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DATE News (chronologically)
02/10/07
nascar
Yates Fords tops in Daytona 500 practice  The Robert Yates Racing duo of Ricky Rudd and David Gilliland were first and second, respectively, in the morning practice and were at the top of the speed charts in the afternoon as well. Both drivers, along with car owner Robert Yates, spoke about the team's performance heading into tomorrow's qualifying session for the Daytona 500.

RICKY RUDD -- No. 88 Snickers Ford Fusion

YOU CAN'T BE MUCH HAPPIER WHEN YOU'RE FIRST ON THE BOARD. "Not really. It went really well with our test down here. I wouldn't say it's a problem, it's a good problem to have because we had two fast cars and had to make a decision on which one to bring back. Knowing how well we tested they didn't touch the car. It went back home and it was 100 percent legit. We rolled it through tech when we ran fast in practice down here, so they just brought it back the way it was and it picked up where it left off."

AFTER LAST SEASON THIS IS A NICE START. "Everybody is in real good spirits. Both teams are working really close together and it wasn't that way when I was here a couple years back. I really like what I see. I like the chemistry that's going on, not only with the teams and the crew chiefs but the drivers. It's really something pretty unique. I've never been privileged to be a part of something like that."

AS NICE AS IT IS TO BE ON TOP TODAY, IT WOULD BE BETTER TOMORROW, RIGHT? "Yeah. I feel confident we're gonna be somewhere up top. It'll be the number one spot, number two, who knows, it's hard to predict, but it's gonna be up on the top of the board somewhere. I was really more excited about the way the car drove in race trim because I've come here before with bullets and you couldn't drive them. This car is very drivable and David's car was real drivable. He's real happy with his, so I'm probably more excited about that than the shear speed that we actually ran."

DAVID GILLILAND -- No. 38 M&M's Ford Fusion

YOU MUST FEEL CONFIDENT GOING INTO TOMORROW. "Yeah, we are we're very confident. Our teams are working so closely together that we've been able to draw a lot of stuff from each other and really help as a team. We're really excited. I'm real excited for Mars Incorporated and Snickers and M&M's. Both of them have fast cars here at the biggest race of the year, so I'm proud of that and I'm just really looking forward to the 500."

YOU TEST AND SEE YOU'RE FAST BUT YOU NEVER REALLY KNOW. WHAT WAS YOUR FEELING THIS MORNING WHEN YOU SAW HOW FAST YOU GUYS WERE? "It's a feeling like no other, especially for myself never being here before and coming here for the first time. Having such great cars is a great feeling. Doug Yates and Robert, their motor program is second to none and with Todd Parrott and Butch Hylton working so closely together on the cars, I definitely feel like our team is headed in the right direction. It's exciting."

IT'S EARLY AND MIGHT BE HARD TO THINK ABOUT, BUT THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF SWEEPING THE FRONT ROW. "Yeah, absolutely. I think for the people that kind of said that Robert Yates was done and those kind of things last year were wrong. The job for Ricky and myself and both of our teams is to prove everybody wrong and there would be nothing sweeter than the front row. That's our goal, obviously. First qualifying and then the 500, but first and foremost we've got our sights set on that front row."

ROBERT YATES, Car Owner -- RYR Ford Fusions

TO SEE 1-2 MOST OF THE DAY HAS TO MAKE YOU FEEL PRETTY GOOD. "Yeah. Last year we came here and we were third and fourth and we thought we had the best cars here. We got beat last year. We were close, but finished third and fourth. We came out and the cars ran good. We think we gave up some of that speed from first and second to third and fourth so we'd have a better driving car. Of course, as soon as qualifying is over with that's what you want. We've done this in the past where we've come here and had a car that's fast, but just drove terrible. We hope the cars can start in the front, but, most of all, can you stay there." Ford Racing

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