BUSCH: Rockingham: Ford drivers qualifying quotes

BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 18th) "We're just loose. We've been loose the whole time we've been here. Then, the deal with NASCAR this morning put us behind and add the rain to that. We can come down here and...

BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 18th)

"We're just loose. We've been loose the whole time we've been here. Then, the deal with NASCAR this morning put us behind and add the rain to that. We can come down here and test a million times and never pick up. We qualify 20th every time we come here. The only thing we can hope for, we tested pretty good and we haven't changed it. Hopefully that will work."

HAVE YOU FELT AND HANDLING DIFFERENCES WITH THE NEW BODY STYLE THAT YOU'RE RUNNING THIS WEEK? "It's got more downforce so you should go faster. We've got a starting spot and now if we can just get Happy Hour in we'll know more. We had a real good test and we just left it like we had it, so hopefully that's the right way."

JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 5th)

"It should be OK. We really never had a qualifying run this morning. We got caught with the rain just like everybody else did, so I'm really proud of the guys. It felt really good on that first lap and I let it hang out on the second. I kinda used the good off of the Goodyear Eagles, but it all worked out. We really concentrated a lot this morning on our race setup, so I'm pretty happy with that. This is a good starting spot up front, so we should be in good shape."

ARE YOU RUNNING THE NEW 2003 BODY STYLE THIS WEEKEND? "Actually, this is 2002 for us. We chose to stay with the 2002 body because we feel we know what the characteristics are. We'll probably debut our 2003 at Las Vegas. We've had some in the wind tunnel and they show good numbers, but we wanted to have something race-proven here. Especially, with what happened at Daytona, getting off to a bad start, we wanted to bring something race-proven here."

HOW DID YOU FEEL IN THE CAR TODAY? "Really good. My ribs are hurting pretty bad and I'm glad that qualifying run is over. I'm fairly confident that my race setup is pretty good, so hopefully we can start in the top five."

DO YOU PLAN ON HAVING A RELIEF DRIVER TOMORROW? "No, I'm not going to get out until I wreck, or if I wreck."

KASEY KAHNE-38-Great Clips Ford Taurus (Qualified 4th)

"I thought we needed a 23.7 to get on the front row. It's good that we're at where we are. I'm excited. We have a top-four starting spot, and if we get the race in tomorrow, that would be awesome. I just hope the rain stays away."

HOW DID THE CAR HANDLE IN QUALIFYING? "It actually got a little bit tighter the second lap, not bad, but it tightened up some. I guess that's just the track; we didn't get a lot of time on it this morning. We did, but not in qualifying runs. I'm real pleased; we have a good race car. We practiced race runs this morning and we didn't get any time on qualifying runs. I think we needed to be a 23.7 to get on the front row and that's what it looks like it's going to be."

HOW DID THE SHORTENED PRACTICE AFFECT YOUR MINDSET GOING INTO QUALIFYING? "You get a little more nervous. It's not too bad, the laps that we have here. I tested a few times with Robert Yates' team, and we came back this year and made 20 laps this morning in race runs. I know the track, it's just a matter of getting the car to feel the way I like it to feel for two laps."

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS RACE TRACK? "I just kinda know where the line is. I've tested here a lot; we raced twice here last year, so after running the place a lot, you learn the place a little bit more. I wouldn't say that I know it as good as a lot of people, but I know it better than any other track."

YOU'VE TESTED HERE WITH PPC RACING AND ROBERT YATES, SO THIS IS THE THIRD TEAM THAT YOU'VE RUN WITH HERE. ARE YOU GETTING MORE COMFORTABLE IN STOCK CARS OR ARE YOU GETTING THE HANDLING BETTER? "I think it's the team and getting comfortable race cars. Working with Wes Ward and this whole Great Clips team, they do a great job of getting this Ford Taurus to handle the way that I'm looking for. We learned a lot about that when we went to Lakeland, Florida and Las Vegas before the season started. I think it's mainly the team and what they do for me. I think it's about staying in the right line throughout the whole lap even when you're trying to give it more throttle. You can get back in the throttle sooner and stay where you need to be on the track."

SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 3rd)

WHAT HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THIS RACE TRACK FROM YOUR TWO PREVIOUS RACES HERE? "That it eats your tires away in about five laps. That's the only for sure about this place. This place changes a lot and all of the guys on the Nesquik Ford have done a good job of giving me a good car. This is one of our cars that really wasn't built to run at Rockingham, but we felt a lot of confidence in it and brought it here. So far we're sitting in the top five and that's a lot better than we've been here the last two times. That's a good starting spot for us and we'll have to try to hold on to it until the end."

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAST YEAR AND THIS YEAR? "I'm a lot more calm and relaxed this year than last year. I think in situations like here, not having the practice you need, and just having a year under my belt is making me a lot more confident and a lot calmer and I will probably make a lot better decisions and hopefully we'll be more consistent this year."

ARE YOU SURPRISED TO SEE SOME OF THE YOUNGER GUYS ON THE TOP OF THE SPEED CHART TODAY? "I think it's great for Kasey Kahne. We actually brought him here a year ago and tested him for two days in a car, my first time with the 10 team. He had two days here with the same team. We were just doing a test for Ford, and he and I both worked together that day. I think he has a good team and a lot of support. As far as Jamie McMurray, I think he has moved to Winston Cup and learned a lot and has a lot of confidence and I've got the same thing, a lot of support. We're one of the sole surviving Busch teams that are Busch and Busch only. And, I think we hold our own."

WILL YOU FACTOR THE WEATHER INTO YOUR STRATEGY TOMORROW? "We definitely qualified better here than we have in the past. I think that will be better for us if we have a shortened race. I think having two races under my belt will be better for me because I will be able to manage my tires better and be a little more conservative. The last two times that we've been here I qualified so far in the back that I had to push the issue and be hard on my tires to get the track position early. Qualifying better will be better to pace yourself and be easy on the tires."

-ford racing-

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Drivers Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne
Teams HART