Brickyard 400 post-qualifying quotes
DAVID RAGAN (No. 6 UPS/Hall of Fame/Ned Jarrett Ford, pole): "It sounds good. Brickyard winner would sound even better. This is the first step to winning the race tomorrow. Our UPS Ford has been fast. It's been fast in qualifying trim. We still need to work on it a little bit for race trim. We're just a little off, but I have a lot of confidence in our team that we can make the right decisions tomorrow and be up front." (On winning at a historical track like Daytona and now having the chance to win at another historical track): "I feel like we gave up a good one in February to win, but we were able to win it in July. Our Fords have been running really well. This part of the season is very important for us trying to make that Chase. We're working as hard as we ever have, and I think it's finally just showing what a lot of hard work does." (Does this pole surprise you?): "No, I thought we had a shot at a top-five run here. I would have been disappointed if we were anything less than fifth or sixth. We were really fast when we unloaded the first practice. We were off a little bit in race practice. We made a lot of changes. We made a lot of improvements. But qualifying here is just so line-sensitive, you have to be perfect almost. And sometimes I am my toughest critic. I didn't know I could go out and get that perfect of a lap. But my car did what it needed to do. When you have a good car, it makes it a lot easier."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, second): "Our car is pretty good. We've been fast every session so far, not the fastest, but we've been right there. I felt like I didn't come to the green as fast as I should have, but the rest of the lap was really good. It was really close. The 6 (David Ragan) put down a great lap, Kurt (Busch) was there and Jimmie (Johnson). It was pretty competitive, close. I slipped (exiting Turn 4), but I never came off the gas. It didn't slow me down much. It slipped. I drove through it. I didn't have to lift; it didn't cost me the pole. The car was balanced really well, right on the edge. The top two or three rows starting here is really good. One thing that will be a little bit different than past races, the tires will fall off (lose grip) in the race, so there will be more passing. Some cars will be slower, and others will be faster. If we put ourselves in the right spots on Race Day, we'll have a shot."
MATT KENSETH (No. 17 Crown Royal Ford, ninth): "It was OK. We just misbalanced a little bit, but our car has got a lot of speed in there since we got here. We just kind of missed the balance on the qualifying lap. I feel OK (for the race). I don't have a great feeling; I don't have a bad feeling. I'm just kind of middle of the road. Our cars have a lot of speed if we can get them to drive a little bit better and turn a little bit better. Track position is just extremely critical here, probably more than anywhere we go. So it's going to be important to do the right things on the track as a driver and get on and off pit road. The pit-stop strategy and restart strategy, all of that stuff is going to probably be more important than most weeks."
GREG BIFFLE (No. 16 Red Cross Ford, 18th): "I just screwed up. I mean, we've got a great car. I just turned in the corner too early in Turn 1 and made the car loose. I got the left front down too low. It didn't set me up good for Turn 2. I got off of Turn 2 pretty good so I said, 'OK, I've got to recover a little bit,' and I went into Turn 3 and really nailed it, probably a little bit more speed than I should have had, to kind of make up a little maybe, if you will, and I got tight. I had to come out of the gas in the short chute because I was going to get the fence. In Turn 4, I nailed it. It took me three corners to get one right. You've got to perform when the pressure is on, and I didn't right there. I've got a good car for tomorrow. I'm ready for 400 miles here."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 47 Huggies Toyota, 17th): "We had a good practice today. Our car yesterday in qualifying trim wasn't very good at all. Today we got a lot better, and we picked up a couple of tenths there. I feel very confident that we did the right things today, and we feel pretty good about our car for Sunday, too. It was in pretty good race trim, about a tenth off where we need to be. We're looking forward to the race."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Target Chevrolet, seventh): "Our Target Chevrolet has been a little off the pace. We unloaded far off where we needed to be. We were way off, we did four runs Friday, and we picked up seven-10ths from then. Jim (Pohlman) as the new crew chief on the car and the boys have done a good job on the car. We've had fast cars here. This year we have a decent car. Last year, our balance was way off, and the car had speed. This year the speed hasn't been there. We're looking for improvement."
DAVID STREMME (No. 30 Inception Motorsports Chevrolet, failed to qualify): "It was just tight. It was tight off of (Turns) 3 and 4. We've just been trying to hit it all we can."
CASEY MEARS (No. 13 GEICO Toyota, 11th): "Our guys have really put a lot of work into this car, a lot of detail work in the first part of the season, and it's beginning to show now. It's really fun do drive, and we're clearly getting better, but we have more to grow. It's a good day for us, regardless of where this puts us, because it shows we're getting better. It's awesome. This place is unbelievable. The older I get, I think, the more I appreciate it. I feel comfortable here, and what makes it feel comfortable is how your car handles. I've come here before and struggled and wondered if it was me or what. Then you come here with a good piece, like today, and it was great. The cool thing about what my family has done is obviously my dad has been very successful in off-road racing and my uncle has had great success here at Indianapolis. It's fun to be doing a totally different form of motorsports. My goal is to be one of the top guys in NASCAR. Bootie (Barker) is doing a great job as crew chief. He's a really smart guy with a lot of common sense and the intelligence of an engineer."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, 23rd): "We have some work to do track position-wise, but we have a very good Haas Automation Chevrolet. It was good in race trim. I didn't get the clouds that I wanted, and I didn't get the lap that I wanted in qualifying. As far as the balance in the race car, there were some guys who had perfect balance and we outqualified them. We'll take what we have and get ready for the race. We'll see how it all works out. Pit strategy and track position is a big part of the race Sunday."
BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, fifth): "The car is pretty good. I'm not sure exactly what to do to run any faster than that. You've just got to have a good car here. We've been working hard on it this weekend. Roger (Penske) actually called us last night to point out that we hadn't tried taking two tires in practice. He's got a game plan, and he loves coming here. I love it here. This is one of the first places that I drove a Cup car. The first time I came here, it was very interesting. It was jaw-dropping fast. The thing about Indy is that you go down this long straightaway and you look off into the distance and realize that you're going head-on toward a wall. You just hope everything goes right. Every time I come here, I think back to that. Things get a lot easier here when you go from a bad car to a good car."
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, eighth): "I was happy that the car had good speed and the lap time was good. But inside the car, I had my hands full. We were a little bit too loose. We've been fighting that all day today in our qualifying runs. But it was still a big pick-up, a huge pick-up, and we have a fast race car. If we can stay within the top 10, we have a shot at winning this race." (Are you happy with the setup for tomorrow?): "Yeah, I was much happier for the setup for the race, more than I was for qualifying. I really thought we were going to struggle a lot more than this. So the fact that we're where we're at, I'm happy for it." (As a former Brickyard winner, does this car feel like a winning car to you?): "You know, it does. It's been special ever since we started practice. It just had that really good feel to it. Yeah, I'm pretty excited with the way the weekend's going. I was more concerned about qualifying, and qualifying went better than we expected. So, if we can stay in the top 10, we can definitely win this race."
ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge, 41st):"I thought the lap was pretty good. It just wasn't as good as I thought it was. I think I've got a good race car in race trim, and we'll just have to keep working on it." (Would you race the Indianapolis 500 again?) "I don't know when, but it's something I would probably take a look at. It didn't make any sense for us this year with the SPEED Energy Drink brand and the cars changing specs this year. It didn't make sense for us to mess with that program. But I've always loved Indy."
TONY STEWART (No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, 24th): "That lap is what we have. We'll have to take it and see what we can get in the race. We don't have any more practice, so we have to be ready for the race. We're still trying to find some more speed. We have to get the car balanced. You have to have a well-balanced car here. It always ends up that good-handling cars are fast. They go down the straightaway faster when they get through the corner fast. We're a little bit off. (Crew chief) Darian (Grubb) won't stop until he's found the right formula for Sunday. He'll go through the notes and find something that makes it better."
KEVIN HARVICK (No. 29 Jimmy John's Chevrolet, 19th): "I think we've had a good weekend overall. Qualifying has never really been our strong suit, but we got a solid lap. I was just a little too conservative on that lap to get the extra couple tenths of a second out of it. It's a fine balance at this place between going for the pole and having a disaster and starting back in 30th. We ran as fast in race trim this morning as most of the guys ran in qualifying trim. So feel pretty good. Track position is going to be the name of the game during the race. You have to have your car running good, but keeping that track position is going to be key. This is a different style of race than what you're used to, and you have to keep a good head on your shoulders. You can't beat experience here."
CARL EDWARDS (No. 99 Ortho Home Defense Max Ford, 10th): "I'd like to be a little better, but that was a pretty decent lap for us. I'm really happy for David Ragan. It's huge to be on the pole here. Everybody in this garage is jealous of him right now. We worked so hard for that one lap. You get one crack at being perfect, and he did a great job of it. There won't be any conservation during the race tomorrow. Track position is key, so once you get up front, you're going to try as hard as you can to stay up front."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, 16th): "It was way better than I expected. I felt like we had really good speed in our car yesterday, but we didn't earlier today. We didn't make a qualifying run during practice. This is a really tricky place to go from race trim to qualifying trim without taking a shot at it. It was better than I expected, and I think we learned a little bit. Hopefully we'll be able to apply that to the race. Last year's setup just doesn't work for us this year, so hopefully we've hit on enough that we'll have a good day." (On winning the 2010 Brickyard 400): "The thing I remember most is coming down that straightaway and savoring the moment. Here, you have like 10 seconds to see it all, and that's the kind of stuff you dream about as kid. You dream about winning Indy or Daytona. Coming off Turn 4 and having the time to take it all in is a very cool moment. I think about it quite often."
TREVOR BAYNE (No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, 25th): "We're pretty happy; we're in the race. Had we been in on points, I could have pushed it a little more. Going back and forth from the small track, from Lucas Oil Raceway to here, kind of messes with you a little bit. I could have carried more speed into (Turns) 1 and 3. I could have used a little less brake and turned in earlier. I've been at the short track and turning fast with the fast steering box that I have here, and it didn't turn quick enough. I'm excited with this run. The Wood Brothers have been behind me from the beginning and all weekend. We've picked up every time we've hit the track, and now we've got 400 miles, so we can pick up some more when we hit the track Sunday. It's a cool deal to be here and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time. I like this place a lot. It's intimidating from the infield because you can't see everything. You don't know what to expect, but it's a driver's track."
JIMMIE JOHNSON (No. 48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, third): "Yeah, I think I left a little time off of Turn 4. I just expected the car's balance to change a little bit as it typically does through each corner. I just overcompensated a little off of (Turn) 4." (Are you happy with the race setups you have?): "Yeah, we are. We started that first practice in race trim and knew we were getting an opportunity to qualify later and just felt like it would be more important to work through some geometry things and suspension things and really work on the race car. I'm glad we did. We worked really hard to get the car right. Yesterday in the second practice, we found the speed in race trim that we wanted. Then today in qualifying trim, we learned a few more things. I think we're having a good weekend. I'm happy to see the progress, and hopefully it's enough to go get a trophy." (On the importance of good track position for the race): "It just makes for such a different day for you. I lost a lot of track position in '06 when I won here, and we made it up through there. I don't know how. Looking back on it now, I'm even more impressed with what we did that day than I was at the time. Track position is so important. The cars are all running the same speed. It's difficult to pass. The farther forward you can start, the better." (Year after year, does it get any easier to race here?): "Reps help a bunch here, for sure. I wouldn't necessarily say it makes it any easier, because this track is one-of-a-kind, and it's so tough to stay up top. I watched the '500' the month that everybody was here for that, and the best in the business struggle with it. The thing that all of the years of racing here have helped me with is so that I run the right line, and we're adjusting the car to the right line. My first four or five shots coming here, I just wasn't driving the place right. Now I have a good idea of where I need to be." (What do remember feeling about winning here): "My heart rate pounding out of my chest. This race means so much to everyone and this facility and all that it's about."
JOEY LOGANO (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, 20th): "I ran a good lap. We've been struggling this week, and we've been working really hard. We really didn't feel like we hit on anything in practice. We put it in qualifying trim and made our normal adjustments. We're running a new package. We kind of guessed at it. They got it pretty close. I hit my marks close to where I needed. I haven't found an easy racetrack yet with these cars. This track has its own sets of challenges. It has four real turns. You have to lift and go again. Trying to get all those corners to tie together is a challenge, trying to find speed between (Turns) 1 and 3 and 2 and 4."
AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 43 Best Buy Ford, sixth): "I'm happy, but I threw away Turn 4. I think we were on pole until Turn 4. I just didn't want to get too tight off of (Turn) 4, so I decided to try drive it in until I was, 'Jesus!' and overshot the corner. I'm just proud of the guys. The whole team, we're trying to jell together. It's tough to do in a day or two and feel like you're competitive. So I feel like we slowly each session got better. We're still not quite where we want to be. We've got plenty of time to keep working on that. But it seems like every time we went out there we got better. Hopefully we do the same tomorrow." (How comfortable are you right now in race trim): "We're OK. We definitely need some speed. I'm not going to lie to you. We made the car each run a little more comfortable. We definitely need more speed out of it, but I'm happy with the speed so far."
SCOTT SPEED (No. 37 Max Q Motorsports Ford): "It's good to be able to at least come out to the track and run some races. We're pretty fortunate for that. It's been one of those things where it's weird to come back. I've seen so many people that I haven't seen in a while. I'm thankful that coming back out here, I least have some speed still, no pun intended. But I'm with a group of guys who work really hard. We unloaded terrible, and we fixed this thing and made it a lot better. My hat's off to all those guys." (On racing at this track): "Obviously, Indianapolis is pretty special for me. It's always been sort of my little America ever since coming here for Formula One. It seem like every time I come back here, it's a different situation. But the place is still just as fun, no question."