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NASCAR Winston Cup Series NAPA 500: Post Qualifying Quotes (Ford Drivers)

16 November 1997

 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Ford Qualifying Quotes 
 NAPA 500
 Atlanta Motor Speedway 
 November 15, 1997
HAMPTON, GA - The following provided by Ford Motorsports Public Affairs:
RICKY RUDD (#10 Tide Thunderbird) - Qualified 11th - "We're pretty happy with 
that lap. We've struggled since we've been here. The speed is unbelievable. 
It wouldn't surprise me to see 198 or 199. That's going to be tough to beat.

"Believe it or not, the cars are driving good. They are comfortable. It's 
just a scenario of, what happens if something goes wrong. What happens if we 
cut a tire or have an accident? It's pretty fast for a mile-and-a-half track, 
but it's not one of those deals where you are white-knuckled going around 
here because it grips so well."

DALE JARRETT (#88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Thunderbird) - Qualified 3rd - "It 
didn't last long. It's fast. The lap Geoff Bodine cut is just incredible. 
We've got a good race car. We made a lot of gains from yesterday. We're 
pretty happy with what we've got. I think we're ready to race.

"Right now it's still a one-groove race track, and as fast as we're running, 
you've got to be able to run the race that you want to run. That's all we can 
do right. Hopefully, it will work out in the end. I'm ready to go. That was a 
good lap. The guys did a good job with this race car. It's just incredibly 
fast. It doesn't take a long time to get around here. That's as wide-open as 
I can go around here. Geoff's wide-open is a lot faster than mine, but 
that's a good lap for us. 

"We're not even concerned with what (the 24) is doing and what is going on 
there. We're just concerned with this 88 car. If we can make it do the right 
things, then things will work out for us Sunday. We know our job, regardless 
of what he does, is to be up front and try to win.

"We'll just try to get up front and try to stay up front and lead as many 
laps as we possibly can, and conserve our ties. That's going to be the 
biggest thing, keeping the tires on the car."

BILL ELLIOTT (#94 McDonald's Thunderbird) - Qualified 10th - "It felt good. 
The car stuck good. I just didn't run quick for whatever reason. We got 
through the corners good."

ARE YOU GOING TOO FAST? - "Oh yeah. This is ludicrous."

KENNY IRWIN (#27 Action Performance/GI Joe Thunderbird) - Qualified 8th - 
"That was pretty good. Actually, I thought we were going to go faster than 
that. We had a chance at the pole. A few little things just happened, and 
that quick you end up sixth. I'm happy with that. I just felt like we could 
go faster. We've been good the whole time, and that is still good. Hopefully, 
we can end up in the top 10, and I'll be happy with that."

know. There hasn't been any problems yet. I don't know. I haven't been around 
long enough to know if that's too fast or not. My car is very comfortable, 
and that's all I can go off of."

LAKE SPEED (#9 Advantage Camo Thunderbird) - Qualified 29th - "I got spooked. 
When Skinner went by, he was puking water, like most of 'em do. Normally, it 
doesn't do anything. But when I went up on the race track and stepped in the 
gas, my car spun the wheels and kinda went sideways, and I said, 'Man, there 
is something here.' When I came back around, you could see what looked like a 
streak through there. I don't know if it was a stain or what. That's the 
first time I noticed it, and I just could not turn the car down in that 
stuff, so I ended up running a little high in the corner."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SPEED? - "It's hard to know. You just have to 
wait and see how the race goes. If the race turns out all right, I don't 
think there will be any problem with it. We're used to running these speeds. 
We've run these speeds and faster at Daytona and Talladega. It just all 
depends on how the track acts at race speed and if we can get another groove 
worked in or not."

RUSTY WALLACE (#2 Miller Lite Thunderbird) - Qualified 33rd - "Every now and 
then you'll go to a track and one driver will pull out something pretty 
spectacular, and that's what (Bodine) did. I'm sure a couple will get close, 
but this cat is not even going to try that. That's pretty quick.

"The track is real smooth. It's got a big dip getting into Turn 1, but 
everything else is real good. It's real abrasive with a lot of grip. I think 
they've done an excellent job with what they've done. Now what we've got to 
do is we just have to get that second groove moved up to get some passing 
going on. Right now, everybody is rim-rodding the white line and running fast 
as lightning. The only wa to pass is to run 10 mph faster on the outside. I 
don't think we are going to be able to do that. If we can get that groove 
moved up in the ARCA race and in practice, I think we'll have a good race.

"My lap was OK. It looked good. I messed up because when I pulled out on pit 
road, there was a big, black stripe of water in the groove in turn 1 and 2 
and I knew I was half screwed, because when I pulled out, you don't have the 
confidence to run wide-open in 1 and 2 when you know how long it was there. 
In practice I never saw it, then, when I went out I saw it, and I said, 'Oh, 
hell.' It messed my rhythm up. I thought it was water and you don't want to 
run 200 mph through water. That's what killed my time."

HOW IS THE TRACK? - "The track is real fast an it's real grippy. It's going 
to be one race for qualifying, then it will be a different race tomorrow, 
because the track should change a whole lot. The groove should move up. Let's 

NOW? - "Everybody is feeling it. The 88 is the most comfortable right now, 
and that's the way I was when I won my championship (in 1989). In '88, 
Elliott was feeling it when he was leading. But he got a couple of laps down 
and was running around here wide-open, but he still beat me because I won the 
race and led the most laps, but it just wasn't enough."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (#37 Kmart/RC Cola Thunderbird) - Qualified 38th - "We've 
been working on this qualifying thing all year, and it's something we'll have 
to keep working on next year. The thing is, we usually race really good. We 
feel we'll race good tomorrow. Nobody on this team is down. We're looking for 
a really good finish and to end the year in the top 10 in points. I'm looking 
forward to the race. It's going to be nice and warm in the car, and I think 
we're going to run well."

KENNY WALLACE (#81 Square D Thunderbird) - Qualified 19th - "It was a great 
lap. I just can't believe we were able to go that fast around here. What 
amazes me is that I was literally wide open through turns 3 and 4. I never 
lifted. To still run a .70 and use the throttle as aggressively as I did just 
shows how phenomenal this track is. It's a big deal to be solidly in the field 
here at Atlanta. We're going into the winter feeling good about ourselves and 
looking forward to the new Taurus at Daytona."

MARK MARTIN (#6 Valvoline Thunderbird) - Qualified 9th - "That was an awful 
good lap. The time doesn't reflect how good the car stuck. Maybe sitting out 
here in the cold so long made things a little thicker or something. I really 
got through the corners good. I was real pleased with it. I thought it would 
be a top-five as good as it was. I'll take 10th or 12th or 13th or whatever 
it winds up being. It's decent. 

"It's a big race, and the race is on Sunday. It's never for qualifying. We're 
going to go after it. It looks like we locked up the pole award thing, and 
that is really nice. After you get one pole, we start focusing on winning 
these races. We just accidentally won more poles and more outside poles than 
anyone else, I guess. We did that by accident. After we get one pole, we stop 
trying for them so hard. It's like this weekend. We had a fast car, but not 
fast enough to sit on the pole, so we didn't even try. We just tried to get 
it good and solid in the field and get a good pit stall and go race this 
thing tomorrow. The race is tomorrow. 

"No matter how it turns out, it's been a championship season and this race 
team has been awesome. No matter how it turns out, they are my champs. 

"The game plan is that you look at what is in front of you and you do what is 
going to give you the best prospect of reaching your goal."

BRETT BODINE (#11 Scandia/Bodine Thunderbird) - Qualified 18th - "These guys 
did such a good job, the motor guys and (crew chief) Donnie (Richeson) and 
Dick Simon has been here this weekend. They have given me confidence back in 
my race cars again and let me go out there and do my job. I'm looking forward 
to next year. I know this year isn't over yet, but I'm really looking forward 
to next year, 'cause I know what we've got here and what we can end up with 
before next season starts."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SPEEDS? - "When something happens, it's not going 
to be pretty."