BUSCH: Darlington Friday notes

DIAMOND HILL PLYWOOD 200 PRE-RACE NOTES Darlington Raceway -- March 21 RANDY LaJOIE (No. 74 FINA Chevrolet) -- It's sure not gonna hurt to try and bounce back here (after bad luck at Las Vegas). I've always run well here at Darlington.

DIAMOND HILL PLYWOOD 200 PRE-RACE NOTES Darlington Raceway -- March 21

RANDY LaJOIE (No. 74 FINA Chevrolet) -- It's sure not gonna hurt to try and bounce back here (after bad luck at Las Vegas). I've always run well here at Darlington. (Can he de-rail Mark Martin?) Well, he's come here with a new car so I think if we do have an advantage it's that he won't be as comfortable with the new car. It's a new chassis design that they built -- it might take him a while to figure it out. Mark is probably the premier Winston Cup guy who comes over here and kicks our butt. Myself and a couple Busch guys run well here. I've finished second to him a couple times here. I think we've got something for him if we can reach him. Whatever plays out plays out. I just need to get back in the top five and have a good run. We have a car that's brand new this year. We ran it at Rockingham and Atlanta and it's been good at both places. It seems real good here so far. I'll look at if after 20 laps and see what we have. We'll feel the car out -- if we're at the tail-end of the top 10 we're gonna try to fix it. If you can run in the top five or if you're leading, then you can see if you can make yourself better, work on consistency with the tires and maybe put yourself in a position to win the race at the end. TIM STEELE (No. 4 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet) -- I want to finish it (Diamond Hill Plywood 200)! You hear all the stories about Darlington -- I just want to come out of here and say I've got 200 more miles of experience at Darlington. (On joining Phoenix Racing.) James (Finch) and I had been talking for a few years, on and off, but we never could put nothing together. Off to Vegas we went and had a good run and we were able to put something together. It's with a good car and I know coming in that I've got good equipment and I can work on getting me up to speed. Coming with people who are experienced at these places, maybe they can make up for some of my experience. We're gonna run the rest of the (NASCAR Busch Series) year with James and hope everything goes well. Maybe we can win a race. (Steele is defending ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion.) It looks like we're gonna have to evaluate things there. I'm going to concentrate on this and do the best we can do and maybe do the ARCA speedway races. We want to run some Winston Cup races with our Fords. I have two teams working for me now so when we do the Winston Cup races we'll combine efforts. James (Finch) sold all his Winston Cup stuff so my dad (Harold), and he are gonna go in as partners and combine efforts -- make it one team.

TODD BODINE (No. 36 Stanley Pontiac) -- Leading the Busch Series points does and doesn't make a difference in how I'll approach the race. You have to be smart at what you're doing on the race track -- this place will eat race cars up in a hurry. We're still here to win the race. We're not going to lay down and just run for points every week. That's not my style and that's not what we came to do. There's not a certain point in the race that you decide your strategy. If the car isn't there, you try to work on it every stop and make it better. If your car won't do the things you wanted to do, you've got to slow down, back up a little bit and be safe about it -- use your head. (Can Mark Martin be beaten?) Mark's always a concern -- he's such a good driver and he's got good equipment so he's always going to be there at the front. There's so many Busch Grand National regulars who can do the same thing every week. You can't write anybody off. You always have to count everybody as a player who can win the race until it gets going, shakes out and you see who your competition is.

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 40 MHCO USA Ford) -- (On how deal came together to run Diamond Hill Plywood 200.) Doug (Taylor, car owner) and I had been talking through the winter a little bit. We were going to run a lot more races but we hadn't secured a sponsor. Doug just needs to get a few good runs in to keep things alive so I told him I'd run it here -- it's one of my better race tracks. It seems like it's a competitive deal. I hope we can get a good run in and let people know he's got some potential there. If we can get some financial support we'll run a lot more races but right now it's kind of a wait-and-see deal.

BUSCH POLE AWARD QUALIFYING NOTES -- March 21 Diamond Hill Plywood 200 -- Darlington Raceway

DAVID HUTTO (No. 24 Hutto Racing Chevrolet) -- When we unloaded it took us some time to get used to the track. When we first got here we had a mechanical problem and I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get the hang of this place. Once we got that taken care of I started to get a better handle on it. We didn't really expect to be the fastest, but we got a pretty good lap in. We qualifed 35th and that's what we came here for -- to make the race. This is a tough track to get around, but I think we'll learn a lot tomorrow in the race.

MARK MARTIN (No. 60 Winn-Dixie Ford) -- That'll do. That was the best that I could do with it. That'll get us a good starting spot. (On new chassis.) I haven't been that crazy about it so far. We're trying something... It's the first Busch car we've built ourselves. I can't really go into it so that the average person would understand. I don't know how the race will shake out. How would I know? I'll race like I always do -- no different than usual. We'll put it out there and see what we've got.

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 29 Diamond Ridge Motorsports Chevrolet) -- This is really unbelievable! First Daytona and now Darlington. This place does scare you a bit. I think if there's a driver who tells you Darlington doesn't scare them, they're not telling the truth. That's what I like about Darlington -- it puts a lot of emphasis on the driver. We were real good in practice this morning and the guys saved something for qualifying. That was a real good lap for us. This is still all pretty exciting. For Jeff and I both on the front row says a lot for our team. Maybe we can finish one-two in the race.

JEFF GREEN (No. 8 Diamond Ridge Motorsports Chevrolet) -- It's incredible how good he (teammate Elliott Sadler) is. Elliott is a great driver. For him to win the pole in his first trip here is incredible. I've been here three or four times now and I get scared each time I go off into the corner. This is not a track where a rookie is supposed to do that. If he can win the pole his first time out, I'm scared to see how good he might be in three or four years.

RON BARFIELD (No. 94 New Holland Ford) -- I was shaking when I got out of the car. I felt like it was a good lap. I held it wide open going through three and four and that was something else. I think that's the reason I was shaking when I got out of the car. It's really exciting to do good at Darlington. Any time you can come home and run good, it's special. I grew up watching races at this place, so this means a lot.

JASON KELLER (No. 57 Slim Jim Chevrolet) -- I'm pretty please with our lap. I knew we wouldn't be good enough for the front row, but we qualified about the way we practiced. You usually have to outrun that Roush car (Mark Martin) in the race -- now there's two of those (Jeff Burton) and two of those Diamond Ridge cars (E. Sadler and J. Green). We haven't made any really long runs, but the runs we've made, I think we'll be okay.

LYNDON AMICK (No. 35 Dodge/Rockwell Automation Pontiac) -- We spent two days down here testing and I'm starting to feel comfortable out there. We qualified about the same way we tested, so we feel pretty good about that. Everybody tells me that you have to race the track here and I'm starting to believe them. When a car gets beside you, you have to let it go. If I haven't learned anything else, I've learned that. SHANE HALL (No. 85 Bama Foods Chevrolet) -- I got real loose on my first lap and chased it about as far up the track as I could. I really thought I had lost it. We were fortunate enough to bounce back and have a pretty good second lap. Our second lap wasn't as good as we had hoped, but it will get us in the race and we'll go from there.

FINAL PRACTICE NOTES -- Diamond Hill Plywood 200 March 21

MIKE DILLON (No. 72 Detroit Gasket Chevrolet) -- (Involved in three-car accident in final practice.) A car pulled up in front of me and I was trying to avoid it. I got up a little too high trying to get around him and I just lost it. We're going to a back-up car. We're going to use our Texas car. We didn't really want to go to our back-up, but we think we will have a better chance in the race with it.

JEFF KROGH (No. 56 Clearwater Forest Chevrolet) -- (Involved in three-car accident in final practice.) The 72 car and I were kind of playing cat and mouse going in there (turns one and two) and I went in there too hard and the tail end just came around on me.

RODNEY COMBS (No. 78 Mark III Financial Group Chevrolet) -- (Involved in three-car accident in final practice.) I wasn't in the middle of the thing with the 56 and the 72 -- I was just going by. That was just his (Jeff Krogh's) right front tire (gouged a six-to-eight-inch furrow in the right door) sticking out. No Darlington Stripe -- I'm still knocking wood I've never had one! He got the stripe and I got the rubber. If he wouldn't have had his wheel cut that far I wouldn't have even got that. It was just where he right front wheel was cut. It didn't even touch either of my wheels -- just the door panel (from end-to-end). Very lucky. It looks worse than it actually is. He just lost it and I was in the wrong place. 17 (Tim Bender) was behind me and I couldn't whoa up too much cause he'd get into me. I can't say I shut my eyes -- I did drive through it. We'll be OK.

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Drivers Jeff Burton , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin
Teams Phoenix Racing