BUSCH: Darlington: Ford Racing qualifying quotes

JEFF BURTON—9—Gain Ford Taurus (Qualified 1st) – “It wasn’t a perfect lap, but that was within a half of a tenth of what we ran this morning and it’s a lot warmer than it was. I feel good about that lap, and it somebody beats it, then...

JEFF BURTON—9—Gain Ford Taurus (Qualified 1st) – “It wasn’t a perfect lap, but that was within a half of a tenth of what we ran this morning and it’s a lot warmer than it was. I feel good about that lap, and it somebody beats it, then they just beat it. It was a good lap. It was a clean lap. I’m real happy with it. Any time that we can get gone qualifying or racing and we’re happy with what we did, whether it gives us a win or gives us a pole, we’re happy. I feel real good about that lap.”

IT LOOKED LIKE A SMOOTH LAP. “To run fast here, you kind of have to hang it out and hope. It is kind of a leap of faith; that’ what I’d call it. I leap and it held, so it’s OK.”

HAVE YOU MASTERED RUNNING AT THIS TRACK? “You never master it. It changes. It’s different this time than the last race. It always changes, and the track is always doing something different. It takes a little something different every time you come. The setup that we ran today is nowhere near what we ran two years ago, so it’s always a struggle.”

JASON KELLER—57—Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 3rd) – “It was just OK. I felt like I left a little bit out there. We came here and tested and we ran extremely well, and this is the same car that won Rockingham, so I’m extremely happy with it. It just wasn’t the perfect lap, and that won’t be on the pole, but it should be in the top five. That will give us a good place to start.”

THIS CAR RACED WELL AT ROCKINGHAM. “The car is fantastic. It was great in Rockingham and we put a little extra emphasis on this race, since I’m a South Carolina boy.”

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND LOOKING AT THE WALL HERE? “Well, if you have a bad line, you spend a lot of time looking at it because you’re turning right a lot. My car is really balanced, so I just try to block the wall out. If you keep looking at it, you’ll probably hit it, so I try to block it out and drive my line. You have to be close to it or you’re not going to run fast. You have to have a good balance, and we have a good balance, so hopefully that will help us tomorrow.”

SCOTT RIGGS—10—Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 4th) – “The car was good and balanced and I felt like I was right on the edge. The times didn’t show it, but the track has changed a lot. I think this place changes a lot with the sun and clouds. We’ll be happy with that. We didn’t come here to qualify, but to race. We aren’t on the pole, but we can see it, and that will be good to start tomorrow’s long race.” DID THE CLOUD COVER HELP YOU TODAY? “If it did, we needed a little more. Like I said, that was the quickest we ran since we got here. I thought we could get some more speed out of it, but the stopwatch doesn’t lie.”

YOU ARE THE HIGHEST QUALIFYING ROOKIE, BUT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE HERE IN THE TRUCK SERIES. HOW MUCH HAS THAT HELPED YOU IN THE BUSCH CAR? “I think this is the biggest experience-type track that we run on. When I was here in the truck, I was outrun by two veterans. I think this is a veteran-type place and you have to be patient and take car of your car..”

GREG BIFFLE—60—Grainger Ford Taurus (Qualified 5th) – “I’m really pleased with that. We made a gear change earlier in practice because we were turning so many RPM, and I didn’t get a good feel of what the car was going to be like because it hit the chip so soon on the straightaway. I was carrying so much speed in Turn 1 that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able keep it turning all the way off, so I lifted and I still had plenty of room. The car turned really good. The guys did a good job preparing the car. I feel pretty good about that qualifying run. I know it will hold up for a top-10 starting position. We have a little bit left in the Grainger Ford, so I feel pretty good about that. I like this track. It’s a challenging track. I like challenging tracks and this thing is one of the biggest challenges. I’m excited.”

YOU MADE YOUR QUALIFYING RUNS AT THE END OF PRACTICE THIS MORNING. DID THAT HELP WITH THE CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS? “We learned here in testing, that the setup is totally different from morning until afternoon. It takes different springs, shocks and everything. We ran 50 laps at noon and 50 laps at 2 o’clock when we tested last week and it took an entirely different setup to keep it off the wall. Once the tracks gets greasy, it takes a different deal.”

KEVIN LEPAGE—71—Matrix Motorsports Ford Taurus (Qualified 24th) – “This is a short-track car, and even though Darlington is a short track, it has some speedway characteristics. This car has some drag to it, but we think it’s going to race real good. What we’re trying to do is get in the show, and we’ll be solidly in the show, and we’ll work on our race setup this afternoon. I think the car will race really well. Everywhere that we’ve run it in the past, it has run very, very well. The main goal is to keep running it until we can get somebody on the hood and quarter panels.” ARE THERE ANY INTENTIONS OF MOVING THIS TEAM TO WINSTON CUP WITH THE LOW CAR COUNTS THERE? “I would like to stay here and finish the season out. We’ve invested a lot in this season already. I think we have a championship race team here, it just takes money. To go to Winston Cup, it takes money, so unless we got a sponsor to do that deal, we’ll probably pick and choose and do our Busch races. We’ll pick the money shows if we don’t get something in the near future.”

BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.—25—Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 16th) – “Like usual, we qualified with our race stuff on. All we have to do is untape, and a lot of these guys have to changes everything. We ran a lot of laps this morning on green-flag stuff, and all the Fords here are pretty good. We have a lot of downforce here and we have great horsepower with the Yates motors. I’m just looking forward to race time.”

THE TRACK CONDITIONS HAVE ALREADY CHANGED SINCE THIS MORNING. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR TOMORROW? “We figured our car would get a little loose, and we made some changes for qualifying, but we need a little more. To start in the top 20, that’s a big change for us from the last couple of weeks. We’ve been running our race stuff, so we haven’t even tried for running for a pole yet. We’re just trying to get up through the points and get used to the Ford and we’ll be ready when we start going back to tracks for the second time.”

MARK GREEN—38—EasyCare Ford Taurus (Qualified 12th) – “We’ve tested at a few places that Christian has tested, so it’s not like I haven’t been in a car for a year. I’ve come here in the past and really struggled in qualifying, run pretty good in the race, but struggled in qualifying and now I know why. I got in this car and this is great equipment. The Cosworth motors make a big difference.”

YOU HAD TO TAKE A STEP BACK WITH YOUR ROLE, BUT HAS CONSULTING WITH THIS TEAM HELPED YOU LEARN SOME THINGS ABOUT THESE CARS? “I said it last year working with Larry Foyt, if you step back and you can look at different aspects of it, it gives you a different feel for what people do. I’ve been watching a lot of what these guys do and it’s a lot of monkey see, monkey do. You really need to pay attention to what the guys up front are doing, and adapt that to your car.” HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE NEXT TWO RACES FOR YOU? “I want to show that I still have what it takes. I’m with a good team that has all the resources to do what you need to do, and I think that’s going to make all the difference. I just need to turn the steering and it will all come.”


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Drivers Larry Foyt