JASON KELLER-35-McDonald's Ford Taurus (Qualified 40th) "We fell off from practice unfortunately. The race track sat for a long time and here at Charlotte it's the luck of the draw, and we'll just take what it is and race hard tomorrow ...
JASON KELLER-35-McDonald's Ford Taurus (Qualified 40th)
"We fell off from practice unfortunately. The race track sat for a long time and here at Charlotte it's the luck of the draw, and we'll just take what it is and race hard tomorrow night."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR TOMORROW NIGHT? "I really don't know yet how the racing is going to be. Hopefully it will slow up and we can race side by side. Right now it's got a lot of grip and when it's got a lot of grip it's hard to pass, so hopefully we can take what it gives us. My record is not real good here at Charlotte, so hopefully racing at night will change things."
WITH IMPOUND PROCEDURES IN PLACE AND THE RACE BEING RUN UNDER THE LIGHTS, HOW MUCH DID YOU HAVE TO COMPROMISE ON THE SETUP FOR QUALIFYING? "We were extremely loose and it really caught me off guard. We ran a (29.)70 in practice and weren't able to back that up. It's just the luck of the draw. If you get a late draw here it seems a little bit better, but it is what it is. You want to start up front here because I don't know how much passing is going to go on, but we'll just take it for what it is."
KENNY WALLACE-22-Stacker 2 Ford Taurus (Qualified 25th)
DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS TEAM HAS COME TOGETHER AS OF LATE TO GET OVER THE HUMP? "Everybody has told me that I have. I was telling everybody this year that this is only normal to me to have a couple of second-place finishes because I spent a lot of time in the Cup Series trying to win a race and got three second-place finishes. I think we're running pretty decent, and we'll keep on digging and see what happens."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RACING SURFACE? "It's fast. I like it and I don't see anything wrong with it; it's really good. I kind of miss the greasy old place because there used to be an art form to it and now you just run hard. That's OK and we'll just have to see after all of the racing this week. The All-Star race didn't show me anything; that was not a good race. We need the old place back where you let off and you put it down in there in the corners."
STACY COMPTON-59-Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford Taurus (Qualified 18th) - "We're finally getting some things to go our way. We've tested twice since our last race and I think Chris (Rice, crew chief) and I are figuring each other out and we figured some things out. That was seven tenths better than we practiced. I'm pretty excited about it. I think we're jelling and getting there, but we've just had so much bad luck this year that we haven't been able to get any momentum together. Hopefully with those two tests we learned some things to where we may get some momentum going now."
THERE WERE A NUMBER OF INCIDENTS IN PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING TODAY. TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT? "The track is just so fast right now. It's like we've seen all along, you're running so fast through the center than when you lose a race car there's no catching it. I think that's the biggest thing that we're seeing right now. Normally here you slip and slide, and if your car breaks free you chase it up the race track. Now, you're literally all but wide open and when it breaks loose, it breaks loose and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it."
ASHTON LEWIS, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 24th)
"I think the track is pretty close to the way we practiced, we just made some adjustments and should have just gone more. We actually weren't free in practice and we were free there and I don't know if that's the track or us just finally getting it off the race track and really finding out what the chassis is like. I really thought we could run a lot faster than that and I'm just kind of disappointed in it. I felt like going out late and as good as the car was this morning that I had a good shot to run a teen, but it was just too loose to do that."
IF YOU'RE OFF RIGHT NOW DO YOU WANT TO BE LOOSE WITH THE RACE BEING RUN AT NIGHT? "Yeah, it's probably the right way to be, especially after you untape it and go to race trim stuff. I think the stuff we did to keep it as tight as we did will help us in the race as well as to keep it turning in the race. It's a positive, but I thought we were a better car than we just showed. We'll just have to race them tomorrow."
CARL EDWARDS-60-National Guard/Charter Ford Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"I was really frustrated crossing the line because I really wanted to be on the pole. I thought, 'Man, this thing is loose and I'm just going to go one more lap to try it.' By the time I got to the back straightaway it was a handful. That was fun. Being that it was the second lap, our Goodyears were really good on scuffs and I thought it was going to be really good and I couldn't go any harder. That was as loose as I could drive one. That was fun. The car was really fast, but it was too loose. I think it's going to race really well. I couldn't go any faster than that. That was it. It was hung out on the warm-up lap sideways, the first lap sideways in three, and over there I thought it was over with. I'm just glad that the car is together and we made it through that."
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED THAT YOU DIDN'T GET THE POLE? "Absolutely. The disappointment is all but erased after that close call off of two. You have to have some sort of excitement. If you can't get the pole at least find something fun about the lap. I had a good time saving it there; that was fun."
THERE WERE A NUMBER OF INCIDENTS TODAY. WAS THERE SOMETHING DIFFERENT WITH THE TRACK TODAY? "The track is so different temperature-wise. You drive into one and there's a ton of grip and then you get into the sun and it's like a whole different race track. I think what's going on is it's just hard to chase the temperature-sensitive nature of the race track. If it cools off 25 or 30 degrees it's a whole different animal, so that's why I think it's tough."
IS IT A COINCIDENCE THAT CUP DRIVERS TOOK THE TOP THREE SPORTS TODAY? "No, I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that we got to work so hard yesterday on qualifying trim for two hours. Guys like Greg and Kasey are always fast, so I don't think it was a coincidence."
GREG BIFFLE-66-Duraflame Ford Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
"Man, my blood pressure went through the roof. I thought I was wrecking down there, and that's a great race car that Newt (Moore, crew chief) and all of the guys at Brewco built me. I certainly didn't want to lose it for the race, and I knew it was a good lap. I went almost flat across one and two. I had the pole until that thing got out from under me down there. Not an excuse, but I had the tape a little bit low and I could only see about 60 feet or 100 feet out in front of the race car. That was kind of a stupid thing on my part to put too many rows of tape on it. The sun was in my eyes yesterday in Cup qualifying at about this time, and I thought I was going to fix it but I didn't."