JASON LEFFLER, NO. 18 MBNA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (POLE WINNER): "I'm just glad to be up front. We've struggled and we're excited to get our first pole this early in the season. I can't say enough about this crew. They've done a great job, along...
JASON LEFFLER, NO. 18 MBNA PONTIAC GRAND PRIX (POLE WINNER):
"I'm just glad to be up front. We've struggled and we're excited to get our first pole this early in the season. I can't say enough about this crew. They've done a great job, along with MBNA and Joe Gibbs. I'm just real excited."
(DID HE THINK HE COULD WIN THE POLE) "No, not really. I was just planning on what we ran in practice. I would have been real happy with that which would have put us in the top 25. To pull that off, I couldn't believe it. My radio was dead so I kept waiting for them to tell me the time. So finally I was looking at the board and I couldn't see my number. All I had to do was look at the top and I finally found it. I'm pretty excited right now."
(ON BUMPING MARK MARTIN FROM THE POLE) "If we could bump him on Saturday, I guess that would be better. I'm really excited. The MBNA Pontiac was working great. I've just got to thank all my guys and Joe Gibbs Racing. They are real patient with me. Obviously being a rookie I make a lot of mistakes. They really got the car good. They made a few minor adjustments before our qualifying lap. I think everything just fell into place and it paid off. I'm really excited."
(DID HE THINK A POLE WAS ATTAINABLE AFTER PRACTICE) "I always think it is attainable in the back of my mind. But I was thinking, 'Top 25 - don't be greedy.' I just wanted to make the show and get some laps on Saturday. The lap felt really good. But usually when I turn a good lap the guys tell me right away on the radio. Well, my radio was dead and I was waiting and waiting. I kept looking towards the bottom of the board and I didn't see my number. I finally had to look at the top and realized I was on the pole."
(ON THE 2000 ROOKIE CLASS) "The rookie class is awesome. There are a lot of guys with a lot of years of racing stock cars. I'm really new to it. But we've got some veteran racers that are actually rookies and it's hard to compete with them along with the regular guys here in Busch. This is one of the most competitive series in the world. It's really tough to break into."
(ON JOE GIBBS RACING) "It's just an awesome organization. They have so many resources to draw from with both Cup teams running so well. The people are great, from Joe Gibbs, all the way down the line, are really professional. They are really friendly and make you feel at home."
(ON WHAT WAS DIFFERENT THIS WEEK COMPARED TO ATLANTA, WHERE HE MISSED THE SHOW, OR BRISTOL, WHERE HE TOOK A PROVISIONAL) "I really can't put my finger on one thing. Actually I went and tested at Nashville last week and we found a few things out there, and then early this morning. They were more driver comfort things. I'm so new to stock car racing that everything involved is different to me. So we made some driver comfort changes and it really paid off. They were just minor things. We weren't going to come here and test, but once we missed Atlanta we decided to come here and it really paid off."
(ON THE RULE CHANGE) "I think it helped a little. When we came here and tested we tried it both ways and it didn't make a really big difference. But right now any little bit we can get is going to help."
(ON HIS DEAL AT GIBBS AND HIS LONG-TERM GOALS IN THE PROGRAM) "I have a multi-year deal with them. If we perform and do well, we will eventually end up in Winston Cup with MBNA as the sponsor, but that is all based on my performance. If I keep it up we'll be in Winston Cup eventually, but right now I'm just trying to learn the ropes, learn all the tracks and get a handle on this Busch car."
(ON THIS AS A CONFIDENCE BOOSTER) "It's very important, especially the way the last two weeks have gone. I was starting to doubt myself. But these guys kept me up and kept my head up. I'm just really glad to be a part of this team.. Like I said we have great people with Joe Gibbs and MBNA as a great sponsor. Everybody just kept patting me on my back and saying, 'Go get 'em.' That's the type of people a rookie needs around him and it's really paid off."
(ON TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY) "This place actually reminds me more of Las Vegas than Atlanta. Before I saw the track and got out there to test I really thought it was identical to Atlanta. But once I got out there and drove around, it really reminded me of Las Vegas. Coming and testing really helped and it really got my confidence up that we were going to be in pretty good shape this weekend."