from our qualifying practice and just left a little bit out there in the bus stop - the chicane on the back straightaway. I got in there too hot and hit too much curb and I think that threw away a good two tenths and that's what we're off."
THE ROUSH CARS ARE GOOD TODAY.
"General history shows that Roush does well on road course. He's got great ideas as far as how to build cars. We had three teammates come up here and test - Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Greg - so with those three guys testing they brought in a lot of notes."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus (Qualified 26th)
"That's about like we were in practice. We threw a few things at it to try to help us a little bit. We got a little bit better than practice, but we still never got like what we needed to be. It looks like we've got a little work to do."
DID THE NEW TRANSMISSION HELP?
"That helped a little bit. We were off on second gear ratio. We needed a second and we got a couple of tenths out of the transmission, but you can't fix everything with transmission. For some reason the car seems to be rolling and picking the inside front tire up off the ground. We're trying to figure out why it's rolling so much right now. You've almost got to separate qualifying from racing now and not do anything crazy on your race setup and see how we are in race setup. We didn't do anything real aggressive with the front cambers in the front end, so the car should have staying power on a long run. At least that's what we're banking on. We hope these guys slow down a little bit because, obviously, we couldn't run close to them. That's about a second quicker than when we sat on the pole a year ago and those speeds are just a tick over a second faster than we ran last year, but it was hotter last time."
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
YOU THOUGHT GORDON MIGHT BEAT YOU AND GREG.
"Well, I've been doing this stuff a long time and I kind of know what people got. I know that my lap wasn't perfect and I know those guys (Gordon) were capable of going as fast as we were. I knew that he had a shot at it and that's OK. At least we didn't lose by a thread here. We've got a great race car. That's the best starting spot I've had all year. Jeff Gordon told me last weekend that he thought he could hang we me in qualifying, but there was no way in race trim that he could run with us based on our test up here. I'm not sure that's true either, but I do know that we have a great race car and I'm just real grateful to the whole Viagra team. This is the same car I had at Sears Point and I managed to flub it up out there. Maybe we'll not do that this week."
YOU GRABBED BIFFLE PLAYFULLY BY THE NECK WHEN YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR. WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HIM?
"You're crazy. He's crazy and anybody that's seen him drive knows it (laughing). I drove his car, I know he's crazy because I know that's all him. He's quite a guy. When he gets a little more time in these things he's certainly gonna be a force to be reckoned with."
DID YOU HAVE A CONSERVATIVE LAP?
"My little glitch on the lap was from underextending on the braking going into the bus stop back there, and then I was a little slow getting into it, which messed my whole rhythm up. Then I had to try to accelerate and grab some speed back and that didn't work either, so hitting all your marks and not making mistakes is real important. It's much better to be third than 33rd because I've done that too and I'm not gonna do that anymore."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Qualified 30th)
"We picked up but not as much as I needed to. That was no faster than what we'd been in practice, so I'm just having a difficult time. I'm getting the car slowed down too much entering these corners and I don't know why that is. We've got a really good braking system. The car is better than what the driver is letting it do right now."
A PROBLEM LIKE THAT MUST BE COMPOUNDED WHEN YOU HAVE AS MANY TURNS AS YOU DO HERE.
"Yeah, it just magnifies that and I just haven't gotten the car exactly right for what we need to do and I haven't been exactly right. It's been a slow combination."
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus (Qualified 23rd)
"I don't know. We're not running like I thought we would coming here. The CITGO team has worked really hard. To be honest, I'm having trouble telling them what the car needs to be quite honest. I haven't felt very good the last couple of days and I don't know if that's hurting me, but the guys are working really hard. The car drives OK, but it's just not real fast."
HAS THIS TRACK CHANGED A LOT THE LAST FIVE YEARS?
"It's fast right now. I don't know why. Goodyear has brought a great tire and I think that's part of the reason, but it's real fast. That speed right there, which is 13th right now, would have been really good last year, so it's a lot faster. A lot of people came here and tested and I think that makes a big difference too. I think there were about 20 cars that came and tested and we were one of the cars that didn't. I think that matters. We have been running places, but we just didn't come here so that's hurting us a little bit and helping some others. We'll be OK tomorrow. We've always raced well here and I think we will on Sunday."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 24th)
"I'm just disappointed. We've lost a lot on qualifying lately and we just couldn't get a hold of the track all morning. We can't get the grip I think we need to run fast. I don't know where these guys are picking up all their time at, so it's just very frustrating. The M&M's car hasn't been what it's supposed to be the last month or so and the frustration continues."
A LOT OF GUYS TESTED HERE. HAS THAT HURT YOU?
"Yeah, we didn't test here. It's a brand new car. We did test at VIR but we don't know. We're scratching our heads right now and I can't figure out what we need to do to get better. We're way behind somewhere and I'm not sure where. I probably have to get better as a driver on a road course, too, so we've got a lot of work to do."
MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus (Qualified 7th)
"It was a good lap. I was a little disappointed with the speed. That's about what we ran in practice. I was hoping I could run around a flat, so I'm a little disappointed in that. I thought I could get a little more out of it, but there was probably more grip out there than I thought there was and I didn't attack the course hard enough. But it was a good, solid lap and that will get us a top 10 starting spot. That's a good place."
DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus (Qualified 16th)
YOU WERE LOOKING AT A PROVISIONAL IF YOU DIDN'T GET OUT THERE AND YOU ENDED UP 16TH. WAS THERE A LITTLE STRESS?
"Yeah, a little bit. The throttle was just hung wide open. I don't know what it was caught on - the air cleaner box or what - but it took off up through the hill and it was just to the floor. It was no big deal, we just had to get it fixed. I was afraid the track might get too wet, but it seemed fine. I was hoping I could get another couple tenths out of it. I was pretty sure I could do that, but I was a little slow in the chicane. Still, it's better than a provisional."