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." SOME OF THE VETERANS SAY THIS IS TOO FAST. WHAT DO YOU THINK? - "I don't 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 hope." YOU'VE BEEN IN A CHAMPIONSHIP RACE. ARE THESE GUYS FEELING THE PRESSURE RIGHT 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."