SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 12th) "It's really slick, and it's only a one-groove race track here and I don't know why. It seems that with as much as we've been running, you ought to be able to work that second groove in...
SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 12th)
"It's really slick, and it's only a one-groove race track here and I don't know why. It seems that with as much as we've been running, you ought to be able to work that second groove in pretty quick. With all of the Cup cars and Busch cars testing here the last couple of weeks, it's still a one-groove race track and if you get out of the bottom, everybody has been complaining about just sliding around pretty bad. It's going to be tough staying on the bottom groove, and I hope the second groove comes in for the race, but for as much practice and testing that has been done on it, it hasn't changed at all and I don't quite understand."
YOUR QUALIFYING TIME WAS ALMOST THREE-TENTHS SLOWER FROM WHAT YOU RAN IN PRACTICE. "I don't why we slowed down. We slowed down over two-tenths, and if anything, we should have picked up. I'm a little disappointed with that. I don't know if I left it on the table or what happened. It really felt solid and I thought I did a good lap, but a 30 isn't going to cut it."
JEFF BURTON-9-GAIN Ford Taurus (Qualified 19th)
"We worked on race stuff all morning and when we went to make our qualifying runs, somebody got in our way every time, so we never made a clean run. We just took a stab at what we needed and it was still too tight. I'm happy with it, and like I said, we didn't get to try as much as we needed to get a real good run. Just taking a stab at it, I'll take that run any day."
YOU'VE ALWAYS RACED WELL HERE, ARE YOU FEELING ADDED PRESSURE TO GO FOR THREE-FOR-THREE IN THE BUSCH SERIES THIS WEEKEND? "I'd certainly like to think that we have a chance. That's the thing you always look for. You always want to give yourself a chance to compete to win and that's been our goal going into those other two races. We didn't go into those other two races expecting to in win, we went into those races hoping to compete for the win and that's what we do every week."
GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus (Qualified 11th)
"That was the pole for less than two minutes. It was really good. We feel that we're really good in race trim, so that's what we're really after. We just needed to get a top-five starting spot, and I think we have a top-five car."
IS STARTING POSITION HERE MORE IMPORTANT THIS YEAR THAN IN THE PAST? "I think so because it seems like it might be a one-groove race track. It won't be as easy to make the pass, and what you're going to have is that a guy is going to start pushing and they're going to push up the race track and then you'll be able to get under them. I think that may be all of the passing that you'll see because there won't be much side-by-side racing with the way that it is right now."
KASEY KAHNE-98-Channellock Ford Taurus (Qualified 34th)
IN TERMS OF TRACK LENGTH, THIS IS THE BIGGEST RACE TRACK THAT YOU'VE EVER COMPETED ON. "It's taken a little bit of getting used to, but I like this place a lot. I actually felt that those were our two best laps of the day, but we just didn't get as much RPM as we wanted there. We made a gear change and I don't know if that hurt us or not, but I expected to see a quicker time than what showed up at the board."
WITH TOMMY MORGAN AS YOUR CREW CHIEF, HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO USE ANY OF THE NOTES HE ACCUMULATED WHILE WORKING WITH JEFF BURTON? "No, we've been pretty much doing it all on our own. When we came and tested, we had a setup in and we've changed completely away from that. This morning, we started with another setup for qualifying and changed completely away from that for this afternoon's qualifying, so we're still looking."
HAVE YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND GOALS CHANGED NOW THAT YOU'VE BEEN BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A STOCK CAR FOR A COUPLE OF RACES? "We're still getting our feet wet and I guess that's all we can do. We haven't had much god luck yet to really be doing anything other than getting experience and trying to figure these cars out and get working with the group."
BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 9th)
"Once again, this is our race package in the car. That's just how good Robert Yates motors are. You just tape them up, tune them up a little bit and they'll go. We're tickled pink. As long as we start in the top 10, we can get a good pit stall. There are so many little things that count on qualifying, so we're happy with this effort. As usual, we'll be real good untaped, we tested that way. Once again, we got this thing over with and we're looking forward to the race."
HOW MUCH GRIP IN IS THE TRACK WITH THE NEW PAVEMENT? "I asked my wife if she thought that I let off too early because I felt like I gave a little bit out of myself because this place fools you. Mentally, you're thinking you can do this, but your tail won't let you. You have to pick your foot up. I'd rather bring it back in one piece and get a top 10 than have her smashed up."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT WITH THE SPEED ON THIS TRACK, THAT THERE ARE SO MANY VETERANS S STARTING UP FRONT? "You'd think this would be a young guns race track, but the top two are old people. It's really whoever has the best handling car. We're tickled with what we've done and we're just going to try to keep doing what we're doing."
MATT KENSETH-17-Jani-King Ford Taurus (Qualified 5th)
"We ran good and I was real, real happy with that lap. Not running every week, it easy to get behind, so to come to the race track and get at least a top-10 start, that was a great effort by our guys. The car is handling real good."
ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THE VETERANS STARTING UP FRONT? "It's tough to get a real good lap on a surface that smooth when you're going that fast. It is one thing to hold it wide open, but you really have to get your car running good before you can worry about holding it wide open. The first time on the track, I ran a 29.70, and I couldn't run one iota faster because the car was so loose. We worked on the car so that I could stay in the gas longer and ran good. You really have to get your car to drive good around here. It is a stressful two laps that you make around here. You go so fast that you definitely don't want anything to go wrong. You have to get all you can get, but with the new surface, there's only one groove and if you slip out of that groove, it's real easy to crash."
HOW MUCH DO YOU EXPECT THE BUSCH RACE TO HELP YOUR WINSTON CUP EFFORT THIS WEEKEND? "I hope it will help us a little bit. It will give us some extra time on the track. The tires are usually a concern when you have new pavement, so it will give us some time to work with that. The body is pretty similar to the Cup car, so hopefully we'll be able to learn something form it."
HAS IT HELPED YOU TO RUN A FORD IN BOTH SERIES THIS YEAR? "It's definitely helps to run the same make in both series, that's for sure. I think that the Taurus is a great car, especially in the Busch Series, and I've enjoyed running it, we just need a sponsor so I can run it more often."
JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 8th)
"We picked up a spot from where we were on the practice sheet, but the biggest thing was that we were faster than we were in practice. We're really trying to put a lot of emphasis on our qualifying, especially at places like this. We would get ourselves so far back last year, it seemed like we were always trying to catch up. To qualify solidly in the top 10, that a good start. We practiced in the top 10 all day, and that's about that kind of car that we've got. Now we need to work on it for the race."
HOW HAVE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR QUALIFYING CHANGED FROM LAST YEAR? "We feel like we need to put ourselves, worst case scenario, in the top 10, and that way it gives ourselves a chance. If we don't do that, we're going to be playing catch-up all day. We did what we wanted to do so far. We've got to get our car really good for the race. We came here and tested after Las Vegas, and all we did was race stuff and I'm pretty excited about that because I think we have a really good race package and to qualify as good as we did, I feel really good."
DOES THE NUMBER OF WINSTON CUP VETERANS STARTING UP FRONT SURPRISE YOU? "You've still got to have talent to drive and experience pays off. Winston Cup guys have a lot more laps around this place than we have, so they do have a little bit more of an advantage, but I'll put my race team up against anybody. I'm really glad we qualified in the top 10. It gives us a chance. We don't need to hurt ourselves on qualifying day and then have a good car on race day and not be able to capitalize."