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Checker Auto Parts
KURT BUSCH No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie
Taurus (Qualified 17th)
It was a bit hectic in the car. It was like somebody opened
a can of bees. I was swatting them all around left and right. The
car was a bit tight in the center, but its a good race car.
The last time we were here the car ran well in both qualifying
and the race. This time around I think its a better race
car, so I hope that we can work our way back up through the pack
and give this Phoenix track a challenge for the double. YOU
HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE HERE DONT YOU. Ive run
here at Phoenix many times in the Southwest Tour cars and once
with the Trucks. Its just a fun one-mile flat track that
you can change your line on and pick up speed. Just being from
the desert southwest, I have an appreciation for Phoenix.
HAVING SUCCESS THE LAST TIME BREEDS MORE CONFIDENCE, RIGHT?
It helps you. It can almost hurt you in a way too because
you just want to use that same setup instead of adapting to what
the track temperatures and the changes are, but at Phoenix you
always start with an open notebook because the speeds can get
faster and faster here every year.
GREG BIFFLE No. 16 National Guard/Subway
Taurus (Qualified 4th) Ive
got to be happy with that. That gets us up front. Hopefully that
will be a top-10 starting spot but there are still a lot of guys
left to go. I just missed it by an ounce. I wish I would have put
the throttle down a second sooner or done something a little
different to get the 48 car. Its probably gonna heat up. I
think that second may hold up, but well see. I was really
wanting to get in the Bud Shootout. I havent been able to
get in the Bud Shootout yet and it was so close. Coming to the
start-finish line I thought I had it for sure and thought it was
gonna be a good 26-second lap, but not quite.
CARL EDWARDS No. 99 Office Depot
Taurus (Qualified 3rd) That
was close. You make decisions in the race car and that first lap
was fast enough. The car felt good enough and I thought, You
know what, I could drive this thing like I did that Busch car,
but I might not get away with it twice in one day, so I
went into three and I probably left a half-tenth on the table. I
dont know. Were thinking championship, but I never
thought Id be that guy that would take it easy in
qualifying. Im learning. Weve got two races to go. We
already have a pole. I owe it to the guys to do everything I can,
but I was worried Id go in there free enough. I thought,
If I go charge this thing in there and then back it into
the fence, Im gonna be the biggest idiot out here. So
well take it. HOW IS THE CAR? Weve got an
awesome race car. The Office Depot Ford is real good. This track
is different than the ones weve been running well at and I
really love this place. Its so awesome to come here with a
car thats this fast and to be able to run well so far this
weekend. Hopefully, it holds up for the race. DO YOU LIKE
BEING THE CHASER? Oh yeah, weve got nothing to lose
and everything to gain. Theres no better position to be in
in competition than the guy that doesnt have any pressure
and has everything to gain. DO YOU CHANGE ANYTHING? No,
Im using everything Ive ever learned as a racer for
these last few weeks and Im trying to put it all to good
use. Qualifying was a good example. We had a good first lap and I
could have laid it all on the line and gone for that pole, but I
got a little conservative the second lap. Were thinking,
Every time were on the race track, what can we do to
be the best we can be at the end of the race, and thats
RICKY RUDD No. 21 Motorcraft
Genuine Parts Taurus (Qualified 20th)
Were real happy with it. Yesterday, we were
just pretty much lost and not even close. If we would have
started practice yesterday with that, I think theres a lot
left in it and a lot more tune-ability, so that was a big plus.
WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW? It was looking kind of gloomy until a
little while ago when we made our qualifying lap because it wasnt
like we were just off in qualifying, we were off in general. This
change here will complement racing more than we had yesterday.
Yesterday we didnt have anything for qualifying or racing,
but now Im optimistic just based on how much of a change
they got the car to turn around for qualifying. Its not
perfect, but its a heck of a lot closer than we were
MATT KENSETH No. 17 DeWalt Taurus
(Qualified 16th) I dont
know what my first lap was, but overall it was OK. I was just too
loose, but were really good in race trim. I expected us to
be too loose because we never really worked on qualifying, so I
think its gonna be all right for tomorrow.