TERRY COOK-10-Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 (Qualified 14th) HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR IS THE WIND PLAYING TODAY IN QUALIFYING? "I think it plays quite a bit because in our simulated qualifying run we were never that tight off the corner, and it...
TERRY COOK-10-Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 (Qualified 14th)
HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR IS THE WIND PLAYING TODAY IN QUALIFYING? "I think it plays quite a bit because in our simulated qualifying run we were never that tight off the corner, and it was tight enough to the point where I thought it was bogging the motor a little bit off the corner. I think the wind is definitely a factor in qualifying here. I don't know how it will shake out, and hopefully this will get us near the top 10 or right outside. It's definitely not what we were hoping for. We were hoping for another tenth or two that we felt was in truck."
DID YOU NOTICE THE SAFER BARRIER IN QUALIFYING, AND WILL IT HAVE AN IMPACT WHEN THE TRUCKS ARE RACING SIDE BY SIDE? "I didn't even know they put one in here, so that tells you right there that it didn't affect the lap. It's nice that they put one here, but it had no bearing whatsoever. I don't know if it will have an affect in the race, and I think that would be a good question after qualifying."
DID THE INDY CAR PRACTICE PRIOR TO QUALIFYING CHANGE THE TRACK CONDITIONS? "From my past experiences at tracks like Michigan, it has. It's always tightened the track up. That could have had a little bit to do with it, too. When we got here we were trying to get the truck balanced to the point where you could hold the throttle wide open. When you get the truck here you try to get the balance of the truck where you can run it flat out, and when you get it flat out that's when you trim it back out so you can run faster. We ran right up to the end of practice just to get the balance where we could run it flat out and never got a chance to trim it out. I think it will be a good race truck."
HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE TO LIFT OFF OF THE THROTTLE DURING THE RACE? "It depends, and a lot of that is track position. If you're out front and you've got good air on the nose you're almost wide open. Later in the run when tires wear off and the fuel burns off and you pick up nose weight, usually you're lifting a little bit through the center, but very little. But, if you're marred back in traffic, fifth on back, and you have a lot of guys pushing air in front of you and you don't have any air on the front of your truck, you're really going to be off the throttle. This is a track position track and Brendan Gaughan proved that the last two years here. A lot of his wins were just taking two tires at the end for track position."
CARL EDWARDS-99-Superchips Ford F-150 (Qualified 5th)
"I feel comfortable with the changes we made. That was a wide-open lap. It stayed on the bottom, and I feel that was about as good as we were going to get right there. We taped it up real solid, so we didn't run a second lap and hopefully that doesn't hurt us, but our first lap was our fastest all day."
HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR IS THE WIND IN QUALIFYING TODAY? "It's almost like Daytona. You can really feel it since you're wide open. Coming down the front straightaway in practice, we got a gust of wind and I thought the motor was blowing up once because It slowed the truck down and you could feel it bog down. That's going to be a factor. If someone gets the wind just right, they might turn a really fast lap."
DID YOU GET THE WIND JUST RIGHT? "It felt pretty good, but it's hard to tell. I don't think that's going to be fast enough. I think someone is going to put down a real fast one. I don't know that the track is really much different, but we've got that IndyCar rubber on there and I think it's just a tick different, so it will probably speed up as threw day goes on."
DID YOU NOTICE THE SAFER BARRIERS ON YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? "I didn't even notice we had them until you said something. It's awesome that we've got them. It doesn't affect the trace track at all."
BRANDON WHITT-38-Cure Autism Now/McMillin Homes Ford F-150 (Qualified 10th)
"You either like a track or you don't and this is one of my favorite places. When I came here for my first time I just adapted to it really well. Jerry (Pitts, crew chief) has been here a few times and we've had good trucks both times that we've been here, but today's' truck was exceptionally good."
FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, HOW COMFORTABLE IS THE RACING SURFACE? "This is definitely one of the smoothest tracks that we go to. There are a couple of bumps down in turn one and one bump down in turn three, but other than that it's nice and smooth and real fast, almost wide open all the way around."
HOW DOES A TOP-10 QUALIFYING EFFORT IMPACT YOUR RACE STRATEGY? "It's totally changes our race mentality. Now we can focus on staying with the pack, and we don't really have to fight forward. We just hang where we are until the end of the race and then start making our move and let pit strategy play into it. We can take a whole different approach to the race now starting in the top 10."
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Sears Ford F-150 (Qualified 18th)
"We came out here with Phil Parsons for the test because I was still injured, and Phil did a good job of testing this particular truck here at Texas. The Sears Ford is running good, but for some reason the attitude of the truck is not like I'd like to have it here. Ray Stonkus and Craig Huartson are working real hard to get it, and we got four tenths of it there in qualifying and I think if we can get a couple more in Happy Hour we'll be fine."
HOW IMPORTANT IS CLEAN AIR IN THE RACE? "You want to surround yourself with good trucks because anything can happen here. It's a big aero situation here in Texas. You want to surround yourself with either a really good rookie or a really good veteran and that's the key to getting to the front quick because it helps you get out of accidents. Other than that, you have to race the distanced. It's a long race here in the spring and you have to race the distance and be there at the end."
HOW MUCH DOES PIT STRATEGY PLAY INTO THE SPRING RACE HERE? "Brendan did it last year, but it was a different tire last year and they've got a different truck this year. Pit strategy is always going to be important like last weekend when we turned misfortune into fortune. It could happen again this weekend because I'm sure there is going to be a green-flag stop here in Texas. There always is."
BRAD KESELOWSKI-29-K Automotive Ford F-150 (Qualified 25th)
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU HAVE RACED A TRUCK ON A TRACK OF THIS LENGTH. DID YOU HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR TWO LAPS? "I did get to test here. I don't know if I was holding my breath. I might be exhaling, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm having fun. This place is awesome and I wish I could run here every week. I think we have a pretty good race mode truck, so we'll see."
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO BE A ROOKIE RACING HERE WHEN YOU KNOW THAT NASCAR IS MONITORING YOUR EVERY MOVE ON THE TRACK? "On the speedways it's not a big deal, but on the short tracks it's a deal where you can't push anyone out of the way and that's almost how you have to run the short tracks. Here, I'm kind of on more even terms where you can do stuff to pass people that's more driver dependent instead of pushing people out of the way."