CASEY MEARS in the No. 66 Phillips 66 Troparctic Dodge was the top qualifying RaybestosÂ® Rookie at Richmond. Mears qualified seventh and took highest qualifying rookie honors for the fifth time this season. He collected the honor for the first...
CASEY MEARS in the No. 66 Phillips 66 Troparctic Dodge was the top qualifying Raybestos® Rookie at Richmond. Mears qualified seventh and took highest qualifying rookie honors for the fifth time this season. He collected the honor for the first time since the Netzero 250.
"After we had the qualifying run we had at Bristol, I tried too hard and got into the fence, I wanted to make sure I got my first lap in here. We knew we had a chance to get in the top-five but if we can get us a top-10 (start) we'll be pretty happy."
WAS THE TRACK SLICK WHEN YOU MADE YOUR RUN?
"From practice to qualifying it was quite a bit slicker. My first lap I took it pretty easy and it was sliding around quite a bit. I tried a little harder on my second lap and it was just too slick."
ROOKIES ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO QUALIFYING WELL UNDER SUCH SLCK CONDITIONS.
"I'm just getting used to this stuff. I've had a lot of experience racing period but I've learned a lot this year with these cars and what they want. Now I get to come back to these (tracks). It makes all the difference in the world. The first time I came here to now the second time right off the truck I am comfortable with the car. The guys did some things that helped the car this weekend so they're improving as well. It just keeps getting better and better, if we can make the thing live. We seem to have a few parts failures here and there at some of the races and it's been kind of biting us. We're starting to get all that stuff sorted out and it's getting better."
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE RACE?
"Realistically, I think it's kind of the same as it was at the beginning of the year. If we can run consistently in the top-10 here and have something for them at the end I'd be pretty happy."
KERRY EARNHARDT, No.12 Jani-King Chevrolet, qualified ninth.
"I'm excited. It's the first time that we have backed up our practice run. All year we've kind of fell off for qualifying but this time we backed it up. We ran a .61 in practice and ran a .62 in qualifying. We'll have a comfortable spot for the race and I feel a little more comfortable with this race track this time around than I was the first time. I feel like we've got a good race car."
WHY DID YOU QUALIFY SO WELL?
"I started a new life this week and I should have done it at the beginning of this year. The whole day has gone real good. I've communicated better and voiced my opinions more. The guys have been working with me a lot better because I have been doing that. It just took me stepping up on my part and here we are."
SHANE HMIEL, No. 47 Mike's Hard Lemonade Chevrolet, qualified 10th.
WHY DID YOU QUALIFY SO WELL?
"It's a new car, for one. We've been struggling the last couple of weeks. We just wanted to turn it around. Our team was really strong at the beginning of the year and this summer we haven't been doing as well, but we're going to get it better. The sun had me screwed up a little bit getting into turn three, but other than that it was a good job for the team. It was a little slick, but I like that better. It suits my style. It's brand new (the car) and had never been on the race track until today."
SCOTT RIGGS, No. 10 Nestle Nesquik Ford, qualified 19th.
"The car just slid around a lot out there; they're saying there might be something on the race track. I don't know. It seemed like the car got in the corner and all four wheels slid up the racetrack, just couldn't stay on the bottom of the race track. On my second lap I tried not to drive it in so hard to make sure it wouldn't do it and it still slid up another half-groove."
DID YOU EXPECT THE TRACK TO BE SLICK?
"Not like that. We had been up here in the spring and tested when it had those sealers on the race track that were in bad shape. Still, you had a clean spot on the bottom of the race track. It wouldn't get away from you. If we have to start back there in the back we're going to have to make a show of it and see if we can work our way to the front."