Pre-race quotes Ashton Lewis, Jr., driver of the No. 25 Ford Taurus, crashed in qualifying this afternoon for tonight's Dollar General 300 and will be forced to a backup car for the race. Lewis spoke about the turn-two incident. ASHTON LEWIS,...
Ashton Lewis, Jr., driver of the No. 25 Ford Taurus, crashed in qualifying this afternoon for tonight's Dollar General 300 and will be forced to a backup car for the race. Lewis spoke about the turn-two incident.
ASHTON LEWIS, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus
WHAT HAPPENED ON YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? "I just got loose and lost it. It's frustrating just because we haven't been able to build any momentum here lately and we're falling back in points and I need some good runs. This is a brand new car the guys built, the first brand new car all year long, and it's been really good. We came out here and tested it for a day and shook it down and it was really fast. We took it to Kansas and the guys fixed it after Kansas to bring it here. It's been great in race trim and we were real loose yesterday in qualifying trim. I was just up in the hauler changing and they showed all three of us who have wrecked, and it seems like when you get to that white line when it gets real loose, and I noticed it yesterday, too, the bottom groove seems to be a little bit looser. I probably just messed up. I knew the track was fast as Jimmie Johnson just proved, and I was trying to go for it and probably should have kept it up a half of a groove and I probably would have been all right. I think going onto white was a little bit too treacherous. Unfortunately it's a little bit of a setback, but the backup car is just as good."
DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS GETTING INTO A BACKUP CAR THAT HASN'T TURNED A LAP? "This is a car that we've run a bunch and it's been really good. This is the car we had a Texas, and I think it's the same car we raced with here the first race, so it should be a good piece. The one we wrecked was just a little bit better, it's the latest one we had in the tunnel and the best body we had. We don't have quite as good of a race car, but it should be close."
DO YOU EXPECT TURN TWO TO BE A PROBLEM SPOT TONIGHT IN THE RACE? "I watched the video and they showed all three of us that wrecked in qualifying, and it seems like when you get on that white line in qualifying, and I probably should have kept it up a half of a groove and probably would have been all right. I noticed over here testing and also here yesterday that if you brought the car down the white line that it was a little bit freer, and I probably should have been a little bit smarter and moved up the race track and would have been fine with it. It's a little bit of a setback, but we should be all right."
KENNY WALLACE-22-AutoZone Ford Taurus (Finished 26th)
WHAT TRIGGERED THE LAP 103 INCIDENT? "It really started about 10 laps ago. I had a left-rear with loose lug nuts when we were running good. I was trying to get my lap back and everything was going good, and when you're running this fast, Jason Leffler, he just got in too hard. I'm a good guy so I'm not going to badmouth him, but he drove into the corner too hard and I was as high as I could be, and he just drove in too hard and got up into my left rear. It's good racing, it's just really fast. I was running wide open through turns 1 and 2 and you're not supposed to be able to do that on a track like this."
GREG BIFFLE-66-Duraflame Ford Taurus (Finished 36th)
YOU HAD A BLISTERING PROBLEM WITH YOUR RIGHT-REAR TIRES EARLIER IN THE RACE, BUT WAS THIS A CASE OF A CUT TIRE? "Yeah, with so many people crashing out there, there is a lot of debris on the race track, and, obviously, I ran over something on the frontstretch over here where they had the yard sale with all of the sheet metal and everything. NASCAR does a good job of trying to clean the track, and inevitably it just takes a little tiny piece of a rivet or metal and it will put a little cut in it, and it was just slow leaking; it had 22 pounds left in it. So, we were going into the corner at about 200 mph, and with 22 pounds of air it just won't work out. It's too bad because we had a great car and I hated to tear it up."
WAS THERE A BLISTERING ISSUE WITH THE TIRES, AND DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE A PROBLEM TOMORROW? "There definitely is a problem with it blistering. I don't know what they're going to do. We tested here. I ran 54 laps on my tires in the Busch practice and the tires were fine. I'm really, really surprised to see we're having blister problems with only 21 laps on the tires. Obviously this happened because of a puncture, but still, a big concern with the blistering of the tires. It's not just us, it's everybody up and down pit road. You take an inch and a half of spoiler off and give them 100 more horsepower, I think it's going to be exciting."
ELLIOTT SADLER-90-CitiFinancial Ford Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"This was a wild race, but I'm just so proud of my guys. I couldn't even make a lap on the race track when we first unloaded and they kept working on it and working on it, and we were just a little bit too tight there to compete with Ryan at the end. Another second-place finish in the CitiFinancial Ford and it was a great run. I'm proud of my guys. To come back here and finish second, they did a great job."
CARL EDWARDS-60-Charter Communications Ford Taurus (Finished 4th)
"I've got to apologize to the Yellow Freight team and Johnny Sauter. That was a mistake and I'm just glad that nobody got hurt. I don't know what to say. It was a good day for us. We had a good run, but all that is is running as hard as you can without thinking that you're going to blow a tire. It was just an unfortunate set of circumstances where the tire and the race track weren't quite right and I'm just glad nobody got hurt."
DO YOU HAVE CONCERNS HEADING INTO TOMORROW'S RACE? "I'm really concerned about tomorrow. I'm nervous."
JON WOOD-47-Clorox/Wisk Ford Taurus (Finished 6th)
YOU WERE INVOLVED IN AN EARLY INCIDENT, SPENT TIME IN THE GARAGE AND STILL MANAGED TO FINISH IN THE TOP 10. TALK ABOUT YOUR NIGHT. "I was just wanting not to lose that many laps behind the wall, and to be able to not lose any laps and to finish sixth with a car that was tore all to pieces was pretty remarkable. These guys are doing so much better. I'm learning a lot, the team's learned a lot and we're a lot better prepared."
DID YOU HAVE ANY TIRES ISSUES? "Tires were not an issue. They were for some people, but I had no problem. It was just a good night at Charlotte."
ASHTON LEWIS, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Finished 8th)
YOU CLAIMED A TOP-10 FINISH IN A CAR THAT NEVER TURNED A LAP UNTIL THE RACE STARTED. "As tight as that race track is and as fast as it is, if you get someone to slip or somebody gives you a little bit, you have to take it. We were so much faster than a couple of cars, but they can sit there, and if you're three tenths quicker than they are they can hold you up enough to where they break your momentum and ruin your run. I think that's why you saw so much of that tonight because you know if a hole opens up you have to take it right then and there."
WERE THERE ANY ISSUES WITH THE TRACK OR TIRES TONIGHT? "We never had any. The only problem we had was that a valve core was bad on our right-rear and we lost air in it. We were pretty decent. Starting in the back in a backup car and to come back up and run as well as we did, I know we got a lot of breaks from some good cars getting knocked out, but we had a pretty good race car. That's a testament to the team and the hard work they've put into it."
MATT KENSETH-9-Pennzoil Ford Taurus (Finished 25th)
WHAT TOOK YOU OUT OF THE RACE? "I don't know. I want to make sure we take it apart in case it's some kind of parts problem. There is so much load on the car here, you're going so fast now, and you're seeing a lot of the stuff break and tires blow and stuff like that. I'm just making sure we don't have a problem we need to address for tomorrow. Something happened to the left-front wheel bearing; it got knocked out or something. The left-front tire just moved like it was falling off and the brake pedal went down, so something happened to the suspension on the left front. Up until then, all night we had a good car; too bad we didn't get to finish."
DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS GOING INTO TOMORROW'S CUP RACE? "The track is not really a concern, it's just running all of the parts. I don't think we've seen stress on parts like this probably ever. You're just really running through the corners fast. If the tires don't hold up and you're breaking parts and wheels, like we broke tonight, that's the biggest concern. The track is fine as long as nothing comes apart, but if something comes apart you're going awfully fast."
JASON KELLER-35-McDonald's Big Mac Ford Taurus (Finished 18th)
YOU FINISHED 18TH, BUT YOU MANAGED TO GAIN TWO POSITIONS IN THE POINT STANDINGS. "We were really, really loose and fought it mechanically all night. We battled it all night. We didn't have any tire issues, but we just barely survived. It was hard to race, and even when I did get a run on cars side-by-side, it was hard to race. I could see where the car trying to take the lead spun out. I could see how that happened pretty easy. I'll probably be a little more satisfied with it as the week goes on, but I'm pretty upset that we ran as bad as we did. It wasn't for that lack of effort, and that's one thing I can say that nobody gave up. We just really, really missed it."