MATT KENSETH-17-Waste Management Ford Taurus "We're not going to make it. They slowed it down from yesterday somehow. They tried to speed it up and do stuff to qualify that would actually hurt us in race, but they didn't get any speed out of it.
MATT KENSETH-17-Waste Management Ford Taurus
"We're not going to make it. They slowed it down from yesterday somehow. They tried to speed it up and do stuff to qualify that would actually hurt us in race, but they didn't get any speed out of it. It's pretty disappointing and not a very good job."
JON WOOD-47-Clorox/Wisk Ford Taurus
"I'm not the worst Ford here and that's a plus. We kind of expected this when we got here that we were going to have a little trouble qualifying. It's not something that is surprising. I think we'll race well. We seem to have a pretty good race package."
HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE IS THERE DRAFTING IN A CAR FROM A TRUCK? "It took a long time for me to figure out that these things don't quite suck up like a truck does. It's a good thing that we got to come here and test because I'd be lost right now if it weren't for that. All in all, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think that will be a decent starting spot. It should just be mid-pack and hopefully I can get around Stacy and work with him."
DAVID GREEN-27-Kleenex/Walgreen Ford Taurus
"The headwind is treacherous down the back. We did a couple of qualifying runs here testing and we ran about a 50-flat, and we all kind of knew, or I was told from the veteran Ford people, that we probably won't qualify that well here because we still have the old package, but I was tickled with that. All off-season has been very good for us and I'm proud of all of my guys because they picked right up with the new crew chief Stewart Cooper. They picked up all of the pieces that Ford has given us to put together and I'm very proud of them. In this deal, it doesn't matter where you start."
WITH THE NEW IMPOUND PROCEDURES DO YOU HAVE TO SACRIFICE A LITTLE BIT IN QUALIFYING TO ENSURE YOU HAVE A GOOD RACE PACKAGE? "This whole impound deal, I really like it. As you sacrifice some for the pole, everybody does the same thing. The only thing I'm fearful of is that there could be some guys on the outside looking in to make the race, and they might do some stuff for qualifying. Here at Daytona I don't know that you can really do it, but like today, the guys in the outside looking in could have changed a gear to combat the wind to get in the race and really struggle with that gear and have engine problems. For the most part it's a balancing act now, and again, I like this scenario because I think it's going to complement the teams that have some experience over youth. Maybe that will work out."
STACY COMPTON-59-Kingsford/Bush's Beans Ford Taurus
"It's windy out there, but the guys did a great job with the car. I think you're going to see the Fords in the high 20s, but watch out when they drop the green flag. We've got the best driving race car that I've ever had here, and I think in every practice session this week we were in the top 15 and really have a good race car. I predicted that we would run a (50.)50 and I usually don't do that. I figure that we're going to be 30th, but when the green flag drops watch out."
IS THIS A TRACK THAT YOU CAN USE THE DRAFT TO COMPENSATE FOR A FEW LESS HORSEPOWER? "You just can't give up anywhere you go. Horsepower is horsepower. We can make up in the race, but when you're out there by yourself and you've got the old engine package, you know you're giving up a certain amount of horsepower and there's no substitute. For speedway racing, I think when you're getting ready to qualify, horsepower is probably more important there than anywhere we go. We know we're down, we know we have a good package next week, and we know we have a good race car. If we can avoid the big wrecks, this car could go to winner's circle. This Kingsford Ford is that good. We'll keep our fingers crossed and hopefully get through the wrecks and we'll be fine."
ASHTON LEWIS, JR.-25-Marines Ford Taurus
"I told the guys that we lost a 100 RPM going down the back straightaway with the headwind. I'm guessing it's due to the headwind, but we bottomed out. We didn't bottom out on our single-lap runs yesterday, but we bottomed out just now in one and two. It's got to be the extra wind on the car."
ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT SOME OF THE CARS THAT NEEDED TO MAKE THE RACE ON SPEED MIGHT NOT BE AS GOOD IN RACE TRIM TOMORROW? "I think there are several cars that have got to get in on speed and they're going to take the chance of really qualifying on a qualifying setup, and then come race time, they're just going to need to hold until they get a chance to work on it. There will be a couple of guys out there dancing and hopefully they're smart enough to wait for the first time to where they can work on it, and we can race at the end of it."
COULD THAT LEAD TO A BIG WRECK AT THE START OF THE RACE? "It just depends on how smart they are. They're going to know what they have and hopefully they just realize that they need to sit there and wait and let the guys who are qualifying a full-blown race setup to go out there and race from the start of it. It's a long race for everybody as long as they realize that they'll get a couple of chances to work on it and they'll be fine."
KENNY WALLACE-22-Stacker 2 Ford Taurus
"That's real good for our Ford. I'm real thankful. We worked real hard on getting the car handling and making sure I can run with some of the guys that are faster than me. I think it will come down to handling and making sure we can stay wide open. My feeling is that my guys worked as hard as they could to put us where we're going to put us, and we've got it handling good. To me, every year that I've been down here it's always about handling. You get wrapped up all winter long and all during the week here, and you're looking at that stopwatch. Just like it showed up in the Twins, you get about halfway through that race and you're like, 'Oh gosh, I just wish it would handle.' I feel strongly that my car will be good and I'll be able to do what I need to do."
ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT SOME OF THE CARS THAT NEEDED TO MAKE THE RACE ON SPEED MIGHT NOT BE AS GOOD IN RACE TRIM TOMORROW? "I'm always concerned about that. That's definitely a concern, but I've tried it both ways. I've seen Mark Martin wreck leading, racing for the win, and I've seen wrecks in every position you can figure. I've seen Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte try to hang out in the back and hit a wreck, so my theory is just to go. One thing Dick Trickle taught me is that it's always 50/50; it's 50 percent your fault for going on the race track."
JASON KELLER-35-McDonald's Ford Taurus
IT SEEMS LIKE THE WIND IS BEGINNING TO DIE DOWN? "I don't know if it is really dying down. It felt like it really hurt us about 200 RPM down the back straightaway. Luckily, we've got a starting spot for tomorrow, so we're not quite so worried about where we qualified. Naturally, we would have liked to have qualified up front, but we slowed down about like everybody else did, and we'll just be smart for tomorrow and get us a good finish."
MOST OF PRACTICE HAS BEEN SPENT RUNNING IN THE DRAFT. DO YOU FEEL THAT THE CAR IS BETTER IN THE DRAFT? "I do. It seems like the Fords are better in the draft than they are by themselves, so hopefully that will mean something and we'll be OK. We have to be smart, though. We may opt to lay back at the start of the race and let everything shake out. I think there's going to be a lot of action early, so we just have to really try hard not to be in it."
CARL EDWARDS-60-Charter Communication Ford Taurus
"I'm glad to be a rookie in the Busch Series because you get more tests and we get to be part of that race, which is really fun. We're 15th right now and this car races really well in race trim. I'm pumped about racing this thing."
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP. "It was fun. We've been focusing really on our drafting package here. We weren't as quick as we wanted to be, but we're the second fastest Ford right now and we're happy with that. I feel pretty good about the drafting part of this race. I'm excited and I think our Charter car is going to run real well."
HAVE YOU ADJUSTED TO RACING HERE IN A CAR? "Daytona in the trucks is a lot different. You've got a lot more rear downforce, it was a night race and you had a lot of grip in the race track, but racing these cars during the middle of the day with less downforce and guys who are more experienced at drafting, it's two or three times as hard to me. I'm learning a lot by racing both of these cars."
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.-10-telcel Motorola Ford Taurus
YOU'VE GONE 200-PLUS MPH IN A CHAMP CAR BEFORE, SO HOW DO THIS COMPARE? "It's plenty fast here. Around here it's probably not exactly the same as running at Fontana or Michigan in a Champ car, but the mentality is the same. You want to scrub the least amount of speed and make the lap as short as possible."
YOU ARE AN ACCOMPLISHED RACER, BUT HOW NERVOUS WERE YOU TODAY? "It was big. We didn't know if we were going to make the race or not, and this time it looks like it's pretty good to make the race. But, I was very, very nervous because there is so much preparation, and it's the first race of the year. Not making the race would be bad, but there's not much I can do; the driver doesn't make a big difference here. Now we're here and we're in the race and that's the most important thing. Hopefully tomorrow we'll finish the race with no mistakes and move on to the next thing."
WITH A RACE IN MEXICO THIS YEAR, DO YOU FEEL ADDED PRESSURE TO PERFORM? "Mexico is the third race in a couple of weeks, so there is a lot of focus on that race from everybody. In a way I'm representing that race right now and there is a lot of media from Mexico here and a lot of focus on me for the next two weeks. I guess people do expect a little bit more of you because of that."
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE IN THE DRAFT YET? "Yes. We couldn't run the last couple of days in traffic because we had to concentrate so much on qualifying. I have tomorrow to learn, and I did learn a little bit in the draft in the test and it was good. This car has never run in the draft, so hopefully it will be good."
GREG BIFFLE-66-Duraflame Ford Taurus
"That was an exceptional lap for us. We had no idea that we were going to be near that fast. The guys did a good job of getting it to go here. We were cooled all the way down, had the oil nice and hot on pit road, and we just got a good break with the wind. You see people putting fast times up right now, so that definitely made a difference for us."
ARE YOU WORRIED THAT SOME OF THE OTHERS CARS STARTING UP FRONT THAT NEEDED TO MAKE THE RACE ON TIME MIGHT NOT HAVE THE RIGHT RACE SETUP? "Those cars are just really fast, and we'll have to wait and see. A lot of them have been pretty fast in drafting practice and all of that, so we'll just have to wait and see."