“It is what it is. It was a good run. The guys did a great job with the car but we came up a little bit short with the U.S. Army Chevrolet. We only ran five laps yesterday in practice. We come here with the impression that we’re bringing the best car with all the things that we know that are fastest, so trying things in practice is just trying things. We had the confidence to know that we were competitive and we were and we’ll see how it shakes out in the race versus qualifying. If we can be in that same group of top two-to-five, with five to go, then we’ve done our job.”
FOR AS MANY TIMES AS YOU HAVE WON POLES IN YOUR CAREER, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE TOP 35 RULE THAT NASCAR IS CHANGING FOR NEXT SEASON?
“I don’t know the exact specifics but from what I understand, it’s going back to exactly what we had, right? So, there is a reason we changed it to go to what we have now versus what we had. So either we made a mistake in going to what we have or there is a reason everybody likes it better the way it was and it is what it is. But in the end it’s the same for everybody and my two cents is I don’t think that it’s going to be a big issue at all to start the season because with the new cars I don’t see us having an extra surplus of cars. I don’t see 48 or 50 cars each and every week. I see 43-maybe 44-type deal, so I don’t think it’s going to be a deal-breaker at all. I think later in the season when there are other teams, when you get some teams, maybe Nationwide teams that want to run a Cup race and have built a car because they can, then it’s going to be a little different situation.”
WHAT DOES QUALIFYING MEAN HERE? DOES IT MEAN ANYTHING COME LAP FIVE? DOES IT HELP THE TEAM MENTALLY TO HAVE A GOOD QUALIFYING RUN HERE?
“We ran five laps yesterday in practice so I didn’t know exactly how we were going to shake up qualifying. I know that this is the same car we had at Daytona where we were second to third, speed-wise. We felt like we had a good car in the race as well. We had a problem on pit road. But the first five laps of the race, to answer your question, you might be in front of the first crash if it happens early; but you could be just as easily a part of it falling backwards. You just never know. We could be four-wide coming across for the completion of the first lap. You just never know.”
YOU ONLY HAD FIVE LAPS OF PRACTICE YESTERDAY?
THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND RACE SINCE THE TWO-CAR TANDEMS WERE ERADICATED. IS THERE ANY DANGER DO YOU THINK? A LOT OF GUYS DIDN’T PRACTICE A LOT YESTERDAY. IS THERE ANY DANGER THAT GUYS MIGHT HAVE TROUBLE GETTING ACCLIMATED?
“No, I don’t think so. I might be the first one to crash tomorrow, but I don’t think so.”
THE RACE TODAY PROBABLY HAS NO REAL VALUE EVEN FROM A TIRE STANDPOINT WITH WHAT YOU ALL WILL DO TOMORROW. IS THIS AFTERNOON A NICE VACATION AND DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING WONDERFUL PLANNED?
“I’m going fishing.”