BUSCH: Loudon: Ford Racing qualifying remarks

JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 4th) "I can't believe that the race track would change as much as it did. We were good in practice less than two hours ago, and now we're way too loose. It does this every year, and the early...

JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 4th)

"I can't believe that the race track would change as much as it did. We were good in practice less than two hours ago, and now we're way too loose. It does this every year, and the early draw today hurt us."

HAS THE NEW PAVEMENT ADDED IN THE CORNERS CHANGED THE PREFERRED LINE? "No. You've got to race right around where we were on the old surface, and it's hard to really judge because there are no lines out there. We're very disappointed with that qualifying effort, but we'll start somewhere."

WILL THERE BE A SECOND GROOVE IN TOMORROW'S RACE? "I doubt it. You're not going to get down there and you're going to have to run around like we've always done and that's a bad thing."

YOU'VE NOW SEEN THE ENTIRE FIELD QUALIFY. HOW MUCH OF A DISADVANTAGE WAS QUALIFYING FIRST TODAY? "As a driver, you practice and practice, and you want to be able to repeat that time in qualifying. It depends on the race track. We didn't know how it was going to react. It usually slows down a little bit here in qualifying, but it also usually speeds up as qualifying progresses. The new asphalt may not have sped up like it usually does. It really didn't hurt us to go first, I don't think. It probably helped me mentally because I wasn't really focused; I wasn't really thinking about it. All in all, we practiced fourth and qualified fourth, so I can't complain."

JEFF BURTON-9-GAIN Ford Taurus (Qualified 17th)

"Going early is something you certainly don't want to do. That's the way it is here. Going early always is a deficit. It's just real slick. There's nothing you can do about it because everybody draws, and if you draw a good spot, you're good, and if you don't, you're not. Going early was bad."

HOW HAS THE TRACK CHANGED IN ONLY TWO HOURS SINCE PRACTICE? "It's just sitting there, and that causes it to change and get slick. It seems that not running on the track really changes it, and I don't know why that it, but it's always been that way. There's nothing they can do about it."

WILL THERE BE A SECOND GROOVE TOMORROW? "It's going to be hard to run on the bottom. I don't think there's enough banking down there. I don't think you're going to be able to run on the bottom at all, but I think you can run higher than you used to. So, even though you can't run on the bottom, I think there's more grooves than there were; certainly there's more availability for grooves coming in. I think it will be interesting to see. I think it's going to do one of two things. I think it will make racing better or it's going to cause a lot of wrecks, and I'm not sure which."

GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus (Qualified 6th)

"I knew it was going to be like that because when you go out on cold tires, the tires chatter and you can't get grip. The tires are cold and the track is cold. It's not slick and the grip is there, you just can't build up enough heat in the tires in two laps. They needed to let us go on scuffs. That probably would have made it better, but the track being like it is, it made it tough. I knew it was going to be tough, so I guess I'm happy that we qualified in the top 10. It won't be a problem for the rest of the time that we're here, except for the first two laps of Happy Hour and the first two laps of the race. Once the track gets heat in it, and you get a chance to weave your tires in before the green comes out, it won't be a problem ever. It's just that qualifying, you've got to master that somehow. There's a formula there, and it's hard to get that condition, unless you came here and tested by yourself with no other cars going. In qualifying trim, there were a whole bunch of other cars out there, and the car stuck to the track like glue. And then the track cools off for two hours and then they send you out one at a time."

DO YOU WANT TO START ON THE INSIDE ROW TOMORROW? "Ideally you'd like to be on the inside. I think it's going to be OK being on the outside. It's going to work itself out and I'd rather be on the inside, but it should work itself out. It won't be the end of the world, starting on the outside tomorrow."

HOW HAS THE NEW PAVEMENT CHANGED THE PREFERRED LINE? "There is a little bit of a change leaving the corner, and it's a little bit different entering, too. But in the middle, you're back across the lower groove of the old track. I think that they've helped it, but we're all just learning right now. Some people may not like the change, and some people like it, but I think it's better. Anything that has new pavement is better -- a lot of times -- because that means grip. You just have to work it in."

SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 9th)

HOW MUCH DID THE TRACK CHANGE FROM PRACTICE? "I couldn't tell of any change. The biggest thing is that we made some changes on the race car. We tightened it up a little bit, but that was our biggest problem - we were a little too tight. I don't know if we went too far, or the track changed on us."

HOW IS THE NEW PAVEMENT IN THE CORNERS? "It's too flat down there to really use it. I think that a lot of people are using their left sides on it a little bit to try to help them, but as far as getting down there to make a race of it, they might be bit."

WAS THERE MUCH GRIP OUT THERE? "We were sliding the nose across the race track and we couldn't get the type of grip we needed. We tightened it up before qualifying and I don't know if that added to it, or if the track changed that much."

YOUR TEAMMATE JASON KELLER WAS THE FIRST TO QUALIFY AND YOU WERE ONE OF THE LAST. DID YOU USE ANY INFORMATION FROM HIM TO MAKE ANY CHANGES TO YOUR CAR? "I didn't listen to anything anybody said because I figured by the time I got back out there, the track should be in the same condition it was right we were practicing."

BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 2nd)

HOW HAS THE RACE TRACK CHANGED SINCE PRACTICE? "It's slick, but we went through the tech line before qualifying and they made us everything on the car. I think the car has changed more than the track. I guess everybody is complaining about the Fords. They're upset because we do our homework on these open tracks. But, the Marines Ford was fast and we'll take a second because we know that we're fast untaped. A lot of these guys spend all morning on qualifying and we just do tape on our race setup, so we're ready to go."

THIS IS THE SAME CAR YOU RACED AT RICHMOND, SO ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE BEHIND THE WHEEL OF IT HAVING DRIVEN IT LAST WEEKEND? "Ninety percent of the guys are racing the same car, so I don't think that really matters. It's just a piece of metal; it doesn't know where it goes. All it is is just shocks and springs, and the way the crew chief tunes it; that's it. They've done a little bit around the race track, and right now it's real, real slick, so everybody is having a tough time with it."

HOW WILL THE TRACK BE TOMORROW IN THE RACE? "It should be fine. What it is with qualifying is that the rubber sits in the sun all day long, and it just got slick. Everybody lost grip on the race track, and a lot of the problems that they are having is that people were going out on stickers and made a decent run, and then they would come in, do a change on scuffs, and, of course, the cars would feel better. They kinda just fooled themselves. Our lap this morning was on stickers and we didn't fool with it after that. As far as the race, everybody starts out the same way, so it shouldn't be a big deal. You've got to adjust your car during the race."


TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN. "It was about like Todd (Bodine) said - the longer it sat, the slicker it got. I bet that if we went out earlier, one of the first cars, we would have had a shot at the pole. But, the best car got the pole; it's as simple as that. We slipped and slide, just like 90 percent of everybody else. Talking about the second groove, it doesn't matter if it works or not, at least it's an effort. There are so many tracks that we go to, the Cup have to cry for three years before they even do anything. At least they've made an effort here even to try to help the racing. All we did was throw tape on it for qualifying, so we're ready to go racing."

DID YOU TRY THE BOTTOM GROOVE? "During practice I did. Right now, it's two-tenths slower for us. I passed a car underneath there, and like Todd said, it was real easy to wash up into somebody. You really had to get out of the gas. I think that for the purposes of passing lapped cars or anything like that, it's there and you can use it. And, it gets you pointed more and you and you can have more forward bite off of the corner, too. It's a start. Like I said, there are many places we go to, they don't care what you say or how the racing looks, or how it feels to drive the place. We applaud them on that. It's going to be a good race either way. Even if you have to run the middle groove, there's going to be somebody who gets it figured out down there and he's going to win the race running low."


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