BUSCH: Rockingham II: Ford Racing qualifying notes

MARK GREEN-38-Great Clips Ford Taurus (Qualified 10th) "We ran a (23.)97 in practice and we just ran another 97, so I guess I was getting all I could get out of it before. I thought I could drive it a little harder in qualifying and pick up a...

MARK GREEN-38-Great Clips Ford Taurus (Qualified 10th)

"We ran a (23.)97 in practice and we just ran another 97, so I guess I was getting all I could get out of it before. I thought I could drive it a little harder in qualifying and pick up a little bit, but sometimes you do that and you lose. I was just trying to make that same lap we ran in practice. Evidently, it was pretty good."

YOU HAVE QUITE A BIT OF EXPERIENCE HERE WITH 11 BUSCH SERIES STARTS HERE. "I think it's a track that if you have run here a lot, you understand that for two laps you can drive it hard and the rest of the time you've got to drive it real easy. I like the place and we've got a good car. I'm just happy to have this opportunity."

HOW IMPORTANT IS QUALIFYING UP FRONT AT THIS TRACK? "It will be important because if you can qualify up front you can take care of your tires a little easier than if you start in the back and try to get up there because you're going to kill your tires trying to get up there."

JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus (Qualified 13th)

"I've been real disappointed. We can't find the balance we need, or we think we need, so we're trying to basically do what we did here in the spring as far as setups. For some reason we haven't been able to run exactly what we ran here in the spring. We need to try some different things."

YOU WON THE RACE HERE IN THE SPRING. "Well, we didn't qualify good here in the spring either. I think the trend is back to what it was in the spring. I feel like our race setup was pretty good this morning, but for some reason, I haven't got the balance I need in qualifying. I'm a little disappointed because I really wanted to come in here and really dominate like we did in the spring. It's a different race track and a different race now so we can't expect the exact same things."

WHAT'S THE KEY TO RUNNING FAST HERE FOR 200 MILES? "Your shock package is critical. You've got to have the right shock package so you save the tires. You have to manage them and not spin the tires, too. We can come in a couple of times, but you can't come in every time because we're limited on our tires. You've got to go into the race with a game plan, and say, 'we're going to stop between 50 and 100 and then after 150.' You've got to pretty much stay with your game plan."

KASEY KAHNE-98-Channellock Ford Taurus (Qualified 19th)

"We're real happy with that. We made some changes after practice. We could never be better than a 23.4 in practice, but the Channellock car felt pretty good. It was a lot better. We were a little bit tight there rather than loose, and I guess tight is better than loose."

HOW HAVE THE TRACK CONDITIONS CHANGED SINCE PRACTICE THIS MORNING? "I think the track tightened up a little bit; I don't know what other people said. I was definitely tighter. We made a few changes so we could go in that direction also. I'm pretty happy that we picked up just about three tenths."

YOU MADE YOUR FIRST BUSCH SERIES START HERE IN FEBRUARY. ARE YOU USING THIS WEEKEND AS A MEASURING STICK AS FAR AS THE PROGRESS OF THIS TEAM? "I have more laps here than any other track we've been to, so it helps, but with this crew we have now, it's basically our first time here. We're all kind of learning it again, and we gained a lot in qualifying and that's good. Hopefully we keep the Channellock Ford good in Happy Hour."

BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 9th)

"The car drove good. I don't know what we ran, but it was 100 percent better than what we had this morning. We just got a perfect set of tires on the thing. We just taped it up from practice and the Robert Yates motor came through for us. It got a little tight in the center, but you push the pedal down and it carried down the straightaway. I don't know where we'll end up, but we'll be happy with it."

TIRES HAVE BEEN CRITICAL AS OF LATE. "The tires are so hard and they make them now where you can run so many laps and they stay under you instead of blowing out. You just have to work with them and find that happy medium and that takes times and can be confusing. When you do find it, you run off in qualifying or you run off in the race. You just have to keep working with the limited practice time you get. You've got to take whatever cards you're dealt with in terms of weather and track conditions and just go. If you have good equipment, you're going to run good. If you have good guys, you're going to run good. If you've got bad equipment and bad guys, you're going to run bad. If doesn't matter if you're a good driver or a bad driver. Lucky enough, I have all of the right stuff to be in a good situation."

GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus (Qualified 16th)

"It was quite a bit freer from practice this morning. I didn't expect that and I'm pretty disappointed. I've never started worse than fifth here."

YOU SAID LAST WEEK THAT THIS TRACK MIGHT BE THE BIGGEST HURDLE FOR YOU IN YOUR QUEST FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP. "It's probably the toughest of the three tracks that we have left, but we've always qualified good. We run pretty good here, but it's a tough track."

FOUR OF THE TOP FIVE QUALIFIERS HAD WINSTON CUP PRACTICE BEFORE QUALIFYING TODAY. "The cars are so different, and I really don't know anything about that car in the Cup garage. Maybe it would have helped if I knew more about that car, but that car is so tight and I'm loose over here now. I wish I could split the difference between the two cars."

SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus (Qualified 20th)

"We ran about the same time we ran in practice, but I think we needed to be a little quicker. Everybody seemed to pick up from practice, not a lot, but a tenth is worth about 10 to 12 positions. We needed to pick up that tenth in qualifying, but we just didn't go out and do it."

THIS IS ONLY YOUR SECOND RACE HERE. AT THE TRACKS WHERE YOU DON'T HAVE A LOT EXPERIENCE, HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THEM? "I've been watching some tapes and looking over all of the notes we got here in spring to see how much the tires fall off and how critical it is to race the race track and not anybody else and not to overdrive the race car. It's easy to overdrive and really ruin the tires quick and slow down real quick. Whoever is the smoothest and easiest on the tires without slipping the release is usually the one that wins. I think Jason Keller proved that in the spring. Every time we learn something, I tell Harold and he writes it down and sorta refreshes my memory when we come back to places like this. Like I say, we wanted to qualify a little bit better but I think we have a good race car. I just hate starting that far back because things happen in a hurry here, so we'll just have to bide our time and race the race track and hopefully we'll find our way up front."


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Drivers Jason Keller , Robert Yates