MARK MARTIN-9-Pennzoil Platinum Ford Taurus (Qualified 5th) "I'm just so lucky to be able to drive fast cars like this. I just want to thank Jack Roush and Pennzoil and this team for giving me the opportunity to drive a car like this. You can...
MARK MARTIN-9-Pennzoil Platinum Ford Taurus (Qualified 5th)
"I'm just so lucky to be able to drive fast cars like this. I just want to thank Jack Roush and Pennzoil and this team for giving me the opportunity to drive a car like this. You can get in the gas here. It's a great car here. The Pennzoil Platinum Ford is awesome. This is the car that we ran the other two Busch races with this year. I want to thank Jack Roush for letting me build that car the way I wanted to, and, of course, Pennzoil for backing it. it's really going to be a lot of fun."
YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU HAD SOME INPUT ON HOW THIS CAR WAS BUILT. "I ran some races last year in the Pennzoil car and we got down to the end of the year, and I said, 'Can I build one of these things the way I want it?' And, this is it. This is the chassis that I wanted and the folks did the body the way I wanted it."
SO YOU HAVE YOUR FINGERPRINTS ON THIS CAR? "No it really doesn't. I just kind of grunted and pointed. It's got everybody else's fingerprints on it. I didn't ever touch. It's just a blessing to have the opportunity to drive for a crowd that's willing to work like this crowd."
YOU'VE WON THREE BUSCH RACES AT THIS TRACK. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK THAT YOU LIKE SO MUCH? "Getting to drive fast cars - that's what I like about it. That's the main thing, I like fast places. I like places where you can go racing, and I think you can do it here. The second groove has come in pretty good and we'll see. We've got a lot of great race cars out here, and these things are hard to win and we've been fortunate enough to win two of them, so you never know what this weekend might bring."
ELLIOTT SADLER-90-CitiFinancial Ford Taurus (Qualified 19th)
"They did a great job with the car. It's by far the worst qualifying effort I've ever done as a driver, but they did a good job with the car."
YOU'RE SPLITTING THE SEASON WITH DALE JARRETT BEHIND THE WHEEL OF THE NO. 90, SO HOW DID YOU GET DRIVE IT THIS WEEKEND? "Well, DJ had to miss a very important golf outing when he had to drive that Monday at Bristol, so I figured we'd switch with him and I came down a day early because we had to do it on Thursday where he could catch up and play a good game of golf today in North Carolina and I'll be down here in Texas riding around. We kind of switched off."
HOW CLOSE TO WIDE OPEN CAN YOU RUN THIS PLACE? "We're wide open for qualifying. I might trail brake a little bit, but my foot will never come off the gas. I didn't make a qualifying run in practice. We just did all race runs with the CitiFinancial Ford, but my gut tells me from years of experience here in the past just hold it wide open and it should stick."
IS THAT SCARY? "I like this track, so I like the speed of it and I like the sensation you get. Maybe I'm too young to be scared. I don't know. It's a cool place to race and I've got a pole here before in the Busch Series."
MATT KENSETH-17-Waste Management Ford Taurus (Qualified 21st)
YOU ARE THE DEFENDING RACE WINNER HERE, BUT THERE IS A NEW TIRE COMPOUND THIS YEAR. HOW MUCH OF AN EFFECT HAS THAT HAD? "I think it's all right. We struggled a lot today, but I don't think it had anything to do with the tire or anything else. We've been struggling and looking forward, so we brought a different car and did some different stuff, but I think it will be all right. We struggled with our Busch car a lot today, but at the end of practice I think everybody worked on it."
YOU HAVE A NEW CREW CHIEF THIS WEEK. "We've got Chad Norris to come over. I'm real excited about that. He's been doing a great job already. He just kind of got thrown in the mix on Monday and he's just getting going, so Robbie's here today helping. We have a good group of guys here and we'll get the deal revamped a little bit, and hopefully we'll get this Waste Management car in victory lane a few times this year."
GREG BIFFLE-66-Duraflame Ford Taurus (Qualified 8th)
"I think you definitely have to be brave here, and especially qualifying in race trim. My car was really loose but Newt Moore and the guys did a good job bringing a good car here and getting it ready. I'm really excited about that starting spot. It's cooling down and some people are having troubles right now, so it might get a little later and cool off some more. I think that will get me in the top 10. Newt and all of the guys did a good job on getting it ready to qualify. It was a little bit too loose to be faster than that, and that makes me excited for the race."
TALK ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF IMPOUNDING THE CARS AFTER QUALIFYING. "We try to not spend any time qualifying. We want to qualify well, but we have two hours of practice and we wanted to really concentrate on the race; that's what's most important. They don't pay us anything for qualifying, of course but you need that decent starting spot. Since we're qualifying on race trim, if you get your car pretty good in race trim, shock package and what not, normally if you tape it up and do the standard things to it, which is all you can do anyway, you're going to be OK qualifying."
WITH THE NEW TIRE COMPOUND THIS YEAR, WILL WE SEE MORE SIDE-BY-SIDE RACING? "I think so. The spoilers played a little factor in that. The Cup cars haven't been able to race in two grooves as much as I think I saw last year because of that shorter spoiler, and I really don't know why."
CARL EDWARDS-60-Charter Communications Ford Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"Brad did a good job drawing our qualifying position. I think there's a little more shadow on the track, and as the temperatures go down it will probably free us up, but at the same time it will make us faster. I was just kind of leaning on Mark a little bit. That lap was unbelievable. He told me what he did, and I didn't know if I could do it. He told me that he only lifted to about half throttle and only for a second. I went into that corner there and I wanted to lift all the way, but I was like, 'Mark did, Mark did.' So, I didn't lift very much. That was the freest race car that I've ever qualified and not really messed up. It was fun, and I'm pretty excited about our Charter Ford's chances on Saturday. I can't thank Jack Roush enough and Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth. It's awesome to have this many Busch cars here and have guys to bounce things off of. I'm just proud of my guys. That was a good effort for us."
TALK ABOUT RACING AT TEXAS. "The fans here are unbelievable . Just walking up here to qualify. For Busch Series qualifying, to walk up here and there were mobs of people around every driver and the fans are so excited. That really pumps me up as a driver just to hear how excited the fans are. That would make this win very special."
WHAT KIND OF PRESSURE DOES IT PUT ON TEAMS WHEN A DRIVER SWEEPS A WEEKEND LIKE YOU DID AT ATLANTA? "Well, we did something to the other teams because Kevin Harvick went out the next weekend and won both of them at Bristol. I think it has a to do with when you have success one on day, you feel really motivated and you've got high confidence and it helps to do well the next day. That's why I think the Busch Series helps me. Running on Saturdays, if we run well, it seems to carry over and that's awesome for a driver. I just really like running two cars every weekend. I used to run three cars a night at the dirt track, and just to be in different cars and all the time running around the race track at all different times of the day, I really enjoy that and it helps me to be better."
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.-10-ppc Racing Ford Taurus (Qualified 11th)
"I'm very happy. Practice this morning started pretty bad and we made some changes and the car was better in qualifying trim. The temperature is helping us, but the car is getting better and I'm very happy with my Ford Taurus and hopefully we can get another top 10 on Saturday. I feel that things are getting better for everybody at ppc Racing. We came in with a lot confidence. We went out in the morning and we were not very comfortable with the car. I kind of got lost there at the end. We went back and made a lot of changes, and I think we improved just before going out. I think we're not in bad shape and I don't know if we're as good as we were in Atlanta, but we'll just have to see Saturday."
HOW DIFFERENT IS THIS PLACE DRIVING A STOCK CAR COMPARED TO AN OPEN-WHEEL CAR? "It's totally different. It's like a totally different track. Everywhere that I've been in Champ car, and here's it just like deferent track. Only a road course seems similar because you have to go right or left, but an oval is completely different."
KENNY WALLACE-22-Stacker 2 Ford Taurus (Qualified 22nd)
"Man, did I save that thing up. I was too loose coming to get the green flag and that surprised me. It wasn't like that in my mock run. The save after the white flag, I had to get on the brakes. Seventeenth or 18th, that's a little bit disappointing, but I think we have a really good car. I was just thankful to save it. I have a good car and I think the track got a lot of grip in it and I don't think I had the car tight enough. We'll be OK. It's a good car and we might have to adjust a little bit."
JON WOOD-47-Clorox/Wisk Ford Taurus (Qualified 7th)
DID YOU SURPRISE YOURSELF IN QUALIFYING TODAY? "No. I surprised myself from the way we were today, but as I keep preaching, these cars are so fast every week that pretty much anybody can drive them. I like to see that the changes that I suggest and the feel I talk about seems to make us faster and now Jay understands what I'm saying. We're having fast cars every week and I'm not going to complain."
YOU'VE RUN ON THIS TRACK IN THE TRUCK SERIES. ARE THERE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE CARS AND THE TRUCKS HERE? "The line is almost identical, but it feels like you're watching it in slow motion in a truck compared to the way a Busch car is. It certainly is an advantage to have some past experience in whatever vehicle because you know where the bumps are, you know what to expect with track position, but I had to learn a little bit. I was a little shaky after the first run; there were a little bit of difference."
ASHTON LEWIS, JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus (Qualified 17th)
"I had a very comfortable car, and when we went out to do our mock run I told Charlie that I thought then it was fast enough to run with anybody. My concern was that earlier in practice, we did all of our mock runs and then we went to race runs and the valance wasn't sealed like it should have been and we were tight as we could be. I was really concerned for qualifying, so we lowered the car back down a little bit and I ran flat until she took off straight up the race track. I would have liked to have that back; I wouldn't have lowered it so much. I think it will be better for the race, but I would have liked to have had a little bit better run."
WITH THE IMPOUND PROCEDURES, DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE A SACRIFICE IN QUALIFYING TO ENSURE YOU HAVE A GOOD RACE SETUP? "That's what I would have thought after Vegas when the 60 car ran so much faster than everybody. Even Shane, who qualifies well, they figured out something that we haven't and they're able to take a really good race package and make it very comfortable and not make it bottom out on the qualifying lap, and that's what we need to figure out; we haven't otten there yet."