BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 17th) ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THAT QUALIFYING EFFORT? "No, they need to give us some help. It's pretty obvious that the Fords are struggling. I know people say that, but just look at...
BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 17th)
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THAT QUALIFYING EFFORT? "No, they need to give us some help. It's pretty obvious that the Fords are struggling. I know people say that, but just look at the time sheets and look how they're going to qualify. I don't know what they're going to do, but right now with this package, the Fords are really struggling and they won't travel as much as the Chevrolets will or whatever, or they're doing something they haven't been caught with, for one. They need to figure something out to make the field even. I think if you make it even, with Robert Yates power and the way the car is through the wind tunnel, it ought to be fast. With this air package, it's killing the Fords."
WHAT WOULD LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD? "Probably take away some spoiler. They won't do anything because they can't because the other manufacturers will cry, so you just have to take what you've got, and I guess the big thing now is who can get to the back quickest and miss the big one and be there at the end."
WILL THE CAR RACE BETTER THAN IT QUALIFIED? "They will all race better because of the way the aero stuff is, but qualifying is the key to everything - you get pit stalls, get up front and miss the big wreck. But now, you're going to be right in the middle of it, so now it's going to be whoever gets to the back the quickest and sits back there and rides like we did at Daytona. That's the only way you can be safe. You know they're going to wad them up, the last three years they have. You almost have to plan your race for that."
YOU TESTED THIS AERO PACKAGE HERE IN THE OFF-SEASON. "But, this isn't the package we liked. We wanted a different wicker bill. If you go back and look at all of the meetings we had here when we tested, this is the one that all of the Chevrolets wanted. It was pretty simple. All they did was put all of this junk on our stuff, and all of a sudden we don't have good restrictor plate cars any more."
MARK GREEN-47-Clorox/Wisk Ford Taurus (Qualified 7th)
"I'm really pleased with that. The Clorox team really made some good changes after practice this morning. The thing really drove good and the Robert Yates motor, of course, is always great. It's just a good ride. I appreciate the guys giving me the opportunity. Robert Pressley's dad is pretty ill this week, and we're thinking about Robert and his family, and hopefully he can come back over here and race this race; it's going to be really good in the draft. It really drives good."
SO YOU EXPECT ROBERT TO BE BACK IN THE CAR FOR THE RACE? "It's a day-by-day thing. It depends on how his dad is and the things that happen there. We'll talk to Robert tonight and see if he can make it tomorrow. Just whenever he can come, he's got it, and if he can't come, I'll take it until he gets back."
ARE YOU SETTING UP THE CAR TO HIS PREFERENCE OR YOURS? "Right now, it's just whatever is the fastest. In Happy Hour, if Robert's not here, I'll just get it to where it drafts good and drives good and doesn't push and isn't loose. Just try to get a happy medium that way if he doesn't like what I like it won't be too far away from where it needs to be."
IS IT EASIER TO SUBSTITUTE FOR A DRIVER AT A SUPERSPEEDWAY THAN A SMALLER VENUE? "Yeah, today it was whatever was fastest they put in there, but tomorrow if I have to be there for Happy Hour I'll get it driving the best I can and what I think is a pretty neutral car. That way, if it's a little off for him, it won't be great one way or another. Today it wasn't that hard, it was just whatever was the fastest is what we did."
WHEN DID YOU GET THE CALL TO DRIVE THE CAR? "Tad called me Tuesday night. It was just a case where Robert was relaying the things that were happening and Tad got a basic plan together in case he needed to do it. I really appreciate Tad thinking of me. It's a great race team that has great sponsors. It's just a thrill to be able to drive such a good car."
STACY COMPTON-59-Kingsford/Bush's Beans Ford Taurus (Qualified 23rd)
THE FORDS STRUGGLED IN QUALIFYING TODAY, BUT WILL THEY IMPROVE IN RACE TRIM? "I think NASCAR needs to look at it pretty hard. We need a little bit of help, I think. The cars weren't where we needed to be at Daytona and we're certainly aren't where we need to be here, and it's not a lack of effort on our part or Ford's part. We're spending the time in the wind tunnel and we're doing what we're supposed to do, but we've exhausted what we can do. At this point, it looks like we need a little bit of help."
THERE ARE STILL TWO DAYS BEFORE THE RACE. IS THERE TIME TO LOBBY FOR A CHANGE BEFORE THE RACE ON SATURDAY? "Sure, but I don't know what they'll do. If they're going to make a change they're going to make it. I don't think any lobbying on the drivers' or owners' parts make any difference. They look at a couple of other things. Hopefully they can see that we are at a disadvantage."
GREG BIFFLE-60-Charter Communications Ford Taurus (Qualified 28th)
"This is the same as we were at Daytona, and we shouldn't be surprised because nothing has changed. We've got no one going to bat for us here, and this aero package hurts the Fords, and until they change something we're not going to be a factor. I've got more power than three-quarters of the field, but it doesn't show."
WILL YOU ADOPT A NEW STRATEGY SINCE YOU WILL BE STARTING NEAR THE REAR OF THE FIELD? "There is no strategy here because I have to stay in line. I can't ever lead a pack and I always have to have a fast car in front of me and behind me, and I can't work with the Fords because they're all slow."
WILL YOU DROP TO THE BACK OF THE FIELD AT THE START OF THE RACE TO TRY TO AVOID ANY EARLY INCIDENTS? "You're going to get in it no matter where you're at."
JASON KELLER-22-SportClips Ford Taurus (Qualified 31st)
"We're scratching our heads over a lot of things. It's a new car and we're really way far off and that's pretty obvious. We're still not up to speed where we need to be compared to the Fords, so that's probably most disappointing thing. If the fastest Ford is 15th, we need to be one of those fastest Fords, and we're about a half a second off."
WILL YOU DROP TO THE BACK OF THE FIELD AT THE START OF THE RACE TO TRY TO AVOID ANY EARLY INCIDENTS? "We'll probably do what we did at Daytona. We'll see how the car drafts tomorrow, but, unfortunately, the sopped of the car may limit us to what we can do early in the race. Since we're starting so far back, we'll probably do what we did in Daytona and hang back early."